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In the Custodial Department

Eric Baldwin | Peter Batura | Fred Kucharski  | Saroeuth Yoeum


Eric Baldwin

Eric Baldwin

Brief bio: Born and raised in Whately/S. Deerfield. Have lived and breathed music ever since I can remember.

Date started at Amherst: May 2007.

Current position: Custodian.

Funniest experience at the College: Singing a parity of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” entitled “Dorm Damage” at the first dorm meeting for 2010.

What do you splurge on? Coffee, usually.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: Writing and performing my music. Spending time with my family.

Little known fact about you: Dad of 3: Kaydence, 2, Emery and Liam, 4 months.

Your coworkers think you are: Not sure, but I try to be as helpful as possible.

What sideline or hobby do you have? Singer/songwriter, guitar and keyboards.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d toughen up and not be such a pushover. Be more ambitious.

What really sets you off? Being cut off on the road, bodily fluids in stairwells, rude people.

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: Freestyle walking.

People in high school thought you were: I was kind of quiet but I got along with everyone despite the cliquishness.

Strangest job you ever held: Used to work three hours at a convenience store/gas station after school. I stocked the cooler shelves and was literally in the cooler.

Proudest moments: Voted “Best Male Vocalist in the Valley” by the Valley Advocate; the birth of my three children.

 


Peter Batura

Peter Batura

Brief bio: Grew up in Florence. Met my wife by wandering into her parents’ backyard and it was love at first sight. We now live in the house. I was a mechanic prior to coming to Amherst.

Date started at Amherst: October 2000.

Current position: Custodian.

Various positions held at the College: Safety committee member; for three years helped out in the HVAC department and for two years helped out in the electrical department.

Funniest experience at the College: I was t-boned by a student speeding out of a school zone. No one was hurt but everyone thanked me for totaling the car since it was old and no one liked it anymore.

What do you splurge on? My wife, Kristin, and Amanda, 10, and Carrissa, 9. Amanda was born on Christmas day and Carrissa was born on New Year’s Eve.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: Spend time with family. I drive donated cars in demolition derbies. I do it every year and have won heats but never won a derby.

Little known fact about you: I have two tattoos on my back of demo cars and when I flex my shoulders, the cars crash into each other.

Celebrity sighting at Amherst College: Not a celebrity, but my grandfather, Herbert Hemingway, was the head engineer in the boiler room. He worked here for 30 years when we burned coal.

Your coworkers think you are: Nutty. I’m always cracking jokes to keep morale up.

What sideline or hobby do you have? Working on cars.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’m happy and can’t complain about anything.

Strangest job you ever held: I had to crawl in a tight vent since I’m the smallest one in the department.

Dumbest thing you ever did: In Coolidge dorm, I left a chemical dispenser unit attached to a sink with the water running. The hose blew, causing the staircase to flood.

Proudest moment: The birth of my first child.

Closing comment: This is a very interesting place due to all of the people you meet. The students are just great. I’ve found that if you’re nice and friendly with them, they’re nice back and are respectful of their areas.


Fred Kucharski

Fred Kucharski

Date started at Amherst: I worked part-time for about six months and then was hired full-time in February 1988.

Current position: Custodian.

Various positions held at Amherst: I worked in the electrical department for six to seven summers.

Funniest experience at the College: The time that Jim Healy and John Monska walked away from a bucket loader while it was running. Each thought the other had shut it off. Campus police discovered it at 1:30 a.m.

What do you splurge on? I have a shortwave radio show and I have to pay for it since I don’t have any sponsors.

Little known fact about you: A lot of students know me and they have nicknamed me Professor Freddie since I talk with them about everything that they don’t study.

Celebrity sighting at Amherst College: I struck up a conversation with the Prince of Monaco and didn’t even know it was him. I talked with him as if he was a regular guy. Others told me who he was later.

Your coworkers think you are: I stay on a topic too long and have to be told to kill it.

What sideline or hobby do you have? I have a shortwave radio station and broadcast from my home. It’s a free speech radio station (www.wbcq.com). I do silly, slapstick humor.

One thing you would change about yourself: I’m happy with myself.

Strangest job you have ever held: Cleaned up in a social dorm, need I say more?

Proudest moment: Being named an honorary member of the Classes of 2003 and 2010. I went to the senior dinner and brought my father.

Closing comment: Cleaning isn’t the most glamorous job but someone has to do it. I love meeting and learning from the students. I’ve gotten cards from them for being nice, sweet and considerate. It’s very humbling.


Saroeuth Yoeum

Saroeuth Yoeum

Brief bio: I am a refugee from Cambodia. I came here with my parents and younger brother in 1996. When I first arrived I worked in the ESL department of Bristol Community College. I attended classes in the morning and then in the afternoons I worked for them helping with adults.

Date started at Amherst: First time: March 17, 2005, left on March 17, 2006. Came back on December 21, 2006 and have been here since.

Current position: Custodian.

Funniest experience at the College: I left the College and then wanted to come back. I called Mick and asked him if he would take me back and while I was talking with him I asked him if he was going to walk me around the campus to show me all of the buildings again (like he did during the first interview). Mick said no, that the woman who was supposed to have started in the job never showed up so he needed me right away.

What do you splurge on? My daughter.

Favorite thing to do outside of the College: I go to school. I attend AIC and am working on a bachelor’s degree in Finance. I have 96 credits so far. I plan to continue for a master’s in Accounting.

Little known fact about you: I used to tutor math to high school students in Fall River, MA.

Your coworkers think you are: Crazy. When they know my background they can’t understand why I’m here. Crazy in a good way.

What sideline or hobby do you have? I like to travel. I went to Niagara Falls over the Labor Day weekend. It was beautiful.

One thing you would change about yourself: I would be more outgoing. I’m very timid. What really sets you off? People who complain too much.

One product, trend or fashion you’d like to see return: Old cars. I like the simple motors and carburetors.

Strangest job you ever held: I had to clean up after a squash player who had punched out the glass window. There was blood all over the place.

Dumbest thing you ever did: Pretend that I know how to mop a floor when I first started. They could tell by my awkwardness that I didn’t know what I was doing.

Most proud moment: To have held this job for so long. I’m usually very fluid so I can tell that I’m getting older.

 

Submit Your Ideas

Submit Your Ideas

Amherst Works is looking for your news items and article ideas. Please send suggestions and questions to hr@amherst.edu.