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DAA: Tracy A. Baker

Tracy Baker

Tracy A. Baker


Bradenton, FL


Because his job in food science research and management isn’t one that lets him check off a list of tangible daily accomplishments, Tracy Baker turns to hands-on pastimes to give him the satisfaction that comes from completion. “I like hobbies where I can lay out a timeline and when I’m done I can pack up the tools, sit back and see that I completed something,” he says. Tinkering is something he’s long enjoyed, he says. He mastered it at the side of his grandfather, an electrician. “He always referred to me as his plumber’s helper,” Baker says. “I learned a lot from him. I even rebuilt and repainted a 1959 Edsel when I was 15.” Today, gardening, his greatest passion, and woodworking fill the bill. Baker started his latest gardening project with a clean canvas in Bradenton, Florida, when he moved into a new house on three-quarters of an acre. “I’ve been trying to give my house personality,” he says of his landscaping efforts that include planting a banana tree, five different varieties of palm trees and a host of tropical plants. “Most things here don’t die. And they grow like crazy. So I plant them, they grow, and I trim them.” He’s also created an indoor garden around his screened-in pool. Woodworking is a hobby he’s returning to, with a new shop just set up. First on his list is a dining room table with marble inlay. In earlier years, he’s mastered fine cabinetry, made a hutch, some tables and bookcases. “It’s something I can look at and say, ‘I completed that,’” he says. “It balances my workday.” “The years spent at Purdue turned a shy, awkward, small town boy into the very confident outgoing leader I am today. Although my formal Purdue education opened the door for me, it was lessons learned at Purdue that formed my career.”