The New Guy by Chris Collier
by Chris Collier
September 21st, 2022

Mike Rowe: Live and in Person

Hundreds of amplified attendees buzzed outside room 214 at the Henry B. González Convention Center on day two of the 21st Annual International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT). Just minutes later, Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe took the stage and spoke to a capacity room for a keynote sponsored by Autobahn Window Films.

Mike Rowe addresses a capacity room during the event.

“I want to tell you about the moment in my life when I realized everything about work was wrong,” says Rowe.

The story starts when Rowe’s mother called him to tell him that his grandfather was soon turning 90 years old and wanted to see Rowe do something that actually “resembled work.”

Enlightened, Rowe went to his boss at his news station in San Francisco and pitched a segment to capture the lives of everyday people and the types of work that they do. Rowe went out and attempted to cover industries not typically known to the common person, like crawling through the sewer systems of San Francisco.

“It takes a minute for your eyes to adjust, but your nose doesn’t take time to adjust at all,” recalls Rowe of his time in the sewers. “The stench gets on your teeth. You’re just stunned … You just stand there festooned in this filth.”

Rowe embraced an uncomfortable situation in an effort to extend himself to new heights, and I admire that. I think it’s something we can all relate to. Maybe it was a massive commercial film job you took on amid an already full tint bay. It could have been learning paint protection film and coming out on the other end with bubbles and mistakes clouding your vision. Rowe’s first deep dive into San Francisco’s sewers was no cakewalk, but that’s life. He chose to embrace uncertainty and take on hundreds of additional Dirty Jobs.

This was my first WFCT as editor of WINDOW FILM and PPF magazines, and it was a big new task. But I like to think I grew into my role and came out on top thanks to my incredible team and support from attendees and exhibitors. Growth isn’t always fun, but it’s always worth the ride. Rowe learned that early on.

Hearing Rowe’s voice boom throughout room 214 felt familiar. I grew up watching Dirty Jobs with my dad during childhood. And now here I am, not only sitting in a room listening to him, but covering his keynote speech for a story.

It was a full-circle moment that I’ll remember for a long time. Having the privilege to listen to Rowe speak on his life live at WFCT is yet another chapter in my industry story.
I hope you enjoyed his talk as much as I did.

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