Live @ Distribution Contractor Association pt. 1 – Coffee with Jim and James Episode 173

Episode 173 March 13, 2024 01:22:23
Live @ Distribution Contractor Association pt. 1 – Coffee with Jim and James Episode 173
Coffee With Jim & James
Live @ Distribution Contractor Association pt. 1 – Coffee with Jim and James Episode 173

Mar 13 2024 | 01:22:23


Hosted By

James Cross Jim Schauer

Show Notes

The Distribution Contractor Association episode is here! Listen along as we highlight some of our favorite guests.

Follow along with some of these special guests as they make an impact in our industry.

Rob Darden- DCA

Ray Swerdfeger- Miller Pipeline

Mark Albert- AGI Cnstruction

Kevin Parker- InfraSource

Stephanie Krabbe- InfraSource

Mike Hickey- The Hallen Construction Company

Vince King- McElroy Manufacturing

John Lamberton-Wyo-Ben, Inc.


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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Dip's got a quota. Oh. What? I see it now. [00:00:28] Speaker B: What do you see? [00:00:31] Speaker A: This is all we've done this morning. Every 2 seconds it's. Oh, do you see that? It's a turtle. It's a dolphin. [00:00:38] Speaker B: It's a piece of wood floating in the water. [00:00:40] Speaker A: Pretty sure it's a Kevin Parker. [00:00:42] Speaker B: Kevin Parker. [00:00:42] Speaker A: Right over in the wild. Speaking of in the wild, we are live from the big island in Hawaii. [00:00:51] Speaker B: We are here. It was a short trip, 22 hours day to get here. [00:00:57] Speaker A: I don't know who we saw last night, but I feel bad for them. We were down here at sunset and our kids were a full day of travel. There's a turtle. [00:01:08] Speaker C: There's a turtle. [00:01:10] Speaker A: Full day of travel and kids were troopers. We all got in. Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy. Full effect. [00:01:17] Speaker B: Well, I got in the day before, which is a little bit better because yesterday was my day to kind of get acclimated again. We're dealing with a five hour time zone difference. So right now we've been up for 5 hours and it's not even 07:00 a.m.. Yet. [00:01:31] Speaker A: It's wild here. [00:01:31] Speaker C: Sensory overload. [00:01:32] Speaker A: There's so many sounds. I hope you can hear us over the waves breaking behind. [00:01:36] Speaker B: Wonderful. [00:01:37] Speaker A: So we're going to be here all week. We said it. One thing I'm going to vow is that I don't say that we're excited. [00:01:43] Speaker B: Well, we're excited to be here. [00:01:45] Speaker A: I am excited. It's okay to fill two things at once. [00:01:48] Speaker B: This is all of our first DCA annual conference. [00:01:51] Speaker A: Correct. [00:01:52] Speaker B: It is honored to be invited by the DCA to come help out. And I'm inundated though, folks. If everybody could see on the other side, it is a bevy of let's. [00:02:03] Speaker A: Move out of the way and show everybody this epic shot. Pretty impressive. [00:02:09] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:02:10] Speaker A: We are blessed. We are thankful to be here. We are going to work hard this week to bring some stories from the industry as wild as this seems like right, right in the middle of Hawaii. We serve here, too. I'm definitely not excited. [00:02:26] Speaker B: I am. I'm definitely excited. Can you see? I got a lay, I got a hawaiian shirt. [00:02:33] Speaker C: I left mine in the room. So pretty, though. [00:02:35] Speaker A: We're going to coordinate better as the week goes on. [00:02:37] Speaker B: We're going to do good. [00:02:38] Speaker A: Hey, stay tuned. Stick around, blow up those comments. Let's get these messages out. [00:02:45] Speaker B: Let's do it. [00:02:46] Speaker A: Alofa. Mahalo. [00:02:48] Speaker B: But this episode, though, we've been waiting for this one. [00:02:51] Speaker D: I can stop. [00:02:52] Speaker A: Since the last one, this has been my favorite one. Already. [00:02:57] Speaker B: It hasn't even begun. It's already your favorite. We've been anticipating this for days. [00:03:01] Speaker A: I have foresight. It's one of my superpowers. [00:03:06] Speaker D: What are we talking about? [00:03:07] Speaker A: You, man. We want to know how you won the landslide vote on what everybody loves about mean. You know what's funny is that really was. We do cold opens. [00:03:20] Speaker B: Yeah, we do very cold opens, Rob. [00:03:22] Speaker A: Ice cold open. [00:03:24] Speaker D: Just run it and go. [00:03:26] Speaker A: It just helps to loosen it up. No, it's funny how that turned out, because we were like, oh, Jerry and Ashley planned it. [00:03:37] Speaker D: Jerry was part of this. [00:03:38] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:03:39] Speaker A: You knew it. Allegedly. But what's wildly, we did not plan the responses. But then it got really funny fast because several people said mean. I think it says a lot about this organization. [00:03:51] Speaker B: Yeah, I think you started it, then I said it, and you're absolutely right. And then it was organic. [00:03:56] Speaker A: I just want you to know that I'm. And I was first, I shared with my kids. [00:04:01] Speaker D: Andrew's already posted. [00:04:02] Speaker A: He's already reshared. Rob, first off, I know I can speak for all three of us. Thank you for having us out. [00:04:09] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:04:10] Speaker D: For being. [00:04:11] Speaker A: And obviously, the venue is amazing and all that, but truthfully, being here with these folks and being able to work alongside, carry these messages back to the industry has been special for us. But to witness this event as a whole and from start to finish, all the little details and all the things, you've got to be proud. [00:04:33] Speaker D: Oh, very. It's been a long time coming because we booked this convention in 2019 or 2018. [00:04:41] Speaker B: Really? [00:04:41] Speaker D: The contract? [00:04:42] Speaker A: Yeah. For this year? [00:04:44] Speaker D: No, for 21. [00:04:45] Speaker E: Oh, got you. [00:04:47] Speaker D: We kept growing. We were in Boca Raton in 2020, which is when Covid hit, right? [00:04:54] Speaker A: Yes. [00:04:55] Speaker D: And we had 520 people there. So 2021, we expected to have 535, 40 here, which would have been a tight fit, but we had a lot of outdoor space to work with. And then Covid hit, so we had to renegotiate the contract and push it to 24. And then, of course, everything dropped off. So attendance dropped off, and we had to renegotiate the room block and all that stuff, which then the hotel was magnificent in working with us. [00:05:22] Speaker A: They've been great all week. [00:05:23] Speaker D: They're a fabulous team here. And the sales manager, Phil Ellison, was a great partner in working with us. But we got it negotiated down to where we thought we'd be, and we blew right past that. [00:05:35] Speaker B: Of course, we're over 450 right now. [00:05:38] Speaker D: We're 462. Right. [00:05:40] Speaker A: Wow. [00:05:41] Speaker D: 462 in attendance, very few cancellations. We had. Every time you have a few drop off, but very few. So, yeah, it's been great. [00:05:51] Speaker B: Phenomenal. [00:05:52] Speaker D: The energy. I've been doing this for 15 years, and the energy at this convention is spectacular. It's one of the best. [00:06:01] Speaker A: Yesterday's keynote was amazing. Me being having a marketing brain, number one. But also our topic the day before kind of led great into that keynote. Yeah. A lot of the same message. Know we've got to disrupt and get people in here, and it looks different now, and generations know all the parts. And it's neat to see the DCA really focusing on, really, that disruption that we're talking about, because you can see. [00:06:32] Speaker B: It here for sure. [00:06:33] Speaker D: Oh, you can. And we've been focusing on that for years. [00:06:39] Speaker A: This is more of the outpost. [00:06:41] Speaker D: Yeah, it really is. Because the disruption has been happening, and disruption happens all the time, right? [00:06:45] Speaker A: 100%. [00:06:45] Speaker D: But you had Covid, you had change of administration, which has not been friendly to our industry. So we're trying to. How do you fight that and how do you get the message out that this is a great industry to be in? Right. And this is the premier gas distribution industry or association in the country. You and I talked about this the other day because you guys are in front of the utilities so much that if a utility is hiring a contractor, make sure they're a DCA contractor, because they are the best. I mean, the best in the country are in this room, in this building. And so that's really disruption. But getting those, we're constant quality, constant. [00:07:35] Speaker B: Good work, training, knowledge, sharing knowledge, all. [00:07:38] Speaker D: That stuff that we've been doing over the years. [00:07:41] Speaker B: And I think I'm going to let you continue this, but I think it does hold true, because on the flip side, to hear utilities operators know, we got a new contract coming on their member DCA members. So it's almost like a little part of their checklist, so to speak. [00:08:00] Speaker D: As I said, the best in the industry are in this building. [00:08:03] Speaker A: Yes, they really are. And a lot of people have commented, rob, on that. Well, I'll say it. So it's not, know, when we go out in the industry a lot, there's a lot of finger pointing, kind of, it feels like, anyway, towards contractors, maybe out in, when you're sitting next to operators and other things. Right. But here it's really created a safe space where really it's changing the industry. Right. There's stakeholders that are safe with each other. It doesn't matter their competition, they sit on the board together, they sit in these groups together. They work on things like OQIP and others that are raising that bar. And it's unique. I'm telling you, we go to a lot and we do not like this. In every room, it may sound like this, but it doesn't feel like it's real. [00:08:52] Speaker D: It's real. The competitors are working together to make the industry better. And that's just like I said, the OQIP program, the PSMS, because we did a whole, created a whole shout out contractor relevant PSMS program. API has adopted that and put it right into their program. Shout out to Evan Wyman and Kevin Parker and the guys that worked on that project. So, yeah, it's so cool to watch it happen because you get all these competitors in the room together and they work together and they put all that been. The association has been such a friendly environment and family environment. [00:09:38] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:09:38] Speaker D: And they all come together to be with their friends and family. This is their DCA family. [00:09:45] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:09:45] Speaker B: Did you know that Mike Hickey had an impromptu cigar knowledge session? [00:09:51] Speaker D: No, but I. [00:09:52] Speaker B: Ten last night. [00:09:55] Speaker D: I don't know where it is always, but somewhere undisclosed. Smell it. You know, Mike's there. Mike and John Lamberton, usually both of. [00:10:04] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. [00:10:04] Speaker B: But they were saying they were associates. [00:10:06] Speaker A: They were first timers. [00:10:09] Speaker B: Yeah, the whole. [00:10:14] Speaker A: Rob inside joke. You've worked with this group for a while and you work closer than anyone to this group. How important is the DCA staff and extended staff and weeks, like, mean, this is my first time, but I've been blown away by this group and how well it's orchestrated. [00:10:34] Speaker D: Yeah. The team I have in the office of Dallas and the extended group in Canada, in Austin, Texas, and around the country in Montana, we've kind of built an extended team, and we bring them to the convention, the production team, the photographers, the social planners, and we bring them every year we bring them to the group and we've become a family. It's so cool because we've been together for so long now that everyone gets better and we always have to. How do we top this year, next year? And that's always a challenge. But putting on a convention like this is incredible. I mean, really, the amount of detail, the amount of meetings, the hours that are put into it. And I always refer to if anybody remembers Donald Trump's original apprentice. [00:11:37] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:11:38] Speaker D: The first two seasons, the final challenge. So he had all these groups and they narrowed down to the final two teams. Final two teams had to put an event on. [00:11:51] Speaker F: Put a what on? [00:11:51] Speaker A: Put an event. [00:11:52] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:11:54] Speaker D: And the communications, the finances. This is about a million four for the budget, for this thing we started five years ago, which is unusual, but usually about two or three years out. You start it, you ramp it up, you operate the business for a week and then you shut it down and you close the books. So it really is like a business and we run it like a business. [00:12:17] Speaker B: You do, and you run it extremely professionally, seamlessly. And that's the thing. As an attendee, I will say this, when you don't notice the stuff that just tells you that so much is being done because you don't notice it. You know what I'm saying? It just happens. There's somebody here to tell you to go here and then this reminder here and the bus is here, the communications. [00:12:38] Speaker D: Getting the emails out, the app, all that. And Terry does a great job of getting the message. Yeah, she is master. Long story, but she hired me at young president's organization. I turned around ten years ago. [00:12:53] Speaker B: Hired, hired her, yeah. You never know who your next boss. [00:12:57] Speaker A: Is going to be, do you? [00:12:58] Speaker D: Donate used to work for me. [00:12:59] Speaker A: I'll be honest, on day one I thought Becky fired me and then she hired me back. [00:13:04] Speaker D: Sometimes she fired me. [00:13:06] Speaker A: She brought me back though, which I was thankful. No, she's been a blessing, really. She runs an awesome ship and she. [00:13:14] Speaker B: Knows that she's a futuristic thinker. She's like, james, you really don't want to set up there. You can, but you're not going to be happy. [00:13:21] Speaker D: No. [00:13:22] Speaker B: What did you say? 3 hours later thank goodness. [00:13:27] Speaker D: It is amazing the amount of detail, rob, and the coordination. [00:13:30] Speaker B: Yeah. And again, kudos to your whole team on behalf of us and such. They've done an outstanding. [00:13:40] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. Well, I wanted to ask, we sat down with Ray yesterday and I know the gavel is being passed tomorrow. Right. Tomorrow night. As we look into the mean, number one, Ray's run was thought, you know, hearing all about it and then talking with him about it. Mark, coming up, what are you looking forward to this next year? [00:14:01] Speaker D: With DCs, every year is different. Each one comes with their own wish list. And so Mark really wants to try to grow something. I've been working on is grow the membership. [00:14:15] Speaker A: Sure. [00:14:15] Speaker D: And focus on new companies and people we haven't reached out to before. And I'll hear more about it tomorrow when we have our board meeting and he kind of shares that vision with the board. But just keep moving forward. We got to keep moving forward. The industry is constantly changing and we just need to stay at the forefront, which we're trying to do. And getting young members into the association, I don't know if you probably talked to Sarah and Elizabeth, and we did leaders program, the leadership development program. We've come up with the membership engagement that we're really trying to get involved in. Grain in the association. [00:14:56] Speaker A: This podcast, having you guys here is the unofficial podcast. [00:15:02] Speaker D: It's just golden. Really appreciate you being here. No, really. We talked about this a while back. [00:15:11] Speaker A: And kind of about a year, we manifested this, right? We talked about it and said, well, that'll be a neat place to do it and bring a lot of great folks on. And I'll tell you, we've brought on so many awesome people this week, and they shared promise not to lose this one. [00:15:28] Speaker D: Right? [00:15:29] Speaker A: I don't know. It's such a great marketing ploy now, though, right? The second lost episode of Rob Darden. I think that we're going to lead with that. [00:15:39] Speaker B: How long was it lost for? Four months, five months. [00:15:42] Speaker A: Thankful. Andrew found it. [00:15:44] Speaker B: I noticed it. [00:15:45] Speaker D: It was February, and then in April, I wrote you and said, was it that bad? [00:15:52] Speaker B: I think we're both like, did that not go out? [00:15:54] Speaker A: Did you do it? Did I do it? And luckily, it was on my hard drive in my Zoom folder. That was a different time. [00:16:00] Speaker B: Oh, it was a very different time. That was you and I, and sometimes it would be in Zoom, in your folder. [00:16:06] Speaker D: On my folder. [00:16:07] Speaker B: Oh, my goodness. It seems archaic. It seems like 1990. [00:16:11] Speaker A: But you know what, Rob? Continuous improvement. That's right. We planned. We did. We checked. [00:16:17] Speaker D: We've grown. And you're now an icon in the industry. [00:16:21] Speaker A: Well, I don't know. [00:16:22] Speaker B: I don't know about that. [00:16:23] Speaker D: But you knocked off your competitor, so now you're all up there by yourself. [00:16:28] Speaker A: It's a good place to be. Rob, thanks again for having us out here. [00:16:32] Speaker B: All the work being here. Absolutely. [00:16:34] Speaker A: Work you put into this event, this association, and this industry has all been. [00:16:38] Speaker D: A great 15 years. And not another 15 years, but a few more years. [00:16:45] Speaker A: It's been fun. But if you're needing a mentee to carry it on, I know a guy. [00:16:50] Speaker B: You stepping up? Are you volunteering? [00:16:52] Speaker A: I love this experience. Right. No, I mean, it really has been special, but it has such a great event. Hey, we'll be back. [00:17:00] Speaker B: That breeze feels good, I have to tell you. We'll ask one of the questions, because there's so many good things here about interacting with all the family and all the members and such like that. But when you're in a location like this, everybody just seems to be very relaxed, and the conversations are just slow. [00:17:20] Speaker A: 100%. [00:17:21] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:17:22] Speaker A: It's a better environment for creativity. It's a better to connect. [00:17:27] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:17:27] Speaker A: Everything's good about. I would agree. You ready? [00:17:31] Speaker B: I think we were born ready, weren't we? And Ray came in saying he's ready to go in a moment. [00:17:39] Speaker A: I know we got to get on the road, but I learned a lot about you in the opening ceremonies there, watching the pictures. I'll tell you what, you are an adventurous person, and somebody's following you around, taking a lot of pictures. [00:17:56] Speaker B: Yeah, my wife's a photographer. She definitely takes a lot of pictures. [00:18:03] Speaker A: She always says that. [00:18:08] Speaker B: There'S a lot of pictures of me, my kids, no pictures of them or her because she's always behind the camera, right? [00:18:16] Speaker A: Yeah. So that's your job now. You got to be better. [00:18:19] Speaker B: I know. [00:18:20] Speaker A: Continuous improvement. Sounds like our industry. [00:18:22] Speaker B: Is this like a PSMS journey? Before we get too much deeper, though, would you please introduce yourself to the audience? [00:18:31] Speaker G: Yeah. [00:18:31] Speaker B: My name is Ray KR, swordfigure Construction, formerly and now part of the Miller pipeline Artera team. [00:18:41] Speaker A: Cool. Ray, you're the current, or at least until what, Friday night? Friday night. You're a short timer. A little bit. [00:18:51] Speaker B: No wonder. Are you going to pardon anybody before you leave? Oh, wait, that's another thing. [00:18:54] Speaker A: Going to be us. [00:18:55] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:18:56] Speaker A: Ray, you're the current president of DCA. Very important organization. And that's where we're live from. Yes. Very, very cool. I know you worked hard to get there. You want to hit origin story? [00:19:12] Speaker B: I want to know it. And again, not just James and I, but the audience. They always love when somebody could share their origin story. [00:19:19] Speaker G: Like where it all. [00:19:23] Speaker A: Threw up. [00:19:23] Speaker B: Where'd you begin? [00:19:24] Speaker A: How did it. [00:19:26] Speaker B: You actually, you said you saw the video this morning, some of the pictures, and you saw me when I was on a tractor. On a tractor. Holding up a stop sign. Of course. Family business. A lot like a lot of people in this business, right? You grow up in it. And so it's a family owned construction company my dad started. He kind of learned the trade from his father, went off on his own, started his own company in 1968, and I was born a little after that. [00:20:06] Speaker G: And. [00:20:08] Speaker B: In the early days, the main office was a bedroom right next door to mine. [00:20:14] Speaker A: Kind of learned by osmosis through the rent. Exactly. You knew what the rates were. You knew how to manage jobs. Probably by the end of it, yeah. [00:20:24] Speaker B: So my dad, he just always wanted me to tag along with him when he was doing projects or on the weekends or whatnot, and put me on a backhoe at a young age. Here I am all these years later. And part of a much bigger construction team. [00:20:45] Speaker G: Oh yeah, absolutely. [00:20:47] Speaker A: Well, we said it a minute ago that we're at DCA and you being the president, obviously this association, this organization means a lot to you. What is some of the work that DCA does for its members and the. [00:21:01] Speaker B: Industry as a know, I think really just advocating for the industry. The, you know, a lot of the things that's just part of our everyday business today usually derived or was talked about early on in these meetings right here at DCA. Right. Like the first places that we learned about things like operator qualification. Right here at DCA. [00:21:33] Speaker A: Now we have OQIP and that initiative. I think our president, our boss, our direct boss, Jeff Isabelle, is a part of the OQIP process. He showed me a document the other day that was twelve years old and it was one of the first things him and Brad Heck did towards that initiative, bringing it in front of the board. And now that's something that's well down the line and that's a big industry initiative. That's just one small example. [00:22:02] Speaker B: One example. There's many, many DCA being involved in. It is so important because this is where you're going to find out everything about this industry. Yeah. And it's interesting. We'll talk about the committee meetings and the importance of that. And we've sat on so many committees in the industry and those are really important. But the other thing that's really important, and we're seeing it a lot here at the DCA as well as others. But this know the beach dinner last night, which is a great event where you can really spend time with somebody and learn about them. Also in the hallways over here where there's chairs set up and people are having little conversations and they're having conversations about knowledge and knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer. How important do you think just having everybody together is to the folks here? I think that's one of the most important things in this industry, is getting everybody together and collaborate. And you have the leaders from. [00:23:07] Speaker A: The. [00:23:07] Speaker B: Biggest construction companies here, you have leaders from the facility owners here, the LDCs, they all come together here at this place. And what's great about it is everybody at this place could. I think you said it earlier, it's hard not to relax when you look out here. [00:23:31] Speaker A: Well, breaches. Yeah. [00:23:32] Speaker B: So it's beautiful. But when we're here, everybody's friends. It's not the same as sitting across a bidding table from your competitor. [00:23:44] Speaker A: You're talking about what's working, what's not working. [00:23:46] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:23:47] Speaker A: We heard it in the keynote today, that kind of start, stop, continue conversation with each other of what's working. Very collaborative. Very collaborative. [00:23:57] Speaker B: Yeah, for sure. What's best for the industry. [00:24:00] Speaker A: I know you mentioned it a minute ago in your intro that just merged up or not merged, but joined with Miller kind of at the hip, right? I'm sure 2024 for you has got to be exciting. Some of the projects and stuff and just expansion and growth, that's ahead. [00:24:23] Speaker B: Yeah, for sure. There's a lot of opportunity for us under Miller pipeline and just the depth of resources that they have available to us as a contractor, what they bring to the table for us. [00:24:39] Speaker A: Sure. [00:24:41] Speaker B: Give one example. Six months into after being acquired by Miller, you recall, the boulder was, I want to say it was like New Year's Eve or New Year's, sometime around New Year's. And so we get a call from our customer and say that they're going to have so many outages, and I can't remember the number. It was something like 15,000. Huge number of outages. And how can you guys help respond? And that morning, within hours, I was on the phone and having meetings with the executives from our team. And by the end of the day, we had so many volunteers ready to get in a truck and drive to Colorado to help out in this disaster that I finally had to say, that's enough. We can't take anymore. So I think just having that depth of resources to us available is a great thing for us. It's an interesting aspect of mutual aid, because being an ex recovering utility guy, mutual aid in my world meant something. But to hear that passion and that purpose that you just stated there, as far as if there's an emergency, we. [00:26:12] Speaker A: As an industry lay down your arms and you go to work. [00:26:14] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. Let me just dive in a little bit deeper into that aspect. When you're being called in, are there services that in your business unit, company, whatever you want, that area that you really focus on, that's kind of like you're very much heavy on that. Well, of course, we could respond in many ways, and on this project, we are actually responding to do more of the relights of the houses and not as much as the digging, the excavating, the kills and whatnot, but we did respond with over 50 pipe fitters. [00:26:58] Speaker A: Okay. So being a BCA, one thing I've picked up on just in general from this group is you mentioned that getting our families together, and I brought my family this week, which they're enjoying it and kind of connecting with others, but we make a lot of memories here. I mean, it's the truth. I saw them up on the screen, a lot of smiling faces and friends. And when we get our families involved, we tom even closer. Do you have any favorite memories, like from DCA events in the know? [00:27:35] Speaker B: There's so many. [00:27:36] Speaker A: Or is this the highlight? I knew it. Is this a good memory or is. [00:27:42] Speaker B: This, you know, there's so many good memories. They're all different events. And one of them that I think about, which was just super cool to me, is you hear about these places you're going to. Sometimes you're like, I've never even heard of that went. A few years ago, we went to Nemecola in Pennsylvania. Have you heard of it? [00:28:08] Speaker A: No, I haven't. [00:28:09] Speaker B: Yeah, neither did I. Okay, so we go there, and I was just absolutely blown away by this place. So beautiful, so many things to do, and it's just they end up taking you to these places that normally you just wouldn't think about going on your own. And you go, you love it. You have a great time with your family, and when you look back, you watch these videos and you see your family and whatnot, you're like, wow, all these memories are made at a work event. A work event, yeah, work, yeah. [00:28:47] Speaker A: Ashley's with us this week, and she brought her family as well. And our families have got to spend so much time together, our two families, which is neat to see. So even in that small little know, there's been so much connection. Very intentional, very deliberate. You've got to be proud as the president, even this close to handing over your gavel, I would be remiss not to ask this question just at the end, but being the president, I know you've worked closely with DCA's staff and leadership and the larger leadership group. How special is this group to work with? I've been in here for this long, and you can see just the attention to detail and all the little things everywhere. This staff is amazing. Am I right? [00:29:39] Speaker B: They're truly amazing. I mean, I'm not just saying that, seriously, I've been coming to these things for about 30 years now, and the quality of the events just keeps getting better and better. And if you watch, you watch the behind the scenes type of things going on, from the lighting and the sound. [00:30:02] Speaker A: And things that Becky's three ring binder. [00:30:05] Speaker B: Becky, she is down to the second. I mean, if you watch, she'll be walking up behind you, poking you on the shoulders. [00:30:14] Speaker A: Wrangler of wranglers. She's done that very well respected. Everybody gets it. And there's no reason. I mean, there's no question why this event runs so strong, right? [00:30:26] Speaker G: Yeah. [00:30:26] Speaker B: And I've been to many different events and I would say that this one is just by far the best. It's awesome. And it's really due to the staff. They do an amazing job. The level of professionalism is incredible. [00:30:40] Speaker A: Absolutely. Ray, it's been a pleasure. Nice to meet you in person. And we longtime clients in Miller, and we appreciate your business, too. But hey, live from DCA, man, we'll see you next time. [00:30:56] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:30:57] Speaker A: Y'all are wasting content. [00:30:59] Speaker B: Okay, here we go. We're not going to waste anymore. We've been chatting up. That was it. [00:31:08] Speaker G: I thought we were done. [00:31:09] Speaker A: We'll be back. [00:31:09] Speaker G: We had been chatting it up, so I thought we were done. I didn't know the camera was. [00:31:13] Speaker B: We like that the best. [00:31:15] Speaker A: Ashley, were you recording? [00:31:17] Speaker B: That's all right. [00:31:18] Speaker A: Yeah, no, whatever. [00:31:19] Speaker G: It's all good. [00:31:21] Speaker A: I heard you got a guy. [00:31:23] Speaker G: I got a guy. And the guy is John Lamberton. He's my guy. [00:31:28] Speaker A: We had him yesterday. We had him on yesterday. He's a great guy. [00:31:31] Speaker H: He's a great. [00:31:32] Speaker A: You know what, though? [00:31:33] Speaker G: Forward to him being my chair for the next year. We're friends. We got to know each other on the government relations committee here. We co chaired that during the COVID I think it was four or five years, because everything kept getting to know each other to the point where when I was in the nominated or asked to be the president over the course of the last three years, doing my secretary, then vice president now and president soon, I asked John immediately to be super. [00:32:03] Speaker B: I have to tell you, though, his wife, though, is number one. Jerry is number one. The cream of the crop, the pinnacle. [00:32:11] Speaker G: No question. No question. [00:32:13] Speaker B: You know, before we go too much further. [00:32:14] Speaker A: I know we just went. [00:32:15] Speaker G: Yeah. [00:32:16] Speaker B: Could you introduce yourself? There's like four. [00:32:21] Speaker G: My name is Mark Albert, and I'm the president and CEO of AGI Construction. And I founded the company 36 years ago when I was a young man. And I've been working in the northeast, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and upstate New York for the last 36 years, installing natural gas pipeline in the distribution system. [00:32:47] Speaker A: We love that. That's a lot of pipeline. Love it. Yeah. [00:32:49] Speaker G: No, we're very blessed. It's been a great journey. And I can say that it's been difficult at times, ups and downs, starting as a young man. But I would do it all again, twice. [00:33:06] Speaker A: Good for you. [00:33:08] Speaker B: That's a testimony right there to say that you would do it all over again. Absolutely. And I think both of us and all of us would probably say that our journeys in the energy industry take. [00:33:19] Speaker A: A lot of. [00:33:22] Speaker B: Turns and bends and everything. But I tell you what, it's a great journey, though. It's a great industry. [00:33:27] Speaker G: It's been a simple, easy run, like a lot may think, but I wouldn't trade at all. And like I said, I've been blessed in so many ways and had a lot of tremendously good people that have been part of our team and could not do it alone. And with those guys and with that team, we've accomplished a lot. For a small company that didn't come from a family, legacy or money, it's been a great run. [00:33:55] Speaker B: That's awesome. [00:33:56] Speaker G: Yeah. And wouldn't trade it. [00:33:59] Speaker B: That's wonderful. [00:34:00] Speaker A: Mark, we're at the DCA, and I assume you being the president here or the incoming president, is that correct? [00:34:08] Speaker B: By the time this airs, it'll be official. It's Friday night when they gave. [00:34:15] Speaker A: Very nice. So how you talked about your history within the company and growing that company, how important has DCA been to that as well? [00:34:24] Speaker G: DCA has been immeasurable. It's something that I actually joined ten years ago. And to go from ten years ago, someone who was actually a little anxious about joining, being a small company, recognizing that most of the companies, or not most, but a lot of the companies in this organization are very big multibillion dollar companies. And I didn't know how I would be received and if it would be difficult. It didn't take me very long to recognize that these, some of the best people I've ever met in my life are part of this organization. And they welcomed me in like I was family immediately. And we were hooked from early on. They've been amazing. [00:35:07] Speaker A: I love that. [00:35:08] Speaker B: So let me lean in a little bit more, because beforehand you and I were talking about it and you said that again, if you're a multi hundred million dollar company or billion dollar company, it might seem like a no brainer. But it's also, from what we talked about, a no brainer for the very small companies, too, the small contracting firms. You have a chance, you have a seat at the table to tell them directly what you feel and expound on that a little bit more. [00:35:36] Speaker G: Well, if I could reach out, if I was sitting in front of a few of the smaller companies, leadership or ownership, I would tell them that DCA has been an enormous and incredible resource to myself and our just the collective brain power that's in this company, I mean, this organization is amazing. If we could channel it all together, I think we could solve the world's problems. It's that good. There's a lot of very successful people, but as successful as they are, they're also very humble and very welcoming. And some of the things that I struggled with early on was not knowing that that would be the case, that it was a little intimidated. And so when I recognized very quickly that that wasn't the case and that I was welcomed like I was family, very quickly. Short time, ten years, and here I am going to become the president of the organization. So you stop and look at that. That's a journey that's been truly amazing. [00:36:40] Speaker H: Yeah, absolutely. [00:36:41] Speaker G: And others that small companies like myself, you come in, you get involved, you volunteer, you raise your hand, you ask questions, you speak. Just get involved. People will reach out, people will come over and help you. And the networking ability, the networking in this organization, second to none. Absolutely. Second to none. [00:37:06] Speaker A: How do you even going after that? There's no question why. You're the president, incoming president. It sounds like you're very passionate about it. I would ask you for one thing, to challenge the people back home to be here next time. But I think you've nailed it. [00:37:23] Speaker G: Well, I hope so. I'm going to. As the income present, there's not so much a platform, if you will. [00:37:30] Speaker A: Sure. [00:37:31] Speaker G: But what I do want to focus on is with the industry. There's been great success. So there's a lot of big companies that have been doing roll ups, buying these smaller and mid sized companies to help grow their industry, their business. And with that, some of our membership has been challenged. Because when a company conglomerate that owns 1215 of these companies, 15 of these companies used to come here with two individually. [00:37:59] Speaker A: Individually. [00:38:00] Speaker G: Now they're struggling to get two, three, four people collectively from the organization. And it's hurt this membership. So what I'm going to try and help do is to reach out to the small companies, small like me, that I can relate to that. I hope I can take some of the anxiety and stress of them being apprehensive to come in to this organization and tell them, look, I was very similar, come give it a chance. I'm confident that if you came, you in short time will be very committed and you'll be hooked, just like I was. It took me a very short time and I was committed, raised my hand, got involved, and here I am a few years later, about to get the gavel. Imagine Lisa's not the guillotine. Anyway, believe me, that stuff came close a few times during the 36 years, too. [00:38:54] Speaker A: The night is young. The night is young. Well, hey, I would be remiss, Mark, not to ask you one thing and just. There's a great staff behind all this that happens. There's a great group of people that take care of. Anything you want to say to those folks in particular. [00:39:11] Speaker G: I'll say to them what I've said to them many times. Know it's been an incredible journey. I could not and have not done it alone. I am eternally grateful for all of the people who have worked, sacrificed, committed to help the collective success of AGI construction and helped us to grow our small business. And thank you for all your hard work. Thank you for your commitment. I could not do it alone, and I'm eternally grateful. [00:39:43] Speaker A: Prayers right there. [00:39:44] Speaker B: Absolutely, Mark. [00:39:45] Speaker A: Appreciate you stopping by, sir. Thank you. And all the work you do, all you do for our industry and specifically for DCA. Hey, we'll be back. Kevin, we've hunted you down, searched for years now. [00:40:01] Speaker B: Almost a decade. [00:40:03] Speaker A: Has it been years? [00:40:04] Speaker B: No, it has been a couple of years. Yeah. It was SGA in. Oh, my gosh. [00:40:12] Speaker A: Well, that was just where it started. [00:40:14] Speaker B: Where it started? Yep. [00:40:15] Speaker A: We were silently stalking you for a long time. You probably saw us lurking on LinkedIn. Jim showers. Looked at your profile. No, we joke about it, but there are a few people that we have hunted down, and you're one of them. And I'll tell you that I've heard your name come out of Jeff's mouth a lot. Jeff, Isabelle, our president. I knew a lot of the folks here at DCA by proxy through Jeff OqIP initiative. I kind of watched all that go down. So we heard your name a lot. And then when we actually got to meet you, you lived up to the. [00:40:52] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:40:53] Speaker G: So you're setting me up. [00:40:55] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. But now we're telling the truth, is what we're doing. No, you really did. You were fantastic. But you're probably thinking of what I'm thinking. [00:41:03] Speaker B: I am thinking exactly what you're thinking. [00:41:05] Speaker G: Yes. [00:41:05] Speaker A: And there was a moment, I think we were at the last table at a reception on the last night, and no one was there. I think the staff of SGA left. [00:41:14] Speaker G: Yes, right. [00:41:15] Speaker A: And we were literally shutting it down, I think. And you told us a story about folds of honor, and it was incredible. I think all of us at the table cried. [00:41:26] Speaker H: Yeah, I know I did. [00:41:28] Speaker A: And I said, kevin, you got to tell that story. And we've chased you ever since. And so what better place to do it. [00:41:34] Speaker H: Oh, yeah, for sure. [00:41:35] Speaker A: Than here in Hawaii. So just real quick, because there are probably a few people who don't know you. Introduce yourself, who you're with, and we're here at DCA. [00:41:44] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:41:45] Speaker H: Well, I'm Kevin Parker. I'm the senior vice president of operational excellence at Infrasource. [00:41:51] Speaker A: That's awesome. [00:41:53] Speaker H: Having a great time here at the DCA in Hawaii. I'm rolling off the board of directors. [00:41:59] Speaker G: So I think I've been on the. [00:42:00] Speaker H: Board for ten or twelve years, which is a while. [00:42:03] Speaker B: Why are you rolling off? [00:42:05] Speaker H: Because I've served the time where I'm the immediate Past president, then eventually falls off the board. [00:42:11] Speaker B: Okay. Gotcha. [00:42:12] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:42:13] Speaker H: Just due to the way the system part of the rules. [00:42:16] Speaker A: He's a compliance guy. [00:42:18] Speaker B: Yes. [00:42:19] Speaker A: You got to stay in compliance with the bylaws. A lot of great work going on here at DCA this week, both behind the scenes, and we just left a session. It's fantastic. No, it was great, but no, all the committees get. I'm kidding. All the committees getting together, all the leadership groups these first couple of days, and then we take off in the morning and there's great content and speakers, keynotes. Lots of good work here. How long have you been involved here? [00:42:47] Speaker H: I'd say 2008 or nine. I started attending the DCA fall meetings, which are the technical meetings, and then the safety congress. So at the time I was completely in safety, and so that seemed to be a natural fit. And then eventually I was asked to go out for the board of directors and eventually became the president of the association. [00:43:11] Speaker B: Kudos to that. Thank you for all that leadership, mentorship, and knowledge sharing, because that's one thing that we just took off this last episode, excuse me, session, was the whole how everybody in the DCA gets together. [00:43:26] Speaker H: It's truly a family. Uh, we've met people from around the country and have been friends with them. They come over and they've stayed at my house. I've gone to their homes and stayed with them on vacations. And we call it a family, and it truly is a family. [00:43:43] Speaker A: Really acts and operates that way. Well, I want to get into it. You don't be. Okay, you guys continue on a second. [00:43:51] Speaker H: What happened? [00:43:53] Speaker G: He's speechless. [00:43:54] Speaker H: I must have been so good. [00:43:55] Speaker A: He's speechless, man. He got choked up, random. Started the folds of honor story. Do you remember? [00:44:01] Speaker B: I know I started to cough, so I apologize. [00:44:04] Speaker A: Where were we? Anyone? [00:44:06] Speaker H: I think you were saying you wanted to get into the story. [00:44:09] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:44:10] Speaker A: Okay, cool. You okay? I think so, gosh, we haven't had to cut many times for coughing. [00:44:16] Speaker B: No, that was the first time. [00:44:18] Speaker A: Yeah, I did it one time. [00:44:19] Speaker B: Oh, you did? Okay, that was the second time. [00:44:21] Speaker A: So now we're even. [00:44:22] Speaker B: We're better. [00:44:23] Speaker A: Kevin. I know. I want to get into the story that we talked about. I think it's amazing. And, I don't know. I want to make everybody cry, too, so we can be in the support group together. No, I'm kidding. But if you don't mind, let's go back. We're at DCA, and I know there's a tie in to that as well. That kind of started the conversation when we talked. Go ahead. [00:44:48] Speaker H: Yeah, I'd say it started probably 15 years ago. One of our clients had their annual safety contractor meeting, and they had a guest speaker, and it was Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney of folds of honor. And when we came into the room, on all the tables, there was a folded us flag, and the lieutenant colonel got up and just gave an incredible presentation on his life in the service in the air force reserve and talked about his mission. And that mission was to fund the scholarships and schooling for the children and spouses of fallen soldiers or seriously injured soldiers. And it rang a bell for a lot of reasons. One of them was when he had that epiphany, or whatever you want to call it. It was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he flew into the airport there. And that's where I fly in and out of. His dad owns a golf course, or at the time, owned a golf course in Michigan. So there were some bonds there and some ties. So I started donating right after that and proudly wore the pin on my lapel and my sports jacket and did for years. And I think I even attended another presentation that he gave for another one of our clients. [00:46:04] Speaker A: And for some context, that pin is actually what started the conversation at that final table. That why even told us the story. [00:46:13] Speaker B: Because I think we just kind of said, oh, look at. [00:46:16] Speaker A: What does that mean? [00:46:18] Speaker H: And that does. A lot of times I'll be on a plane where a flight attendant or a pilot will say, hey, what does that stand for? Or there have been a few flights I've been on, and somebody else has had that pin, and they look down and give me. Yeah, I bet that's really special right there. If I had my sports jacket on right now, I'd have that pin on. I've got it in the room. I don't travel without it. [00:46:36] Speaker A: Understood. [00:46:37] Speaker B: That's great. [00:46:40] Speaker A: Correct me if I'm wrong, because it's been a while since you told me that story. But then it kind of came back around. Tell me a little bit about it. Did. [00:46:49] Speaker H: So I was wearing sports jacket. I was traveling and happened to be in Chicago at Ord, and I was about to get on the plane to grand rapids from Chicago, and I kind of felt somebody tugging on my shoulder, touching my shoulder. And I turned around, and there was a young woman, I mean, young compared to me. She was probably in her upper 20s or 30. And she said, excuse me, do you work for folds of honor? And I said, no, I'm just a contributor. And she literally put her arms around me and about squeezed the air out of me. And she was a small, petite young lady. And like I said, I could barely breathe. And I was looking at her and she said, oh, you don't know how much this means to me. She says, I lost my husband, special operations, and it was either Afghanistan or Iraq, because I was kind of at a loss for thinking. So she was hugging me, and she said, do you see those two children over there? And she pointed over her shoulder and she said, your money is helping my daughter right now, and starting next year, it'll be helping my son. And she started just to talk to me about her husband and how he was lost and what she uses the money for, for her young daughter and what she's going to be using the money for in the next year. We talked for probably 15 or 20 minutes, and she was just an incredible woman. She had just finished, like, a five k or ten k race in Washington, DC, to earn money for other spouses and children of fallen soldiers in the service. So it's just incredible. Dedicating her spare time, raising two children and still giving back to the servicemen and women in this country. [00:48:34] Speaker A: Incredible. [00:48:36] Speaker H: So they came on and said that they're going to board. So I thanked her. She was thanking me. She walked away, and it wasn't but a couple of minutes, and I felt a true tugging on my jacket, and I turned around, and she was standing there, but so was her young daughter. And she says, I want you to introduce yourself to this man. He is helping us, and it's pretty special. [00:49:08] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely incredible. I think this is the .1 time we were together. Maybe I was getting choked up earlier in anticipation of that, but, yeah, no, it's incredible. [00:49:21] Speaker A: And I know the DCA paired up right, and did some work as well to help raise money. Was that the theme that year? [00:49:29] Speaker H: So that year, I was trying to. So Rob called me up. He was at a conference, and lieutenant colonel was speaking at that conference and he, you know, I'm here listening to that folds of honor gentleman speak. You're. It's incredible. And he said, do you want him for your convention in Miami and not Miami? [00:49:52] Speaker A: Damn. I think it was Miami. [00:49:53] Speaker H: Yeah, I think it was Miami. [00:49:54] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:49:55] Speaker H: Sorry, I'm still shedding a tear. That's right. But anyway, so the lieutenant colonel came and spoke before the DCA and brought recipient of the money, as well as his father, who had served in the coast guard or maybe even still was serving in the coast guard. And the DCA, along with our union partners, were able to give folds of honor a significant donation to help. [00:50:25] Speaker A: It's amazing. [00:50:27] Speaker B: Future families. [00:50:28] Speaker A: And correct me if I'm wrong, each president chooses, is that correct? Or they're a part of that process. [00:50:36] Speaker H: They're part of the process. It actually, I believe it rotates between the unions and the DCA. Part of the scholarship, there is another donation that the president can make to a different charity. [00:50:50] Speaker A: I don't know. A lot of people know that there's more even outside, well beyond our industry, right. Where we're making an impact. Definitely incredible. [00:51:00] Speaker G: Definitely incredible. [00:51:02] Speaker A: Well, now, next time when you see that folds of honor thing on Kevin's lapel or out in the wild, look for other ones. How amazing. What a great story. And anyone can go online and find that. We'll link that up too. [00:51:20] Speaker H: That would be great. [00:51:21] Speaker A: Because that's easy. We can all give there and share that. Absolutely. [00:51:26] Speaker H: Lieutenant Colonel has written several books. I would encourage everybody to go get those books. They're inspiring. And tell the story of what he's gone through with his charity and with his life. Personally. [00:51:40] Speaker G: I hope this talking to you. [00:51:42] Speaker H: Guys today spurs a whole bunch of people to donate. [00:51:46] Speaker B: I would think that there are countless, hopefully out there saying right now, looking for the link right above in the little place that we're going to put that. So. [00:51:54] Speaker H: Absolutely great. [00:51:57] Speaker A: We bonded on that story. And when I saw Kevin yesterday, I think, or the day before. Yeah, Sunday night, we went down to eat and he was over there. Or yesterday morning, one of them. And full frontal hug from Kevin. We're officially bonded. We shed a tear together. We're trauma bonded together. No, man, I appreciate all the work you do. [00:52:22] Speaker H: Thank you. [00:52:23] Speaker A: Everything you do for our industry, man. [00:52:25] Speaker H: You'Re doing too well. [00:52:26] Speaker A: Thank you. [00:52:27] Speaker H: It's important to spread the word about our industry for the natural gas industry and getting the word out there that we do good stuff. [00:52:34] Speaker B: We do. [00:52:35] Speaker A: We're essential workers. We are. [00:52:38] Speaker H: Put a lot of people to it. [00:52:39] Speaker A: And there's a seat at the table for you, too, if you want to get involved, right? Not just here, but across our industry. [00:52:44] Speaker H: Across the whole country, there is a shortage of workers in this industry, and it's a great industry, pays very well. You can make six figures and do lots of different things, from digging in the dirt to welding to fusing and being managers, safety professionals, just, you name it. [00:53:02] Speaker B: Yeah. Great advice. I think you probably inspired a few people with that, too. All right. [00:53:07] Speaker A: I appreciate you. [00:53:08] Speaker H: Even better. [00:53:09] Speaker A: Yeah. We'll be back. Well, there's one thing about this show, it's that we expect excellence. [00:53:16] Speaker B: We do. We expect excellence. [00:53:18] Speaker A: There's a certain degree of excellence. If you've ever watched our show, you know how much of a joke that really was? [00:53:23] Speaker B: Well, we have fun at it, don't we? [00:53:25] Speaker A: You would have watched the last 20 minutes of our show. You would have known how untrue that was. Stephanie, you stopped by this morning to talk with us a little bit. Before we get started, do us a favor and introduce yourself to everybody. [00:53:39] Speaker C: Good morning. I'm Stephanie Krabby. I'm senior vice president of organizational development with impersource Construction and a member of the DCA. [00:53:47] Speaker A: Is this your first DCA conference? [00:53:50] Speaker C: It is not my first DCA conference. It's been around for a while. [00:53:54] Speaker B: I think when we say a while, that means more than a few years. Okay, that sounds good. What is your involvement here with the DCA? [00:54:02] Speaker C: So currently I coach here the workforce Development committee, which is a committee that was created to assist all of the member companies in really diving into the workforce issues that we continue to have in the skilled trades. So really providing some additional leadership training, looking at other ways that we can get people involved, really getting the word out about the industry, because we truly don't do a great job at it, and we need to do a much. [00:54:25] Speaker A: Better job inter os. Right? That's part of what we do, right? Yeah. Going out and telling those stories. We do really good in our echo chamber sometimes, but getting out and getting a little more active. Love it. So this is one of the days, the first couple of days, there's a lot of committee and board meetings, things like that. I call it kind of the slow work that happens behind the scenes. How important are these type of days for our industry and specifically for DCA? [00:54:53] Speaker C: They're incredibly important. They provide us a lot of opportunity to get together as a group and really look at what are those issues that are facing us, what's coming up? How can we continue to work well together, and what can we do to really increase presence and work on those things that are currently issues for us in the industry? [00:55:09] Speaker B: That was a very succinct answer. I like that. Let me dive a little bit deeper into that. Do people take what they gather here, the knowledge sharing, and then use that for the next 360 days, or are there more meetings throughout the year? How does that work with the folks. [00:55:24] Speaker A: That you're involved with on your committee? [00:55:26] Speaker C: So there are a multitude of meetings throughout the year. As far as being on a committee, really, you're looking at monthly gatherings, you're looking at phone calls, things like that, because obviously we're all dispersed all over the country, working in different markets, so it gives us opportunity to really meet and forward the work that we're doing. But we also have a mid year meeting as well as a fall meeting for the DCA, where we all get back together, look at what our progress is, where we're headed, and what's coming up next. [00:55:51] Speaker B: That's great. And James and I know this, as Ashley does, too. Virtual meetings are great, and we love all those and the phone calls and such like that. But when you can get together face to face with people, the amount of knowledge sharing, the amount of collaboration, really, just absolutely. [00:56:08] Speaker A: So, Stephanie, we ask everybody when we're out, if you could inspire those back home, maybe with one thing or one reason they should be out here next year or get involved with BCA, what would you say? [00:56:22] Speaker C: We help drive industry change, and we really have the ability as a group of people to take things to the next level where one company may not be able to really make a large impact. As a member of the DCA, you do have that capability, and it really does bring together industry and people, and it drives all of those initiatives forward. [00:56:44] Speaker B: Put a bookmark on that right mic drop. [00:56:47] Speaker A: Yeah. Well, it was so nice spending time with you this morning. Thanks for. [00:56:51] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:56:51] Speaker A: So here at DCA. Hey, we'll be back. [00:56:55] Speaker F: Got it. [00:56:56] Speaker B: That's what it is, and that's what we're here at the DCA for, is have conversations, knowledge sharing. [00:57:00] Speaker A: Just know people. We've heard this man's name out of Jeff's mouth. Steve, all these people within the organization, we are sitting next to a legend. Infamous or famous. I don't know what it is. [00:57:15] Speaker B: An iconic, infamous legend, something, right? [00:57:18] Speaker A: We're going to find out today, aren't we? I tell you what, Mike, do us a favor. Jim calls it wise. You can call it. [00:57:29] Speaker F: What do you want? [00:57:29] Speaker A: It's still old wise and old Mike, for those that don't know you, please do us a favor. Introduce yourself. [00:57:36] Speaker F: Hi, I'm Mike Hickey. I'm with the Holland Construction Company. I'm an executive vice president up in New York City. [00:57:42] Speaker A: New York City? I thought it was from Texas. I'm sorry. Like a Texas? Yeah. [00:57:48] Speaker B: No, that's a little bit farther east than Texas, brother. [00:57:50] Speaker A: East Texas? [00:57:51] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:57:52] Speaker A: No, that's awesome. We were just laughing about the DCA and how great not only this event is just in general, but just the value that it brings to the industry. You being a past president, you know very well what that value looks like. Can you help us to articulate that for the people back home? [00:58:12] Speaker F: Well, I'm not that good at articulating now. [00:58:15] Speaker A: This is your moment. [00:58:16] Speaker B: Share what you know. [00:58:20] Speaker F: The people. I'm sure everybody who spoke before me, it's all about the people, the relationships that we've made. I've been coming for 30 years, since 1994, and worked my way up through all of the committees and everything else, but they compare it to other organizations, and there's nothing like the DCA. Last night, I had a couple of cigars with some friends that just met red badges just met by the bar out there, and they were talking how they'd been to other organizations and other associations, and nothing compares to this, compares to the DCA with the people. And it's all about the people. [00:58:56] Speaker B: About 09:00 last night, there was, like six people right on this side of the. I was walking by, and I'm hearing the chatter, and I'm like, that is exciting. [00:59:07] Speaker A: I'm surprised you didn't run and jump in the middle of it. [00:59:09] Speaker B: Well, I would have normally, but again, let me just say one thing. It was after 09:00 and that's allegedly my bedtime. [00:59:15] Speaker F: It was after 09:00 yeah, but that. [00:59:17] Speaker B: Was great to see last night. That's what we're talking about. And these conversations, they're just going back and forth, and as I'm walking by, I'm like, that's really cool that people are having that conversation. I had no idea. [00:59:26] Speaker F: Next time you do this, you can give us each cigars and we can just. [00:59:29] Speaker B: I'll do that. I'll do that. Yeah, absolutely. [00:59:31] Speaker F: But it was a combination of labor. There was four or five union guys. There were associate members there, and there were contractors there, and half of them had the red badges. So we stood out there for about an hour and a half just talking about the organization, and all they did was compliment how different it's been here and the welcoming way everybody treats you. [00:59:48] Speaker A: It really has been. I love your opinion on this, but I think it's a testament to the staff here and the commitment of the group as a whole. But there's a very deliberate effort to make people feel welcome. Number one with the red badge, you mentioned it. But also the staff. There's something about an event running well, efficient, respectful of people's time. It's got family time built into it, and events and everything. The staff really does good. [01:00:17] Speaker F: They do phenomenal work. And you'll hear, even tonight, tomorrow night at the president's dinner, every one of us, when we're giving our term up, they compliment every one of them by name. I mean Rob and Terry, Candace, Donna. Forgetting one, Becky. [01:00:35] Speaker A: You can't forget about Becky's three ring binder. Got me twice this week. [01:00:42] Speaker F: Neil and Eben and everybody. Great group, phenomenal group. And they make it. It's like coming home every year to a family wedding or a family event where you don't see people. And I see, sometimes I see some of these people more than I will see family, because back home, we're always so busy doing everything, and you look forward to it. And then if somebody's not here, we call them, want to know how they're doing, why they're not here, or whatever. And everybody does that. [01:01:08] Speaker B: Yeah, that's been. We've seen the value, James and I. It's our first time here, and we're mean. Just loving every minute of it. I think there's probably a few of the audience out there that may have heard or know about the DCA and may be on that fence. We've been thinking about joining for a couple years or whatever. We're really trying to get those folks to just take that first step and come enjoy it. Any recommendation you want to say to them? [01:01:36] Speaker F: Yeah, I highly recommend that you do become part of this organization. Between the contacts you're going to make through the associate members, the other contractors, you're dealing with, the largest contractors in the city, the labor connections that you're going to make, there is no downside to being part of this organization. And then when you add the family touch to it, where we know not only the wives of everybody's spouses and husbands, and you get to know their kids, some kids growing up. I was looking today at Elizabeth Michaels. [01:02:05] Speaker B: She was just on here. [01:02:06] Speaker A: We just had Elizabeth and Sarah, and both of them talked about growing up. [01:02:10] Speaker F: Their fathers were incredible friends and seeing them as young girls, and now seeing them up there in the industry, the next generation, and they're up on the, up there today. Elizabeth was up there today giving out scholarships. Kevin sat back down in his chair and Elizabeth took care of it. So it is great seeing that. But the longevity of this, it's not usually one and done. People are making a commitment to come back already for next year. As I was saying in that discussion we were having out there last night over cigars, particularly the union people were blown away, the ones that have been there for the first time, saying they couldn't believe the camaraderie and how much time the organization goes out of their way to bring everybody together. There is no dividing of an associate member. If you couldn't see the badge, you wouldn't tell who a member is. An associate member, a union representative, 30. [01:02:59] Speaker A: Years, other than the hair or 30 years to two years. Right. I mean, really, that's what I've seen is, look, we're blessed. We get to go to a lot of events with a lot of association. But the truth is, a lot of times, as vendors or service providers, you are treated as such, period. You're not a stakeholder any more than the next one. Right. And so being here has felt different. [01:03:27] Speaker F: Agreed. [01:03:28] Speaker A: Part of a family. [01:03:29] Speaker F: I've gone to other events, too, and it's nothing like this. We all know that. Clean it up. [01:03:35] Speaker A: That's a challenge right there. Well, Mike, I appreciate all the work you do here over the years, over 30 years. I'm sure you have a lot of memories you just described, probably a new one this time right here that you're going to call on. Are there any big memories that you have going back through those years, or is it just all the people? [01:03:57] Speaker F: It is the people, and I wish I could say, but as I was just saying earlier, that every event is a good memory. The summer events, the fall meetings, everything. And your relationships get deeper and deeper. I got to present in 2002 on 911. And then one of the things that Rob changed here because we were down there that night, and to me, that was pretty special to share that with everybody in the audience because we were there firsthand. But one of the things that Rob did is he's changed the four meetings to the hometown current president, which is really a nice treat to go to a lot of different cities. [01:04:35] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [01:04:36] Speaker F: And it gives the president that hometown feel that they're proud to share. And when we did my event, 2019, in Manhattan, it was my first time that I had been down to ground zero since I left there back in 2001 after we helped assist with all the isolating of the area in the utility side of it. That was a special moment that Rob was able to put that together and that I was able to go to the Freedom tower with all of my friends. Alice and I took all of our friends there. It was 150 people. And we were able, because she was down there. She worked for the Department of Transportation in New York City. She was down there that day also helping people, pedestrians, get out of the city over bridges and everything else. And then being able to share that. I had no desire to go back there. And Rob was nice enough to ask if I would be okay to go back there. I really never thought about it, and I'm so glad I did. And people this week have been talking about. Know, one of the couple of the guys I was with last night over there were talking about. They were explaining to the union reps what it was all about and what we did and getting our perspective on it. So being that DCA allowed me to do that and share that with a lot of my dear friends that are at this organization was pretty special. [01:05:47] Speaker A: Brother, I don't know about you, but this whole week is a memory in itself. Sitting down with people like you, all the great folks, all the different generations. Been pretty special. Thank you for all the work that you do. [01:06:02] Speaker F: Thank you for doing this. [01:06:03] Speaker A: Absolutely. [01:06:03] Speaker B: Thank you for sharing that. [01:06:04] Speaker A: Hey, we'll be back. We'll be back live at the DCA. Day two, day three. Yeah, we fight about that. A know I count the zero mean. I think you start counting at zero. [01:06:19] Speaker B: I count Sunday as day one. Now, because people were here, we're talking. We may not have committee meetings, but we're still getting together. That's day one for me. [01:06:29] Speaker A: Do you want to put a go down? Gosh, did you just get here. [01:06:38] Speaker E: Formally? The real meetings start, but leadership gets to show up early. Gets to show up early. [01:06:45] Speaker A: Amen. [01:06:46] Speaker E: So that does start a little bit early. [01:06:48] Speaker A: It does. [01:06:49] Speaker B: When did you get in, though? When did you. [01:06:59] Speaker A: I love it. Well, then stew us a favor. Before we get too far down the road, introduce yourself to the people back home and who you're with. [01:07:05] Speaker B: Right. [01:07:06] Speaker A: Okay. [01:07:06] Speaker E: Vince King, and I am vice president of fusion sales for North America for McElroy manufacturing. And we manufacture underground construction equipment. The equipment that fuses plastic pipes together. [01:07:22] Speaker B: We know you well. [01:07:23] Speaker A: We do? Oh, yes. [01:07:26] Speaker E: Carries natural gas to your home. [01:07:29] Speaker A: Safe, reliable. [01:07:30] Speaker B: Natural gas. [01:07:31] Speaker E: Reliable. [01:07:34] Speaker A: We take care of performance evaluations for a lot of folks out there in the industry that fuse a lot of pipe and more than likely use a lot of that equipment. So we're very familiar. Very familiar. Well, we're here at the DCA and as you said, first couple of days, leadership comes in. There's a lot of work happens behind the scenes at these events. A lot of work for the industry. What's some of the work you see. [01:08:00] Speaker B: Going on, the work here in addition. [01:08:04] Speaker E: To just sitting in the sand? [01:08:06] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. The real work. The real work. Allegedly. [01:08:09] Speaker B: Allegedly. [01:08:09] Speaker A: Surfing is tough. It has to be right while watching. [01:08:14] Speaker E: In the morning my qualification in surfing. [01:08:18] Speaker A: Qualification. [01:08:19] Speaker E: I know a guy need to have qualification in surfing. Talk to our owner, Chip McBroy. Give me an extra day or two to make sure I get that. [01:08:29] Speaker A: Okay. [01:08:30] Speaker B: I think there's a performance evaluation in regards to that surfboard. [01:08:33] Speaker A: I need to stick around for that one. [01:08:35] Speaker E: Qualifying like our equipment. [01:08:39] Speaker A: That's awesome. [01:08:40] Speaker E: Logoed up, stickered up. [01:08:44] Speaker B: Are you on any committees right now? [01:08:46] Speaker E: Currently, yes. I am the chair of what we call strategic vision committee. [01:08:52] Speaker B: Explain, please. [01:08:54] Speaker E: It's essentially kind of like a task force, actually. But we took a little over a year, about a year to craft a strategic plan. So we have so much going on at DCA. Lots of committees, lots of folks working, participating. [01:09:10] Speaker A: Absolutely. [01:09:11] Speaker E: And we have so many different kinds of things. You can tend to just kind of shotgun and do a whole lot of productive and very meaningful activities. At the end of the day, it's kind of like, where do all those point us, right? And so we have a strategic plan and crafted that plan with participation, of course, from selective leadership of the body of DCA. And that kind of sets our focus. So the things that we do as part of the strategic plan, we want to make sure they point toward an end goal. That's what this really does. And really we spend a lot of time with building membership. Okay, yeah, building member. I mean, what we call like recruit. Right. Retain members that are here and then regain maybe members that were part of DCA for whatever reason. Maybe during COVID Sure. [01:10:04] Speaker B: I was going to say that Covid might have conditions. [01:10:07] Speaker E: Maybe they stepped back and said, hey, we're going to take a break for now. And then we get them back in. So we do spend a lot of time trying to say, keep the membership fresh because we have. [01:10:22] Speaker A: That must be why we're here. [01:10:25] Speaker B: You heard it here. Right here. [01:10:26] Speaker A: Does that mean we're young? [01:10:29] Speaker B: We'll table that one. Yeah, fresh is good. [01:10:32] Speaker A: That is newer. [01:10:33] Speaker E: Fresh crosses. [01:10:33] Speaker A: That sounds cooler. [01:10:35] Speaker E: Yeah, fresh is widely defined. [01:10:38] Speaker A: So, Vince, how long have you been involved with the DCA? [01:10:41] Speaker E: Goodness, I think it should be my 11th year maybe. [01:10:46] Speaker A: Okay, cool. So we're trying to paint in the value for the people who, not everybody can make it out here. Number one, not everybody's a member of DCA, but trying to paint that value for organizations and why they should get involved. What's one thing you might say that kind of outweighs all the rest you do. But you can, senator, you have the. [01:11:14] Speaker E: Floor, you can tell. It's hard for me to distill things down. Just one thing. There's so many things that I value of the DCA for us. For me, macroe manufacturing is manufacturer. So you have associate members like what? We are like manufacturers, vendors, and then you have contractor members for us. We don't get particularly myself as the manufacturer. We don't get an opportunity to see our end users, our contractors that actually buy and rent our equipment to do the infrastructure bill. [01:11:53] Speaker B: Sure. That are on the right of way. The job sites. [01:11:56] Speaker E: Exactly. Now, because we go through distribution that sells our equipment. So a guy like me, I don't get to actually see that customer, the actual customer of our tools, very often come here. It's like the best of the best with contractors in the gas world. And so these are the largest contractors. It's a nice mix, sure. But definitely it has a great mix. And there's a whole lot of contractors. We're really fortunate that they, majority of them use our equipment. So I can see somebody, a contractor, meet them and be pretty, absolutely talk about our gear that I'm actually seeing the person that probably approved the purchase and the use of our tools. That's huge. [01:12:42] Speaker B: It sounds to me like what you're doing is continuing and or building new relationships each and every time that you attend. Continuing part is great. It's very important. [01:12:56] Speaker E: Coming to know the relationship, folks, is great. [01:12:59] Speaker A: So throughout our conversations here this week already we've heard from a lot of people about the importance DCA is putting in the future leaders and other things to try know bring in some new folks, some younger folks, some next generation, next generation from outside of this industry, from natural gas, specific other things like that. How important is that initiative to you? [01:13:25] Speaker E: Extremely. And I had just mentioned the strategic vision committee in which I participate on that. Future leaders membership retention, those are two of the things. And leadership development workshops that came out of the strategic vision committee that that is actually an initiative that came out of that said we need to do that first. [01:13:48] Speaker A: Absolutely. [01:13:48] Speaker E: Now. [01:13:50] Speaker A: So that's actually the output of some of that strategic work. That's very cool. I haven't been canceled not one time on this show I have, but that's. [01:14:05] Speaker B: A whole nother story. [01:14:06] Speaker A: We'll get around. We're doing all right. We're coming around. We'll find our groove somewhere in here. Well, Vince, we are reaching out to those folks on the fence. Maybe. Why should they be at the next one? You've mentioned tons of great things. We'll give you the floor one more time, one plea to people back home why they need to get involved with. [01:14:27] Speaker E: Know for the folks that do a lot of traveling, and I know if you get involved in DCA, it's going to require travel. [01:14:34] Speaker C: Sure. [01:14:35] Speaker E: And in our line of work, many of us do a lot of traveling and are away from our families and sometimes for another trip to leave our family. Big shout out is that at DCA. [01:14:46] Speaker A: You can bring your family. [01:14:48] Speaker E: And the only type of conference and organization that I'm part of, where my spouse is welcome, my kids are welcome, and my wife is with me at this conference. And that's part of the family. The importance of the family, even within the professional life, I think that's a big deal. It just integrates everybody together because that is very valuable to the DCA as an organization. [01:15:21] Speaker A: I brought my family, this is my first one. But having heard from other people the same type of environment, and I mean, of course they want to tag along on this one every time I ask them to come to Norman, Oklahoma. Yeah, they don't stand in line for that trip, but. No, of course, but it is. That's the environment. Last night at the welcome party, it was people coming up introducing their kids and vice versa. It's a neat environment. [01:15:53] Speaker E: This is who DCA is. It's what you see, is what you get. [01:15:56] Speaker B: The culture is absolutely fantastic. [01:16:00] Speaker A: Appreciate you stopping by. [01:16:02] Speaker H: Thank you. [01:16:03] Speaker A: You're welcome at the table anytime. [01:16:05] Speaker B: You always have a seat. [01:16:07] Speaker E: Well, thanks for the time. [01:16:08] Speaker A: Hey, we'll be back. [01:16:10] Speaker B: I'm starting to now get my legs under me because I'll tell you, well, the beach legs, the water legs. Easy. Take it easy. You know, the time change we're still dealing with. You know, it's great to be here at the DCA and can't thank the DCA enough for everything we're doing. But more importantly, we have John with us right now. John, before we get started, would you please introduce yourself to the folks that may not know you? [01:16:38] Speaker A: Sure. [01:16:38] Speaker I: And there are plenty of those. I'm John Lamberton with Wyobin. I'm the vp of sales and marketing, and I've been coming to the DCA in different capacities for almost ten years now. A couple of different companies before this, and that's part of the benefit of staying within this industry and being able to leverage an association like this one. [01:16:59] Speaker A: Yeah. And it's a special group here. I know in the first couple of days here, a lot of the, I call it the slow work, kind of behind the scenes at the DCA in our industry happens just down the hall. You've been a part of some of those meetings. [01:17:11] Speaker E: I'm sure I have. [01:17:12] Speaker I: There's a lot of work that goes into that, obviously. And the group, Rob and his team put a heck of a show. The amount of work and effort that goes into one of these, it's a lot of work. And being able to see that behind the curtain a little bit is one, it gives you a greater appreciation for everything that's going on here and what everybody gets to take part in. And obviously, we're in an incredible location here, so that's part of the benefit, too. But it's a lot of fun. [01:17:43] Speaker B: Yeah. I'm going to give a little shout out to the Fairmont orchid that the resort that we're staying at. [01:17:51] Speaker G: At least. [01:17:52] Speaker B: Six and seven, maybe eight individuals this morning have just been helping us with the coffee podcast, and they have been bending over backwards, the team right here. But it sounds like you kind of have a little affection for events and conferences. Would that be a true statement? No. [01:18:10] Speaker A: Okay. [01:18:11] Speaker I: No, that's probably a little bit of a stretch. Now, I was fortunate enough to be asked by Mark Albert to be the convention chair for 25. So after this annual is over, I become the convention chair for the remainder of 24 into the annual of 25. [01:18:28] Speaker A: So can we get the scoop on where it's going to be next year? [01:18:36] Speaker I: Well, the one thing about the DCA is because it's a big organization and you do have to look far in advance. We try to move it around as much as possible. Everybody's quite aware of where it's going to be there. So no surprises for the next coming year. Everybody knows where it'll be. [01:18:52] Speaker A: We'll figure out what the scoop is. [01:18:54] Speaker I: You're invited to Scottsdale, you're invited to Whistler. [01:19:00] Speaker B: We love those locations. [01:19:02] Speaker A: Absolutely. Well, we're trying to inspire people back home. Maybe we've never made it out to a DCA event, kind of what goes on here and so forth. What's one reason you would say they need to be here or part of. [01:19:17] Speaker I: The DCA outside of the great venues that they choose? I mean, we're all spending a lot of money to be here. And the reality is the association does a tremendous job of putting us in positions and gives us opportunities to meet with customers. And that's, at the end of the day, it's about building relationships and networking and ultimately selling product, because that's what I got to do every day. And our whole, my, the perspective that I get to bring is our products sold in a lot of different markets. [01:19:46] Speaker B: Sure. [01:19:46] Speaker I: So we see different associations across market lines. And that's been one of the things that I've been most impressed about DCA is how professional it is, but how accommodating they are for guys like me on the associate member side, to be able to work and network and ultimately build the relationships to generate sales. That's what it's all about. [01:20:05] Speaker A: And I love how they mix it in. I mean, being a chair or incoming chair, you know this. But how they mix in like the silent auction and some of those other things that are just different. We go to a lot of events. We do absolutely do a lot. But that's unique and different. And then seeing people with their families, things like that. I brought my family. I think that's always a neat touch, too. [01:20:31] Speaker I: It absolutely is obviously a family oriented organization in general, but you're able to mix in that fun as well as the work. And in places like this, the Fairmont orchid in Hawaii. I mean, are you kidding me? Yeah, twist my arm. [01:20:48] Speaker A: It's absolutely epic. While watching as I drink my coffee in the morning. [01:20:51] Speaker B: Yes, we did that this morning. 650 in the morning. We saw some whales break. You were actually speaking my love language about relationships. I've said for decades that this industry is based on relationships. [01:21:02] Speaker I: People buy from people. [01:21:04] Speaker A: They do. [01:21:04] Speaker B: And when you get to spend time with families, spouses and or kids and really build those true friendships over time, I mean, these are the events that actually foster and drive us for the next 360 days and longer. [01:21:18] Speaker I: And one of the things about my timeline with NDCA is I was very fortunate with mentors that helped me along the way both kind of jump right into different things to get like committees to get on and work through. That started generating relationships, but then also people just meeting, introducing you to new people. It's just a friendly organization, so makes it easier right away, but then it makes the timeline that you're in DCA just that much more enjoyable with all the relationships you build. [01:21:53] Speaker A: I've had nothing but good experiences, and this is obviously a great one here. [01:21:58] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. [01:21:59] Speaker A: Well, John, appreciate it. Nice to meet you. [01:22:01] Speaker B: Now I know why Jerry says so much about. [01:22:04] Speaker A: Hey, we'll be back. Meet you guys. [01:22:06] Speaker G: Thank you. [01:22:06] Speaker E: We'll be right back. [01:22:07] Speaker A: Appreciate it's.

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