Bob Mueller, an artist, speaker, martial artist and businessman, speaks to a breakfast gathering of the Greater Summerside and Chamber of Commerce on Monday. Mueller’s speech was a kick off for Small Business Week. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
SUMMERSIDE – His artistic story has earned him an Emmy, praise from his life-long hero and jumpstarted a new chapter in his life, and on Monday he shared it all with the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce.
“Usually, you find out what you want in life during a moment of desperation,” remarked Bob Mueller, who was the guest speaker at a chamber breakfast to launch Small Business Week.
Mueller, who moved to Summerside just over a year ago, is now an artist, public speaker, martial artist and businessman – but in what seems like another life, he was a carpenter.
That’s where he hit his moment of desperation, he told the crowd.
So Mueller ditched carpentry in 1970s, moved to Ontario from his native B.C. and focused on his skills as a karate master. This led to a successful career as a teacher, with seven karate schools and 10,000 students in Ontario.
But somewhere along the way, in about 2004, Mueller found his previously forgotten love or art reawakened; he started painting portraits of his sports icon, NFL hall of fame linebacker, Dick Butkus.
Butkus discovered Mueller’s work and the two met not long after.
Today, Mueller continues to paint Butkus, but has created a successful side-business for himself painting many great sports stars.
His story also attracted the attention of NFL Films and the resulting documentary “Finding your Butkus,” won an award for outstanding long feature at the 2008 Sports Emmys.
Life has been quite the ride over the last several years, said Mueller, but none of it came without hard work and a desire to follow a dream.
This was the message he brought to the assembled business people at the breakfast.
Work hard, dream big, and be a people person.
“What you do is not your business. You are not in the ‘lawyer’ business. You are not in the ‘accounting’ business. Your business is to be a person who does their job well,” she said.
“Just be good at something. If you’re flipping burgers, be the best burger flipper guy that that there is – because that’s how you get noticed. I got noticed because I was totally focused and dedicated to what I was doing,” he said.