The Apprentice: David Johnson After the Boardroom

the apprentice david johnsonWealth, power, and sexual prowess. That's how one team on this week's 'The Apprentice' defined the Donald J. Trump brand. The team was spot on, at least according to Trump. But even the loser was a winner in the end.

The mogul presented contestants on this week's show with a task close to his own heart and name. Teams created print advertisements for the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection of men's shirts, ties, and cuff links sold by Macy's. Trump doesn't just lend his name to the brand; he says he wears the product.

Teams switched this week. Now, team "Fortitude" was comprised of David Johnson, Anand Vasudev, Stephanie Castagnier, and Poppy Carlig. "Octane" featured Liza Mucheru-Wisner, Clint Robertson, Steuart Martens, and Brandy Kuentzel.

With Brandy as project manager, Octane's shoot at the Trump Soho Hotel envisioned a day in the life of a Trump-wearing man. The team's models didn't show up so Brandy and Steuart stepped in with Brandy wearing only a man's shirt with Steuart looking on. The result was a bit on the racy side for both Macy's and Trump, but in the end the team best met the objectives of creativity, brand integration, and presentation.

David Johnson lead Fortitude to a loss. He decided to highlight the products with color in black and white photographs and a debonair male model. But the shirt was too big, gaping around the model's neck. A page showing branded products used photos that were too small. David, known as the "loose cannon" of the show, took a fairly professional approach, aside from some swearing here and there. As he took responsibility for the vision of the ad, he took responsibility for the loss.

Fans probably would have hoped for David's firing to have more fanfare, but he made a rather dignified exit.

David's man crush

The boardroom took an oddly personal turn as David's teammates accused him of having a "man crush" on the model he chose. Trump pushed him by asking, "Are you sure you don't want to come out (as gay)?" He went on to mention that he knew many men who were married and had kids (like David) but then came out.

Anand followed with the Seinfeld-ism, "Not that there's anything wrong with that." Johnson said he was straight.

His "man crush" sealed his fate because, despite the model's dashing looks, the clothes did not fit properly, a cardinal sin for a clothing advertisement.

Lessons learned

We may live in the United States of America, but "Trumpland" is a dictatorship. While teams can be collaborative, ultimately, what the project manager says is the law of the land. And that's where the buck stops.

This week's show featured a "classic 'Apprentice' boardroom." Trump even referenced history on 'The Apprentice,' -- that ultimately project managers are responsible for a win or a loss. As such, this week's loss fell to Johnson.

With hindsight being 20/20, David now wishes he didn't ruffle so many feathers throughout his stay on the show.

"I brought out the common enemy persona into the show and I think that numbered my days from the beginning," he told AOL Jobs.

As the father of five children (ages 3 to 16) going through a divorce, he also second-guessed a few other crazy antics he did on the show, which his older kids took some ribbing in school for.

"Kids thought that Dad thought that 'The Apprentice' was more important than them," he said. But Johnson was actually looking for redemption in their eyes if he had won the whole thing. And he thought he would win.

Behind the scenes

"Producers really play with it so they paint characters as characters," Johnson said.

David said in one episode he had apologized to the project manager for his actions but that never made it on the air. He added that there were many funny moments that never saw the light of day.

"I was disappointed that I was painted as the villain when I really just wanted to win," he said.

Where's David Johnson today?

Johnson, 34, of Portage, Mich., is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Donald Trump. He founded his own tel-com consulting company called Michigan Ideas Communication or MIdeaCom. He's also a Navy veteran and past account manager who will now add another unique experience to his resume.

AOL Jobs Asks
Apprentice David Johnson
5 Quick Questions

1. What was your first job? Busboy at a Mexican restaurant

2. What inspires you? My kids

3. What is the most important trait needed to succeed? Ambition

4. What is your biggest challenge? I'm hard on myself. I don't want to settle for anything other than first.

5. What is the best career advice you ever received? My mentor told me in sales that you never ever accept "no" as an answer. If we have to hear no 100 times to get yes, it's worth asking every single time.

"It's a double-edged sword," he said. "I've had customers tell me they don't want to do biz with me and those who are curious about bringing me in."

While he didn't win 'The Apprentice,' he may be dating her. After the show wrapped four months ago, David began dating contestant Poppy Carlig. After many late-night, long-distance phone calls, the two now live together in San Francisco and David visits his children in Michigan every other weekend. But it all started in last night's boardroom, where David brought Poppy in front of Trump to potentially be fired.

"I told her, 'We're going to have to do a little arguing. Don't be nervous because it will likely be me going home,'" he said. "The fact that I did what I said I was going to do gave me credibility. Right away she trusted me. Then we had some fun in NYC. She's 24, I'm 34. But in many ways we're at the same parts of our lives. I was married at 19. We're both figuring out who we are."

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My sisters love to watch that show. I've only seen it a few times though. I think I'll try watching it again though!

Tara |

May 05 2014 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

David's company must be really successful!!! A simple google for either Michigan Ideas Communication or and MIdeaCom and nothing show's up...

Poppy, watch out he's got lot's of baggage, not to mention perhaps a closet to come out of...

November 05 2010 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Also the Trumpster did not seem to be upset about Brandy's man shirt being too large and hanging off her, wife #? better look out for Brnady...We can all see the writing on the wall, Brandy wins, no surprise there.

November 05 2010 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Clearly the Trumpster & Brandy have the eye for one another, she likes older men, he likes younger women, and the model bit featuring Brandy, give me a break..With David gone the show will be boreing now so no need to watch anymore.

November 05 2010 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They Should all be fired for putting up with THE CHUMP!

November 05 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There a few of us that's a kid at heart like David.

November 05 2010 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think Donald Trump needed to much of an excuse to fire David. I think he was about tired of David's antics.
good riddance Dave, we won't miss you. At least, I'll miss you about as much as I miss Masha.

November 05 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
janna nikkola

Does Trump's line of shirts really include lavender? I really don't like to see grown men wearing lavender or pink shirts or ties -- or anything lavender and pink for that matter -- unless, that is, they want to look helpless and cuddly. These colors are more suited for babies and little girls. They're not even "businesslike" enough for grown women. Sorry, Donald, the lavender and pink have to go. People in business need to be conscious of first impressions (You never get a second chance to make a first impression)so men especially should be careful about wearing pastel colors. Light blue and yellow are OK, but lavender and pink are not. If women want to be taken seriously dark colors are better, and navy and gray are always correct. Prints often look busy and cluttered, like a messy desk, so don't really give a good first impression. Try to think what you want your potential client to think of you the minute you walk into the room (first impression). Do you want that first impression to be "professional, businesslike, serious, competent) or "bad judgment, helpless, unprofessional"). The Donald can get away with wearing green and yellow velvet drapes, but he's aleady arrived where he wants to be. If you're an up and comer, be conscious of your wardrobe and how you want to be perceived so your wardrobe will reflect your role in the business world.

November 05 2010 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to janna nikkola's comment

Anyone who makes it on the show is good. Until you are in his/her shoes you can't imagine what the job is like w/ all the competition. So what if David is controversial. Big deal. He did a terrific job. The tension made ratings soar. Bet you that more will tune in next week to see what happens. These are all very smart kids trying to find a place for themselves. The bickering is incredible. Yet, most handle it professionally. I'll bet you that David is brought back for something. Here's the bottom line, buy the Trump clothing. Period. Sales will sky rocket now. Want to bet? The Donald achieved his objective. Smart man.

November 05 2010 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

David was the perfect Andy Bernard from The Office - - same mannerisms, same speach pattern, same potential violent side. It was almost like he was intentially playing Andy Bernard. Fun to watch!

November 05 2010 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah Haussmann

Glad to see that Mr. Trump brought in family to "help" with decisions. Everytime I watched during the first season, I thought that "I" would have done a better job than his lady decision maker helper. After all, I gave my time freely to help Mr. Trump give his closing party at Mara Lago in Florida while I was attending Floral design school in that area. I have beautiful pictures of the preparations for the party which was a tropical theme with 20 parrots spaced around the pool, tables laden with tropical flowers and matching tablecloths, Buffet tables with our expert arrangements of flowers and tropical leaves, An ice sculpture of parrots, etc. I would like to send Mr. Trump the pictures and never knew how to get in touch. Any ideas?

November 05 2010 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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