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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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."