Hudson Pump & Equipment, Tencarva’s Florida-based Sales Division, is celebrating its 40th Anniversary.
Hudson Pump & Equipment Associate’s Inc. was founded by George (father) and Robert (son) Hudson in 1979 as a Goulds Pump Distributor. George worked for Goulds Pumps as early as February of 1957 in many capacities with his last position as director of marketing. He left to work at Worthington Pumps briefly as Southeast territory manager, but Goulds Pumps offered him the chance to open a Goulds Pumps distributor business in Florida, a fantastic opportunity. Hudson Pump & Equipment Associate’s, Inc. became the second Goulds Pump Distributor in the world, following a California distributor.
George tells the story in his own words, “When I got up to Seneca Falls to talk to these people, the treasurer of the company sat me down in his office and said, ‘George you are part of the family, and we want you to succeed.’ They really helped us get into the business by giving us consigned inventory with no interest charge for the first year. They gave us all kinds of financial help, including 60-day terms.
It was very different then. We started up in 1979 and had a store front down here that was 2000 sq. feet with an 800 sq. foot office with a warehouse with 120 pumps. It was really a wonderful start. The first year we sold $600,000, and the second year we broke $1,000,000. We thought we were really big time. Our goal back then was to sell a pump a day. If we could sell any pump a day we would be successful.”
Another Goulds Pump distributor in Georgia – GPM Industries – was later born with George Hudson’s help. It would also become a Tencarva Division, in a similar fashion to Hudson Pump & Equipment.
GPM Industries Formation in 1988-89
The story as told by George Hudson, “In 1988, Gould’s decided that they were going to close their Jacksonville, FL office and I was hoping to gain that territory for us. When I asked for it, they said, ‘Well…we will think about it.’ One day Goulds Pumps called and said that they knew that we wanted Jacksonville, but they had someone else in mind for the territory. It was a company out of Atlanta. I was disappointed but two weeks later we get another call telling us that the Atlanta company turned down the offer because of territory restrictions. So, when they asked me if we were still interested I said of course we were. We sat down and negotiated and the next thing I know, they gave us the Jacksonville territory, but that wasn’t all. They also said they had an Atlanta territory that we might be interested in. Shortly after I started interviewing people that worked in Jacksonville, one was Glen Robinson. I contacted Glen and I said, ‘Glen we are opening an office in Jacksonville and I would like for you to come and work for us as a branch manager.’ I floated him the money to set him up in Atlanta and we picked GPM as the name. We started GPM that year and the same year we opened an office in Jacksonville and I moved Steve Grimness up there as the sales guy, and he turned that territory on its ear. Gould’s had the Jesup, Georgia Rayonier plant down there and they asked us if we could move from Atlanta to Macon, which we did, and we opened a place with GPM Industries in 1989.”
Robert Hudson Joins George
Robert Hudson had graduated from Mercer University with a B.B.A and had operated a few restaurants in Georgia, including possibly the first sports bar. He was one of the first to put a television in a restaurant and people would come in to watch Falcon and Braves games and eat pizza, beer and sandwiches. One day George called Robert up and asked him if he wanted to move to Florida and get into the pump business. Robert already had some experience with pumps having worked for Goulds Pumps for 2 -3 years in the warehouse. Robert decided to sell the restaurant and move to Florida. As Robert tells it, “I sold the restaurant and moved to Florida staying at the Days Inn on the northside of Lakeland from August to November with my dad and dog. We got into the business with $125,000 worth of inventory. I unloaded every pump by hand with the little red hand truck that we still have here. We got out of our store front in 1984 and moved to where we are now. It was a big deal for us. With our new 10,000 sq. ft. building we thought we had all the room we needed. We quickly filled that up and started getting new product lines and really good employees. We never had a layoff and business has always been pretty good, just like Tencarva.”
Hudson Pump Joins Tencarva in 2001
Robert explains, “I was in a Goulds Pumps Distributor meeting one day and was talking with Harold Muse and he said, ‘What are you going to do with your company?’ My Dad and I talked with them about reducing the headache of the business, which for us was HR, accounting and the insurance part of it. I preferred to focus on sales and so we merged with Tencarva about 16 years ago. It’s been a good fit. We built a nice service shop out back and got into the service business. We probably wouldn’t have gotten into it if Tencarva hadn’t come along. I think it is the largest shop at Tencarva. It has been a good ride.”
George tells the Hudson Pump Tencarva bridge this way, “One day, Robert and I were talking about a succession plan. I called Jack Miller and Bob Pascal, old friends from Tencarva, on the phone and I said, ‘Guys, I know you have a successful employee plan and I wonder if we can discuss it.’ We met and had a good talk and I decided that their plan was good for them but probably not ideal for us. About 3 to 4 weeks later I got a call from Rod Lee and they said, ‘We have this other plan; would we like to hear it?’ I said sure and we got together. Their plan was to buy Hudson Pump and Equipment. That was a real shocker. We hadn’t expected anything like that, but one thing led to another, and you know where it led from there.”
“At that time, I had decided that it was time to get out of the business, and Robert was running the company. He was the main negotiator. Things were at a high point!” The rest as they say is history. Hudson Pump & Equipment joined Tencarva Machinery Company on October 17, 2001. Now a division of Tencarva, Hudson covers a territory that includes all of Florida except the panhandle west of Tallahassee and a few accounts in southern Georgia. In addition to the Lakeland facility, Hudson has offices in Jacksonville and Miami.