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Employee Portrait Gallery—Sam Lomba
About fifty years ago, Sam Lomba’s parents—John and Beatriz—moved from the Cape Verdean Island of Brava to the United States. Sam was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1960. Realizing a long-term dream, John moved his family to Cape Cod in the early 1970s. Sam and his six siblings—one brother and five sisters, including Olimpia (Bebe) McCall, senior administrative assistant with the Coastal Ocean Institute and Rinehart Coastal Research Center—grew up in East Falmouth and attended local public schools. Sam’s father worked in the WHOI Carpenter Shop for 11 years, retiring in 1988. While still in high school, Sam joined WHOI in 1977 as a member of the night-time cleaning crew—with the immediate goal of earning enough money to buy his “almost dream-car,” a 1970 Ford Mustang fastback with a 351 Cleveland engine. In 1980 he joined the Shipping and Receiving group and in 1984 moved to the Stockroom. In high school, Sam enjoyed math, art, drafting, basketball, track, and mechanical and welding shop, and to this day, he enjoys classic and muscle cars.
Sam’s interest in mechanics has been put to good use in the stockroom, where the staff employs a wide variety of mechanical “know-how” on a daily basis. They not only provide the literal nuts and bolts that hold WHOI’s scientific equipment—and even Alvin—together, but they often assist engineers and scientists on the spot with construction suggestions. Their work is about much more than wrangling the approximately 6,000 items in stock (and remembering which drawers the various items are in!). It is also about anticipating the ship needs during short port calls, being aware of the science that will be conducted on upcoming cruises, and keeping an eye on new trends, as well as ensuring a supply of “outdated” parts for older instruments. The group received the Penzance Award in 1992. Sam’s off hours are largely devoted to family time and his position as a church deacon.