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Interview with Joseph (Joe) S. Hack, April 12, 2007 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Joseph (Joe) S. Hack, April 12, 2007
April 12, 2007
Joe Hack is interviewed about his career at UNCW and elsewhere. Mr. Hack has an undergraduate and master's degree in engineering, which he put to use for 20 years in the Marine Corps. Following his career in the service he came to the UNCW Physical Plant in 1983. He eventually became physical plant director, retiring in 2003. During his time at UNCW, he oversaw many construction and repair projects, such as work on the Kenan House for Chancellor William Wagoner. Included in Mr. Hack's recollections are his reflections on people he knew at UNCW and his associations with faculty and administrators.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Hack, Joseph S. (Joe) Interviewer: Riggins, Adina Date of Interview: 12/4/2007 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 90 minutes

Joe Hack: The red light is showing. You are now recording. You should be able to hear me in your earphones at this time. You should see my picture in a little swing-out screen. We are good to go. This interview is being done by Adina L. Riggins at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Library, Randall Library, and it's being done on the, can't ever read that, 12th day of April 2007.

Riggins: Very good. You did my job for me. I was going to do that part.

Joe Hack: Any time I can help.

Riggins: You did my job, great. And it's being held in the archives on the campus of UNCW. Mr. Hack, please state your full name for the tape.

Joe Hack: My name is Joseph Steven Hack, Jr. I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and I grew up in an area of Philadelphia known as Manayunk.

Riggins: How do you spell that?

Joe Hack: M-A-N-A-Y-U-N-K.

Riggins: Thank you.

Joe Hack: You're welcome.

Riggins: That's for the benefit of our transcriptionist as well, as future viewers. Please describe your education background and career before you came to UNCW?

Joe Hack: I went to eight years grade school at St. Mary of the Assumption, two years high school at St. John's in Manayunk, and the final two years at Roman Catholic High School Center City Philadelphia. I attended Villanova University where I received a degree in civil engineering, and I got a master's degree in engineering administration from George Washington University about 1976 that concluded.

Riggins: Master's degree--and where was your undergraduate degree?

Joe Hack: Villanova University.

Riggins: Villanova, Pennsylvania.

Joe Hack: Which is in Villanova, Pennsylvania, interestingly enough.

Riggins: You said you were in an engineering track. What happened after that?

Joe Hack: I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps with the MOS of combat engineers and worked in the Fleet Marine Force and in various staff jobs, some of it in facilities, about five years in the latter part.

Riggins: Twenty years in the Marines. There is a number of faculty who were Marines, I suppose. John Anderson? Did you know him?

Joe Hack: No. Didn't know him.

Riggins: In business? He had been Marines. He went into the naval academy, but then he was Marines. So, 20 years in the Marines using your engineering, I'm sure.

Joe Hack: Some facilities. Combat engineering is kind of basic.

Riggins: Well, you must have liked it enough to make a career of it. Did you know going in? Or did you have a feeling going in that you would make a career of it?

Joe Hack: I had intended to stay, if I could, for 20 years, yes.

Riggins: Were there Marines in your family?

Joe Hack: I had an uncle who had been in the Marine Corps in World War II.

Riggins: Oh, okay, and it just appealed to you? What was it like? Where did you travel? Where did you live?

Joe Hack: We moved about every two to three years. I spent five years in the Far East.

Riggins: How was your foreign language ability?

Joe Hack: I had had two years of German and spoke some Polish at home. That's how I wound up in the Far East.

Riggins: I see. No, I don't see.

Joe Hack: I didn't see either, but that was fine.

Riggins: Right. Did you learn Asian languages while you were there?

Joe Hack: Well, some in Korea. I spent two years in the (speaking in Korean). And I was there accompanied by family.

Riggins: How did your family like it?

Joe Hack: They had a good time. We were living just outside Seoul.

Riggins: Okay. So they got to experience the military life of traveling and moving around. Well, what brought you to UNCW?

Joe Hack: I retired from the Marine Corps in June and there was an advertisement in the paper, and I took the interview, put an application in. Then I did six weeks with Tom Lawfield in archeology on a dig at Sneed Ferry and started as the M&O supervisor in the fall after the completion of the dig.

Riggins: Well, so, backing up, I guess you retired at Lejeune, is that right? You came in and that was your last place?

Joe Hack: I was in the facilities section up at Lejeune when I retired, yes.

Riggins: Okay. How long had you been there?

Joe Hack: A year. I had just come back from Okinawa.

Riggins: Okay. So there were six weeks with Tom Lawfield. What were you doing during the day? Were you participated or were you working?

Joe Hack: Yeah. No, I was taking it as a course.

Riggins: Really? You just got interested in it?

Joe Hack: I have a fair number of credits, probably enough for a minor in archeology and anthropology. But they were doing an old Indian site along the water up there.

Riggins: I think we might have some slides from that dig in the archives. I'll have to remember that. So you did that. How was day work? Some people don't enjoy it.

Joe Hack: It was interesting. There were some people that got all excited with the heat, and if you wandered over to the side, there were a lot of mosquitoes. The highlight of the whole thing was the finding of a dog burial, which was probably relatively recent. But it was interesting running through the thing.

Riggins: Well, so it was interesting. When you did the dig, and then you saw an ad, and you thought, well, maybe you'd like to do something like that. You were too young to retire.

Joe Hack: Yeah, I was about 42 at the time, so I came down and interviewed. They offered me the job, and I started as the maintenance and operations supervisor. I was that for a year or two, and then I became the assistant physical plant director and then subsequently after a few years, the director of project design and management and then the physical plant director.

Riggins: At that time, project design and management was under a physical plant?

Joe Hack: No. It was under the vice chancellor for business affairs.

Riggins: Oh, okay. Because they're separate now, too, I guess. Well, what were some of the projects that you worked with and some of the, I guess, well, what year did you start here, do you recall?

Joe Hack: 1983, the fall of '83.

Riggins: And the campus had already grown quite a bit by then.

Joe Hack: Your FT at that time was about 4,000. I think you're now at about 12,000.

Riggins: Yes, that's exactly right.

Joe Hack: They'd put up, on the average, before they get into the bond issue, about one major building a year with some others moving along. One of the interesting projects was taking the old book store, which sat in front of the current book store, between it and the union. We moved that to the back of campus, re-erected it, and that is the physical plant building.

Riggins: Really? I had no idea. I wondered where that student store was, because I've seen pictures. And that's what it was called, "student store," right?

Joe Hack: That's where it is. It's right where that fountain is over there.

Riggins: In front of the Burney Building. Oh, was that a challenge? Because that wasn't a modular building.

Joe Hack: No, actually, a lot of the metal kind of went by the wayside because we cut in for doors that were not in the right place, and we had to replace some of it. Some of the roof had holes in it and had to be replaced. But the basic frame of it we put out back in the back end of campus and the slab, did all that by contract. We didn't do it ourselves. Some of the interior work was done by physical plant people.

Riggins: Were there certain contractors that you always used or were there local?

Joe Hack: All of our contracting was done by bidding. We went with the finest low bidder and purchasing worked very closely with us on those. Everything was bid out. And there were a lot of people you saw on a relatively regular basis.

Riggins: Right. So that was a memorable project. For some reason there was a rumor circulating. Some students have asked me over the years if the student store ever burned down. And I don't know what that's about. Maybe somehow...

Joe Hack: Maybe because it disappeared. I don't ever remember hearing anything about it burning down, but we did take the whole building and physically dismantle it, move it to the back and set it back up again.

Riggins: Any fires while we're on the topic of destruction? Any memorable fires?

Joe Hack: No. I remember the Hinton James building being flooded out during Hurricane Diana about a year after I got here. There was a contract for replacement of the roof, and they had just gotten the roof off when the hurricane came. And it was an inch or more water on the first floor as a result of the hurricane.

Riggins: It must have been fun working with insurance on that one?

Joe Hack: Well, we didn't get involved with the insurance, but we got involved with trying to get all the filing cabinets and everything else out of there so that they could do the clean-up. Any time there was a hurricane, we would have a small group from physical plant that stayed on campus during the hurricane. You're not always sure you can get people back after the hurricane goes through. The roads are all blocked up, power lines down, etc., etc. So we would keep some number from the various crafts, a couple from housekeeping, a couple of grounds so that we could start as soon as the hurricane would pass through. You'd go out and the grounds people with the chain saws and equipment. We'd get all the trees off the road to make the roads passable. House keeping would immediately start looking for any damage that had occurred, windows that might be blown out and stuff on the inside of buildings that had to be cleaned up. And of course, your electrical and HVAC people would go around and turn the electricity back on to the building. We'd try to turn it down before the building. It saves a lot of aggravation, and turn all the major air conditioning units off. Immediately after the hurricane, you go back through the process of putting everything back on again.

Riggins: Sounds like a lot of work. I guess Diana would have been the first one, and then Hugo didn't do much over here?

Joe Hack: Everybody was all excited about Hugo, and Hugo was a big hurricane, but Hugo went basically through Charlotte, not down here.

Riggins: That was bad.

Joe Hack: There were some people left the city, went up to Charlotte to avoid the hurricane, and they found it up there.

Riggins: We are getting in the '80s. I wasn't living in North Carolina then, so I just would hear (inaudible).

Joe Hack: I don't remember the dates. The two big ones were Diana and Fran that came through. There were other little ones.

Riggins: You were still here for Fran?

Joe Hack: Yeah.

Riggins: Fran was bad. I was in the triangle then, and it was bad here, too. It made a lot of damage. What campus buildings did you have to attend to? Do you remember?

Joe Hack: You just start wherever the worst is and truck along down the line. Probably the biggest single thing was Galloway, and I don't remember which storm it was in. The roof was blown off a good portion of Galloway. It's a built-up roof. It's not a shingled roof, which means you have layers of insulation and asphalt and what we'd call tar paper. The wind gets under it and pulse it up; it just rolls it up like a piece of paper laying on a table.

Riggins: Yes. Sounds like something that happened during Fran.

Joe Hack: And you try to get the contracts out immediately to get everything going because the big impetus is to get all the classes back in session again, because every day you're closed is a day you've got to make up or do something with.

Riggins: Right. Right. So, in the students' case, they had to be housed elsewhere? Or students who were (inaudible).

Joe Hack: Actually, I think most of them stayed in the building. The major housing elsewhere things happened at the beginning of school years where they would do their allocations and I wasn't involved with that, and you always assume some number of the people they can offer to, to come to the school, don't come. Well, if they all come, then you're stuck. And there was, I guess, one year at least where they put a number of them up in a motel down the road here and provided transportation back and forth.

Riggins: Yeah, that happened pretty recently, too, I think about five years ago. They had to house them off campus and house them in the lounges and residence halls, not just in the rooms.

Joe Hack: It usually sorts itself out by the end of the first semester, but...

Riggins: Yeah, it can make for some hectic times. Well, when did you retire, then?

Joe Hack: In January of 2003, the end of January.

Riggins: Wow. You really had a second career here, then. Twenty years and then...

Joe Hack: Twenty and twenty.

Riggins: And twenty years working for the State. It must have been different, different experiences, different bureaucracies, I would think.

Joe Hack: It's different bureaucracies, but as long as you're involved with people, you're going to have the same good deals and bad deals.

Riggins: Mostly good deals here?

Joe Hack: Always good deals, yes.

Riggins: Well, we're talking, we've kind of covered some destruction. Any other good destruction stories? Things that happened due to natural disasters? Some floods due to hurricanes, I guess lost some trees?

Joe Hack: There was a lot of trees went down in some of the hurricanes, yes, and getting them cut up and hauled off campus. People get very excited about trees here. You go out and cut down a tree, you will have all kind of people running around with their arms in the air, no matter what condition the tree or even if you're going to replant, they get very excited.

Riggins: The students or everyone?

Joe Hack: Both. There are some people that think they are the environmental people, and they're ready to do things. I remember one person wanted to bring, when we put the ponds in down here, wanted to have geese.

Riggins: Oh, the ponds for...

Joe Hack: Those are all really retention ponds. Those are not natural ponds. We dug those.

Riggins: Oh, yeah, because that used to be a parking lot over there.

Joe Hack: And lo and behold, if you bring geese in there, you will have slimy geese droppings all over that thing. Geese are very territorial, and they will start chasing the students out of the area. It took a little research to put together a whole bunch of material off the Internet and dump it on this person that thought geese would be a nice idea and add to the ambiance of the ponds. And then, of course, you wind up with the algae growing in the ponds because there's not running water; it's, you know, just run-off that is coming there periodically and the impermeable layer underneath kind of keeps it from going out. Well, the algae is not acceptable appearance-wise. You need to do something.

Riggins: It needs a more organic setting.

Joe Hack: So the next thing was, we'll get carp. But you can't just put carp in there because they might escape and get into the natural system. We don't want to introduce carp where they weren't, okay. What do we do? Get sterile carp. So you had to go somewhere, and we bought sterile carp. I don't know how they checked to find out there were sterile, but we got the sterile carp. And then we planted--they didn't like the bare banks--we planted about a thousand or so dollars worth of plant material all around the ponds, and it started disappearing. Courtney Hackney over in biology came out one morning and called me after he had been out, and he said he knew where my plants were going. The carp had eaten what they wanted of the algae, and they were running up, turning like you've seen the orcas chasing seals, grabbing the plant, shaking it and taking back down in the pond for lunch. So we fed the fish about a thousand dollars worth of plant food, yes, expensive fish food.

Riggins: Okay. So then the carp were there, but there were no geese.

Joe Hack: No geese. The geese never came. The carp were there for the algae, and the green growths in the water, and they did a fair job on that.

Riggins: And then what happened? Did they remain?

Joe Hack: As far as I know they're still in there.

Riggins: But no plants, no plants on the outside.

Joe Hack: I don't know if there are more plants, they replanted them or not.

Riggins: So the carp are there to-- yeah, I don't know if I've seen fish in there.

Joe Hack: Go over and look.

Riggins: Okay. It's been a while. I'll have to think about it, take that suggestion. So that was with Dr. Leutze, right? I know they called those lakes Lake Leutze at one point.

Joe Hack: I never said that.

Riggins: Yes, all right, I just did.

Joe Hack: Yes, that was under Dr. Leutze. The new chancellor came, I think, right after I left or right about that time. I don't remember the exact time.

Riggins: So you worked with Dr. Wagoner and Dr. Leutze.

Joe Hack: Dr. Wagoner was here when I started, yes.

Riggins: Did you get to know him at all?

Joe Hack: Only in passing. We were down at his house a lot, and get to talk to him on occasion there. We did all the maintenance on his house. Yeah, the Weiss house. Yes, and actually they put a lot of money into renovating, which it sorely needed.

Riggins: The Kenan House, and, yeah, because they are the occupants. They lived with their son there at Kenan House.

Joe Hack: Probably one of the most exciting projects was replacing one of the columns that had termites in it. And that little portico that comes out over the porch looks like it's a lightweight structure, and you would think it's just plywood with a plywood façade. The front wall on that little overhang, that little pyramidal shape coming out over the porch is about that thick and solid masonry. So it's not a lightweight thing. And the columns, you know, are not solid. Those columns are a little bit smaller than this table, but they're all interlocked boards all the way around. All those little grooves in there are all individual boards, and they're interlocked. The thing that's supporting the weight inside of that column is a wood column, relatively square, unfinished, it runs from the porch up to the overhang. That had termites in it. Now, what they did was cut out a small hole on the side and go up in the top, support the whole porch with separate structure, go into the top, tie a rope around the top of that, and cut out sections and bring it out through that little hole in sections. And we had a pipe column design, and they put that back in, and they pulled up the pipe, put in the next section, bolted those two together, pulled it up until they had that done. Then they tied around the column, and I kept waiting for that thing to just go ga-bong. Because they're all individual little boards, and lifted that up and took out all the column base, which also is in parts, and had new ones made because that was all rotted out. And put that back together and set the exterior portion of the column down on top of that.

Riggins: And did the physical plant do that?

Joe Hack: No, that was by contract. And we were responsible for the contract. I kept going down there expecting to see the column just spring apart and the porch come down and Dr. Wagoner standing there saying, "I hope you have fun in your next job because this one's over." But it did work out.

Riggins: How does that work, like, the procedure that you just described? Do the contractors, do they come up with it and then you can give input or say, "No, I don't think that'll work" or "I don't agree"?

Joe Hack: You tell them in the contract how you want it done. You can do it however you want. What we said is, "We have a column here, essentially the column is rotted. It needs to be replaced. The base needs to be replaced." When you go out with a contract, you have to describe what you want done. If you want to tell them how to do it, you can do that, but then if anything goes wrong with that procedure, that's your problem and you need to fix it. If you just tell them what you want done, then it's in their court to do it, and if it goes wrong, they need to figure out another way to make it right. But you have to describe whatever you want done so that the people that are bidding are all bidding the same thing, apples or oranges. In other words, if you want a table, you say, "I want a table," and you need to describe a round table, what the base looks like, what the material is, etc., etc. If you don't, you will have somebody come in with a balsa wood table with four 2x4's and then somebody else come in with something like you've got here all finished and round and shiny and pretty with the end all worked, etc. Unless you can describe it exactly, you're going to have a problem with the competitive bidding.

Riggins: Because they'll come up with...

Joe Hack: The cheapest way to do it because that's what they're in the business for, to make money.

Riggins: Were you literally nervous when you, for that job, for example? Did you think, oh, no. I guess they're the professionals, but I'm not sure that'll work.

Joe Hack: Yeah, you wake up in the middle of the night thinking, if that whole thing falls down, how am I going to explain that? We did find out one interesting thing. If you have termite insurance, you have a house with termite insurance, if carp...

Riggins: Do I have termite insurance? I'm not sure if we do.

Joe Hack: You should in this area. If you don't, however...

Riggins: Well, we have concrete slabs and stucco. Concrete house, but anyway...

Joe Hack: But all your walls have wooden studs in them unless you've got steel studs, and most residential units don't have steel studs. But at any rate, if you have carpenter ants that get in there and chew everything up, termite insurance does not cover carpenter ants. And we were down there at the beginning capturing the various critters in the various columns. It turned out that one had carpenter ants and one had termites. And the termites were covered by the termite insurance, but the carpenter ant damage was not covered by the termite insurance. That was our cost. All those floors down in the Kenan House, by the way, are not just wood on wood joists. They're concrete floors. So, if you go to drill through a floor at home on the second floor, you can drill through and do something the second floor, the first floor is concrete with wood on top of it.

Riggins: Was that done after she had the fire?

Joe Hack: There was a fire down there way back when the original Kenan family lived in it. And supposedly the story I had heard was they went to Europe on a trip, and while they were there, they hired somebody to go in there and make sure they wouldn't have problems again, and they put all concrete floors in there.

Riggins: All concrete floors, and the walls, were they-- they weren't drywall, right?

Joe Hack: Most of your stuff about that time, around the 1900s, would have been plaster, not drywall. Drywall kind of came in later. And that little house off to the side, the Patrick House, was part of the Kenan property. And when I started here, there was an elderly lady living in there, I think, with her brother. Supposedly her husband had been the chauffeur for the Kenan family, and they were given that house to live in rent free as long as they wanted to.

Riggins: Yes. Yes. We actually interviewed-- Sherman and I interviewed the niece of that...

Joe Hack: The lady?

Riggins: Yeah.

Joe Hack: I remember when they left about, I don't know, somewhere in the middle of that whole thing there, and we were going to go do some work in it, the lining on the shelves in the bathroom closet had an advertisement for Volkswagens brand new for $2,000, actually 19 something or other, $1999 and 60 cents or whatever, $2,000 around numbers. When's the last time you saw a $2000 Volkswagen?

Riggins: New car, yeah. That's funny. That made an impact, you remembered that. During those years, I guess there were a lot of repairs that needed to be done in the Kenan house for the Wagoners.

Joe Hack: Actually there were probably more than they asked for that should have been done in there. I think there was a fairly good going-over, but not even, again, as much should be done when they changed chancellors.

Riggins: (inaudible)?

Joe Hack: Well, it was an old place. The thing had been made, as I say, in the early 1900s. Any time you get in an older house like that, there were a lot of changes in systems and materials. In the Patrick House, they still had the knob and tube wiring. Instead of having the, you've seen the Romex, they call it, with three little wires, a black, a white and a bare ground running, then encased in a sheathing and then a sheath around the whole collection. Well, in that one, they run the wires on little glass knobs sitting side by side along the ceiling up in the attic. And it's fine. It works fine, but it's an old system.

Riggins: Not code.

Joe Hack: It was code of the day, but as I say, all that stuff has changed.

Riggins: It's just become outdated.

Joe Hack: Like the old fuses that's probably before your time, but there used to be fuses you screw into the little box. When they burned out, you had to take that one out and put another one in. Now everything is breakers.

Riggins: Good...but I mean, I don't know. I feel like I've seen that, but like the ones that you turn maybe on television or something. But yeah, so there was a lot of changes. And then when Dr. Leutze came, was there some kind of renovations in the Kenan house when he came on board? I know there was a whole lot when he left.

Joe Hack: We repainted the whole place and went through and did a lot of repairs that could be done quickly. A lot of it was done by physical plant. I'm sure some was contracted out, but I would have to go back in look, and there were files on all that sitting down. They're probably in boxes now and stored away.

Riggins: They could be here in archives if they were historically interesting.

Joe Hack: I think they have a lot of the project things. I don't know if they were sent up here or not. I know there was a big go around on things that should be archived and things that should not be saved.

Riggins: Digitized. They've gotten really into digitizing.

Joe Hack: We tried to keep the project files because if you go back, it's nice to know what was done if you did something where you can't see what was done, and go out and get the old plans and lay it out. We spent a lot of time over the years--I say we, the other people working down there with me--trying to track down a lot of the as-builts.

Riggins: As-builts?

Joe Hack: As-builts, what's an as-built?

Riggins: What is that? Yeah.

Joe Hack: Funny you should ask. When a building is built, they had a set of plans that they work in specifications. But very few buildings are built that way because the building will be under construction. Somebody will say, "Well, that really needs to be changed, because whatever they were going to do there we no longer do and they do this. So you need to do this, this, and this." Or they go in and they're trying to run the ductwork and they come in and say, "Whatever space you gave us isn't big enough for what we need to do because something has changed." And those changes are all noted on the original drawings. The original drawings go back to the architect, and the architect is supposed to update those drawings to show it as it was built, which is why they're called as-builts. And that has all the changes that were made on the drawings. And you should really, if you have a collection of facilities, have those drawings available so that if something is going to be done at some later time, you know what is there and how the building was built and what's inside the walls and what the systems are, etc. But when I got here and started in physical plant, there were just drawings rolled up in rolls and shoved up in the top. So we spent over the years a lot of time going to the various architects and a lot of them did have copies of the things still sitting back in their offices. And we eventually got just about all the buildings we had.

Riggins: So did you start the physical plant?

Joe Hack: No. No, I didn't start the physical plant.

Riggins: When you started.

Joe Hack: When I started, I had the maintenance and operations section, which consisted of all the crafts: HVAC, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing--what am I missing there? Carpentry, painting.

Riggins: Not housekeeping?

Joe Hack: I didn't have that. No, housekeeping was within physical plant but not in maintenance and operations. Physical plant had three major departments other than the admin. and essentially the headquarters. They had maintenance and operations, which was all your crafts, housekeeping, which was your night and day housekeeping, and grounds. And we did not do the housekeeping in the dorms. That was, at the time, being done in-house. It was eventually done by contract, yes. When I say in-house, they had a housekeeping crew down at the dorms that belonged to the dorms. And housing used to be part of business affairs. Business affairs ran the dorms, and that was later transferred out and over to the...

Riggins: Residence' life became...

Joe Hack: Was all under vice chancellor for student affairs.

Riggins: So now, or when you left, was it contracted out for dorm?

Joe Hack: It was still contracted out for dorms, yes.

Riggins: But here it's been in-house. At the library it's been in-house for a long time.

Joe Hack: It's always been here.

Riggins: That's interesting.

Joe Hack: The library here was built in two parts, you know that.

Riggins: Yes?

Joe Hack: The origin library is that half.

Riggins: Uh-huh. The entrance was on that side and then the expansion came and-- when you were, a few years after you arrived, I would think.

Joe Hack: And our groundspeople were the ones who did most of the moving. They wanted to do it during the Christmas holidays, and they, with some help from other people, did all of the shoving over of everything over onto this side.

Riggins: So that must have been a huge job. You worked with Gene Huguelet on that? And what was memorable about the expansion? I know Gene worked really hard on that and the design. I guess he talked with architects a lot. Were you involved with talking to the architects?

Joe Hack: We would get involved in looking through the things as they were drawing or giving them comments on what we did or did not want in a particular facility. We would want this type of an air conditioning unit or we would want this type of a water storage thing, etc. And then you get a look at-- their drawings come out in stages. The first is a conceptual drawing, which would be almost like you sitting down with a pencil and just drawing little squares for rooms with a single line and saying, "How's this?" And then the owner saying, "Well, you know, you've got two of these, and we need one of these, but we need three of these over here." And then the next stage would be somewhat more developed but still in the development stages. And then after that, the final. At any stage, it would be run around for comments to make adjustments, because the later you make adjustments, the more it's going to cost you. When you say "change order," the contractors' eyes light up. Same when the architects, I think.

Riggins: Because that's automatically more costly. Well, yeah, you learn all that. Well, did you have to concern yourself with budget? I mean, if it started to go...

Joe Hack: Budget was not mine. That was done up in the assistant vice chancellor's office. He handled all the stuff up there. We were not involved in the budget for the new construction. We were involved in commenting on the design and any other comments we would make pertinent to the development of the thing as it went along, because once it was finished, then we picked up the operation and the maintenance of the thing.

Riggins: Now, Dobo Hall must have been a big one that you all were involved with around the 1989, 1990.

Joe Hack: The science building.

Riggins: Yeah, the science building.

Joe Hack: My most memorable recollection on that was not too long after it was built, there was a big storm, and the roof got blown off above the elevator and water was running down the elevator like a waterfall.

Riggins: Really?

Joe Hack: Two o'clock in the morning I had one of our draftsmen and myself on the roof looking for pieces of tar paper and scrap nails with hammers to nail down over the opening.

Riggins: Did you get called in at two?

Joe Hack: Of course. You think I came out here at two in the morning because I had nothing better to do? Things are slow. Let's go out and see what's happening on the various buildings.

Riggins: You woke up and you said, "I just have a feeling."

Joe Hack: No, the police call, usually would call. We typically had a system set up where we had on-call people 24 hours a day. Normally people will be in here, and it varied with the department whether it was grounds or housekeeping. Grounds usually started around 6:30 and went to about 3:30. House keeping started at 6, went to 3. Craft started at 7 and went to 4, and the admin. started at 8 and went to 5. And the night housekeeping, I think, was from somewhere around 9 until 6. And if something went wrong in the middle of the night that required a housekeeper, well, we had housekeepers here that could go over and be diverted from the buildings they would normally do at night. Some buildings were night buildings and some buildings were day buildings.

Riggins: And when you became the head of physical plant, I guess they were intermarried. Like the head of housekeeping, did they report to you or was there... (inaudible)?

Joe Hack: The head of housekeeping for the academic buildings. All the housekeeping for the dorms still resided with the dorms.

Riggins: Academic buildings, and what about the union and things like that?

Joe Hack: The union, we went back and forth. They wanted to try it themselves, and then nobody was happy with the way it was going, and then we got it back, and some of the buildings are difficult, like the union, because you have very high-traffic areas, which means you need somebody in there all the time. And then you had some people that were running it that wanted things done their way, and you can only get so much done with the people you're allocated. You want more done, you need more people, they don't want to pay for more people, so you're continually in that game.

Riggins: Yeah, so it was just back and forth.

Joe Hack: Yeah, like the difference between a Fiesta, a Ford Fiesta and a Mercedes 500. You want the Mercedes 500, it's going to cost more money. Somebody's got to pay for it. Now, if you're the one that wants the Mercedes, then you need to pay for it, because I'm going to provide you with a fine, working Ford Fiesta on the State budget.

Riggins: So you're saying you're the Ford Fiesta?

Joe Hack: Comparatively, yes. If you want the Mercedes, we can do that, if you'll give us more money and more people.

Riggins: But would the contractor provide the Mercedes? Not necessarily?

Joe Hack: No. That's why we got it back. And we saw the same thing happen in housing. They were not happy with the amount of times we were cutting the grass and the way we were doing it, so they hired an outside contractor, and they paid for the outside contractor. They weren't paying us. But then they didn't like the way the outside contractor was doing it, so they said, "Well, we're going to fire the contractor and bring you back." "Okay, now, are you going to pay us what you paid the contractor and we can, you know, provide you additional cuttings, etc.?" "Oh, no, we don't want to pay anything, we want you to do it for free." Again, you had something that was working and was at a good level. When you start looking for the top of the line, you can do that, but somebody's got to pay for it. There was no free lunch.

Riggins: Yeah, and I didn't know even how it worked with departments using physical plant or services. I don't know, like, if we needed lights changed or something in the library, do they charge our department?

Joe Hack: Why do you want the lights changed?

Riggins: If it's been not working.

Joe Hack: No. Why do you want the lights changed?

Riggins: If they're not working.

Joe Hack: Okay. No problem. We'll pay for it. We will provide the bulbs. The people will come over to change the light. Now, I said "Why do you want the light bulbs?" Because there was a little surge going around where somebody had said the rose-colored bulbs are much better on your eyes than these if you're using a computer. If you want us to come in and change the bulbs, yes, you can get a number of different type bulbs in there, different Kelvin temperatures, but if you want the bulbs changed object something done, "I don't like this; I want a different light fixture because I don't like it," then you're paying for it. We're going to charge you for it.

Riggins: The department will get...

Joe Hack: Whoever, whatever department is asking for it. But if it's not working and it's broken, the ceiling tile has leaks and needs to be replaced, that's no charge to you.

Riggins: What about if it's too cold in here. It might be too cold (inaudible)?

Joe Hack: That's no charge to you, too hot, too cold. Now, what do you do where you have-- let's say you and I work in this room. You work at that desk, I work at this table because we're short desks. You're too cold and I'm too hot.

Riggins: Yeah, that's a problem, believe me. I've been in offices where it's a problem.

Joe Hack: And we get cold.

Riggins: Usually the bigger person wins, which is not me, usually.

Joe Hack: We get colds like that. And you go over and you look and, you know, what do you say? You can't say, well, you need to wear more clothes, and maybe you need to take off that suit jacket you have on your fine, tailored suit, because you're immediately getting into a difficult situation there that is not acceptable to the people. And there is no easy way out of that. Somebody has to be the supervisor of the two and say, "What do you want to do? Do you want it warmer, do you want it hotter?" We had one where there was a temporary office occupation, and your thermostats are typically on a number of rooms. They're not on a single room. Well, if you are a fairly large person, you have more insulation naturally in your body, and there's a very small person in the office next to yours and both of them are controlled by the thermostat in your office, and you set that thing way low, the other person is freezing. And the person that had the thermostat was in every other day, the way their schedule worked, so we could get the call, and we would come over and adjust the thermostat, it happened to be the day they were gone. The person would come back and they would change it, and we'd get another call. And this would just go on and on. And we tried to get the department head to say, you know, "Can you sort out what's here? Because we can't do anything. That thermostat controls four or five rooms, and you've got two people in there that are the exact opposites."

Riggins: So what would be the solution?

Joe Hack: Somebody has got to say, "This is what it's going to be," or move one of those people into another room somewhere where it's going to be agreeable. But there are also many budgets a lot of people don't understand. We had money for maintenance and repair. If you wanted any new work done and Gene Huguelet got involved in one in here. He wanted some new copy machines. I guess they would jump fences in a single bound and faster than lightning, etc.

Riggins: All the new super-duper.

Joe Hack: He said, "We just need a plug up here. We're going to put another copy machine up here." We said, "Fine, Gene, what do you want?" And he said, "Well, we need, you know, such and such a voltage, such and such amps." We said okay and sent the electricians over to look at it and said, "Fine, no problem, we can do it. It's going to cost you a thousand dollars to do it."

Riggins: To upgrade?

Joe Hack: To put in one plug in the wall.

Riggins: Why so much?

Joe Hack: Because that one plug needed a dedicated circuit that ran back to the panel board. The panel was completely filled. There was no room to put another breaker in there, so we had to feed off of that one to a second panel. You had to buy a second panel, install the second panel, connect the second panel and then run from there over. So instead of just a duplex receptacle with a stainless steel cover, which you could probably buy for about ten bucks and the wiring over to the panel, you had to install a whole new panel.

Riggins: And you were sharing the building with, like, two departments, and they could share the cost if they would both be using the panel?

Joe Hack: If they wanted it, yes. But if you wanted it and you were the person that wanted that receptacle, you had a choice. You could either pay for a new panel or you could not have the new receptacle. What do you want to do?

Riggins: What did he do?

Joe Hack: He put it in. Well, it was his building, and he would then be able to feed other things off it later.

Riggins: Yeah, and he needed it.

Joe Hack: And there were different bags of money. Everybody thinks all the money's in one bag. All the money in housing is separate money.

Riggins: Yeah, because that's, everyone's on their own.

Joe Hack: The money that comes in from your-- not tuition-- residence fees, your rental fees, etc. Athletics, in athletics, it gets all fuzzy. If you have a person, you're a coach, and this is your office, but you also teach classes.

Riggins: Like PE or something.

Joe Hack: Is your office an academic territory or is it an athletic? And they would always try to shove it into the academic area, and we would always try to shove it into the other side. On maintenance and repair, it usually wasn't too much of a thing. On the new stuff, that was where it started getting sticky.

Riggins: New construction.

Joe Hack: Athletics was one. The other one we talked about was housing. You had another one, business affairs. The student union had some of both in it. So all these things started getting into a little fuzzy. And these are all different bags of money. And you can't take the bags of money across. If you had a bag of money like housing, anything that was done for housing, if they called in to change a light bulb, we did a work order and there was a labor charge and there was a fixed labor charge and a materials charge. And they would pay for it. So they'd want all their calls to come in through their central office. They didn't want the students calling in, because that could turn into a horror show. If somebody's too hot or too cold--and there again, you have suites in there where you have about four students in one central area--if they started calling too hot and too cold, and the thermostat's not doing what I want, housing's paying for every visit.

Riggins: Right, so they would report it to their RA, who would report it to a building manager.

Joe Hack: If it was an emergency, fine, no problem. Other than that, it was supposed to go through the front office.

Riggins: Right. Somehow, yeah, I guess it would go from the student to their resident coordinator, something like this.

Joe Hack: And we had just about no contingency allocated to us in the budget fund. We would run out of money every year in about January or February.

Riggins: Really?

Joe Hack: And you go in and say, "We're out of money. What do you want us to do?" "Well, where'd you spend it?" We'd say, "We had these major events. We had to replace the chiller over in this building, and that was 30 thousand dollars. You had to replace this over here. That was 10 thousand dollars. These were not normal events." "Okay. Here's more money. Don't exceed your budget." And every year, you looked at what was budgeted, and we spent more than that. And there were adjustments made near the end that would bring it up some, but we were still running over. All the contingency was held up on the other end.

Riggins: Did money come from tuition, for physical plant? Maybe if you...

Joe Hack: We didn't get any money for tuition. We had money allocated by business affairs. And most of the money that we operated from on the "academic buildings" was State money that was allocated for that. Salaries we had nothing to do with. You had so many people at such and such a grade and you were allocated that money up at the State level for those people. That's where you saw some stuff on one of the other State universities a while back where they were buying things that people kind of thought maybe they shouldn't. That was the term "lapsed salary."

Riggins: I don't know what that is.

Joe Hack: Okay. You're being paid some amount of money. Are you a State employee?

Riggins: Yes.

Joe Hack: Okay. You're a real State employee, not being paid like some of the people in the...

Riggins: Contractor...

Joe Hack: Contract-run operations are not State. Okay. You're a State employee.

Riggins: Independent contractor or...

Joe Hack: The State says, "Okay. Here's the money for Adina for one year, budget year 2007." Now, Adina decides that she's not happy here and she's going to go get another job, and she leaves this university and goes, let's say, to Greensboro, and she leaves halfway through the budget year, but the State laid the money on the table at the beginning of the year for one year for her. So, if they don't immediately hire somebody to replace her...

Riggins: It always takes time, so you have to...

Joe Hack: That money's sitting there, and it's pulled back. And that's what lapsed salary is, and they can use that as they see fit.

Riggins: Right. So you would do that if people left.

Joe Hack: We didn't. No, we didn't get to touch any of that. That was all, again, up in business affairs.

Riggins: Oh. Really. So, if your people left, then...

Joe Hack: I was just without a position, yes. We would try to hire as fast as we could.

Riggins: Yeah.

Joe Hack: Because the only difference is we either have somebody or we don't. We don't have the money. All that was played up with in the other end.

Riggins: To do something else with. Well, who was the vice chancellor for business affairs when you were here?

Joe Hack: When I started, it was Jerry Hunter, Dr. Hunter. He went down, I think, took over the college of Charleston.

Riggins: Oh, okay.

Joe Hack: I think it was. He was replaced by Bob Walton; when he retired, he was replaced by Tim Jordan. And when Tim retired, he was replaced by somebody afterwards that I didn't see. I was gone by then.

Riggins: Yeah, Tim retired probably around when you did. So, he's someone I need to talk to also. And Bob Walton, I've seen that name. A couple of people that you gave me names to talk to, Wayne Vereen, we talked about him before the interview, he's in telecommunications.

Joe Hack: He's right across from physical plant down there in Tin City.

Riggins: Why is it called Tin City?

Joe Hack: You obviously don't go down there, do you?

Riggins: Well, I'm asking for the benefit of the tape.

Joe Hack: Why do you think it was called Tin City?

Riggins: Well, the structures.

Joe Hack: Are all metal, yes. Everything down there is a metal building. Almost everything, I think. There may have been a couple coming in there that were added onto the thing. I think safety may be in something that has some brick, but I'm not sure on the back end there. Just about all the buildings down in that area, except for police, are metal buildings. And that was the first building that I designed on campus.

Riggins: The telecommunications?

Joe Hack: No. The police building.

Riggins: Really? Okay.

Joe Hack: And we made it with brick. And the reason we made it with brick at the time, the word was all the buildings on campus will be brick. And then apparently they got an okay to put stuff down on that end that was...

Riggins: Was not.

Joe Hack: Not brick. And once we got one or two up, then they just, like top seed, they grew.

Riggins: It was over. The brick standard.

Joe Hack: And we did a number of the fairly simple designs there. We'd just go in and say, "We want a building this big, and what's the standard size?" Talk to a number of the different building manufacturers to see what their standard bay size and spacing was and decide which one fit us and lay out what we wanted on the inside.

Riggins: Well, what about, did you get involved with the Student Rec. Center? Or was that separate?

Joe Hack: We'd get involved with it, again, as we mentioned, we had to review the plans that are done there. What's in it is up to the owner? Who paid for that? Student fees. So they were the ones who got to look at it.

Riggins: Student affairs? Yes.

Joe Hack: And say, "This is what we want." And if you look at the climbing wall, the running track up on the second deck, the three basketball courts, the weight rooms, the aerobics rooms and all the other stuff. And then Wellness also was in there, which is not part of the rec. thing per se. And that's only the first half. The concept was that plus a second half. I think it's going to have an indoor swimming pool was what they were talking about. And that would be built out the back end of what you're looking at.

Riggins: Yeah, that's, I guess, way down the road. We haven't had much of a...

Joe Hack: Well, it's when somebody lays the money on the table. Then again, the construction. Everybody thinks that all the money for construction of buildings comes from the State. Only the academic buildings, essentially, or related operational requirement buildings come from the State. Your student dorms are all paid for with tuition money. Your student activity buildings are with student fees. Your Student Rec. Facility is with student fees. Your purely athletic buildings are with athletic fees, the money that they raise. And again, you get into is Trask an academic building or an athletic building? Well, they play basketball in there. Yeah, but they also have intramural sports in there?

Riggins: And do they have classes?

Joe Hack: Do they have classes in there?

Riggins: Swimming class? Well, that's Hanover, but they have swimming classes and, I would think. So, some academic classes going on, yeah. Well, I'm sure everyone has strong opinions.

Joe Hack: Actually Hanover doesn't have a swimming pool. That's in Trask.

Riggins: That's considered Trask, okay.

Joe Hack: Hanover is that little building which was the original dorm that has that small basketball court where they all gather prior to the graduations commencements. And there was a small weight room or whatever on the back end of that.

Riggins: And Hanover was a dorm, you said?

Joe Hack: No. Not a dorm. That was the original gym.

Riggins: Gym. Right. Right. And there's still...

Joe Hack: There's still stuff that's done in there.

Riggins: Going to have their volleyball games and what not. But, okay, but the swimming pool is Trask. So, yeah. There's a lot. Another person you told me I need to talk to is Dan Getty, CMSR?

Joe Hack: No. He's not CMSR. He is over in development. He handles director of, I think, development. He's in Alderman, was in Alderman on the second floor right across from the vice chancellor for business affairs.

Riggins: Development, so he worked with Ty Rowell, I guess, whom you must know, I'm sure.

Joe Hack: Ty still here or is he retired?

Riggins: He's here.

Joe Hack: Down on the first floor.

Riggins: He's actually over in the new education building now, but he reports to the chancellor on special projects.

Joe Hack: Ty knew all the old people. When I say old people, the old money in Wilmington, Ty knew all those people.

Riggins: Yeah, he knows a lot. And to this day, his knowledge is being sought after because he knows a great deal. So, did you work with Ty much?

Joe Hack: On occasion, we would have some dealings with him for something he needed for one thing or another, usually involving fund raising of some kind.

Riggins: I guess in your position you worked with everybody at one point or another.

Joe Hack: If you have a building or in a building somewhere, you're going to probably have some involvement with us. If you want to plug in a refrigerator and there's no plug there, then physical plant is where they would call.

Riggins: Right. Well, that's not something, I certainly don't have a shortage of is outlets in this room.

Joe Hack: That's good.

Riggins: This was the typing room at one point, where the electric typewriters were kept. So that explains that.

Joe Hack: You can't have too many outlets.

Riggins: It is nice. I certainly don't have to worry. I have, you know, for all of my equipment, it's not a struggle. If you don't mind, I'd like to just take a short break.

Joe Hack: Make it so, Captain.

Riggins: I would like to continue and ask you about a few more people, if you don't mind.

(tape change)

Riggins: We're back. This is tape two, on April 12th, 2007, and Adina Riggins in the background interviewing Joe Hack. You go by Joe Hack.

Joe Hack: That's fine.

Riggins: Mr. Hack, who is speaking to us about your time at the university, and giving us a lot of insight into the building, and development, and grounds, crafts, work that took place at the university from your time here. Well, we were talking about some of the people that you wanted me to talk to when I said I was doing this project. You said that, "It's good to talk to me, but you really need to also talk to--" which is good, we like to get these suggestions-- "to some other folks." And you mentioned Rod Sizemore as the one that would be good to talk to.

Joe Hack: Dr. Sizemore, yes, he's one of the really good people here, relatively quiet but very confident, very professional. And he used to be part of the noon time running group--

Riggins: Oh, really.

Joe Hack: --which came to be known as the varsity, for no good reason.

Riggins: Okay. Let's get this on tape.

Joe Hack: And the varsity had some rules. When you were running the loop that the varsity ran, there was one rule: The first one back to the finish line wins. It has nothing to do with whether you followed the designated route, or whether you tripped anybody.

Riggins: (Laughter)

Joe Hack: The rule was: The first one back wins.

Riggins: Was the loop on campus, then?

Joe Hack: No. We typically would run, start over by Trask, go out the side there, and go down along, was that Wallace, go over across Wrightsville Avenue to the Park Street Elementary School there, take a left there, and go back down, turn left again, and come back in down by the dorms, then come in-- what is that street that comes in down there by the dorms? I can't remember anymore.

Riggins: Oh, Racine?

Joe Hack: No.

Riggins: Oh, not Racine.

Joe Hack: On the other side.

Riggins: Right.

Joe Hack: And then from there come up along the inside of the athletic field and back to the start point. That's about a three-mile loop.

Riggins: And then at Park Street Elementary School, over there near Floral and-- yeah, that's a good loop.

Joe Hack: And it was an occasional one, when everybody felt highly motivated, and it was break times, or whatever, and they weren't real excited about being exactly on time. We'd go out, and go back through the-- what's that other street? Go back out to Rose, and then all the way down Rose, and back out around, and come back in by the water tower. That got to be closer to a five-, six-mile loop.

Riggins: Yeah. Is there such a thing as a runner's high?

Joe Hack: I never found it.

Riggins: Really?

Joe Hack: No. Not until you sit down.

Riggins: Yeah, then there's a good feeling. But you have to do the run to get to that point. Who was in that group?

Joe Hack: Gene Huguelet, Ron Sizemore. Joe Browning would be out there occasionally. Usually they ran a separate loop. Dr. Dave Miller, the chaplain, then, I think a Lutheran minister-- I can't think of his name off the top of my head. Ron Sizemore, a guy from philosophy and religion, but I can't think of his name. Robert Warren, grounds. Another biology person, Hackney, Courtney Hackney. Occasionally one or two others wander in and out.

Riggins: Philosophy and religion, is he still around, that philosophy and religion person?

Joe Hack: I would think so. I know he went back to Israel once or twice, but I think he came back.

Riggins: Moshamoan (ph?) no, not Moshamoan or Habibi?

Joe Hack: Habibi.

Riggins: Don Habibi ran with you, wow, okay. Yeah, he's still here. I think he spoke with us on that.

Joe Hack: A lot of group kinda aged out or retired out and moved on.

Riggins: That's great. Six faculty members, academic men.

Joe Hack: The big time runners were Dave Miller and Joe Browning. Sizemore ran with them occasionally. I didn't bother. It wouldn't be worth my effort. There's no point in starting out and watching them run away from you.

Riggins: Gene Huguelet, did he run with them sometimes?

Joe Hack: I don't think Gene went out with them. Usually he stayed with us. But Gene was good. Gene was in fine shape, too. He's very thin, looked like a runner.

Riggins: Brook Stileston (ph?) does he run with you, or no?

Joe Hack: I remember the name, but no, he didn't run with us.

Riggins: So that was some nice collegiality, right? A chance to break away from the office.

Joe Hack: The group kinda broke up when the new facility came in down here, and they had access to that. And we had the people that worked up on this end of campus, we'd go over to Trask still. And the ones on that end would go down to that building. I could walk to the building down there. Parking was getting to be more and more of a problem as you went along.

Riggins: Uh-hum. So, yeah, some people could do that. Did you use that facility then, the Rec Center?

Joe Hack: Yeah.

Riggins: Yeah?

Joe Hack: It's a nice facility down there. You also had the indoor thing. If it got real cold, or you get really raining weather, you could always run inside there.

Riggins: Right. On the treadmill.

Joe Hack: On the reversible track. The treadmill is kind of a boring thing to get on there. It's kind of turn off your mind.

Riggins: Right. Yeah. It's not for everyone. Well, let's talk about, before we forget, your interests now. You are on a dive team?

Joe Hack: I'm playing with the North Carolina aquarium at Ford Fisher, and they're always looking for volunteers down there. They're staffed with about 400 volunteers. The dive team, there's not that many, and you can count them on that site we looked at there. The dive team has a separate dive team for every day, plus they have a little group that are standby divers, where they will go out if they're short on a particular day, with an email inviting anybody who wants to play and pick up that when they come in for--

Riggins: What do you do, what are your tasks? Is it research related?

Joe Hack: No. I am involved in the training. Any of the new people come in, I will process them through and keep track of where they are. And all the training is done on Tuesdays. But, Tuesday, also, like the other days, is assigned a section of the main exhibit, which is a Cape Fear Shoals. That's 23 feet deep and about 40 feet long, 35 feet wide. They also use us in some of the other ones. We go down the Hidden Hunter, which is only about 8 feet deep and about 20 feet long. And all the algae that grows up, you scrub on that, to get it, and let it come back. And then the filters, wipe down the inside of all the view panels. Also do some-- used to do some hand feeding, but when they put the new critters in, the sand tiger sharks, they quit doing the group hand feeding. And they just do for the small morays because they don't want to come up to the top. Everything else is scattered--

Riggins: Are you doing this for the visitors sometimes? Like for the--

Joe Hack: We did-- a typical day we'll have four scheduled dives. The 10:30 dive is an interactive where one of the divers will wear a full face mask that has a microphone, connects on out, and you talk with the educator on the outside, the people out of the education section that have a mike. And people can ask questions of the diver, and the diver can respond. And the safety diver will do the panels at the 10:30. 1:15 is a maintenance dive, which is a scrubbing and cleaning. And 2:30 is another interactive dive with the people.

Riggins: What are you scrubbing and cleaning?

Joe Hack: All that artificial coral. To keep the growths down on it, is scrubbed. We go in there with highly technical tools, pot brushes, and your scrub brushes with a-- about that big around, with the long bristles, look just like a scrub brush, regular scrub brushes, and just go along on 'em. And it goes from a dark brown to a light brown. Or those fan coral, where you take it and just go along and put your hand behind it, and all those pot corals and the other things in there.

Riggins: So that's the 1:00 o'clock dive, and then--

Joe Hack: And the 3:30 dive. And if there are any others, like the one over at the other exhibit in the fresh water. And you just pick up with them, the same thing.

Riggins: And you have to go there other times to train these said people.

Joe Hack: No. The training is all done on the day where they're-- I'm usually down there from 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning until about 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon.

Riggins: How often?

Joe Hack: Once a week. I'm there on Tuesdays.

Riggins: Okay.

Joe Hack: Occasionally, if something else comes up and they're really short I might go down there, but I try not to go down there on other days because you got a lot of people who are just standby divers, and the only diving they get is where they get a chance to go in on a missing people thing. And I've told them, "If you come up short, and you really need somebody, give me a call at home." Otherwise I will not respond to the email things. And I check my email religiously, every other Sunday.

Riggins: (Laughter) Twice. Over the years you've been involved in volunteering for the boy scouts?

Joe Hack: Ever since I've been down here, I've been-- well, even before that. I've been a troop committee person over the years, a cub master, a (unintelligible) den leader, an assistant cub master, or scout master, an assistant scout master, and round table commissioner. The last few years I've been on the eagle review board. I've mostly been doing that.

Riggins: That must be fun.

Joe Hack: With some other odds and ends occasionally thrown in.

Riggins: So you actually meet the kids who are coming up and say yay or nay?

Joe Hack: They've broken up the counsel. We just do the Masonboro district. It used to be a lot larger. They broke it into three different districts. We have essentially from Eastwood Drive to the Cape Fear River; from Market Street to the ocean. And that, roughly, is in the area we play in now.

Riggins: It used to be larger, you said.

Joe Hack: We used to go all the way down to Shallotte out the Burgaw and up the Hampstead. We were doing-- there were about five people on the Eagle review board. We were doing about 60 to 90 reviews a year.

Riggins: How many?

Joe Hack: 60 to 90. And the ones I've been involved in, at the count of last year, just twelve, about one a month now. One to a month. And then some other odds and ends, boards and other things that come up.

Riggins: And, so, I suppose you were an eagle?

Joe Hack: No.

Riggins: No?

Joe Hack: I was a star, long ago and far away. Another galaxy.

Riggins: Right, right.

Joe Hack: I had three sons that were eagles.

Riggins: Yeah. So you certainly, I'm sure, got involved, supported, and helped out in those endeavors. Well, I can understand. Let's see if there's anything else that--

Joe Hack: Because it's lunch time, and we're cutting into lunch time for you.

Riggins: No, not until 1:00.

Joe Hack: Oh, you don't go until 1:00. That's why you're taking your time.

Riggins: (Laughter) You got me. You figured me out. Well, actually, one thing-- this is relating to the scouts. Has participation in the scouts increased, do you think, over the years?

Joe Hack: I think it's growing. If you ever get a chance, you ought to go out and look at Camp Bowers.

Riggins: Where is that?

Joe Hack: It's about 13 miles from Elizabethtown. Not Elizabeth City, Elizabethtown.

Riggins: Right. Elizabeth's not E-Town. Uh-hum.

Joe Hack: At E-Town if you cross the bridge there, and after you cross the bridge, the first left you come to. It's about 13 miles down that road. I think it's Route 58. I'm not sure. They have a cub scout camp and a boy scout camp at Camp Bowers there. And it is really impressive, especially the stuff at the cub scout camp. Things like a pirate ship like you saw in Peter Pan. It doesn't move. Theirs is on pilings, but a full-blown pirate ship.

Riggins: Really?

Joe Hack: A Tom Sawyer raft that goes across their little artificial lake there, where you pull it with a rope. A little Indian village with teepees, metal teepees. The poles come down, it's a concrete base, but the material for the tents starts above your head height. So you got a sheltered area. And they've got a separate diving facility over there, not a cooking facility. The cooking is done over at the main mess hall and carted over there. They've got a fort, I mean a whole fort, all the way around. Big log wall all the way around it, with rooms inside there that you can use during the cold weather seasons.

Riggins: Really? And it's probably-- (inaudible)

Joe Hack: And they've got a whole bunch of stuff I haven't seen, they just finished building. They opened back up again about a week ago.

Riggins: Probably pretty affordable to go to camp there, I would think.

Joe Hack: That's the Cub Scout side. The Boy Scout side is all tent-type stuff.

Riggins: Uh-huh. Rudimentary and not as-- (inaudible)

Joe Hack: But they built shelters in each one of the camp areas that they didn't have before. Before they just had a couple campsites would share a shower facility. But all that has been upgraded in the last year or so.

Riggins: Do they have any shelters on the Boy Scout side, or is it all just very--

Joe Hack: Well, they had some central shelters where they would have everybody in the whole Boy Scout camp would go to the henny craft shelter, or to the nature shelter. But within each campsite there was no place-- if it rained, you stayed in a tent. Now they have a covered area with a concrete slab that you can go in there and, you know, gather everybody together or do something in there.

Riggins: That sounds good. Do you have any closing thoughts or things I didn't ask? I know I didn't ask everything that I could've possibly asked about your time here, or in general. But what was UNCW-- what makes UNCW unique, what do you remember about your time here? What would you like to share with anyone who maybe is doing some historical review of the university, and they say, "Oh, I want to watch the tape of the person who was Physical Plant Director for 20 years and see what they have to say."

Joe Hack: I think the selling thing that the university has is the ocean. And that's why marine biology has become a big thing here. You're only about seven miles away from the Atlantic Ocean. And that's really giving you a good push. There was a lot of competition. I know our buddies at Chapel Hill weren't real big on University of North Carolina Wilmington being the leading institution on that. Because they, I guess, had had it for a good while, but it makes sense to have the people who are at the ocean being the people who are pushing that stuff. It was a lot smaller, and that was nice. A smaller university is always nice 'cause everybody knows everybody. And now you're no longer a small university, you're midsize. You're not up in the University of Michigan type size thing here, but you're a good size university. And everybody doesn't know everybody anymore. It's not a-- and that was one of the things that you notice, all the people, we didn't have uniforms for physical plant. And, well, that came about one day when-- like I say, everybody in the old days knew everybody.

Riggins: Right.

Joe Hack: Even the workers in the shops. One day somebody went into the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affair's office, took their wallet out of their coat hanging on a rack. Said "I'm here to check the radiator," and the guy happened to come back in, and he works, I think, over in education. I can't think of his name. But, at any rate, he chased the person down the hall and grabbed him. Turned out he didn't work anywhere in the university. Not too long after that we got the money to pay for uniforms for all the people.

Riggins: Uh-hum. Well, something like that might push the envelope a little bit. You know, if everyone knew everybody. Did you know the housekeepers back then? Well, you didn't have the housekeepers, I know, when you first started for them. Did you get to--

Joe Hack: You knew most of the people to see. If you went into a building, you knew who belonged in that building. Now, I don't think anybody knows who belongs in the building.

Riggins: Right.

Joe Hack: That's kinda like the whole Wilmington area. There used to be almost no traffic lights between here and Carolina Beach where I live. Now traffic on that thing is starting to look like up in New Jersey.

Riggins: Uh-hum. Uh-hum. It's crazy. Especially around 5:00 o'clock, 6:00 o'clock. It's changed-- the order is changed. But you're here, you're staying, so, glad about that.

Joe Hack: Too old to move.

Riggins: Thank you for coming in.

Joe Hack: You're welcome. Goodbye.

Riggins: Goodbye. And I'll talk to you after I turn off the tape about providing you with a personal copy.

Joe Hack: How exciting.

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