We had the good fortune of connecting with Ken Rizza and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ken, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
One of my all time favorite photos I have is a cartoon of large big billed bird that has a big frog which is head first in it’s mouth. The only thing sticking out of the birds bill is the frogs front “arms” and hind legs. The “hands” of the frog are firmly clenched around the long throat of the bird and the caption reads “NEVER GIVE UP” I have learned a long time ago that the harder you work the “luckier” you get. While you can’t always control your circumstances or things that may affect you what you can control is how you react and respond to them. Sometimes taking a different course of action could be viewed as giving up by some but in reality the change in course of action may very well be in response to weighing all the options. I have always worked for myself and never giving up but rather taking a different course of action has been how I have operated my whole life. If I felt I was at a “dead end” in one pursuit I would re-invent myself and keep forging ahead.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been creative and a frustrated inventor. My neighbors call me MacGyver. For those of you not old enough to know who that is, it was a television program that ran from 1985 to 1992 about a resourceful guy who was able to solve complex problems with everyday materials. I recently turned a hoisting pulley for the top of a mast on my neighbor’s catamaran using his wife’s polypropylene cutting board. She wasn’t really happy until she realized I saved her husband $160 for new one from the dealer. I’ve been published a couple of times in the American Association of Woodturning magazine with Tips, one was an article using a CPAP machine on a mask for protection and dust control while wood turning. Another article I did was a neat jig I came up with for making perfectly round bowl blanks on a bandsaw. I had a 20 year career doing mortgages and real estate in South Florida. When the bottom fell out and banks failed in 2008 I moved to Ga to re-invent myself. Being an avid wood turner, I began to develop products to enhance what a wood turner can do on a wood lathe. Things started to snow ball and my company has had double digit increases every year since its inception.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We live in a great area where there are neat places to make day trips and fun things to do. As far as places to eat I would start right in my home. I love to cook and have about every kind of cooking appliance you can think of. Besides the run of the mill Weber gas grill, I have a 36 inch griddle, pellet grill, giant steamer, and a wood fired pizza oven. I also do sous vide cooking. People love to come to our home for dinner. Aside from that we would run up to Helen, maybe Stone Mountain and take a day trip to Iron Mountain to run my 4 x4 around on their 4300 acres.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
At 70 years of age, I never thought about it this way before but I need to recognize my father for instilling in me the fortitude I have been able to muster all these years. He only went to the 8th grade but never worked for anyone other than himself which is much the way I have run my life. He worked harder then anyone I have ever known and always had more than one “iron” in the fire. I would also like to give recognition to my wife who has allowed me to put in the hours necessary to be a success which I know has had at times a negative impact on family life. I always joke about being able to work 1/2 days when you own your own business and you get to choose which 12 hours.

Website: woodturnerswonders.com
Twitter: woodturners wonders
Facebook: woodturners wonders
Youtube: ken rizza

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