Before coming to TechTown, Derrin worked at the Ford Factory for over 10 years before participating in the buyout program. With the money he received from the program, Derrin started working with a start-up business based in technology at Wayne State University. The start-up worked specifically with bio-diesel productions as a catalyst. With the expertise that he acquired over time, Derrin began volunteering his time at TechTown working as a coach for start-up businesses. After being a volunteer for some time and receiving his MBA, Derrin was hired as a managing director within TechTown.
Derrin has faced many hurdles after joining the workforce at TechTown. One of the big hurdles was adjusting to the laissez-faire work environment at TechTown. He was accustomed to the structured work setting and although TechTown’s relaxing work environment is nice, it took some time to adjust to. Another hurdle Derrin faced was scaling the SWOT city by a factor of four. TechTown is going from serving one community of 12,000 to serving four communities with over 80,000 people. This huge increase in communities and people has created some hardships in solving problems and finding long-term solutions.
Derrin describes social entrepreneurship as people wanting to start a business to make money but also wanting to solve a community issue. After working with many entrepreneurs in Detroit, Derrin has come across a lot of solutions for community issues that exist. Some of these community issues are transportation, working with foster kids, working with young pregnant girls and social rights. Social entrepreneurship is a way to give back to the community as well.
Derrin actually does not live in Detroit. He lives North of Detroit, but is a Michigan native. He decided to work in Detroit because he loves the city and it will always have a spot in his heart.