KARIN: OWNER, TOUR GUIDE, AUTHOR
Karin has been showing off Detroit for over a decade. When the demand for tours increased dramatically in 2016, she decided that it was now or never and launched City Tour Detroit, a full-time business venture. Since then, she’s never looked back. Every day is still a new adventure. “I get to meet wonderful people from all over the world, fuel my passion for history, and discover all the fun new developments underway today.”
Karin loves hearing guests remark about how wonderful Detroit really is. She strives to counter guests’ low expectations of the city and dispel the image of Detroit as some new discovery. “C’mon now, we put the world on wheels” and “Detroit’s European roots predate the founding of our nation” are examples of oft-repeated phrases Karin utters on tour and off to emphasize the city’s long history and significant global contributions.
Karin has always marveled at Detroit’s fascinating history. In fact, when she graduated from Central Michigan University many moons ago, she thought about how great it would be to start a tour company. Now, years later, that’s exactly what she’s done! While many of her peers are enjoying retirement, Karin continues to expand her company which shows off the many different facets of Detroit’s fabulous and quirky history.
She’s also the author of A History Lover’s Guide To Detroit, published by The History Press in November 2018.
PAT: TRAINING COORDINATOR & TOUR GUIDE
Pat is a self-proclaimed expert on history—well, mostly Ford history relating to both Henry and Clara as well as Ford Motor Company. This former docent and historical presenter learned all the secrets during her long stint at Fair Lane Estate, home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford for over 30 years, and Greenfield Village, Henry Ford’s 80-acre time capsule. “I can enthusiastically and knowledgeably dazzle you with history,” says Pat with a smile.
Pat, a retired school secretary and human resources specialist, is stoked by the revitalization underway in Detroit. That’s why she jumped at the opportunity to be part of the City Tour Detroit team and extol the virtues of her former hometown. Changing perspectives about Detroit one person at a time is Pat’s personal mission. A guest recently wrote in a Trip Advisor review: “To be honest, I didn’t have the best impression of Detroit before visiting, but Pat changed all that!” Over the past four years, Pat has been able to change the perspectives of hundreds of people from all over the world in her role as tour guide, a position she relishes.
In her free time, this mom of four adult children and grandmother of six can be found enjoying the city’s rich and diverse cultural offerings with her husband Ed. Of course, these outings always involve dining out at a new hot spot or an old favorite.
JASON: ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, TOUR GUIDE
Jason was born and raised in Detroit and is a lifelong resident, graduating from Renaissance High School and Wayne State University. He has always had a love for the culture and history of the city. Whenever he finds out a friend has not gone downtown, Jason will inevitably drag them to all of his favorite landmarks and businesses. Jason loves Detroit’s culture of perseverance and strength and sees that reflected in the artwork that is painted on the walls of buildings, the community gardens built in neighborhoods, and in the eyes of its residents.
Growing up with a musician father who played in many of the bars around Southeast Michigan, Jason was exposed to Detroit’s music scene as a constant soundtrack to his childhood. Whether it was Aretha Franklin or Smokey Robinson, The Marvelettes or The Temptations, Detroit’s music was an integral part of Jason’s life; his favorite being Stevie Wonder.
Jason has previously worked as a museum educator and actor, so he was ecstatic when he learned that he would be able to use his public speaking skills to give tours of Detroit. Being a tour guide combines his favorite things: presenting to groups, sharing Detroit history, and helping people see the true beauty of the city and the people who live here.
When not working, Jason volunteers at local community gardens and rides his bike along the Rouge River. You’ll also find him strolling around Belle Isle or visiting Detroit’s many museums. His favorite activity is going to Detroit City Football Club (DCFC) games. To him, the energy of the fans and the players is a reflection of the energy of the city he loves.
NANCY: TOUR GUIDE
A lifelong metro-Detroiter, Nancy remembers childhood shopping trips to Crowley’s Department Store, the popular dime store S.S. Kresge, and indulging in Sanders hot fudge sundaes, a habit she still hasn’t kicked. When she worked downtown by Grand Circus Park, a lunchtime trip to Hudson’s was her favorite type of retail therapy.
A 36-year veteran of Detroit’s auto industry working in IT and operations at Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, Nancy attributes her love of travel to childhood trips across the U.S. with her parents. Throughout the years, her friends have relied upon Nancy, their personal tour guide, to help plan their vacations. Often, she goes with them!
When it came time to plan for her second act following retirement, a career in the travel industry beckoned. In 2019, Nancy enrolled in the International Travel Management Institute and received certification in tour management and tour guiding.
After retiring in 2020, Nancy immediately applied for a tour guide position at City Tour Detroit so she could show others the great city that she calls home. A lover of history and architecture, she is thrilled that she can tell Detroit’s fascinating history and show its amazing architecture to visitors and locals.
Nancy is married and has two grown sons and a granddaughter. Both her sons participated in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Jazz Orchestra, so Nancy knows every nook and cranny of backstage at Orchestra Hall. Her son Phil, a trombone player, has performed at two Detroit Jazz Festivals and has turned his parents into Jazz fans.
You will see Matt and Nancy downtown every Labor Day weekend at the Jazz Festival. They also enjoy the waterfront – either walking the award-winning Detroit Riverfront and watching the freighters go by or taking a break at their cottage on Lake Huron.
PAUL: TOUR GUIDE
A lifelong resident of metro Detroit, Paul Vachon is an author, freelance writer, and public speaker. He possesses a strong interest in Detroit history-so much so that he’s published several books on the topic.
A few of his published titles include Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline, Lost Restaurants of Detroit, Legendary Locals of Detroit, and Forgotten Detroit. The scheduled release of his latest book, Becoming The Motor City, is September 2021.
In response to his books and subsequent presentations on Detroit, Paul started giving walking tours several years ago as fundraisers for his church. Realizing his new talent as a tour guide, Paul wanted to put his expertise to use hosting tours on a regular basis, while gaining some exercise at the same time! That’s how he came to City Tour Detroit.
Paul lives in Oak Park with his wife Sheryl and their crazy, yet lovable dog Sophie.