Hazen surrounded by some of the first foamcore mockups. In my old apartment. 



Hazen S. Pingree was a legendary people’s leader in Michigan. A Yankee veteran turned shoemaker, this unlikely civil servant was an early father of the Progressive Movement.  A newcomer to the political scene in the 1880s, he served four terms as mayor of Detroit, and went on to be governor of Michigan until 1901.   

Although it was wealthy business leaders who encouraged Hazen's first campaign for mayor, they were shocked to find that he was a man of the people, allowing the hungry to grow food on vacant lots in Detroit, fighting to make transportation affordable, and bringing city utilities under public control.  Hazen was loved by immigrants and the working class, fairly taxing the rich, and busting city officials on counts of corruption and bribery from the business elites.  

Some of the first logo iterations.


I finished my first prototype in February of 2015, but something was missing.  At my favorite coffee shop in Detroit, I overheard people talking about the legendary Hazen S. Pingree. I ran home to read up on him, and was immediately captivated by his unlikely launch into the public sphere.  At heart, Hazen was a maker; and because he worked with his hands, he understood the needs and unique experience of the common Detroiter, whom he went on to represent.

I had been struggling to explain to people what I had created. It's not a speaker, it's not an amplifier, it's not "like" anything else, so it's a..... PINGREE!  It was the last piece of the puzzle necessary to convince myself that this was worth pursuing. I dropped out of school and started freelancing as a designer in any way I could to fund my own research and development for this project.

Hazen was a remarkable man whose unique path made him qualified to problem-solve.  His legacy helped me find comfort in this murky world of entrepreneurship; and my product bears his name in homage to his unconventional path and to the city I love.