In 1983, 17-year-old Joe Pangborn joined the Army as a way to become a first generation college student.

Growing up in Columbia, Pangborn always had an eye on MU, but it was costly. At 17, he needed his parents’ permission to join the military.

It wasn’t likely to be a problem, though. Pangborn said he comes from a supportive family.

“My dad had been prior service. My mom is my mom,” Pangborn said. “She’s going to support me no matter what I want to do.”

She asked him why he wanted to join, and he had a ready answer.

“I told her, you know, we’re not a wealthy family, and they weren’t going to be able to put me through college. I think my mom thought that was a good reason to join,” he said.

Pangborn spent six years in the Army as a forward observer and communication section chief throughout the southern U.S. and Honduras.

At the same time, he had started to work on a bachelor‘s degree in housing design at MU.

After Pangborn left the service, he returned to Columbia and began to master the details of working in the housing industry.

“I designed houses for a while,” he said. “I was doing some drafting work. One thing led to another, and I got into real estate. I was selling real estate, building houses, so I’ve got a lot of construction background as well.”

These jobs would be the precursor to Pangborn’s business career. In 2002, a combination of frustration with local home inspectors and a new family to manage led Pangborn to start his own home inspection business.

“In real estate, you’re working seven days a week. I had just been married for a few years. We had a young child, then had our second one, and I just wasn’t spending enough time at home,” Pangborn said.

At the time, he was 37. “With the loss of my younger brother who died in an accident, I just kind of reevaluated what was important to me.”

He enrolled in a home inspection course, and 19 years later, he owns one of Columbia’s most prominent home inspection businesses.

Pangborn Home Inspections covers all the bases. Joe and his son, Garrett Pangborn, said they find problems customers may not notice. They give buyers recommendations through specific and detailed reports to help them make decisions about a house.

“We’re checking everything on the outside, everything from the attic to the basement,” Joe Pangborn said. “HVAC, plumbing, electrical, doors, windows, outlets, all the kitchen appliances, electrical panels, pretty much the whole house.”

His company faces its highest demand in the spring and summer seasons, when services are usually booked seven to 14 days in advance.

In the winter, considered the slow season, Pangborn said he’s often booked five to seven days out.

Josh Prather of Fulton Dental Center is a repeat customer who said he has been impressed with Pangborn’s work.

“He’s very professional, great at explaining things, describing things that need attention, easy to understand, and he uses really good photos. Just overall very professional,” Prather said.

“(I’m most proud of) my wife. We just celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary,” he said. “The other thing I’m proud of is my kids. They’re both doing well.”

  • Reporter for the Columbia Missourian interested in sports.

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