Chris Bunal learned the meaning of responsibility early in life, thanks to military service in the Air Force.
“I was thrown into a position of responsibility at a really early age,” said Bunal, a Senior Architect in Haskell’s Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, office, where he designs primarily government buildings. “That really propelled me forward. On an aircraft if you do something wrong there’s nobody to turn to. That was really an important learning experience for a 19-year-old. I haven’t let that go. As a result, I welcome challenges.”
Bunal was born in Rome, N.Y., into a military family and lived across the country, from Florida to California and back to upstate New York. Both his father and stepfather were in the Air Force.
When he graduated high school in 1994 in New York, he joined the Air Force, working his way up to Staff Sergeant in an eight-year military stint. He wanted travel the world and serve his country at the same time.
“I was in Airborne Communications, sort of like a telephone operator in the sky,” Bunal said. “I controlled communications both on and off the aircraft. I was right in the middle of everything going on in the aircraft – phone patches, weather, communicating with the mission crew in the back, fighters in the air, controlling and using top secret cryptographic information. All the instrumentation was overwhelming when you first looked at it. But that became my total focus.”
He also learned a new level of respect for his relatives’ service.
“One of the big things in the military was you adapt,” Bunal said. “When you’re stationed in the desert or in Turkey, you see how people live – both your military associates and the people who are from there. I really came back home to the States and appreciated what we have. I was almost upset at people for taking it for granted. Living 70-plus days in a tent in the desert will deliver that message.”
Continual flight duty and a young family at home weighed on his decision when it was time to re-enlist in 2003, and he sought the next stage in his life.
“When I left the Air Force in 2003,” he said, “it was the first time I didn’t have a military ID card in my entire life.”
Bunal began taking courses at Oklahoma State University. A professor suggested that he would excel at architecture, and he found an interest in the discipline.
“One reason I was attracted to architecture is it was different than anything I had done before,” Bunal said. “It was a challenge to learn something completely new. The military taught me that I really look for and respond to challenges.”
After earning his architecture degree, Bunal worked 14 years at another architectural firm before joining Haskell, where he found a semblance of the military cohesion that he so respected in the Air Force.
“All the disciplines are on one team – this is your crew, everybody works together,” he said. “It feels like a team atmosphere at Haskell. I can get up and go across the room and talk to a structural engineer to figure something out, and we’re a group on projects.”
Haskell proudly employs veterans of the United States Armed Forces and currently employs more than 100 team members who previously served our country. To commemorate Veterans Day, Haskell.com this week is spotlighting one of them daily. Additionally, Haskell annually presents each veteran on our team with a special thank you gift.
As Haskell grows rapidly across the United States, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region to meet the needs of new and existing clients, veterans continue to play an ever-increasing role. Those who have served our nation understand mission, structure, results and accountability. They are a perfect fit with Haskell’s core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.
Are you interested in transitioning from the military to a career with a vibrant, growing company that provides nearly unlimited opportunities? Contact us to learn more.
Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.
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