A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

CMEF Student Climbs Career Ladder While Offering Good Advice [VIDEO]

The advice KBR Pipe Supervisor Chris Pullen offers to new craft professionals on the worksite is a testament to his own career.

“Don’t stop.  Don’t give up.  Get the training you can.  Try and learn from everyone around you.”

Pullen applies his own advice during his regimented days, fitting in a work schedule, night classes and family time.  His career goals in the construction industry push him to fill his agenda, even from the very start of his craft profession.  The option to enter the construction industry seemed like the right decision to Pullen.  He says he likes to build things, and the industry presented opportunities for growth.  But at times, his path up the career ladder was a trying trip.

“I started at the bottom of the totem pole and made my way up,” Pullen said.  He attributes his success to his own mantra, to never give up, and to the training he’s sought-out and completed.  “I looked for training on my own.  I came to CMEF (the Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation) and took advantage of being able to go through the [NCCER] modules.”

As for test preparations, Pullen took advantage of CMEF’s study hall.  “To be able to go through the modules and work through the questions, it helped me out a lot.”

Now Pullen guides pipe helpers on the job site, providing instruction to those looking to enhance their career just like he did.  He says the industry is constantly changing.  Pullen said he feels there are more opportunities for those just starting out than when he entered the field.

“Construction changes every day; there are new sets and policies, new ways of doing things, and new procedures,” Pullen said.  “You learn something new every day.”

He’s not only learning on the jobsite, but Pullen is also learning in the classroom.  He’s currently working toward an engineering design graphics degree so he can become a pipe designer.  School and work can make for a long day, especially when he also coaches baseball and football in his spare time.

Pullen also coaches safety on the worksite, but he says it’s not always an easy gig.  When he first started, safety was not a top priority.  Now it’s a part of the every day conversation, but sometimes not everyone listens.  He says that there’s a struggle in guiding worksite employees to complete a task the safe way, rather than the easy way.

“I don’t like the fact that people are still not being true to themselves and not doing it the safe way.  I have to intervene before something [bad] happens.”

This dedication to safety and his job earned Pullen a recent promotion – another step up on the career ladder.

“My biggest success is never giving up, never being satisfied and always wanting something more.  It’s best to go out and seek training, and I found it at CMEF.”

You can hear part of his interview in the 1-minute video below.


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