Get to Know Saad Alkhuri

Saad Alkhuri, Service technician, is known within McKinstry for his strong skills and work ethic and for being “one of the most outwardly joyous and grateful people you will ever meet.” It’s no surprise that Saad’s positive outlook and generous spirit also have impact in the community.

As Saad was on his rounds in Federal Way, Washington, he spotted a man struggling to gather trash from a large bag that had spilled onto a main arterial street in heavy traffic. Saad stopped to assist in the good deed, wished the man well, and hopped back in his McKinstry truck to continue his work serving clients. The man was so impressed and touched by Saad’s assistance, he took the time to send in a comment through the contact form of McKinstry.com.

“I wasn’t able to get the name of your employee,” the man said in his note, “but I wanted you to know that this act of kindness is a reflection on your company and the type of employees you hire.”

In the Q&A below, you can learn more about Saad and the infectious positive attitude he brings to McKinstry every day.

Learn More About Saad’s Experience

How long have you been with McKinstry?

I started in June of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. I feel when you come in at the hardest point it makes things easier later on.

What background and experience do you bring?

I was born and raised in Iraq where I studied mechanical engineering. I also worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army for almost three years, which gave me the chance to apply for a special immigrant visa. I took that chance, applied, and two years later, it came through. I can’t explain how happy I was to get that phone call that I was going to Seattle. It was like a dream come true.

There are differences in degrees in mechanical engineering between Iraq and here. To transfer a degree takes a lot of time and money. When I arrived here, I decided the best thing I could do was to use the knowledge I have to get a position as a mechanical technician instead of spending the time and money to get the degree as an engineer here.

What drew you to engineering?

It’s the mechanical part. I like physics more than chemistry. It’s something where I can see the results right away; I like the satisfaction of taking something that’s broken and fixing it.

What do you like best about your work in Service?

I’ve worked in the industry on the installation side and as a service technician. I love working as a technician in Service because I feel the solution to a problem is always inside of us and making a difference is part of the problem solving. When you pick up trash, the problem is solved. When I work to solve issues and help clients avoid unforeseen issues, I make the customer happy. The problem is solved, and equilibrium is achieved. It gives me satisfaction to know that by doing my best to ensure that the machines I service run properly and reliably customers don’t have to worry that something will break in the middle of the night. There’s the happiness I have when I find an issue and see the satisfaction on the client’s face when I fix it. I am always thinking of others.

What do you value about working at McKinstry?

I feel everyone in Service has a team mentality, which is why we’re such a great team. McKinstry is very thoughtful about who to welcome into our team. Everyone adds ideas into a jar of ideas, and we come up with the right way to do something together. We often work solo in Service but there have been a lot of instances where we pitch ideas and come up with a hybrid idea with issues from how to best lift up a box of filters to how to change out huge heat exchanger and get it through a narrow entrance way. Having a team support you is always the best.

McKinstry is at the top of all the companies that I’ve worked for because of the level of support and trust that they put into me as a technician out there. They trust my decisions and knowledge they give me that responsibility to deal with customers. They trust me, they put a lot of faith in me, and they support me through the whole journey. I feel support from management, the team and everything in between. From dispatch to our sales team to purchasing department — everyone is doing their best and is there to help each other.

What do you think about your adopted home?

I arrived at SeaTac Airport in November of 2013. It’s a strange and nice feeling to come from a dry climate as in Iraq to a very humid, very green-friendly climate. Moss and green and plants grow on everything everywhere! I was very thirsty to live in rainy area. My wish came true — be careful what you wish for! Summer is super short here.

What do you do in your spare time?

When it’s not raining, I like to go hiking and camping. The trails are nonstop! The nature in this state is unbelievably beautiful. During the winter I am a foodie and like to try new foods at restaurants. My favorite right now is called Katsu burger. They make the best burgers I’ve ever had.

I think the best Iraqi food is in Michigan. You can’t find real Iraqi food here. Sometimes I cook for family — my girlfriend and my brother, Saif (Also a McKinstry employee).

What is your philosophy of life?

Positivity will come back to you. When I helped that person pick up the trash, I did that with no intention of hearing back. I didn’t think about it, and I nearly forgot about it. I was surprised to hear that they contacted us. Not a lot of people do that.

When I moved to the United States it was clean. I believe I have to keep it beautiful or make it even better. When there’s trash on the ground there’s a mentality that someone else is going to pick it up. I always think I’m going to be that person to pick that up and throw it in the trash.

Helping each other is a natural thing for us. It’s what makes us human beings. Teamwork always works. The best I can do is to make a little difference. If everyone makes a little difference it will result in a huge difference.

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