|Headquarters||Raleigh, North Carolina, United States|
CaptiveAire Systems is the largest privately held manufacturer of commercial kitchen ventilation systems in the U.S. The company, founded by Robert L. Luddy in 1976, is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since its inception, the company has expanded from fire suppression to a wide array of products including exhaust, pollution control, fire suppression and prevention, and utility distribution.
In November 1976, Luddy started Atlantic Fire Systems, which sold automatic dry chemical fire systems to restaurants and industry. Sales for the first full year in business reached $297,000. Luddy developed a relationship with James Maynard and Bill Carl, co-founders of the Golden Corral restaurant chain which started in nearby Fayetteville. Golden Corral became an important customer and its growth helped to propel the growth of Atlantic Fire. In 1978, Ben Maynard, James’ father, suggested to Luddy that he open a sheet metal shop to manufacture ventilation hoods and integrate the fire system. Sales reached one million in 1979. In 1981, a separate company was formed for the ventilation business with the name “CaptiveAire.” The company has continued to expand, acquiring several ventilation companies in order to expand its product line. In 2013, CaptiveAire brought in $283 million in sales.
Company and products
CaptiveAire has over 1000 employees in its network of over 90 sales offices in the U.S. and Canada and six manufacturing plants located in North Carolina, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The company’s clients, made up of independent restaurants and national chains, include many well-recognized names in the national food industry. The company also services public and private institutions such as industrial, correctional, military, and school facilities.
CaptiveAire’s integrated kitchen ventilation packages include hoods, exhaust fans, electrical controls, direct-fired heaters, grease duct systems, fire suppression systems, grease filters, utility distribution systems, and internet based control systems. CaptiveAire aims to create high quality products while reducing the cost to the customer.
Community and awards
- One of the top 500 fastest growing private companies in America, INC. magazine 
- Voted "Best in Class" for ventilation systems by industry dealers and consultants (eight times), Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine
- Voted "Best in Class Overall" for ventilation systems 2013, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine]
- One of the 100 largest private companies in North Carolina, Business North Carolina magazine
- One of the top 50 fastest growing private companies in the Triangle area, Triangle Business Journal
- Heated Makeup Air System for a Commercial Kitchen—Patent 5771879 from Google Patents]
- Heated Makeup Air System for a Commercial Kitchen—USPTO Patent 5771879 
- Heated Makeup Air System—USPTO Patent 2220110079653
Publications about CaptiveAire
- Business North Carolina "Dwelling on the Bottom" 
- Triangle Business Journal "TBJ unveils Triangle's fastest-growing private firms" 
- Business Week company listing 
- INC. magazine listing of the top 500 fastest growing companies 
- "One of the top 500 fastest growing private companies in America".
- "Voted "Best in Class Overall 2013" for ventilation systems".
- "Top 50 fastest growing private companies in the Triangle".
- "Patent 5771879 from Google Patents".
- "USPTO Patent 5771879".
- "USPTO Patent 2220110079653".
- "Dwelling on the Bottom".
- "TBJ unveils Triangle's fastest-growing private firms".
- "Business Week company listing".
- "top 500 fastest growing companies".
-  www.captiveaire.com