For Woodbury’s Wade Hanson, getting a spot on this season’s “The Apprentice” wasn’t about being on a reality TV show. It was about getting to work with Donald Trump.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the best and ultimately try to earn a job from the best,” says the 33-year-old Re/Max real estate broker who lives in the east metro suburb with his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters.
On this installment of the show, Trump has moved from celebrity contestants back to recruiting regular folks, specifically those who were in need of a second chance because of the recent economic downturn. After phone calls, sending resumes and interviews, Hanson was picked to compete against 15 others on the show debuting Thursday (7-9 p.m. NBC). And even though “The Apprentice” wrapped up filming early this summer, Hanson hasn’t revealed his fate to anyone — not even his wife. We’ll have to wait to see if the self-described “fierce competitor” tops Twin Cities native Rebecca Jarvis’ impressive second-place finish on the show five years ago. Jarvis is now a reporter for CBS.
Coinciding with the show, Hanson is kicking off the “60/60/60″ campaign, where he’s attempting to sell 60 houses in 60 days and donate $60,000 to a cause he’s passionate about — the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (His sister killed herself 10 years ago.)
Here’s what Hanson had to say when we talked to him last week about Trump, the recession and being in the boardroom.
Q Why did you try out for ‘The Apprentice’?
A “As you know, we’ve been in a recession the past couple of years, and real estate has probably been hit the hardest of any industry out there. I woke up on the first of this year and I said, ‘I’m going to get back to where I was pre-recession time. I’m going to forget about everything bad that’s going on and I’m going to make some changes.’ At the same time, they were doing a casting call for this ‘second chance’ theme on ‘The Apprentice.’ It was the year of reinventing myself.”
Q In 2004, you were named one of Realtor magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30.” What happened between then and now?
A “Fear. I just became scared of the economy and everything that was happening. I’ve been an entrepreneur in the real estate industry for almost 12 years now, and during that time I did everything from Internet startups that were real estate-related to coaching and training to supplement my day-to-day real estate sales. It was basically fear that drove my decisions — that’s the rut I got into.”
Q Did your lifestyle change a lot?
A “I was making three times more money then. I’m not making peanuts now, but we were all making a lot more money back then. For me, it was a good dose of reality the past two years to focus on what’s important. I lost a lot of money on real estate investments. It’s been eye-opening but at the same time very cleansing, as well.”
Q What was it like the first time you were in Donald Trump’s boardroom?
A “It was kind of exciting, intimidating, thrilling — everything rolled into one. You’ve seen the boardroom on TV, and you’ve seen Mr. Trump, Ivanka and Don Jr. … You feel like you’ve arrived.”
Amy Carlson Gustafson.