Chairman Emeritus Russell Hitt first met his wife Joan in seventh grade, which is about when he started working in the field for his parents’ company, W.A. Hitt Decorating Co. Though he was immediately charmed by the petite, hazel-eyed redhead, it would be a few years before the two were an official item. They married in 1954, and Russell began working full-time in the family company’s office two years later.
Co-Chairman Brett Hitt said, “My parents [Russell and Joan] are both grounded in principles and raised their children with a few basic rules. My mom’s focus is honesty, integrity, and self-care, while my dad’s focus has always been work ethic and taking care of the people around you. These principles are the core ideology of HITT today.”
“Russell would never ask you to do something he wouldn’t do himself,” echoed Co-Chairman and son-in-law Jim Millar. “That approach set the tone for how he did business, and in turn how the company operates. For Russell, it was all about service—getting answers for clients, completing jobs on time, delivering quality work, treating subcontractors fairly, and, most importantly, treating the people who work here fairly, too.”
While HITT Contracting certainly succeeded under Russell’s direction, it’s the family he and Joan raised that gives him the most satisfaction. “Joan is a great mother,” said Russell. “I worked six days a week to provide for our family, and Joan raised our children—all the while cooking for us and keeping the house.” Together they have four children, each of whom has gone on to chase their own dreams and make their parents proud.
Russell and Joan have shared many milestones in their 64 years together. Their kindness, compassion, and generosity have touched so many lives and continue to shape the way we do business. Perhaps the best word to describe these two is beloved—by one another, by their families, and by all of us here at HITT.