Editorial: 08.16.2022

Tanner Search Hits His Stride with Water Projects

tanner search

As a teenager, Tanner Search earned his stripes making Dilly® bars and waffle cones at the local Dairy Queen.

His next job brought him to the big leagues—literally—when he was drafted as bat boy for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. “I was at the ballpark for the World Series win in 2011, the All-Star Game in 2009 and every home game,” he says.

He also got to build relationships with several of his hometown sports heroes, including Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, David Freese, John Jay and Brendan Ryan. “They're all nice, normal dudes who are just really good at baseball,” he says.

That was a dream gig for Search, but it was also a lot of hard work. “It's a grind of a season,” he recalls. “We were at the ballpark for 12 hours plus every day.”

After the 2011 season, Search turned in his cleats to focus on his mechanical engineering coursework at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). He also gained hands-on construction experience during a summer internship at GRP Mechanical, a mechanical contractor in Bethalto, Illinois.

What Can You Do With A Mechanical Engineering Degree? A Lot!

Armed with a mechanical engineering degree, Search set his sights on securing an engineering job at Boeing, Anheuser-Busch or another large company.

Instead, he secured a position as an estimator at Korte & Luitjohan Contractors in Highland, Illinois. “I was about to get married, so I was eager to find a job,” he says.

One day, he received a LinkedIn message from McCarthy Talent Acquisition Manager Rick Thompkins, asking whether he’d be interested in a new opportunity.

Search mentioned the interaction to a coworker — Ryan Neff — who had recently collaborated with McCarthy on a project at HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital. Neff encouraged him to pursue the opportunity—and also engaged in some good-natured office trickery by boxing up a McCarthy hardhat and pretending that Thompkins had sent it to Search to woo him.

That practical joke helped Search land a position with Castle in 2016 as an estimator for site utilities and earthwork projects.

“Fast forward a few years, and Ryan now works at Castle as a project manager,” he says. “I think that was his long con—he helped get me over here because he wanted to work here too.”

In 2018, Search left Castle to work for another local grading company, but returned less than a year later. “I thought it'd be an interesting opportunity, but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and it made me realize the great company Castle is,” he says.

Since rejoining the Castle team, Search has broadened his expertise by learning how to estimate the civil scope of water treatment plant projects, working as part of the McCarthy Water team. Initially focused on estimating yard pipe, his project scope now includes all earthwork and civil portions of water expansion jobs across the Midwest.

Related Content: Castle Promotes Dan Schaefer and Tanner Search to Estimating Manager

“The water jobs are not as fast-paced as other Castle projects, but they’re more detailed and I get a lot of satisfaction just diving into the plans,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed the civil scope of work, and the move to water is allowing me to try something new and see what I can learn.”

He’s also having a great time collaborating with the McCarthy Water team while continuing to interact with his Castle colleagues. “Across the board, I’m just working with a lot of nice people who are easy to work with, invested and just want good things to happen for the company,” he says.

Search and his wife, Kelly, live in Columbia, Illinois, with their 4-year-old twin boys: Tatum and Turner; and 1-year-old son: Trevor. “I get home from work and start my second job,” he jokes. “I spend a lot of time building things with LEGO®, and playing Pokémon and superheroes with my kids. It's fun, but they definitely keep me busy.”

He’s grateful to live close to his parents and in-laws. “Everybody's nearby, so the grandparents get to see the kiddos a lot, which is very nice,” he says.

And each month, he participates in a video game night with his brother, Trey. “About a year ago, we busted out my old GameCube and had more fun together than we had in a long time,” says Search, who purchased a new Nintendo Switch system to take the rivalry to the next level.

Join Tanner and the rest of the Castle team! Bring your talents to our organization; search for open positions and apply today


Sign up to receive Castle Insights