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   from the issue of August 25, 2005

Rocking locksmith finds niche

Doors are opening for Kim Kramer.

Kim Kramer, a trade supervisor for facilities management and planning at UNL, places pins in a lock. Kramer, who also...
 Kim Kramer, a trade supervisor for facilities management and planning at UNL, places pins in a lock. Kramer, who also plays guitar in the classic rock band, "Rocking Fossils," has found a home at UNL as a locksmith. Photo by Troy Fedderson/University Communications.

Of course, that's all in a normal day's work for Kramer, a rock and roll guitarist turned locksmith who has served three years as supervisor of UNL's access control division.

"I really enjoy this job," Kramer said. "The number of keys we oversee is unbelievable. But, working with the old locks and keeping up with new technology are things I really love."

Kramer's road toward tumblers started after a teen dream of being a rock guitarist fizzled. With some high school friends, Kramer performed locally in the band Gatsby. Recording mixed success locally, the group packed their amplifiers and rode the train to Colorado.

Three years later, Kramer returned to Lincoln with an eye on furthering his education.

"Let's just say I didn't get rich playing music," Kramer said. "So, I came back and decided to go back to school."

Funds, however, were in short order. The ensuing job search led to a career path when Kramer accepted a position as an apprentice locksmith with Mattice Lock and Safe. He worked in the Lincoln-based office for 22 years before coming to UNL.

While the work included the usual key making and aiding unfortunates locked out of cars, Kramer also has some out-of-the-ordinary memories, including the day he opened an unlikely treasure chest.

According to Kramer, a customer brought in a locked box and asked to have it opened. Later in the day, when the lock finally gave way, Kramer discovered that the box was filled with packs of money banded together in sequential order.

"I called the customer to tell him it was open and that he wouldn't believe what was in it," Kramer said. "He immediately asked if it was money."

Here at UNL, Kramer's duties are less unusual, but more professional. In the wake of security changes after 9-11, Kramer has helped establish a new university key tracking system that is more efficient and increases accountability. He has also helped UNL step to the next generation of door locking mechanisms, including keypads and card access readers.

"The part I enjoy the most is the opportunity to work on pro-jects from scratch," Kramer said. "It's great to be able to plan everything out, making our buildings as secure as possible. I find that to be very rewarding."

And, while Kramer enjoys his career choice, he still finds his way onto local stages from time to time.

"I'm still not getting rich from it, but I do continue to play," said Kramer, a guitarist for the classic rock band Rockin' Fossils. "We've been playing together for 15 years, so we're all getting pretty old. But, it's something we all enjoy and I don't think it's something I'll ever get out of my system."

This is a new series featuring employees of UNL. Stories are open to anything interesting, from on-campus jobs to at home hobbies. If you know an employee who should be featured here, contact the Scarlet at 472-8515 or



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