Christian Fast's career path has been unique, challenging, and full of surprises. How many people can say they work in the Construction Industry, Scuba Dive, and served in the Military?
Christian’s career first started out when he joined the military 20 years ago straight out of high school. At the time, he viewed this as the perfect opportunity to get financial assistance for college tuition. Christian joined the Louisiana Air National Guard where he served a term of 7 years and was promoted through the ranks to Staff Sergeant. He was a member of the 159th Operations Support Flight, 122nd Fighter Wing, and the 62nd Military Support Detachment just to name a few. Christian's military medals and a "Blood Chit" stood out like a centerpiece framed and mounted on the wall in his office. This display is a striking tribute of his service to this country. A Blood Chit, also called Identification or Rescue Flags, were designed to provide rapid identification of a downed flyer and facilitate assistance from local allies encountered. In five (5) different languages it read,
"I am an American and do not speak your language. I will not harm you! I bear no malice toward your people. My friend, please provide me food, shelter, water and necessary medical attention. Also, please provide safe passage to the nearest friendly forces of any country supporting the Americans and their allies. You will be rewarded for assisting me when you present this number to American authorities.
"Christian's journey had many surprises along the way.He went to LSU with an interest in Pre- VeterinaryMedicine and ended up graduating inConstruction Management. Just before graduating in Construction Management, he set up interviews at school to help him decide where he wanted his career to take him. It was Christian's intention to land a job in the Commercial Industry. On the morning of LSU's Construction Recruitment Day, one of the commercial contractors had to cancel their interview table and Performance Contractors happened to have an opening during the exact time the canceled interview was scheduled. "I didn't realize Performance wasn't commercial when I scheduled the interview", Christian stated. Christian accepted the invitation, went on the interview and accepted a position in Project Services and started his career in estimating. During the time of accepting this new position, it was also the end of his military term and he had to decide if his career and military service would collide. With the support of his new employer, he was able to continue with both, so he extended his enlistment in the military for an additional 12 months. Christian extended his enlistment on Sunday, September 9, 2001, and was unaware that only two days later, the world would be faced with a huge tragedy. Christian explains, “Only two days after I decided to re-enlist in the military, we were all down stairs in the old building watching the September 11th terrorist attack unfold on TV." Talk about impeccable timing. Following the September 11th attacks, Christian began working Mondays through Thursdays in his new estimating role. He would leave on Thursdays after work and drive to Belle Chase, where he'd work from Thursday night until Sunday night and then drive back to report to work on Monday morning. His dedication and commitment to the company landed him many roles along the way. While working with Performance Contractors, Christian went from Estimator, Planner, Project Coordinator, Corporate Director of Support Services to Regional Manager in Texas, Project Director on the largest Refinery Project in the U.S. to Corporate Operations Manager. Christian commented, "It's something that I would not trade or take back, and I consider it a mission accomplished.”
Aside from the challenges and triumphs he faced serving in the military; Christian was also a thrill seeker, who loved to dive. He started diving 20 years ago, about the same time that he joined the military. "I joined the military and took up scuba diving a month later." It's a hobby that both he and his brother were always very interested in and finally got to partake in together. Christian has made it through Rescue Diver, Multiple Cave and Technical Dive Programs and is now in the Dive Master Candidate Program, which he hopes to wrap up this year. He describes scuba diving as very extreme and requires some intense training. One of his all-time favorites is underwater diving in caves. There are many risks with Cave Diving. Despite these risks, Christian is attracted to Cave Diving due to its often unexplored nature and it presents him with a technical diving challenge. Christian compares diving to the construction industry by saying, "Diving is a lot like the Construction Industry because safety is a huge part of it!" Other diving adventures he's enjoyed are hammer head sighting trips, lobster fishing in the Florida Keys and spear fishing. Christian says, "Diving is a way to get away from everything, no phones or computers; it truly captures your full attention.”
The next time you see Christian Fast, ask him about his adventures!
Reprinted from The ABC Merit Shop Message - By Brooke Barber