Editorial: 02.21.2024

From Family Farm to Solar Farms: Alex Barger Carves Out His Niche

Alex Barger

Hailing from a small farming community in western Kansas, Alex Barger spent his earliest years harvesting wheat and raising cattle on his family’s 4,000-acre farm.

“I loved running the equipment and ranching for our family business, but farming was just not a passion of mine,” he admits.

With his sights set on becoming an architect, Barger enrolled in the architecture program at Oklahoma State University after completing a summer architecture camp for prospective students. “It didn’t take me long to realize that I was more interested in building than designing,” he says.

Thankfully, OSU also has a strong construction engineering program that operates alongside the architecture program, making for an easy transition to a new career direction.

Barger gained hands-on construction experience as a summer intern in the Tulsa office of Crossland Construction, a family-owned general contractor. “I did a lot of concrete formwork, slab pours and general concrete work,” he says.

The following summer, he completed a second internship at Crossland, this time working on a Chewy fulfillment center in the Kansas City area.

During his senior year, he connected with a few folks from McCarthy Building Companies at a college career fair. Securing an in-person interview, he traveled to St. Louis to learn more about potential job opportunities. “They told me about what Castle did, and I thought it was a great fit for what I wanted to do and where I wanted to live,” he says.

Solar Focus

On June 6, 2022, Barger reported to work at Castle as a project engineer on the renewables team.

He currently divides his time between two solar projects under construction in Illinois: Double Black Diamond Solar, located about 30 miles west of Springfield, and Hickory Solar, just north of Jerseyville. 

As a project engineer on both projects, he’s involved in quantity tracking, coding equipment, assisting with project financials and completing reports that track labor cost productivity and equipment variance. “I also help our project teams with any tools or permitting resources they need to make their lives easier,” he says.

Primarily based in Castle's office in Webster Groves, Barger visits both jobsites — which are located about an hour from each other — once a week.

“Being able to work on multiple projects at one time has been super nice,” he says. “You always have multiple things to work on and there are different challenges every day. And I like being involved in all the facets of the projects, including estimates, preconstruction, operations and financials.”

The Castle culture is a favorite part of the job. “It's a very fun environment, and there are a lot of smart people who work here,” he says. “If you've got a question, you can walk 40 feet and find someone who will stop what they're doing and help you. Everyone at Castle definitely wants you to succeed.”

Outside the office, Barger enjoys hanging out with friends and family, traveling, fishing and watching sports (especially Oklahoma State Cowboys football).

He lives in the Dogtown neighborhood south of Forest Park. “Growing up in a small town, anyplace with a Walmart that's two minutes away is a big city to me,” he says. “And I've definitely enjoyed all the restaurants and things to do here.”


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