Kevin Hudgins’ 26-year career path reveals what makes Walmart unique.
When Kevin Hudgins was 16 years old in Cornelia, Georgia, he was hired as a temporary cart pusher at Store 1403. Like a lot of 16-year-olds, he had “not exactly a lot of direction in life,” he laughs. At the start, it was just a job.
But Kevin remained at Walmart, moving from area to area and store to store, working his way up to customer service manager. When he was 20 and in college, working in asset protection, he was offered the opportunity to attend a meeting with David Glass, who led Walmart from 1988 to 2000 and is known for leading Walmart into the food business and expanding stores into Walmart Supercenters. “That was the first moment where I thought, there is a lot more to this Walmart than what I currently do every day. I just was mesmerized.”
Now Kevin is market manager for Market 170 near Philadelphia, his third market, and through the shifts and changes of his career with Walmart, he’s brought that vision of Walmart as a place you can move from cart pusher to leader—and he passes it on.
“My favorite part of my job is that I get to change people’s lives,” Kevin says. “I can see somebody that’s doing a good job, and they may not even want to or even believe in themselves where they could do more. So, I tap them: ‘You’re doing this well now; have you thought of doing more?’”
Seeing their faces light up is the most gratifying thing about what he does. “People don’t always have good confidence in themselves, and you can challenge them and then you see them go achieve it. That’s what I enjoy the most.”
It all comes back to how he started himself. “I let everybody know that no matter what you currently do, you can do anything you want with this company as long as you apply yourself. Don’t assume that everybody you meet this in a supervisory position always had it together,” he says. “They may have not had direction themselves, but they connected with somebody who really helped show them the way.”