After being self-employed for 10 years, Eric Wubbena knows the type of office he likes best. As the Director of Business Development and Marketing for PaperWise, Inc., he surrounds his workspace with comforts of home to spark creativity and productivity.
By Rose Marthis | Photos by Brandon Alms
When Eric Wubbena started at PaperWise, Inc. three years ago, he was in a temporary office while working what he calls a “Jack of all trades” position. When he got promoted to the Director of Business Development and Marketing, he needed to move to the marketing side of the building. He chose this room because of the color, he says, and because he didn’t have to do much to it to make it feel like home.
(left) Wubbena says it was important to have a seating area for clients and colleagues. The vintage Iowa Hawkeyes posters are a testament to his childhood. He grew up in Iowa, and the Hawkeyes “are the only team there,” he says. The posters advertise events and games from 1900, 1965 and 1969. On the table below, card coasters represent his love for Las Vegas and blackjack.
(right) Even with all of his collectors’ items, Wubbena’s family is the most important to him. He has pictures of his wife and daughters around the office, reminding him of family vacations and his wedding day. This time in his career is still a transition for him, as working at home while his daughters grew up gave him more time with them. Now they’re in college, so he doesn’t see them as much, but he keeps them close by in photo form.
Wubbena says a Porsche is the only car he’ll ever own again, and he displays his love for the vehicle on the bookcase’s top shelf. He started collecting model Porsches 20 years ago. The models here are all 911s. Two rows of pint glasses are a small sampling of his other biggest collection. A self-proclaimed beer fan, Wubbena says he owns more than 200 pint glasses, displaying family vacation destinations and favorite teams. Part of his collection comes from friends whenever they travel.
(left) “We work really hard here,” Wubbena says. “It’s exciting what we’re doing here. There’s a time to celebrate and relax.” And relax they do, with the help of his in-office bar. There are liquors to please every palate and always cold beer in the fridge. He was inspired by Mad Men and the nostalgia of that office culture, he says. “There’s something to be said of having a drink with colleagues when you’re collaborating,” he says. But Wubbena makes it clear that it is not routine for employees and is definitely a reward.
(right) Although Wubbena’s first Pittsburgh team to root for was the Steelers, his favorite sport is baseball, so he developed a love for the Pirates. He was there in 2001 for the first game hosted in the new PNC Park. He got season tickets and took his daughters to as many games as he could. When PNC Park opened, he bought a replica brick printed with his daughters’ names and one of his favorite baseball idioms. And on July 12, 1997, when his oldest daughter was born, Wubbena was at the hospital listening to Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon’s iconic no-hitter game on the radio and watching fireworks from the window.
Despite being part of the leadership at a software company, Wubbena is a pen-to-paper writer at heart. That’s why he likes having a back desk so he can look away from his computer to work through a problem. Lamps are also important to him—he hates overhead fluorescent lights. “I don’t have those at home, and I like the feeling of being at home here,” he says.
As Wubbena grew up in the ’70s, the most popular NFL teams were the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He loved the Hawkeyes and all things black and gold, so he chose to root for the Steelers. In 1995, he moved to Pittsburgh to work for IBM and “got to see everything I dreamed of,” he says. The bobbleheads, statues and ticket stubs are a reminder of his favorite Pittsburgh teams.