Steve Shelton was born and raised in Pittsburgh. In his early teens, he began working in the masonry field as a laborer during summers and weekends. After enlisting in the Navy at 19, he became a naval aircraft electrician and finished his four-year enlistment working on the TA-4J aircraft. He has worked professionally as an electrician, a plumber, as masonry laborer, a bricklayer, and as a specialist in stone and brick restoration. In 2002, with one other employee and a wheelbarrow, Steve started Shelton Masonry, Inc.; a firm that was renowned for some of the finest restoration work done in the city, on many of its most beautiful historic homes.
In 2009, realizing the need in the masonry trade for a new generation of masonry professionals, Steve started the Shelton Trade Center, which is now a non-profit named The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh. The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) was founded to train and place young adults in the skilled manual trades. TIP is especially committed to training young people with great needs and few resources.
Most of TIP's students have troubled backgrounds, coming from broken families in poor neighborhoods, and many have been in prison and/or drug and alcohol recovery. Our goal is to move them from being chronically unemployed to productively employed, in living-wage jobs with a future. Our hope is that through the resources and training provided by our organization, cycles of poverty and crime will be broken, and a brighter future will be realized for some of Pittsburgh’s most blighted communities.
Steve’s Challenge; Don’t judge a book by the cover. Give people a chance.
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Bill has been awarded both Chef of the Year and Restaurateur of the Year from Pittsburgh Magazine, in addition to sharing in the numerous awards received by the restaurants he oversees. He is dedicated to developing relationships with individual local farmers and Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, publicly speaking on the benefits of locally farmed foods. Ongoing charity efforts include participating in the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and acting as an advisor to the culinary program the the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 7 with Bobby Fry where we discuss the restaurant business and reinventing yourself.
Challenge = Change the Notification Settings on Your Phone
Trust Me I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday
Clinton Senkow is a hustler. Being the Co-founder and COO of Influencive, an online publication for millennial entrepreneurs, would be enough for most people. He is also one of Canada's representatives at the g20 Young Entrepreneur's Alliance.
Clinton came on the podcast to talk entrepreneurship and blazing your own trail.
Read Clinton’s Post
Clinton’s Challenge; Go and ask someone a question that you’ve been losing sleep over.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 136 with Justin Lafazan where we discuss the youth movement in entrepreneurship and his tips for success.
For decades, radio was for many people the primary method of staying connected with the rest of the world. The ability to broadcast information over large distances constituted a major turning point in the course of human civilization, impacting everything from news and education to music and entertainment. Recent years have produced another shift: as technology has become more affordable and easy to use, listeners and creators around the world have been empowered to take more active roles in shaping our collective knowledge and interactions.
Three podcasters come together for a live recording of their respective shows. Thrival content partner Aaron Watson, from Going Deep with Aaron Watson, was joined by Marta on the Move’s Marta Mazzoni, and The Juice Crew 412 + Kelly Strayhorn Theater's Knowledge Build Hudson for a discussion on how this medium has impacted the way they learn, live, and engage with the world around them.
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Jean-Lévy ultimate player since 2002 and General Manager of the Montreal Ultimate Association from 2007 to 2012. Jean-Lévy comes from a family of ultimate players and is currently training the next generation. He was a Canadian Ultimate Championships gold medalist in 2009 and 2012.
Jean-Lévy has committed himself to training up and coming juniors. He has coached the UQAM university team for three years and promotes junior development in the Montreal region. Ultimate is Jean-Lévy’s life: he is a passionate player and contributor.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 139 with Jim Gerencser where we discuss the Dallas Roughnecks, an AUDL championship, and the future of pro ultimate.
I'm Qxhna Titcomb and I've been playing disc sports since I was 5 years old. I went to Tufts University in Boston, played on Boston Brute Squad and am now on my second year on Seattle Riot. I have three older brothers and one older sister - they are the ones that inspire me to think bigger and be better. Together we have founded the ultimate frisbee apparel company Five Ultimate and are the owners of the men's professional team in Seattle called the Cascades. Most recently, I have been working on promoting women in ultimate via the All-Star Ultimate Tour. Check out www.AllStarUltimateTour.com to see what that's all about!
My name is Leila Tunnell and I have been playing Ultimate for 17 years. I grew up in Atlanta, GA, where I played for The Paideia School and with the Atlanta women's club team, Ozone. In 2004 and 2006 I was selected for the U-20 Girls National Team, winning silver and gold respectively. In college I played for UNC Chapel Hill, where I won the Callahan Award in 2011, and also helped start and played for the NC women's team Phoenix. I have coached high school programs all over the east coast and have also worked as a counselor and now Assistant Director of the Nationals Ultimate Training Camp in Amherst, MA, for 10 years. In 2014 I won the Kathy Pufahl Spirit Award for contribution to the sport, and in 2016 I was selected to play for the US Women's National Team at the World Ultimate and Guts Championships in London where we won a gold medal. I currently live in Amherst, MA, and play for the reigning national champions, Boston Brutesquad and also help coach the Amherst High School Boys Varsity team.
My name is Octavia Payne, but many people call me Opi. I grew up mostly in Baltimore and I began playing ultimate at UPenn in 2007. I've played for a number of club teams, including a 5 year stint with DC Scandal with whom I won two national championships. I've also won a gold medal with the U.S. Mixed National Team at the 2013 World Games and with the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championship. I currently play on Denver Molly Brown.
Connect with Them
If you liked this interview, check out episode 39 with Tim DeByl where we discuss the AUDL and Madison Radicals.
Richard Citrin, Ph.D., MBA brings more than 25 years of business leadership and consulting experience to his clients and their organizations, focusing on using a practical and pragmatic approach to his work.
His unique perspective on leadership development, talent management and resilience is based on the idea that by using strengths, assets, and skills, and by aligning them in a purposeful and powerful manner, real change occurs.
Early in his career, Richard worked on Wall Street where he loved the excitement and pace of the financial world, but he also saw how the impact of poor leadership, underutilization of employee capabilities and management overconfidence led to destructive workplaces. His observations helped him decide to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology.
Following his academic work, Richard began his business career. He built a successful healthcare business in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex in the 1990’s that he successfully sold to a national healthcare company. Richard oversaw multiple aspects of this acquisition and merger and helped the company develop new product lines that led to a tripling of valuation and their eventual purchase by one of the nation’s largest healthcare companies.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Richard’s Challenge; Congratulate anyone who has lost their job. Practice being actively constructive.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 88 with Sunny Lenarduzzi where we discuss gratitude, YouTube, and Snapchat.
It was a pleasure to interview the 56-year-old co-owner of the Dallas Roughnecks. In their inaugural season, the Roughnecks won the 2016 AUDL championship in dominant fashion, beating the Seattle Cascades 33-27. The win capped an undefeated 17-0 season and the birth of a potential juggernaut.
Jim Gerencser is also the CEO & President of Nationwide Auto Services. Jim started the company in 1982 and has continually refined the process used in overspray removal and administering large-scale claims.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 62 with AUDL Commissioner Steve Gordon where we discuss running the American Ultimate Disc League and the future of pro ultimate.
Mike was most recently the CEO at Green Building Alliance, and was previously the founder of Confluence, Venture Outdoors, and Kayak Pittsburgh.
For the past decade, the Room Leopard team has been searching for places to hold classes, meetings, networking events and lectures. We found this process frustrating and we often depended on our personal network of colleagues and friends. We also noticed the surplus of spaces around the city that owners could utilize more actively. RoomLeopard strives to make it easier to match these unused spaces with the people who need them.
As a guest, be it an hour or a day, RoomLeopard is the spot to connect you with affordable spaces for your next meeting or event.
As a host, be it a conference room, a lobby or an auditorium, RoomLeopard is the spot to put surplus spaces to work for you.
Mike’s Challenge; Invite some people into your home that you normally wouldn’t have over.
Quote from our Interview
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.“
Connect with Mike
If you liked this interview, check out episode 3 with Larry Gioia, another outdoorsman and entrepreneur.
Hershey Hilado is not your typical 24-year old. Her difficult upbringing enabled her to develop the resilience and natural drive to find success. Her father was murdered by her own uncle when she was 12. Her own mother traded her for money when she was only 15 and forced her to marry a man 3 times her age when she was 16.
After escaping that terrible ordeal, she was homeless for 2 years and eventually moved to Australia. She started her own business 2 years later and now runs a Women's Fashion Label called Ohmagosh, currently sold in over 15 countries across the globe.
Her passion and purpose stretch beyond overcoming adversity and Entrepreneurship. As a philanthropist, she is one of the Ambassadors for The Freedom Hub, a not for profit organization that helps rebuild the lives of survivors of Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery in Australia.
She speaks for those who needed a voice. She is a spiritual and passionate human being who chose to live LIFE with so much gratitude, positive intentions, and a purpose to change people's lives through SERVICE, SURRENDERING herself to total selflessness and IMPACTING millions of lives.
Hershey’s Challenge; Identity one negative behavior or habit and focus exclusively on getting rid of it.
Connect with Hershey
If you liked this interview, check out episode 134 with Gisele Fetterman where we discuss helping those who are less fortunate or in need.
At age 20, Justin is an experienced entrepreneur, consultant, speaker, and best-selling author.
Justin began his adventure with the creation of Students4Students College Advisory, a full-service higher education consulting agency. Enjoying his experience helping youth maximize their potential, Justin wanted to further leverage the power of young people. Millennial Marketing Strategy has evolved into a boutique, digital media strategy consulting agency, assisting Fortune 500 firms, as well as select medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs, leverage powerful marketing tools to grow online.
Justin proceeded to launch Next Gen Summit, the premier community for millennial entrepreneurs. Since its inception over two years ago, Next Gen Summit was more than just a conference. NGS is a mission to bring together the world’s most talented young entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and inspire each other, and give them the resources they need to be successful.
In December of 2015, Justin published his best-selling book - What Wakes You Up?: Designing Kick-Ass Lives Through Entrepreneurship - choosing to donate 100% of launch profits to the Next Gen Foundation, a scholarship granting nonprofit organization.
Justin’s Challenge; Find someone in your network who’s done something cool and email them to set up a 30-minute interview to learn how they did it.
Connect with Justin
If you liked this interview, check out episode 46 with Taylor Pearson where we discuss the end of jobs and the need to develop entrepreneurial skills.
Babs Carryer teaches entrepreneurship, provides mentorship and coaching to early-stage companies, and writes about entrepreneurship. At the University of Pittsburgh, Babs works for the Innovation Institute, as Director of Education and Outreach. She teaches the Benchtop to Bedside technology commercialization course to clinicians, researchers.
Babs is a co-founder and past chapter chair of Women in Bio. She also teaches at Thrill Mill, educating their teams about entrepreneurship and how to build better businesses. She is also President of Carryer Consulting which provides strategic business planning services to technology companies.
Babs co-founded LaunchCyte, which currently has five life sciences portfolio companies, including Crystalplex, Immunetrics, Knopp Biosciences, and Reaction Biology.
Bab’s Challenge; Find 3 women in your life (one younger, one the same age, one older) and give them a hug.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 67 with Kit Mueller where we discuss Pittsburgh entrepreneurship.
Gisele was born in Rio de Janeiro and immigrated to the U.S. at age eight with her mother and was undocumented for many years. Growing up in the cities, she was acutely aware of the vast inequalities between Brazil and the United States, and between the working-class community that she lived in and the more affluent communities where her mother secured work as a housekeeper.
These days, you can probably find her at the Free Store – a brightly painted converted storage container that Gisele Fetterman stocks with donated or surplus clothing and necessities for her neighbors in Braddock and nearby communities in Allegheny County. The concept was something she imagined as a kid and new immigrant in New York City. Gisele was frustrated by how easily people were willing to throw things away. Now, three years into the endeavor in Braddock, it’s a full-fledged enterprise run entirely by volunteers and serves 1,600 folks monthly.
In Braddock, Gisele is a force in her own right behind the good works and progressive change she and her husband, Mayor John, are sowing in their home town.
In addition to the Free Store, Gisele co-founded the 412 Food Rescue, which aims to fight hunger by collecting fresh, healthy food scheduled to be wastefully discarded and distributing it to community organizations that serve those in need.
Gisele’s Challenge; Connect in some small way with 5 strangers every day.
Connect with Gisele
If you liked this interview, check out episode 48 with her partner at 412 Food Rescue Leah Lizarondo where we discuss food deserts and community service.
Squonk has created and toured our outdoor spectacles around the world, with reviews that include “insane majesty" from The Scotsman, “surreal and poetic” from USA Today and “ingenious, hallucinatory, hypnotic" from The New York Times. Squonkwork is fast, funny, and shameless: our first show was performed in a Pittsburgh junkyard, with choreographed cranes and roaring earthmovers. Squonk creates post-industrial outdoor performances for major civic venues and festivals and have toured to 39 states and 3 continents, and have received 7 N.E.A. grants.
Jackie Dempsey (Artistic Director/Composer/Pianist/Accordionist) has created twelve multimedia productions with Squonk Opera and has been touring nationally and internationally for over two decades. Last year, she was awarded an Investing in Professional Artists grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments. She has worked as composer and sound designer for Quantum Theatre through a Heinz Endowments’ Creative Heights grant and has been awarded five Interdisciplinary Arts fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts. She has produced all nine of the group’s recordings, one of which was Squonk’s major label debut for Capitol Records.
Steve O’Hearn (Artistic Director/Artist/Wind Player) contributes environmental and product designs, and theater productions to the group. He had a solo show of work at the Andy Warhol Museum, where he was Heinz Artist-in-Residence. He has also received the American Theater Wing’s Hewes Award for his work on Broadway, three International Design Awards and five PA Council on the Arts fellowships. His work has been published and exhibited internationally, and he has been invited three times to exhibit his designs at the Prague Quadrennial. He has designed for a score of theater productions, including the multimedia Macbeth with the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Marc Masterson, and also for the Hawaii Theater in Honolulu.
Sqonk’s Challenge; See the art in the everyday.
Connect with Sqonk
If you liked this interview, check out episode 124 with Baron Batch where we discuss the melding of art and entrepreneurship.
Sean Douglas is a veteran of the United States Air Force, a certified Master Resilience Trainer, and a professional Motivational Speaker. He enlisted in the Air Force in 2001 right after 9/11, has been deployed to multiple locations, and performed a multitude of duties all over the world. Sean gives many speeches throughout the year on various topics, such as Developing Leaders, Leadership Principles, Team Building, Stages of Team Forming, Self-Defeating Behaviors, Decisions, and much more. As a Master Resilience Trainer, he teaches the following skill sets: Counting Blessings, Accomplishing Goals, ABC (Activating Event, Brain's Interpretation, Consequences), Check Your Playbook, Balance Your Thinking, Acceptance, Capitalizing On Strengths, Physical Resilience, Spiritual Resilience, Interpersonal Problem Solving, and Good Listening & Active Constructive Responding.
Sean's passion is Resilience and inspiring others to succeed. His love for helping others achieve their dreams and instilling in them that extra motivation to finish strong is at the forefront of every speech and presentation he delivers. His main goal is to save at least one person from a self-defeating behavior and to inspire change in their lives. Sean is also a published author of a book titled, "Decisions: The Power To Overcome Self-Defeating Behaviors".
Sean’s Challenge; Pick one of your values and review how much money & time you’ve actually put into your “priority” over the last 30 days.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 70 with Michael Port where we discuss public speaking and stealing the show.
Larry Gioia’s philosophy “Always Be Connecting the Dots” infects all of his relationships. In this episode, we discuss how to grow and connect a network with actionable tactics that he’d recommend to anyone.
Larry and Aaron’s Challenge; Join Connection University on Facebook to continue to learn and grow.
Connect with Larry
Ray Gastil is currently Director of City Planning for Pittsburgh. Previously, he was an urban designer in Seattle, where his work was focused on connecting innovative program and design concepts to the pragmatic challenges of making extraordinary projects and places, grounded in their communities.
Expertise includes comprehensive city and regional planning, with a focus on planning and urban design guidelines and arts, housing, and public realm incentive frameworks for campuses, mixed-use districts, arts districts, waterfront redevelopment and public spaces. His work has included strategic planning, division and team management, and designer selection including design competitions.
Ray’s Challenge; Recognize most were decisions. Interactive map of Pittsburgh
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 125 with Dan Gilman where we discuss city politics and civic duty.
Found a gem that I wanted to share with you.
Radiant Hall founder Ryan Lammie was born in Pittsburgh and educated at the Pratt Institute in New York. In 2011 he was selected for the Yale / Norfolk Summer Residency in Connecticut and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Lammie’s sculptural work often assembled from found materials (discarded furniture, old radios, and the like), is driven by two tendencies in tension with one another: a skepticism of exchange value and a love of maximalism.
As an entrepreneur, Lammie has built Radiant Hall into a nonprofit venture that supports over 50 Pittsburgh artists at four locations city-wide. He is also a creative consultant at the new Energy Innovation Center, overseeing design projects that support the EIC’s social and educational goals.
Ryan’s Challenge; Go out of your way to meet a new artist or reconnect with an artist you already know. Unpack their process.
Connect with Ryan
If you liked this interview, check out episode 124 with Baron Batch where we discuss art, entrepreneurship, and the creative process.
James Andrew Miller is an award-winning journalist who has worked in politics, media, and entertainment in a career spanning more than 20 years.
In 1985, he wrote the bestselling book RUNNING IN PLACE: Inside the Senate. Later, he and co-author Tom Shales wrote LIVE FROM NEW YORK: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, which spent more than four months on the New York Times bestseller list and was named by Fortune as one of the top 75 “Smartest Books We Know.” In 2011, he co-authored with Shales, THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN: Inside the World of ESPN, which was an instant No. 1 New York Times bestseller.
He newest book is Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency. Through interviews with more than five hundred industry movers and shakers --- a virtual Who’s Who of Hollywood that includes, for the first time, the entire current leadership of the notoriously secretive CAA as well as nearly three dozen top agents, many of CAA’s most aggressive competitors, and scores of major movie, television, music, and sports stars – Miller spins a tale with all the glamour, treachery and groping for power of the most lurid Hollywood blockbuster – except that this time, it’s all true.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 123 with Tucker Max where we discuss the secrets of a bestseller and why you should write a book.
Derrius Quarles makes things happen. Having grown up in a financially humble background and as an alumnus of foster care, his journey to becoming an award-winning entrepreneur and a globally recognized social change maker has been complex. His turning point came when as a high school student and he made the decision that he wanted to become the first in my family to go to college. Living in poverty at the time, scholarships were an invaluable resource to his pursuit of higher education. Before entering Morehouse College, he gained over one million dollars in scholarship awards.
He graduated disenchanted with the state of higher education access for low-income youth and those who have experienced foster care. The led him to become the Founder & CEO of Million Dollar Scholar, an ed-tech social venture that provides a high-impact low-cost scholarship and financial aid curriculum to decrease financial barriers to higher-ed.
He is now a sought-after speaker in the areas of scholarship education, youth/foster youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship. He is also the author of the education bestseller MillionDollarScholar: Winning The Scholarship Race.
Derrius’s Challenge; Try meditation. Even if it’s just 3 minutes.
Connect with Derrius
If you liked this interview, check out episode 114 with Dan Bull where we discuss giving inmates a second chance through entrepreneurship.
Dan Gilman is currently serving his first term as City Council member for the 8th Council District of Pittsburgh. Gilman has been very active in his first year on Council, having passed two pieces of legislation and a resolution aimed at reducing the discrimination and stigma pregnant women and nursing mothers continue to face. He has also been active in imploring the PA legislature to support the PA Women's Health Agenda.
The Councilman worked extensively with the Mayor’s office to implement smart technology that will vastly improve City services such as snow removal, paving, online permitting, and the 311 system. He also called for online auctioning of unused equipment—including vehicles—as a revenue generating measure for the City; an idea that the mayoral administration has started to pursue.
Gilman has received many awards and accolades for his hard work. He was selected as one of only twelve leaders nationwide to join The New DEAL, a national network committed to highlighting innovative ideas from state and local elected leaders. He has also been recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s “40 Under 40” by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP, as well as one of Pittsburgh’s “50 Finest” by Whirl Magazine.
Dan’s Challenge; Don’t be passive. Take up a cause or mission and make something happen.
Connect with Dan
If you liked this interview, check out episode 107 with Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto where we discuss politics, Pittsburgh, and leadership.
Baron Batch is a cultural icon, community builder, dot connector, conceptual multimedia artist, and entrepreneur based out of Homestead, PA. He rose to fame through his street art and currently serves as Creative Director of Studio AM.
Studio AM is a multifaceted creative collective that specializes in guerilla marketing, unique private events, and is a production facility for his “Angry Man Salsa”. He has an extensive background in public speaking is a graduate of Texas Tech.
Baron’s Challenge; Practice Stoicism.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 114 with Dan Bull where we discuss giving inmates a second chance through entrepreneurship.
Tucker Max is an American author and public speaker. He chronicled his drinking and sexual encounters in the form of short stories on his website TuckerMax.com, which has received millions of visitors since Max launched it as the result of a bet in 2000.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell was a New York Times #1 Bestseller and made the Bestseller List each year from 2006 to 2012. It has sold over one million copies worldwide, including 400,000 copies in 2009 alone. In 2010, he released a book titled Assholes Finish First, and in 2012 marked the literary releases of both Hilarity Ensues and Sloppy Seconds: The Tucker Max Leftovers. He was a 2009 Time 100 finalist based on internet votes, although he did not make the magazine list
His new company, Book in a Box, is a service for helping busy experts transfer their wisdom into book format. The company interviews clients in a systematic way that properly structures their ideas. They then turn those words into a book. All clients need to do, as the author, is answer questions about what they already know. Everything else is handled by BIAB’s team of experienced publishing professionals.
Tucker’s Challenge; Ask yourself “Why” multiple times until you reach an irreducible answer.
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If you liked this interview, check out episode 118 with Kevin Kelly where we discuss the inevitable technological trends shaping our future.