During my travels in Canada, I’ve been struck by the kindness and helpfulness of the Canadians I encountered. Barry Baker, originally from Swift Current, Sesketchewan, Canada, is another case in point. I recently spoke with Barry about his company, Baker Construction and Development, Inc., based in Spokane. Barry readily expresses that helping is at the heart of the company’s mission.
“We call ourselves the consultative contractor. Our motive is not to sell, but to help.”
Strong values and a commitment to help are some of the myriad characteristics that make Baker Construction and Development unique. In addition, due to the nature of the business, Baker Construction doesn’t specialize in just one kind of construction.
“We had to be good at everything!” explains Barry, as he proceeded to provide an extensive list of Baker Construction and Development projects. The list includes hospitals, industrial developments, offices, warehouses, and of course, homes. The company recently completed construction of a Tesla Service Center in Liberty Lake. In addition ro new construction, Baker Construction is also expert at renovating and repurposing existing buildings.
Licensed in 12 states, Baker Construction “promises the same level of service and commitment regardless of the budget or the project. From projects ranging from $200,000 to $40 million, we ensure each client receives the same commitment, attention to detail, and level of service.”
Another driving theme for Baker Construction and Development is innovation. They achieve innovation by continuingly adapting. For example, Baker Construction is reducing environmental impact through “GREEN sustainable strategies, including geothermal heating systems and ground source heat pumps, modular prefabricated construction, PROCORE software– 24/7 information to clients and project stakeholders, and construction drones.” This list continues to grow.
At the same time as Baker Construction strives for innovation, Barry was most inclined to speak about the “old-fashioned” values that guide him and his employees, confirming what the Baker Construction and Development website asserts: “We do business the old-fashioned way, with honesty, integrity, and trust.”
These values have served the company well, leading to thousands of satisfied clients throughout its 50-year history in Spokane. Barry Baker has been a driving force throughout this 50-year history, but he got his start in the business even before then– he literally grew up in the business.
Barry’s parents, John and Vera Baker, started Baker Construction and Development in 1951 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. The family immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, first settling in Wenatchee, Washington, then relocating to Spokane in 1972.
When asked what he learned about the business as a kid, Barry says, “I learned a lot about pushing a broom and picking up garbage.” Anyone fortunate enough to grow up pushing a broom and picking up garbage will tell you these chores are the best way to instill the values of hard work.
Barry went on to earn a business degree from Central Washington University in 1977 and has been working in the business ever since.
I expected Barry to talk-up all the exciting and innovative projects in which the company has earned esteem, but Barry was clearly more proud of the old-fashioned values that extend far beyond commitment to clients. One example is the company culture.
“We love our employees,” Barry says warmly. “Everybody’s important. We’re a family and we breathe, think, and live that. We have a strong team and everyone works together. We want to make sure they (employees) have a strong future.”
The business ensures this with a profit-sharing program which gives 25% of profits back to employees.
Service to the community is another value that drives Barry and the company. Baker Construction and Development views their business as a service to the community.
“Our dedication to community, family, and safety is a part of our DNA. We understand that to build healthy communities, it starts with constructing safe environments. It is of utmost importance that we support the community that helps us build dreams from the ground up.”
For Barry and the company, service extends far beyond construction.
“We are proud to support, contribute, and actively participate in as many organizations as we possibly can. In addition to helping groups with financial contributions, our employees serve our community with their most treasured asset– their time.
“We’ve always been committed to actively participating in civic organizations, and servicing the Non-Profit sectors of our community. Do all that you can, for as many as you can, as often as you can.”
“We love to give back to the community,” says Barry.
Some examples of how team members give back to the community include teaching youth at schools and SPARK Central, partnering with organizations such as Goodwill, CHAS, and Women and Helping Women, and raising money with activities such as golf tournaments. Barry himself is a member of many local boards and is involved with the Boy Scouts of America.
The humble Barry neglected to mention that his own service was awarded with the 2020 Harry E. Nelson Citizen of the Year on behalf of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. According to the Baker Construction and Development, Inc. Facebook page, “They coined Barry as the ‘Community Connector’ and the Chamber recognized his lifetime commitment to developing their great city. Barry has consistently connected different groups for the betterment of the entire region and has demonstrated absolute steadfast support and passion for the Greater Spokane Valley area and the business community.”
With over 45 years in the business, Barry is forward-thinking and looking towards the future of the company.
“For a business to succeed you need a succession plan,” Barry explains. “My daughter Brooke is one of the new owners buying into the business, making it a third-generation business.”
If Brooke and other new owners follow Barry’s lead, the future success of Baker Construction and Development, Inc. is guaranteed.
To see featured projects and learn more about the services provided by Baker Construction and Development, Inc. visit www.bakerconstruct.com.