Lee Loudermill has always tried to live by the words of his father: “Your performance will prove, or disprove, your character.” One look at Lee’s life reveals proof of his character.
Loudermill grew up in the small town of Olathe, Kansas, and returned there after getting his building design and construction degree from Pittsburgh State University in 1973. He worked as a project engineer for the City of Olathe before landing a job as a safety engineer with 3M in the Twin Cities. His next move came in 1976 when Loudermill accepted an opportunity to become a process engineer for Ford Motor Company, where he worked for 28 years.
He took every opportunity at Ford to work on new projects and learn more about the plant’s inner workings. By the time he got his first managerial position, Loudermill had worked on every phase of the assembly line. He began applying his father’s philosophy to his management style in 1996 when he led an efficiency project to change over the plant’s conveyor system.
“I like to see future managers coming out of my group,” says Loudermill. “I tell them not to cherry pick. Get the tough jobs, too. The more proficient you are and the more of a self starter you are, that’s what opens up opportunities in the future.”
With the Ford plant in danger of closing, Loudermill accepted a Team Manager position at the U of M in January 2008.
Married in 1992, Lee and his wife Linda live in Brooklyn Park with their three adopted children. The two boys, Joey (16) and Willie (17), were born with fetal alcohol syndrome which has contributed to developmental challenges. Their daughter Emma (13) was adopted 24 hours after she was born.
The Loudermills continue to work on behalf of the African-American Adoption Agency they used to acquire their sons. Over the course of the last 10 years, the couple has helped place more than 1,000 children in new homes. They also help adoptive parents of special needs children adjust to their situation and get lined-up with their school districts. The Loudermills hold a monthly meeting in their home to share their experience and help adoptive families connect with resources.
Lee Loudermill’s exemplary work performance, loving parenting and compassionate community service have certainly proven his character – and would make his father proud.