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May 26TH, by Jason Tiemeier, No Comments

Faces of Round Rock with Jerry Ludgate of Sound Principles, LLC.

What does your company do?

Our focus is commercial audio-video systems which are the music and video displays in retail establishments and restaurants. We have also done designs, sales, network cabling, and low voltage wiring.

How did you get started in the industry?

I used to be in the custom rehabilitation wheelchair business where I worked in the pediatric department. I spoke with a relative who is in the commercial audio-video system industry, and it sparked my change in career. I worked with him until I learned the ins and outs of business and was lucky enough to start my own company 17 years ago.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I have always loved flying and even took a few hours of flight instruction in college. It is interesting because I do have a fear of heights but somehow, it’s different when I am flying. When I look out the window and see the wings of the plane and the ground, I feel comfortable. Maybe in the future, I will be able to pursue that passion again.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

The most exciting part of my job is putting in high-end sound systems in churches and stadiums. After we got done installing the sound system at the UT Football Stadium, we played it at game day volume and immediately got phone calls with noise complaints from 2-3 miles away. At that point, we said, “that’s good validation that we did our jobs”. I get a lot of personal satisfaction listening to the sound systems, knowing I did my job. I have a passion for helping churches get their message broadcasted so when I’m able to put together a system and facilitate that, it is a big win for me. It’s just one of those things that makes me feel like I have done my part in helping the message to get to the world. When I worked in the custom rehabilitation wheelchair business it brought me great pleasure to work with a kid and design a chair specifically for them. It was a system that would help meet their limitations and grow with them so they could use it for the next five years. If I did my job right, it became a benefit to them every day for as long as they had it. It was a good feeling to be able to play a part in helping them function in their daily lives. I get the same kind of feeling when I work with churches. Installing sound systems in restaurants and retail stores pays the bills and I enjoy it, but it’s not quite the same.

What motivates you at work?

I am motivated a lot by providing excellent service and excellent outcomes. I understand that my reputation is attached to every single job that I do. Reputations are built over a lifetime and destroyed in a moment, so it’s something that I do try to protect. As I say many times, I like to leave a trail of happy customers in my wake. Years ago, somebody once said that if you take care of the customer, everything else usually falls into place after that. One of the principles that I operate on. My company name is Sound Principles, and so that itself sets a higher expectation. People expect integrity, competence, and value. It is important to be the same person that you say you are. If you’re not, you’re a phony.

Where do you see yourself/ your company in 10 years?

It’s weird because I look at the calendar and can’t believe how much time has passed. The last few years have been like an awakening to me, a realization of where I stand on my own timeline. When I started in this industry, I didn’t have any gray hair, it’s a little thing but it is weird to think about. A couple of years ago I lost both of my parents, basically on the same day. As I took care of my dad prior, I saw the way that he was getting around and the effects his age had on him. I got to thinking that he and I are separated by not much time. I couldn’t help but think about how fast time seemed to go, it was a remarkable thing to ponder. It drove home the point that every day we are given truly is a gift and we need to live it intentionally. How do we want our lives to be? You can break that down into an hour-by-hour schedule of the day and decide what kind of experiences you want to have. Making money is a necessity but if that is our only goal then we haven’t truly lived. I don’t think that’s how life is intended to be.

When Jesus was here, he says I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly now that you get enslaved to the dollar and work your heart out and die at age 65. So, that having been said, personally I see myself retired in 10 years. My son-in-law will probably take over the company and I’ll be working on those experiences. It’s something I should have grasped a long time ago, but never really gave it enough thought. You get busy, and you go through the day-to-day tasks, and you think because you’re busy, that’s good enough. You’re making money to pay the bills, maybe take a one-week vacation once a year. You pay yourself on the back and think I’m doing okay, compared to everyone else. I don’t think our lives should be compared to others. We need to look higher. One philosophy that I try to live by is that I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and as a result, he has made it possible for me to have the assurance that I have eternal life. That affects my day-to-day because I have been given a gift. The relationships that I’ve built now can be eternal. When doing business, what should we put the emphasis on? The transaction, which is temporary, or the relationship, which is potentially and should be, eternal. It makes a huge difference. When we grasp that, we start putting relationships where they should be and treating people with love and respect.

I’ve always been the kind of guy that whenever I have the opportunity to do business with somebody, whether it’s purchasing equipment from them or doing service work for them, I’ve always preferred to develop a relationship with an individual rather than just be a phone number. Those kinds of things we do because that’s business, but it doesn’t have the same effects as the personal interaction. I think we were put on this planet to interact with each other and if we can’t do that then something is wrong.

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