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Getting to Know You: Donald Turk, Construction Vehicle Technician

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Hailing from Buna, Texas, Donald Turk is a veteran of the construction industry.

Formerly a crew leader and currently industrial energy worker and vehicle technician, Donald has built his career around the concepts of professionalism, accountability, and a fierce determination to accomplish his tasks properly, on time, and with the utmost conscientiousness.

Initially, Donald made a decision to pursue construction work as a vocation in order to better support his family. He began the appropriate training and worked very hard, making a concerted effort to increase his industry-specific skill set and take responsibility for every task that was given to him. The first important certification he earned was his Safety Certificate, which signifies the holder has completed a rigorous course designed to promote awareness of any potential dangers on construction sites, as well as providing knowledge of emergency procedures and some rudimentary medical instruction.

As time went on, the quality of Donald’s work and his determination to accomplish his job in a professional and no-nonsense manner became evident. He was recognized by his supervisors and designated as a crew leader, eventually supervising 19 other construction workers.

Donald Turk continued in this manner until 2016, when he joined his current construction firm. Currently, he is responsible for maintaining the fuel supply for every vehicle and piece of heavy-duty equipment owned by the company. Donald’s positive attitude, innate professionalism, and diligence in the workplace was recognized by his new company when he was recently awarded the distinction of employee of the month. In gratitude for this accolade and in appreciation for the overall good treatment he has experienced, Donald Turk anticipates remaining with his current firm through to his retirement.

Outside of work, Donald Turk enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, and following his favorite basketball teams.

What are you responsible for when you’re on a construction site?

Among my other duties, I’m responsible for fueling all construction vehicles and equipment on any given site. That includes trucks, cranes, and any other vehicles—large or small—owned by the company.

What inspired you to go into construction?

I was inspired to go into construction to make my living because I think it’s honest, admirable, and necessary work. After all, someone has to construct all the buildings that people spend their lives working and residing in each day. Beyond that, working in construction appealed to me because it doesn’t require a multi-year post-secondary education. It’s one of the few industries where you can hit the ground running, work hard, and earn certifications as you go along.

What are the main keys to being productive while doing construction work?

The key to being productive when working at a construction site is to remain positive. Do your job to the best of your ability without complaint. But the most important part of the job is accountability. Always be where you’re assigned to be, when you are assigned to be there, doing what you’re meant to be doing as well as you possibly can. In short, be dependable.

Can you share a long-term career goal?

My main long-term career goal is to remain gainfully employed in the construction industry. I’m a loyal worker. As long as I’m with a good company, which I am right now, I’ll stay with them. I enjoy earning an income that provides a good life for my family. I’m coming up on retirement soon, so my goal is to do my job to the best of my abilities until then.

What are the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned over the course of your career?

The most valuable lessons that I have learned are never take short-cuts, always consider safety first, and if you see someone in need of assistance, extend a helping hand.

What advice would you give to others considering the construction industry as a career?

I would advise anyone considering a career in construction to earn as many of whatever type of certifications they might be interested in attaining. Certifications tend to open doors for people in this industry. I would also advise them to start with a specific trade, or learn how to drive heavy equipment, or operate machinery. There are a variety of specialized machines on which to become certified. The more you know, the more you grow.

How would your co-workers or peers describe you as a person?

My co-workers would probably describe me as quiet and dependable. They know I’ll always show up to get any task done and give it my best effort.

How do you maintain a solid work/life balance?

One of the things I practice all of the time is staying in the present and focusing on the task at hand. When I am at work, the job has my complete attention. During my time off, I schedule the things that I have to get done for myself and for my household. After that, I spend any time I have left with my family and sometimes take a little time for myself. The point is I don’t take my work home. In order to maintain a proper balance, work life and home life ought to remain separate.

What is the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome?

I think the hardest obstacle I’ve ever had to overcome was the death of my oldest brother in 2017. He was such a great man and a wonderful inspiration. I miss him a lot.

Who has been a role model for you and why?

The best role model I’ve had in my life is my cousin. He’s a preacher and I’ve known him all my life. He has so much love in his heart for others. He treats people the way he would like to be treated. He takes good care of his family, and he always gives good advice. I’ve always looked up to him. You can tell him anything in confidence and not have to worry about your confidence being broken. The other person who has been a role model is my foster Mom. As a kid, I remember her walking to work in the pouring rain to make sure we were all fed and we never went without. We always had good food and clothes. I didn’t recognize all we had back then, but I realize everything that she did for all of us now. So, the two great role models I had all of my life have been my cousin and my Mom.

What does success look like to you?

Most people measure success by money. To me, success is having family and friends who really care about you. Success is having a friend indeed, not a friend in need. It is knowing that when you get older, there will be people around you who will ask, “Do you need something? Can I help you in some way?” Success is having friends and loved ones around you who care about each other, wish the best for each other, and help each other as best as they can.

What is one piece of advice you have never forgotten?

One piece of advice that I have never forgotten is this: “You reap what you sow.” Whatever you do, you’ll get it back in return. That is to say, if you give out goodness, you’ll get goodness sent back to you; if you give out ill will and bad feelings, you’ll get them right back, too. So, don’t be surprised when it happens. In other words, be careful about how you treat others and watch what you say to people.