Young Professional 2020: Tracy Spooner

Young Professional 2020 Tracy Spooner

Tracy Spooner

Campus Development Facilities Manager, Battelle/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dream vacation?
A Mediterranean cruise with lots of amazing sights, history, food and wine

Planner or procrastinator?
I am very much a planner

Favorite movie?
Favorite movie of all time is the original “Jurassic Park”

Favorite website or app?
Personally, Amazon. Professionally, Microsoft Teams

Age and current hometown:
36, West Richland

Briefly describe your organization: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory advances the frontiers of knowledge, taking on some of the world’s greatest science and technology challenges.

Distinctive strengths in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics are the heart of our science mission, laying a foundation for innovations that improve America’s energy resiliency and enhance our national security.

How long have you worked at PNNL? Five months

Education: I have a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Washington State University; a master of architecture from Washington University in St. Louis; and a master of construction management from Washington University in St. Louis.  

My certifications/accreditations include: Washington state engineer-in-training; LEED green associate from the U.S. Green Building Council; project management professional from the Project Management Institute; and safety trained supervisor construction from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

Family? Pets?
A husband, Brett Spooner; our two daughters, Sloane, 6, and Iris, 4; two kittens, Hawk and Raven; and two horses, Missy and Vi.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?
I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities until 2002, left to attend undergraduate, then graduate school and returned 2009, for a total of 29 years.

Did you grow up here?
I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities. I left to attend undergraduate in Pullman, then graduate school in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduate school my husband and I knew we wanted to return to the Pacific Northwest and found our way back to the Tri-Cities. While away from the Tri-Cities for college, I grew to truly appreciate some of the things I took for granted as a kid (like no humidity — thanks St. Louis for teaching me what real humidity AND heat feels like!). From the geographical benefits (close to mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes), to the housing market, schools and quality of life. Tri-Cities also had a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. There was a lot of opportunity for my husband and I to invest in the long-term growth of the community.

Favorite book?
At the moment, the “Mistborn” series by Brandon Sanderson.

Favorite music?
My favorite genre is alternative rock. But there are some days I am just in the mood for some ’80s or ’90s rock when you just can’t help dancing around.

Favorite sports team?
Red Lava Unicorns, the best 5- to 6-year-old YMCA soccer team ever! I’m pretty sure they didn’t win a single game, but it was the most entertaining.

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Hanging out with friends and/or family during our perfect spring and summer evenings. This could be on the deck of a local restaurant, at someone else’s house overlooking the peaceful Columbia River, or in my own backyard. The Tri-Cities has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am red-green color blind. I have learned over the years to get a second opinion when picking finishes.

Describe your job and how you got into it: I lead the Campus Development Group (a diverse group of planners, engineers, architects, designers, project managers and construction managers) through the full life-cycle of a project, concept to closeout.

My team is responsible for development and implementation of the campus strategy master plan, understanding future scientific mission needs to make data-driven, risk-informed investment decisions that form and optimize the near-term and long-term campus development strategy.

I have always had a passion for the built environment. From my early childhood filled with Legos and Lincoln Logs, to my fifth-grade project when I built my first toothpick bridge, I just knew I wanted to build things. I got my undergraduate degree in civil engineering and went on to graduate school for architecture and construction management.

During my first summer internship during graduate school, I worked for the university in its capital projects department.

It was that summer I fell in love with construction and the process of using math and creative design on paper to physically create these incredibly complex buildings. I have been involved in projects ever since including planning/conceptual design, architectural design, engineering, construction management and project management.

Toughest career decision?
The toughest career decision I have made was leaving a job I loved, leading an amazing team of people working on exciting projects, to pursue a new position I knew would better align with my long-term career goals.

I strongly believe in setting both short-term and long-term goals for myself.

It is easy to get comfortable in what you are doing at any one time, but I know to continue my personal and professional growth I need to constantly challenge myself to strive for more. My goals aren’t always realized exactly as planned, as I am constantly reassessing and realigning them, but they provide me direction and drive to be a better person.

How did you earn your first dollar?
The very first dollar I can remember earning was my allowance. I wasn’t entitled to an allowance, my mom made me earn it!

My sisters and I were no strangers to chores and helping around the house/yard. Thanks Mom! The first real job I had was at a home decór shop in The Parkway called Riverhouse.

It taught me no task is too small when you are running a business; everything helps contribute to success. I was fortunate enough to have parents and other role models to instill a strong work ethic.

How do you achieve work-life balance?
My husband and I believe in work-life integration. The lines between work, home life, personal care, community and pursuing your interests don’t have to be hard lines.

My personal and professional goals align toward what I am passionate about and how I can positively affect my community.

I have never felt torn to make a decision to advance my professional career by sacrificing personal time; or making a decision to slow down or sacrifice my professional career due to needing more personal time.

My family shares their goals, passions, desires, frustrations, opinions and ideas openly with each other. We encourage our daughters to observe, process, discuss and formulate their own passions. We talk about the successes and the failures, how each of those shape us and how we can do better next time.

We instill a thoughtfulness about self and others, paired with work ethic, to promote a better self and servant leadership.

“Work is not absence of family or life, it is just another pursuit of passion for the sake of the improvement of existence, self and community. Therefore, work must be integrated, or life is a lie.” - Brett Spooner

Community involvement and service: I am a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities Class 24. I was the project manager for our class project to provide upgrades to the emergency shelter for Domestic Violence Services for Benton and Franklin Counties (DVS). DVS relies on donations and community support to provide services to survivors of domestic violence in our communities.Our class was able to raise over $40,000 to support DVS in its mission.

I also volunteer for the High School Friendly Competition, part of Engineers Week. Engineers Week includes activities for elementary, middle and high school students to get students excited about pursuing careers in science and engineering.

I am also a co-founder of Fuse, SPC. My husband and I have been very involved in the entrepreneurial community locally, and I have supported and participated in many startup/launch weekend events.