Meet Mike Barker, Owner of Barker & Sons and President of the PHCC of California State. In this exclusive interview, Mike discusses his experience and achievements as a plumber, the future of plumbing, and a little bit about how he enjoys his free time.
Question: What are you most proud of when it comes to Barker and Sons?
Mike: The longevity, friendships, and people I have met along the way. We have so many loyal customers that have been with Barker and Sons since the very beginning which feels incredible.
Question: What is your greatest achievement within the plumbing industry?
Mike: As president of the local Orange County Chapter of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) we started an apprentice program for journeymen licensing which is a four year program. This enables young men to get their journeymen card and begin a career in the plumbing trade. I feel it is vital for our industry that you have the proper training from the beginning. This is very important for young men who are mechanically inclined but do not feel college fits their personality. At the PHCC we are trying to get the word out to our local high schools to let young men know this is an option.
Question: What is the most ridiculous plumbing fail you’ve ever seen?
Mike: I have a little story, actually. A husband asked his wife to have a plumber come and fix a clogged bathroom sink in their home. In the meantime, he decided to shave over the kitchen sink. To his surprise, just a touch of the kitchen tap sent water flying everywhere. In attempt to fix it by reaching under the sink, more and more water began leaking out. When we arrived at the scene, it was quite funny to see all the contraptions they had made to keep their plumbing intact. Luckily, we were able to fix it immediately!
Question: When you’re not saving someone from a plumbing disaster, what can we find you doing?
Mike: I enjoy spending time with my wife and our five boys. I’ve coached all 5 of my boys in basketball. Two of my sons plays guitar, drums and sitar and I play the guitar so between sports and music, we always have something fun going on.
Question: If you can give a homeowner one piece of plumbing advice, what would it be?
Mike: Be proactive, not reactive. Yearly plumbing inspections are key to avoiding surprises. In fact our membership program provides customers with discounts and maintenance services that extend the lifetime of their plumbing system.
Question: How do you help support the movement towards water efficient appliances on a daily basis?
Mike: When customers inquire about old, inefficient toilets or fixtures, we often suggest upgrading to efficient instead of repair. As a company, we comply with the water saving regulations and educate our customers on the benefits of doing the same. For example, toilets that predate 1991 use about 3 1/2 to 5 gallons to flush. The newer efficient toilets us 1.28 gallons to flush. The average family would save approximately between 10 to 15 thousand gallons of water a year.
Question: What first drove you to certify Barker and Sons as a green plumbing company?
Mike: To help our customers be more efficient in their energy savings for their plumbing system. I saw the future in California as our state grew in size, that a water shortage would become a serious issue. By helping our customers save water by using the latest efficient water saving devices. Barker and Sons received its green certification 7 years ago when it became obvious that government regulations were becoming tighter and the green movement was getting bigger.
Question: What do you expect residential and commercial plumbing to look like in 50 years?
Mike: I would expect to see a movement towards grey water usage, native vegetation, and other creative ways to conserve water. Measuring water usage and energy will probably become more stringent and will probably see a trend of smaller homes.
For more information on Mike Barker and Barker & Sons visit barkerandsonsplumbing.com.