Paving the Way
Now the owner of a successful asphalt paving business, Bill Shumaker shares how Alpha Sig helped pave his way in life.
Why did you join Alpha Sigma Phi?
I rushed all the houses and knew where the good parties were during rush. But the thing I liked about Alpha Sig, in addition to the parties when I rushed, was that it had a good cross section of good guys – you know, a little bit of everything. It wasn’t the architecture of the house, but rather the guys who were in the house. There seemed to be a lot of opportunities to hold leadership positions in the house, and I felt like we could accomplish anything we set our minds to.
What is your favorite fraternity memory?
At Purdue we had a university go-cart race every year, the Purdue Grand Prix. It’s still a pretty big deal, but back then, it was huge. For three years in a row, I represented Alpha Sigs as their driver in the race. Two years we started on the front row and were very competitive in the race. I was actually in position to win it the third year, but I had a big time crash. I survived it uninjured, but obviously didn’t win, which would have been great for the house. But the camaraderie that came with the work of the pit crew, the guys in the house that helped secure sponsorships and promote the event, and the sororities that celebrated with us made this a great memory for me, and hopefully a lot of others. Eventually, two of my younger brothers drove for Alpha Sig, and one did win the race in 1984.
What kind of influence has the fraternity had on your life since graduation?
I think a couple of things. It goes back to the people initially. I live pretty close to Purdue still; I live in Indianapolis, so I have been able to stay close to people and maintain a number of those friendships that developed out of the house. And as we’ve gotten older, a number of our close friends are fraternity brothers of mine and sorority sisters of my wife’s. There are easily 25 to 30 guys I keep in regular contact with – close friends for life. Another thing is you get real exposure to running a business and a volunteer organization, because the fraternity is a little bit of both. While we were there, we had a budget, officers, real money to spend, real bills to pay. And we were volunteers. So as you go on to hold positions in life, you look back to that experience in the fraternity. It was wonderful how many positions we had and offices you could hold, like social chair, house manager, vice president, president, treasurer, etc. that gave some real-life training.
You mentioned a close group of brothers you are in touch with. Who are they? And is there anyone with whom you’ve lost touch that you would like to find?
First off, three of my younger brothers were members of Alpha Sigma Phi at Purdue: John Shumaker ’84, Dan Shumaker ’86 and Tom Shumaker ’94. Others I’ve been in touch with include Steve Miller ’79, Jon Stevens ’81, Bill Tellmen ’80, Barry Goodrich ’81, Eric Allen ’75, Ken Sprong ’81, Scott Kennell ’81, Scott Karstetter ’83, Randy Yount ’79, Brad Yount ’88, Greg Sinise ’74; that’s a pretty good list. There’s not really anyone I’ve lost touch with, because there are enough publications that come out from Purdue or Alpha Sigma Phi, which let us find just about anyone who doesn’t mind being found.
What was your nickname and how did you get it?
“Shu” was always my nickname.
What other activities did you enjoy in college?
Most of what I did up there was house-oriented. I didn’t do too much else on campus. The good thing was, when I was there, we had a really good, self-motivated group of guys, which made our house, in our opinion, one of the top five houses on campus for three or four years. And that’s out of 47 different fraternities. We just had a nice synergy or something. We won the all-campus sports a couple of years in a row and we had the football championship. We also had representatives on student government. Our finances were good. Whatever we set our minds to doing, we had someone who could organize it and get it done.
Did you live in the house? Who were your roommates and can you tell us about a memorable time with them?
Yes, I did. I had John Stevens and Ken Schultz ’81 and David Yount ’82 as roommates. We always had a good time! We had some room parties, called “family tree parties,” with us and some friends on the hall. Then we’d include our little brothers and little sisters and get the whole family tree together for some fun. Usually they were impulse parties.
Tell us about your family. Have you married? Do you have children?
I married my girlfriend from college and we have three kids. My son is a high school senior, my one daughter is a high school junior and my other daughter is in the eighth grade. So, we’re getting ready to experience the college thing again through our kids. They all have some interest in Purdue. My son just sent his application in for the Construction Technology School. We’ve stayed active going to football games, so they have been indoctrinated with Purdue. Whether they take to it or not, I don’t know. That’s their choice. And if my son went there and chose to go with Alpha Sig, that would be just fine with me!
What do you do for a living?
My major was building construction technology. I got out and joined my family’s asphalt paving business. I worked with them for a few years and then started my own business, which I have had since 1983. The company, Globe Asphalt Paving, specializes in asphalt paving construction in the Indianapolis area. One of my brothers, John, who was also an Alpha Sig, works with me.
What affiliations do you currently enjoy?
My son has been active in Boy Scouts for a number of years and just received his Eagle Scout award. I have helped his troop for the last seven or eight years, holding various positions. I’ve been Treasurer and helped on campouts and such. And now I am an Assistant Leader for the Venture Crew, which are the older Scouts. Last June, we took a bunch of guys down sailing in the Keys for a week. I told them that there are a whole lot of people who dream about doing this most of their lives and now they’ve done it and most of them aren’t even eighteen. I am also semi-active in our church, in various committees. I help when I can.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
Obviously, I like sailing. We do snow and water skiing – my wife and kids. I am also a private pilot, so I spend a fair amount of time flying every year. We like snowmobiling in Michigan when the weather cooperates. We love to spend time with family and friends; I don’t like to sit around much.
What are your goals for the next few years?
My goal is to get my kids to college and get them through college (and get them out of the house!). But I’ve got good kids and I am proud of them. I want to do what I can to help them achieve their goals. We’ve achieved a lot, and now we’ve got to back them. My wife and I also like to travel a lot. We’ve seen a lot of the country and world, with and without the kids, so we’ll continue to do that.
Brothers who want to get in contact can email email@example.com.