Five Interesting Detroiters

By: Karen Talaski | March 26, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Cyberoptix.

In a famous TEDxDetroit talk, business owner and ingenious mischief-for-the-good maker Tom Nardone said that “something was better than nothing.” In other words, it is better to take action and create something that solves a problem than watch the problem grow worse. 

That is how he helped to develop the Mower Gang as well as Trash Fishing, both causes that seek to better the world around him through improving the environment. When asked why he thought cutting the grass at Detroit’s parks at a time when the city was unable to do so was important, he responded famously: 

“Because kids need a place to play, and five-year-olds can’t cut grass, that’s why,” he told the likely shocked interviewer. 

In that spirit, Detroiters who see something that needs improving, want to help others or solve problems are always in need. Thankfully, this region seems to give birth to innovators and creatives to spare. 

One Interesting Detroiter brought his own world of podcasting back to Metro Detroit when his family returned to the area. Another is creating custom clothing and accessories without the custom, high prices that usually accompany these items. Another is spreading the good word about Detroit and its small-business community through special occasions and even a calendar event.

Here are five Metro Detroiters who are working hard to make sure the status quo is constantly upturned for the better. 

Podcaster

If you are a regular listener to podcasts, you may know Joe Saul-Sehy’s voice quite well. He’s the host of two popular news and financial podcasts as well as a guest on other well-known personal-finance shows. He recently moved back to Metro Detroit from Texas, and now he’s broadcasting his knowledge right from home. Check out “Stacking Benjamins” as well as “Money with Friends,” two podcasts he co-hosts. He’s also a regular guest on podcasts such as “Afford Anything,” with friend Paula Pant.

Automotive

You can count this as art as well as automotive. Ed Welburn is an automotive designer and the former Vice President of Global Design from 2003 to 2016. Under Welburn’s guidance at GM, he created some of the sexiest vehicle designs in the company’s history, including the Corvette and the Camaro. Everything that GM made in that time would be considered part of his legacy, including the Volt. He has a relatively active Instagram account where he talks about cars, design and life in retirement.

Non-profit leader

When Joe Savalle started working with kids in foster care as a summer camp counselor nearly 20 years ago, he was inspired to do more for the children he met. Savalle created a non-profit mentorship program called Love for a Child with two main components: A year-around mentorship program as well as a camp experience that focuses on fun and fellowship. Savalle is now working on a plan to have five camps across Michigan, both in the summer and winter months. He also wants to expand the mentorship component to help up to 1,000 children in foster care.

Promoter

Detroiter and Small Business Advocate Jennyfer Crawford wanted to jazz up her annual event, All Things Detroit. So she took a look at the calendar and had a brainstorm. Crawford, who has made her name promoting small businesses and Michigan entrepreneurs, wanted a way for the public to notice the products and services that Michigan companies had come up with for us all collectively to enjoy. Crawford reached out to the National Day Archives and started working on creating her own day. The result is pretty cool – the group officially proclaimed April 5, 2020, as All Things Detroit Day. 

Store owner

Bethany Shorb has a vision for Detroit, and it is one that is snarky, smart and sophisticated. The owner of Well Done Good and its famous sibling, Cyberoptix TieLab, have been creating original screen-printed t-shirts, sweatshirts, ties and pashminas for more than 14 years now. Her work, especially the ties, have graced the likes of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. We’re collectively lucky to have her customizing talents right here at home.