Shawn Springs on his business philosophy!
“. . .the way a football team is structured is very similar to how I structure my business. You’ve got the admin side, and the people who take care of the game experience from the sales, and marketing, and all the different things, the stadium. And then you’ve got the players. . .Who actually perform on the field. And that’s like my engineers, and industrial designers, and people. . . I have one rule I live by. If I’m the smartest person in the room, then I leave.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen in a wonderful moment with a very dear friend, a man who used to work at this very radio station where we’re doing our recording, who did a sports show. And this is not about sports. I want to tell everybody that this is about a human being and his great accomplishments, and a very dear friend, Shawn Springs, a local boy that grew up here in the Washington suburbs. And I just found out he was born in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Shawn Springs: Beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia.
Andy Ockershausen: Shawn, welcome to Our Town.
Shawn Springs: Hey, I’m happy to be on it. Andy, we’re beyond friends. I’m like your and Janice’s adopted son. You know? I’m just a little darker, that’s it.
Andy Ockershausen: Well I know so much about you, and there’s so much about you I don’t know. But you keep it that way with everything, but I won’t tell anybody. So you can tell me.
Shawn Springs: Okay, that’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: And the only, the millions of people that listen to Our Town will hear about it. But your dad had you in Williamsburg? Or was he …
Springs’ Family Legacy’s in Williamsburg, Virginia
Shawn Springs: Yeah, so my parents had me very young. They were seniors in high school.
Andy Ockershausen: Was he born in Williamsburg? Was he from Virginia?
Shawn Springs: My whole family’s from Williamsburg, Virginia.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
Shawn Springs: I have grandmothers on both sides in Busch Gardens, so if you ever go tour the hometown, my beautiful hometown, and learn about the history of our country; you’ll see that’s my birthplace. I love that place.
Andy Ockershausen: Williamsburg’s a fabulous …
Shawn Springs: Especially in the Fall. I think everybody should, in your life, everyone should go see the Governor’s mansion, see the hometown. And you know, growing up, there used to be a big thing about the Christmas parade down in Williamsburg, Virginia. They still have a little parade down there. I think we all should go check that out.
Andy Ockershausen: Still big time, huh?
Shawn Springs: Eh …
Andy Ockershausen: Well why didn’t you go to William & Mary?
Shawn Springs: Well, come on, you know …
Andy Ockershausen: ‘Cause that’s a big part of Williamsburg.
Shawn Springs: Well, I thought about it, but Andy, you’ve got to have immaculate grades to get into William & Mary. Although I was the Student Athlete of the Year in the Washington, DC area, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to go play for the Buckeyes.
Andy Ockershausen: But you grew up in Silver Spring, or what is now Silver Spring?
Shawn Springs: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy Ockershausen: Silver Spring’s gotten so big now. I remember it was a crossroads, and now … Of course, I’ve been around so long. But Silver Spring is so big now, and so much going on. And that was where you went to high school, at Springbrook.
Coach Bob Milloy
Shawn Springs: Yeah, at Springbrook High School, and I played for the legendary Coach Bob Milloy. If you haven’t had him on the show … I think we have had him …
Andy Ockershausen: And we talked about Shawn Springs, sitting right next to me.
Shawn Springs: And hopefully he said some good things. I think I was his very first pro that he had. And it’s amazing, because since then, there’s a lot of guys, from Stefon Diggs, and a lot of guys have played in the NFL. But Coach Milloy was like a father figure. And I have to tell you how he recruited me here.
We’re not going to talk about sports, but I have to tell you, me and my dad, we were living …
Andy Ockershausen: Now your father, he told us this story about your dad.
The Coach Bob Milloy Ploy
Shawn Springs: But did he tell you how many pretty girls he had on the high school, at the candy store when I walked in the building? I had just left DeMatha High School, and it’s all boys. Then I get over to Springbrook …
Andy Ockershausen: In Hyattsville, yeah.
Shawn Springs: Then I get over to Springbrook, and it’s nothing but girls in the hallway. I’m thinking it’s a girls school. Coach Milloy staged all the pretty girls to see, hey, you want to come to school here.
Andy Ockershausen: Look, Milloy’s a smart man. His dad and his uncle were very dear friends of mine. I grew up with those in that world, and the Milloys are a big name in Washington, good kids, and the family was great. And you were lucky that you had him.
Shawn Springs: I did.
Andy Ockershausen: Timing.
Lessons Learned from Coach Milloy
Shawn Springs: And I tell you, timing is everything, and just some of the lessons that I learned from Coach Milloy, I still teach my boys. In fact, I told my sons, “One of the things we’re going to have to do is go see Coach Milloy.” So when my sons were playing high school football, Coach Milloy would be at a few tournaments, and I would make sure the boys would go over and talk to Coach Milloy. And he would tell them stories.
And I tell you what, Coach Milloy is obviously …
Andy Ockershausen: He has a record.
Shawn Springs: He was a great coach, and the record, and everything-
Andy Ockershausen: Great job.
Coach Joe Gibbs
Shawn Springs: But you’re talking about a good human being. Talking about understanding people and how to get the best out of you. You know who the closest pro coach he reminds me of is Coach Gibbs. And I know we’re not talking sports, but he …
Andy Ockershausen: We’re talking people, and he’s a great man.
Shawn Springs: And he’s a great man, because he makes the game simple. He’s like, “Hey, I’m going to give you the ball. Score.” I got it, Coach. I got it, I got it. I can do that.
Andy Ockershausen: Well you mentioned your boys, the fact that you have twins. And you’re telling me they’re in college, and I don’t believe you. I think those little boys were standing around you, and they were like two feet tall. And now you tell me they’re in college.
Shawn Springs: And now they’re in college.
Andy Ockershausen: You’ve been around!
Shawn Springs: I’m getting old, man, getting a little gray in my beard.
Andy Ockershausen: And you have a girl, too?
Shawn Springs: I have three sons and one daughter, and Skyler and Samari, my twin boys, one is at Georgetown and the other is at the University of Richmond.
Andy Ockershausen: Good schools.
Shawn Springs: Great schools, and I tell you, it’s amazing how much they change. You don’t see them in like a couple months, I see them, but what they’re learning at these schools is incredible. Skylar’s like, “Dad, the guest lecturer I had today taught me all this.” And so it’s awesome to see my sons working so hard in college.
Andy Ockershausen: And you’re feeding off the boys, right?
Shawn Springs: Yeah, man, I’m learning. I would love to go back to school like Rodney Dangerfield. You know? Go back to school, be hanging out with … My sons are hanging out with pretty girls, too, man.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, naturally. You’d go back to a girls school. I know that Shawn.
So your dad was instrumental in getting you to go with Bob Milloy, correct?
Ron Springs – Shawn’s Dad
Shawn Springs: Yep, mm-hmm (affirmative). So he got me …
Andy Ockershausen: He was not sick at the time, right? He was healthy, and playing, and so forth?
Shawn Springs: Healthy, and he wanted to move me … It was interesting, because he had a successful construction business in Cleveland, Ohio. But he thought if I was best if I was raised … And he just loved Montgomery County. And he ended up coaching at Howard for a couple years.
But he wanted me to just be in the Washington, DC area, see the level of competition, play for Coach Bob Milloy. And it was one of the best things that happened to me. And I tell you what, you talk about Silver Spring, and you’re right. It was small, and now you can’t go from …
Andy Ockershausen: It goes all the way to Pennsylvania.
Shawn Springs: It goes all the way out to Pennsylvania, past Westminster. And I remember when Olney and those guys were farm towns. You’d get lost. Me and my girlfriend were sneaking in a couple fields up there trying to kiss. You know? Sneaking up there … Now you get caught around those places.
Andy Ockershausen: And your dad convinced you then to come here, and that began your stellar career. But you learned so much, and you learned from Milloy, you learned from the neighborhood. And now you have made this your home. I hope it’s forever.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, I love the Washington, DC area. I tell you right now, all my friends give me a hard time, because most of those guys are still in the Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg area. And I was like, “The Virginia countryside is beautiful.” You know? I try to compare …
Andy Ockershausen: Preserve, you still in the Preserve?
Shawn Springs: No, I moved out a little further.
Andy Ockershausen: With a bigger house, I’m sure.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, I’m in the Virginia countryside. So when you and Janice come out, you can ask, and we can go to a vineyard or something.
Andy Ockershausen: Well you’re a good old boy from downstate Virginia, from … That’s where the good old boys hang out, in Williamsburg, I’m sure.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, and I …
Andy Ockershausen: There’s a building here on Wisconsin Avenue that’s an exact replica of the Statehouse in Williamsburg.
Shawn Springs: I didn’t know that.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s an insurance company. I just read that. The architect did a reproduction of Williamsburg, right on Pennsylvania Avenue. Did you know that?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Uh-uh.
Andy Ockershausen: See, I read the papers.
Shawn Springs: See, I love that man.
Andy Ockershausen: You know where that building is.
Shawn Springs: Now we have to go see that building.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s right here on Wisconsin Avenue.
Shawn Springs: We’ve got to go check it out.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s just a stone’s throw from here.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: You mean the Fannie May building?
Andy Ockershausen: Yes, that’s it, the exact replica of Williamsburg.
Shawn Springs: That’s just not a little building. That’s like …
Andy Ockershausen: Williamsburg was the capital of …
Shawn Springs: That’s one of the biggest buildings in the area. That’s the Fannie Mae building.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s gorgeous. But Shawn …
Shawn Springs: It is gorgeous.
Andy Ockershausen: Williamsburg was the capital city of the State of Virginia.
Shawn Springs: It was.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s where all the patriots hung out.
Teresa Thomas – Shawn’s Mom
Shawn Springs: So early in my life, I grew up in Williamsburg, lived with my grandmother with my dad, because my mom and dad had me young out of high school. So my dad ended up going to Ohio State, and my mom went into the Army. And so I got both perspectives of professional sports.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow!
Shawn Springs: And you met my lovely mother.
Andy Ockershausen: Your mom, I used to see her all the time when we did the TV show, and Champs.
Shawn Springs: Yep, so …
Andy Ockershausen: Janny, you remember that.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Uh-huh.
Andy Ockershausen: Mom was always there.
Shawn Springs: And she was in the Army.
Andy Ockershausen: Of course, your dad was a legend, great, great, great Cowboy.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, and my dad was a Cowboy, so I grew up in the locker room. I was around it. And just humble beginnings, man. And I tell one thing I always had the advantage on, even growing up, was US History. I knew when Christopher Columbus landed. I know exactly where that road is. Williamsburg, I know all about Williamsburg, and pilgrims, and all the other things.
Andy Ockershausen: Son, you’re a legend.
Listen, we’re having a great conversation here with our very dear friend, and a great, great man, I consider a very, very important member of Our Town is Shawn Springs. And we’ll be right back.
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Andy Ockershausen: Okay, now we get back to Shawn’s life and his career. Bigger and better than football are some of the things he’s attached himself to. I asked him once about the trucking business, and that was something he was doing back and forth to Virginia. But there’s reasons for you not to do that anymore, correct?
From Pro Football Player to Entrepreneur
Shawn Springs: Yeah, because obviously trucking was great, but as my company Windpact took off, I knew that I had to get out of that business because of liability reasons. And also, just because you can’t be CEO to two companies. I needed to focus on one company, and Windpact has been promising.
Andy Ockershausen: Right. But the trucking was going to be a great idea. Remember you were …
The Trucking Business
Shawn Springs: Yeah, it was …
Andy Ockershausen: You were way ahead of your time in doing that.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, and it was good, but at the end of the day, it’s a lot easier dealing with industrial designers and engineers versus truck drivers. No offense to my truck drivers out there, I love you.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, but a lot of liability for that.
Shawn Springs: Yes it is.
Andy Ockershausen: So Shawn, then how in the world … The first time I heard you mention that, we were at a reception or something. You said, “I’ve got a design for a helmet, not a football helmet, but a helmet. Where am I going to go with it?”
I said, “What are you going to do? How are you going to get that going?”
Windpact – More Than a Helmet Company
Shawn Springs: Yeah, and the company I was talking about and I was thinking about at the time was Windpact. I saw technology that was used in a baby car seat, and it revolutionized the way you do side impacts. And I just thought this was great. And you remember, Andy, around 2010-2011, all you heard about was traumatic brain injuries …
Andy Ockershausen: All the time.
Shawn Springs: All you talk about is soldiers coming back from war with PTSD. And I just wanted to be able to give back. I am a believer that it’s one thing to go through life and be successful in life, but I believe if you have that success, you’re supposed to provide a service to other people. Why not give back and do something great?
Andy Ockershausen: The more you give, the more you get back, Shawn.
Inspired by Paul Allen – Microsoft Co-Founder and Seattle Seahawks Owner
Shawn Springs: And I totally live by that. So backing up, so I saw the technology, but when I tell you what I was most inspired about is when I got drafted to Seattle, I was drafted by a guy who owned the Microsoft, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. You guys might’ve heard of that guy, Paul Allen.
Andy Ockershausen: Not a bad signer, right?
Shawn Springs: Not a bad signer. And I remember the first time, Andy, meeting Mr. Allen. And I just walked up to Mr. Allen and said, “Mr. Allen, did you know you were going to be a billionaire?” And he said, “No, I wasn’t trying to be a billionaire. When me and Billy were founding Microsoft, in Bellevue, we were just trying to do something great, change the way people worked on the internet.”
And this internet now is another thing, but I was so inspired by the fact that it wasn’t even about money. It was about changing the way we work, the way people exist.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely, it changed everything.
Springs Introduction to the World of Technology
Shawn Springs: And you’ve seen what Microsoft, what that company has done. But also at that time, I was 24 years old living in Carolina Point in Seattle, overlooking the water. And I’m like, “Man, this apartment is kind of expensive, $2,700.” But everybody else in there was young, too, 23, 24 years old. I’m like, “How do they afford to live here?”
And at that time, it was like, my buddy, I would come home and he’d be in his t-shirt and underwear. I was like, “Dude, you didn’t do anything all day!” He said, “No man, I’m codin’.” I’m like, what is that? You know?
Andy Ockershausen: It’s another world to you.
Shawn Springs: But all these guys were in the tech world. All my friends were in the tech world. There was a company out there, some guy said he’s starting this book company online. I’m like, “Who sells books online?” I wish I could’ve had hindsight 20/20, I would’ve invested with a guy named Jeff Bezos, Amazon. Amazon, selling books online. I’m thinking, “That was a dumb idea.”
Andy Ockershausen: It was a revolutionary idea, right?
Shawn Springs: It was a revolutionary idea, and now they’re taking over the world. But there was ShopNow.com. So I was always inspired by just technology, and how it would change the world. So when I had the opportunity to see Windpact, I knew I didn’t want to, Andy, be a helmet company.
Andy Ockershausen: It was bigger than football, right? You wanted something else.
Shawn Springs: And the unique thing about our technology, and why it was revolutionary in baby car seats, is because it not only absorbs energy but it disperses energy. So when you look at the technology that I have in my mind, for those at home I’ll describe it, it’d be soft as you squeeze it, low and medium impact. And then if I put it on the table and punch it, it would stiffen up.
And that’s the unique thing about our technology. We can solve for a wide range of impacts. Like in football, if it’s a guy running on kickoff versus a lineman bumping heads. Or in cycling, if it’s your daughter in the cul de sac, she might fall off her bike and just lay the bike down. But in my motocross guys, that same technology, he could be coming down the hill at 40 miles an hour, and I still have to be able to give him the same level of protection.
So that’s what’s so unique about our technology. And we work with the Host brands. We work with big brands in a collaborative effort. We get to work with some of the companies that I grew up loving, you know, wearing. Some of them I can’t say, but you might know them if you watch the NFL football games. But we get to work with these companies that I actually wore their products, or know them from when I was a little boy.
And it’s really, really exciting and cool to be able to do what I do, and get to work with fantastic people.
Andy Ockershausen: And your progress has been amazing, has it not?
Shawn Springs: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: It surprises you, I’m sure. People are coming out of the woodwork to help you.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, yeah, and this year we started to gain more attention because we were down in Houston at the Super Bowl along with Texas Medical Center, which I don’t know if a lot of people know is the largest medical center in the world. And the NFL put on an innovation challenge, and we were selected as one out of 200 companies, and we went down and won for best materials.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Windpact Awards – 3-0
Shawn Springs: So we won that one in February. Then we won the Head Health Tech Challenge with the NFL again, we won that probably in September, where we were awarded $150,000. And just about three weeks ago in London, when my guy Max Moyer went out and presented, we won the Leaders Competition where it’s probably a couple hundred applicants from all over the world. And we won that too.
So we won three awards. I’m 3-0 now, Andy, I’m quitting. You know? That’s a hell of a batting average, when you go 3-0. So I’m quitting now.
Business Structured Like a Sports Organization
Shawn SpringsNow it’s about … So now we’re just signing up clients, growing out the business. And the challenging this is, a lot of people think, “Man, you’re a football player. How did you get into this?” But when I tell people all the time, “Business is almost identical to sports organizations.” I was like, “Well, football is the highest form of capitalism.” You know.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Shawn Springs: But the way a football team is structured is very similar to how I structure my business. You’ve got the Admin side, and the people who take care of the game experience from the sales, and marketing, and all the different things, the stadium. And then you’ve got the players. You know?
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Shawn Springs: Who actually perform on the field. And that’s like my engineers, and industrial designers, and people. So it’s been exciting, and you know what? I have one rule I live by. If I’m the smartest person in the room, then I leave. And clearly, I can stay in this room, because Janice is the smartest in here.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and Shawn Springs on Our Town. And I want to hear more about your Seattle days, because that was very informative, and informed you for the future, didn’t it?
Shawn Springs: Yeah, it did. And it was special, because there were a few companies out there, obviously Amazon and Microsoft.
Andy Ockershausen: On the ground.
Shawn Springs: Right, and then there was another guy out there selling coffee, started at the University of Washington, UW.
Andy Ockershausen: That is another story!
Shawn Springs: Yeah, he was selling coffee. And then he was like, “You know what? I want to make this experience of everybody, you could buy coffee all day.” And we know that company is Starbucks today, right?
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen, this is Shawn Springs, and this is Our Town.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen. Brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town, Andy Ockershausen talking to Shawn Springs. Talking about his days in Seattle, which says to me this has transformed him in a lot of ways.
More on Seattle, Technology and Entrepreneurship
Shawn Springs: It did, and maybe, Andy, because as a young man, you’re coming out of college, and the world is your oyster. And you have the opportunity to explore, and learn, and …
Andy Ockershausen: Columbus is a great town, great school, but it didn’t compare to Seattle in those days, correct?
Shawn Springs: Yeah, well, Seattle just had something special going on, and still today. And it’s a lot of cities across our country that some amazing things happen. Most of the time, people talk about the Silicon Valley area, and New York, and … But in Seattle it’s what they call the Silicon Forest, right? It’s more technology companies now.
And it’s amazing to see the type of innovation that spawned from Microsoft. The guys who were at Microsoft, and started so many other companies that you can’t even think about it. And you talk about Amazon, and hiring 30,000 new employees over the next five years. They’ve just transformed the city.
Andy Ockershausen: In Seattle.
Shawn Springs: In Seattle.
Andy Ockershausen: And that’s their home. They’re talking about another campus of 50,000 new employees.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, I mean, and …
Andy Ockershausen: Things way out there.
Shawn Springs: And then they’ve got people bidding, now they have I think 220 cities bidding on the headquarters.
Andy Ockershausen: Isn’t it amazing?
Starbucks- It’s About the Experience
Shawn Springs: It’s amazing. And think about Starbucks. Really, the amount of start-ups or the amount of companies that have been founded in Starbucks over some coffee. Or people using Starbucks as an office. Those are some inspiring companies, like, wow, this is incredible. So it’s really cool.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, his idea, he’s way out there, of course, the founder, but I remember the comedian. We went to see the show, and these are the early days of Starbucks. And he says, “It’s not Starbucks, it’s four bucks.” It hit the nail on the head. Who would pay $4 for a cup of coffee? A lot of people!
Shawn Springs: A lot of people, because it’s really about the experience. And I’ll tell you one of the things that’s so inspiring about … And it’s a little bit of a different mentality here in DC, because DC is more government.
Andy Ockershausen: Exactly, there’s not a lot of money here like Seattle or Palo Alto, big bucks.
Shawn Springs: Well there’s money, but there’s a different type of money, right.
Andy Ockershausen: You get it, I know.
“Those people allow you to dream out there.”
Shawn Springs: Well I’ll tell you what, the thing that I’ve noticed as an entrepreneur who’s coming up in the start-up world, those people allow you to dream out there, because they’ve seen it. So I tell people today, “Windpact, we’re starting off with a padding system, but we might be a digital healthcare company in six years.” You know? And you can say something like that, and out there it’s not like it’s a shocker to those people. They’d be like, “I’m in!” Right?
So I think it’s the culture of just innovation and …
Andy Ockershausen: Well Windpact is different now than when you started it.
Shawn Springs: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re evolving.
Shawn Springs: We’re evolving.
Andy Ockershausen: Your product is evolving.
Windpact – The Evolution
Shawn Springs: We have products on the market, but not only are we a product, but how we develop our products is unique. Because we use a finite element analysis, FEA modeling, and stuff like that. We’re looking at things already like brain models. Showing, in a virtual world, showing the physical effects on the brain. We’re looking at universities.
And this thing’s out there now. We’re not there yet, but there are some companies and some universities that are really working on some unique technology that’s going to change the way we look at impact protection.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, absolutely, in more ways, not just football.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, we’re talking about, it can be military-
Andy Ockershausen: You’ve moved on now.
Shawn Springs: To automotive, to … And our focus is primarily impact protection. And I like to tell everyone who comes on board at Windpact, “If you’re passionate about waking up every day and protecting your loved ones, that’s what it’s about.” And when you think about the companies that are really, today, who are making the greatest impact on society, they have that mission. What are we doing to change or impact our culture?
Google is there. They’re a search engine company, but they’re working on autonomous vehicles, because they want to make traffic safer. That’s also really saving lives. Just think about what happens. Google and some of these companies … Intel, Intel is looking at sensors and using their new Saffron platform of artificial intelligence, of how you’re going to do predictive analysis. It’s just incredible, some of the things …
Andy Ockershausen: Just thinking about thinking about it!
Shawn Springs: Yeah, Andy, just think about thinking about it. Right.
Andy Ockershausen: It blows my mind.
Shawn Springs Desires to Create a Culture of Innovation in Our Town
Shawn Springs: And what I want to do here in DC is, I’m hoping that … Because there are companies coming out of … My buddy Grant started Raleigh Health, who got acquired by United Healthcare. But I want to create a culture in DC of innovation here, too, to honor-
Andy Ockershausen: Well you’re on your way right here.
Shawn Springs: The 267, just beyond cybersecurity and IT here, but I think we have some brilliant people in a prime location from William & Mary all the way up to Boston, and we’re all within an hour from the Carolinas and schools. So there’s talent here. I would love for DC to, at some point, be that innovation hub.
Andy Ockershausen: Well great! And this is, like you say, you’ve got good colleges, good educators here.
Shawn Springs: Great schools.
Andy Ockershausen: And you’ve got ability to grow. I like to quote, I know Janice gets on me, but I like to quote a story that was told to me 60, 70 years ago about a scientist who said … And I’ll never forget it. He did a television show. He said, “Anything a man can think of can happen.” And I said, “That’s a crazy thing. What does that guy think?” And he said, “If you think it, it can happen, because it’s up there.” And you’ve just got to get it out, Shawn, that’s what you’re doing.
The Bill Belichick Influence
Shawn Springs: And that’s what I’m doing. But more importantly, I think my biggest strength is recognize those who can help do that. It’s cool, from a team perspective, when everyone has a common goal. And that’s one thing I took from Bill Belichick. If everybody has a common goal leading in the right direction, you can win. You get people to buy into what you believe in, and man, it’s a powerful thing to see a team go to work.
Andy Ockershausen: Well he’s a living example of that. He went to Annapolis High School, you know. He’s like Our Town. I say that, you’re Our Town, even though you went to Springbrook. We think Silver Spring, and Vienna, Virginia, and Anne Arundel County, it’s all part of Our Town. Great place to live, Shawn. We love it. We’re so glad you’re here.
Shawn Springs: Well I’m so glad I’m here.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re a great part of Our Town.
The Andy Ockershausen Influence
Shawn Springs: Yeah, and I tell people when I see them in the street, you’ve been an inspiration in my career, helping me be Washingtonian of the Year in 2008.
Andy Ockershausen: You deserve it!
Shawn Springs: But Andy …
Andy Ockershausen: I recognize the talent.
Shawn Springs: But Andy, you’d be surprised how that type of message spurs people on to do something beyond just sports.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Shawn Springs: And I mean, the type of influence you can have on someone’s life. I think people … If you have a chance to pour something into somebody one day, and you see something, then help them. And that’s kind of what you did with me.
Andy Ockershausen: Anything a man can think of can happen.
Shawn Springs: Right.
Andy Ockershausen: One of the things that I like that we did on this show, and you’re a perfect example, it’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s not about Shawn Springs, football player. It’s about Shawn Springs, innovator, man, entrepreneur. That’s important. It’s a great lesson to these kids following you.
“I’m a Unicorn”
Shawn Springs: Yeah, it is. And it’s not easy, obviously, because there’s a stigma being a football player. Right?
Andy Ockershausen: Right.
Shawn Springs: And in addition to being a football player, then being a minority at a geekwide tech conference, you’re the only Black guy in 3,000 people. Like, what?
Andy Ockershausen: That’s unique. I bet they took care of you.
Shawn Springs: I’m a unicorn, for real.
Andy Ockershausen: But Shawn, that’s you, and that’s your charm and your ability. And the fact that you were unique, to me, says a lot. And I’m sure those 3,000 people appreciated you being there.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, well, you know what, I just look at it as I’m just doing my part.
Andy Ockershausen: Opportunity, baby.
Shawn Springs: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: You knocked on the door, and now you’ve knocked it open. Congratulations, you’ve done so well. And we’re so proud of you, and proud you’re in Our Town, and want you to stay here. I’m glad you’re not going back to … Where does your son live? Does he live in Richmond or does he live in Williamsburg?
Shawn Springs: He lives in Richmond, he’s at the University of Richmond.
Andy Ockershausen: Great school.
Shawn Springs: And the other one, his twin brother’s at Georgetown. So their goal is to move back up to the Washington, DC area and start a business together, those two.
Andy Ockershausen: Maybe they’ll start running the helmet business.
Shawn Springs: Yeah, maybe, man. I’ll work them hard, though, Andy.
Andy Ockershausen: Shawn, thank you for you. You’re a good man, and we love having you in Our Town, and don’t you leave. This is Andy Ockershausen with Shawn Springs, it’s been a wonderful conversation.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town Season Three, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook, or visit our website at OurTownDC.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and WMAL radio in Washington, DC for hosting our podcast. And thanks to GEICO, 15% can save you 15% or more on car insurance.