William Prather is embarking on a new chapter in his career, wrapping up operations at his architecture firm, Prather Tucker Associates, and starting a new job with Bernes-Schober Associates (BSA) as of Feb. 22.

After working together for several years at Wight & Company, Prather and Mark Tucker founded Prather Tucker Associates in Springfield in 2003. Tucker died in 2015, leaving Prather as the sole licensed architect.

“In November 2018, my last employee informed me he was moving out of town,” said Prather. “I was solo at that point, which was OK for a while.” However, he said worked dropped off drastically after the stay-at-home order took effect in March 2020. “Last year during COVID it was pretty tough, especially the last two quarters. Most of my contracts had stopped completely. At some point, you have a decision to make – do you wait for the jobs to start opening back up and dive into a line of credit in the meantime?”

Prather said at the end of last year he made the decision to shut down his office. “I started calling around to local firms to let them know, and in January I met with BSA. We seemed to hit it off, and they wanted to bring an architect on board to their Springfield office,” he said. “They have one architectural draftsman in the office, and they were looking to bring somebody in to help him out.”

BSA, founded in 1898, is a full-service architectural, engineering and interior design firm headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The company, which does extensive work for Hospital Sisters Health System, recently opened a Springfield office at 1 N. Old State Capitol Plaza through its acquisition of Johnson Engineering.

For now, Prather said he’s wearing two hats as he also finishes out his current contracts with the Springfield and Milburn school districts. He sold his office building at 1111 S. Eighth St. to Springfield Clinic.

“There are things I liked about being my own boss, but things I didn’t like,” he said. “BSA, being a much larger firm, can bring more manpower to what we’re trying to accomplish. I’m looking forward to taking some of the things I didn’t like to do off my plate and seeing how this all works out.”