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CWJJ Episode 10: Jeff Craig & Dusty Flanagan

Wednesday, June 10- Applied Consultants & Eagle Infrastructure join Jim & James to discuss their focus on safety.

Episode Transcript:

 [0:00] music]

[0:00] :

Jim Schauer:  [0:11] Good morning, everyone. It is our extreme pleasure to bring you today’s episode we have now hit double digits, which is an exciting milestone.

[0:19] Before we get into intros. I just want to give you a fun insight about these two gentlemen that are joining us today. Imagine this. Fort Worth, Texas Motor Speedway it’s our EWN biannual event. I am about to go 165 miles an hour in a race car around the track.

[0:37] And I’m not sure if it was these gentlemen here, but I saw a beacon in the audience and I remember these words being said to me Jimmy. All right a couple words of advice keep your seatbelt on hold on stay in the car and stay safe. And that kind of emulates what these gentlemen bring to us.

[0:58] As always my partner in crime the Starsky to my Hutch the Cagney to my Lacey. Mr. James Cross is with us today James. How are you today, sir?

[0:00] :

James Cross:  [1:06] I’m doing well and I still have no clue what any of that means. I was I wasn’t born, you know, 50 years ago.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [1:14] That’s all right. That’s all right.

[0:00] :

James:  [1:16] Well Jim and let me tell you something these two guys that we have joining us today are some of my favorite people in the industry and I don’t say that just because their clients I mean it joining us today is Jeff Craig from Eagle Infrastructure and Dusty Flanagan from Applied Consultants.

[1:34] And don’t let these guys fool you they might technically work for two different companies, but I’ve been there and I know they office out of the same building. So don’t let him lie to you. I think it might be like a some Ozark stuff going on where they like some kind of corporate shell game where they just money laundering or something. But.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [1:53] Uh‑oh. Uh‑oh.

[0:00] :

James:  [1:54] I know. I know they have three or four more companies too and so I kid. That’s not what’s going on guys. How y’all doing this morning?

[0:00] :

Jeff Craig:  [2:03] Doing well, doing well.

[0:00] :

Dusty Flanagan:  [2:04] Doing great, sir.

[0:00] :

James:  [2:06] Well, we’re glad to hear Dusty. I don’t know if you remember but you and I in February, we’re in I think it was the end of February. It feels like 17 years ago. But you and I were in Galveston along with a couple other of the guys from Applied at the Damage Prevention Summit right before all this stuff started with COVID.

[2:25] And I’m not sure about you but that was the last conference I attended and I can’t believe that was three months ago a man.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [2:32] Yeah, just exactly doesn’t seem like it’s been that long ago like you said, but but unfortunately it has been the last one. And we had other events lined up but like you said that was the last event that we have attended.

[0:00] :

James:  [2:48] Yeah, I can’t believe it’s wow.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [2:51] No and we’re all going through that. You know, it’s it’s a crazy thing but it’s great to have you both here. I think that this show that we started is a great avenue for us to get back out and all the things that we love at the conference’s. It’s a great way to see people to talk to them to have some interaction and make an impact.

[3:11] And again, we haven’t seen each other since it was the Fort Worth Motor Speedway event that event and again the great wisdom.

[3:18] And I’ll say it again, you know, I know you guys I know you well your organization and the word safety first emulates all throughout your organization from you know the moment you wake up the morning till the time you go to bed at night and probably during the middle of the night too. So hats off always to you gentleman for that.

[0:00] :

James:  [3:35] Yep.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [3:37] If we get into it, you know, really, [laughs] you know, and we just it up, COVID, COVID, COVID. I mean we’re living in you know a much different time right now and that’s okay, you know, there’s, it’s been a nightmare but there has also been some great things that have come about of it.

[3:52] And really I at this time of life. I’d like to focus on some of the good things that’ve come about again, you know, we can’t do anything with the negative stuff.

[4:01] But anyways, some of the blessings that we have and if you want to share some of the things that you folks have all seen with COVID, you know, bouncing back downturn in the oil market all these things that have been stacked up against us, you know what’s some of the good stuff you folks have seen?

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [4:20] So so yeah, I’ll I’ll answer that. You know, like you said, unfortunately with the COVID heating and also with the old process and everything kind of falling at the same time. It’s from a negative standpoint. It has really affected us. It’s affected our employees.

[4:39] And we have felt that personally because we know these guys personally when we have to do those phone calls and say hey look due to these issues things are slowing down. So, you know, we’ve got to let you go or whatever the case may be. It’s a hard decision to do it’s hard on us personally again, and I know it’s hard on them.

[4:59] But from the positive standpoint that we see is is we all know that this this happens this industry stuff has happened in the past and we know it always comes back.

[5:11] So in preparedness for that and getting ready for it to come back. This has allowed us to from a safety standpoint for at Applied. I guess has allowed us to really do a deep dive with our you know, safety protocols and we have our safety requirements that we require all of our guys to have. I mean we require guys to have three safety courses a month.

[5:39] So this has been able for us to to really get in there to make sure that they’re staying on top of it for us to refresh our courses check with our clients because we’re not able to go out and see them but were able to contact them via phone or email and talk to them that way to make sure that we’re staying up‑to‑date with our clients.

[5:57] And you know safety of course, it’s funny. Our motto is you know, safety is safety works when safety is applied so that kind of what our motto is. And and without that we can’t function we feel like a safer worker today provides for a safer tomorrow.

[6:18] So but in this downturn the positive things is has like I said enabled us to really be able to sharpen our tools and hone in on our safety training speak more or less one on one with our clients and making sure that we are providing them exactly what they’re needing.

[0:00] :

James:  [6:40] Awesome, man, you know you touched on a little bit of obviously having to to have those tough conversations and you know, I think all of us know that that’s never easy. I think you know, I’ve been on both sides of that, you know, [laughs] I’ve been the one being let go and unfortunately, sometimes I had those tough conversations with people.

[7:02] You know in our our industry’s different. I know probably every industry says that but unless you’ve been in the industry in the industry our industry, it’s you know, we joke around all the time that it’s a good old boy network. You know, it’s almost you know, that’s how you get into the network kind of deal.

[7:22] But but I’m going to dump it on its head a little bit and say, you know, we are a bunch of good old boys and we’re a pretty tight‑knit group. And so when you have to let one of I’ll say it one of our friends go because you know the way they industry works. I think we’re all a big tight‑knit group of friends. You know, that’s a that’s a that’s a tough one.

[7:46] But I like how you spun that Dusty on on, you know using this time as a chance to really jump on the training and safety side of it because as most of us know some of that is some of the first things that get cut, you know, when times are tough on budgets or you know something that we’re even more conscious of a lot of times training and travel gets cut.

[8:18] Jeff. What have you seen on on, you know overall when we’re talking about, you know cutting some of that stuff. Is that something that you guys have been affected by?

[0:00] :

Jeff:  [8:27] Well, I have to say that you know speaking from the Eagle perspective and also Applied which it’s you know Applied’s a very technically astute company. They are very early adopter on some of that stuff.

[8:41] So the thing I’d probably focus on based on the COVID response is just a positive attitude the whole corporations and really Applied since I work here. I see it every day the positive attitude that all the employees took from being told you’re going to have to go home and work from home and how we marshall around that challenge and get them set up and empower them to take that stuff. Right?

[9:05] So the leadership of both Eagle and Applied has built a positive safety culture from the beginning and in looking at the positive upon the rebound when that happens as well. So getting that getting your field and your crops ready for the rain when it does come top of the right.

[9:24] So to have and continually look at positive all things and in this case it enabled Applied to review and update its exposure response plans, as Dusty talked about and take it to rethink the training opportunities. Some people tell me that you know taking an Excel formula class is a lot sexier than actually doing safety training again and again.

[9:47] So, you know, we just kind of think outside that box so we did invest in Software Skills Library and we made that available to the inspector pool and all of our employees. So for those that didn’t want to take a safety course, then they have 29 courses from Excel, Word, Outlook, OneNote from beginner to expert level.

[10:06] And they can take those courses as well to kind of keep that keep that skill set up. So when they do rebound, you know, they’re you know, it’s just one of those things.

[10:14] So and any internal employees working from home, you know, you get a little bit of that feedback and then as we did come back in the office as all of our offices have some of the office office and we built a couple of apps for their daily check‑in.

[10:29] And and so I really applaud the HR and the legal teams and the executive teams for Applied to make sure that self check‑in happens every day and just the positive attitude that HR and legal took during the whole thing.

[10:44] One day CDC says this the next day it’s something different the legal they participate in webinars and the conflicting stuff. So I really applaud them for standing up and leaning into that problem. It’s a daily challenge.

[0:00] :

James:  [10:56] Jim, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

[0:00] :

Jim:  [11:00] Yeah, and I got to tell you, you know, listening to the gents here and one common theme positive attitude.

[11:08] You know, I mean no matter what were dealt with any day personally professionally family church, wherever we’re at, you know, we you know have that positive attitude and that can‑do attitude and we can do it together attitude is you know, the vibe that really is going to help continue this momentum going.

[11:28] Again, life is full of many different road bumps. Right? So I think that hear that and for other people to hear that and again that we can do it with a positive attitude a can‑do attitude. I like it.

[11:42] Any other any other positive, you know takeaways anything. I heard the app. I like that idea. I really like that, you know, utilizing technology, you know, the the skills training, you know, Dusty mentioned doing three trainings a month.

[11:56] Any other things. Have you increased the trainee during this downtime? Any other positives that we can share with our guests?

[0:00] :

Jeff:  [12:03] Well, I think that you did see an initial course the user to take a lot more courses, but what I did see is they’re going to be on just a standard three courses, so they’ll go out. We’ve got 300 and something courses in our LMS Library. So they range from the software skills to to other things that work just assigned.

[12:24] So and I like that it’s just I don’t know if it’s a matter of boredom or whatever, but…

[0:00] : [

James:  [12:29] laughs]

[0:00] :

Jeff:  [12:29] I think that they’re looking at it as when they finally get rebound and start working for a different client. We have some people taking the OSHA 30 and OSHA 10 certification certification courses to have some taken HAZWOPER. So those are some new materials we put in there.

[12:44] No, I think it’s from the beginning when we started doing our LMS platform about a year ago. It’s 3 or 400 percent increase in participation. So from a corporate level, we love that. Yes sir.

[0:00] :

James:  [12:58] Dusty you other than having to you know be on these Zoom calls every day, I’m sure…

[0:00] : [

Jim:  [13:04] laughs]

[0:00] :

James:  [13:05] What else do you think maybe you guys have learned or what do you think might transcend, you know all of this as a company either from a safety standpoint or just in general?

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [13:18] So, you know, it’s it’s this whole Zoom deal made partially coming from from an inspection standpoint of being a field guide and being in the office last couple years. Jeff is kind of our computer guru guy I always have to go to him and sometimes even have to ask him Jeff how I do I even turn on my computer so…

[0:00] :

James:  [13:39] Look at his head swelling right now.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [13:40] Yeah, it is.

[0:00] :

James:  [13:42] I hope it’ll stay in that box. [laughs]

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [13:43] I know it so, you know with all this technology that we’ve had to adapt to we’ve had to learn and especially me. I’ve taken some good positive stuff out of it due to the fact that I’ve learned a lot more.

[13:57] We’ve learned to communicate to our inspectors in the field instead of being in a one‑on‑one setting now we’re having to use the Zoom meetings. Like we are the video meetings like we are now.

[14:08] So even even in our office internally we do two meetings operations daily in the morning and the evening. And we’ve had to when all this happened, you know, we had a skeleton crew here at the office. So we had to work from home a lot and we’re limited to being in the building.

[14:28] But so the new technology the ability to learn how to do that the ability to be able to to be able to have these meetings and be able to acquire information and things like that and even as far as we do a safety meeting with all of our safety inspectors in the field and with all of our leads or chief inspectors.

[14:52] So this has been a great tool a positive tool for us to be able to learn how to use because [inaudible] Zoom meetings [inaudible] with all these guys out in the field we can talk one still we can see their faces or hear their voices.

[15:08] And then they can carry our message our safety message out the remainder of our guys in the field because we kind of lean on our safety guys in our in our chiefs are lead inspectors to be the front runners. I guess per say and then go out and spread the word to the remaining to the remaining of the guys because we can’t be there right now.

[15:26] So it’s been it’s been a positive thing to be able to learn new technology and new ways to communicate safety training or just safety in general.

[0:00] :

James:  [15:39] That’s awesome. I want to bring up one thing and you know, I’m sure everybody knows we do a little pregame on these calls to to make sure we’re all on the same page, but I want to bring up one point.

[15:53] And that was when this all started one of the first people to reach out to me was Dusty and just just to check on each other and funny thing was was I was about to do the same thing the very same day. Because Jim and I right when the started we said man, we got to check on our friends.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [16:15] Yeah.

[0:00] :

James:  [16:16] And check on our industry folks, see how they’re doing how they’re dealing with everything and what can each of us do to help.

[16:23] So to say say our companies are aligned on our vision. I think is an understatement. Dusty you you talked about safety and technology and training.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [16:37] Yep, yep.

[0:00] :

James:  [16:38] You pretty much described our mission, right? So guys, it’s been a blast. I think if you got any other final thoughts feel free to throw man, but man I think you guys are doing what I hope a lot of people are doing and that is getting ready and and not waiting but building that comeback story now.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [17:02] Right now.

[0:00] :

James:  [17:03] Yeah.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [17:03] And just something I’d like to say and kind of Jim touch on it and you as well James earlier about the good old boys and us being a tight‑knit community. And and to me and I know you guys all feel the same. It’s not just about being tight‑knit community. It’s about to me. It’s about being a family.

[0:00] :

James:  [17:24] Absolutely, man.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [17:25] Amen.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [17:26] We’re all in this together and it takes every one of us together like we’re doing now to come up with these new ideas and ways of thinking to when it does come back we’re above and beyond and just and shining.

[17:42] And and I know we greatly appreciate you guys doing what you do because it’s really helped us out tremendously. Jeff and I talked about talk about you guys all the time. And and so it’s all good James. It’s all good. I promise you.

[0:00] : [

Jeff:  [17:55] laughs]

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [17:55] We’re we’re a little we’re a little jealous of Jim at the beach every week. He’s at the beach, but other than that…

[0:00] :

James:  [18:02] He’s a Florida boy now.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [18:08] I know it. I know it. So but anyway, I just want to say it is, we are a tight‑knit group but we are a family as well. And it definitely takes all of us to get through this and…

[0:00] :

James:  [18:13] Wait, wait, you had a perfect opportunity there Dusty to say it takes a village.

[0:00] :

Jeff:  [18:18] Oh.

[0:00] : [

Jim:  [18:18] laughs]

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [18:19] It does, it takes a village.

[0:00] :

James:  [18:22] You missed it.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [18:22] I didn’t want to steal your line.

[0:00] :

James:  [18:24] No, well guys, it’s been a blast Jim any final thoughts?

[0:00] :

Jim:  [18:29] No, just to emulate what Jeff and Dusty said, you know, we are a family and you know me I have family industry families from sea to shining sea, I mean from coast to coast I talk to them daily and everybody has really rallied around the full idea of getting out of this getting out of this better than we were before getting out of this safer than we were before, you know, all those things in place.

[18:54] And I have to tell you, you two gentlemen emulate that and it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show today again, all of our blessings to you and your family and and the crews and everybody to stay safe. We wish nothing but the best until we can see each other again and have a barbecue sandwich. I’ll fly from Florida over. I’ll buy lunch next time. So…

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [19:15] Awesome.

[0:00] : …

Jim:  [19:16] we’ll do that and for all of us, you know viewing us today in the audience. If you want to learn more we have links below for the gentlemen for their organizations for are all of us.

[19:28] Again, if you want to reach out to James and I have a question. Please feel free to ask. If you want to be on the show. Let us know that too. We would love to have you on.

[19:36] With that, I think we will wrap it up and say everybody have a blessed day. Be safe do the right thing stay positive. Keep that positive momentum going and when we get out of this thing, we’re going to be a better industry than we were when we started this.

[19:51] And with that I will hand it over to James James any final thoughts are you ready to sign off sir?

[0:00] :

James:  [19:57] Yeah, we’re good. Thank you guys again. God bless. God bless you all and God bless this industry.

[0:00] :

Jeff:  [20:05] Amen.

[0:00] :

Dusty:  [20:06] Amen. Thank you, guys.

[0:00] :

Jim:  [20:09] Thank you, guys.

[[20:10] background music]

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