Provost & Pritchard’s past presidents Dale Melville and Jim Provost (co-founder) and current president Ronnie Samuelian pose for a photo. As of 2018, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group has been in business for 50 years.
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
After half a century in business, Provost & Pritchard Consulting remains one of the most active civil engineering groups in the Central Valley. The company philosophy, according to former president James Provost, has been to create a space where employees will not only get things done, but also enjoy their work.
“Have fun at work, that’s the key,” Provost said. “Take the word ‘work’ out of work. Have fun. Let’s go have fun today and get something done, but have fun when you’re doing it.”
The company, starting with the 1968 partnership of Provost and Paul Pritchard, has now grown to approximately 170 people working in eight offices from Chico to Bakersfield. Specializing in civil and agricultural engineering and design, Provost & Pritchard is also heavily involved in downtown Fresno and in one of their most recent jobs, they were the civil engineering leads in the design of the Fulton Street Project.
“It’s all about the people—that’s the No. 1 thing,” said Ronnie Samuelian, the third president of the company. “And serving our clients well.”
Currently headed by Samuelian, Provost continues to be involved in the company through advisory and mentorship. The company, meanwhile, continues in its efforts to create a more enjoyable work environment where family comes first.
“The trick is to make work fun to support the family in a really nice way,” Provost said. “It’s important when your kid is in grammar school and has a soccer game at 3:00, you go watch it.”
In order to build further camaraderie among the employees, the company has taken numerous activities for workers to bond. This includes lunches to celebrate milestone years for employees and the “Office Olympics,” where teams are created and office-related games are played.
Their success has been further recognized by Fresno State with the recent decision to present Provost with an honorary doctorate.
“Part of the reason, I’m sure, he’s getting honored at Fresno State—one, [he’s] incredibly generous and two, [he’s] a lifelong learner and traveller,” Samuelian said. “Jim has always said: ‘You’ve got to get your work done, but you’ve got to go see the track meet,’ or the soccer match or whatever. So you always have flexible work hours, way before that was a thing with millennials.”
“You’re not here to produce work for Jim Provost, I guarantee you that,” Provost said. “You’re working here for your family.”