CWJJ Ep 6 - Rusty Burroughs

February 04, 2021 00:20:24
CWJJ Ep 6 - Rusty Burroughs
Coffee With Jim & James
CWJJ Ep 6 - Rusty Burroughs

Feb 04 2021 | 00:20:24


Hosted By

James Cross Jim Schauer

Show Notes

Rusty Burroughs joins the show from NuLine Utility Services and discusses training initiatives in Lousiana.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:11 Well, good morning to our LinkedIn network. Well, with today's special guests and much dear friend, rusty burrows, CEO of new line utility services. I have to tell you on suddenly craving a little bit of gumbo, some crawfish, maybe a little <inaudible> in some smooth jazz music. Can you all guess for our special guests comes from James? My partner in crime has always, I'm going to give you first guess, Speaker 2 00:00:39 Uh, Jimmy, thanks for, for the handoff. It sounds like to me, this, this episode might have a little bit of Cajun player, uh, rusty welcome, and good morning. Very glad to have you with us today. Speaker 1 00:00:51 How are you? Thank you guys for having me. Speaker 2 00:00:53 You bet. How are you doing during these crazy quarantine times, Speaker 1 00:00:58 Man? We're doing good. We're doing very good. Um, you know, first let me say this, you know, you guys are officially invited to NOLA as we refer to it for some gumbo, fresh seafood, great music, as soon as it's safe to do so. And yes, Cajun people, South Louisiana, people are very resilient. We're used to overcoming great odds. Um, but we are staying safe, observing all the health protocols, really doing well there, but I will say this we're still working some pretty long hours because you know, we're obviously considered one of the essential businesses doing infrastructure work and, um, it really has not slowed our production very much. We can talk more about that later, but, uh, for the most part we're, we're kind of at full capacity and uh, just cranking it out, doing, doing well though, but everybody's staying healthy kids, grandkids. Everybody's doing well. Speaker 2 00:01:53 That's awesome, Jimmy. I didn't know if you noticed, but, uh, today my coffee's in a travel mug. I see that in that. And um, and I'm in a different location. You don't see the, uh, the arcade games behind me today. I actually traveled to the office in Decatur, Texas today. And, uh, I actually see a few people it's very strange, but very satisfying. So I just want to throw that in there because I know people are thinking, you know, where's the Gallagher game behind anymore, or, uh, you know, it's usually just back there playing golden tee, but now I'm in the office today. So slowly transitioning back, we're excited. Uh, we're excited to, uh, eventually quit talking about COVID-19. Speaker 1 00:02:38 Amen. Yes, yes. I tell you, you know, we touched on the, it's the, uh, it's the cabin fever. It's, uh, it's the mental fatigue, but you know what, every day we're getting closer and closer, we're keeping strong and I have a commitment to you, two gentlemen, that as soon as this blows over, we're going to go grab ourselves a little lunch and NOLA. We'll go to Marielle's and Jackson square and, uh, you know, kind of decompress. But as we get started today, I want to do a real quick intro on rusty rusty. Again, his current CEO of new line utility services out of Louisiana. Uh, rusty is also a past VP at Entergy energy. Uh, he sits on the LGA Louisiana gas association, board of directors, and he is a LSU go tigers, graduate rusty. Did I miss any highlights, please? If I did fill us in? Speaker 3 00:03:37 No, no, you handled it. Well, I gave one little shout out, uh, not only LSU, but uh, my, my two lane MBA, uh, graduate friends and buddies because, uh, that was a great group. And, uh, do want to give them a little shout out, um, really, really great group of guys. And I will say this Muriel's is an excellent choice. Did you know that miracles is haunted? Speaker 1 00:04:00 Yeah. Well, rusty, when we had lunch there, last time you were filling me in, I don't know if you remember that it was a couple of years back, but yeah, Speaker 3 00:04:10 Yes, they have a seance room. They actually call it the pillow room. And the best way to do miracles is to, to go to that room for, for a little short period of time, spend some time there and listen for, you know, other worlds stuff. And, uh, and then go enjoy a nice meal like crawfish and goat cheese crapes, which are fantastic. Speaker 1 00:04:33 Oh, well rusty, tell us, tell us why you're here today. Speaker 3 00:04:39 Well, um, a couple of things, one, one, I think we, uh, we'll talk a little bit about, uh, gas tech, which is the gas training and education center, um, in Louisiana. And, um, it's actually, uh, LGA Louisiana gas association vision for many years. And the folks there have, um, have really, um, you know, not just envisioned it, but there were several efforts to try to get it going. And, and, and in recent couple of years, um, they were able to partner with the joint emergency services training center, commonly called Jess tech in Louisiana. And that's managed and run by the state police and what they do there is they do well. They do all kinds of training, obviously, um, law enforcement training, first responders, you know, fire folks from all over the state come, uh, EMS folks, obviously any law enforcement. And, uh, and so they have classrooms. Speaker 3 00:05:39 It's a really fine facility. They have classrooms, a cafeteria, a hotel facility on site. And so because they do first responding, uh, tasks and actions in the gas industry with us, we see them out there often, right? If there's a fire fire department, we got to get the gas cut off, same way hazmat for state police and that kind of thing. So it just seemed to be a potential good partnership. So over a couple year period, we were able to work out where they actually just tag has donated a LAN to an LGA, um, quite a few at like 20, 25 acres at least. And there's really even more space out there than that. Um, some buildings that they donated to us, um, and of course labor some of their own labor from their folks that work out there and the use of their classroom facilities. Speaker 3 00:06:34 And, you know, it, it's all designed to support gas worker and first responder education and training, right? Because sometimes we do have a common need and it's, what's unique about this, at least in my opinion in the industry, is there are a lot of great training centers out there. You know, I know Atmos in Dallas and, uh, Entergy has one in rural ends and there's, they're all over the place. Um, but this one is, is designed to serve not just a single utility, but everyone in the state of Louisiana, right. That has anything to do with the gas industry. And the other thing is a little different is we, we didn't, you know, go out and try to raise funds and that kind of thing, you know, cause these, these facilities can cost millions of dollars. Um, especially some of them that are, that are really, really nice facilities. Speaker 3 00:07:27 Um, but we're relying on the Goodwill of industry partners, some grants and a lot of sweat equity. And, uh, we, we have had just ate a lot of donations and materials and in sweat equity equity from the Jess tech folks, from all the gas utilities in the state, even the municipalities, LGA members, vendors, contractors, I mean, everybody has pitched in and we probably so far in donations and grants, we're probably at about 400,000. Um, so yeah, we have a really good start on it. We in phase one was, was our classroom build out, right? And the building that they donated to us, it, it basically needed to be totally refurbished and they provided the labor and then the material we got through some of the grants that we were able to get. So, um, yeah, it worked out great. That's complete. We have the entire gas system PE and steel installed just like a gas city that you guys have seen around the country. Speaker 3 00:08:32 Um, and of course that includes, you know, houses, we've put a bunch of, uh, 11 or 12, like elite lions out there for that type of training, locating, finding, uh, leaks troubleshooting. Um, we have houses with meters and appliances. We have a regulator station we can do training on. We have a gas fire training pitch, which is really, really, uh, interesting when, when that training is conducted, we have CP points and of course, you know, many, many props that we use. So what we've done to this point is, you know, we have, um, we've conducted several, uh, what we call intensive weeks of training last year. And by the way, we actually opened the facility in March of last year. And, uh, and so we've conducted several, uh, intensive weeks of training and that actually included both the Jess tech folks, first responders and the gas folks. Speaker 3 00:09:31 And we had some really, really, um, a great turnout. And, uh, so we're, we're, we're kind of all on our way, I believe. And a couple of things, one of the things that, that gas tech we're trying to accomplish, you know, there's, there's OCU, right? And, and OCU is designed to make sure everyone can safely perform a task on a pipeline, right? Whatever that task is, primarily gas tech. What we're doing is trying to take it to a little bit different level, incorporating a lot of hands-on training. And so what we're trying to do is really increase the skills and competency and knowledge of folks, right. Because OCU is just kind of getting you started. And then, so we're trying to piggyback off of that, you know? And, and so one of the things that you guys are, Hey, you guys do every day in your life. Speaker 3 00:10:26 One of the things that we're working on right now is identifying and developing, excuse me, standardized training curriculum. Because even though we have done training at LGA for quite a few years, but it's, it's just been, you know, uh, mostly like bender facilitators and folks that are kind of SMEEs in the industry, come in and do the training, but it, but it hasn't been as consistent as we would like. So that's what we're trying to accomplish is get some standardized curriculum so that we have consistent training regardless of who comes for the training. Right. Who needs it and who engages in the training. And then we have, um, so that's kind of where we are with phase one right now. Um, phase two, if not for COVID-19 would have started probably towards the very beginning of the year. Um, we were, we were preparing to do that. Speaker 3 00:11:25 We have a, um, we have, uh, a group SJB group that LGA has hired to manage a facility. And Robert borne is going to have the, uh, predominant responsibility for that. And he's, Robert's a 35 year gas guy, so he's a great fit. Um, so we would've started a little early, we were preparing to, but now we're kind of on hold obviously until we kind of get past this, uh, this little COVID thing. Um, and so phase two, what we'll do is we'll start incorporating identifying needs for transmission folks, because so far it's been primarily distribution that we've focused on. So we'll begin to secure funding and donations and grants, that kind of thing. And hopefully begin construction. You know, my hope would be that middle or end of the summer. We can actually begin doing that, that phase of it. And, uh, some of just some of the things in, in the distribution arena that we train on. Speaker 3 00:12:25 Um, you know, as I mentioned before, you know, we do leek training, uh, CP training, regulator station kind of gas one Oh one, one Oh two. So there's a, there's a lot of things that we do, um, on the distribution side, some of the things that we'll continue to build on there would be damaged prevention. Um, our ideas to put more, uh, different kinds of pipe, actually in the crown, have people locate them, you know, the whole go through the whole damage prevention process. Um, creating a CP system will fall with rectifiers and everything, uh, tapping and stopping a horizontal directional drilling. That's one that a lot of folks would like to see a good training site in the state for that, um, you know, and just meet her installation, measurement regulation, those kinds of things, Speaker 1 00:13:18 You know, rusty cast tech is so impressive. And, and, you know, I've been filling James in on that for quite some time. Um, I really encourage folks to go to the LGA site and to really, you know, deep dig a little bit deeper into it. Um, but you know, you do have a very small role quote, unquote, as CEO of a company, new line construct, excuse me, new line utility services. And, um, you know, in a few minutes we have remaining can, can you clue us in a little bit on new line, give us some education on that and some of the things that, uh, that COVID has been impacting you on. Speaker 3 00:13:54 Yeah, absolutely. Um, as I've mentioned to you guys a little bit before we started, you know, we're, we're still in an, uh, full capacity mode and in, uh, in our work, just because of the infrastructure nature of it. Um, one of the things we've had to do is just, I guess, rethink and adjust the way we do business. And I know that's, that sounds pretty obvious in this whole COVID environment, Speaker 1 00:14:18 Rusty from guests we've had over the last three weeks. I think everybody's rethinking how they're doing. Speaker 3 00:14:24 Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so one of the things that, uh, I think most utilities, you know, have done at least in Louisiana, um, suspended meter and relight functions and tasks, right? So that we're not entering customer homes. I mean, obviously that makes sense. So what we're doing is instead of, you know, doing the complete process of laying main laying, you know, installing those and then coming and setting meters and relining plot appliances inside the customer home, we we've stopped the meter and the relight process for now. So, and obviously, you know, so now you're just have a riser there. So we'll come back at some point and we'll have to catch all these up. Right. Um, so that's one of the things, um, and operational challenges. And I guess I'll call it risk mitigation. You know, we, we do have an obligation. We have to protect our employees, our partners that we work with, meaning any benders, you know, our customers of the utility guys, we work with the public. Speaker 3 00:15:31 So, you know, we've really been really doing a great job of social distancing, sanitizing, Amera guys in the field, understand that the owner understand how important it is. And so it's really worked well. We've, you know, knock on wood. We've gotten no one yet that has actually contracted COVID and our organization. And really I don't, to my knowledge, anyone that we really associate with. So that tells me we're doing a pretty good job with that. Um, one of the things that is, is very different to, we call it ghost town streets. And so as we're going about working, um, and I'll just use new Orleans, but it's every place we work, but I'll use new Orleans. As an example, we have crews working there and our guys, you know, initially, you know, their, their thought was, well, man, everybody's going to be home now may make it a little more challenging because you're gonna have people all walking around. Speaker 3 00:16:27 And, but man, I'm telling you stay at home in new Orleans, literally meant stay in your home. When I'm on a job site, I have a hard time even seeing anyone, any kind of resident anywhere seriously. I mean, it is like a ghost town. And so what that's meant is minimal traffic residents not walking around, um, and really has result in a little bit smoother operation. I w I will tell you, I think my, my personal opinion, our production has actually improved somewhat because of, right. So those are, those are some of the things. And I think, you know, when we look to the future and, and obviously myself nor anyone can really predict, you know, I mean, we may get a vaccine at some point, and it's not that much of a worry anymore. We don't really know, but I think what we're doing, we're kind of preparing as if, you know, we'll have some level of what we're doing now. Speaker 3 00:17:25 Um, so we'll, we'll, we're going to try to make sure we keep that culture of social distancing sanitizing. Let's just make sure we keep doing that until we're certain, we're absolutely certain we're, we're good to do otherwise. And you know, one of the things that we do as a business and I, I know most businesses do, and I know I come from a utility background is something we do well there, contingency planning as a business, the whole business continuity thought process. Right? And, and one of the things that we have always done is plan for the worst and hope for the best. And we always think of it as what is the absolute worst thing that could happen in our business or any business. Right. And you need to think of it that way and plan as if that's going to happen so that you're prepared when it does. And hopefully it won't. So I think that's, that's the mantra. We're going to try to keep it, you know, so that it keeps us on our toes and keeps us well-planned Speaker 2 00:18:30 Rusty. I think that's a good place to stop. Normally we ask, we ask for any final words, but I think you knocked it out of the park right there, where we're all working our plan for the worst right now, and, uh, hoping for the best here and rusty. We can't thank you enough for joining us. Uh, uh, I know, you know, from a gas tech standpoint, you know, we're somebody who believes OCU is the standard, but we expect people to raise the bar. And it sounds like what's going on at gas. Tech is very much that, uh, we, we, we appreciate your work there and the team involved in that, and we look forward to, uh, visiting that location and hopefully being part of that, uh, Jimmy always nice to see brother, whatever beach you join us from whatever given day, it's always a pleasure. Um, as yeah, guys, I appreciate you so much as always, if someone, you know, or, or you would like to join us on coffee with Jim and James, we'd love to have, uh, we ask you to reach out to us also be sure to connect with rusty. You'll never find him on LinkedIn, uh, because he does, it's not rusty Speaker 3 00:19:44 William William it's William William Speaker 2 00:19:47 Burroughs. Right? So we'll, we'll tag him in there. Just disconnect right above, um, connect with all three of us, reach out. If you have any questions about gas tech, about new line, about EWN, we'll be happy to make the connection for you as always hope everyone has a blessed day. Uh, we are blessed in this industry. God bless everyone. Uh, thank you so much. Speaker 3 00:20:09 Thank you guys. Do a really appreciate, appreciate the invite and you guys stay safe as well. You too rusty. Look forward to seeing you soon. Okay guys. Thank you. All right. All right. Bye. Bye.

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