CWJJ Episode 99: Ashley Knight
January 27, 2022
CWJJ Episode 101: Tracer
February 10, 2022

CWJJ Episode 100: The 100th Episode


Thursday, February 3- Today is an exciting day! This week is the 100th episode of Coffee with Jim & James! Join us today as we take a look back at our previous episodes. 

Quick Links:

James Cross on Linkedin
Jim Schauer on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] [music]

Jim Schauer:  [0:30] Good morning, audience, and good morning James to you. James, I have to tell you today. I often say this, that I wake up excited for our “Coffee with Jim & James,” especially when I go into the coffee bar here.

[0:42] As you can see, I have all the paraphernalia, but something was hitting my mind today, something. So, when I say the word century, when I say the word centennial, Benjamin’s theme on, what comes to your mind, brother? Tell me.

James Cross:  [0:58] Chris Isaacson, 100 percent, 100.

Jim:  [1:03] I’ll give you that one.

James:  [1:04] One hun, that’s what it makes me think.

Jim:  [1:08] One hun?

James:  [1:09] One hun.

Jim:  [1:11] Well, let me tell you, we have a big show today and a lot to be thankful and grateful for. This is our 100th episode of “Coffee with Jim & James.”

James:  [1:22] This is when he puts in all the clapping…

[1:24] [applause]

James:  [1:24] and stuff like that. It’s been a while since that’s happened. We used to be able to just call for it, and she would do it back in the olden days, when we first began recording back in 2020.

Jim:  [1:41] Is that amazing, when you think about it, from the original days? I started in my master bedroom, our master bedroom.

James:  [1:53] You were there ’til last week, when you put in that coffee bar.

Jim:  [1:59] We’ll never speak of that.

James:  [2:00] Virtual backgrounds there are the thing, for sure. Jimmy…

Jim:  [2:04] Look at us, man. We’re loaded here, baby. We’re loaded.

James:  [2:08] I’m telling you. You have a logo on your wall. How pretentious is that? People come over, “Oh, come over to the Coffee with Jim & James coffee bar.”

[2:18] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [2:18] You know what? This might be a franchise opportunity, if you think about it.

James:  [2:24] Jimmy, 100 episodes.

Jim:  [2:27] I know.

James:  [2:27] Let me tell you something.

Jim:  [2:29] Please.

James:  [2:30] You’re a TV guy. You watch it. You seem like a “Law & Order” kind of guy. I’m just saying.

Jim:  [2:37] Criminal Minds.” No? We also did the whole “Game of Thrones.”

James:  [2:42] Oh. Hey, listen. Game of Thrones didn’t make it 100 episodes.

Jim:  [2:49] How many episodes?

James:  [2:50] 73.

Jim:  [2:53] I also have watched shows like, famous shows, “Sopranos.”

James:  [2:59] Guess what? 86 episodes. “Breaking Bad.” Breaking Bad fan?

Jim:  [3:08] I’ve seen it.

James:  [3:10] Take a stab at how many episodes?

Jim:  [3:12] 200.

James:  [3:12] 62. Almost half as many episodes as we’ve done. Have you ever seen “The Wire?” The greatest shows of all time. Great at 60.

Jim:  [3:29] James, are we famous or infamous?

James:  [3:32] [laughs] I did 60 last year. I’m just saying. It’s wild. We joke about it, but 100 episodes. You said it earlier. I mentioned it that we were recording this today randomly throughout the week.

[3:49] Somebody be like, “Hey, you want to get a meeting Thursday?” Whatever. It was funny the reactions from people go, “Oh, wow, that’s cool. That’s a big deal.” That’s been neat to see and how people react to the 100.

Jim:  [4:07] You know what, though? It’s sombering though too, because people know that we started this right at the beginning of COVID. Then in their minds, they start doing the arithmetic. Wait, one a week?

James:  [4:18] No, that can’t be right. Wild times, man, wild times. We started, you always joke it was a napkin idea.

Jim:  [4:35] It was.

James:  [4:37] We’ve took that and went to work. What we’re going to do today is look back, Jimmy. Jimmy doesn’t even know. He doesn’t even know what we’re going to do.

Jim:  [4:49] I’m waiting with bated breath, brother. Bated breath.

James:  [4:52] We’re going to look, just kidding. He knows. We’re going to look back at different episodes. We picked highlights along the way. There’s several of them. We’re going to pull in some of those moments and talk about those and high‑point them.

[5:09] I’m really pumped about it because there was a ton to look back on. It was hard to pick the highlights.

Jim:  [5:17] You could pick every episode.

James:  [5:18] Clearly, there were so many good things. We hate that we can’t do that, but we’re so long‑winded. It’s going to be long. We’re going to start, Jimmy. How about this? Think way back. I’m going to call it the pilot episode.

Jim:  [5:37] Oh my gosh.

James:  [5:38] It wasn’t even a real episode. It’s not an episode number. We’re going to look at some of those. I think we pulled some of that in, and that is the one of the most impressing [laughs] first attempts there is, but it…

Jim:  [5:52] It’s awful.

James:  [5:53] It’s very real. You’ll see some of that. And then also the first episode, which, like with a full intro and bringing in a guest, and you know, that right there, just that brave moment of stepping out there and saying, “You know what? Let’s give it a shot.”

Jim:  [6:14] It’s funny and it was depressing at the time. It was sombering. It was the whole thing. All the unknowns, every, all the effects of that, but it was funny. It was funny. I think, was that my haircut time when…? We have to take a look at this episode, just to bring in some things.

James:  [6:32] Yeah, why don’t we take a look at it?

Jim:  [6:34] OK, sounds good. Let’s bring it up.

[6:37] [music]

[6:37] Jason Crowe: Well, the big thing is like you said, James. I think that a lot of folks don’t scream the, the, the gospel, if you will, of safe digging. And people don’t realize that when we’re out there working, we’re out there digging. We’re not just putting paint on the ground, but we are taking people’s lives into our hands.

[7:01] And much like the good people in the Energy Worldnet, my personal goal is to make sure that all the people that I work with, they get home safe to their families, and all that. That’s what we’re dealing with when it comes to damage prevention.

[7:12] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [7:12] Amen.

[7:13] Jason: I mean, if you love what you’re doing, don’t be afraid to stop and ask the questions if you don’t understand something. You’ve got a lot of great resources in this industry like yourselves, myself. Make sure you get the right equipment. Make sure you lean on the right people, and you know, communicative as needed, so.

Jim:  [7:29] Sense. If you like today’s session, we’re glad. We hope it made an impact. If you would like to join us for a session, please reach out to me. I’d be happy to have a conversation with you to see if we can’t get you on one of our “Coffee with Jim & James,” and promote good things in the industry. Promote positivity. Promote safety. Promote best practices, whatever the case may be.

[7:54] So, we’re signing off. Everybody, keep the faith. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Do the right thing. And with that, we will see you in the future.

James:  [8:05] All right. Thank you, everyone, and thank you, Jason.

[8:06] Jason: Thank you, gentlemen.

[8:08] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [8:09] Thank you, Jason.

James:  [8:09] We are so happy you’re on board. We are blessed to be working today, and blessed to be in this industry. So, let us know if we can help.

Jim:  [8:17] Amen.

[8:18] Jason: Thanks.

[8:19] [music]

James:  [8:22] Amen.

[8:23] [laughter]

Jim:  [8:23] James.

James:  [8:25] What on earth were we doing with our hands?

Jim:  [8:28] That was…

James:  [8:28] That was literally the “What do I do with my hands?” moment.

Jim:  [8:32] Like did you see Jason? He’s like, “Ahh…”

James:  [8:34] Are you praying right now?” “Yeah.” I’m telling you. Poor God.

Jim:  [8:38] And could I get any more long [inaudible]? I can tell a good story, but man, even I was like, “All right, come on, cut it.”

James:  [8:44] All that outro, I’m tell you what…Like do you think everyone, their dogs, you know, the academy?

Jim:  [8:51] Why thank them all? You know, neighbors…

James:  [8:53] I also notice I’m wearing the same exact shirt or, or sweater as that [inaudible].

Jim:  [9:00] Who? You?

James:  [9:02] That’s just coincidence. I only have three shirts.

Jim:  [9:05] Well, it was about the same time of the year, winter‑ish time right now.

James:  [9:09] Yep, that’s wild man. Well, I had to look back at that. Poor Jason, what a good sport. Coming on the first one, what is it? We don’t really know. We’re just keen on a Zoom call and talk. OK?

Jim:  [9:21] That was funny, but that leads into our next clip and the connection for Life Crew as we like to call them, or the Three Stooges.

James:  [9:30] The Boys.

Jim:  [9:31] Cuvo. Chad Cuvo, Ted Peet.

James:  [9:34] Cuvo.

Jim:  [9:35] Cuvo and Joe Serrett. And, ironically, about the same time that we were getting Coffee kicked off, they were kicking off Connections For Life, part of the UPSCO organization.

James:  [9:47] Yeah, it was cool. So, you know, you knew them beforehand, or some of them.

Jim:  [9:52] Yep.

James:  [9:54] And you were actually on their show as we were recording. I think the first time before we did the mashup, you were on their show for a little bit, and you told me about it. I was like, “That’s wild.”

[10:08] And so then we, when we all got on a call the first time, it was so neat to sync up on that topic of creating this. You know, we didn’t call it a podcast then. We didn’t know what, what it, what it was. [laughs]

[10:20] [crosstalk]

James:  [10:20] We still don’t know what it is.

Jim:  [10:21] Well, it was, it was 9 minutes and 59 seconds or less, because remember at that time, we were all innovating and we had the upload. So, we were scrambling to get things done. But it was ironic though that that we all had this kind of synergetic thought about reaching out to the industry because those guys…

[10:43] I did not know Ted, but I know Joe and Chad from the past, and they traveled as much as we did and so when the breaks hit, they were like, “What do we do?”

James:  [10:52] It was weird too. I’ve got to know so well over this time, over these 100 episodes and really have not met them until October of last year.

Jim:  [11:03] At AGA?

James:  [11:04] Yeah.

Jim:  [11:05] That’s AGA time.

James:  [11:06] At AGA. That was so weird to, like I say, grown so close to them through really our stories run in parallel. That was so cool. It was neat, I’ll tell you when we were picking the high points to go look back through some of that footage, because there are a lot of moments in there where it was such therapy.

[11:29] Being together and having somebody to talk about your show with and gripe about the dumbest things and get through this pandemic together. Jimmy, let’s take a look at some of those comments from the live podcast.

Jim:  [11:45] Let’s roll. This will be a party. This will be good.

James:  [11:46] Let’s check it out.

Jim:  [11:47] Hit it.

[11:48] Chad Cuvo: Other than that, I wanted to pass it over to Jim. I always love what he has to say.

[11:52] [laughter]

[11:52] Joe Serrett: That makes one of us.

[11:55] Ted Peet: No pressure after that intro, by the way.

Jim:  [11:57] And you know me since I’m shy and timid, I don’t like to speak a lot, but over the next 45 minutes…I’m just kidding.

[12:04] [laughter]

[12:04] Ted: With two different companies within the same industry, both of us had a similar idea of like, “Hey, we’ve got to make sure we stay relevant.” We got to make sure that we stay in front of our customer base.

[12:17] That whether they are getting product or getting information or getting things specifically from us, we want them to still see Chad and still see James and still see Joe and myself and whatnot. We created this little show and we really had no idea, was it going to be training, was it going to be casual? It’s morphed. You could be…

[12:39] [crosstalk]

[12:39] Chad: I’m not sure we knew what it was.

[12:42] Joe: We don’t have any idea where it is now.

[12:41] Ted: Yeah.

[12:42] Chad: Yeah, we add things in there.

[12:45] Joe: I don’t know. You knuckleheads said that you guys wanted to start taping your faces, so I said “Yeah, let’s go.” Here we are.

Jim:  [12:53] Very fulfilling, and it is a very relationship‑based industry. It’s current…

[12:57] Chad: A great way to put it.

[12:58] Ted: It’s crazy how small it was to me.

[13:00] Joe: It’s a really big small industry, right?

[13:03] Ted: Yeah, it’s global. If you talk to certain people in different parts of the country and they’re like, “Hey, do you know a guy who…?” “Well, there’s four guys in the country who are amazing at that, and they are pop, pop, pop, pop.” Everybody knows them.

Jim:  [13:14] Good morning, LinkedIn community and energy community. OK, let’s look back. 1964, the World’s Fair expo was held in New York. 1965 upscale was created. 56 years later, we’re having the first upscale Virtual World Expo. Coincidence? I don’t know about all this. I’m in the conspiracy theory.

[13:43] James. Let me bring my brother and co‑host named James, to help me get back on track. James Cross, how are you this fine and beautiful morning?

James:  [13:54] Like always. I’m just glad somebody else has to sit here and listen to your intros and try not to laugh at them.

[14:01] Joe: I can’t even take him seriously.

James:  [14:03] Well, don’t.

[14:04] Ted: Let me…

[14:05] [crosstalk]

James:  [14:05] Ted, yeah. Man, he’s so quiet over there. You can tell he’s thinking a lot about how many times Chad has sneezed on this video. Ted, do you love what you do?

[14:21] Ted: I do. I absolutely love what I do. I love that question, honestly. Because very rarely do you, I guess. I’m probably going to go too in depth and you’re probably just looking for yes, but very rarely do you find a place as an organization that you work for.

[14:39] Co‑workers and colleagues that you work with, that it’s so harmonious and it’s all going with one goal and it’s one‑directive. I absolutely love what I do.

Jim:  [14:52] Yogurt Convention.

[14:53] Chad: I thought it was New Orleans, September 9th, 2009.

James:  [14:56] Cool callback.

Jim:  [14:57] We never spoke of that again, New Orleans event.

[15:00] [laughter]

[15:00] Joe: Experience. I just want to ask you guys, specifically, coming out onto a year actually in over a year now, since we started this. What have you guys learned and what’s been the most rewarding thing for you doing this show?

James:  [15:17] Just getting to hang out with you all really.

[15:19] [crosstalk]

[15:19] Chad: Whoa.

[15:19] Joe: Without lying.

[15:21] Ted: That is not my response.

[15:23] [crosstalk]

[15:23] Chad: Pretend it’s true.

James:  [15:23] Even better poker face. No. Jimmy, I’ll go first.

Jim:  [15:28] Please.

James:  [15:30] A personal mission of mine over here in the past two or three years, and even since I got in the industry was, trying to find a voice that was uniquely mine. Can you describe yourself one word, and then I’ll let you explain it?

[15:45] Joe: Genuine. I think is probably the one word I’d give myself. I learned very long time ago to be who you are, and don’t compromise that. I think that it sometimes works [inaudible] there. [laughs] Sometimes not so much. I think that I always hold the line of being myself no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

[16:12] I try to like, for me that’s a big thing for also my children. I want my children to feel comfortable in that space with who they are. I try to really hold that line. It’s right and wrong sometimes, we all make mistakes.

[16:27] Back to Gary Vee again, and like I said, I’m a big fan of his. Somebody interviewed one day and asked him why he says the F‑word so much. Does he say it around his children? He was like, “Yeah.” They were like, “Why?”

[16:40] He said, “Because I am who I am. That’s how I talk, and I’m not going to change for you or you or somebody else. I’m going to be myself my authentic genuine self no matter what arena that I put myself into.” I feel like I do that too.

Jim:  [16:53] [inaudible].

James:  [16:53] You do say the F‑word a lot.

[16:56] Joe: I do say the F‑word a lot, so really nailed, yeah.

James:  [17:01] No, that’s great though. Describe Mr. Chad Cuvo for us in one word.

[17:07] Joe: See, this is hard for me because I’m going to get emotional, because…

[17:11] [crosstalk]

James:  [17:11] No, that’s OK.

[17:12] Joe: He’s my best friend.

James:  [17:12] My bad. That’s two words.

[17:14] Joe: [laughs] I’m going to say integrity. Chad and I have been best friends since the day we met. God, I knew I was going to do this.

James:  [17:25] It’s all good.

[17:26] Joe: For those of you who don’t know, today is the 10th. Chad and I share birthday also, which is august 12th, in two days. We also have the same birthday. He has just more integrity in his little finger than most people have.

James:  [17:46] I think that says a lot. You can literally just stop at one word. You’d only have to extend that.

[17:51] Joe: Yeah. I look up to him a lot.

James:  [17:55] Man.

[17:55] Joe: It’s fun.

James:  [17:57] It’s good. You can use Ted as comic relief to bring us all back.

[18:00] Joe: No. Teddy is…

James:  [18:02] I’m kidding.

[18:03] Joe: The word for Teddy. I thought about this one a little bit is ambitious. Mostly, as you guys know that he does basketball and he’s got that big program he runs for 80 kids. He’s also involved in his church group, he’s also involved in the city council, he’s also involved in a veteran’s group.

[18:20] I don’t know what’s another human being that spreads his time around more to so many different things and how ambitious and committed he is to all of those things.

Jim:  [18:29] That warmed my heart.

James:  [18:31] That was some real deal stuff right there. We joke around, we have a lot of fun, but I think it shows the way Joe summed it up and that side. 

[18:42] Later on, we didn’t go grab the footage from it, but we were on their shows and they had some of the similar questions, and we really connected during that time. It was nice. It was nice to have some partners in crime during that to bounce ideas and really grow our shows together. It’s just phenomenal, man.

Jim:  [19:06] And I’ll tell you what, you saw a different side of the guys. I’ve known Joe for years. And you see Joe out in the trade shows or in the industry, you don’t…Jose is kind of “Arr,” or a tough guy. And you see him in that episode and I’m like, “Man, I wish I had another Anki.” I mean I’m getting…

[19:20] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [19:21] Yeah.

James:  [19:21] It’s so good. You know, talking about friends and some of our close friends, we had the opportunity. That’s next clips we’re going to pull as a highlight that was, you know, really hit. I think Jimmy and I both, it was like whoa moment for us.

Jim:  [19:40] Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

James:  [19:41] Because really we got to have to Industry icons on in our opinion, Brad Heck and and our president in Energy Worldnet, Geoffrey Isbell, two Isbell people that I know that I’ve looked up to. And as far as evolvement, engagement, just doing the right thing, all the good stuff you want in a leader, and as an example those two, you know, epitomize it.

[20:07] And, Jimmy, for me it was like having those, that quality of folks on our show. Geoff being a mentor for me as well, you know, the last five years or so. Just really hit home that we were doing something bigger than we thought.

Jim:  [20:24] Yep. No, I agree with you. Yeah, the part that hit me too is that it was really in the Pregame Show. We talked about that a lot. That before we record, we spend some time, just fellowship in and it really hit me that my friendship with both Brad, Geoff, as well as you, began well before my time at Energy Worldnet and [inaudible].

[20:45] And we’re just talking about life, and Brad’s our fellow Floridian and items like that. I’m just like, “Wow, this is really good.” And I would make a prediction for episodes beyond the hundredth that I’d like to see some more Pregame, actually. I would like to see the Pregame and…

James:  [21:03] preshow.

Jim:  [21:04] And the preshow, yeah.

James:  [21:04] The preshow is where it’s at.

Jim:  [21:06] That’s a fun stuff, you know.

James:  [21:08] Yeah, we get on there and there’s so many times Jimmy where you’ll say, “Man, we should have been recording.” So, we, we even started to kind of bait our guests of, “Don’t get too comfortable. Don’t waste all your good stuff.”

Jim:  [21:20] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah,.

James:  [21:21] But there’s also a lot of stuff we can’t record on the preshow.

Jim:  [21:27] Well, that’s me.

James:  [21:29] Maybe, maybe.

[21:30] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [21:30] Let’s, let’s…We haven’t done much. Go on.

James:  [21:30] Let’s just move on.

[21:32] [laughter]

Jim:  [21:32] You know. I mean…

James:  [21:34] And Jim, maybe you’d want to add one more point to that. You talked about the preshow and how, how real it was. This was coming at a time when we were smacked by the pandemic.

Jim:  [21:48] Yes.

James:  [21:51] I think all of us were going through some different things and challenges. And when we got together and really shared a laugh and told some stories and, and remembered some different, different times, it was so therapeutic for us. 

[22:06] That was kind of the other part of it. Jimmy, it was that aha moment of having these icons on our show, but the secondary of just how human it was that day.

Jim:  [22:17] Yeah.

James:  [22:17] And you know, I told the story later to our teams actually, when I was talking about, you know, this pandemic and getting through it. And I remember that day and just not wanting to get off the call.

Jim:  [22:31] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we were here like this up to end. Even after we quit recording, we just kept talking and sharing stories and…

[22:40] [crosstalk]

James:  [22:40] It was very, very real.

Jim:  [22:41] That was weird, but it was wonderful.

James:  [22:43] Let’s take a look at it, Jimmy.

James:  [22:44] Sounds good.

James:  [22:46] If you haven’t realized it, my boss, that’s really why he’s on and sucking up.

Geoffrey Isbell:  [22:51] [laughs]

James:  [22:51] Geoff Isbell, our president at EWN, is joining us today as well as Mr. Brad Heck, who is the director of corporate compliance at Miller Pipeline. We found out today that he’s in his 36th year with Miller, which is pretty impressive. I think icon says it right on the nose. Brad and Geoff, welcome to the show today. We appreciate you joining us.

Geoffrey Isbell:  [23:16] Jim, the passion that just is oozing through all those words. It’s yeah. You two should start our show. Boo. Yes.

Jim:  [23:24] Again, the passion that just is oozing through all those words, it’s…

[23:29] [crosstalk]

James:  [23:25] Yes, you two should start a show.

[23:28] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [23:28] Who?

[23:29] [laughter]

James:  [23:29] Geoff and Brad.

[23:30] [crosstalk]

Geoffrey:  [23:30] It might have to be a late night show.

James:  [23:33] One way I’ll read this one.

[23:36] [crosstalk]

Brad Heck:  [23:36] It would have been called “The Mutton Geoff Show.” Maybe no. I don’t know. [laughs]

Geoffrey:  [23:41] No, [inaudible].

James:  [23:42] All right. I have one question. I’m going off script here, guys. I know how much you love that, but I’ll start with Geoff. You got a little bit more time, Brad, but then closing out shows with this because I think it’s really important. Geoff, I got a question for you. Do you love what you do?

Geoffrey:  [24:05] Absolutely. I think that that’s the key behind everything is having passion. People often say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” We see a lot of folks retired and then they come back to the industry because they just love what they do and they want to contribute.

[23:59] I think that for myself, for Brad, for a lot of other folks…In fact, Brad just ‑‑ and I just talked about this the other day on a personal call ‑‑ the passion that we have for the industry, the love that we have for the industry. There are so many great people.

[24:12] I’ve worked in different industries, but the energy and utility industry is fantastic, the quality and caliber of the folks both from a professional and a personal level. You develop friends and you develop professional colleagues all at the same time. How can that be wrong?

Brad:  [24:27] Amen.

Geoffrey:  [24:28] When we go to events, it’s always like…or even this, right, today is like a reunion day, especially being separated from some of the industry events. Yes, it makes it very easy to get excited, to get involved when you know that you’re making a difference. You’re doing something meaningful, important.

[24:44] You love the people that you’re working with. At the end of the day, you know you’re helping people out in the industry with the quality, their careers, their job, and ultimately, their safety and going home to their families every day. That’s something to be proud of and to get excited about.

James:  [25:00] Amen. Brad…

[25:01] [crosstalk]

James:  [25:02] you can just say ditto if you want.

[25:05] [laughter]

James:  [25:06] The floor is yours, sir. Do you love what you do? I hope so after 10…

[25:10] [crosstalk]

James:  [25:10] years with Miller. Miller…

[25:12] [crosstalk]

Brad:  [25:15] Thank you. Geoff hit it right on the head. I’ll just add just a couple of pieces.

[25:20] That is when you deal with and when you work with the people that we do in our industry, regardless of whether it’s other organizations, associations, even cross the lines from an LDC world to a transmission world or to a hazardous liquids world.

[25:39] The quality of people, the subject matter expertise, the willing to work together in partnership to achieve good and phenomenal things, I personally believe that you don’t see that in every industry in this country.

[25:53] But it’s very unique and it’s very specialized. It exists in the world of pipeline operations. It’s a wonderful thing. 

[26:02] The second thing I’d add to that is when you have leadership and when you have quality people in leadership positions, like I am privileged to have at Miller Pipeline, it’s amazing how just the leadership perspectives and the culture that the leadership provides within each one of these organizations, including Miller Pipeline, allows for greatness to foster.

Jim:  [26:30] Amen.

Brad:  [26:32] This is something that you can’t put a price on. That is phenomenal.

Jim:  [26:37] That, those warm my heart. I have to tell you. And Brad’s words, allow greatness to Foster. Those are powerful.

James:  [26:48] Yeah, and from those two guys, you know. I think it’s neat to have captured that get to share that with other folks. I think earlier in the show, and there were just so many good moments.

Jim:  [27:01] Yeah.

James:  [27:01] You know, I think I said in the show that those two can have a show and I would like, could read the phone book and I would…Is there phone books anymore?

Jim:  [27:12] No, I’ve been looking for one for two years. They had that one.

James:  [27:14] What a dated reference.

Jim:  [27:16] Yeah, old man.

James:  [27:17] I’m sorry.

Jim:  [27:20] That’s all right. Now I was, it was absolutely wonderful, I tell you, I hope people got the, the chemistry that was going on there, but it is funny though, I mean, just, just looking at the whole scenario of Brad wearing this [inaudible] shirt. Geoff in his library with, with what?

[27:36] A thousand books and we both love and admire and respect Geoff with all of our heart. But what I love giving Geoff a hard time about, you go, “Hey.” You know, like if Geoff goes, you have a minute. You have to say, “OK, this might be a 10‑to‑15‑minute of the discussion.

James:  [27:52] That might be in the running for one of our longer of the episodes.

Jim:  [27:55] Yeah.

James:  [27:55] For sure.

Jim:  [27:55] Yeah. Absolutely, wonderful. More warmed, more my heart seeing that one. That’s a, that’s a…That one will stay with me for as long as my memory works. How does that sound?

James:  [28:08] It’s weak. Seven Habits, Jimmy.

Jim:  [28:12] James.

James:  [28:13] Think about that.

Jim:  [28:14] That’s your mission. First of all…

James:  [28:17] I really did enjoy that. That was one of the highlights for me throughout the year, and it was totally random. I think, I remember us…Man, it was back when we talked a lot. We, you and I worked really closely together. And honestly, we were trying to get the show working.

Jim:  [28:36] Yep.

James:  [28:37] And so, we spent a lot of time together. And I remember one morning kind of messaging you and being like, hey, man. You know, we touched on sharpen the saw the other day, you know, with someone. What if we really leaned into that and you were like, “Dude, I love it.”

[28:53] We were going through seven habits at the company as well teaching it and going through it. And so it was just an opportunity we kind of seized and that, man, it turned into something I really enjoyed about the show.

Jim:  [29:08] Yeah, I, we talked about it. We’re like, “We’re not sure if this is going to work. It’s a little on the fringe.” Because everything was really pretty much that point, very energy focused trade show. Like you were at a virtual trade show talking to folks. And this was, this was being brave. This was expanding it.

[29:25] And I have to tell you that outpouring of people that blew this thing up. And this thing, as far as responding, like, that was great, guys. We’re like, “Huh?” So we, we actually did all seven. We did all seven habits.

James:  [29:38] And no particular order, which is the funny part. But that was the, how organic we left it. It was whatever we were in the moment on. And it seemed to fit every time as we drove into it. And yeah, like you said, a lot of people reached out about those.

[29:54] And that, you know, that changed. That was a moment for me that kind of change their show of what, what we were allowed to put on it in a way. I know that silly this say, but for…I think it broke the mold a little bit of what we thought the show could be.

[30:11] And that helped us to start shifting the way we talked to folks, and who we brought on and what our focus is where. It was so cool.

Jim:  [30:19] It was, it was a turning point. It was absolutely a, a pinnacle of things to make us better, to allow us to be better and to allow, you know, being brave and go beyond what we thought we should do i.e. energy, you know. And, uh…

James:  [30:36] I feel like this next section, I’m just going to, it’s going to be me talking for 40 minutes. There’s one tangent after another.

Jim:  [30:44] Yeah, and it was. You…I couldn’t get a word in edgewise and, you know, that might be why you’re the chief cultural officer at Energy Worldnet, you know.

James:  [30:54] Look to you, product placement. I still have my copy on my desk. I’m not a liar. It is, it is a quick reference guide to keep our life together. Jimmy, oh, that explains a lot. Let’s look at some clips. Let’s go, brother.

James:  [31:09] Studies show…I don’t have any stats. I’m not going to drop them on anybody today, but that seventh habit is hard for a lot of people. You know, America as a whole ‑‑ I’ll speak on America ‑‑ America as a whole has embraced this idea that we have to work ourselves to death, and then set this new bar and do it again, and do it again.

[31:33] And it’s a vicious cycle. No matter what your role is, no matter what segment of the industry or any industry, it is a cycle that we have got to break to be effective.

Jim:  [31:45] Amen.

James:  [31:46] I hope that sets the stage on…Again, another habit beginning with you in mind. I hope that sets the stage of what today is about.

Jim:  [31:57] You as always, when you speak those words, they just resonate in me. The challenge though for me, you know we’re coming off a holiday weekend. You and I talked on Friday. Heck, we began this series months, half a year ago as therapy for you and I to have a release, have a place to talk, to have fun, to cut some things up, to bring friends on, to share with the industry.

[32:25] We live our lives by calendars, always checking calendars, and I had in my mind set on this holiday weekend last weekend that I was going to sharpen the saw. Life happens, good family matters happen. Nothing bad, but just things happen and the sharpening the saw portion, James, gets pushed down and down and down.

[32:46] I’m really looking forward to this discussion today about synergy. One little example stuck in my mind is that if you take a piece of wood one piece of wood that can hold 100 pounds, then you take another piece of wood that can hold 100 pounds, but you put them together, they can hold 250, 300 pounds, maybe more.

[33:08] The sum of the two is greater than what they are individually. Simply put, synergy means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s what I’m trying to say.

James:  [33:21] Really, it’s about ensuring that you stick to the important and impactful things in your life, right. Things that ultimately make a difference. A lot of the times, we find ourselves really pushing some things back. There’s something in your life, Jim. I don’t know what that thing is for you.

[33:38] We all have that dream or that one thing that we’ve continue to put on the back burner, kicking that proverbial can down the road again, and again, and again. It’s the first habit and what Covey calls the public victory. For those that maybe aren’t “Seven Habits” nerds like me, the first two habits are private victory, right?

[34:04] What that means, is really it’s all within yourself. You have to change and shift your paradigms that already exist, and move to more of a principle‑based life. Once you make that private victory, then you can take it to the public. This is that first habit that’s really public‑facing.

[34:28] First things first, at the end of the day, is really just ensuring that you’re not in the weeds and putting out fires all day, but instead you’re working through projects, and visions, and innovations, and ideas that are really impactful. A lot of the time for businesses they’re lucrative too. That’s a fantastic byproduct, right?

Jim:  [34:50] It’s a very good feeling. Problem with me though, James, is that it can go in cycles. Where all of a sudden, I feel like, “Holy buckets. Today, I didn’t do anything proactive. I was behind the eight ball the whole day.” It’s kind [inaudible] down.

James:  [35:07] It’s easy to fall in those ruts and those old habits. That’s the old habits creeping back in is all. The results that are still coming from not being proactive two years ago, or earlier in your life, or earlier in the week.

[35:22] Again, you’re trying to gain momentum and those swings and those ebbs and flows are definitely that momentum starting, and then those old habits kicking back in. Then the momentum starts again. The low hanging fruit in this situation is so powerful because it can gain that momentum for you to…

Jim:  [35:44] James, I love those. It sparked a thought with me, is that you may or may not realize or the audience too that James is a guru with Seven Habits. Most of those episodes he was being a mentor to me. You may or may not have realized that, but I was…I don’t really take notes, but I was feverishly listening you were…

James:  [36:06] Mental noting.

Jim:  [36:07] A what?

James:  [36:08] Mental noting.

Jim:  [36:09] Mental?

James:  [36:10] Yes.

Jim:  [36:10] Yeah, definitely.

James:  [36:12] Those are fun. Like I said, so many people reached out. That was Jimmy when, that moment where we realized that we had such a reach and we were able to effect positive change out there with folks. That started to shape how we crafted our shows. It was a turning point of, we’ve got a bigger reach than we think.

Jim:  [36:39] Yeah, and also too our cadence really started to mesh that. You and I have been friends for a long time and that goes without saying, but we started to get comfortable in front of the camera and we…

James:  [36:50] Yeah, because it was topics that we…Not that we don’t know about corrosion or [laughs] whatever.

Jim:  [36:58] I do.

James:  [36:59] Name one. I know. I’m saying like, it’s not that we don’t live and breathe risk mitigation or damage prevention, but we do business every day. Being able to talk about those topics, loosened us up a little bit and it was like, “Yeah, so we’re having fun now.”

Jim:  [37:19] Yeah, we were. It started to show at that point, as opposed to the first episodes. Welcome to Coffee With Jim & James because I’m [inaudible].

James:  [37:29] That’s a robot.

Jim:  [37:34] James, that brings to another pinnacle at Energy Worldnet, 2020 was a big year for us, especially for you, my friend. I think we could classify that as the year that we really broke some of the molds and no other way to say it, but rebranded our company.

[37:57] I want to hand it over to you, because rebranding for us and that whole thing was not an overnight thing. It was months, and months, and years.

James:  [38:04] Yeah, that was just the Academy Award moment or whatever. There was a lot of work that went into that. I would argue it’s probably one of the largest projects that I’ve been involved with in my career. To just put it in a scope and a scale that people can understand, and to have done that in the middle of, or during a pandemic. Rolled it out during a pandemic.

[38:33] You think about some of those moments you created with a brand, rebrand or a launch event or something like that, but you can’t do any of it. Because you’re stuck at home and then all your clients are too. It was a really interesting time and tested a lot of our folks and their skills.

[38:53] Like you said, that pinnacle moment was having Coleman Sterling our CEO come on and really talk about what this meant for our company, and really put some why behind this rebrand. Why now? Why did we do it? Why did we walk this path?

[39:12] It was neat to hear him really live it. Not that he didn’t before, but just have a platform to really explain what it looks like.

Jim:  [39:23] Yeah, and let his passions shine through to people. We do a good job of taking people out of their normal. Coleman in his CEO role and taking him out of that for a few minutes. Let’s see some of this. This is going to be good.

James:  [39:41] Let’s [inaudible] up.

Jim:  [39:42] Good morning, LinkedIn community. Welcome to another exciting, and as I might give you all a hint, revealing episode of Coffee With Jim & James. It’s great to be here today. Today, I’m going to not start with any of my normal antics. We’re going to go right into the show.

[39:57] To do that, I need to bring my co‑host in. He is the cream to my coffee. See, I did that a little bit of word there. Mr. James Cross. James, good morning, sir.

James:  [40:10] Hey Jim. If I would have known all I have to do is get Coleman on here for you to stop doing those bits of getting out, I’d had him on the first episode.

Jim:  [40:19] He can come [inaudible].

James:  [40:22] I’m kidding. We are super excited today. It’s a big day in EW in history. We have Coleman Sterling, our CEO on today. Not just because you’re the CEO or my boss or anything, but my favorite guest of all time. I can even feel it. I can feel it deep down in my soul that this is going to be a good episode. How you doing Coleman?

[40:49] Coleman Sterling: I’m doing wonderful this morning. I don’t know who you got to know to get on this show, but it took me 25 shows to finally get here, so I’m glad that I’m finally here. I didn’t get the yin to the yang intro.

James:  [41:06] We can start over.

[41:08] Coleman: Oh no.

Jim:  [41:09] Part of the yin to our yang.

[41:12] Coleman: OK.

James:  [41:13] With that.

Jim:  [41:13] James and I see it firsthand every day, day in and day out. Really, when you talk to people out in the community and the industry, they see it too. I’m going to go right into it and I’m going to start off by hitting you with a hard question. That one is what does brand mean to you, Coleman?

[41:30] Coleman: I’ll tell you, if you had asked me that 18 months ago, it would have been a different answer, because it seems to evolve and change and then things move and grow and progress. What brand means to me today right now, with Energy Worldnet and what we’re doing, and the announcement that we’re making today is, it’s a way of communication.

[41:54] Not just with our clients, not just with our potential clients. It’s clients, it’s potential clients, it’s industry people, and it’s also our internal employees, and how we communicate, and how we tell our story. James and I often we joke. Years ago, it was hats and koozies.

[42:17] That’s where you start and it’s marketing and then you move on to the bigger definition which is brand, which is how you speak and how you write. Then, now it’s just grown so far beyond that, really because of the team that we have and the innovation that we have at our disposal now, has really driven how we look at brand and how we use brand to express ourselves in the industry.

James:  [42:45] Shows here lately with one question, I want to ask you the same thing. Do you love what you do?

[42:53] Coleman: Absolutely.

James:  [42:58] One tiny question, you can’t answer that with one tiny answer. That’s unfair. Yes?

[43:05] Coleman: That will be yes. Absolutely I do. James, growing up, people say do what you love. As you grow up, you learn how to love what you do. When you work in federal regulatory compliance management, it doesn’t sound like it, “Wow, that’s exciting,” but it is exciting.

[43:30] It depends on how you’re approaching. It depends on what your relationships are like and doing that. What can you build? What can you do new and who are the people that you work with? That’s why I love it so much.

James:  [43:41] Man, I like how Coleman says, I like how he…I’ll sum it up. I paraphrase poorly. That’s my superpower.

Jim:  [43:48] It is.

James:  [43:49] Is who you do it with. Man, that’s so important. If I’ve learned anything here is, and Energy Worldnet does that right. I really enjoy working with the folks I work with. You can tell Coleman drives that for sure.

Jim:  [44:12] It was fun seeing a personal, passionate, he has it all the time.

James:  [44:19] A lot of people don’t get to see it. You and I have…

Jim:  [44:21] They don’t.

James:  [44:21] A different kind of relationship with Coleman than most people. Obviously, we have more exposure, but getting to see some of that from him was cool. Another highlight Jimmy, one part I really enjoyed was bringing our friend Rob Darden on. There’s a whole story in this that ended up making this a highlight, even more so.

[44:47] We had a great recording with Rob after chasing him around. Rob is one of those people that his schedule is bananas.

Jim:  [44:56] What is he? EVP of the DCA or he’s up there.

James:  [45:00] I don’t know. It sounds made up. That’s a lot of letters.

Jim:  [45:05] Executive Vice President of the DCA.

James:  [45:11] Rob finally comes on the show. We book it, we record it. We changed this past year to moving to recording days. We record a whole bunch of them at a time.

Jim:  [45:23] In one day or two days, we…

James:  [45:25] Just to make our time a little more efficient. This was the first time ever, and we recorded all the shows and I forgot to deliver Rob’s to our design team. That’s not what makes the funniest…The story is funny as the fact that Rob didn’t say anything for months.

Jim:  [45:47] Months.

James:  [45:48] Three, four or five months, he goes without his episode airing and he doesn’t reach out or anything. It’s just like, “Well, I guess that they found somebody else.”

Jim:  [46:01] I got Chad.

James:  [46:02] Cutting room floor. Rob finally reaches out one day and says my son texted me and said, “Were you on a project with…?”

Jim:  [46:10] Andrew.

James:  [46:11] Andrew, shout out. Weren’t you on Coffee With Jim & James? He was like, “I was on there. I haven’t seen it air. Did they cut you?” Rob reaches out and sure enough, it was on my desktop. We found the lost episode. We did a little funny intro and actually called it the Lost Episode. The humor in that Jimmy, more so was later in the year we saw Rob at AGA.

Jim:  [46:41] Yes.

James:  [46:43] Got to spend some time with him, actually interviewed him live at AGA. That was a story that we ended up laughing about and we still laugh about to this day.

Jim:  [46:55] Absolutely.

James:  [46:57] Jimmy, let’s take a look at the Lost Episode.

Jim:  [47:00] Let’s get into it. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen to this week’s episode of Coffee With Jim & James. Now, I know to the audience, you always expect my wacky intros, but today is a little bit different. We’re right in the midst of the new logo launch, which I love. New mugs. If you look at James, he has a microphone, headset. This guy is going gang gangbusters on this.

[47:36] If you haven’t noticed we do have a guest on today. We’re just not talking around in circles. Rob Darden is with us from DCA. Rob, good morning.

[47:43] Rob Darden: Morning.

Jim:  [47:45] Good morning.

James:  [47:46] Super pumped to have you. Rob and I have crossed paths several times. They do awesome stuff DCA. We’re excited to bring him on to talk about some of the exciting things they have going on right now, so Jimmy…

Jim:  [48:00] James, I loved it. Let me just jump in really quick. It’s lemonade from lemons. Yes, we had a little hiccup or whatever. Like you said, to this day, our relationship with Rob, we joke about that. We have fun when we’re talking.

James:  [48:21] It was good to laugh with him in person at AGA. We had a good time. Really good. Another person that was at AGA that we got to see as well. It was AGA, right?

Jim:  [48:37] Yeah.

James:  [48:38] Laura Morrow from Artera, as well. Jimmy, we spent time. They invited us to an event but we had a lot of overlap at different points at AGA, so it was good to meet up with her. Learn about what they’re doing over there. Get to share some time. Laura is awesome.

[49:04] Really driving that brand over there, and how they communicate it and stuff like that. So many good things going on over there.

Jim:  [49:13] Yeah, like [inaudible] to all the Artera companies, and they have a bevy of companies. Laura has got her hands full, but that was a fun episode. We get on it, and back in those days, I would tell a wacky story at the beginning of our episodes. Sometimes they get out there farfetched.

[49:32] Usually, to the audience, I would usually have those stories hit my head 30 seconds, two minutes before we start recording. It’s just like something comes in. Laura being out of Indiana, corn came into it. I had a story about…We can watch it, but it was about the schooner in the Key, Laura and her husband, family on the beach and saving me. It’s wacky, but they’re good people.

James:  [49:56] It’s one of your best ones. One of your best ones, Jimmy. One of your best lead‑in stories. We should had a montage of all of those. That would have been the winner of everything.

Jim:  [50:06] Oh boy.

James:  [50:07] The cool thing about Laura too was she told us on the show that she was on a journey as well. I don’t remember if it was on a pre‑show, or the show just sharing her message and really finding her voice in the industry, which as you know I’ve been working on as well, and her chosen. Finding her niche.

[50:27] I love the topics we delve into, I got to geek out. You get to geek out a lot on the show, because of your background in the industry. When someone comes on that’s more marketing or branding or design or something like that, Jimmy always sits back and gets mad at me, but that’s our…

Jim:  [50:46] Do I really? I don’t get mad at you. I just sit back.

James:  [50:49] That’s our dynamic.

Jim:  [50:49] That’s why I have the coffee and the coffee makers. Let’s take a look.

James:  [50:53] Let’s dive into this Laura episode.

Jim:  [50:56] Yeah, please. James, before we get started, Laura and I really haven’t met, but we have met. She may not remember it. Let me tell you a quick story. Do I have a minute, James?

James:  [51:06] Always.

Jim:  [51:07] All right.

James:  [51:08] You have a microphone.

Jim:  [51:10] I was taking, sailing or piloting my schooner down the Florida Keys on my way to Key West when all of a sudden disaster struck. My prop stopped working. This can be a problem in the high seas. I look back there and what’s caught my propeller? Corn stalks. I’m like, “Corn stalks. Yeah, I’m in trouble.”

[51:34] I’m looking around and I notice the beach 50, 60 feet away. I yelled at the beach, “I have corn stalks in my prop. Is anybody from the Midwest?” Nobody said anything except this lady raised her hand. She had children, her husband were there. She’s like, “We’re from Indiana.” I’m like, “OK, prove it.” She’s like, “My husband is a Hoosier.” I’m like, “That’s the corn capital of the world.”

James:  [52:00] Checks out.

Jim:  [52:01] I said, “Can you come help me? I’m about ready to be taken away to Antarctica.” They look at each other and they’re talking. All of a sudden, I see them doing this, and all of a sudden, the husband’s like, “Ugh.” He goes up and gets his corn sickle. They must carry that on vacation.

James:  [52:18] They do.

Jim:  [52:18] Don’t make sense [inaudible].

James:  [52:19] All the time, just the essentials.

Jim:  [52:23] It wasn’t too deep I guess, so he walks out to the schooner and hacks it away and I get on my way and I’m like, “Thank you so much. Who are you?” She’s like, “My name is Laura.” I said, “Thank you so much.” She’s like, “Whether it’s personally or professionally, we like to take care of people, make sure people are safe.”

James:  [52:41] Wow.

Jim:  [52:41] I’m like, “What company do you work for?” She’s like, “Don’t forget the name Artera.” Stuck with me ever since. I almost renamed the ship Artera because of that incident.

James:  [52:54] Never happened. None of that happened.

[52:56] Laura Morrow:  You don’t know that. [laughs]

James:  [52:58] It’s possible. We touched around it, but let’s talk about reputation. I’ll tell you, something we’re realizing more and more every day is how important a reputation is inside of our own walls.

[53:12] Sometimes we always think about what the clients think, but if your people aren’t believing in the brand and not living the brand, then it’s going to show in the work, it’s going to show in the relationships, and it’s going to trickle out. It’s going to land years later, even.

[53:30] You want to talk on that a little bit, how important reputation is both internal and external?

[53:35] Laura:  Honestly, you nailed it, James. I think reputation…

[53:39] [crosstalk]

James:  [53:39] Asked my own question and answered it.

[53:43] Laura:  [laughs] I truly believe reputation is all about your people. If your people feel valued and recognized and part of your end goal, they’re going to tell your own story. You don’t even have to do it. They’re going to do it for you. It’s understanding who you’re hiring, who you have on your team, and how you lead them will help with that reputation, too.

[54:07] We all know there’s multiple generations now, the Gen Z and millennials, and I’m a millennial. We want different feedback and affirmation and recognition in different ways. You just have to realize that and cater to who you’re talking to and who you can cultivate a culture for them, and recognize them.

Jim:  [54:29] Laura, this conversation has brought me to a place. James, it’s brought me to a place where I have a very important question to ask Laura.

James:  [54:40] Laura already knows it, because I think she is a lurker, listener, watcher.

[54:46] Laura:  [laughs]

James:  [54:47] Every once in a while, she watches them. She does. She already knows.

Jim:  [54:51] You think so?

James:  [54:52] She’s been practicing.

Jim:  [54:52] This is a hard question. This is a hard one.

James:  [54:55] VP of communications. She’s practiced.

Jim:  [54:57] Laura?

[54:58] Laura:  Yeah?

Jim:  [55:00] Let me ask you a very important question. Do you love what you do?

[55:05] Laura:  I sure do.

James:  [55:07] You got to hit her with the why.

[55:09] Laura:  Yeah.

Jim:  [55:10] Normally, James does this.

[55:13] Laura:  [laughs]

Jim:  [55:14] Why do you love what you do, Laura?

[55:16] Laura:  We’ve been talking about the people. I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many intelligent, encouraging leaders, and turned into mentors that have helped me in my career and also are friends. It’s the people.

[55:33] I never thought driving by a job site, I would be so excited and drive extra slow, and look and say, “I know what they’re doing.” I find it so gratifying. My daughter was in the car with me once, and she goes, “Mom, that’s an excavator.” I’m like, “You’re right, honey.”

James:  [55:51] That’s what my daughter says.

[55:53] Laura:  [laughs] I’m like, “That is such a win.”

James:  [55:55] She looks over my shoulder and sees me working, and she goes, “I know what that is.”

[56:00] Laura: I think that’s so cool. I never thought I’d be in this industry, but I would never choose another one. I love what I do.

Jim:  [56:09] What a great couple snippets there.

James:  [56:12] [inaudible] people, people, people.

Jim:  [56:15] Oh, yeah. That’s more.

James:  [56:18] Everybody we talked to it seemed like, that just rings true. Our industry are people that were working with, like never before we heard that so much time now. I think if we came out of this pandemic and realize that that’s pretty good by product.

Jim:  [56:36] You notice she mentioned intelligent people.

James:  [56:40] Yeah, she’s not here for the dumb ones. 

[56:42] [laughter]

Jim:  [56:45] It was fun. That was great. That was a fun episode. That was great. She let our light shine and then we saw her live. I’m going to say probably the pinnacle to date during the pandemic for you and I, as well as a lot of the industry was last October. You remember last October, James?

James:  [57:09] Jimmy, I’ll go out on a limb for myself personally, and say, it might have been a pinnacle a handful of days in my career to this point. It was really a high point that I can’t explain to a lot of people. 

[57:27] It has nothing to do with winning the award or having the notoriety. It was validation in what you’re doing. Not about the results and how many listeners and all the things, but how many people came up and shook our hands and said, so glad you’re doing what you’re doing.

Jim:  [57:48] Yep, and just to bring full circle here. We’re talking about the AGA live event in Orlando. Then the SGA live event in Charlotte, which happened within three weeks span. I mean, it was back to back.

James:  [58:03] It seemed like we were…we shipped our stuff from AGA last year. [laughs] That tell you something.

Jim:  [58:10] I mean, to make it there in time and the fun thing is that, a little bit of a for the folks who were there saw some of the reels that you’re going to see here in a second. James hit me up one day and he goes, I got this crazy idea for booth designed for AGA, which was in Orlando, just a couple hours away from. 

[58:28] It was pink and it looked like Miami Vice and James is like, “I might get fired over this,” but I’m like, “No, baby go for it. This looks great.” AGA for those that have been there, those have not, this is a huge conference.

[58:41] [crosstalk]

James:  [58:41] Yeah, it was a huge conference.

Jim:  [58:42] It was football fields, huge. It’s huge and we stood out. We had people by the booth all the time and that was a great part, just have them stop by and…

James:  [58:54] It really created a moment, and then within that we called it the meta schedule. We had a meta schedule within the schedule, that was us recording and going and capturing footage with the UPSCO guys we talked about earlier, “Connections For Life.”

[59:13] Recording live from a booth, going to other people’s booths and recording. There was so much going on in receptions and that it was the busiest I’ve ever been at a conference number one. The impact and the way it changed what a conference felt like to me now, what we can do and how we can bring more to a hall and value to a show and continue our conversation that we’ve been having.

[59:43] The show was a great draw. Even when we were bored or opposed as an exhibit hall, we use those moments to grab messages to share with people. It was a neat moment to see all collective what I talked about it on the Connection For Life show.

[1:00:05] That whole piece of work from delivering it back the next day to running the shows and packaging those after we got back to recording live. All of it was one of those moments where you execute, near perfect.

[1:00:26] Even when it wasn’t perfect, Jimmy. We were laying on the floor together at times putting stuff together and sweating.

Jim:  [1:00:35] You were. I wasn’t. I would always go away and come back and check on things.

James:  [1:00:43] It was a wild time and some of the longest days. Those days are long anyway.

Jim:  [1:00:48] They’re long. Do you remember? It was a mile walk from the hotel area to the convention and you never went outside. You were always on the rooftop.

[1:01:00] [crosstalk]

James:  [1:01:00] That gave palm. Those are long days, but man, I wouldn’t take any of it away. Then they turn around and do it again at SGA. Like we said won the award there which was never expected that in all my life.

Jim:  [1:01:16] [laughs] We thought of a good joke, didn’t we? To win the SGA Corporate Communications Award, going up against companies that are…

[1:01:27] [crosstalk]

James:  [1:01:27] Big dogs. They definitely have bigger wallets than we do and budgets I bet, than our show. [laughs]

Jim:  [1:01:35] 17, that’s our budget, James, just so you know.

James:  [1:01:39] We spent it all on that big “Coffee With Jim & James” behind you. [laughs]

Jim:  [1:01:44] That’s it.

James:  [1:01:44] No. Man, highlight of this year. We have mash‑up of both events and are going live experience. I want people to know this is something we put in our goals. This is something we put in our budgets and something we absolutely executed on from a Coffee With Jim & James standpoint too.

[1:02:09] We said we were going to do this and we went out and delivered. I was very proud of the products that we did. Jimmy, let’s look back on it.

[1:02:17] [music]

Jim:  [1:03:32] I loved it. Do I dance? Do I have…

James:  [1:03:35] The thing had a whole vibe. Didn’t it?

Jim:  [1:03:37] It really did.

James:  [1:03:38] [inaudible]. The production from the team back home putting all that together and the rapidness and the response. Man, I was just so…

Jim:  [1:03:45] You were fast and furious. Again, you reminded me, we were on “Pipeliners Podcast” there. Remember that?

James:  [1:03:52] Then Connections For Life.

Jim:  [1:03:54] Connections For Life, HydroMax. We did a live event from the HydroMax.

James:  [1:03:58] Then I bet we recorded, I don’t know in total, but let’s say 12 to 16 folks while we were there.

Jim:  [1:04:07] At least.

James:  [1:04:09] There was a lot. I felt like we put out content for two weeks. I felt like everybody hated us, but hopefully not. Sorry, not sorry. One of the people that we interviewed there, Jimmy, was somebody who we got to know. Became our traveling buddy for a couple of shows. [laughs]

Jim:  [1:04:28] Great friend.

James:  [1:04:29] Became really a great friend. We had him on the show beforehand and that time CEO of HydroMax USA, John Smith. We had him on the show at that time. Then we crossed paths at AGA and SGA.

[1:04:48] We had him on and we talked about a very important topic. He had seen our mental health series, and I was kicking that off which, again, very proud of that.

[1:05:02] He asked if he could come on and talk about mental health for our veterans and some of what they’re dealing with. At the time we just pulled out of Afghanistan. Not soon before that.

[1:05:19] We’re at the middle of the pandemic, we had kicked off the mental health series for that reason. Ourselves going through some of that too, Jimmy, not to that extreme, but everybody was in a season.

[1:05:34] John came to us and said, I got a really important message to share. I want to do it with you all.

Jim:  [1:05:42] He is a naval aviator, veteran, Topgun Miramar, meaning the whole bit. He is passionate about that. Some of the stats that he gave us and some of the concerns I can’t remember.

[1:05:57] I think it’s 21 of our veterans unfortunately commit suicide every day, 21 or 22 a day. That’s the ones that are known about because so many are homeless and they’re not recognized, and it was sombering that whole bit. Having John on was the way to go.

James:  [1:06:18] More validation that we had a bigger reach than we imagine. We were able to roll that out on Veterans Day, worked out for us. John was awesome to get that done in time and very powerful message.

[1:06:36] Like we said, became close friends with John and somebody you can text and say, hello and share a couple of stories. That’s been an awesome part of it too. Jimmy, let’s peek into the mental health series, that episode with John Smith. John, give us a little fly‑over metaphorically?

[1:06:59] John Smith: Metaphorically. [laughs] Thanks a lot. It’s great to be back, so glad to be here. It’s always great like you said to get asked back, especially on a topic like we’re going to talk about today.

[1:07:10] It’s near and dear to my heart. A little bit for those who don’t know me. Part of my background besides being privileged enough to lead HydroMax USA is that, I’m a retiree of the US Navy, 21 years.

[1:07:28] Very different scenario than business in a lot of ways. This topic we’re going to talk about, used to be that it was a very hidden subject. It was very hidden when I was in the military.

[1:07:42] It was hidden even in business when I joined business. You didn’t talk about these. You wouldn’t get on a podcast and talk about Jim what you were saying, “Hey, you know what, every day isn’t great.”

[1:07:55] It was really seen that you needed to be that person who was always optimistic, always upfront. Inside people are fighting hidden battles.

Jim:  [1:08:03] Who else should be involved with this? You mentioned a few people, but I think we’ve dived a little bit deeper into that because a lot of us may not realize that we could be a great help and influencer to the folks out there.

[1:08:16] John: You’re spot‑on with that. The other part of this is, not everyone’s going to come to you or me or James, but they’re going to come to maybe that friend they’ve got in the field or that person they’ve worked with for 10 years.

[1:08:32] Those people are the ones that I find come forward most times say, “Hey, so and so has approached me, I think they’re having a really tough time. What do I do? How do I handle this?”

[1:08:44] This is where the other form of leadership is being able to mentor and to help those people that people are talking to, to be able to watch for the right signs. Be able to talk to them and give them support when they’re ready for support and to show empathy.

James:  [1:09:06] That’s been something eye‑opening for me is that we’re smart people. In a society, there’s a lot [laughs] of great‑talented people and you can engineer the majority of things, but what we’re learning more and more is you can’t engineer this part.

[1:09:24] There’s nothing like what you said John being present, because it’s genuine. There’s not an ulterior motive. I’m not sitting there going, “OK, what are you going to do with this data when you get it?

[1:09:37] They’re setting me up to be fired.” When you can shift that culture a bit where people do feel safe to have that conversation knowing, it’s not something that is going to define me.

[1:09:49] We look at this call and all of us have dealt with some kind of mental health issue over the past two years or longer. There’s a CEO of EPC. You know what I mean?

[1:10:05] That isn’t saying that we’re not functioning and not doing the best that we can, but it does bring light to the fact that everybody is battling something.

Jim:  [1:10:15] Wow, James, I don’t have much words. Everyone is battling something though. It stays with me. It will and [inaudible] realize that, really is.

James:  [1:10:29] Is an important topic. John bringing that to us and allowing us to share that message for him. It validated that series, that mental health series and something that we’ll continue to put out there.

[1:10:50] There’s a need in our industries at a point where we’re listening and understanding how important it is to talk about this and I’m glad to be able to do it on the show. I wish we didn’t have to, but I’m glad to be able to have this platform to do it.

Jim:  [1:11:07] I would agree. Myself being now 10 years. This year will be 11 years sober for myself. The stats before the pandemic were one in 11 wrestled with some substance abuse issue.

[1:11:26] Next time you’re in a meeting and you’re in a meeting with 10 or 11 people, look around that meeting and know that statistically somebody in that meeting who does not even showing it, is wrestling with this. That’s the thing. That’s the key.

James:  [1:11:39] Absolutely. John Smith, good friend. Jimmy, we were blessed this year to get close to a lot of people. [laughs] Virtually or not, it didn’t matter. We did a hundred shows. I’d say we probably had 70, 75 guests, different unique folks. 

[1:12:04] Wow. To think about those folks, really those friends Jimmy, a lot of them at the beginning, I can’t imagine having to support our first couple of shows. Whoever, Jason Crow, [laughs] brother.

[1:12:19] I’ll tell you what, [laughs] just signing up for that gig, I’m telling you, we joke about it, but he signing about, “I’m in, let’s do it.” Some of those first people that had to watch it and go, “I guess, I like it.”

[1:12:35] [laughter]

Jim:  [1:12:35] The three people?

James:  [1:12:40] Yeah. The amount of friends that we called on during those times and then we’re so gracious again to share the experience with this on the show. Those that we met later in the year at live that we didn’t even know.

[1:12:57] [crosstalk]

James:  [1:13:01] I have [laughs] no clue what her name was, because it was so fast. Someone ran up while we were at AGA and slid in and took a picture with us.

Jim:  [1:13:11] At breakfast.

James:  [1:13:12] No, we were at the booth. She was like, “Can I get a picture?” Slid in there and took a picture. It was like, “OK.”

Jim:  [1:13:20] Then we started to be known as a coffee guys. “Hey, the coffee guys are over there.”

James:  [1:13:26] So many friends that we’ve made became a goal of ours too with the show is to connect with folks. It seems like with each episode we gained a friend or two along the way. Let’s look back. This has got to be one of my favorite parts.

Jim:  [1:13:46] Definitely.

James:  [1:13:46] We were right near that. I said, “If I could get all the smiles.” Somebody I think it was Kaylee, had to sit through all the episodes and pull smiles. I pray she did it justice. Jimmy, let’s look back and crack a smile with some of our friends.

Jim:  [1:14:03] Let’s do it, brother. Let’s do it.

[1:14:04] [music]

James:  [1:14:04] Good. I told you it would be money.

Jim:  [1:14:37] I love it.

James:  [1:14:37] I could watch that all day, the smiles and the laughs. There are so many in there. Those are here and there. Looking for these highlights Jimmy going through, we had some laughs, not just these because they were a lot. This show could have been two‑hours long, it might be two‑hours long.

Jim:  [1:14:59] It might be.

James:  [1:15:01] Going back and look at some of that and laugh and together you and I picking these out. That was worth it for me whether we recorded or not. Reliving some of that laughing at our haircuts and facial hair. Laughing at the 20 pounds plus or minus that would go off and on throughout the pandemic. It’s less.

Jim:  [1:15:29] It’s worst. You know what, let’s do what I did not do in the first episode. Let’s make this out real quick. Let’s thank everybody. Let’s put a bow on this one. This one is done and in the books. James [inaudible] to you to be with you for our 200th episode, if we’re so blessed to do so.

James:  [1:15:49] Another hundred.

Jim:  [1:15:51] Let’s do it, baby. Let’s do it. Thank you everybody for joining.

James:  [1:15:55] Jimmy, it’s been a blast, brother.

Jim:  [1:15:58] Always.

James:  [1:15:59] I don’t want to start crying right now or anything.

Jim:  [1:16:01] I’m not crying. My eyes are sweating. All right.

James:  [1:16:06] Audience, we appreciate you. It’s been a blast, hundred.

Jim:  [1:16:11] Beautiful. Thanks for tuning in. Thanks for watching. With that James, you know what? I’m going to dance out of this one.

[1:16:17] [background music]

Jim:  [1:16:18] Wait a minute.

James:  [1:16:20] This is where [inaudible].

Jim:  [1:16:24] This is where I embarrass myself.

James:  [1:16:25] Do whatever you want.

Jim:  [1:16:27] See you all, stay safe.

James:  [1:16:28] [inaudible].

Jim:  [1:16:28] No, don’t do that to me. [laughs] See you all.

[1:16:35] [music] 

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