My First Job

Local executives recall their first foray into the corporate world

Bruce Babiarz
President, BAB Associates Ltd.
Tennis Court Cleaner

Don Barden
Chairman and CEO, Barden Cos. Inc.
Machine Tooler

Marvin Beatty
Co-owner, Greektown Casino
Paint Mixer

Ralph Booth
President, Booth American Co.
Construction Laborer

Tammy Carnrike
COO, Detroit Regional Chamber
Sporting Goods Clerk

Chris Christensen
Chairman and CEO, Advanced Strategies Group
Bus Boy
“It was for a restaurant called The Velvet Turtle at the age of 14.”

Ken Cockrel
Mayor, City of Detroit
Bag Boy

Barry Connelly
Vice President, Connelly Co.
Wood Cutter

Eitel Dahm
President, Eitel Dahm Motor Group
Cow Milker

Mike Duggan
President and CEO, Detroit MedicalCenter
Garbage Man

Klaus Entenmann
President and CEO, Daimler Financial Services
Truck Driver

Jim Epolito
President, Delta Dental of Michigan
Short Order Cook

John Ferchill
Chairman and CEO, The Ferchill Group
Flour Bag Loader
“I was loading 50- to 100-pound bags on railroad boxcars.”

Mike Fezzey
President and General Manager, WJR-AM
Bus Boy

Bob Ficano
Executive, Wayne County
Playground Assistant

Tavi Fulkerson
President, The Fulkerson Group
Disc Jockey

Yousif Ghafari
Chairman, Ghafari

Chuck Ghesquiere
President, Mercedes Benz of Bloomfield Hills
Paper Boy


Jennifer Granholm
Governor, State of Michigan
Gift Shop Clerk

Doug Hamburger
CEO, The Professional Group
Hi-Lo Driver

Ken Holland
General Manager, Detroit Red Wings
Highway Pole Painter
“It was a summer job that only got finished because we borrowed a sprayer.”

Christopher Ilitch
President and CEO, Ilitch Holdings Inc.
Lawn Cutter

John Jamian
Partner, Jamian McElroy
Sales Representative

Peter Karmanos
Chairman and CEO, Compuware Corp.
Short Order Cook

Stephen Kircher
President, Boyne USA Resorts, Eastern Operations
Ball Striper

Jack Krasula
President, Trustinus
Elephant Sweeper

Florine Mark
Chairman, WW Group Inc.
Doughnut Clerk

Hoot McInerney
President, McInerney Inc.
Car Porter

Emmett Moten
Principal, MCP Development
High School Teacher

Cindy Pasky
President and CEO, Strategic Staffing Solutions
Ballet Teacher

L. Brooks Patterson
Executive, Oakland County
High-School Teacher

Pete Petrella
COO, Synergy Group
“I lasted one 16-hour day before I told my dad I wanted to go back to school.”

Tom Proctor
Owner, The Designate
Nuclear Plant Personnel Adviser

Bill Roberts
President, Roberts Restaurant Group
Snow Shoveler

Rex Schlaybaugh
Chairman and CEO, Dykema
Bus Boy


Nancy Schlichting
President and CEO, Henry Ford Health System
Retail Clerk

Gilbert Silverman
President, Holtzman & Silverman Construction & Realty Ltd.
Rough Carpenter

Ramsey Sweis
President, Aqaba
Doughnut Glazer

Frank Stella
Chairman and CEO, F.D. Stella Products Co.
Paper Boy

John Stroh
Chairman and CEO, The Stroh Cos. Inc.
Malt House Apprentice

Robert S. Taubman
Chairman, President, and CEO, Taubman Centers Inc.
Gas Station Attendant

Frank Taylor
Chairman, Frank Taylor Restaurant Group

Gerard van Grinsven
President and CEO, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

Joe Vicari
CEO, Andiamo Restaurant Group
Sales Assistant

Ron Weiser
Chairman, Michigan Republican Party
Lawn Cutter

Chan Whiting
General Manager, Crest Lincoln-Mercury Inc.
Car Detailer

Susan Zinger
General Manager, Michigan Design Center