On June 18, 2013, Ty Pennington, an American television host, artist, carpenter and furniture designer, presented Allan Limke, a computer applications teacher at Milton-Union Middle School prizes won as a result of Sears’ recent “Shop Your Way Rewards Sweepstake” Pennington presented Limke with a full “Back Yard Prize Package” from Sears. The prize package included outdoor merchandise from Sears that valued over $5,000, including a Kenmore Grill, dining set from Ty Pennington’s collection, shed, canopy, lawn mower, flowers, and much, much more.
During his visit, he took time out from helping with the set up of the outdoor winning to answer some questions.
Q. What is the best and worst part of your job?
I definitely would say that I have been fortunate enough to have one of the best jobs in the world. I mean, it is not every day that what you do makes a difference in someone’s life. It is hard to compare it to anything else.
I think the worst part is that you can’t seem to stop. It reinvigorates you and you want to keep doing more of it. That is a choice. So, there really isn’t a downside. To be able to work with partners like Sears and change people’s lives is pretty cool.
Q. In the charities you are involved, do you have a say in which you help?
With Extreme, we have a whole team that pick the families and go through that. For me, that would be way too heavy. Once the show got underway, they had people sending in letters about other people that were in need and not for just themselves. It is really about an entire organization, an entire town, an entire community who is saying, “these are the people that need help and here is why.”
Q. How does it make you feel when you help families and know that you are making their lives better?
To be able to give a gift in any way to someone that doesn’t have something, big or small, I think is one of the coolest things you can do as a human being. I think doing something positive for someone doesn’t have to be enormous. It doesn’t have to be building them a house. It can be as simple as mowing the neighbor’s yard. I think that there are a lot of things that we can do for each other that are quite small but make a big difference.
Q. What to you attribute most to your success?
I happen to be one of those people that have always been an artist and I went to different schools and specialized in different mediums. I also followed different paths. I was in fashion at an early age and had a chance to travel. I got exposed to different cultures, different ways of living, and different styles and customs. I think it is one of those things, if you want to get lucky it pays to be prepared. In my case I happened to be in the right state of mind with the right experience in so many different areas. The job was made for me.
Q. What defines you that most people do not know?
Most people do not realize that about me because I am sort of have two sides. One, I am a playful child with no cares in the world. Two, I am a perfectionist who is trying to make sure we do that best job we can so that no one else can come close. The thing that makes me happy is the creative process. It is taking an idea from sketch to finish. It is that eureka moment that sparks my fire
I collect interesting things luggage tags. It is not just to say that I have been to all these places, but it is the different patterns that you can lay out with all the bar codes that would make a cool pattern that you could wrap around luggage that signifies travel. I also collect Sear’s memorabilia. I collect old Sears amplifiers and guitars and old radios; that Americana feeling. It is when we were at our greatest. I found an old Sears catalog from 1937 or 1947 and I was like, wow.
Q. At the end of a hard day, what do you do to relax?
Tthe thing that relaxes me most is uncontrollable laughter that can happen with family, friends and people that you have known for a long time. But, it is that kind of laughter when you laugh so hard that mucus is falling out of your face, because you are laughing so hard. I think that is the best medicine and relaxation you can have.
Q. I see that you also design fabrics and textiles.
Yes, that is what I have been doing for the past three weeks. That is what a lot of people don’t know about me. They think I am a hammer and tool guy, but I actually design textiles. I will cut shapes out of wood and make stamps out of them and print them on canvas to get that irregular impression. Then I take a picture of that and put it on the computer. When put together, it has a real organic feel because it’s not perfect. I like things that have scars, abrasions, dents, dings because they are real.
Q. Why Sears?
They picked me to help promote them. At the time Sears was doing huge things not only for the homes we were building on Extreme, but for the communities, and still do. Then they offered me a chance to design home décor products and that was a dream. If you think of my background, graphic design, furniture design and being able to have that, it is like a dream come true. I love doing it.
Q. What kind of advice do you have for kids with ADHD to help them be a positive force in their community?
My advice would be to find something that really seems to hold your focus without any other means. What I think a person with ADHD is lacking is confidence and the ability to believe in yourself. So, if you find what it is that really motivates you, whether it be music, dance, writing, that is the area you will gain confidence and be able to prove yourself. The path you start out on is not necessarily the path you are going to end up at.
We are just a stream of water that is running downhill. You are going to hit boulders and stones along the way and it is going to veer off the path you thought but eventually you will get back on the path you want but you sometimes need to take that journey that leads you to a different direction to gain experience in ways that you may not know you will need for the next run when you meet back up with the river that is your destiny.