When the highway patrolman approached the idling vehicle to hand the driver a speeding ticket, he couldn’t help but laugh. Sitting at the wheel was 1969 graduate Dave Leedy, dressed in a blue spandex jumpsuit, red knee-high boots with matching briefs, a wide yellow belt and a short
red cape. “You decided to drive today, huh?” the officer joked, asking him to step out of the car parked along northbound I-75. Although Leedy got a dose of humility, he didn’t get a ticket.
Leedy is used to garnering giggles for his colorful costume, but only when he’s on the job. As a motivational speaker, he uses it to illustrate a point: Everyone can be a superhero.
Leedy taught in the Dayton public school system for 30 years before joining the National Speakers Association in 1993 and transitioning to full-time speaking.
Today he travels the country, speaking anywhere from 50-100 times a year to groups upward of 10,000. His clients include schools, hospitals, government agencies and companies such as Xerox, IBM and AT&T. He often talks about motivation, enthusiasm and self esteem, and tries to bring a humorous approach to what people face on a day-to-day basis. “What I do is take what you do and put it into what I do,” he says. “The biggest compliment was, ‘You knew who we were. It wasn’t just a canned speech.’ ”
Leedy usually enters the stage wearing a suit and tie, and begins his theory on superheroes. Then, he turns his back to remove the outer layer of clothing, revealing a full-blown superhero suit. Leedy attributes the day he dodged the speeding ticket to being unprepared. “I had changed my clothes in the restroom at a rest stop,” he says. “I was running a little late. I figured I could pick up 10 minutes with nobody there … I figured no one would know.”