When the popular ABC television show Extreme Home Makeover premiers on Monday, November 26, viewers may catch a glimpse of local builder and Somerset Community College (SCC) graduate Eric Bowman. Bowman, owner of Bowman Construction, is a native of Jellico, TN. He graduated from the SCC Construction Technology program at the Laurel Campus in 2010 and was part of the crew that helped build three houses for the premier episode of the show, which is in its last year. “My wife heard that Extreme Home Makeover was coming to Knoxville early last year,” Bowman said. “I’ve always wanted to be involved with the show ever since it started, so I decided to volunteer.” Bowman said the set of the show was chaotic, with thousands of volunteers, but was well-organized. The volunteers ended up building three houses, a main house for Knoxville couple Daniel and Mandy Watson and their three adopted children, and two village homes for the women they help through Restoration House of East Tennessee. According to a story by WBIR, a television news station in Knoxville, the couple helps low-income, single mothers by providing a place to stay and the tools to succeed in life. The couple left their jobs five years ago to start the non-profit organization, inspired by their own single-mother upbringings. The Extreme Home Makeover build began January 10, 2012, and Bowman said the weather was cold, rainy and snowy. “They had to bring the family in a day later than expected because it took eight days instead of seven,” he said. “But to build three houses in eight days is pretty remarkable.” Bowman said his job was to work in the village houses putting up walls and trusses along with other builders and contractors. “The technology and coordination they have to pull that off is amazing,” said Bowman, stating that even the concrete technology used was so advanced that builders could start construction on top of the footers for the house only five hours after the concrete had been poured. “It was nonstop, 24-hours a day,” he said. “Before we even had all the walls in, the plumbers and electricians were coming in right behind us to do their part, and the heating and air professionals right after them. Folks were starting the drywall before the roof was completely finished.” And Bowman said the experience was one he wouldn’t trade. “I would have done it regardless of who was being helped, but finding out what that family has done for others provided extra motivation. I was happy to volunteer my time and talent so they can now make a bigger difference for women there.” The episode will air on Monday, November 26 at 9 p.m. Bowman gives much credit for his success and passion for construction to Travis McQueen, carpentry professor at SCC.
“I always told myself if I could be half the carpenter and person he was, I’d be doing great,” Bowman said of McQueen.
Bowman and his wife Samantha have a daughter, Amelia Bowman and a son, Gavin Simpkins. He is the son of Steve and Margaret Bowman. Bowman Construction can be reached by phone at (606) 524-2718 or by email at email@example.com.