DETROIT — Randy Pruitt had owned Detroit Radiator Corp. for nearly 10 years when a major fire devastated the warehouse and production facility, putting his goals for 2010 in serious jeopardy.
But Pruitt was determined to let nothing get in the way of his vision — delivering quality products at a fair price through superior customer service.
He directed his sales team to offer a 20 percent discount for all customer orders.
Pruitt said he wanted to send his customers a message that despite the fire, he was committed to delivering the goods and services they required.
The strategy worked as 2010 sales and customer satisfaction levels surpassed all projections. Under Pruitt’s leadership during this challenging time, employees gave an unprecedented level of service both individually and as a team.
An enthusiastic culture developed and core values of teamwork, pride, adaptability, humility and honesty were established.
The work didn't end there. Pruitt formed a leadership team to develop the method of communicating the vision and direction of the company which has brought positive results.
For his company’s efforts, Detroit Radiator was honored as the Michigan/Northwest Ohio region Entrepreneur of the Year for Manufacturing by Ernst and Young.
The annual award honors entrepreneurial excellence in business.
Regional winners are invited to the organization’s national awards gala scheduled for later this year in San Diego.
Pruitt was 18 years old when his father bought a radiator shop.
The father, who had retired from Great Lakes Steel, took on his son as an employee, but it wasn’t a gift-horse job.
“I worked on the bench for about two years before my father felt confident that I knew radiators inside and out,” Pruitt recalled during a 2009 interview with The Trucker.
He also learned a lot about good business practices, which have led him into the position as president of Detroit Radiator, one of the country’s few companies that build aftermarket radiators for heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
His years of repairing radiators helped him to re-engineer better all-metal products with increased cooling capacity over the original plastic aluminum versions, he said.
Pruitt was able to build the aftermarket solutions at a much lower cost than the original manufactures product. He purchased Detroit Radiator Corp.
“Through it all, Pruitt commutated a clear vision for the company to every employee — be your best,” David Bitel, Detroit Radiator general manager, said. “He also communicates a very clear purpose — keep changing the game. This vision and purpose continue to drive the entrepreneurial spirit of every member of this team.”
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