Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, we’re spotlighting the LGBTQ+ voices of the Northwest Pipe team with interviews discussing their professional journeys, inspirations, and what Pride means to them.
[Link]Mark Turina – Communications Specialist | Vancouver, WA (remote)
10 questions to Mark Turina
In his role as Communications Specialist, Mark Turina supports Northwest Pipe Company’s internal marketing and communications efforts. A Day in His Life includes creating and managing web and social media content, including project case studies, designing print and digital graphics for product promotions, producing installation videos and making projects, and collaborating with human resources to create recruiting materials and employee-focused messaging. Mark works remotely from his home office in Portland, Oregon.
1. What is your job title and how long have you been with Northwest Pipe?
My title is Communications Specialist and I have worked for Northwest Pipe Company for almost two years.
2. Describe the path leading to your current position?
Prior to joining Northwest Pipe Company, I worked in hotel marketing for a major hotel brand in Honolulu, Hawaii. The travel industry was fun and fast-paced until the pandemic turned it upside down. My hotel closed for a long time in the spring of 2020 and it was a good time to broaden my career horizons in a more stable industry. While exploring job opportunities, I discovered an opening for a communications specialist at Northwest Pipe. I knew straight away that it would be the right decision for me – the job description matched my skills almost perfectly and offered the opportunity to continue to develop my talents and move my career in a new direction. The interview process reinforced this impression as I learned more about the company and its values-based culture.
3. What is the most exciting thing about your job?
The most exciting thing about my job is being part of an industry that helps build the future of America’s infrastructure. When people ask me where I work and I say Northwest Pipe Company, they don’t always know the type of pipe we make. I am proud to share that we manufacture large diameter steel water transmission pipeline and pre-engineered sewage treatment infrastructure. When they hear that, they’re usually pretty impressed, and rightly so. What we do here – what our engineers design and what our factories produce – is beyond impressive!
4. Name two things that always brighten your day – one at work and one outside of work?
At work: collaborate with my colleagues on creative projects. I have the opportunity to work with team members in a variety of roles from different parts of the company. Exchanging ideas about each other and seeing each other’s diverse perspectives is both fun and constructive. It’s inspiring to work with a group of people who are passionate about what they do.
Out of the work: being outdoors, especially in the sun! I enjoy gardening, shopping, hiking and outdoor adventures.
5. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT values (Accountability, Commitment and Teamwork) resonates most with you in your role and why?
The ACT value that resonates the most with me is commitment. Commitment involves a level of dedication necessary to get things done and ensure success, whether tackling the smallest task or the biggest project. There is a correlation between commitment and work ethic, both of which are motivated by work that you find rewarding.
6. Name a current or historic LGBTQ+ pioneer who inspired you and why?
An inspiring LGBTQ+ pioneer is Alan Turing, the English mathematician who cracked the Nazi code during World War II. You might know his story if you’ve seen the movie, The imitation game. His success in cracking code in 1941 is estimated to have helped end World War II nearly two years earlier, saving millions of lives. About a decade later, his career came to an abrupt end when he was fired and criminalized for being gay. Turing never intended to be a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights. Yet his unfair treatment by the UK government as a result of his heroic work has shone a light on the injustice of anti-gay laws and the importance of legislation protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
7. Name someone in your life who inspires you and why?
My sister, Katie, has always been one of my strongest and fiercest advocates. She was by my side (figuratively speaking) when I walked out, and by my side (literally) as “best lady” at my wedding last May. It was with his unconditional love and support that I found the courage to begin to live as my authentic self; a path that led me to meet and marry my husband Kiyoshi, and along the way to gain an equally amazing new sister-in-law, Lindsey. I am lucky to be part of such a supportive and protective family that loves me for who I am.
8. What advice do you have for people entering your profession?
Don’t: Take it personally. This can be a challenge for designers, writers, or anyone working on a project that requires creative input. Learning to accept and apply criticism as constructive feedback helps you hone your skills and makes you more creative in the long run.
Do: Stay curious. In a communication role, it is essential to understand the story of the brand. At Northwest Pipe, our brand story doesn’t end with the products we make. It’s about the people behind them. There are people here with literally decades of industry knowledge who are happy to share their experiences with rookies like me.
9. One of the hardest times for LGBTQ+ people can be coming out. In your experience, how can we best support those struggling to be authentic themselves?
Express your support. Part of their struggle may involve being afraid of how their family, friends or co-workers will react when they go out. Saying out loud that you support the LGBTQ+ community creates a safe space where they can be more confident that they will be received with respect and love.
10. How do you celebrate Pride and what does it mean to you?
Pride is about letting go of that and finding community and support in each other. I think that’s why it’s important that LGBTQ+ people aren’t the only ones participating in Pride. Allies, businesses, celebrities, athletes and civic leaders outwardly recognize that Pride helps create a culture of support that is welcoming and inclusive for all.
Unfortunately, I haven’t attended any Pride events since the pandemic began, but in the past I have celebrated by participating in the annual Pride Parade in Waikiki and supporting the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival. I’m a fan of independent cinema, so that was always a highlight. Honolulu Pride is celebrated in October, so I hope to return for the festivities this year.