His strut is slow, careful even, some might say. His hair is long and his beard is legendary, unanimously voted best beard in the office even before his first day. But walking closer, I noticed something that even his Zeus-like beard could not compete with, his crewneck. A simple gray sweatshirt from afar, sporting a weathered graphic of the iconic Loony Tunes character sitting above three letters that read “TAZ”. A Value World purchase he told me, he has an entire closet full of them. When he finally sat down, he greeted me with an immediate smile and high-five.
“Freedom, cheese and donuts,” he said, “that’s all you really need to write down about me.” Of the three pyramids of Woody’s life, cheese reigns supreme and he certainly isn’t shy about it.
Woody comes into this employee spotlight as the freshest shrub to take root here at Willow—bringing the total number of people named Luke in the office to two. Naturally, the rest of the team decided on a creative way to separate the two—“Old-Luke” and “New-Luke”, or according to Brad, “New-And-Improved-Luke.”
“I’ll tell you, it’s not the worst nickname I’ve had. My first agency internship, everyone just called me ‘intern,’ no matter what. To this day, if I see any of them out they still call me intern. But that’s cool with me.”
Woody is a laid back guy through and through, except when it comes to his love of 80’s music, “Oh yeah. Hall & Oates, Flashdance, maybe some Corey Hart if I’m feeling squirrely. Basically, anything I can punch-dance to.” What’s punch dancing you ask? This clip about sums it up, punch-dance 101.
Aside from his eclectic taste in music and dance style, Woody is an accomplished photographer and designer. As a student at Ball State, he was part of the team that researched, filmed and produced “Legacies of Perfection”—a documentary that traced the history of the Indiana-made Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles and those involved in preserving their legacy. The documentary went on to win an Emmy for post-production. “Everyone was already really proud of the documentary itself and what we’d accomplished. The Emmy was just the cherry on top—a testament to the team’s hard work. But you can’t let winning awards like that mesmerize you. If Pinterest taught me anything, it would be to stay humble and hustle hard and that’s exactly how I plan to take on life.”
Woody would go on to graduate from Ball State with a degree in advertising, though most of his design skillset is actually self-taught. Through hours of tedious trial and error, he was able to master what he calls “the holy trinity” of the Design Suite: Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. “Yeah, I tried using Lynda.com a couple of times, but I’d end up falling asleep 10 minutes in because the monotonous voices they use. So I just did it the old fashioned way.”
Woody’s future is bright here at Willow. So to end the spotlight, I asked him about what he was looking forward to most. “Well,” he said, “I was pleasantly surprised how relaxed everything was when I started. It’s what I love about Willow. Everyone works hard but still leaves room for fun. It’s the place where I’ll begin to spread my weirdness.”
The interview was over, like most it ended in standard fashion. Woody stood up from the couch, thanked me, high-fiving me in the process. He began that slow methodical walk right to the driver’s side door of his fire-red Pontiac Fiero hopped in through the window. He scrunched up the sleeves of his crewneck to mid forearm and started the ignition whilst popping on his shades and brushing back his hair. The engine roared and the tranny hissed. Hall and Oates almost immediately rang from the speakers. Once the subwoofer kicked in, the entire vehicle shook, even rattling the windows of the vehicles next. He flips open the glove box, revealing a pair of driving gloves and an emergency cheese kit. He throws a cheese ball or two in his mouth. And before driving away, a cheesy thumbs-up emerges from the driver side window just as Hall and Oates reached the chorus. “Cheese is life,” he said and with a sly smile, he peeled out of the Willow parking lot and drove into the night, never to be heard from again… until Monday morning.