“My favorite kind of social distancing,” Hutcheson said. It’s the ultimate social distancing sport in and around western Kentucky - an activity where you don’t have to mask-up. It’s just you and the fish. David Hutcheson has enjoyed fishing ever since he was a young boy. He said, “My father, David Hutcheson, Sr. was an avid tournament fisherman. In fact, he was key in introducing Mark Menendez, Bassmaster Elite Series Pro and six time Bassmaster qualifier, to fishing.” Hutcheson and Menendez are Paducah Tilghman High School alumni and live in Paducah. They still throw a line in the water from time to time together. Life gets busy.
Hutcheson grew up in Paducah. His dad co-founded Florence and Hutcheson Consulting Engineers, Inc. in 1968. The company is well-known in the Paducah area and grew into one of the most preeminent civil engineering firms in the southeast United States.
The first 12 years of education were spent attending city schools and hanging out with the same knucklehead friends from Clark Elementary, Brazelton Junior High, Paducah Middle School, and PTHS. Hutcheson and his dad shared a passion for learning, an adventurous travel interest, and a love of bass fishing. He spent four years playing in the high school band, one year playing freshman basketball, and his entire twelve years preparing for the honor of being a National Merit Scholar.
Being named a Scholar is one of the highest academic recognitions. The highest achieving students in the National Merit Scholarship Program are designated as National Merit Scholars. To qualify it requires stellar PSAT scores (usually top 50K highest scorers), an outstanding academic record, awards, extracurricular achievements, and leadership positions. A couple of notable scholars from the past include Bill Gates (1973), Jeff Bezos (1982) and Ted Cruz (1988).
During Hutcheson’s high school years he also worked for his dad. Hutcheson, Sr. sold his company in 1981 so he could spend more time with his family, work on land development projects, and other entrepreneurial endeavors. Hutcheson spent time surveying land for one of his dad’s projects, Country Club Estates.
After graduating from high school, Hutcheson attended the University of Louisville on a scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in biology with a minor in political science. He also participated in Greek life on campus. He pledged Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) Alpha Chi (AX) in the fall of ‘85. He served as Public Service Chairman.
The Hutchesons in Southern Illinois
Graduating from U of L was the first step in Hutcheson’s higher education. He returned to Paducah in 1989 and started his first career job at Martin Marietta Energy Systems. It was during this time he started the Master’s program at Murray State University. He graduated with a degree in occupational safety and health with an emphasis on environmental science.
Hutcheson continued to work at Martin Marietta, Lockheed Martin Utility Services, Inc, and United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) in various roles. Next, he became a corporate director at LAN Associates Engineering, Planning, Architecture, Surveying, Inc. and LAN-CON Inc, a subsidiary of LAN Associates as a Vice-President of Operations.
In 2006, Hutcheson and wife Crystal started their own company 5H Technology located on Kentucky Avenue in Paducah. The couple actually met Hutcheson’s sophomore year of high school. They dated from 1985 until 1991 when they were married.
5H Technology was developed specifically to offer high-level environmental management and services in today’s complex markets. Hutcheson said, “Business has been great during COVID-19. Environmental sampling and permitting is essential and has to go on.” Crystal is president of the company and Hutcheson is vice president.
Not only do the Hutchesons work together, they also have three wonderful children together. “Interesting fact, all three are IVF babies,” said Hutcheson. If you don’t know much about IVF technology, it’s a different technique than artificial insemination. Artificial insemination has been around since 1770. IVF is relatively new. The first IVF baby was born in 1978, two hundred years after AI. During AI, the egg is fertilized in the woman’s uterus. In IVF, all the magic happens in the laboratory.
Grant (23) is at U of L and is in the process of applying for Pharmacy Schools. The twins Jack and McCall (18) are seniors at Tilghman. Jack is going to U of L on a UPS Metro Scholarship. He’ll major in nursing with plans to be a CRNA. “McCall has been accepted to 10 schools but can’t make up her mind. She wants to be a veterinarian and is currently interning at Ceglinski Animal Clinic,” said Hutcheson.
In late 2016, Hutcheson suffered a life-threatening, life-altering stroke. “I had a hemangioblastoma, a golf ball sized tumor, on my cerebellum,” he said. It was removed by Dr. Thomas Gruber, a neurosurgeon, at Baptist Health Paducah November 2016. “I’ve had some lasting problems since recovering from the stroke. I had to learn to walk, talk, and eat again. It’s been hard.” He continued, “I can’t write and the right side of my body has been impacted.”
Since the stroke, Hutcheson can still fish. Some of his favorite fishing spots close by are Kentucky and Barkley Lakes, Cumberland, Pickwick, Guntersville, Eufaula, Fork, Beshear, Nolin, Lake X, Green River Reservoir, Laurel, and others. Hutcheson is a Bass fisherman. He’s entered tournaments too such as the Heartland Series, Skeeter Owners, KBF (Kayak Bass Fishing) and BFL (Bass Fishing League). In his opinion, Kentucky Lake has the best fishing around.
Hutcheson enjoys catching tropical fish. For some of the best fishing he’s travelled to Florida, Alaska, Mexico, Louisiana, and the Bahamas. Catches include redfish, snook, flounder, halibut, snapper, mahi mahi, bonefish, and triggerfish. Hutcheson said, “I love eating triggerfish.” If you haven’t had triggerfish, the white meat tastes similar to sweet crab. However, if you’re bitten by a triggerfish, don’t just brush it off. These fish can cause a serious infection that’s ‘triggered’ by a natural poison called Ciguatoxin.
The family has three dogs, Rigby the silky terrier, Chip the rescue dog that’s part chihuahua and part small terrier, and Copper the beagle. For fun, the group loves to travel, though COVID-19 has hampered this activity, fish (of course), hunt (not Crystal), beach it or stay poolside, cook, and eat.
When the twins go to college leaving mom and dad empty nesters, the Hutchesons have big plans. “Our ultimate goal is to do the Great Loop,” said Hutcheson. America’s Great Loop is a system of waterways that encompasses the eastern portion of the U.S. and includes the Atlantic, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, The Great Lakes, the Rideau Canal, and the Mississippi and Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. It’s estimated that by boating 50 miles a day it will take nine months to complete.
Hutcheson and Crystal recently moved from their home of 15 plus years in Lone Oak to the very familiar westend Paducah. The family lived next door to the Murts. Their children are close in age and have been the best of friends. In fact, Jack will come around the old neighborhood at Christmas time to help the Murts decorate for Christmas. The Hutcheson children are very fine young people and will go on to do great things.
When describing Hutcheson’s perfect day, he said, “It’s forecasted to be 70 degrees, calm and I’m on the water fishing”.