Mary Beth Willis Hudson, BSChE 1989
Inducted in 2019
Mary Beth Hudson is vice president of the Polysilicon Division and site manager for Wacker in Charleston, Tennessee. A proven leader with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, Hudson is responsible for all aspects of manufacturing, supply chain, business operations, sales and profitability of the Polysilicon Division throughout the North and Central American region. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1989 from the University of Kentucky.
Hudson got her start in manufacturing as a process engineer at Air Products and Chemicals in Calvert City, Kentucky. When Air Products and Wacker Chemie formed joint ventures in 1998, Hudson joined Wacker as plant manager of the Calvert City Dispersible Polymer Powders operations. She continued in this role until Wacker assumed full ownership of the business in 2008. At this time, she assumed responsibility for both the Powders and Dispersions Polymer operations for North America.
Wacker promoted Hudson to site manager and later to vice president. In that role, Hudson led approximately 125 employees to produce polymer dispersions and powders that are used by leading customers in the adhesives, construction and engineered fabrics industries.
In 2016, Wacker opened a 550-acre greenfield site in Charleston, Tennessee, and tapped Hudson to lead its Polysilicon Division as vice president with site manager responsibilities for the new facility. The Charleston facility employs 720 workers and boasts a production capacity of 20,000 metric tons of polycrystalline silicon annually. At $2.5 billion, Wacker Polysilicon is one of the largest private investments ever made in the state of Tennessee.
Hudson displayed exemplary leadership in the aftermath of an explosion in 2017 that closed the Charleston facility for several months. With over 400 employees unable to work while Wacker rebuilt the plant, Hudson launched a substantial training initiative that led to retaining talented workers and improving their skill sets. Over 350 employees received Six Sigma yellow belt training, which has led to higher employee morale and increased efficiency. Hudson understands the value of having a qualified workforce to economic development. She has supported several STEM education initiatives throughout her career.
Hudson currently serves on the advisory board for the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at UK. She is an executive committee member of the Tennessee Business Roundtable and a board member for the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.
Hudson lives in Ooltewah, Tennessee with her husband, Rocky, who received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UK in 1988. They have two adult children.