December 13, 2017IMLAY CITY — Not many people stick with one career, let alone just one employer, for more than three decades. So when the calendar turned this fall, marking 31 years that Ken Price has been with Fuerst Plumbing, the family-owned company knew they needed to do something special to recognize their faithful employee.
Company founder Zeke Fuerst said they considered a nice watch or special vacation for Ken but in the end they settled on a brand new truck. The white 2017 F-350 Super Duty purchased from Imlay City Ford, complete with a big red bow on top, was wheeled into the company shop and presented to the very surprised employee.
"He's an awesome employee. A lot of guys move around in this business, but not Ken. He's stuck with it through thick and thin. He deserves every bit of it." Zeke said.
Ken, who's worked alongside the Fuerst family since October 1986, jokes that he drives a little slower to work every morning just so he can enjoy his new ride.
"It was unbelievable. That first week I kept thinking I was dreaming," Ken said of the special gift.
The truck is just an extension of the generosity his employer has shown over the last three decades.
The Fuerst family decided to recognize Ken Price for his 31 years with the plumbing company by gifting him with a brand new truck.
"The Fuersts treat everybody really well...they're like family to me. I enjoy working for them and I enjoy what I do," Ken said.
In those 31 years, Ken said he was never once laid off, even during slow times.
Zeke Fuerst started his business in Romeo back in 1976. In the 1980s, Ken started helping Zeke on weekends to make extra money.
"He picked up the trade easily...he was quick to learn," Zeke recalled.
Soon he was on the payroll as a full-time employee. The company services the Metro Detroit area with most of their work concentrated on new custom home construction.
"Give Ken any project and he'll do it. I call him MacGyver," Zeke said.
In the 1980s, the company was based in Dryden. In late 2005, Fuerst Plumbing settled in Imlay City on S. Almont Ave.
Zeke's son, Ryan, took over the family business from his dad and Zeke's daughter, Julie, is also a company employee. They have 12 plumbers and two office employees on staff and are looking to expand their roster when they launch a new residential service call program in the new year.
Ken admits the uptick in business means he hasn't had a chance to take his new ride out for a trip, but that time will come eventually.
"My wife and daughter both show horses and we'll go up north snowmobiling on the weekends," he said.
Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.