BlackFacts Details

Bartech Founder John W. Barfield is Celebrated in Inspiring Detroit Public TV Documentary

Bartech, a leader in global workforce solutions, is proud to announce that Detroit Public Television (DPTV) will broadcast a one hour documentary about the company’s founder, John W. Barfield. Based in part on his autobiography, “Starting From Scratch: The Humble Beginnings of a Two Billion-Dollar Enterprise,” the documentary follows the esteemed entrepreneur from his early life as the son of Alabama sharecroppers to his current position as a respected community leader and founder of one of the nation’s largest African American-owned businesses, Bartech.

Detroit Public TV will premiere “Starting From Scratch: The Remarkable Life of John W. Barfield” documentary on December 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST, launching a pledge drive to support DPTV. A team of volunteers from Bartech along with other members of our community are donating their talent and time to assist with this pledge drive.

“This documentary tells the story of how my father persevered through many obstacles and hardships to become a trailblazer in the minority business community and an inspiration to generations of young entrepreneurs,” said David W. Barfield, President and CEO of Bartech and son of John W. and Betty J. Barfield. “He and my mother are role models for anyone looking to build a successful business while keeping in mind the importance of contributing to society through reinvestment in our communities and improving the lives of those less fortunate.”

Narrated by Michigan native and actor Jeff Daniels, and produced by award-winning filmmaker Clara Wilkerson, the documentary uses a combination of interviews, archival photographs, film, reenactments and news headlines to depict John Barfield’s life from his birth in 1927, to his early entrepreneurial days selling newspapers and soap door-to-door, to opening his first business, the Barfield Cleaning Company, in 1955. Throughout the film, America’s social and economic history and its impact on the development of black businesses are featured prominently.

In 1977 John Barfield formed John Barfield &