While droves of people will be celebrating love this Feb. 14, one local business will also commemorate 50 years of business.
On Feb. 14, 1962, Ludlum Measurements, Inc. was instituted in Sweetwater by Don Ludlum. The Oklahoma-born, Kansas-bred founder's early life encounters in business practices and customer service from his grandfather and father paved the way for Ludlum to glean experience.
Through his formidable years in a Colorado high school, Ludlum found an interest in science and math. He eventually majored and earned a degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University and later joined the Army, both of which would extend his industrial background.
Upon his discharge from the Army, Ludlum was employed with a radiological company in New Mexico for five years. His commitment to customer service, to some extent, led Ludlum to part ways with the company in order to begin Ludlum Measurements.
In 1961, the search began for a town that could serve host to the business. With his father beside him and his young family in mind, Ludlum sought a town with a surplus labor pool and low-cost buildings. Initial considerations were in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, but the mild climate of West Texas during a cold winter lured him to evaluate the area.
Beginning in Odessa and traveling east, a Big Spring winter storm prompted the Ludlum men to venture further east. They ended up at Starr's Restaurant in Sweetwater--the only place open for business due to the weather--and scoured the area.
The city was small, but had big potential. The quality school system--along with good law enforcement and city services--convinced the young father to settle his family in Sweetwater in January 1962.
After arriving in town, Ludlum began his work on his first design, the Model 3 Survey Meter. On Feb. 14, 1962, the company was established and by July of the same year, the design was completed. Then, he drove to Dallas to purchase equipment for a machine shop.
Once production had begun, the company transferred in 1975 from its original site on East Broadway to its current location on Oak Street. Today, Ludlum's occupies a number of restored buildings around town--which were originally abandoned or not in use--not only for its central work but for a majority of its other departments.
The institution has expanded, thus making both a State-side and an international impact. With seven divisions and over 500 people employed, facilities are based in Texas, Tennessee and in Uxbridge, United Kingdom.
The company is also represented throughout the world in over 85 countries by sales personnel as the product line has continually grown. The birth of the Model 3 Survey Meter has blossomed to a full line of radiation detection instruments which serve a number of markets.
Since its inception, longevity has played a key role in the company in both products and personnel. In addition, the company has been heavily influenced by family, as well its goal in continually meeting the individual needs of their clients through strong customer service.
Their attainment of customer service has proven successful in the last half-century, but also serves as a challenge in the future. However, the commitment to individual clients will continue as the trait has been handed down to the new generation of family and staff.
Also passed down within Ludlum Measurements is community involvement. At the helm of leadership, Don Ludlum has served in his church and in a number of civic roles, thus motivating the staff to volunteer in organizations within the community.
And the efforts haven't gone unnoticed. In 1986, Ludlum was recognized as Sweetwater's Outstanding Citizen. Fifteen years later, in 2001, the company was given the title of Business of the Year, largely in part to the employees' community efforts.
The combination of customer commitment, efficient employees and civic service is just one of the reasons the company has thrived for 50 years under its original leadership. To celebrate this milestone, a reception for Ludlum Measurements, sponsored by the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce, will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 at the Sweetwater Country Club from 4 to 6 p.m.