Mission trip leads Ford to plumbing
Patton Ford said a sign advertising plumbing classes at Hinds Community College in Pearl locked in his decision to pursue his plumbing career after discovering his love for the trade during a mission trip to Haiti.
Ford began his plumbing journey after graduating from Ole Miss in 2013 and returning from his mission trip. While in Haiti, he met Mike and Jann Kenney from Quality Plumbing in Jackson, who sold him on the idea of becoming a plumber.
Now, almost 10 years later, Ford has a successful company in Ridgeland on North Wheatly Street called Ford Plumbing and Gas, a residential service repair business that works on fixing things like leaky faucets and clogged drains.
“After I graduated from Ole Miss, I planned on going to law school,” Ford said. “At the time, I had a liquor store job that I wasn’t excited about, but it was paying the bills. During that time, I went to Haiti and was there around 3 months.”
During his time in Haiti, Ford discovered through Mike and Jann Kenney, who were there with the same mission organization as he was. They told him there was a lack of people going into the plumbing trade, and that got his attention.
This discovery changed his life. Instead of becoming a lawyer, he chose to become a plumber.
“I was struggling with the idea, and I wondered if this was something I wanted to do,” Ford said. “I was out in Pearl around six years ago, and I passed the Hinds campus there. A sign was flashing saying to sign up for plumbing classes. I felt the Lord took me down Interstate 20 so I could see that sign. It was a very decisive sign for me.”
After getting married to his college sweetheart Elizabeth, Ford began his company in 2017. The company has gone from a one-man operation to a growing business with several employees.
“These past few years have been awesome with starting my own business,” he said. “It’s had its ups and downs but overall, it’s been rewarding.”
They were married and Elizabeth Ford is a big part of the accounting side of the business. She said her husband’s decision to pursue a plumbing career instead of becoming a lawyer was huge, but she is happy he did it and admires his commitment.
“Things would be very different if Patton had decided to go to law school,” she said. “However, I’m glad he made this decision, and he makes time to be present for our kids and has that work-life balance everyone dreams of.”
She said the best part of her husband’s company is the opportunity it provides him to utilize his skillset and thrive from it.
“Patton is outgoing and people-oriented, and he’s able to do what he loves and help people while making money,” she said. “Most people’s goal in life is to find a place where their passions and skills can be used, and it’s always fun to watch someone love what they do and be successful.”
“His decision to go into this trade might not have made much sense back then, but when you look back on it, you realize God’s plan, and he knows what’s best for us,” she said.
Crockett Ford, his brother, has been working with Ford Plumbing and Gas for around two and a half years. He said working with his brother has been great, and he enjoys the potential the plumbing field offers.
“There’s so much you can do in plumbing, and I love what I do here,” Crockett Ford said. “I don’t know much about law, but I’m glad Patton decided to do this. I’m sure there are days he would rather be in an office doing paperwork, but I know he’s ultimately happy with where he is.”
“It’s good that we’re a smaller company, and it makes the business a lot more personal and family-oriented,” he said.
Patton Ford was recently featured on an episode of the YouTube channel “American Plumber Stories,” which features plumbers across the nation sharing the passion they have for their profession. They help others learn how they got started, their advice for future plumbers, and the rewards that come with the trade.
According to them, being a plumber isn't just a “good job,” it's a “great career."
“I think it was interesting to many people that I got into plumbing,” Ford said. “I was born and raised in Ridgeland, so I had a lot of built-in support from the community.”
His mother is state Rep. Jill Ford.
“I’m extremely proud that both my sons stayed home and chose a career that our community needed,” she said. “I’m going to do all I can as a mother and a legislator to promote trades as vital and worthy careers.”
The Fords are community-driven.
“We’re trying to make an impact on the community as best we can,” Patton Ford said. “We want to influence young people to consider the trade, and if there are any ways we can help clarify anything, we encourage people to come and check out the shop.”
Outside of plumbing, Ford enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids, Taft, Louise, Patton, and Davis, going on vacations to the beach and visiting his in-laws in Meridian, and cheering on his kids at tee-ball games.
Visit American Plumber Stories’ Instagram and YouTube pages to view the episode about Ford and call 601-940-0597 to make an appointment with Ford Plumbing and Gas.