2016: Another Year in the Can
It is hard to find the words to describe all that has transpired in 2016. I have so much to say, but where shall I begin? In many ways, for me and my family, 2016 brought many new accomplishments and blessings, but as we exit the year, I feel an enormous sense of foreboding and concern. I’ll have more to say about that later, in a different post.
I admire my friends who have written eloquent essays and family updates at the end of each year. I can’t match what they have done, so I’ve decided to share some pictures and just a few words to capture some of the highlights of my life in 2016. If you were connected to any of these happenings in any way, I thank you for sharing the journey. Here we go…
Urban Entrepreneurship Class at University of Michigan
2016 began with me teaching the second edition of the course I designed, Urban Entrepreneurship, at University of Michigan. This particular class session featured Grace Hsia of Warmilu as our guest speaker. Teaching this class has been an enriching experience, and I look forward to resuming in the Fall of 2017.
One of the joys of teaching has been the opportunity to interact with and mentor so many talented students, such as this young man who shared his 3-D printed invention with me.
My Urban Entrepreneurship course was all about engaging the community, as we did during this frigid tour of Detroit.
In late January, at Nadiyah’s insistence, we traveled to Houston to see Nadi’s great-grandmother Iva Davis on the occasion of her 102nd birthday. Uncle Mikal met us there, too. What a treat!
Annual Father-Daughter Dance
Nadiyah and I attended the annual Father/Daughter dance at her school. I will cherish this time forever.
“Proving Ground” Day at Nadiyah’s Class
I will also cherish “Proving Ground” day in Nadiyah’s 2nd grade class. I talked to the students about what it was like to start a business, and the importance of science and technology. We had a great time, and some of these little whipper-snappers actually read the book!
Fortune smiled on me in March, when during a quick trip to NYC I scored, strictly by happenstance, a 4th-row orchestra seat at Hamilton, the musical. Original cast, too! It was an earth-shaking experience. Had to go back and see it again with Kishna and Nadiyah, in August.
Stacy Graduates from Columbia U.
My “big little girl” Stacy completed her M.B.A. studies at Columbia University in May – a magnificent achievement. Here she is a month or so before graduation on a study-abroad trip to India.
A Magical Night in New York
My friend Susan Portera’s daughter Laila, an absolutely beautiful soul, got married in April in NYC. Kishna and I were honored to be there, and I was ecstatic to be able to join this smokin’ band high above New York City for a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.”
On the Road Again
In late April, I embarked on my annual cross-country car trip. The destination this time was Key West, Florida, but I stopped off in Memphis, Tennessee for a speaking engagement at EpiCenter Memphis, at the invitation of friend and former TechTown Detroit CEO Leslie Smith. Once again, the trusty VW GTI did not let me down!
I was honored to speak at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, which is connected to the Lorraine Motel, the hallowed ground where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.
Driving through the Florida Keys toward Key West is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. Checked that item off my bucket list.
Ahhh…sunny, warm, slightly strange Key West. At last!
Sloppy Joe’s bar was Ernest Hemingway’s hangout, and it is named for the sandwich which was my childhood favorite, so I just had to stop in. The food did not disappoint, and I learned the absolute correct way to make a Cuba Libre (rum and coke). Music was great, too.
Hidden jewel, and one of my favorite spots in Key West – the Cuban Coffee Queen. The espresso ice coffee with espresso ice cubes is to die for!
On the way home from Florida, stopped by to see my dear friend and TAS co-founder Steve Moore and his wife Kimberly in North Carolina. It was great to see the beautiful home they have built there, and to catch up on old times.
Mackinac Policy Conference
Attended my first Mackinac Policy Conference in June, representing the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative. Here I am with former congressman Harold Ford Jr., who is rumored to be a University of Michigan prof. (if you believe what you hear on “Morning Joe.”)
New Jersey No More
On June 15, I finally, Finally, FINALLY sold 70-B West Front Street in Red Bank!!! My (real estate) ties to New Jersey are now officially severed. Whew! Had some really good times in that place, though, especially the July 4 fireworks parties.
Walking (and biking) Around Birmingham
One of the great things about walking around Birmingham, Michigan, as I do on most nice days, is the exotic rides you’re liable to see. Where else outside of Monte Carlo or Beverly Hills will you routinely find a $3 million Ferrari parked on the street?
This is my “ride” on most summer days – my Van Moof two-wheeler. And most of the time, it’s parked in front of Starbucks while I drink coffee and hold forth with the locals.
And guess who has a fondness for exotic cars, as she demonstrated at the Woodward Cruise in August? That’s right, Miss TROUBLE!
This is one of my favorite pictures of 2016. It captures perfectly the timelessness of Porsche, the spirit of summer, and the love of golf.
In August, I took delivery of “P5,” a white Porsche 718 Boxster. Yes, I still love the Tesla, and treasure my ten-year-old VW GTI, but let’s face it – neither is as cool as THIS!
Me and Nadi-Poo at Michigan Stadium in the Fall. Stacy and her friend Corey were there, too. Go Blue!
In October, Aaron set off on his long-planned, eagerly awaited one year trip around the world. His friend Lesley went with him. So far they have visited Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and China. Quite an adventure, which you can follow at nsewtravels.com – Aaron has posted some great pictures there. Let’s see, now, what was I doing at age 27? Oh yeah, working my a$$ off and trying to survive in lovely New Jersey! How times have changed.
Project of the Year!
I spent most of the summer and early Fall working 14-hour days to prepare for the third Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium (#UES2016) in Flint. Most Fridays during that period were spent in planning meetings like this one at TechTown Detroit. L-R Karen Davis Burton, Reggie Barnett, me, Regina Ann Campbell.
#UES2016 was a huge success, and was by far the most difficult of the three symposiums we have produced so far. Couldn’t have pulled it off without partners like University of Michigan and Mott Community College.
On the second night of the symposium, Mama Sol provided the entertainment at “The Matrix” networking reception. It was a real treat for me and Kishna to meet her. This young lady is a true poet and a beautiful soul.
A True Blue Honor
In October, I was honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from the University of Michigan College of Engineering. This award recognized my service as a lecturer in the Center for Entrepreneurship, Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative founder, ECE Advisory Council member, Dean Selection Committee member, National Advisory Committee member, and initiator of the Fred and Louise Tarver Scholarship endowment. The award ceremony took place in Ann Arbor, just as the Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium was concluding up in Flint. What a day!
Stacy Relocates to Beijing
In November, Stacy began her three-year assignment as a senior marketing director for Nike working out of Beijing. Here she is at the Great Wall.
An Elegant Retreat
Kishna and I managed to spend a few relaxing days at The Rogues retreat in Laguna Niguel, CA, guests of Darnell and Colette Jackson. A welcome, if brief, getaway.
My, How Fast She Grows!
Nadiyah nailed her piano recital in December, thanks to Mr. Al McKenzie and the McKenzie Music Academy.
The Christmas season wouldn’t be the same without a trip to New York City. We also spent time in New Jersey with Nadiyah’s godparents Mark and Yvonne Grayson, as well as auntie Susan and auntie BK. No ice skating in Rockefeller Center this year, though. My ankles were thankful.
As this year draws to a close, I am as always thankful for family and friends, and for the many blessings we received throughout the year. I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, productive, and blessed New Year. God bless the souls of those we lost this year, including Flint, Michigan trailblazers and role models Mr. Charles Williams, Mrs. Cleora Thompson, Mrs. Mary Forte, Mrs. Eva Calhoun, and Mrs. Maude Tyiska. God Bless also my dear departed elementary school teacher, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Theresa Hamilton. You are all gone but not forgotten.
William David Tarver
December 30, 2016