Hanson Hears Dreaded Words on "The Apprentice"

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Hanson Hears Dreaded Words on 'The Apprentice'

Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Bz Buzz

Wade Hanson, the real estate professional with a background in the lakes area, heard that dreaded phrase in the boardroom.

Hanson, 33, was fired at the end of episode five on the unscripted NBC Television series with Donald Trump along with fellow competitor, Gene Folkes.

The task for the episode was setting up a runway show for a Rockport shoes collection. Hanson was the project manager for the men's team and Folkes, who stumbled as emcee for the runway show, were both fired.

Hanson said his goal in his attempt to become Trump's apprentice was to spend time with the organization and learn from the real estate entrepreneur. He wanted to challenge himself and needed a change. That goal was met, but Hanson was disappointed to leave the show early.

"Just getting there was quite an accomplishment," Hanson said. "I wish I would have lasted longer."

This season's "The Apprentice" focuses on giving a second chance to people to rebuild careers after taking hard hits by the recession. The show's episodes were completed in June. Hanson will be back with the show's 16 candidates for the Dec. 16 live finale.

Hanson, who has an office in Woodbury and in Walker, said he gained from the experience, learned things about himself and has a few things he wishes he would have done differently.

"This recession has us all into a rut," Hanson said, adding he was doing the same things he always did and expecting different results. "(Donald Trump) demanded a lot of us and he challenges your creativity," Hanson said.

The experience challenged him to come back to Minnesota and work harder and look for the opportunities, because they are out there, Hanson said.

Asked what he would have done differently on the show, Hanson said he wishes he hadn't drawn the fashion challenge for his stint as project manager. And, he said, standing out more in the first weeks may have been a better strategy than keeping his head down and trying to be the candidate who executed the work. Hanson said at times he had ideas, but held back.

Hanson was criticized in the board room for not have more of a practice before the runway show. Hanson said there was a practice that didn't appear on TV but it was just as bad as the actual show. He said the time between the 20-minute rehearsal and the runway show was about 10 minutes, which didn't leave much room to maneuver.

"It was like watching the Titanic sink," Hanson said. "You knew it was leaking ... and just watched it slip into the ocean.

"I knew we had lost. I didn't know I'd be cornered by The Donald and his agenda was to get rid of Gene and I. We didn't have a chance to defend ourselves."

Hanson said the person from the show he's stayed most in contact with is Folkes. After the two were fired, they were escorted out and met with Trump for a conversation off camera before taping their exit interviews inside the cab as they are leaving.

Hanson said he isn't able to judge yet how the show may have changed his life. It provided greater exposure, certainly.

"It definitely is going to open the doors to opportunities," Hanson said, and one of the biggest to date was participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Hanson lost his sister to suicide and has worked to raise funds for the foundation. Now Hanson said he will be on the board of directors.

As for the show, Hanson said he believes one of the women will win, perhaps Brandy, Liza or Stephanie.

"I think the women are stronger than the men," Hanson said. "The women have a lot more to offer this year."

As for regrets, Hanson said maybe he should have fought harder to be the project manager for the task the week earlier after telling Trump in the boardroom he was taking on the position, but another candidate had announced his intent to be the project manager for week four earlier.

In remarks he wrote after the firing, Hanson said he was re-energized after returning from New York and sees opportunities even in this challenged real estate market. Hanson stated this was the first time he was fired and not too many people can say Donald Trump was the one who said those words to them.

His advice for others, do what you love even if it scares you or others say it's a bad idea and trust your instincts.

Now Hanson spends time between the Twin Cities and the Walker and lakes area working on luxury lake home sales. But he thinks the market will get worse before it gets better.

There is "so much uncertainty right now until we can create more jobs and our unemployment goes down, it's not going to get any better in my opinion."


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  1. Judi Henry 10/26/2010 08:31 AM
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Judi Henry
Main Street Realty & Loan - Lakeside, CA
Lakeside, CA 619-820-7277

Hi Wade,

Your weak link was Gene. Watching it was painful. You did a great job as project manager but no way would I of let Gene be in front. (Easy for me to say that now huh?) What a great experience overall for you.

I don't get to watch every episode. Once you were fired did they hook you up with anyone as a mentor on your way out?

I wish you would blog about the process getting onto the show. That has got to be a story in itself.

Oct 26, 2010 08:26 AM #1
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