Victor Grigorenko is a self-motivated individual and a highly skilled tradesman. Currently serving as an apprentice for Precision Air in Portland, Oregon, Grigorenko enjoys the challenges that come with his profession. Hoping to be an independent technician, he uses his spare time to continue his education and plans to obtain his HVAC certification in the near future.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

There’s always something to do when I am at work. Time doesn’t drag. I like that. It challenges your mind with all the creative problem solving involved. I also enjoy putting things together and seeing the final results. Yes, there are some downsides. Sometimes we get jobs that aren’t very favorable, but for the most part it’s a really great occupation.

What keeps you motivated?

Sunny days. I live in Portland, and we get a lot of rain. But the sunny days motivate me because it makes me think of going out and having good times with my friends and my soon-to-be wife. Sunny days remind me of summer and having adventures and it inspires me to think of the future.

How do you motivate others?

By staying positive and giving encouragement to my crew when we face a challenge. That influence helps build morale and keeps the rest of the crew focused and working towards our goal.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

The pastor at my church has been a great role model for me. He has a lot of wisdom, and he has his life together. He’s very open-hearted towards others. He’s very disciplined and in my talks with him he has good advice. I can also see that the advice that he’s giving isn’t just talk. He’s living it in his life.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I try to go to bed early. I try not to think about work when I’m off the clock. I have a separate phone for work, so I just leave it somewhere when I get home, so it doesn’t disturb me. I want to live my regular life while I’m still apprenticing and don’t have the responsibility to have to answer service calls. 

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

Leading by example. Being respectful. Honesty. Persistence.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

You should definitely take the extra time to learn as much as you can that is related to the job. While you’re at work, keep your mind open to learn from anyone you’re working with. But even more than that, while you’re off the clock, take some extra time to study from books and other information sources so that when you’re at work you can focus on putting what you’ve learned into practice when you encounter challenges. It will help you learn the job much quicker.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

In life in general, the hardest obstacle was to stick to something when I was younger. I always liked new things and new adventures, which caused me to be unfocused. I was in school, but I didn’t go all the way. I only got my two-year degree because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go for. I started working, but didn’t really like my job, and it started a chain of me searching for something that I wanted to do. Ultimately, that mentality of doing new things and then moving on didn’t bring me any stability in life.  

At one point, I decided to take some time to focus inward and take control of my life. I went to Bible school. I was living at the dormitory and took four months just to learn about God and the Bible. We had classes and events and it pulled me away from everything and gave me lots of time to focus on something completely different. I built up some good habits and got some internal peace from it.  When I moved on from that, I was able to settle down. I built up some discipline and kept it going. It helped me refocus. Also, just getting older helped me start looking into the future rather than focusing on the present.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

There are different seasons in life. You have to build up patience because things will eventually change.  And when things do change, you want to make sure that in your present you are doing that which will help you in the future. You want to have change for the better.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I finished two years of college. I went to Bible school and I finished that with the highest score in the school. Maybe those don’t sound like big accomplishments to some, but I feel like those were both accomplishments for me. I guess my biggest accomplishment was when I had an opportunity to go out to volunteer at a rehab center for two months. This experience helped me overcome that restlessness in my life where I was never satisfied with what I had. It helped me come to the point where I could focus on the future, to go out and help others and be less self-centered have more respect for others and society as a whole. That was a huge personal accomplishment for me in my life.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

I think it’s all the little things. I like coffee. I go out of my way to get good coffee beans and hand grind it. I like the process of grinding it down and making a good cup of coffee.  

I like to hang out with friends and be a positive influence on others. I go to church and try to attend various church events and to be a part of that community. When I do go, I try to greet everyone that I know so they feel welcomed.  

I like photography. I enjoy going out into nature and taking long hikes and going camping. I enjoy playing board games. When I visit my family in Washington we like to sit down and play board games.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

Within five years, I want to have journeyed out and achieved all my licensing and certification in HVAC. I want to have started my own company or just get a good position in the union, but I definitely want to have a higher paying position in the industry. I want to be happily married, with maybe some kids. I want to have my own house.