Chris Clapton has been with Gateway Construction Services for more than two years, having joined us in November of 2015. As one of our talented project managers, Chris handles relationships between all parties involved in a project. With more than 10 years of tenant improvement experience, he does this well.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Chris for a quick chat, and get the low-down on some of what makes him so good at his job.
Q: Let’s start with the personal stuff. Where did you grow up? Are you a local or a transplant?
Chris: I was born in Denver, and then my family moved to Oregon when I was 12 years old. I lived in Oregon through college and soon after that moved to Seattle in 2001.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of work you would be willing to share?
Chris: I enjoy sports, hiking and the outdoors in general. I like reading and going to the movies. I also really enjoy playing pub-trivia.
Q: Are you any good at pub-trivia?
Chris: I hold my own and win more than I lose; let’s just say that.
Q: Where did you get your education?
Chris: Linfield College in [McMinnville], Oregon. I got my BA in history with German language and political science minors.
Q: That’s an interesting choice of major. How did you end up in construction?
Chris: I worked construction every summer in college. While in college, I was thinking I was going to be a professor or a teacher at some level; but after graduation, when it came time to make the moves to take the next step, I always put it off. Finally, it clicked that this procrastination was probably me subconsciously saying that I really wasn’t meant to follow that career path. So, when reassessing a new direction to take, I remembered how much I enjoyed working construction over the summers back in college and the challenges that came with it. So, I jumped back into construction the first chance I got and began the career I have today.
Q: Why tenant improvement (TI) work? Have you been exposed to TI from the beginning?
Chris: For the most part, no. When I worked in construction back in college, it was a lot of civil work outside and doing a lot of things with utilities and a lot of earth work type construction. I just so happened to have some friends who introduced me to commercial construction and TIs and that was enough to have me want to pursue this type of construction.
Q: Do you always want to do TIs?
Chris: One never knows what the future holds, but as it stands TI’s to me are still as engaging and enjoyable now as they ever were. So long as the projects continue to be fun challenges for me along with having great people and institutions to work for and alongside, I don’t see any reason to switch it up.
Q: What areas do you work in the most?
Chris: Office interiors. I’ve got several years of experience with medical office spaces and biotech labs, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call any one of them a specialty, just varied construction experience.
Q: What areas would you like to get more experience in?
Chris: I wouldn’t say I’m itching to be more specific in any one thing. If I had my choice, I would continue to remain open to work on all types of TI, and be a part of all varieties of projects.
Q: What brought you to Gateway Construction?
Chris: Their reputation, as well as through relationships that I developed with individuals that worked at Gateway; I got to see what I believed to be a really good company. Gateway was working with clients and performing the kind of projects that I liked, so I jumped at the opportunity to join them when the opportunity came up. Since then, Gateway has proved to me to be exactly as advertised, and I am still as glad to be aboard today as day one when I started.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your job?
Chris: Client relationships—for sure. I like the opportunities to build multiple projects for the same clients, and have that continuity there.
Equally as important, I really do enjoy seeing the finished project and being a part of the process of getting there. I’ve always had a bit of a ‘sandbox mentality,’ like when I was a kid and I had my sandbox that was this fun and totally moldable environment to put my imagination to work, in a way that resulted in those ideas coming to life. It is the same sort of experience and enjoyment to me now with construction projects as it was with my sandbox projects. Watching something get built and having a quality, finished, and useful product at the end is just the coolest thing to me; even more so if I am directly involved in it being built.
Q: Is there anything else you would want readers to know about you?
Chris: I really like being a general contractor. I find excitement in all levels of TI work. I really do love the experience and turning an idea into a built-out reality.