E.L. Pruitt celebrates 50 years of contract work in Springfield
Spanning generations of families helping to ensure proper plumbing in thousands of central Illinois businesses, E.L. Pruitt Co. is celebrating a milestone this month.
The Springfield contractors are recognizing their 50th anniversary. Founded by the late Ed Pruitt Sr. in July 1971, the company has been involved with some of the biggest projects in central Illinois including the new downtown Springfield YMCA, the expansion of Akorn Pharmaceuticals in Decatur and upgrades to Memorial Medical Center, HSHS St. John’s Hospital and other area hospitals.
Owner John Pruitt, Ed’s son, said he credits the quality of the employees and the customers as the reason E.L. Pruitt has been able to survive and continually expand over the past 50 years. He started with the company as a truck driver and acquired the business from his father alongside his brother and past co-owner Ed Pruitt Jr.
Other Pruitts to work for the company include John’s niece, Amy, and wife, Mary.
Families have made it a point to work for the company over the years. About a half dozen members of the Parker family have worked for the company. Michael and Andy Yuskanich have worked for E.L. Pruitt for decades.
E.L. Pruitt COO Courtney Cosby credits the contractor’s union and apprenticeship programs with helping with retention and positive word-of-mouth recommendations for helping with hiring multiple employees within families.
“It’s just kind of what they know,” Cosby said about the company’s employees, who number from 100 to 200 depending on the work. “And a lot of them want to start that career path.”
Sheet and architectural metal fabrication are done in-house at the company’s headquarters at 3090 Colt Road. E.L. Pruitt also opened an office in Decatur in 2011.
The company primarily deals with HVAC pipe engineering and installation in addition to plumbing and process pipe systems that convert liquid and gases. The company once installed a ventilation system for State Farm Corporation South‘s 1 million-square-foot campus in Bloomington in 2000.
Though primarily focused on work in central Illinois, E.L. Pruitt has also had jobs in Indiana, Iowa and Missouri, Pruitt said. He added that, beginning in the spring, the company will look to once again work in far-away spots it hasn’t worked at in years.
The company spent its first 20 years based at 2117 North Grand Ave. E. before moving to its current headquarters. Pruitt said in-house metal production has become “as automated as a shop can be” with 3D designs and other automotive machines.
“We’re probably predominantly paperless,” Pruitt said, calling it “a long grind” for the company to convert with different technologies throughout his 50-year tenure, including the various plasma-based and laser precise designs for metal fabrication.
Cosby, who has been with the company since 2012, said she’s excited for the new, younger generation that is working for E.L. Pruitt.
“We kind of have a new generation in here. So we’re kind of looking forward to make some changes and how that stimulates growth,” Cosby said.
Contact Riley Eubanks: [email protected], twitter.com/@rileyeubanks