R.D. Howard LLC
3863 South Freeway
Fort Worth 76110
After returning from World War II to go back into the construction industry, Leroy Howard poured a set of steps for an elderly lady. The idea hit him to start his own concrete business.
Eventually by word of mouth, Leroy Howard – Concrete Contractor grew to serve thousands of residential and small commercial customers in the Fort Worth area. His motto was “Don’t cuss – Call us!”
That company, now named R.D. Howard LLC, celebrated 60 years in business last year, and today the company continues, begin led now by his son, Randle Howard. The full-service construction provider does commercial contracting, construction management and project management in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The company does up to $10 million in annual sales with such big-name clients as Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter and American Airlines. It has also worked on one of the more high-profile projects in North Texas in recent years, the new Toyota North American headquarters in Plano.
"My dad worked hard to provide for his family and to leave a good name for my brother and myself. His word was his bond, and he earned the respect of his customers, neighbors and family every single day," Randle Howard told the Fort Worth Business Press last year. Howard is the president and CEO of the firm. "I am both honored and thankful that he passed those values on to my brother and myself.
Family is important to the firm.
"When I speak at career days, I ask the kids if they have ever eaten a Snickers bar or M&M candies. I tell them to look on the back and they will see that [M&M] Mars was a family’s name before it was known as candy. Then I say, have you ever ridden in a Ford car or truck? Henry Ford started Ford Motor Company over 100 years ago and now the fifth, sixth and seventh generations are reaping the benefits."
In May 2016, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport honored R.D. Howard with a Champion of Diversity award. The company was one of the first firms to hire women in the construction industry and it also gives ex-offenders a chance to work.
In fact, a woman in the Howard family played a major role in the success of Randle and Rickey.
"I credit my mom with the fact that my brother, Rickey, who worked as an aircraft engineer for over 30 years before joining me back at the family business, and I are college grads," Randle Howard said. The brothers hold bachelor’s degrees in business administration. "Mom constantly reminded us of our fore-parents who never had the opportunity to get even a basic education, and the fact that she never used a new school book until she was in college because her rural East Texas all-black schools had to use 3-to-5-year-old, hand-me-down books from the nearby all-white schools." The company’s potential third generation includes Randle’s son, Randito, and daughter, Camila. His wife, Isolina, is not involved in the family business but is an administrator in the Arlington Independent School District and an attorney in her native Colombia.
This article contains material from Fort Worth Business Press archives.