When we were invited to the 2019 State of the City Speech, we thought we were in for a boring night. We brought our beautiful wives, and Justin even wore a tie. Mayor Shortal took the stage about 30 minutes in. He started by throwing props to all of the big names; Chief Grogan, Mike Wilensky, Sally Harrell, Commissioners and Council Members. Most were very quickly recognized and he would move on to the next name. Then everyone quieted down and he began his speech. Denny is a charismatic speaker and kept our attention (which is hard to do). During his speech he touched on all of the challenges we face as a city, and what the city is doing to solve those issues. He started talking about changes in the Village, then he paused. He looked down at his notes… and then this happened.
I’ve never been so nervous. When he asked us to stand, I thought my knees were going to buckle. I calmed down a bit after I looked behind me and Justin was turning and bowing to the crowd. There’s something about him that always calms me down. My legs stopped shaking and the smile and color returned to my face. I really took in every second after that. It was amazing. We had met Denny a couple months before the speech to record a podcast with him, but we really weren’t even sure that he even remembered us. At the end of his speech, he announced that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election in November to spend more time with his family. After a standing applause, the night was over and we got up to leave. We weren’t able to just leave, because folks kept coming up to introduce themselves. It was a bit surreal to me. I’ve never been the guy that people want to meet. After speaking with Attorney General Chris Carr, Mayor Shortal, Mayor Frank Auman from Tucker, and a handful of other people that I don’t remember from the whirlwind, we finally made it to the door. When we got outside the conference room the cool breeze from the door hit us. My wife Sasha looked at me and just smiled and said, “well all of that was unexpected”. By the time we got home, I had 10 or so emails from business owners and PR firms representing Dunwoody businesses asking to come on the show or talk about sponsorships. We had worked hard at our stupid local podcast for about a year, but that was the night that was the night that we realized we had something special. Thanks for coming along for the ride!