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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Burnside Brothers Construction By Jannise Bush

Terry Burnside is well-known in Peoria as a community activist involved in initiatives such as Don’t Shoot, Peoria Community Against Violence (PCAV), and Murder Stand Downs. But, he is also a business owner. Burnside Brothers Construction, in business since 2009, specializes in residential and commercial construction, including carpentry, weatherization, and lead abatement. 

Terry has a life story that includes making bad choices, only this time with a positive outcome: Business ownership. Terry states that, “I made some mistakes in the past. I went to prison. As a result, I was unable to find gainful employment. While in prison, I took Construction Occupation courses, which included carpentry, masonry, electrical, and plumbing, and I became an instructor’s assistant.” Terry had been exposed to construction growing up. His uncle was a carpenter and his father owned rental property. They set good examples and gave him some hands-on experience.

When I got out of prison, even with all the construction classes, I couldn’t get hired. I knew I had to do something to become more marketable. So I went back to school and earned a degree. I took advantage of educational opportunities to escape a vicious prison cycle. I also knew if I started my own business I could pay myself better than anyone else could. So, I obtained all the licenses I needed and set up a corporation. I did my homework and discovered work I could do with the City of Peoria and the Peoria/County Health Department.”

The first Burnside Brothers Construction project was for a weatherization program through the Peoria Citizen’s Committee for Economic Opportunity, Inc. (PCCEO). Later, Peoria County loaned Burnside Brothers $15,000, which came with a PCCEO match as part of a lead abatement initiative started more than 20 years ago. Terry went to Chicago for lead training classes and became a licensed lead supervisor. Right now he’s the only active African-American EPA Lead Safe Certified contractor in Peoria in addition to abatement and mitigation, and being OSHA certified. Terry explains his success and states, “I’ve been successful because I was able to identify a need I was able to fill, and I’m always courteous and professional. I’m diligent and I do my homework.”

Terry is also the founder of a local 501c3 organization called P-Town Car Club (PTCC), which focuses on community outreach, support, and mentoring. For the past three successive years, PTCC has been awarded a lawn-mowing contract with the City of Peoria, which funds a summer youth employment program. PTCC also hosts a free annual car show around Labor Day and an annual event at the Cordova International Raceway in Cordova, Illinois. Stay tuned for those events coming up this year.

If you are planning residential or commercial construction, please consider Burnside Brothers Construction. For more information, contact Terry Burnside at (309) 922-9390.  

Would you like your business featured in the Business Spotlight? Contact Jannise Bush at (309) 550-5184 or