2011—R. Charles Loudermilk, Sr.

R. Charles Loudermilk, Sr. serves as Chairman of the Board for Atlanta-based Aaron’s, Inc, a lease-to-own retailer specializing in the sales and lease ownership of residential furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories. Loudermilk and a partner founded the company in 1955 after borrowing $500 to purchase folding chairs and renting them for 10 cents a day to auction houses. Today, Aaron’s, Inc. is a publicly traded company (NYSE: AAN) with revenues totaling $1.8 billion.

Though Aaron’s, Inc., formerly Aaron Rents Inc., started in Atlanta, the company now has more than 1,850 stores in the U.S. and Canada. In 1967, the first Aaron’s store opened outside of Atlanta (Baltimore, MA), in 1982 the company made its Initial public offering of stock, and by 1987 annual revenues had reached $100 million. In 1992, the first franchise store was opened and six years later the company stock was listed on the NYSE. By 2000, the company opened its 500th store and in 2005, annual revenues had reached $1 billion. In 2008, Loudermilk’s son, Robin Loudermilk, was named CEO of the company. That same year, Loudermilk was awarded Association of Progressive Rental Organization’s 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award, was named Business to Business 2008 Philanthropist of the Year and The Atlanta City Council voted to change the name of Buckhead Triangle Park to Charlie Loudermilk Park.

Loudermilk was born in Atlanta where he currently lives. He attended North Fulton High School and Georgia Tech, served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce.