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We’re having whiskey with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. He’s been seen around Detroit the last couple of years, built a skate park downtown… so of course we had to grab a drink with him. We talk about how he’s putting his money where his mouth is and bought a home in Detroit, how he originally felt like an outcast in an outcast activity, what he’s learned from business failures (believe it or not there were some lows along the way) and how his determination ultimately led him to becoming the icon he is today.

Whether you’re a native Detroiter, a transplant or a boomerang, you can’t deny that what’s happening in the city is history in the (re)making. From the work ethic to the entrepreneurial spirit, Detroiters are rolling up their sleeves and rebuilding the city with the same determination as Henry Ford and Berry Gordy before them. And in the end, those visionaries, similar to the ones you’ll meet this season, not only shaped Detroit, they shaped the world. Once the fastest growing city in the world; the place that created America’s middle class. Detroit is still a city that breeds innovation.

Just like the city of Detroit, our guests have stories of perseverance and creativity. Why should you care? You’ll find motivation and inspiration to apply to your own life from listening to the dreamers, future leaders and risk-takers who are making a direct impact on the community. We talk about lessons learned the hard way, what it took to reach success, business advice and what makes Detroit special.

This season we’re partnering with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit whose mission is co-creating independence and dignity through the power of personal and workforce development. Goodwill Detroit works to ensure that every neighborhood of Detroit experiences the kind of renaissance that we’re seeing in downtown and Midtown. We welcome Jessica McCall, the vice president of marketing and external affairs at Goodwill Detroit, as our special co-host. We’re asking listeners to use “#WhatsGoodDetroit“ when you come across something inspiring, notable or just plain good in the city.

We’re recording in the Foundation Studio at Detroit Foundation Hotel. Our official podcast studio is located within the beautiful boutique hotel which is the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and Pontchartrain Wine Cellars.

Just a taste…

What brought you to Detroit?

My wife’s from Detroit so we’ve always had a link here. In the last five or six years I’ve been trying to get more involved in the community and we ended up buying a house here in Woodbridge. I love the vibe here. There are so many other cities that are trying to gentrify and clean up and Detroit is just rebuilt from the ground up. I think it’s so cool.

What do you attribute most to your success?

I think it’s determination. When I was younger I just wouldn’t give up on tricks or anything. Even trying to get something from my parents, I was relentless. I think they were thankful once I found skating because that was my focus of all that energy, frustration and determination. When I would try to learn a new skate trick I just wasn’t going to give up. Ever. One time my dad literally pulled me out of the bowl kicking and screaming because he had to go. We had to leave the skatepark and I was like, “No, I need to make this. I need a few more tries.”

 

 

Would you say life gets better with age?

It gets better with not just age but experience and wisdom. If you’re stuck in your ways and compulsive behaviors then it’s not going to get better but if you can recognize that and change yourself and start to appreciate everything around… that’s it and that’s what I’ve come to learn in the last five years or so. I was chasing this carrot for so long in terms of success and skating that it became less fun and it was more the sort of need to keep staying relevant and at some point I let go of that notion and it’s been a lot more fun for sure. I’ve come to appreciate time with my children a lot more. So with my journey with age it’s gotten better. The fact that I still get do this as a pro skater at age 50 is beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. When I was a kid you had to quit skating after age 20 because there was no money, you couldn’t make a living out of it. You had fun, you got your picture in a magazine… that’s as good as it can get.

 

Photography by Derrick Busman

Listen to the full conversation on Apple Podcasts or SimpleCast.

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