Being ‘fired’ never felt so goodWoodbury resident and area real estate entrepreneur Wade Hanson reflects on his experience as a contestant on the nationally-televised reality show "The Apprentice."
Imagine being a competitive golfer and getting a chance to play a round with Tiger Woods. Opportunity of a lifetime? For certain. That’s how Wade Hanson described his recent brush with famed real estate mogul Donald Trump.
The Woodbury resident and real estate broker was one of 16 contestants from around the country to compete this summer on Trump’s nationally-televised reality program “The Apprentice.”
The show’s 10th season was taped for six weeks this summer in New York City and is in the midst of its fall run on NBC. Hanson made it through the first five projects before hearing the famous Trump catchphrase “You’re fired” from “The Donald” himself during the aired Oct. 21 episode.
While watching the show unfold at home with family, Hanson, a 1996 graduate of Woodbury High School, had to keep tight-lipped about when or if he would get the boot. But since his “dismissal” from the show has aired, he has been a busy man, not only with his real estate career, but with media interviews across the country.
“It’s fun to get that 15 minutes of fame,” Hanson admitted. “But that’s not why I did it. I feel like I was there for the right reasons; to get this pretty remarkable experience and opportunity to be around for the Trump organization and learn from a guy that really is on his game all the time.”
Hanson said he and the other contestants interacted with Trump quite a bit with each project their chosen teams were assigned, and added he was most impressed with how the man who symbolizes “The Apprentice” brand interacted with contestants when the cameras weren’t rolling.
During tryouts for the program last spring Hanson and about 150 other applicants were flown to Los Angeles, and when Hanson learned he was among about 30 finalists for the show, he was summoned to interview with Trump and about five producers, including executive producer Mark Burnett.
“It was pretty crazy because he is literally looking over your resume and firing questions at you, and you’re heart kind of skips a beat,” Hanson said. “But it was so neat to see that he is that involved with the show. He wanted to make sure the contestants were all qualified individuals.”
Learning from the best
So what did Hanson say to the man as famous for his hair-do as he is for his Manhattan real estate to cinch the deal and be one of the 16 contestants on “The Apprentice?”
“I said ‘If you’re looking for a reality TV show star, I’m not the guy,’” Hanson said recalling his interview with Trump. “‘This could go off the air and be the worst failure in television history and that wouldn’t bother me. It’s the fact that I would get the opportunity to network with you, the Trump organization and some really great people.’”
But Hanson believes that mantra may have also led him to an early exit on the program.
“It’s tough because there were so many times you want to say something, but you just have to bite your tongue and be a professional,” he said. “But there were definitely some personalities that wanted to play to the ‘reality TV’ aspect of it. And I’m okay with that. It just wasn’t my personality to play it that way.”
But even in his “firing” Hanson said his stint on “The Apprentice” has opened up opportunities.
He got the chance to golf with the CEO of Trump’s international golf organization. He has interviewed with dozens of radio and television stations across the country about his experience on the long-running program. And he has renewed energy for his real estate career.
“This really has been a springboard,” Hanson said. “I tell people over and over it’s been the opportunity of a lifetime to learn things about the business from people who are the best at it. That’s what I take away from it, and hopefully I’ll be better for it.”