History In Steel
In 1977, three business partners started a steel service company in Central Indiana.
That company became Westfield Steel and the Prine family has been at the helm since its inception.
Fred Prine was one of the founding business partners in 1977 with James Irwin and Onie Duffer. Irwin and Duffer already owned and operated a steel fabricating facility, which began selling steel to some of their customers. The steel sales grew into a larger part of their business, so they asked Fred to join them and set up a division. Within a few months, the steel sales became its own entity. Fred had over 12 years experience as an operations manager of a steel service center and fabrication company and as an outside salesman for a large steel service center based in Chicago.
Throughout the early years, Westfield Steel saw changes in the economy, its customer base, and its partnerships. In 1995, the company purchased Shaw Equipment Company in Terre Haute, Indiana. This acquisition opened new opportunities for Westfield Steel to grow in both customers and abilities. Prine became sole owner in 1999, after successfully buying out his partners interests. Over the next eight years and through two recessions, Prine grew and diversified the company.
Prine always looked at Westfield Steel as a family business. Karyn Prine became the company’s first employee. She started by handling all office and inside sales needs. Her role grew into being a successful outside sales person, and one of the industry’s first female outside sales reps. She worked in this sales role for over thirty years. In 2007, their son, Fritz, joined the business as CFO and acting COO after a long employment with General Electric.
Prine, who continues to serve as CEO, began the succession planning process in December 2011. Passing the business to the next generation remains a unique and challenging feat in today’s business world, but Prine felt it was critical to keep it in the family.
Westfield Steel provides products and services ranging from basic distribution to light manufacturing. Additionally, the company has extensive capabilities to further fabricate and add value to steel depending on the clients’ needs. The company has its headquarters, its main distribution center, and production facility in its namesake city, Westfield, with another facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. Westfield Steel Express is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Westfield Steel and is an authorized-for-hire carrier with the ability for on-time delivery of multiple resources.