HONOLULU (KHON2) — A company in Hilo helps build more than just communities from the ground up, they help build underground.

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They’re the first ones in.

A big company that started off small, as nothing more than a dream and a whole lot of work.

The Ludwig construction base yard has no shortage of activity.

From heavy equipment to massive concrete pouring operations, it’s a pretty big step up for a guy who started with nothing but a little more than a major dose of desire and determination.

“Humble beginnings, you know, pick up truck, pick and shovel and a desire to build,” said owner Herman Ludwig.

Ludwig started his business in 2001, and moved into the Hilo base yard five years later.

“Right now, I think we got about at least 45 pieces of equipment, all on different projects,” Ludwig continued.

With a degree in carpentry, he started off working for the carpenters union. Then a larger civil contractor for another 20 years.

That’s where he learned the knowledge and the confidence to break out on his own.

“On all our construction projects we do probably 90% minimum of the work,” said Ludwig. “All the underground, infrastructure, pre-cast, anything.”

He also started his own equipment rental company, and most recently got into the pre-cast, concrete business and not on a small scale.

“We’re more here for the drainage, architectural thing and infrastructure that we are doing more of now,” added Ludwig. “Including all the rebar fabrication and everything.

Meaning anytime a developer moves into a certain area to build a large structure of multiple homes, Ludwig is the first one in.

“We do all the ground work all the underground water lines, sewer lines, road pavings, sidewalks, we do all of that”

More recently also getting into the design side of concrete, a product that has unlimited applications.

“We are taking the concrete to the architectural level, and we have just started to do the concrete stamping and coloring more and more,” continued Ludwig. “It’s a specialty trade, and guiding everybody towards that goal, and even for me to pass it on to the next generation and letting them be able to build the same thing and create the vision to see that.”

And the next generation just so happens to be his son, who’s already up to speed, having grown up on the coolest playground ever.

“It was fun,” said Ludwig’s son — also Herman Ludwig. “I was obviously in school but I would come after school and on the weekends.”

Looking ahead, both father and son are looking beyond just building more foundations and not just for buildings but foundations for his employees and their families to build on.

“Opportunity that you can have these people come to work and support families and that’s something you can never take away from me,” said Herman Ludwig.

“We had people come and work for us that just showed up at our doorstep, who would get dropped off and now they have families of their own and that’s a really good feeling,” added Herman Ludwig, the son.

An impressive legacy for a young kid who started with only a little more than a pick up truck, a pick and a shovel.

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“You gotta work hard, anybody can go as far as they wanna go in life and I always said there’s always eight days in a week if you add up your hours that you work,” Herman Ludwig said.