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MikeRowe3Millions of Americans know Mike Rowe as the Dirty Jobs guy, the host of one of the most popular shows in cable TV history. But did you also know he’s one of the nation’s foremost promoters of finding skilled workers to fill the gaps that exist in technology and other industries?

Our publisher, Charles Warner, caught up with Mike just as we were heading to press. What follows is their conversation.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY TODAY: Mike, what was life like for you before Dirty Jobs?

MIKE ROWE: I had maybe 300 separate employers. I started in the Baltimore Opera, did some community theater, and appeared in some truly unfortunate infomercials. I also narrated everything with the word “Wildebeest” in it. (Trust me, it never works out well for the Wildebeest.) My first actual job in TV was on The QVC Cable Shopping Channel. I worked the graveyard shift there for three years, and became fairly facile at impersonating a TV host. I was eventually fired in 1993 — deservedly — and moved t