Although he’s a college graduate and former opera singer, Mike Rowe has built his reputation by promoting the skilled trades. As host and executive producer of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel, Rowe tried out more than 200 jobs, from driving a sewage truck to demolishing houses in post-Katrina New Orleans. As CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, he is trying to change how America views hard work.
Rowe grew up in Baltimore and became an Eagle Scout in 1979. His Eagle Scout leadership service project, which involved reading to students at the Maryland School for the Blind, helped spark his interest in being a narrator.
Rowe got his start in television as an onscreen pitchman for QVC. He later hosted shows on PBS, TBS, and The History Channel, as well as local stations WJZ in Baltimore and KPIX in San Francisco. A segment he created for KPIX’s “Evening Magazine” eventually grew into “Dirty Jobs.”
With the support of industrial supply giant W.W. Grainger, Rowe launched mikeroweWORKS.com – now profoundlydisconnected.com – on Labor Day 2008. The site focuses on the decline in skilled trades and the crumbling of America’s infrastructure. Features include discussion forums; information about specific trades; and links to schools, jobs, and apprenticeship programs.