Young Professional 2019: Chris Turner

Chris Turner, Electrical engineer at ARES Corp. in Richland

Chris Turner (Photo courtesy Rich Breshears of Breshears Photography)

Age and hometown: 30, Duvall

How long have you worked at ARES? Since November 2016

Describe your company: ARES is an engineering support services company providing advanced technology solutions across the energy, space, defense and environmental markets in both the public and private sectors.

Education: Bachelor’s in electrical engineering with a minor in mathematics from Washington State University (Go Cougs!)

Family? Pets? I live with my lovely wife, Jamie, and our two shar-pei mix pups, Sunny and Luna.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 5.5 years. We bought a house 3.5 years ago and are happy to call Tri-Cities home.

What word describes you? Committed

Biggest flaw? Not knowing when to quit

Biggest pet peeve? Not knowing when to quit

Dream vacation? Anywhere there is family or friends

Favorite book? I’m not much of a reader

Favorite movie? “Office Space”

Favorite musician? Bring Me the Horizon

Favorite sports team? WSU Cougars 

Favorite website or app? ShowBox

Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Porter’s Real Barbecue

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Float the Yakima River

What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? There’s a reason our house is near the hospital: I am fairly accident prone.

Describe your job and how you got into it: My job consists mostly of customers in the nuclear or federal industry requesting solutions to electrical problems. This past year, I’ve assisted in installing an emergency backup generator, installing cameras and alarms in high-radiation areas, and building existing electrical systems to identify issues. I work to select the equipment needed, ensure the power system meets all state and federal code requirements and create the drawings using AutoCAD. Once delivered to the client, I work with various construction crews to make my drawings a reality.

I entered the engineering field straight out of college, but it was only by working through school as an electrician’s apprentice and heating ventilation and air conditioning technician that I knew this is what I wanted to do. I enjoyed being able to work closely with the public, but quickly realized I like working inside of air-conditioned buildings instead of fixing them. So, I decided to get a desk job in the same field and was lucky to find a company that encourages community service.

Who are your mentors? When I was young, my dad taught me various skills in home and auto repair. This showed me that when a hard job is done well, the value of the reward is always worth the time. Those skills and that mentality have been the cornerstone of my life, proving that nothing is impossible and every setback is just another learning opportunity.

In my professional life, Lori Weidner has been someone I’ve always been able to rely on when facing difficult issues regarding code compliance or customer relations. She has always been eager to provide lessons that expand my knowledge of the electrical industry and has been a great resource when navigating through Hanford, Tri-Cities and the electrical world. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her guidance.

Toughest career decision? I once was offered a promotion from another company that would have been a great job to take into retirement. Declining this opportunity was a difficult decision, but ultimately I felt that there were more learning opportunities and community engagement with my current position.

What do you like most/least about your job? At times it can be difficult navigating the bureaucratic red tape that surrounds a federal nuclear site while ensuring code compliance, but despite these difficulties, I greatly enjoy problem solving and working together to find creative solutions that will meet everyone’s needs. 

I love that every day is a new day with new problems to solve and that my efforts are able to move the Tri-Cities toward a better and brighter future.

What was your first job? During high school, I worked as a shop cleaner at a small mechanic garage in Duvall. This was a great way to make some gas money, as well as a great way to see some of the automotive skills my dad taught me in action. The knowledge I gained from watching the mechanics at work not only helped me in rebuilding my own car, but also showed me the value of a hard day’s work.

How do you achieve work-life balance? When there are a thousand things that need to be done, it can be hard to know when to say no. However, I’ve found it is important to establish what your priorities are – and who your priorities are—in order to take time for what you love. I am very fortunate that my job has great flexibility and therefore allows me to meet the commitments I have made to family, friends and the community, while still ensuring my project deadlines are met.

Community involvement and service: This past year, I served as the president of Mid-Columbia Rotaract Club, a subsidiary of Rotary International. Our club is committed to fun, friendship and philanthropy, with our members striving to invent entertaining and sometimes unconventional ways to support our local community. Each summer, we host the Red10Bash charity event, which is both a life-size beer pong tournament as well as summer block party. I am proud to say that in my past three years of involvement, we have raised $12,500 toward veteran services and $5,000 toward early-childhood learning.

In addition to my time with Rotaract, I also was fortunate enough to spend the past school year mentoring a struggling fifth-grade student as part of the Lunch Buddies program. Through weekly lunch meetings, I was able to watch him grow both socially and academically. I am proud of the young man that he has become and look forward to continuing with the program in the future.

Finally, I regularly volunteer at Senior Life Resources as a driver for their Meals on Wheels program. I have found that this is a great way to get to know others in my neighborhood that I might not otherwise have had a chance to meet. Even though the interactions may be short, I know there is great value in not only delivering food but providing friendship as well.

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