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Sunnyside native using life’s lessons in the business world

Former Sunnysider Joseph Chumley, now a contractor in the Puyallup area, believes in giving of himself to help others. Standing with him is one of Chumley’s biggest fans. The five-year-old neighbor boy gained confidence in himself and how to work hard every day with Chumley’s help. Here, Chumley gives the boy a certificate in honor of his accomplishments.

Former Sunnysider Joseph Chumley, now a contractor in the Puyallup area, believes in giving of himself to help others. Standing with him is one of Chumley’s biggest fans. The five-year-old neighbor boy gained confidence in himself and how to work hard every day with Chumley’s help. Here, Chumley gives the boy a certificate in honor of his accomplishments. Photo provided by Joseph Chumley

Joseph Chumley prefers to think of himself as an aspiring craftsman. The 2003 Sunnyside High School graduate owns his own business - Chumley Construction, LLC based out of Puyallup.

The former Sunnysider started up his company about two years ago and his preference for projects tends to be in high end residential construction, primarily remodels. Since starting his business Chumley, who is a member of the Master Builders Association of Pierce County, has begun to find ways to give back to his community in a variety of ways.

“I occasionally volunteer as a guest speaker at local schools as part of a “Communities in Schools” outreach program,” Chumley said.

“Most of my work is within the local area of about 30 minutes drive time, but I do venture up to Seattle for specialized projects, but honestly the traffic can be pretty horrendous! So I tend to stick around these parts,” he explained.

Chumley said remodels are among his favorite projects. “That is a deep passion of mine, taking something old and turning it into something better than good,” he said.

“One of my favorite projects was working on a nearly 100-year -old home in Historic North Tacoma. 

“This home was on the historical tour of homes and I had the privilege of tearing out the entire kitchen’s ceiling (a horribly done remodel back in the 1980s by the way) and reconstructed a historically accurate cove ceiling to match the rest of the house,” Chumley said.

He still does commercial work, too. Among his current commercial projects is an entire roof system to be framed on top of a

local skating rink in the near future. “I also had the privilege of helping construct the Blue Gate for the Washington State Fair here in Puyallup a few years back,” he added.

“I truly enjoy it all when it comes to construction...as of lately, things are continuing to grow rapidly for my business,” he added.

Chumley said lately he has found himself spending more time drawing up full sets of plans, 3D colored renderings and estimates.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually love selling my company’s product to potential clients. I was an aspiring craftsman, not a salesman, right?”

But, he notes a quality contractor does have to be a bit of a salesman. “It helps people to get excited about the experience (my) company has to offer. And, it is always about relationships,” he said.

Additionally, Chumley’s personal goal is for Chumley Construction to be regionally recognized for “…the quality work we do within five years. A dream of course would to become nationally recognized within 10 years,” he added.

Chumley said a couple of things initially drew him to construction.

“The first would be working on things around my home growing up with my dad (John Chumley of Sunnyside). It always seemed to be a lot of fun,

and getting to solve challenges with your old man is good,” the younger Chumley said.

“The second would be my Sunnyside High School geometry class with Mr. (Errol) Miles. Learning the pythagorean theorem, understanding how angles work together and developing an interest in mathematics have definitely helped give me a boost in this business.”

Following high school graduation, Chumley attended Green River Community College in Auburn, where he earned his project management certification through the University of Washington-Tacoma.

Chumley bases his personal philosophy towards business on generations of young boys working alongside their fathers, learning the skills of most trades, a situation which hardly happens anymore.

“Generations ago people didn’t have the means to move away from their home town, most people lived and died within a very close proximity to where they were born.

“Boys worked alongside their fathers, whether it was farming, carpentry and millwork. They learned that skill from their fathers. But that wasn’t the only thing they learned,” he noted.

“Boys learned how to be men. Imagine, working from the time you were a small boy with your father until the day he passed away, let’s just say 40, 50, or 60+ years. Lessons of life, how to work hard, who you were, why you did what you did, what was important about life, never giving up, being a man of your word.

“As time has gone on, and as I look to the left and to the right in my own generation, I see many grown men who are boys. Not just boys, but insecure boys. They are afraid to take responsibility, not understanding the value of a hard day’s work. Too many men get lost in video games, bars and other dead ends.

“They still have children, but their understanding of the responsibility to set a child on an uplifting course in life is literally left to chance. It should be purposeful.”

Chumley believes man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness.

“That’s why I know it is the right thing to do to help my neighbor’s children, even when others don’t know how to do better,” he said, noting he has taken it upon himself to instill a work ethic in some of the little kids who live near his home.

“We’re supposed to help out our fellow man. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to do so,” he said.

Chumley recently became a father and this has brought all of his beliefs to the forefront of his life.

“My wife Lindsey and I welcomed our little baby girl, Grace Naomi, early in July. There’s no better feeling in the world than being a daddy to my baby girl.”

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