A local plumber is striking out on his own, following in the footsteps of his mentor.

James Bogner, who has been a practicing plumber in Arkansas City for 12 years, has created his own company, Done Right Plumbing.

Bogner started his career in the industry with Kuhn Mechanical and bounced around a few times while he was being educated.

However, one man in particular stands out to him. He worked with the late Lonnie Weakly for almost three years.

Weakly was the master plumber Bogner credits with the majority of his practical education.

“We became great friends. When he passed away, he actually left me all his tools. Most of the tools I have were provided by him,” Bogner said.

“I could compare the knowledge he gave me with what my dad gave me growing up on the farm.”

Weakly died in 2015, but Bogner sees his relationship with the other man as “quite the blessing.”

“He was a great friend,” Bogner said.

Bogner family values

Bogner’s family has been nothing short of supportive during his transition.

He and his wife, Darci, have two children, a boy who is in the seventh grade and a girl who is in prekindergarten.

“When my wife married me, I can’t help but think she agreed to marry a greater person than what I really was,” Bogner said.

“I feel I have to live up to those expectations. Not only hers, but mine. Darci isn’t a person (who) wants a lot of fancy things. But I want to be able to give her whatever it is that she wants.”

“We have some goals,” he added, speaking of his family. One of those is building a home on the family property.

“Don’t get me wrong — I’m never going to pay someone to build a house totally,” Bogner said. “I’m going to do as much of it as I can.

“I’m not going to build the Marland Mansion, but I’m going to do my best.”

Hanging his own shingle

Bogner’s business started only two weeks ago, after he departed from Bowman Plumbing Heating & Air, where he worked for about five years.

“I have nothing against Carl (Bowman), but there were goals that I wanted to (attain),” Bogner said.

“There are limits when you work for someone else. I really wanted that freedom of being my own boss.”

When Bogner faces a decision or problem that is beyond his grasp, he has a long list of people he can go to for advice, the entrepreneur said.

“I had so many people telling me that I should do this,” he said. “I let the general consensus make that decision.”

For now, he is going to be a one-man show, capable of handling almost any plumbing emergency.

“I want to focus on repair — that’s what I’m good at,” Bogner said.

“When you need a plumber, you need him right now, not in (eight to) 10 days … I want to be the guy who can get there.”

Done Right Plumbing can be contacted at (620) 446-2830.