John Buss is an instrument shop coordinator at UW-Stout. He works primarily in the Engineering and Technology department, but helps in other areas as needed.
His principle task is to support the laboratories, so they are ready when the students and faculty need them. On any given day John might be repairing one machine, performing preventive maintenance on another, helping a student who has questions about a process, ordering materials or installing a new piece of equipment.
John has been at UW-Stout almost 20 years, and he enjoys the variety and the fact that no two days at work are ever the same. He appreciates his colleagues, and feels appreciated by them. His friendships span out to multiple people in various roles. He loves his job, and his coworkers are a big part of that.
Always on his toes
John enjoys being given the freedom to decide how and when to tackle the work he needs to do. His daily to-do list involves a lot of creative problem-solving, and he recognizes how important it is that students have the equipment available when they need it. He also appreciates that what the machinery students use will often be what they will work with when they are in industry.
That keeps him on his toes, as he must keep up to date on the new equipment, so it will be ready for students to use. He also enjoys the opportunity to help students one-on-one, if they are struggling with understanding how equipment works or need some advice about how to tackle a challenging problem.
John has a great deal of experience working with machines going back to when he was a child. His father was a machinist, so he learned from him about how to be precise and meticulous in working with equipment. His grandfather was a farmer, so he learned from him the skill of doing whatever was needed to get a balky tractor or other machine to work. He applied that knowledge and skill working in industry where he maintained and repaired equipment.
In some cases, if a piece of equipment went down, it would cost the company $20,000 an hour in lost production, so there was often a great sense of urgency in getting things fixed. Because of the long hours associated with his machine repair work, when he got married, John decided to go into sales to have a more manageable schedule.
John’s initial contact with UW-Stout was through his work as a salesman. Through his contacts at the university, he realized a position there might allow him to both do the work he enjoyed with machines and still have regular hours. He applied, took an exam, got the job, and is still here two decades later. Although he has had opportunities elsewhere, his co-workers, the students and the work have kept him at UW-Stout.
Peering into his crystal ball, John sees a future where technology continues to advance, and sees partnerships with business and industry and providing opportunities to ensure that our students will be able to continue to work with cutting edge equipment.
John lives in Chippewa Falls and finds the commute helps him focus in the morning and decompress on the ride home, especially when riding one of his Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Recently remarried, he and his wife Michelle have two daughters and six grandchildren. John is an avid outdoorsman, enjoys target shooting and raising chickens. He also enjoys time serving in his church.
We are very glad to have John among our group of dedicated professionals at UW-Stout who help ensure that students are ready for work and life when they graduate!