Friday, August 30, 2013

My Friend the Congressman Comes to Visit

By Paul Nowell

In my former life as the Charlotte correspondent for The Associated Press, I had the opportunity to meet people from a wide variety of disciplines. Some were quarterbacks or federal judges. Others were banking executives or artists.

Along the way, I even interviewed one or two television evangelists.

During my career in the Fourth Estate, I had the pleasure to cover the comings and goings of former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes and members of his congressional staff, which included a graduate of UNC Charlotte, Richard Hudson.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson and Chancellor Dubois
With the 8th District always up for grabs in election years, I spent a considerable amount of time with Richard at campaign events in downtown Charlotte or outside former textile mills in smaller towns such as Kannapolis.

No matter how things were going for either of us, we always enjoyed ourselves, swapping war stories from the campaign and giving each other grief if one of our favorite sports teams was on the skids.

I knew Richard was from Charlotte and that he had graduated from UNC Charlotte. I did not know he was the Student Government Association president – most likely because he never boasted about his personal accomplishments.  He was totally dedicated to his boss and a consummate professional in his duties as the district director for Hayes from 2000 to 2005.

Flash forward and now Richard is the new representative in Congress from the 8th District. After winning 64 percent of the vote against Scott Keadle in the Republican primary, he went on the defeat Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell in November.

In an always-competitive district, he captured 54 percent of the vote to Kissell's 46 percent and took office in January 2013

So it was a real treat when I learned a couple of weeks ago that Richard was coming to campus to meet with Chancellor Philip L. Dubois and vice chancellor Bob Wilhelm to learn more about the University’s role in advanced manufacturing.

Here is the item I put together about the visit:

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson Tours Advanced Manufacturing Labs at UNC Charlotte

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson ’96 visited his alma mater, UNC Charlotte, on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, as part of his August recess from Congress.  Hudson wanted to visit the campus to learn more about the University’s role in advanced manufacturing.

Hudson met with Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, Bob Wilhelm, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, and other University officials.  After a stop at Jerry Richardson Stadium, he stopped in at the Precision Metrology Lab and other high-tech industrial labs in Duke Centennial Hall.

Hudson meets with Prof. Scott Smith and Dubois
Hudson said he viewed the visit as a chance to see firsthand how UNC Charlotte is becoming the critical training ground for high-skilled manufacturing jobs. One of his stops was the Center for Precision Metrology, which is internationally known for its expertise in manufacturing processes and quality assurance for mechanical parts.

For his part, Dubois said it is essential for UNC Charlotte to have access to federal funding for research such as the work being done in the center, where equipment is expensive. “That’s why it is important for members of Congress to understand why this work is so critical,” he said.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Scott Smith showed Hudson some of the discoveries made at the center, ranging from military aircraft construction to consumer electronics such as the iPod.
“North Carolina is on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing jobs,” Hudson said, “and we need to make sure we increase the number of job opportunities in our community and ensure our students have the skills they need when they enter the workforce.”

Hudson, a Republican, was elected in November 2012 to represent North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from UNC Charlotte while serving as Student Body President. Hudson serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the Education and Workforce Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.  He is the current Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation Security.
  Paul Nowell is media relations manager in the Office of Public Relations.

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