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From Steel to Leather: An Entrepreneur's Story / by Michael Simon Johnson | July 25, 2014

From Steel to Leather: An Entrepreneur’s Story

In college, Bronx-native Ralphy Dominguez was a straight-A student, a natural leathersmith, and a drug kingpin. His knack for business led to a $2 million cocaine ring that covered most of the Northeast, and ultimately ended in a 3-year stint at a federal prison. While serving time, Ralphy honed his leather-crafting abilities and set his sights on starting a fine leather business, Pen & Pistol. We hear from Ralphy in his own words as he recounts his story and the difficulties and rewards of going straight.

Photo by Sarah Barrett


Michael Simon Johnson

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Michael Simon Johnson spend most of his childhood making music and groaning when his parents put on NPR in the car. So naturally he graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Sound Design, moved to New York and made his way into public radio. As an engineer, he has worked for Afropop Worldwide, WNYC’s Radio Rookies, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He commits much of his time to working on radio and multimedia projects but can often be found playing the bass, rock climbing, and traveling.

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