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20 Questions - Posted August 25, 2017 10:18 a.m.
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Photo by Shannon Richardson

20 Questions with… David Hudson, President of Xcel Energy Texas and New Mexico (SPS)

What is the best advice you received when you were beginning your career? When I started engineering school, I was terrified I wouldn’t succeed. My mother told me to look around at everyone else, and know that I could do as well as them, or better. If I worked very hard and took it seriously, I would succeed. I also think back to when I played offensive lineman in junior high. I missed a critical block on a fourth down play, and the quarterback was sacked. Back on the sideline, the coach asked why I missed it. I started with some lame excuse and he shook me. He said “Hudson, you always have an excuse!” After that day, I promised myself I would not make excuses, but own up to my performance. I have practiced these principles for more than 33 years at SPS and Xcel Energy.

How do you use social media to grow your network? I use social media to keep up with friends and family. I use it for entertainment, not business. I purposely avoid politics

How do you maintain balance? In this day and age, when information and business demands move at the speed of light, it is not easy. I keep up with business using technology, but come evening time, I put it down and focus on personal matters.

What has been your wisest investment? Without question, formal education is the wisest investment to make in oneself. An engineering degree is great. But going to WT and receiving an MBA broadened my understanding of complicated business matters.

How has your past work experience shaped you into a leader? I have worked on many complicated business projects in a litigious regulatory environment. I have learned how to justify a position and sell it to sophisticated customers, attorneys and consultants.

What is the best part about your job? Working with outstanding coworkers. Xcel Energy’s employees try very hard to do the best for our customers and investors. We run a multi-billion dollar business out of the Amarillo regional headquarters. Electrical service is an important part of the communities Xcel Energy serves.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and private life? Besides my parents’ love, I had coaches and professors who saw potential in me. One of my best mentors was Jerry Diller at SPS. I learned a lot from him, including the positive recognition of leadership traits.

Which over-used word or phrase makes you cringe? ‘Hook’em Horns.’ I’m a Red Raider and I have two sons who are UT engineering graduates. During football season they tend to be extremely arrogant. Well, not last year.

What is your business philosophy? I tend to want to know the facts. I want to hear others’ views before making a decision. I’m not afraid of making a bold decision and I’m not too proud to change my mind.

Which quality do you most value in an employee? Dedication. Employees who work hard to develop themselves and produce a great product are inspiring to me.

What personality trait has most helped you succeed? Being ethical and accountable. However, I think working hard to get it right is the most important trait.

Who is your favorite author? I do not have one. Two books I highly recommend are “Empire of the Summer Moon”, which is about Quanah Parker and his Comanche ancestors on the High Plains. The other is “The Worst Hard Time” about the Dust Bowl in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. I could relate to the locations and how tough people had to be to live decades ago in this region.

How can Amarillo improve its business environment? I think improving the quality of life is critical. We need hardworking younger citizens to want to stay here. This is why I supported the downtown catalyst projects. This investment will create more value than cost. As downtown rejuvenates itself, this will greatly increase tax base and revenues. I want to attract good talent to run the electrical system from Amarillo for many decades to come.

Most important tech tool: Good grief. Who came up with this question? Clearly the microprocessor is the most widespread tool that has created many technological advancements. I do not know about Siri, though. She does not understand my West Texas accent. She sent me down the wrong highway in Denver recently.

Best time management tool: Prioritize and delegate. Some of my direct reports will not like seeing this answer!

I can’t live without my: family.

My favorite thing about Amarillo is: The people in this region are outstanding.

Most unusual job or task: Most people are surprised when they learn I am a TASO high school football referee. The players are awesome. The coaches are OK. The parents and fans need to take a chill pill and celebrate life. Attending a sporting event is a celebration of life with your community; it is not life and death.

-- the AM Team

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