October 17, 2017

Purdue Profiles: Joe Lane

Joe Lane Joe Lane, carpenter. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox) Download image

In his 38 years of working in Purdue Physical Facilities, carpenter Joe Lane has worked in nearly every building on campus, including the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, where he helped move the "Washington Crossing the Delaware" painting to its new home in the WALC Mullins Reading Room.

Assigned to the Buildings and Grounds Project Teams, Joe works in a multi-craft group of individuals who complete lab, office, restroom and other types of renovations and assist with new construction projects on the West Lafayette campus and on the surrounding university farms. 

What tasks are you responsible for each day?

I do everything from little emergency fix jobs to working on current projects. I’m all over the place.

How were you involved in moving the “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting?

When you look at something that is so historical, it steps you back for a moment. Dealing with something like that, everything is slow. You have to take your time and think twice. We took it down and took down all the brackets, then we boxed it up, moved it, hung all the brackets, put the painting up and reattached it to where it belongs now. Nothing was done fast so that we didn’t damage the painting. We had to roll it slowly. Everyone wore gloves. The strange part was when we put it back on, we pulled it around the frame and re-stapled it back on, so we were actually putting holes in it, hopefully the last time for a long time (these activities were completed with curator supervision).

What do you do on the Physical Facilities Safety Committee?

We try to bring up anything that we see while we’re out on campus throughout the day that might be a real safety issue for the students and the staff around here, like trip hazards. What’s nice is that if it’s a safety issue for people on our own campus, we can pretty much always get it done and I like that part of the Safety Committee. As the chair, I greet everyone at our meetings, keep everything going smooth and keep everything on track. I make the meeting keep moving and keep the progress going.

What activities are you involved with outside of Purdue?

I help Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H shooting sports participants. I teach archery, handgun and shotgun. I’m also a hunter education safety instructor for the state of Indiana. I really enjoy safety stuff with kids, and I think early education is very valuable to keep them from getting hurt.

I work with some of the Boy Scouts to get their Eagle Scout badges, and I teach archery to the Girl Scouts. I’ve been shooting archery for over 50 years and have competed at 47 national archery tournaments. It's wonderful to have the chance to pass on that knowledge.

How do you hope your work affects Purdue?

If in 38 years I haven’t impacted it already, I’m in trouble! I just love to work for people on campus. I love it when they’re happy when I leave. If they get another project in their area and they ask if there’s any way they can get me on the project, that makes me feel good. I help make the place pretty and make it safe through the Safety Committee. I’ve been here so long and I know everybody, so my favorite part is the people. If I make them happy, that’s my goal. If they don’t like something, I’ll try to fix it for them. I’m getting old enough now that about all these students could about be my grandchildren. We’re all here looking out for the students.

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders, kschnied@purdue.edu

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