Founder and CEO of Tebarco Mechanical Corporation
Terrell Barden remembers a day in 4th grade at Ben Hill Elementary School when his teacher was scolding the class on their lack of effort. She offered that those who would not apply themselves and study hard would most likely end up being plumbers. It was a harsh statement to a 9-year-old whose grandfather, father, and uncle were all respectable members of the community and also plumbers. It was an insult that he didn’t understand, as he admired all of the plumbers he knew. They were good men with great ethics, character, and leaders in their families and communities.
Terrell’s grandfather started West End Plumbing in 1918. At 16, Terrell officially began his career in plumbing, working with his eldest brother, Howell, at General Plumbing Corp in College Park while on summer break from Woodward Academy. He would eventually join General (later) Mechanical Corp full time after high school. After gaining several years of valuable experience, he decided to strike out on his own, extending the family plumbing heritage. He hired one employee, Charlie Lewis, who he met at General. Within a year, he was able to incorporate and Tebarco Mechanical Corporation (TMC) became official in February, 1983. On one of his first projects, a beautiful GA Tech graduate named Nancy, showed up on the construction site to manage the mechanical engineering aspects of the job. Within two years, Terrell would marry her and together they would build their future on love and plumbing!
With an education in mechanical engineering but limited experience, Terrell realized that the key to any successful venture would be to recruit, educate, and retain great people. He dedicated himself to creating an organization capable of providing the best benefits, work environment, security, and advancement opportunities in the industry in order to attract and retain the most talented employees in the industry. Terrell made hard work, numerous hours, and strong customer service the cornerstone of TMC’s reputation. As progress came along, he focused on adding people that shared on that same philosophy.
While building TMC, Terrell focused on two simple ideas: happy customers and happy employees, and the rest will work itself out. Terrell’s dedication to the latter idea could not be truer today. Over the years since he became involved in the Atlanta area mechanical contracting industry in the early 1970’s, many competitors have dissolved. He insists that TMC remains a vibrant and viable contender in the Atlanta market.