Wesley Bintz is the Research Operations Manager in the College of Arts and Sciences here at Western Carolina University.
According to Bintz, his position includes “primarily servicing Biology, Chemistry and Physics and geosciences and natural resource management departments in Stillwell and the Natural Sciences Building.”
Bintz explained that the “two main components” of his occupation are chemical management and working with students and faculty to keep lab safety compliance. He also stated he helps students and faculty in “virtually any research or laboratory logistics-related issue.”
When asked what his childhood was like, Bintz responded “I have great parents, so childhood was great.”
Bintz said that he did what kids did: “sports, video games, watching the A-team and eating lots of sugar.”
Other than his father, his role model used to be Luke Skywalker. Bintz says his role model is now Yoda.
Bintz received his bachelor’s degree in environmental science at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
After graduating from USF, Bintz wanted to move to Asheville and work for the Park or Forest Service. His wife wanted to attend graduate school. He and his wife were accepted into the chemistry master’s program here at WCU.
Bintz said, “The master’s in chemistry here taught me that with the motivation of my wife and by staying positive, I could persevere anything. I did almost cry a couple times; it might have been allergies, though.
“Then we wanted to live on the top of a mountain and live happily ever after until we saw the real estate prices,” said Bintz.
Bintz stated that he believed that strengthening his chemistry skills would help him compete for “an environmental-monitoring type federal job in this area.”
“I enjoyed my thesis work, collecting samples in the spruce-fir forests and analyzing soil and foliar samples for evidence of acid deposition under Dr. David Butcher,” said Bintz.
How did Bintz end up as the Research Operations Manager in the College of Arts and Sciences?
“I believe that fostering the relationships and skills I developed as a grad student here helped me get back. My wife, being smarter than I am, was able to teach adjunct after graduation and finally landed a steady gig as a forensic science research associate.
I worked as a seasonal forestry tech for the Park Service and as a registered environmental health specialist enforcing state septic and well rules for Macon County for five years before applying and accepting the position here at WCU,” said Bintz.
When asked what he loves about his job, Bintz responded, “My job duties vary, which keeps me moving. It’s a good mix of computer work and lab work. I mainly just help people all day which is very rewarding.”
Bintz’s hobbies include disc-golf, hiking, playing PS3 and listening to Major League Baseball games in the hammock.
Another of one of Bintz’s hobbies is making music. Bintz plays bass and makes indie electronic music in his band Issacson, which he described as a “post-rockish indie band.”
According to Bintz, most of the members are from Asheville. They have been together for about two years and play about every three months in Asheville and the surrounding area.
He also stated that they digitally released an EP called “Sprinter” through Seven Moths Records, which Bintz explained is a label run by a WCU alum and is available for download from “all major sites, such as Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc..”
“We recorded it ourselves and are pretty proud of it,” Bintz said.
The friendly environment of WCU’s campus and the disc-golf course are Bintz’s favorite aspects about WCU.
“I love the friendliness of the place, the nurturing and accepting environment of campus and the disc-golf course. I enjoy making people laugh and feel good about themselves, so I have plenty of opportunities to do that here,” said Bintz.