Recognizing the demand for a quality manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation equipment, Bob Luddy purchased a sheet metal shop in 1981 and transformed it into CaptiveAire Systems. Today, CaptiveAire provides a wide range of commercial and industrial ventilation products. The company employs over 1,600 individuals, with over 100 sales offices and six manufacturing facilities nationwide, and sales over $600 million in 2021.
A strong advocate of excellent education, Bob establishes schools that help youth develop good character and reasoning skills. In 1998, Bob established Franklin Academy, a public charter school in Wake Forest and what is now one of the largest and most successful charter schools in North Carolina. In 2001, Bob founded St. Thomas More Academy, a classical, college preparatory high school in Raleigh. In 2007, Bob opened Thales Academy, a network of private schools offering a high quality Pre-K-12 education at an affordable tuition rate. The Luddy Schools are quickly growing, with over 6,000 students enrolled throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. This year, Bob is opening Thales College, a classical college offering an affordable and accelerated undergraduate degree program.
Bob is an avid supporter of entrepreneurs and the free market system, and published his book, Entrepreneurial Life: The Path from Startup to Market Leader, in 2018. His book is available for purchase online via Amazon and Barnes & Noble