Category Archives: News

Bob Shell: Marijuana and Mind

Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

 

 

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

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The March/April 2020 issue of Discover magazine has a couple very interesting articles on scientific research into the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), shows great promise in treating ARML (Age Related Memory Loss), dementia, and may even reverse Alzheimer’s. That’s pretty amazing to me, because back in 1969 I was arrested for possession of marijuana, one single joint in the pocket of a man who didn’t live with us, was just visiting. Five people in the apartment, one had marijuana, all five were charged with possession! Not only were the four of us who had no marijuana charged with possession, we were each facing up to thirty years in prison!

And this being Richmond, Virginia, we were all convicted! I got a three year sentence, thankfully suspended, and had to fight to get that conviction expunged so I could vote, own firearms, and exercise constitutional rights that most people take for granted.

My life was totally disrupted, and one of my best friends who’d been living with me in the apartment put a gun in his mouth and killed himself over it. I’ve never completely gotten over that. A young life ended by the evil of misguided government.

Now, fifty-one long years later, we’re finally getting around to doing the research to find out what marijuana actually does when ingested by humans. And we’re finding out that it does some remarkable things, like restoring memory function to aging brains when used in moderate quantities.

Serious research was blocked for generations by stupid regulations that made such research almost impossible.

Actually, the research had unwittingly already been done in the field. There are areas in Kashmir and other high Himalayan regions where people have cooked their food in Red Oil, marijuana oil, for centuries. All we need to do is compare them with others who live in similar localities but use other oils for cooking.

When National Geographic sent a team into the area years ago for a story, the photographers and writers ate what the locals were eating, and found themselves too high to function. It took them weeks to get accustomed to having high levels of THC in their systems and become functional again. But the people who cook with Red Oil aren’t any less healthy than their neighbors who don’t, and show no increased level of mental problems. They live quiet, happy lives.

Is marijuana totally harmless, then? No, (and probably should only be used by adults, as it may be harmful to developing brains), but neither is coffee, chocolate, tea, or countless other plant products. Demonizing marijuana, as the U.S. government did for years, ruined lives and was far more harmful to society than marijuana ever could have been, even if the lies about it had been true.

Here in backwater, backward Virginia, people have even seen the light. Our legislature, the General Assembly, which likes to remind us that it is the oldest elected legislature in America, has finally passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana, and our Governor says he will sign it. But decriminalization is not legalizing, and they’ll still be able to bust you for having it. It will just be a fine instead of jail or prison.

We’ve had a “medical marijuana” law in Virginia for years. It says they can’t charge anyone for possession if they have a valid prescription from a Virginia doctor. But doctors here were not allowed to write such prescriptions! And prescriptions from one of the surrounding states or D.C. weren’t any good.

All laws making marijuana illegal need to just be struck from the books. For that matter, it is my opinion that all drug laws do far more harm than good. We could save a hell of a lot of money and break the backs of the drug cartels by ending unproductive prohibition and disbanding the Drug Enforcement Administration, and have local police stop wasting time and money harassing people for simple possession. All those millions of tax dollars could then be put to productive use.

Almost all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls say they favor legalizing marijuana, as has President Trump. I say, stop talking and do it! Trump could do it with the stroke of a pen with an Executive Order, as could the next president, if it’s not him. Fifty-one years is too long to wait.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-finally-something-good-to-report/

Also posted in Affiliates, Art, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, History, lifestyle, Popular Culture, Science

Katie Kerl: Against All Odds

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Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2020

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AGAINST ALL ODDS

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As many of you know my father is my heart and soul. He has been dealing with cancer since 2009. Now most people hearing such news would stop everything and go right to the doctor for a treatment plan. Not my dad. At the time he was working 90 hours a week at Amtrak as a crane operator being sick. I could remember nights before he’d go to work. He’d basically be asleep at the kitchen table before he was ready to leave. I used to think to myself, “ how in the hell is he going to work like this?!” He always shocked me. It was like work brought him to life and continued to give him meaning through some really ruff periods of his  life. Not just sickness.

At the time the only treatment for cancer was chemo. He had just lost a brother to it and there was no way he was doing that. I never to this day fought him on any medical decision he made for himself regarding treatment. As time passed he continued to work and lived his life the way he wanted to.

He did not work all those hours for himself. He did it for me. My father solely lives for my happiness over his own. When I think about what that actually means; I’m not sure if there’s a greater compliment you can give another person. It’s very humbling.

Every time I fell down there he was picking me up off the ground and making sure whatever it was messing with my head booze , Boy’s , mismanaging money when I was younger; he didn’t ridicule me . He listened, not in a parental way he just listened, till whatever it was came out. Then we moved on with life. He always said it was ok to be down, cry but you do not do that too long because it changes nothing.

When I was a kid he had to gain seniority at Amtrak to hold a job in Philly . He’d be working in another state sleeping in a camper car all week. There was no such thing as per diem like there is now. Also, before they had machines doing the work today; these men in their twenties with families were doing it. They are now dying from breathing complications from all the broken up dirt and dust on the tracks in the 80’s.

From work experience alone my dad has seen more than enough for one person in a lifetime . The year he retired, that horrible accident happened where the train hit a piece of machinery and two men lost their lives. I remember that day and pleading to my dad not to go clean it up. I was immediately shut down and he said,  “I can’t Kate those were my friends, and now I have to go help my other friends clean this up.” He wasn’t afraid he just did it and didn’t complain once. They didn’t even clean the blood up from their fellow workers first before they sent them down there to repair the track .

That was the last year he worked . My father retired with 37 years under his belt. In that first year of being home his cancer worsened. He was forced to do radiation, and a battery of other tests. After spending a week in the hospital for his lungs. We couldn’t ignore it anymore. To say the summer was an emotional roller coaster is putting it lightly.

Doctors had opposing opinions it was very overwhelming. He got through that though like a champ. He never complained about it either. They put him on immunotherapy a chemo alternative, and steroids for inflammation. 

All of that really changed me . I was more of a destructive person when things went wrong. Realizing he’s going to need help at some point I was going to have to get it the fuck together. I had started writing these pieces , volunteering, and trying to do as many positive things as I can.

About a month ago we learned he has a new cancerous tumor in his throat. I’m very fortunate to have my cousin Mike continuing to help him  go to doctor appointments when I can’t take off work. I’m not sure how we’d be doing any of this without him .

I’ve never seen my dad worried about all this, but this time we were at lunch and he got very quiet. If you know my father the Kerl gift of gab usually gets stronger when we are nervous. He wanted a burger so we were sitting in 5 Guys. He looked out the window for a while and I had to ask a few times to get it out of him. He finally said to me,“ I just wonder if I’ve done enough.”

I immediately stopped eating and let my dad know that I’m aware what he’s going though is very scary. He’s going to question many things about his life. There were a few things I was going to tell him so that question is taken off the list.

I said you may not realize this, but you have the best life story and proceeded to make a list:

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You’re childhood was amazing growing up with 50-60 kids between one block

Every time you ever fell down you got back up even better just to prove a point.

You loved your job and were exceptional at it.

You lent tens of thousands to people who you knew couldn’t pay you back, but you did it anyway.

You’re very involved in our family

You own your house and car

You have a full pension from a 37 year career.

You Vacationed when you wanted to.

Took the time out to talk to my struggling ex with work when you were in fact getting sicker with this tumor. (My biggest fear at that time.)

There is not one person who came your way for help you refused.

You retired distinguished, and still see the men you worked beside in the union. You’ve known them longer than I’ve been alive.

You have given all of your time and energy to me, no matter the situation. You were the first to be on the scene of a SEPTA accident in your Amtrak vest before the first responders.

You paid me what I would have made working  every week when I was in a very serious accident, so I didn’t have to sit at home feeling sorry for myself not being able to work. ( You did get that back after my settlement lol) I still don’t know many parents that would have done that.

People want to be there for you because you have contributed so much positivity to their lives and you may not even realize it.

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DID YOU DO ENOUGH? You have done enough for ten people. You have exceeded what it means to be a father, a friend , co-worker, and someone to confide in. ALWAYS putting the ones you love above yourself.

Sometimes hearing things you forget about in stressful situations is very helpful. Cancer should not be in every sentence. It does not have to take over your entire being. My dad’s about to get a biopsy on the tumor in his throat, and we are going to go back down this road again. No one is ever prepared for this. There’s no way to be. You’re going to feel differently everyday.

Half the battle is mindset. Not letting your loved ones feel defeated, or feel as though they have one foot in the grave when they are in fact still alive. Talking about dying is ok, make arrangements etc. Do not make it your everyday conversation. Remind your loved ones,“ HEY YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!” Get them out of the house as long as they are able to. Make sure they are getting the proper nutrition to fight. Make the appropriate doctor appointments. If you do not like what they are telling you do not be afraid to get second opinions.

Part of me is convinced my father is Superman, and he’s my personal hero. If I turn out to be a quarter of the human he is I will consider myself very lucky to find that kind of strength inside me, as he does. I can’t wait to celebrate ending another round of radiation, or whatever this brings to our lives.  Thank you to everyone that continues to be there with us. Calls daily, and checks in with us. Support is the number one thing that makes someone feel better and David Kerl is a very fortunate man. You will never lose to cancer. You keep living, fighting , and helping others during your very long journey. That’s admirable, that’s what heroes do.

Thank you for being my Superman.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional article by Katie Kerl, click herehttps://tonyward.com/valentines/

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Women

Studio News: A Return to Teaching

A Photography Critique at Haverford College. Photo: Dan Burns

 

Text by Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

After a two year hiatus from teaching, I have accepted an invitation as visiting instructor of Fine Arts at Haverford College. On December 17th, 2019 my first meeting with photography students took place at the Jane Lutnick Fine Arts Center. My colleague Professor William Williams asked me to join him for a final critique of student work performed during the fall semester. In preparation for lecturing at Haverford I am currently reading, Criticizing Photographs by Terry Barrett. I look forward to the opportunity of teaching a color course with these bright exceptional students at Haverford beginning this month.

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About Tony Ward:

Tony Ward began his professional career in 1980 as a corporate photographer for the pharmaceutical giant, Smithkline Corporation.  After several years of working in the department of corporate communications for Smithkline, he opened the Tony Ward Studio in Philadelphia, to service a variety of Fortune 500 companies and smaller business entities.

His personal work and research during the past 25 years has been rooted in exploring the visual cross sections of fashion and erotic photography by capturing the impact the sexual revolution of the 1960’s had on advertising and in particular magazine publishing.  His first book of photography, Obsessions with forward by A.D. Coleman was his first attempt at challenging the lines drawn between Art and Obscenity by questioning social mores, existing laws, and the evolution of photographic imagery that is viewed as inappropriate in some cultures and acceptable in others. He is particularly interested in further examining the first amendment right to freedom of expression and the impact censorship has had on the evolution of photography’s history.

To access Tony Ward’s curriculum vitae, click here:https://tonyward.com/about/

 

Also posted in Announcements, Art, Blog, Book Reviews, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Exhibitions, Film, History, lifestyle, Men, Philadelphia, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science, Student Life

Bob Shell: On The Legal Front

Marion in Vegas. Photo: Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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On The Legal Front

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Believe it or not, I stay very busy here, so I hope no one minds these impersonal periodic updates.

On the legal front, which so many of you ask about, progress is slow but certain. On Feb. 1 of this year I filed an Independent Action to Vacate in the Radford Circuit Court seeking to overturn my convictions based on the use of false evidence to convict me. Much to my surprise, the Radford prosecutor did not oppose this action, which, under Virginia law, means he accepts my allegations as true. Of course they’re true! The Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia has said unequivocally that the medical testimony (That Marion was dead when I took my last pictures of her) from the local medical examiner was “Just wrong!” This case is working its way through the courts right now. Another Independent Action on the grounds that they missed my speedy trial deadline by over a year was filed last September, and is also working its way through the courts. Courts are slow!

My other legal effort, to get my precious forest land, my “outdoor studio,” back after it was illegally sold is also moving slowly through the courts. To prevent the persons who now illegally hold my land from altering, selling, subdividing, etc. I have filed what’s called a Lis Pendens in the Floyd County courthouse. This blocks such activity on contested property. I WILL get MY land back, and will build my planned house and studio there when I’m released. I’ve been more upset by the possible loss of my forest, forest sacred to me, than anything in my life. Hardly a night goes by that I don’t have nightmares about this, and my daytime mind is constantly preoccupied with stressful worries about losing my forest and someone destroying it. It’s only a small forest, but it means the world to me.

On other fronts, things have been mixed. My book COSMIC DANCE has been out since April, and has gotten great reviews on Amazon, but without an advertising budget it’s been hard to get the word out, and sales are slow. Virginia prison inmates are forbidden to have Facebook or other social media accounts, a blatantly unconstitutional policy, so I can’t use the obvious promotional vehicles. Low cost/no cost promotional ideas welcome.

My blog that appears at www.TonyWardStudio.com/blog is popular, with many regular readers., and let’s me write about anything. Tony calls me “a natural storyteller.”

I’m also writing now for Prehistoric Times magazine, (www.prehistorictimes.com) about dinosaurs and such, a preoccupation of mine since my teens. It’s been nice to see my name in print again. The VDOC can’t ban us from writing for publication. That old First Amendment stops them, but they would if they could.

On the living conditions/health front, I’ve been back at Pocahontas State Correctional Center (PSCC) since late August. On April 4, 2018 I was shipped off to River North Correctional Center (RNCC), a high security facility built specifically to house gangs. There are no windows in the cells there, and many restrictions. My windows here at PSCC aren’t big, but at least I can see if it’s raining or snowing outside.

I was sent to RNCC due to a “clerical error.” I received a serious charge here in 2017, but the charge was dismissed by the Assistant Warden. Unfortunately for me, whoever was supposed to enter that dismissal into the VDOC’s database failed to do so. My counselor at RNCC fixed the problem, but it took well over a year for me to get back to PSCC, where I’d been since 2009.

When I got back here there was no bed available in the handicapped pod, so I was held in a medical unit holding cell for over a month until a bed opened up there. As many of you know, I suffered a serious stroke in 1991, shortly after becoming Editor of Shutterbug magazine. Due to that stroke, vertigo (I’ve had that since the 1960s), and a bad left knee (torn cartilage), I require a handicapped shower, and was walking with a cane. There’s only one handicapped shower in this whole facility, in the handicapped pod, pod A-1. I was there among old friends, had a great cellmate, and was as happy as it’s possible to be in prison.

On the morning of November 15 it all went to hell. That morning a voice came over the cell intercom, “Shell, pack your stuff. You’re moving to B building.” Sure it was a mistake, I refused to pack and move until the building manager got here, assuming he would straighten it all out. He didn’t. It seemed that the order the doctor wrote saying I require a handicapped shower couldn’t be found. The doctor who told me he wrote it isn’t here anymore, and the doctor who is refuses to write such an order.

On the same morning that I was kicked out of the handicapped pod, they called me to medical, and gave me a McKesson Rollator, a sort of four wheel walker with a seat on it. It’s not for riding, like wheelchair. The seat is only for use when you’re not moving, but it’s great in long lines, since I can sit until the line moves. My health is generally good, my hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes all controlled by daily pills. My arthritis doesn’t bother me much since I was put on Celebrex about a year ago.

I’m now in a very rough pod. I’d only been here eight days when my cell was robbed when I was out at chow or pill call and about $ 200 worth of commissary I’d just bought was stolen. Staff treat it like it’s my fault for not locking my storage box, but the box they’ve issued me cannot be locked. The flange you attach the lock to is missing. I’ve had a combination lock for years, but rarely had to use it, and in my twelve years down, I’ve never been robbed before. But, I’ve never been in such a rough pod before. Friends sent me money to replace the stolen food, but I have no assurance I won’t be robbed again.

I’m fighting now to get back in the handicapped pod where I belong. Thanks for everyone’s support! I couldn’t make it without you!

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-doing-time-in-virginia/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Cameras, commentary, Documentary, Erotica, Friends of TWS, History, lifestyle, Men, Models, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Travel, Women

Katie Kerl: Derek Bailey Green Car Innovator

Derek Bailey Interview by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

 

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Derek and I came across each other on Instagram. After seeing what he was doing I immediately asked to interview him. He welcomed any positive press and agreed. I had the Opportunity to sit down with Derek after the interview as well.

I was able to learn a little more about his company, but more importantly what kind of person he is. The questionnaire part of interview was completed a  few months ago. Derek’s car just recently arrived in the United States a few weeks back. I went to Hatfield, Pa to check it out in person last weekend. Also, I was able to meet part of his growing sales team; leads coming from the top Volkswagen and Lexus dealerships in the area.  They just like Derek were very welcoming, informative, and excited about what was happening there. 

The car industry is pretty cut throat, but I was pleasantly surprised at what gentlemen and active listeners they all were. 

No pretentious bullshit in this crew; he cut right to the chase and had quite the sense of humor about him. A very family oriented man. He loves his two daughters, and speaks highly of both of them. Derek’s mother and brother all are in the area as well. They take part in many charity events giving back to the community. Being so busy he still takes the time to give back and show gratitude for all his accomplishments. 

For me not knowing the first thing about cars; after talking with Derek I feel like Id be able to speak intelligently about his new innovation. One cool feature not seen on many electric cars; the Avani’s fully retractable sunroof. Most electric car dealers leave this out not wanting to waste precious battery charge. The Avani will not have that issue.

Derek broke it down in a way anyone could understand. That is what you need when trying to sway people into the clean energy movement; understanding. If we don’t educate the public, how will they make informed decisions about helping our declining environment? Tony Ward actually took the photos for this article. Derek had a drone flying the day of inspection. That was also taking place at the same time as Tony was capturing his shots. The drone capture was a pretty monumental; a famous photographer capturing a new leading green car mogul. 

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Derek Automotive started taking pre-orders with a $2,500 refundable deposit starting in September 2019. Deposits will also earn the first 200 buyers one thousand shares of company stock, as a founding buyer incentive.  

For all the information you’d need to know about Derek’s green car, please visit his site : 

https://snapshot.derekautomotive.com/

Derek Bailey

Derek Automotive

INTERVIEW

K.K. Tell me a little bit about yourself please?

D.B.  I was born in New Orleans and I’m 50 years old. I studied Economic – Major & a marketing minor, at Virginia State University, and went on to study for an MBA at the University of Edinburgh, which I did complete – due mostly to the interruption of launching businesses.

K.K. Being a serial entrepreneur how many businesses have you had since the beginning of your career; were you happy with all of them?

D.B. Actually, I’ve not had a job where I received a paycheck since I was about 19. I’ve launched many businesses, with many failures, but also a few big successes.  One being a Company called Popa Media which I sold for $11 million. I’ve been in the Temporary staffing business for over 35 years. It’s been the financial fuel for my other bigger endeavors like; Wolverton Bailey the company I co-founded to design and patent our new engine supercharger technology. After receiving two patents, I decided to launch Derek Automotive Technologies to commercialize our engine technology, as opposed to asking other companies to include my technology in their products.

K.K. When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the clean energy movement, and produce an electric car that has the ability to be self charging?

D.B. This whole effort has been about saving our planet, without harming our economy, as most approaches to climate change solutions seem to do. There are trade-offs to going green. When people talk about electric cars it’s as if they think the electricity comes from magic. Over 70% of the electricity produced in the world comes from burning fossil fuels, like coal and natural. If all electricity was created with nuclear energy or wind and solar, then electric cars make a lot more sense – no emission at the source of the energy, and no emissions at the vehicle – totally carbon free! What we have today is a situation where electric cars are pollution-shifting; no emissions in the car, but emissions are created far away at the electric plant. Our grid is so complex; it’s difficult to know the carbon footprint of a specific electric vehicle because we might not know where the power is coming from. I wanted to empower us to know the carbon footprint of every electric vehicle. The reason I wanted to build an electric vehicle that recharges itself is to get consumers to purchase electric cars! Electric car adoption has been slow because consumers don’t trust them and find them inconvenient (i.e., being able to recharge, the long time period required to recharge, etc.) plus they’re expensive. It’s my goal to solve these problems, and deliver an electric car that the masses will want to buy.

K.K. Can you tell me how the technology works?

D.B. We’ve created a technology we call a Proteus Supercharger. Of course Proteus is the god of nature /sea that could take any shape. The super charger is based on two patents we’ve been awarded. One patent is for a highly efficient combustion engine that burns all of its fuel (most of the pollution coming from vehicles today is unburnt fuel) so it emits 83% less carbon than today’s engines. The second patent is for a special amplifier-generator that intakes 1-volt on input end, runs it through a magnetic field and outputs 1000-volts on the other end. Our clean engine (technically, it’s called a prime-mover), which runs on a small amount of gas, turns the generator to create an abundant amount of electricity (gas-to-electric power generation) for the batteries and interior cabin in the electric car. The supercharger only creates electricity; it does not help power the car like in a typical Hybrid-car. So, effectively, we’ve put a small power plant inside the car to make it more convenient for consumers. We believe that most consumers will enjoy driving totally on electric power, but also spend only 2-minutes putting a few dollars of gas in the car, as opposed to sitting for a charge for 35-minutes up to 5-hours.

K.K. Who did you turn to for production of this new venture?

D.B. Unlike Tesla and others, we can’t raise the hundreds of millions required to build our own plant, so we’re using the Apple model where we design and have more experienced manufacturers build for us. The Chinese are actually leaders in building electric vehicles and we’re partnered with a Chinese manufacturer to build our electric car, and we will integrate our supercharger into it here in America, to create American jobs.

K.K. Is gaining investors easy considering it’s a form of clean energy, or is it difficult being it could shut other vehicle producers down?

D.B. We’ve been powered mostly by my own capital, and capital from small investors who share our passion for workable green tech solution to carbon emission from the transportation sector. It’s unfortunate to say, but minority-entrepreneurs don’t have the same access to venture capital as others. Seeing genius from us is still a little hard for many investors, so we have to be willing to bleed-alone to get things done – but hey, that’s the American way – entrepreneurship is for the rugged. As far as shutting down other producers, our goal is to produce a great vehicle, using our technology, get it into the market, have consumers go crazy for the power of electric driving, the recharging convenience, and then license our technology to all the other car makers.  Licensing is another billion dollar opportunity for us.

K.K. What are some of the road blocks you have had to overcome along the way in testing / production?

D.B.  You ever hear that song “no one knows the trouble I’ve seen?”  Well, our roadblocks have been plenty. No one believed we could build a better engine. Once built, no one believed we could get a patent. Now we have two. No one thought I could get a car built. Now, that I’m introducing the car, no one believes I can build a car company against the big competitors and in the current car market. At each step it’s an excuse not to invest in us. Always with the assumption that I won’t make it to the next step.  Yet each time I do – and now the incredible thing is I find myself still owning 65% of the company.  Now, I’m only a few steps from shocking the world. I learned a saying a few years back – “as an entrepreneur one might have to bleed and cry by him/her self, but we also get to go to the bank by Ourselves.”  It’s that thought that keeps me going.

K.K. Is this more of a luxury car, or will it be something that is affordable to everyone on a scale that will stop the way we pollute the environment?

D.B.  This first vehicle is an SUV; its styling is like that of a Range Rover. We needed to design something that consumers would recognize and have an idea of its value. Once we make some money with the luxury vehicle, I will build an affordable car that I already have on the drawing board and named. That is a secret for now.

K.K. How do you deal with stress of starting something so new?

D.B. That’s a great question and I’m not sure I’ve found the answer. I workout, take long drives just to play music and think. I’m not in a relationship right now, the place where one would find the best stress relief, assuming the relationship is a good one. So, I struggle a bit with managing my stress – I’ll admit I sometimes turn to Mr. Jack Daniels and a mindless TV show. The key is I’m always ready to get back on the grind every morning.

K.K. What are your hobbies?

D.B.  I like to hit golf balls, play chess, ride bikes, but business is my hobby. I also love cooking and construction because I can see the results of my efforts quickly, as opposed to the years it takes to build a business.

K.K. When will your self charging electric car be released to the public?

D.B. As I said earlier, I still have a few more steps to my ultimate goal of the self-charging car. This first car I’m revealing in September 2019 is an all-electric SUV. The strategy is to sell 150 all-electric units (same as what the other automakers are selling) and plow that money back into reducing the size and completing the integration of the supercharger into the electric vehicle – it’s a lot of work, still. To answer your question, I think we will have our self-charging vehicle on the market in early 2021, maybe sooner if all the stars align.

K.K. I noticed you were granted the right to import vehicles as well. What are you planning to do with that?

D.B.  That import license is important because one can’t import vehicles into the USA without approvals from the EPA and DOT. This was a stepping stone for us.

K.K. Where do you see this taking you in the next 5 years?

D.B.  In 5-years Derek Automotive Technologies will be known as America’s first minority-owned car manufacturer and the leader in carbon emission reduction from the transportation sector. We’ll operate in 3 countries, have sales in excess of $600 million and valuation of more than three billion; minting me as a new American billionaire.

K.K. What are your personal, company, and environmental goals?

D.B.  My personal goals are to see my two daughters finish their schooling debt free, or near debt free, find my forever girl, and leave a legacy of having had a huge impact on climate change by reducing carbon emission in the transportation sector.

K.K. When will the launch party be?

D.B. The launch party will now be this fall. We had a bit of a trip through The Department of Transportation and got a bit delayed.  Fall is the perfect time for a launch Party, everyone is back from vacation and ready for what’s new. I’m looking at a few locations as I couldn’t book anything because I was not sure when we’d get all our approvals. 

Awww the stress of it all!

I’ll put out a notice on social media and my e-mail once the date and location is decided.

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Katie Kerl checks out the new Avani by Derek Automotive

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Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here:https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/katie-kerl-weed-the-people/

 

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