Chris Little is an associate principal at Rushing and manages the plumbing engineering team.
Q. How did you become interested in plumbing?
A. To be truly honest, right out of college I was just chasing a dollar. It wasn’t until about six months in that I realized I enjoyed doing this. I think I have to attribute that to my first manager, who pretty quickly took a hands-off approach and let me start running and managing my aspects of projects. It was the no-leash sort of freedom to run around and get things wrong, make them right and stuff the lesson in my bag for the next show that really got me building a head of steam in my career. It just so happens that plumbing is what caught fire and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Thankful that it’s what caught on, because bathing, drinking good water and tending to folks’ bodily functions will always have a solid market presence.
Q. How have you grown since joining Rushing?
A. With most of my career being in the southeastern part of the country, no one particularly cared how you generated hot water. For central systems, we pretty exclusively designed gas fired boilers with external storage tanks, or self-contained condensing tank heaters. When I joined Rushing, I quickly came to realize I had no choice but to climb out of that groove. Energy codes in Washington State and Seattle don’t really allow for that sort of complacency. If I wanted to be a part of the Rushing team, I needed to get more comfortable thinking bigger picture about where that heat comes from and how to grab it from a more sustainable energy source. It can get pretty complicated. What’s great is Rushing’s got a band of smart folks all trying to figure it out and push deeper as the code cycles change, and I enjoy being a part of it all.
Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. I think at the end of the day I want to help build a culture where people are comfortable trying to do or take on things they doubted they were capable of. We oftentimes inadvertently stunt ourselves by only sticking to the stuff we’re good at. Sometimes when you throw that caution to the wind you find you’re capable of being good at quite a lot. It just takes the willingness to get it wrong for a while and take the heat while you keep digging. I want folks to realize that and to not sell themselves short.
Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. At the moment, I’m enjoying building this little farm thing me and the family have going down in Puyallup. We’ve got chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, hamsters and a whole lot to do related to that. I really enjoy smoking meats on my charcoal smoker too. I get it wrong more than I get it right, but when I get it right it’s really something.
Q. What is the most useless talent you have?
A. I can lay flat on my stomach on the ground, hands underneath my legs and lift my chin way up off the ground—a whole lot higher than most of you, I’d bet. Been able to do that for as long as I can remember. I’m calling it useless at this point but I’m pretty sure I’ll find a great use for it one of these days. I’ll report back.
Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m excited about the two-tower residential and office mixed use project we’re working on down off Denny Avenue called Block V. We have larger