In 1946 when John McLain came home from WWII, he knew he had to find a trade to supplement farming that would feed his family. He went to work at Ingal’s Shipyard in Pascagoula, MS for a time. Feeling the need to be home with his growing family, he returned to Neshoba County.
Most homes in rural Neshoba County at that time did not have indoor plumbing, but thanks to Mr. John, they were about to have the opportunity. Mr. John provided the service to those who could afford it, but after seeing the need for more residences to have indoor plumbing, he went to the local bank and arranged contacts for homeowners to get financing. This allowed most of the county’s residents to be able to afford his service.
McLain Plumbing started as John McLain Plumbing and Electric in 1956. It was comprised of Mr. John, one helper and a truck. It was headquartered from the basement of the family home. His soil pipe cutter was a chisel and hammer; and his lead pot was a 10″ cast iron skillet and a blow torch. It was crude but it worked. Soon word spread of his quality work and honesty and he was on his way.
As demand grew, the need for more employees increased. Ronald (Jim) McLain and Ralph McLain worked in the business as school boys. The two sons wanted to do more than just plumbing and electrical, so they added heating and air conditioning to the business. This made McLain Plumbing a “one stop” sub contractor for home builders, expanding their original client base and providing for greater expansion in the future.
After college, Jim came into the business full time as Ralph pursued his chosen field of Electrical Engineering in Columbus, MS. At this time, in 1966, the youngest son Kent was working in the business while also attending high school. He left for Mississippi State University in 1968 where he acquired a degree in Microbiology, while continuing to work during the summers. He returned to the family business full time in 1973.
The matriarch of the family, Ms. Irene, left her job with US Electrical Motors and joined the business full time as bookkeeper in 1969. At this time, the company was doing not only residential work, but branched into commercial and light industrial jobs as well.
In 1979, with some 40 employees, the decision was made to incorporate the business. The name chosen was McLain Plumbing and Electric Service, Inc. The shareholders and officers were John F. McLain, President; Ronald (Jim) McLain, Vice-President; Irene H. McLain, Secretary; and S. Kent McLain, Treasurer.
The company’s current officers and shareholders are: John F. McLain, CEO; Kent McLain, President; Scott McLain, Vice-President; and Phillip McLain, Secretary/Treasurer.
Most of the work at this time is in the Southeastern United States. McLain Plumbing is licensed and has done work in over 30 states.
After more than 55 years in business and with three generations working, the future looks bright for McLain Plumbing. With the caliber of leadership and the quality of workforce this company has, the sky is the limit for continued growth and expansion.
The current leadership of McLain Plumbing is committed to the same standards set forth by Mr. John when he started the company in 1956: Work hard, be fair and be honest.