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Bruce Grubb oversees sanitation and wastewater treatment in Fargo. Submitted Photo

What’s in a name, anyway? Sometimes it can be a clue to your job

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business Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
What’s in a name, anyway? Sometimes it can be a clue to your job
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Some folks seem to be born for their job.

Joe Hammers is one.

“We were probably destined to be contractors,” said Hammers, general manager of Perham-based Hammers Construction Inc.


The Hammers family has been in construction a long time. Joe’s grandfather and grandmother started the business more than 50 years ago, and Joe is now in the process of buying it from his father and uncle.

The Hammerses aren’t the only folks in the area whose names seem perfect for the work they do.

Dr. Paul Bender opened Bender Family Chiropractic in Detroit Lakes in 2004.

“When I started off in (chiropractic) school, everyone picked up on it immediately, with my name and the profession,” he said. “As for patients bringing it up, I probably hear about it a couple times a week, especially new patients who see my name with chiropractic.”

It may even be good for business, he mused. “One person came in who heard about me on the radio in Fargo,” he said. “They see it in ads or in the phone book — it’s always a little joke in the office.”

As for a family history in chiropractic, there isn’t one — Bender’s father and a brother are both dentists.

 But while some inherit the perfect name for their job, attorney Julie Lawyer married hers.

“It’s very fun,” said Lawyer, assistant attorney general for North Dakota and special assistant to the U.S. attorney.

Her maiden name is Sorge, and she said her husband was fine with her keeping that. But she couldn’t pass up the profession-appropriate moniker, Lawyer.

“I just think it’s cool that people refer to me as attorney Lawyer,” she said.

Speaking of fun, what about Dr. Will Tickel, a chiropractor who practices in Moorhead?

People from out of state sometimes see his sign and call him “just to see if it’s truly a person,” Tickel said.

Others take pictures of the office door that bears his name. Others actually stop into the office to see “if there really is a person,” he said.

The grin-inducing name has earned him mentions on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” several times.

Tickel, himself, also enjoys it.

“It’s a great name for my profession,” he said.

Bruce Spiller has another appropriate name to his profession. He’s a civil engineer who primarily works with large-scale (wait for it) water-related projects and serves as project delivery manager for the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project.

“You work in water for 30 years like I have and with a name like that, and it’s going to come up every once in a while,” the Fargo resident said, “and usually when there’s something going on with water being spilled. You know, in my job usually we’re trying not to spill water.”

But it’s always good-natured, Spiller said.

Here’s a look at other people from the region whose jobs and names may give you reason to smile.

Greg Gust

Greg Gust grew up on a farm near East Grand Forks, Minn. That means he grew up watching the weather.

“You’re in it, and weather is something that’s a big part of your life,” Gust said.

He’s still paying attention to the weather, as warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. In that role he focuses on severe weather. It’s a perfect fit for a guy named Gust.

Gust, who’s based in the Grand Forks, has met others at the National Weather Service with career-fitting names, including Blizzard and Flood.

He got his start in meteorology in the Air Force. Once, he was part of a team that was investigating why an aircraft had gone down.

“There was a Major Payne. I was the Capt. Gust,” he said. “There were several names that were like that in there, and the colonel that was the head of the team said when he first got the list he thought someone was playing a joke on him.”

Dr. Patrick Capp

If you’re in need of some dental work, here’s a name you can trust: Dr. Capp.

But West Fargo dentist Patrick Capp didn’t see the connection between his name and his chosen field when he picked it.

“The funny thing is, before I went to dental school, I’d never heard of a cap before, on your tooth,” the Brooks, Minn., native said. “I knew it as a crown.”

A cap or crown is a piece that fits over and envelopes the tooth.

He may not have known he was choosing a name-appropriate profession, but it’s worked out well. Capp said he enjoys what he does.

“You get to meet and talk to a lot of different people,” he said. “That’s always interesting.”

Bruce Grubb

One of Fargo Enterprise Director Bruce Grubb’s jobs is to keep things from getting too grubby. He oversees the city’s sanitation and wastewater treatment efforts as well as its water service.

But Grubb doesn’t get a lot of ribbing as a result of the connection between his name and his occupation.

“Kind of surprising, but I have not,” he said.

Of course, with a name like Grubb, he would have also been well-suited to the food industry. “Normally the last name of Grubb is more associated with cuisine,” he said. “My family and I, we always make a joke. We’ll go out to eat ... and when the hostess comes up we say, ‘Four for Grubb.’ ”

As director of enterprise, Grubb serves the same basic role that a general manager would have at a company. He says he loves what he does.

“I was instructed in 2000 when I was given this job by former Mayor Bruce Furness to run this like a business,” he said. “Obviously, we’re providing a public service, that’s No. 1 — but to do it as efficiently and economically profitable as we can is a challenge I kind of like.”

Jessie Rock

When Jessie Rock and her husband were married, she wasn’t sure if she was going to take his last name.

“Should I change my name?” Rock asked her husband. “And he said, ‘I wouldn’t. You’re a geologist.’ ”

The North Dakota State University geology lecturer has a passion for her field of study.

“I get really excited about the geology because rocks tell stories,” she said. “And that’s fun.”

But she didn’t originally plan to go that direction.

“I was studying biology and ecology,” Rock said. “And then I took a historical geology class and realized that all my real questions were based in geology, my real questions about the world.”

And it’s been a good fit.

“When I declared my major, certainly my adviser and others were excited,” she said. “You know, ‘We have a new geology major. Guess what her name is.’ ”

Article written by J. Shane Mercer of the Forum News Service (DL Newspapers reporter Nathan Bowe contributed to this story)

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