Twenty Someone: Dan Koessler

Hometown: Macomb, Michigan

College: Grand Valley State University

Graduate School: Columbia University


Occupation: Graduate Student

1. Describe your job in three words: rewarding, new, fun

2. What was like it growing in Detroit? Well, I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Okay well? I grew up in typical America suburbia except for I was always surrounded by cars. You’re either a Ford family, a Chrysler family, or a GM family. We’re a Chrysler family. My parents met on the floor of the Chrysler plant. My grandparents worked for Chrysler. My sister works for Chrysler. Aside from that, typical suburbia. What I love about Michigan is all the lakes. I was always outside. I loved the water. So basically I grew up by cars and water.

3. Was it a hard time for you when the auto industry collapsed? It wasn’t necessarily hard for my family personally. My father kept his job. Everyone was definitely worried. My dad went to work not knowing if he’d have his job the next day. I was worried because I was still depending on my parents. I think we were especially concerned about the snowball effect it would have. If the plant closes everything around it closes.Everything. Think about GM for example. The employees, the supply chain, everything. We were worried about the overall impact it would have on the region and beyond. You have to remember that the auto collapse happened in the midst of the economic collapse. At that time, the banks needed a bailout right? If they  would have gone through a structured bankruptcy they would not have been able to secure the private capital to sustain operations. It would have been the end of the industry as we knew it. Because of the auto loans they came out leaner, stronger, and more profitable. But I don’t want to make it seem like my whole life is about the auto industry. It is part of where I come from. It’s hard to describe. The auto industries are a point of pride. It’s more than a company for us.

4. So you clearly supported President Obama in that regard. Do you support in other areas too? Yes. Tell me some more. I think we’ve had over two years of private sector job growth and we’ve pulled ourselves out of the hole which wasn’t caused by his actions. Personally, the auto industry is stronger than ever, my frat brothers are home from Iraq, the economy is turning around, my gay frat brothers can be who they are, I have healthcare because of Obama care. No, I have GOOD healthcare because of Obamacare…and as a student I appreciate the student loan reform.

5. But you also worked on his campaign right? Right. What was that experience like? Rewarding because I think sometimes people have the perception that campaigns happen on tv. That the elections are won on twitter or determined by the pundits and that it happens outside of our everyday environment. But really it’s in our own backyard so for me one of the most rewarding things was getting to know and meet our volunteers. People who don’t have to be there, but who all have a story to tell. Like the teacher who is there because she is investing in her students. Or the auto workers who walked across the street to help because they knew they still had a job because of the president.  A lot of volunteers were different! Some of them didn’t have much education and would get flustered when they had to defend the president and explain why they support him and I think one of the cool things about the campaign is that they tell the volunteers that their story speaks for itself. You don’t have to be a politician or know all the terms, the president just wants you to tell your story. If they talk about how and why they have healthcare then that’s all people need to know. Oh! And then there were the veterans that volunteered. I mean I could go on. Everyone has a story.

6. What about President Obama in the debate the other night? (sighs) I wish he would have woken up. What else is there to say?

7. If you wake up on November 6th and Mitt Romney is president what would you do?  I would work harder to elect a Democrat in 2016. I want our country to do well. I want our country to succeed. I want whoever is in office to do well, but I would certainly work harder to elect a Democrat.

8. How is it living in NYC? A huge adjustment, but it’s great. I love it. It’s the lifestyle I want in my mid twenties.

9. You just turned 25. Feeling any different? No I think 25 is better than 21. I had a great time at 21, but I know so much more now. I’m more satisfied with where my life is now.

10. In ten years you will be…Oh man. Helping to drive a message that will make a difference.


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