For The Madera Tribune
The staff of Purl’s Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning in front of the facility on South Schnoor Avenue.
Purl’s Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning has served Madera for six and a half decades.
Founded in 1952 by Emmett and Mary Purl, the custom sheet metal fabricators were known as Purl’s Sheet Metal Works. Their adult son Mike Purl joined the company in 1977. The company incorporated in 1984, becoming Purl’s Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning.
In the summer of 2010, having outgrown its building on Howard Road, Purl’s relocated to a new custom-built 31,000 square-foot complex on Schnoor Avenue. Mike retired after 35 years in January of 2011.
That is when Brian Driggs and Kurt Davidson, both 25-plus-year employees, bought the business. They employ a staff of 37 and dispatch nine service trucks.
Driggs, Davidson and their highly trained EPA-certified technicians continue the business traditions that have made Purl’s Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning a success for more than 65 years.
Purl’s designs and fabricates a wide variety of products with agricultural applications. Locally-made custom irrigation hydrants are just one area of Purl’s expertise. They provide items like flashings, irrigation products and industrial piping. The products, made for the almond industry and its processing plants, are deployed for dust reduction, said Driggs.
“Many of the custom jobs are one-offs (one-of-a-kind) fixtures,” said Driggs.
These are made in Madera with a computer numerical control plasma table, he said.
This high-tech tool is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Typical materials cut with a plasma torch include steel, aluminum, brass, copper and other conductive metals may be cut as well, according to Torchmate, a plasma cutter maker.
Decades of experience in the air conditioning industry is what their customers can expect when Purl’s is called out to a job site.
“We are fortunate to have a low turnover rate with our employees,” said Driggs.
The company’s benefit package includes paid holidays, vacations, health insurance and a 401K package.
A service call to Purl’s is answered by a designated dispatcher who communicates with their service technicians equipped with wireless tablets in the field. The technician will process payments in the field and access customer information, service history and unit specifications on site.
Electronic work orders are emailed directly to customers. This system allows Purl’s Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning to virtually go paperless. This has enabled the company to attain faster response time for service calls while reducing its green footprint, according to its website.
Purl’s provides a five-year guarantee for its USA maintenance customers on all of the repairs they do.
The company also supports the community it serves with monetary donations and volunteer manpower for many local charities. These include the Alegria Guild of Valley Children’s Hospital, Camp Fire, FFA, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Babe Ruth baseball, Madera County Historical Society and the Madera County Historical Firefighters Association.