Chris Yonkman ’97
Spring 2010 TRINITY Magazine, Career and Calling
Chris Yonkman ’97
Major: History and philosophy
Title: International trade specialist
Chris Yonkman ’97 first became interested in working for the federal government while attending Trinity. Yonkman, a history and philosophy major met with history professor Dr. Bob Rice to seek advice about possible career paths. The professor suggested work with the federal government.
Yonkman said that conversation, as well as reading an alumni update from Aaron Tambrini ’97 (who was then working for the Immigration and Naturalization Service) laid the groundwork for his eventual career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “I believe God was working through these experiences and calling me to service in the federal government,” he said.
Yonkman received a master’s degree in history from Purdue University, and today he is an international trade specialist with CBP, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. In this position, he is responsible for targeting of imported shipments and analysis of import data in order to protect the American consumer and the economy against illicit trade practices.
His job further entails analyzing import trends, targeting high risk shipments, and prescribing the appropriate action to ensure that the proper duties are collected, that imported merchandise is properly appraised, and that all statutory and regulatory requirements have been met.
For students who may be interested in federal employment, Yonkman advises being persistent with the job application process and notes that it is a profession “somewhat immune” to the effects of a faltering economy.
“The job security associated with federal employment is truly one of its greatest benefits,” said Yonkman. “Unfortunately, some people perceive government workers as having a charmed life when it comes to their work environment. I think it’s important for Christians working in government to help dispel that perception by setting a good example through diligence and hard work.”