About Bill Barsh

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. After high school, I joined the United States Air Force where I trained as a helicopter mechanic and flight engineer and flew 92 combat missions during two tours in Southeast Asia. I was stationed in Florida when I returned to the U.S. in 1970, and I remained there following my service in the USAF to raise a family (two boys and a girl) and work in the aerospace industry.
After returning from overseas, I attended Florida Technical University (now the University of Central Florida) in Orlando and received a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I then worked at the Kennedy Space Center for 22 years including 17 years as a mechanical engineer in the Space Shuttle Program preparing the solid rocket boosters and external tank for launch. In 1994, I transferred to the John C. Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi, NASA's testing facility for large rocket engines, where I worked until I retired in 2003.
About the Southern Yankee Workshop

I've always had an interest in woodworking, going all the way back to when I was 5 years old and used my father's handsaw to cut a 2x4 in half - I can still remember that day! As a kid I loved to make wooden "race cars" and tree forts from the wooden apple and orange crates used in those days. The local grocery stores would discard them, and I'd collect them for my special projects. Today it's almost impossible to find wooden crates like those. My first class in woodworking came when I was in the 7th grade; girls were required to take homemaking classes (cooking, sewing) and boys were required to take woodshop classes.
I always made time for my woodworking hobby throughout my 31 years in the aerospace industry, but it wasn't until I moved to Mississippi that I was able to really pursue this lifelong passion; my workshop changed from the standard 'shop in the garage' to a free-standing dream shop designed and built from the ground up next to my house. I started by building baby furniture (highchair, crib, cradle, rocking chair, etc.) for my first grandchild and then for the first born children of my nieces and nephews. Soon, people started asking me to design and build "adult" furniture for them (tables, chairs, custom built-ins, etc.), and my business was launched!