Stepping Up

How Leaders Are Rising to the Occasion

Throughout the Small Giants Community and beyond, leaders are doing what’s right when it matters most. These are their stories.

Shifting Gears to Help Others

ANDY DIDOROSI | Detroit Bus Company

In the midst of a global pandemic, small businesses like the Detroit Bus Company are hit particularly hard. There are no tourists to show around town, no bar crawls for local revelers, and no kids to safely shuttle to schools. The Detroit Bus Co.’s signature hand-painted buses may be parked, but its team has shifted gears into making World Health Organization-approved, FDA-approved bulk hand sanitizer in the facility that usually houses its tour buses.


“We were shut down, we had to start laying off employees, and it was heartbreaking,” says Detroit Bus Co. founder Andy Didorosi. “We wanted to find a way to help out rather than just sitting still. We’re good at systems and processes, so this is the best idea we had to give back to our community. Stuff like hand sanitizer can actually save lives now.”

Andy got his team together to get to work transitioning their facility into a factory. Using the hand sanitizer recipe from the World Health Organization (WHO), they set up long lines of tables and laboratory equipment and started producing gallon after gallon of medical-grade hand sanitizer. In just the last few weeks, they’ve produced over 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for those who need it most.

“When we started this project, I thought it was just going to be a few dozen gallons for a few friends who needed it,” says Andy. “We very quickly learned that the need for hand sanitizer is much greater than we could’ve ever anticipated.”

So far, they’ve supplied hand sanitizer to Detroit police and fire stations, first responders, grocery store workers, children’s homes, homeless shelters, essential construction companies, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel crew, city governments, people with elderly parents at home, senior centers, and many more. There’s also an option for consumers to choose to donate their order to a local charity, medical worker, or first responder.

“We’re trying our best just to keep our head above water and stay in business so we can serve our community again after this whole thing blows over.”

Andy’s idea has become a seven days a week, full-time job — and they appreciate every order, because it’s helping keep their small business alive. The Detroit Bus Co.’s mission is to “Get every Detroiter a ride where they need to go,” which they fulfill in part through their Ride for Ride program that gives free rides to students who need them from the sales of their tours and experiences. The Small Giants Community partners with the Detroit Bus Co. every year for its annual Summit — every ride that leaders take during the event provides a safe ride to school for kids in Detroit.

“We’re a small business that can’t do anything since our buses are parked,” says Andy. “We’re trying our best just to keep our head above water and stay in business so we can serve our community again after this whole thing blows over. Once restrictions are lifted, we’ll be back to showing people the city we love.”

What do these leaders have in common?

These leaders are part of Small Giants companies — companies that prioritize their purpose and culture and invest in their emerging leaders.

One way Small Giants companies invest in their next generation of leaders is by enrolling them in the Small Giants Leadership Academy. This robust one-year certification program consists of virtual learning sessions with expert leaders and coaches, an extensive resource library, on-the-ground meetups with your cohort, a leadership assessment, and your event ticket to two Small Giants gatherings.

Small Giants Community