Blackstone Laboratories was Jim's brainchild back in 1985. A Purdue University graduate, Jim is an A&P aircraft mechanic and has his private pilot's certificate. When he's not sniffing oil or writing reports, Jim enjoys flying the skies of Indiana, rebuilding his shed, and contemplating ways for Blackstone to take over the world. To see Jim's most recent report, please click here.
Ryan started at Blackstone in 1997 after graduating from Purdue University with a mechanical engineering degree. Ryan is responsible for writing and maintaining Blackstone's software program, setting up and managing the lab, writing reports, and a million other things that need to be done in a business. When he's not kicking ass in the lab or writing code, Ryan enjoys putting his pilot's license to good use, working on his '84 Chevy 3/4 ton, and teaching his son to play ball. As an experiment, Ryan is currently running Aeroshell W65 — an oil with (gasp!) no zinc or phosphorus in it — in his Chevy to determine if the hype over ZDDP (zinc dithiophosphate) is all that or not. If the experiment ruins his engine, well, he's rebuilt it before. To see Ryan's most recent report, click here.
Kristin deviated from the family flock by attending Indiana University, earning an English degree. She worked as an editor and writer in Colorado and Michigan before the siren call of Blackstone brought her back to Indiana. Kristin started at Blackstone in 2001 and has since learned to love the intoxicating world of oil analysis. When she's not working on the website, creating newsletters, or writing reports, Kristin runs triathlons and enjoys hiking with her husband and kids. To see Kristin's latest report, click here.
Adrianna Manaugh is a 2003 Taylor University graduate. Adrianna mainly does bookkeeping and logs in all the pertinent information about your oil samples, but she can and does do more than that when needed. If there's a problem with your sample, Adrianna is often the first to catch it and she is probably the person who will hound you for more information. When she's not slaving over oil, Adrianna dreams of becoming a missionary and manages to travel to Haiti or another exotic (read: warmer than Indiana) location each year for missionary work.
Billy Cunningham joined Blackstone as an analyst and backup lab guy, but he has evolved into a true jack of all trades. Billy has 40 years racing experience, starting out in drag racing, then switching to speedway. Eventually he became an official and wrote racing stories for national publications. In the 1990s he owned his own company as a business manager of speedways. In his free time, Billy enjoys marrying off his daughters and spending time with his grandkids. He's also an avid NCAA fan and manages win our office NCAA pool regularly, despite Kristin's insistence that "women's intuition" would conquer all. To see Billy's latest report, please click here.
Erik DeMarco took to Blackstone like a Labrador takes to the water. Erik spends his days in the lab improving processes, setting up new machines, and building things. He has been known to spend his free time tearing apart engines and fixing them himself. That’s our kind of guy. Take a look at Erik's latest report here.
Alex Miller was a car nut trapped in the body of a bank teller until he found his true calling at Blackstone. He now spends his time penning reports and spreading the word of Blackstone to the far corners of the Earth. He is the proud owner of a 2007 Stage 3 Roush Mustang and spends his free time going to car shows with his very patient wife. He is clearly a very nice person, since he didn't even get mad when Kristin called his Mustang a Corvette. To see Alex's latest report, click here.
Amanda Callahan likes to shoot people. With a camera, that is. In her free time she runs a freelance wedding photography business, and brides clamor for her time from the great north (Wisconsin, where she grew up) to the heartland. She also likes to travel. Most recently she did some shooting on a trip out west to Las Vegas and Arizona, and since the cops did not bring her back in handcuffs, we assume she was doing her shooting with a camera there as well. As you can see, Amanda also enjoys getting her picture taken with huge, hairy guys at Packers games. To view Amanda's latest report, click here.
Travis Hefflefinger is a man of many talents. Not only is he a word crafter of the highest order, he can take apart and reassemble engines and transmissions with ease. When he's not talking engines with Blackstone's clientele, he spends time restarting hearts and rescuing accident victims as an EMT in Ohio. He also can bend steel with his bare hands, and he once wrestled a grizzly bear to the ground and ate his ear. (Note: The actual Travis may vary some from this description.)
Richard Szoltysik is our lab manager, and when he’s not busy vaporizing oil in the spectrometer, he is a moderator over at JeepUpOrShutUp.com. And when he’s not doing that, he spends his time building and racing Jeeps at the Badlands Offroad Park here in Indiana. To see Richard's latest report, click here.
We have never known anyone who could supply soldiers in the desert with water, but that’s exactly what Samir Kharbas did during his time stationed in Iraq as a Marine. But that’s not all! He’s also a computer crackerjack, mechanic, student, and Blackstone’s latest oil analysis guru. Having worked on cars for years, Samir is putting his expertise to good use crafting oil analysis reports and discussing engines with all the people who want to chat. And there are a lot of you. While he says he spends his free time going to the gym and working on computers, we suspect he’s just being modest about his secret life in espionage and alligator-wrestling. You can see Samir's latest report here.
Jamie Shaffer: test-tube slinger, viscosity reader, quantifier of solids, and more. When he’s not wrangling oil in the lab, Jamie wrangles a camera and spends his free time releasing his inner photographer. We haven’t yet seen a sample from his ’87 Porsche, but he’s being chastised as we speak and one is surely forthcoming soon.
Judy Thomas builds kits, paints things that need to be painted, and does all manner of odd jobs for Blackstone, and we don't know how we ever got along without her. She recently spent a week in Alaska and saw bears, moose, and other huge animals; happily she returned to Blackstone safe and sound.
Sam Johnson is our kit builder extraordinaire, when he's not busy wrestling lesser men to the ground on his high school men’s wresting team. He loves Blackstone, for we provide the funds that will eventually become his new (used) car.
We found Spencer Maze when we needed temporary help after receiving a flood of kit requests after being featured in the New York Times. A kit builder extraordinaire, Spencer has been with us ever since!