Metro-East News

June 16, 2014

Carpenter is remodeling homes after building them for 37 years

Veteran carpenter Mark Schmidt is now remodeling homes after having built them for the past 37 years. He has joined JT McDermott Remodeling Contractors of Belleville as a lead carpenter and says he has learned a lot in the past nine weeks on the job. Last week, Schmidt sat down with business writer Will Buss to discuss his new role:

Q: What is your job?

A: "I go out and remodel kitchens and bathrooms. Really, I'm just learning my new job."

Q: Why did you take this job?

A: "I was kind of looking to do something. I had done some other things. I like to stay busy. I wanted to work at a company and come to a place where it would be enjoyable for the rest of my years of employment. I love this job. I love being a carpenter."

Q: What had you done before this?

A: "I ran Better Built Homes out of Columbia. I built custom homes for 27 years. Before that, I worked for Four Star Homes here in Belleville. Then, the housing got really slow, so I thought I would kind of lay back and see what happens. I had my daughter help me put something out with one of those employment agencies on the Internet and I got a call to work for Jacksonville Art Glass in Jacksonville. For a couple years I did stained glass work. I would travel to Jacksonville and take out 140-year-old stained glass windows, pack them up and send them back to the art studio. I really enjoyed that job, but it became a lot of traveling. It was 100 miles away. It got to be too much, so I ended up here."

Q: Why did you get into carpentry?

A: "It was something natural. I graduated from high school in '73 and I went to a year of trade school at Ranken (Technical College). Then, I got an offer to play baseball at McKendree College. I went out there and graduated from McKendree and played four years of baseball and got an education degree. Then, I got an opportunity to work for Four Star Homes because my uncle was a carpenter there. I have couple uncles that were carpenters. So I went there and worked for 10 years. They were a great company to work for. It was great training. Then, I decided to start my own company."

Q: Why did you pursue JT McDermott?

A: "I could tell these were good people. I asked about JT McDermott and they had nothing but good things to say about them. I wanted to go somewhere where I would have fun and enjoy working with the best."

Q: How much longer do you want to work?

A: "Probably five to seven years and maybe longer if my health stays good. I enjoy working. I don't sit still much."

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your new job?

A: "Everybody is very positive, from the secretaries to the bookkeepers, to Tim (McDermott) and Josh (McDermott). You can see stability here and I get to work with the customers a lot, one on one, and there's a lot of support. I've heard nothing but good things about them."

Contact reporter Will Buss at or 618-239-2526.

Name: Mark Schmidt

Job: Lead carpenter, JT McDermott Remodeling Contractors of Belleville @ 7427 W. Main St. in Belleville (618-397-8701)

Outlook: "I love dealing with people and I like to see the outcome of my work."

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