Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? Hughes Lumber is a major supplier of building materials for builders, contractors and homeowners. The company has been here for 35 years, and in the past 12 years, we have put on a golf tournament to support the Head Start program in Central Point.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I moved to the Rogue Valley 40 years ago after growing up in Texas.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? I grew up being involved in home building and construction, and that developed into managing construction projects. Supplying lumber to the construction industry was a logical transition. In 1984, I purchased Hughes Lumber from Jim and Vic Olson.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? If I could change the timeline, I would've liked giving back to the community much earlier. Hughes has helped out donating to projects such as Little League and Scouts, and primary support for the Head Start Christmas program. After the Central Point Fire Department dropped out in 2002, we stepped in to fill a void in that program. Our own golf tournament transformed into a charity event.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? With business cycles going up and down, the hardest thing comes during the down cycles when you have to lay off hard-working employees. We've had as many as 15 or 16 employees here before.

Who are your competitors? Here in Medford, Rogue Pacific Lumber and Parr Lumber. They are smart and efficient. It's an extremely competitive business. I try to distinguish our company by carrying as many as green building products as I can, made from recycled materials that would otherwise go to landfills.

What are your goals? The economy is touch and go, but I see the next three, four or five years as good ones for the building industry. We service all of Southern Oregon, from the coast to Klamath Falls and north to Myrtle Creek and Roseburg.

We didn't build any houses from 2008 through 2011. There is a lot of catch-up and pent-up demand right now. I'd like to expand our charity work; it brings smiles to faces of kids who wouldn't have anything to smile about.

What training or education did you need? I have a degree in finance from Texas Tech. Accounting is probably the most important part of the background for any business owner. I trained with Copeland Lumber, managing one of their stores in Grants Pass in the early 1980s.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? One of the most important things in business is learning to communicate with your customers. More important than your background or education, you have to relate to customers and like people. The first three to five years is really critical in getting business established, and you have to be willing to put in long hours. The most important thing is to exhibit persistence and determination that you will succeed no matter what the obstacles.

To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com