THANK YOU to everyone for making Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest) fun and successful.
Thank you, Corinne!
Some random shots from the Bookfest palm-cam
THANK YOU to everyone for making Detroit Festival of Books (aka: Detroit Bookfest) fun and successful.
Thank you, Corinne!
Initially, it sounded crazy. Nine out of ten on the crackpot scale.
However, you read the book, view the results, meet the man, and it still seems fantastically wild but plausible and valid. Perhaps Andrew Niemczyk is the real deal, a sort of modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci or Nikola Tesla.
A mystical visionary Polish polymath inventor in Detroit is helping humanity in ways so profound they could be called revolutionary.
His name is Andrew Niemczyk (pronounced neem-chick) and this is his story.
Detroit author and journalist, R.J. King, has masterfully penned a hot page turner.
“Ground for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl,” his non-fiction biography of Andrew Niemczyk, reads like a futuristic espionage thriller novel, except for one important detail: everything in this book is real.
A book about the necessity of balance and sustainability, it is also punctuated by helpful and informative historical asides. This is a wholly unique story and I found it tremendously inspiring and engrossing. Meeting Andrew personally solidified this and further piqued my interest.
The basic, and by basic, I mean very basic gist of this enormous offering is that Andrew was once a prisoner in Communist Poland.
He escaped to Detroit via Rome, Italy, in August 1984 and settled in Hamtramck, Michigan, where he lives to this day.
The reason this was such a profound gain for humanity, and the Detroit area, is that Andrew is not a normal person. He possesses an exceedingly rare brilliance, and once in America he was free to invent unabated, especially now that he’s retired after 24 years from the Rouge Steel Plant in Dearborn.
Currently, Andrew has created over 80 inventions.
Five of those inventions (NEPS, GEPS, NSPS, HAZL, MAZL) are commercially manufactured, and they are revolutionizing entire industries.
NEPS involves better delivery of nutrients to trees and vines by bringing nutrients located deep in the soil to the root systems, GEPS accelerates stormwater infiltration and replaces drainage, NSPS is a ‘de-reactor’ that decontaminates radioactivity, and HAZL and MAZL are highly portable drill rigs.
Furthermore, it should also be noted that once installed, these simple inventions require no further maintenance.
Andrew and his Swiss business partner, Frank Muller, run Exlterra in Hazel Park, Michigan. They also have offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Tczew in northern Poland.
Andrew is an inventor, not a businessman, and he needs assistance in that regard, which is where Frank comes in.
In 2011, Frank and his family moved from Geneva to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and soon after he met Andrew they became business partners and launched Exlterra. Plus, Frank’s wife has a Ph.D. in biotechnology and is a native of Warren, Michigan.
Right now, according to the reports, Andrew’s NSPS invention is successfully decontaminating Chernobyl in a rapid timeframe.
In fact, Andrew projects that Chernobyl may be completely clean of radioactivity by the end of 2025 because of his invention.
The 19-mile exclusion zone of Chernobyl, Ukraine, is one of the world’s most polluted areas. A few dozen attempts at decontaminating the site have been unsuccessful until Andrew’s NSPS system was installed in a 2.5-acre (hectare) test site near the No. 4 reactor that exploded on April 26, 1985 (due to human error and a faulty design).
Born on Nov. 16, 1960, Andrzej ‘Andrew’ Niemczyk grew up in Kietrz (key-air-itch), in southern Poland.
From 1945-1989, Poland was a Communist country. Andrew’s unique creativity was smothered in this environment.
He spent time in 11 prisons (two were repeat visits), was a coal miner 4,000 feet underground, learned karate, military tactics, and after four escape attempts, finally succeeded in 1984.
Assisted by the Tolstoy Foundation, he worked at an auto supplier until 1990, joined Rouge Steel where he worked until 2014, and co-founded Exlterra with Muller in July 2016.
Exlterra is a 6,000-square foot industrial design and assembly facility in Hazel Park where Andrew is chairman and CTO, while Frank serves as CEO.
Andrew’s various inventions have so far proved successful at hundreds of locations across the world, working with public clients such as cities and municipalities as well as private and commercial clients.
He has a photographic memory combined with unique “out of the box” solutions to large-scale problems.
He also has visions and claims to be able to see at both the subatomic molecular level and macro universe-wide levels.
One more thing about Andrew: he designs everything in his head and then builds it from the schematics he envisions.
Throw in an impressive knowledge of global geography, an ability to chat on everything from quantum mechanics to hydraulics and fluid dynamics, and the claim of utilizing 100 percent of his brain and that’s Andrew.
This is a transcript of a rousing conversation I had with R.J. King, Andrew Niemczyk, and Frank Muller in the conference room at Exlterra in Hazel Park in early June 2021. Enjoy!
R.J. King Andrew is unlike any person I’ve ever met or heard of. When I started listening to Andrew’s life story, I quickly realized it could be a great book. He grew up in a Polish working-class family under the Communist regime. His escape through Rome in 1984. What he was able to accomplish on the factory floor in terms of inventions and advancements, then Exlterra, everything is just mind-blowing. His perseverance, dedication, and commitment are examples of how you can succeed in life. You can’t do it alone. You have to work as a team instead of constantly competing. And open your mind to possibilities that do not initially seem realistic.
Andrew I’ve been in the Detroit area for almost 40 years. I have four children. I live in Hamtramck where you have closer to a European feel, very neighborly and social. There are more than seven different nationalities living on my street alone. I don’t go to bars or restaurants too often. My wife Jadwiga (Yaad-viga) cooks our food. I typically hang out in garages, that’s where I work on stuff, that’s where I feel free. I have one garage for cars, one for inventions, and I have an extra side lot attached to my house. I do not have any set routines, just make sure I have eight hours of sleep, and try to control my diet. Mostly I drink water or herbal tea with lemon. There are too many chemicals in processed foods, and many drinks are too overly carbonated, and not good for your body. My inspirations come from real life, finding a way to solve problems.
Frank Muller Andrew reduces the complex to a simple solution to the point where it’s impossible to simplify it more. That’s the key element. His unique ability enables him to deliver beautifully simple and workable solutions for the environment.
R.J. King All of his main inventions are novel and unprecedented and really will help the world in terms of widespread applicability.
Frank Real sustainability is key. To achieve sustainability is the real goal. Not many products can achieve that.
Andrew I want to teach people to understand how nature operates. They don’t see that nature is an entire system and connected to the universe. New thoughts can open new doors. Mathematics is good at approximations, but targeting 100 percent is a difficult to achieve goal. You have to have a positive but can’t forget about the negative, you need to blend and combine them to achieve balance.
Frank Match negative with positive to create neutral. No side effects. Can’t exist without each other. The duality of the union.
R.J. Nature always seeks balance.
Andrew Yes, balance is key. When I was five years old, I realized I was not an average thinker. I thought how am I going to adapt to this world? To this day, I’m still learning to be normal and fit in. The languages, my relationships, the most important thing for me is to deliver the reality of the product.
Frank Nature is always hiding its secrets and always fixing its own problems by constantly rebalancing. Very deep but locked up in layers.
Andrew Nature locked me with an inability to express myself because I’m here for a mission.
Frank He struggles to accurately express himself.
R.J. Through the process of writing this book, Andrew provided me with a second education. You start to look at your place on this earth in the context of the solar system and with special insight.
Andrew I can go beyond infinity, bring it to the solar system, earth, go deep, open up under what you cannot see, a different layer. I see this stuff. I am using almost 100 percent of my brain all the time. Because of this I have learned to lock myself. I can store knowledge in bits in my brain and assemble it when I am ready to use it. All the pieces, in seconds. The HAZL rig, for example, was built in my mind in six minutes. I had the entire picture of how it would function, everything, the hydraulics, everything.
Frank Whenever he invents a product, that’s when he puts everything together in his brain in seconds and minutes.
Andrew Take the past, present, future, fold them together into one. Know the failure rate, the lifespan. I can see it and feel it.
Frank What Andrew does is he tests everything in his head, so it’s already understood by him. We have faced skepticism until now we have evidence. You must accept the results. Plus, each of these products (NSPS, NEPS, GEPS) are completely different. The only common denominator is they are installed in the ground. This man needs to be helped. His knowledge is for humanity. The whole planet. Most people just see the money. If scientists don’t see a formula on paper, they’re upset. It comes from Andrew’s head, it can’t be written down on paper, this is our struggle.
Andrew The bacteria, the roots, the subatomic world, how everything relates. I told Frank I had 87 inventions in my head, not gadgets, these are just four. Simplicity is important. My visions, this ability to see, I invoke only when I need to use it. I see the entire thing, then zoom in on how each part functions. Not a trance, but a deep focus when developing a product. I transfer myself to the depths to see the whole functioning, which takes a lot of energy.
Frank There’s no other person like Andrew in the world. We are all unique, yes. He just has a rare ability to understand the extremes of largeness and smallness, the macro and the micro, and put them together. One of the most gifted heart surgeons in Switzerland said of Andrew, “I think he is a mutation.” When Andrew starts talking technical stuff and breaking barriers in physics, it’s an overload of information, and a lot for the listener to process cognitively. Andrew will only open his mouth when he knows. No theories. He’s not into theories or hypotheses, only in demonstrating results, real results now. Andrew has no limitations.
Andrew People want to trash what they don’t understand. My world is yes or no, with nothing in the middle. I hate the word “if.” I look at pictures, sketches, the inventions themselves, that’s how I’m inspired.
R.J. It doesn’t seem possible but everything he’s done so far has panned out. Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief and be open to understanding new concepts that might initially seem impossible or unfeasible.
Frank Andrew left school around 13 years old, and yet he can solve big problems in such a simple manner. It’s very difficult to emerge when you know something new. Entire industries will protect established knowledge and try to block new and better ways of doing things. Andrew goes beyond mathematics. It’s about understanding relationships in nature and how to improve and maximize them for the benefit of all.
Andrew We have abundant resources here on earth, that’s not the issue. The issue is the food and water, how we’re managing these resources, they’re currently being mismanaged, that’s the issue. Drainage at houses is good example. Global warming, oceans rising, house rooftops wasting rainwater. Everything is interconnected. Gravity and earth’s magnetic fields play a part. Human population growth is manageable. We have more than enough water. Now, let’s start using everything better. There are nutrients underground, we need to recharge the ground. I want to re-greenify the earth. Make everything green and lush with vegetation, oxygen. Help the chain of the food. We can bring nature back. Give me the tools. Our civilization is the problem. We need to change ourselves, our habits, and recycle more energy and waste to help the planet. We need shorter, real, more practical timeframes for a solution, not thousands or even hundreds of years, we won’t last that long at our current rate. It’s about balancing the system, everything combined correctly.
Frank Currently, Exlterra has no plans for an IPO or going public. What we have is the IP (intellectual property), the proof of concept across the world and what we do is forge relationships with established companies that we partner with to market our various technologies.
Andrew I have no limit. Infinity on both sides. There’s always positive and negative, you need both. Quantum physics is good example, just because it’s not visible to the average person’s naked eye, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Limitless energy exists all around us and within us and we just need to tap into it. There is life in outer space. We are not alone. I have designed a new spaceship (in my head) that uses a totally different type of energy to go much faster than current ships, we just need money to build it. Mathematics is too restrictive, too limited. Humans invented mathematics, it’s a human invention and too linear. I need support, not questions. You’ll see results. Questions are too cumbersome, counterproductive, slow everything down. Just give me a chance to show results, that’s all I ask.
Buy RJ’s book ‘Grounds for Freedom: Saving Chernobyl’
Detroit artist Rachel Quinlan does it again!
Rachel is the Creative Director for the Detroit Festival of Books and she recently finished her amazing new piece, entitled ‘Book Wyrms‘.
Rachel is an exceptionally talented artist and she will be selling artwork and posters and other goodies at Detroit Bookfest.
Come buy some of her amazing creations!
Rachel Quinlan Homepage
Buy prints, originals & pins here
Rachel Quinlan Facebook
The Detroit Festival of Books, aka: Detroit Bookfest, is a FREE annual in-person event at Eastern Market in Detroit, Michigan.
2934 Russell Street
Detroit, MI 48207
Sunday, July 18, 2021
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Official Detroit Bookfest 2021 Festival Guide
Fortunately, on Bookfest Day July 18th, 2021, members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will be playing a free pop-up concert from Noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Dequindre Cut’s Frieghtyard Bar!
You can also catch free DSO concerts throughout the year at their own Sosnick Courtyard (51 Parsons St) in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood.
DSO @ Freight Yard Bar
Special thanks to Clare Valenti (DSO community engagement director)
Closest entrance located at 3017 Orleans Street.
“The Cut,” as it’s called is a lovely greenway/urban recreational pathway for walking, biking, jogging.
It is 2-miles long and runs from the Detroit Riverfront to the northern tip of Eastern Market.
Near the Wilkins/Orleans entrance, you can find the Freight Yard Bar, this is an outdoor bar made out of shipping containers.
To get to the bar:
Enter at Orleans St & Wilkins St, walk down to the Cut, make a right, then it’s down on your left.
Dedicated and driven, Rochelle Riley is a talented author and advocate for creatives. She works on behalf of the arts and culture community in Detroit.
Author, journalist, Director of the City of Detroit’s ACE Office (Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship), Ms. Riley functions in several different roles simultaneously.
She also did an amazing job creating the Covid Memorial on Belle Isle, Detroit’s urban island park, to honor those lost during the pandemic. Fifteen funeral processions circled the island past more than 900 large portrait billboards of Detroiters.
Ms. Riley has a B.A. in Journalism from the UNC School of Media & Journalism, and she was a Knight Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.
Locally here in Detroit, she is known for being a columnist at the Detroit Free Press from 2000-2019. Her first day in Detroit was 9-11-2000.
Prior to that she worked for a variety of newspapers, including The Washington Post, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, The Dallas Morning News and the Greensboro Daily News. Due to her achievements, she has been inducted into the Michigan and North Carolina journalism Halls of Fame.
Her new book “That They Lived: African Americans Who Changed the World,” is an inspiring and uplifting collection of twenty-one African Americans who changed the course of history.
Published by Wayne State University Press in February 2021, this book is the result of Ms. Riley criss-crossing the country in a multi-year journey to put the project together.
Ms. Riley wrote the biographical essays based on photos that Cristi Smith-Jones, a mom and amateur photographer in Kent, Washington, posted on social in 2017. Mrs. Smith-Jones wanted to teach her daughter, Lola, about African-American history, so she posted the photos of then 5-year-old Lola dressed as iconic African-American women. Ms. Riley saw the photos and asked to write the stories of the women as well as others featuring Ms. Riley’s grandson, Caleb, dressed as iconic African American men. Mrs. Smith Jones said yes.
“In February 2017, I was working on my previous book, ‘The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery,” and scrolling through Twitter, when I saw an amazing series of photos during Black History Month,” Ms. Riley said. “Then the same thing happened again in February 2018. I’m scrolling through and these lovely photos pop up featuring a little African-American girl named Lola dressed in meticulously researched attire. She was highlighting the accomplishments of historical African American women, and I thought I need to find the person doing this. And it led me to Lola’s mom, Cristi.”
“Cristi said she was teaching Lola about Black History. So, I explained to Cristi that I was a writer and that pictures are worth a thousand words and I had a thousand words for each of their photos. She was very shy and stunned. I flew to Seattle to meet with her personally, and she agreed to do the project. I wanted to represent the men too, so I flew to Dallas, got my 8-year-old grandson Caleb, and we flew back to Seattle.”
“Yes, some bribery was involved. We would do a 30 -minutes photo shoot, then fifteen minutes of Fortnite and cupcakes. Afterwards , when the project was done, would take him to the movies. He wanted to stay dressed as Frederick Douglass. I convinced him to go as Thurgood Marshall.”
Although geared towards young readers, ‘That They Lived’ is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone of every age.
The project was funded, in part, by a grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and the WSU Press endowment from the Arthur L. Johnson Fund for African American Studies.
“This is a book for young readers, for all readers,” Ms. Riley said. “I want them to understand that every great person was once a child. The book highlights 21 African Americans, but there are hundreds of African Americans who have invented and achieved, so it was definitely hard to choose. I tried selecting those who helped changed the views of other people about all African Americans, people who paved the way for others.”
“Previously, I had joined forces with WSU Press on The Burden. So I did it again.
“I became a writer when I was 8 years old. I had no math skills, and I had learned a love of words from my mother, an English teacher. I was hooked.”
“When I was a columnist, I wrote constantly. Currently, I’m working on a novel and a sequel to The Burden. When I’m writing a book, I’m finally happy with it by about the 11th or 20th draft.”
“I write everywhere! Sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or sitting at my sturdy copper dining room table. I also work at my writing table, a glass desk where I’ve been writing for 20 years. But I can write anywhere. One time I was in the emergency room and had a column due. I snuck out to the waiting room and finished the column in my hospital gown.”
“Some of my favorite personal favorites books are: ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ (1943) Betty Smith and ‘The Color Purple’ (1982) Alice Walker. I like thrillers and mysteries. And I celebrate the brilliance of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison every year.”
Rochelle Riley grew up in Tarboro, North Carolina.
“My parents lived with their three kids in New York. My mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 27 years old, and my parents split up. We went to live with my mother’s parents in Tarboro, and I’ve forever grateful to them for making us into a new family.”
“Even as her MS progressed and she was confined to a wheelchair, my mother was an incredible inspiration to me. She taught English to my friends and me in the living room.”
“The town, like most towns back then, was segregated based on race. The Mason-Dixon line that split the nation also existed in our town. And I crossed that line every day to go work at the public library.”
“In Tarboro, the norm was what is was. Beyond the expected segregated norm I didn’t experience much racism there. When I got to high school, everybody got along. But I was always aware of it.”
“My great, great, great grandfather Bailum Pitt was enslaved in North Carolina. I was able to find and confirm this in the tax records and will of a white attorney whose papers I found at the North Carolina State Archives.”
“As for hobbies, I live to write. But I do occasionally make time for movies, television, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, reading and traveling. They aren’t hobbies like some people would consider hobbies. My only constant task is reading. It is a duty and a joy.”
“I don’t have any specific favorite local eateries, but I love pasta and Asian food. And I love Belle Isle on a sunny day and Comerica Park in a close ninth inning.”
In May 2019, Mayor Mike Duggan appointed Ms. Riley to head the City of Detroit’s newly created Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship.
“I had decided to leave the newspaper (Detroit Free Press) to help keep others from being laid off, and the mayor needed an arts and culture director, so I was hired for the new role.”
“One thing we are going to be doing is a city-wide creative workforce census (which was launched in June). This project will measure the depth and breadth of Detroit’s creative workforce.”
“Slavery didn’t end. It just moved from plantations to the board rooms, court rooms, newsrooms and classrooms of America. This country has spent centuries trying to hide a crime committed in plain sight. That is no longer possible.”
“The greatest honor any African American can achieve is the acknowledgement that he or she has been blocked from achieving great life, liberty and happiness, that America is sorry and that the achievements, inventions and genius of African Americans will be added to all textbooks forthwith.”
Keep your eye on Rochelle Riley and stay tuned for her upcoming books, articles, and ACE projects!
Letters to Black Girls project