What are your responsibilities as a garage attendant at the UI's Garage and Car Pool? Basically, I do maintenance on anything on wheels here at the UI. That includes everything from tire repair, transmission fluid and oil changes, doing a 17-point check, washing and maintaining vehicles in the university's car pool, along with those assigned on a regular basis to departments. Garage attendants also do some minor repairs, like fixing flats and front-end alignments. We work hand in hand with the mechanics, but the mechanics do the bigger jobs, like engine and brake work. I do front office work and dispatch cars when there's nobody else there. We also have a gas truck, so sometimes we go out and service things like farm tanks, the fuel tank at Vet Med and man-lifts at O & M. We also do maintenance on stand-by generators in some of the buildings on campus, making sure the engines are cleaned up and oiled. How long have you worked at the Garage? Eleven years. What did you do before? I worked in maintenance at the Holiday Inn. At the Garage, do you just service cars and vans, or do you maintain large equipment, too? The night shift that works from 3 to 11:30 p.m. does all the big stuff, like pickups, dump trucks, farm implements and other big equipment, along with the departmental stuff that can't be done until after 4:30 p.m. How do people get access to vehicles in the university's car pool? Cars and vans can be used for official university business that requires ground transportation. That can be anything from attending a meeting out of town to a field trip. You can't just come out here to get a vehicle for private use. It has to be arranged through departmental offices. How many vehicles does the Car Pool have in its fleet? Approximately a hundred-plus. In addition to taking care of the fleet, do you also have a lot of contact with customers? Yes. Attendants are in direct contact with people - probably more than anyone else out here. That sometimes means we get to hear some of the more negative things people might have to say, although most people are pretty decent. What kinds of things do people complain about? Oh, for example, you're dealing with a professor who gets a little upset because he wanted a Pontiac, but couldn't get one because we don't have one available. Or someone will see a car on the lot that they'd like to take, but it's not available because its mileage is too close to the limit we set before trading in a vehicle. What are some of the better parts of the job? It's a great place to work. Everybody gets along - all the way from the upper echelons of management to us. We don't have any problems. It must be nice at this time of the year because of the open-air environment. On the other hand, the winter months are probably not so nice ... Winter is miserable. With this set-up, it's like a wind tunnel. That dust that's blowing around out there on a day like this ... in the winter, in the sub-zero weather, it's snow blowing around. Are vehicles inspected before they're checked out and when they're returned? Yes. We do a safety check and inspection before a vehicle goes out and inspect it when it comes back. When a vehicle comes back with a dent, scratch or other damage, are people generally honest about pointing out what's happened? Most of the time, they're honest. But sometimes people have basically lied. They'll say they didn't do anything, but it might look like people have set lawn chairs on top of the vehicle. Or we can tell that people have walked on top of it because it looks like a pond on top. What happens in those cases? We write up the damage and turn it in. Then they either pay for it or we hash it out. What's the funniest or most unusual thing that's ever happened to you on the job? I can't think of anything especially funny or unusual involving people who come in here. We sometimes play some good tricks on each other, though. There have been several disastrous wrecks with our vehicles. In one case, the people thought something funny - as in, spooky - happened. They said while they were going down the road, the whole rear-end of the vehicle went up in the air and they thought there was this mysterious explosion - like a bomb had gone off - and the vehicle flipped end over end. I think they just blew a tire.