Young Professional 2022: Tara Jaraysi Kenning

Tara Kenning

Tara Jaraysi Kenning

Asset Management Requirements
Subject Matter Expert
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/Battelle

What’s your dream vacation?
Mediterranean cruise where I can experience the finest the countries have to offer.

Favorite sports team, if any.
Eastern Eagles Football, Go Eags!

Most disliked food?
Any food without spice or flavor.

First thing you check
on your phone?

I’m trying not to check my work email first thing, so I’ll probably check if I have any Amazon orders coming in that day.

Age: 35

Current city of residence: Kennewick

How long have you worked there? 3.5 years

Briefly describe your company:

One of 17 Office of Science National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (operated by Battelle since 1965) is a transformative organization with a focus on discovery and innovation by proxy of science and technology that helps to create a world that is prosperous, safe and secure.

Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications.

Master of Business Administration, accounting, finance, general, Eastern Washington University.

Bachelor of Arts, visual communication design. Minor, communications, Eastern Washington University.

Certified professional property specialist, National Property Management Association.

Certification of completion, NNSA and DOE Nonproliferation for High-Risk Property Workshop.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

In my position as asset management requirements subject matter expert, my focus is overseeing that our programs are following U.S. Department of Energy and regulatory requirements. I’ve also been able to utilize my experience as a project controls specialist to support various projects and my graphic design degree to prepare mock-up screens for new programs and posters to display property management’s services.

As a member of Leadership Tri-Cities Class 23, I made incredible friendships and connections.

One of my classmates, Iris Anderson, acknowledged how joining PNNL would be a fulfilling shift in my career. Iris opened the door for me at PNNL, which has inspired me to encourage others to create spaces for themselves for which they are challenged and thriving.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?

I have lived in Kennewick since 1991, except for four years at EWU.

How did you earn your first dollar?

My first dollar, or should I say nickel, came from my parents as we did chores set up for us to learn the importance of responsibility. We had different buckets to put our chore money in for savings, tithing and reckless childhood spending.

What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

The most important lesson I learned as I was working and completing my master’s degree during the pandemic was the importance of time management and building periods of rest.

This was particularly challenging as I learned to create a balance in a space that was not only my home, but also the library, and now my workspace. Needing to be flexible in my daily schedule was imperative to my success as I had to learn to interchange in all of these roles from employee to student to family member.

What was your dream job as a child?

As a child I dreamt of being a Food Network star with my own cooking show.

I loved watching the chefs explain their passion to the audience. Though I haven’t taken that path, I still enjoy sharing my hobbies and passions with my friends and family. In 2019, my husband and I taught a successful cake decorating class through the city of Kennewick Community Education program.

Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

I have a passion for bringing people together to support local organizations. While at Jacobs (CHPRC), I helped organize multiple group food sorting events at Second Harvest, a Candy Mountain cleanup through the Friends of Badger and a room remodel at My Friends’ Place.

For three years I sat on the board of directors for Junior Achievement (JA) and was the chair for the JA Young Professionals Council.

Our mission was to connect young professionals to all that JA encompasses. We did this by building a program within JA that allowed new volunteers to observe a veteran volunteer teach a class, creating connections and familiarity with the program and building confidence to step into their own classroom.

Through Leadership Tri-Cities Class 23 we were able to support Rebuilding Mid-Columbia by orchestrating a fundraiser that brought in a high-volume of proceeds to support the organization and community involvement. For example, we built a ramp to create accessibility for a community member’s household.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

While this has been a struggle for me in the past, I believe I have learned the ultimate lesson of why a work-life balance is so important. I am able to be a happier and more productive coworker and family member when I take the time to recharge and reset.

I now make it a priority to incorporate downtime, whether that is alone or with family and friends, into my schedule.

List any awards/honors you have received:

Outstanding Performance Award: For leading the PNNL Asset Management Team through the annual A-123 (financial verification) process.

Outstanding Performance Award: For my contribution to a Process Improvement Plan for the creation of an Export Control Program for PNNL.

Do you have family? Pets?

My husband and family are at the forefront of who I am and what I do.

My husband, Nick, and I have been together for 15 years and have been married for almost nine years. We have three very spoiled cats that keep life interesting and bring daily laughter into our household.

What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here?

Coming from Palestine and Lebanon, my family was living in Kuwait when the Gulf War began in 1990. We moved to America and my father being a civil engineer started a new position with the Washington Department of Ecology in 1991. We’ve been in the Tri-Cities ever since.