Father/son duo spend careers on construction sites together

Published 8:12 am Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The duo worked on the new Cookout in Elizabethton for roughly three months, and already they are hard at work on their next project, just happy to be able to work together, father and son.

Terry and his son Brad Barker have done construction work together since 2012.

Brad Barker said he has wanted to work in construction since he was a kid.

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“I just wanted to be an operator,” he said.

Terry Barker said he left his old job at Snap-On in 2005 and has worked under Barker Construction ever since. His son started helping when Brad was 16, and officially joined the company once he graduated high school.

“We have our fusses,” Terry Barker said about working with his son. “The good outweighs the bad, though.”

In the past five years, the duo said they have worked on roughly 100 different projects, large or small. Just a few days after finishing the work on Cookout, they are already hard at work digging the foundation for a new house on Jackson Avenue in Elizabethton.

Brad Barker said he decided not to go to college so he could fulfill his dream, minus the certifications he needed and wants high schools to promote his line of work more than they currently do.

“The schools need to get more trade jobs in their programs,” he said. “There are not enough workers to do the work.”

For some of the larger projects, like Cookout, the Barkers will bring on part-time laborers to do the truck driving and other tasks, but officially, it is just the two of them.

“I am probably the youngest [construction worker] in all of Carter County,” he said.

One of the duo’s favorite parts of each project they take on, they said, were the people they meet along the way.

“Larry Goble [with Dimension Construction] was a big part of it,” Terry Barker said about Cookout. “He was the job superintendent.”

He said his son has been a big help in his line of work, always happy to work the larger machinery whenever he can.

Of course, a career in manual labor is not an easy one. The Cookout project specifically had 68 working days from start to finish, and other than the part-time help they may or may not receive, it is just the two of them making sure everything works out.

Once it is all said and done, however, they said seeing the finished product is an amazing feeling.

Those interested in reaching out to Barker Construction can do so by calling 423-512-0349.