John Bridge’s Background and Qualifications
Where to begin?
Leaving the army in 1968, I applied for apprenticeship training in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (otherwise known as “the Union”). I became a carpenter, working on such projects as schools, apartment buildings and houses. Also did a little high-rise work.
I tested for, and received, the Arizona General Building Contractor’s License, Class B. This enabled me to legally build skyscrapers, as well as houses. Never did get around to building a skyscraper. Thought about it a little, but nah…
With a partner, in 1971, I founded the Bridge and Elftmann construction company in Phoenix, Arizona. We were framing contractors and worked mainly on housing tracts and apartment complexes. At one point we employed more than sixty people and had three apartment complexes and a couple of housing tracts going simultaneously. I’m telling you, we were big time.
That was right before we went broke big time. Not that we didn’t have the technical wherewithal to do the projects, it’s just that we didn’t know much about what we were doing business-wise. I like to think I’ve improved in that department since that time, but it’s iffy.
I joined my older brother, a ceramic tile contractor, and became an apprentice once again. His words went something like: “Well, you screwed up carpentry pretty well. Come on out to the job and see what you can do with tile setting.”
I have remained a tile setter throughout most of the past four decades, but I did other things as well. I lived in California for three years, where I was a remodeling contractor and ran a plumbing repair service on the side.
My brother and I formed Bridge Brothers Construction to build homes on speculation. On our first project we did all of the work ourselves, from laying the foundation to nailing on the shingles — plumbing, electrical, you name it.
I’ve done just about everything there is to do on a house at one time or another. I have operated (successfully, I might add) John Bridge Ceramic Tile in the Houston area since 1983. I was chosen to do the tile work in the Home Magazine houses of the year for 1997 and 1998.
If there is a point to all this, it is that I’ve acquired the kind of technical knowledge that few people possess. If you want to know something about your house, you can ask me and there’s a good chance I can tell you in clear, concise terms what you need to know.
In 2006 I retarred. That’s Texan for what people do when they get to be about sixty-five or so. Actually, I only semi-retired. I still ramrod Mistflower Press, which produces and distributes my books; I am president of John Bridge & Associates LLC, which operates the John Bridge Tile Forums.
In summers I travel extensively, usually in the northern climes. I have a giant fifth wheel travel trailer I pull with a diesel dually. The rig is my home on wheels and my official headquarters. You can contact me at any time, though, by emailing me. I’ll answer right away unless I’m up in the mountains and not able to connect. Remember, I’m retarred. :)
I still perform tile job site inspections in the Southeast Texas area and render reports. I am an expert witness, and I do general tile consulting. I do these things when I’m not traveling. Dial up my Houston site for more information.