I love the way that Twin Cities Business magazine presented my article, Alter Ego: The Double Lives of Leading Local Executives. I had a lot of fun working on it. The awesome photos were taken by Travis Anderson.
In his navy blue suit, Scott Kadrlik looks like you’d expect a managing partner in a CPA firm to look. Tabatha Erck’s appearance is perfectly congruent with her role as CEO of a thriving chiropractic network. Small business owner Dave Wirig would blend in well at any business luncheon.
Looks can be deceiving. After shedding their business attire, one of these three executives dons a wig and Spandex and transforms into a head-banging rock star. Another grabs a microphone and hits Twin Cities stages as a stand-up comedian. The third guns a BMW and races around Brainerd International Raceway at 140 miles per hour.
Every day, you might bump into a handful of businesspeople whose after-hour activities may surprise you. In fact, you may be living such a double life yourself. In the pages that follow, you’ll meet 10 otherwise ordinary professionals with extraordinary private lives.
DAY JOB: Co-founder and CFO of Medical Solutions, Inc., a provider of new and reconditioned medical equipment.
DOUBLE LIFE: Plays guitar under the alias Davey Roxx for heavy metal band Hair Metal Mania.
When Dave Wirig, 44, and his lifelong friend, Dave Delgado, decided to start a business of their own in 1996, they had two criteria: it should have controllable outcomes and be in an industry that could withstand tough economic times. “Dave and I were trained in sales,” Wirig says. “We knew we would do well if the company was direct-sales oriented. We chose the medical field because it’s so interesting; there are always cutting-edge breakthroughs and new products coming out.”
The two Daves ended up founding Medical Solutions, Inc., a provider of new and reconditioned medical equipment. “One of our ideas had been a golf driving range,” Wirig says. “The problem with that was it’s very difficult to target the end user who’s going to come and hit balls at your driving range, whereas we know exactly where to go and who to call to find out if they need an EKG machine.”
Medical Solutions purchases new equipment directly from more than 50 manufacturers, but also buys used equipment from medical facilities throughout the country. The bulk of the company’s sales come from surgical tables, stress-testing systems, EKG machines and autoclaves, but they’re willing to buy whatever comes their way. “We may get a call to liquidate a metropolitan-area clinic,” Wirig says. “That equipment, which may be outdated for that particular owner, may be perfect for a rural clinic or hospital.”
Much has changed in the sixteen years since Wirig and Delgado opened up shop. Revenues have surpassed $2 million and, in 2007, the pair purchased a 12,000 sq. ft. commercial building in Maple Grove. One thing, however, hasn’t changed: the two of them are still the firm’s only employees, handling everything from sales to shipping. “We had some salespeople but they lacked incentive,” Wirig says. “We learned that bigger is not necessarily better.”
Medical Solutions is all that Wirig hoped it would be. Even so, he felt that something important in life was missing. “When we started the company, I put my guitar down,” he says. “I didn’t pick it up again for eight or nine years. One day, I finally sat down and listened to what my body and soul were telling me. I was missing playing the guitar and the way it helped me express my creative side. Once I started playing again and making music, it was so wonderful I didn’t want to stop.”
What Wirig also missed was the euphoria of performing for a live audience as he did in his college-age years. Feeling the itch to join a band, he turned to Craigslist and quickly connected with a group in need of a guitarist. For a couple of years, the band played soft rock and pop under the name Hard to Handle. Then, at Wirig’s urging, they morphed into an 80s rock tribute band called Hair Metal Mania with a setlist that includes greatest hits from Poison, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and other rock legends.
Of course, the members had to look the part. Mix in a wig and Spandex, and balding, mild-mannered Dave Wirig was transformed into Davey Roxx, rock star. “When I put on that (more…)