Texas Tech University

Student Spotlight: Mason Baker, Management

Kaitlin York

February 16, 2017

Mason Baker

Mason Baker plans to graduate in Dec. 2017 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. He completed an Associate of Arts from Cisco College while playing collegiate baseball before coming to Texas Tech University. Baker is from Rhome, TX and plans to move to Cisco, TX after graduation to work at his grandfather's company, Bluebonnet Plumbing. He is currently a licensed plumbing apprentice and is working on completing the hours necessary towards getting a journeyman plumbing license. Read about how getting his management degree from the Rawls College is preparing him to eventually take over his grandfather's company in the Q&A below.

What is your family's business and why have you decided to join the business after graduation?

My grandfather owns a plumbing company called Bluebonnet Plumbing. I never thought I would want to be a plumber, but after working for him during summer and winter breaks I realized how valuable the trade is and how often people are in need of good plumbers. The money is what drew me in, but helping people fix problems with their homes ended up being very satisfying. Something else that I really like about the trade is that it is very rare for a plumber to have the same job over and over again. I think what I enjoy most about working for my grandfather is getting to work in the field rather than sitting behind a desk.

What are the advantages of joining a family business as opposed to getting a job at a larger company?

The main advantage to taking over my grandfather's company is the opportunity to be my own boss. I will get to set my own schedule each day and quit on my own time. Also, in this area of work I will get to set my own prices, so I kind of determine the market and how much profit we will bring in. My goal is to never work for anyone because I feel the only way to make money is to be your own boss.

Why do you think having a management degree from Rawls College of Business will benefit you going into a profession where most people in the industry do not have bachelor degrees?

I think a management degree will give me a better overall understanding of the business world and will prepare me for all aspects of business. Being a manager will be the main part of my job because I will have to set schedules, deal with employees and run the daily operating activities.

How do you think your perspective as a young college graduate will benefit your grandfather's business?

I have more of a business mind. I understand more about tax write offs compared to his old school thinking. He likes to run things the same way he has for 40 years and is not use to change. I think I will be able to bring an open mind and help advance the business.

What are your long term plans for your grandfather's company?

I have to complete 8,000 hours of an apprenticeship in order to become a licensed journeyman. Currently, I have about 3,000 hours completed. Once I get my license, I have to hold it for a year to qualify and take my Master plumber's test. If I pass the test, I will be qualified to own the company. At that point, I plan to take the reigns and grow the company. Right now there are only 2 trucks and 2 employees. I am hoping to drive that number up to about 7 trucks and 7 employees. My final plan is to have senior employees run the day-to-day tasks, while I will be in charge of pulling permits, giving estimates and running the business side of things. I would like my role to eventually turn into a CEO type role as opposed to a manager type role.

"The average age of a plumber is 59 and the average age of an electrician is 62. A lot of people value a college education, but the trade businesses are failing because my generation is not getting involved in them. I would encourage younger people to look into different trades. The money is way better than people think, and it's actually fun to work outside the typical office setting, if you allow your mind to be open to it."

This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.