History of Howe

Howe has deep roots in the Sioux Falls area. Here’s the story of how our company started up in 1940 – and has continued to grow, as a family business, ever since.

Lawrence “Larry” Howe was a plumber all his life. In the 1930s he was in business with a Mr. Forseth. During the Great Depression, they went broke. After that, Larry worked as a superintendent on various big jobs throughout South Dakota and Minnesota for contractors. In 1940 he established “Larry Howe Heating & Plumbing.” His first contract was with Henry Carlson Co. on a housing project at Ft. Meade in Sturgis, SD. Later he did contracting work at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, SD, and the Mitchell, SD, Air Base. He then established an office at 412 South Main Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Robert C. Howe started working for his father, Larry on the Sturgis project. After Robert returned from WWII in December 1945 he again worked for him. The name was changed to “Larry Howe & Son.”

Projects they did include remodeling the Legion Club at 9th and Dakota; seed house at Brookings; State School at Redfield; McKennan Nurses Home; and some of the finer homes in Sioux Falls during the late 40s and early 50s (Gordon Bell, Bill Johnson, Al Egger, Dr. Laird, Henry Carlson homes).

In June 1953 Lawrence retired and Robert bought the business from him. The business was known then as “Robert C. Howe Heating and Plumbing, Inc.” The first big project he had was the northwest wing addition to Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls. His office was in his home and he worked the jobs himself. In 1963 he incorporated and changed the name to “Howe Heating & Plumbing, Inc.” In 1969 he moved the office from his home to 420 E. 8th Street.

In 1973, Larry W. Howe, Robert’s son, joined the corporation and in 1977 his youngest son, Ronald R. Howe, joined the corporation. In 1979, the office at 420 E. 8th Street was remodeled to accommodate the entire Howe family plus an office person. Robert retired in 1983, and Larry and Ronald continue to operate the business. They are known around town as “the Howe Boys.” They have expanded the plumbing and heating business to include fire sprinkler work.

In 1993 Larry and Ron began a continuous quality improvement process within the organization. After spending six months training the management staff in quality management concepts, teams were established to continue the process of improvement throughout the company. We continually strive for the highest levels of safety, customer service and satisfaction.

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Testimonials »

Service man was helpful and knowledgeable, because of him I recommend Howe to all of my friends.