10 Questions for Mark Turina
Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, we’re highlighting LGBTQ+ voices from the Northwest Pipe team with interviews discussing their career journeys, inspirations, and what Pride means to them.
10 Questions for Mark Turina
In his role as Communications Specialist, Mark Turina supports the marketing and internal communications efforts at Northwest Pipe Company. A day in his life includes authoring and managing web and social media content including project case studies, designing print and digital graphics for product promotions, producing project installation and manufacturing videos, and working 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’ve been with Northwest Pipe Company for almost two years.
2. Describe the journey leading to your current position?
Before joining Northwest Pipe Company, I worked in hospitality 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 an extended period in the Spring of 2020 and it felt like a good time to expand my career horizons in a more stable industry. While exploring job opportunities I came across the opening for Communications Specialist at Northwest Pipe. I instantly knew it would be the right move for me—the job description aligned almost perfectly with my skillset and offered the opportunity to continue developing my talents and grow my career in a new direction. The interview process solidified this impression as I learned more about the Company and its values-based culture.
3. What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The most exciting thing about my job is being a part of an industry that is helping to build the future of American infrastructure. When people ask me where I work and I say Northwest Pipe Company, they aren’t always familiar with the kind of pipe we make. I’m proud to share that we manufacture large diameter engineered steel water transmission pipeline and precast wastewater infrastructure. When they hear that, they’re usually pretty impressed, and rightfully so. What we do here—what our engineers design and what our plants manufacture—is beyond impressive!
4. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?
At work: collaborating with my colleagues on creative projects. I have the opportunity to work with team members in a variety of roles from different locations across the Company. Bouncing ideas off one another 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.
Outside of work: being outdoors, especially in the sun! I like gardening, going for runs, hikes, and outdoor adventures.
5. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT Values (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) resonates most for you in your role and why?
The ACT value that resonates most for me is Commitment. Commitment involves a level of dedication necessary to see things through and ensure success, whether tackling the smallest task or biggest project. There’s a correlation between commitment and work ethic, both of which are driven by doing a job that you find rewarding.
6. Name a current or historical LGBTQ+ trailblazer who has inspired you and why?
One inspiring LGBTQ+ trailblazer is Alan Turing, the English mathematician who cracked the Nazi code during World War II. You may be familiar with his story if you’ve seen the movie, The Imitation Game. It’s estimated that his code-breaking achievement in 1941 helped end WWII nearly two years early, saving millions of lives. About a decade later, his career abruptly ended when he was fired and criminalized for being gay. Turing never set out to be a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights. Still, his unfair treatment by the British Government following his heroic work shined 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) when I came out, and by my side (literally) as the “best ma’am” at my wedding this past May. It’s with her unconditional love and support that I gained the courage to start living as my authentic self; a path which led me to meeting and marrying my husband Kiyoshi, and along the way gaining a new, equally amazing sister-in-law, Lindsey. I’m blessed to be a part of such a supportive and protective family who loves me for who I am.
8. What advice do you have for individuals 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 critiques as constructive feedback helps you hone your skills and makes you more creative in the long run.
Do: stay inquisitive. In a communications role, it’s critical to understand the brand story. At Northwest Pipe, our brand story is about more than the products we manufacture. It’s about the people behind them. There are folks here with literally decades of industry knowledge who are excited to share their experiences with rookies like me.
9. One of the most challenging moments for LGBTQ+ individuals can be coming out. From your experience, how can we best support those struggling to be their authentic selves?
Be vocal with your support. Part of their struggle may involve being afraid of how family, friends, or coworkers will react when they come 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 that go and finding community and support in one another. I think that’s why it’s important that not just LGBTQ+ individuals participate in Pride—having allies, businesses, celebrities, athletes, and civic leaders outwardly recognize Pride helps to build a culture of support that is welcoming and inclusive for all.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to any Pride events since the pandemic started, but in the past, I’ve 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’m hoping to make it back for this year’s festivities.