Ritchie Chairez has worked at BHB for three years as a civil Engineer in Training (EIT), with the goal to one day obtain the designation of Professional Engineer (PE). He is a valued member of the firm and helps live out our philosophy to serve clients with integrity and make a positive difference in our communities. While the goal to become an engineer since before college, Ritchie is taking a pause from his professional career to achieve another aspiration of his – to enlist in the United States National Guard.
In March, Ritchie was shipped to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri where he will undergo 10 weeks of basic training and 12 weeks of job training as a horizontal construction engineer. After which, Ritchie’s next goal is to attend Officer Candidate School in hopes of becoming a commissioned officer in the National Guard. If able and successful, this will tack on an additional 12 weeks of training onto his military leave.
“I was always itching to be in the service somehow, but then I went to school, started my engineering career, and I hadn’t revisited it until recently,” said Ritchie. As to why he is pursuing the National Guard now, Ritchie stated, “I am young and able, it is something that I still want to do, and I want to be a part of something that helps people. I think this is the right time to do it as I am midway through my EIT experience and it will be a lot harder to find time once I am a PE.”
From the beginning, Ritchie was open with the firm about the possibility of him one day joining the National Guard, and even brought it up when interviewing for his position as graduate civil engineer.
“We respect Ritchie’s decision, and we look forward to having him back when he returns,” said Trace Strevey, Principal and Senior Civil Engineer.
Once he has completed training, Ritchie will resume his position at BHB, with the chance that he could one day be deployed in the event that the state government needs assistance, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest – with the possibility that he could also be called upon for foreign conflicts.
“I believe that my time in the National Guard will positively affect my skills and abilities as an engineer” said Ritchie. “It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing that everybody has been very supportive and that I have job security. I love the people here and I love working for BHB.”
While engineering and the National Guard are two very different fields of work, both require teamwork, communication, and leadership as high-priority skills, and the drive to succeed. From working in an office setting to extensive training and drills, Ritchie is confident his experiences in each occupation will benefit the other, while shaping him to be a stronger individual and team player.