Rachele Turnbull : Academy of Distinguished Engineers - 2021

Award Year
Graduation Year
Civil and Construction Engineering

Rachele Turnbull graduated in 1996 from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s in Construction Engineering Management and a minor in Business Administration. She chose OSU for many reasons, focusing on the reputation for having a great engineering program, in addition to her family history at the university, and the proximity to her home and immediate family. The experiences she gained from OSU, not only academic, but in team athletics, helped cultivate her ability to take on anything she put her mind to.

After earning her degree, Rachele spent eight years at Baugh Construction Oregon in Beaverton, Oregon, which is a nationally recognized commercial contractor, now a part of Skanska USA. Her commercial project background includes work on high tech fabrication, animal care, healthcare, and educational facilities. She left Skanska in 2003 to follow a desire to work for a community- and family-focused company – or even start her own. She was drawn to be a part of something that was not just driven by profit, but was created as an opportunity for its employees to achieve an ownership stake in the company, and prioritized giving back to the community.

In 2006, Rachele started Clark Construction on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with a very small group of people, including her father, who had prior experience running a small residential business. To this day, Turnbull is among the few female CEOs at a construction company, and she is proud of that accomplishment. Pushing the boundaries of traditional roles in the construction industry is one of the cornerstones of Clark Construction. Recently, the leadership team made the daring move of creating a framework for wider employee ownership in the company.

More than a third of the Clark Construction employees have an ownership stake in the company – this includes field labor and all employees, not just management. They have created a culture of stewardship through employee education, volunteer action in the community, and participation in programs that drive sustainability, affordability, and support of community programs. This helps to create a budget model that encourages customers to pursue certification like LEED and LBC, donating labor as well as resources and excess construction materials for workforce housing.