The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News April 21, 2006

Off the Cuff: Dan Lubinski

Many know Dan Lubinski as the man who sits at Wilder Desk in the morning. Others know him as a local entrepreneur. Though he’s been working for Oberlin College since 2000, he did not start working in Wilder until the fall of 2004. The Oberlin Review sat down to get to know him better.

What is your current position at Oberlin College?
Building Manager, Student Union Info Coordinator — there are four titles, actually: It’s something like “Class Level IV Student Administrator”... something like that.

Where else in the College have you worked?
Number one position: mailroom; number two position: stockroom [in the service building]; number three position: trucker, which is the delivery-type in the service building. From the truckers I went to head trucker, where I delivered the diplomas. Then I got here. The key to [my getting this] job is that I once owned a grocery store, so I knew how to work a register... I ran the Pit Stop Mini-Mart for 15 years.

Do you have any family members who work for the College?
Danielle, my daughter, is in printing services and my wife, LeeAnn, is a floater. Today she’s working in the house next door [Daub House]. My son is graduating high school next year, and I hope he goes to college.

Was it strange to move from the service plant into Wilder, where you have so much direct contact with students?
Yes, definitely. It’s very busy, very crazy. Ten minutes of nothing to do and then two hours of craziness.

Has your impression of the Oberlin student body changed?
Definitely. I’ve actually been way more impressed than I imagined. I don’t want to sound like I was negative in the beginning. I think you all are really intelligent kids, even though it might not look like it...I think it’s changed a lot. I think they’re all pretty interesting, like where they come from and where they go on breaks — all over the world — and it’s no big deal to them.Do you have any jobs outside of Oberlin? What do you do in your spare time?Another full time job — drag racing. Pit Stop Performance. It’s a drag racing business where we fabricate dragsters. I’ve been racing since 1974. We started the company 26 years ago. We did the show Junkyard Wars on TLC. We went to England to build a dragster, and you can go to K-Mart to buy my little figurine of the dragster and me in it.

You didn’t really know how to use computers before your job in Wilder, and now you’ve had to learn how to use them. What effect has that had on your life?
I’d never touched a computer, let’s put it that way. It’s made my business run smoother, for one. It’s a lot easier to order parts now. Before I would have said computers were a waste of time and money, but they have their good parts. Just communicating, with emails and web pages — I think it’s almost essential now.

Rumor has it you’re working on some alternative fuel stuff. Is this true?
I’ve been working with Sam Merrett [OC ’05, of Full Circle Fuels] on a daily basis. He’s a grad from here. I’ve been fabricating fuel tanks, fuel cells basically, for the alternative fuels systems in the vehicles. He’s doing quite well. The first time he came to my shop he came to buy racing alcohol and I thought he was this terrorist kid, with his sideways hat and chain around his wrist, and I asked him “You’re not gonna make a bomb, are you?” I was very hesitant to sell him 55 gallons, a full drum, of racing alcohol. That was the first time I met him, and it’s been a good thing with Sam.

In your opinion, as an area resident, do you think that spring is here to stay?
Last year, my first race of the year was May 8th. I had the track rented for our first practice and it snowed out. But yes, I do hope it’s here to stay, since now I’m on the Oberlin Golf Team [a faculty and staff team].

Final words?
If anyone wants to take a tour of Norwalk Raceway Park, tell them to get in touch with me.


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