JANUARY TECH OF THE MONTH: KERI WING
Join us this year as we highlight a tech/operator every month in our effort to showcase one of the backbones of this niche community. With their skills, passions and love for this hobby Pinball continues to thrive.
Meet Keri Wing, located in Overland Park, Kansas who has been working on pinball machines all around the Kansas City area. She is an operator at Pizza West and Knub’s Pub in Shawnee, Kansas, at the 403 Club in Kansas City, Kansas, and at Solid State Pinball Supply in Kansas City, Missouri. In total, she helps maintain about 65 pinball machines on location in Kansas City along with her friend and business partner, Nick Greenup.
Q: How did you first get into the hobby? Did you jump right into repairing machines or did you learn under someone else?
“While I’ve only been an operator for a year and a half, I have been working on pinball machines since I was a little kid. My dad always had pinball machines at home and we were always on the hunt for games at garage sales, in the classified ads, and in craigslist. We used to buy old, broken pinball machines and fix them up and play them. My dad was a good teacher. He used to have me do everything from soldering to electrical work even when I was pretty young and he helped me learn how to read schematics and troubleshoot. When he passed away, I decided to keep working on games and figured out how to fill in my knowledge gaps by watching online seminars, reading online forum posts, asking friends, and sometimes talking with manufacturers when I encountered obstacles.”
Q: Follow up, Did you have a background in another field that made that transition easier?
“My college degrees are in Music Education and Saxophone Performance and I still play and teach saxophone. I have 6 private students and I perform around Kansas City. I did my masters degree at the University of Texas at Austin and I used to sneak off to pinball arcades and bars in the evenings and play in local pinball leagues when I wasn’t busy playing the saxophone.”
Q: Some techs have a particular aspect they really enjoy working on or they have a specialized set of skills (ie: boards, EMs, new Sterns, restoring cabinet art, etc) — do you specialize in something? or what’s your favorite aspect to work on?
“My dad was an EM expert and I’m really glad he taught me how to work on them. I’m realizing that there aren’t a lot of electromechanical experts left and it’s a valuable skill to have. Our first solid state game that we bought was Pinbot and I immediately fell in love with it. We still have that game and we also bought more system 11 games and learned how to work on them. Our family’s Taxi is currently on location at Pizza West. From there I learned how to make system 3-7 games a lot more reliable, I learned a lot of the typical pitfalls of WPC games, I worked on some Gottlieb system 3’s, Gottlieb System 80 and 80 A and B (including a couple of Genesis basket cases!) , I worked on many Bally -35 games, some Bally 6803’s, one Alvin G, Stern Sam, Stern Spike, Jersey Jack, American, Chicago Gaming, and a few Spooky games. I haven’t had to get too deep into some of the modern ones yet, but I have been learning as I go while operating.”
Q: What are you working on now and in the past, What has been your favorite project/game that you worked on?
“Right now I’m moving slowly through projects at home. I did finish 40+ hour shop jobs on High Speed, Pro Football, Fast Draw, and Jungle Queen within the last couple years. Right now I’m in the middle of restoring a Xenon. I repainted the cabinet and bought a new playfield for it and am in the process of putting the head back together after the repaint. It’s a project that I can’t wait to see the finished result of since it’s going to look beautiful!
It’s hard to pick a favorite past project. They all go through their phases of excitement, frustration, and then a huge sense of accomplishment when they’re done. One interesting one was the first game I ever bought with my own money, which was Dr. Dude. I bought it for $400 when I was in college and it had been completely taken apart and a bunch of pieces had been lost. It was on location at Corpus Christi (a beach town) for many years so all of the metal parts were rusty. I worked on it in my third floor apartment for years and hand sanded all the rusty metal and repainted it and pieced together the playfield like a big puzzle. I was so thrilled when I got it working. It turns out my friend and future business partner, Nick Greenup had always wanted a Dr. Dude so he bought it and it made its way to our current shop/arcade and it still works great all these years later.”
Q: What is the best way to contact you and what areas do you service? Do you also operate your own route? If so, would you like to shout out those locations?
“You can contact me at [email protected] for service, inquiries about routing games, or if you are interested in buying a game.”