Community Member Spotlight: Howard Loudin
Upon entering the office of Howard Loudin and reading the wall-plaque that serves as a memorial tribute to his mother, I immediately recognized several things about the man I was about to meet. He must have Native American heritage; he loves, respects, and misses his late mother very much; and he owns a successful local business. These initial glimpses into Howard's life were correct, but there was much more to learn about our fellow community member. Howard became a resident of Louisa when his family moved him here from West Virginia as a 7th/8th grader. Since then, he started his General Contracting company, coached youth sports, developed musical and outdoor hobbies, assisted the community, spread his faith, and raised a family.
Coming from a Native American family, Howard is a card-carrying member of the Lumbee Tribe. He has unique memories from visiting his grandparents' small sharecroppers' home in North Carolina as a child. One such remembrance was listening to the sounds coming from the tobacco barns. Sitting in a wagon outside, a young Howard heard his family and the other workers keeping a rhythmic, tribal beat with the tobacco sticks as they tied and wrapped the crops. As he was remembering how it sounded across the fields, he said, "I thought it sounded like angels singing." He also recalls how they would go out into the swamps at night with only lighted pine sticks to guide their way. They would stir the little temporary ponds that had been created by river overflow, which teemed with fish. After catching the fish, the family treated themselves to a fish fry.
Howard's mother was the oldest of thirteen children. She and her 12 brothers were raised to work hard and to take pride therein. The desire to pull one's own weight was passed down to Howard and his uncles' kids. "People have to feel like they have some skin in the game," Mr. Loudin reflected on his family's work ethic.
After being General Manager at a Fredericksburg company for 16 years, Howard began Loudin Building Systems in 1999 in Louisa. He brought on a partner, Jim Durante, to expand his business, and he currently has 12 employees, most of whom have worked for him for over 10 years. Seventy-five to eighty-percent of their business is commercial, and twenty-percent is residential. Loudin is also a Butler Building franchise specializing in their pre-engineered metal buildings. The company has been blessed with work including building churches, a Family Life Center, banks, doctors' offices, Louisa Town Hall, the DMV in Mineral, the showroom at Lake Country, the Cooke building in Louisa, school additions and gymnasiums. He attributes this success to several factors: treating people the way they want to be treated, having quality sub-contractors (and maintaining that relationship for 25 years), having quality employees, and providing a quality product. "We answer our phones. We care. And we live by our Christian values."
In addition to his work ethic and values, Howard believes in giving back to the community. Not necessarily monetary, but in helping others. "The more you help, the better off you are," he said.
Howard is an active member of Mineral Baptist Church, and he coaches 6th-8th grade basketball in the Upwards sports program. He believes that Upwards is a great way to bring families into the church. "Some kids would not have ever heard about Jesus had they not come to play ball." Howard told the story of one boy (age 10 or 11) who was a participant in the sports program and would attend church by himself. One day, the young boy came into worship service with his arms raised up like he had just scored a basket, but he was actually celebrating the victory that his parents had finally joined him at church.
As Mr. Loudin's son grew up, Howard coached Little League as well. He was also instrumental in getting dugouts for the high school baseball field. (Many people who donated labor and materials to that project saved the county $180,000.) He has given high school scholarships in his mother's name, and he has helped some church families in building their houses and securing a way to afford it. Further,Howard's company assisted homeowners when the earthquake damaged their residences.
Between running a business, coaching, helping the community, and being active in church, Howard still has time for a few hobbies. He plays the guitar, writes songs, and used to sing with his friends in the "Southern Velocity" band, but Howard says that they were more talented than he. He also enjoys
hunting and fishing, esp. in the Chesapeake Bay. Howard and his wife Mary have been married "somewhere between 35 —40 years." The couple has one grown son who is a Superintendent with Loudin Building Systems and three grandchildren. Two grandsons, with which he enjoys attending their ballgames and going fishing together, and one red-headed, blue-eyed granddaughter.
While I visited with Howard and started to get to know him, I asked (as a fellow music-lover), if I could hear one of his songs. He graciously humored me and sang one of his religious songs on his guitar. When I left the office, I was still humming Howard's song, a song that summarizes the message of how he strives to live his life in this community:
I'm prayin' Lord, every day.
I'm prayin' Lord along the way. Prayin' that I don't let you down. You're my Savior every day,
Lord, don't let me run a stray
Please let me be your lighthouse in this town. Help me be a better man.
Help me give back all I can. will try to lead the way with you by my side.
On a journey we shall rideSaving souls along the way.
-Written by Kerri Creel
“The job was on-time and on-budget. LBS was very responsive to our needs while renovating a 100-year-old building. They really paid attention to detail.”
Town Manager, Town of Louisa
“Loudin Building Systems has changed the face of the Town of Louisa. You can’t drive through Louisa County without seeing the results of what they have been doing."
(The Central Virginian, February 22, 2007).
“Howard and Loudin Building Systems did very fine work for us in constructing our corporate office center. We'd be happy to recommend them to others.”
Chairman, CEO, & President, Virginia Community Bank
Loudin Building Systems
Loudin Building also holds a Butler
Pre-Engineered Metal Building franchise.
Class A Contractor's License 2705 158223A (CBC/RBC)
39 Loudin Lane - Louisa VA, 23093
Phone: (540) 967-2680
Fax: (540) 967-4850
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