It’s amazing what a difference a year can make – in work and in life.

This time last year, I was working late nights and weekends trying to pitch new ad accounts (or save many from being lost). It felt like the right thing to do – if I worked harder, people kept their jobs, maybe a bonus, and my boss would make lots of money.

A year later, having left the ad business (sort of), I am now focused on building the Bishop+Rook business.

We’re a small team, in an overflowing shop below a water tower in South Minneapolis, with big ideas and dreams to restore cars and make stuff that matters.

With the help of our team in the UK, an amazing mechanic, talented painter, and a lot of late nights, we were able completely restore this 1993 Land Rover Defender as a surprise Christmas present for a customer’s wife in Arkansas. The Defender had been her dream car after seeing one outside a hotel in Hong Kong years ago. She had no idea her husband had secretly commissioned us to build it for her.

I might just be a car, but it represents so much more. It shows a man’s love for his wife and family, his desire to give them something they can use to make memories, and an absolutely amazing surprise we got to be a part of. The delight on his face when he saw the truck for the first time was way more rewarding than any ad account victory I’ve ever experienced.