Effective System Administrator Training
Effective System Administrator Training
July 12, 2022
CWJJ Episode 121: SGA Natural Gas Connect Live: Part 2
July 19, 2022

CWJJ Episode 123: Nick Pero

CWJJ Episode 123: Nick Pero

Thursday, July 14th- Nick Pero joined us live at the SGA Natural Gas Connect Conference last month. Check out our coffee break and Believe. Act. Impact.

Quick Links:

Nick Pero on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] [music]

Jim Schauer:  [0:24] Good morning, everyone.

James Cross:  [0:26] Is it morning still?

Jim:  [0:27] It is morning…

James:  [0:28] Call it morning. Cheers, guys.

Jim:  [0:30] with a cup of coffee.

Nick Pero:  [0:32] Absolutely.

James:  [0:32] Cold, clear coffee.

Jim:  [0:34] Welcome to this episode of “Coffee with Jim & James” in a very special venue, coming to you from SGA, Natural Gas Connect. This is exciting. I love doing this.

James:  [0:46] I don’t want to freak anybody out.

Jim:  [0:47] Freak them out.

James:  [0:48] There’s really more people here, but we’re taking some quiet time that we had while we were posed in the hall to do a little bit of recording. It’s a goal that we had with the show, was we’re going to go out. We’re going to record the little mini things and bring the show back, but also we want to record live with people because we miss them.

Jim:  [1:08] I’m telling you, there’s nothing better than being next to each other and having a conversation. I love Zoom. It saved us for two years. I have loved it. I embrace…

James:  [1:16] I can’t do very well on that little box.

Jim:  [1:18] Well, it was better than nothing.

James:  [1:20] It hurts my heart.

Jim:  [1:22] It was good, but being live like this, where I can go like this…

James:  [1:26] Yeah, he does that a lot.

Jim:  [1:28] I do.

Jim:  [1:29] I talk with my hands.

James:  [1:30] Jimmy, we’re here with Nick Pero from Artera. Let’s clear…

Jim:  [1:34] Let’s clear the air.

James:  [1:35] This is how we’re going to start because there’s a little confusion earlier. I think we surprised everybody.

Jim:  [1:42] We got to know Nick at AGA Orlando.

James:  [1:45] Correct.

Jim:  [1:46] At a Versiv unveiling party. Correct?

James:  [1:50] That’s correct.

James:  [1:52] That was you, right?

Jim:  [1:53] He had a Versiv shirt on.

James:  [1:56] He did have a Versiv shirt on, so we’re not crazy.

Jim:  [1:59] We thought that Nick was part of Versiv, part of the Artera family, but he is actually an Artera specialist that supports all the companies from Minnesota Limited to Otis to Versiv to Miller Pipeline. The list goes on and on. We apologize, Nick.

James:  [2:17] We formally reintroduced you if we’ve ever screwed that up before.

Nick:  [2:21] I could start by saying I’ve definitely been called worse.

James:  [2:23] Amen.

James:  [2:23] Same.

Jim:  [2:24] So am I.

James:  [2:25] Nick, introduce yourself, let everybody know what’s going on over there with Artera.

Nick:  [2:32] Nick Pero with Artera Services, innovation and sustainability leader ‑‑ I can talk. My role is to support all of our operating companies and try to drive the effort of sustainability and innovation through our business, through the entire business. I can totally understand the Versiv confusion because Versiv was…

James:  [2:54] In a Versiv shirt.

Nick:  [2:55] In a Versiv shirt, yeah.

James:  [2:55] It’s like me wearing a Tracer shirt.

Jim:  [2:59] Again, that’s OK. When you had that many moving pieces and as fast as Artera is moving and everything that’s happened over the last six months, I think it’s OK.

James:  [3:10] I feel like Nick flew over his title though because that sounds really big, right?

Jim:  [3:16] Yeah.

James:  [3:16] What is a day in the life of Nick look like? If you can disclose…

Nick:  [3:22] I might have stumbled through it more than flew over, but… [laughs]

James:  [3:24] No worry.

Nick:  [3:25] Day‑to‑day activity in the past probably six months has been heavily focused on our inaugural sustainability report, which might dive in here a little bit but…

James:  [3:38] Do it. Lean in.

Jim:  [3:40] Do it. You have the floor.

Nick:  [3:43] Absolutely.

James:  [3:43] Some of that

Nick:  [3:44] There’s the chair. [laughs] The past six months has been almost solely focused on final touches of the report and I rolled the sustainability report out which we’re super, super proud of. I’d focus on being an industry leader and focusing on our people and the environment and the good things we’re doing around our communities.

[4:10] That’s been the past six months. Going forward, I’ll be really focused on implementing. Continue to implement, and develop our ESG strategy. That covers all of our operating companies in our 41 states, 10,000 employees support that effort. Really drive home the…

James:  [4:30] I saw it posted on, again, the report.

Nick:  [4:32] Go ahead.

Jim:  [4:33] It’s OK.

Nick:  [4:34] No, that.

James:  [4:34] I saw the report on LinkedIn. I’ve got it marked to go back and dive into it because I want…

Nick:  [4:40] You haven’t read it yet?

James:  [4:41] I know. I’ve been a little busy, but I do have a mark because I want to go back and dive in. Then I want, honestly, I’d love for you all to come on and unpack it even more maybe down the road.

[4:57] Personally, I’m going to be asking some questions, so get ready for it because I don’t know everything. I may fill your inbox.

Nick:  [5:04] [inaudible] .

James:  [5:04] No. I really will ask all those questions.

Jim:  [5:07] You like to learn James. You do. You like to learn.

James:  [5:09] I enjoy it. I’m fascinated by the…It’s amazing when you put that much deliberate art into initiatives, the impact that we can make, right?

Jim:  [5:24] Yap.

James:  [5:25] Whether it’s stuff we’re doing already or not, just formalizing and putting it together and then having the data in front of us to make smart decisions, right?

Jim:  [5:33] Yeah. Absolutely.

James:  [5:34] Amazing. Nick, you hinted at the report, and I know you all have a big campaign coming. It’s here. It’s not coming. That’s part of it.

Nick:  [5:45] It’s launched.

James:  [5:46] Before we get into it, Laura asked me, “Hey, what if we throw a video in there to help people see it?” I think that’s a great idea. Don’t you?

Nick:  [5:54] I think it’ll be wonderful.

James:  [5:56] We’re going to dive right into that. Let’s check out this video.

[5:59] [pre‑recorded video begins]

[5:59] [background music]

Female Participant:  [6:02] We believe in our people in the essential work we do. We act to making a difference in our company, to do better and be better. We make an impact in our communities and for our customers to reach their ESG initiatives.

Male Participant:  [6:15] Believe, act, impact.

Male Participant:  [6:17] Believe, act, impact.

Male Participant:  [6:18] Believe, act, impact.

Male Participant:  [6:19] Believe, act, impact.

Female Participant:  [6:22] Believe, act, impact.

Male Participant:  [6:28] Believe, act, impact.

Female Participant:  [6:30] Believe, act, impact.

Female Participant:  [6:39] Believe, act, impact.

Female Participant:  [6:40] Believe, act, impact.

Female Participant:  [6:42] is our sustainability mission.

[6:44] [pre‑recorded video ends]

Jim:  [6:52] I love that video “Believe, Act, Impact.” Did I see my friend Kevin Millar holding the sign there? Did I see Kevin?

James:  [7:01] Makes us. I heard a little bit about it when we have pre‑planning for the show, but I wanted you to talk about the bigger message in all that, and of course the campaign as a whole. I love seeing, I think you called them ambassadors, right?

Nick:  [7:15] Yeah.

James:  [7:17] I want to hear more about that. That was my favorite part seeing the real folks out there doing…

Nick:  [7:22] Absolutely. I think James you’ll like this. We created this team of ESG ambassadors. We have a task force, I guess I should start at the top where we have a task force, which involves our ESG ambassadors, which is representative from each of our operating companies to come in and lead the strategy and really ultimately impact our culture.

James:  [7:44] I love it. I’m in.

Nick:  [7:46] We’re not going to change or turn a ship so to speak without impacting our culture. They’re half, “Hey, give me some numbers, get me some stats.” Probably more so important on driving the culture of the company to really buy in and understand what we’re doing.

James:  [8:04] It’s huge.

Jim:  [8:04] You’re speaking your love language.

James:  [8:06] No. For sure. It’s about having those foundational things that you can drive home. Those fundamentals that you know are non‑negotiable with us as Artera. This is how we’re going to act, this is how we’re going to do business. I love it.

Jim:  [8:21] I agree with that. Once again, it reminds me that it’s not a destination but a journey. That this thing has a long life to it, and it’s going to be fun to watch an ebb and flow and evolve, and all that. Wonderful.

Nick:  [8:37] Journey is the right word for it. Key though is this isn’t the beginning of our journey, this is the beginning of us talking about it. I think that’s industry‑wide and we do an OK job of talking about the journey and the good stuff we’re doing.

[8:56] Now, I’d say ESG is a scary term, scary thing for a lot of people, but at the end of the day…

Jim:  [9:04] Why do you think it’s scary?

Nick:  [9:06] Change. It’s change. People don’t like change. You the guys talk about this at the…

Nick:  [9:11] intercom. We’re hardwired to hate change. We would literally take a known bad outcome over an unknown potential good outcome.

Jim:  [9:25] Humans, because somebody will say, we’ve always done it that way.

Nick:  [9:29] That’s the one term I do not like. [laughs]

Jim:  [9:31] I’ve got it.

Nick:  [9:34] This I believe act impact mission or sustainability mission here is the story of our journey, but it’s not the beginning of it. I think that could be industry‑wide, companywide that folks start to do sustainability reporting.

[9:51] They haven’t started. This isn’t a start for them, it’s just the beginning to talk about it.

Jim:  [9:56] Can I cast a question real quick? I normally interrupt, pardon a lot. The vision of this, the way that you’re talking to me, it sounds like this is absolutely all‑encompassing and threading through all of Artera and all the companies.

[10:09] I got a hint though that you would see and envision this bleeding out into the industry and impacting and grabbing more and more people positively thought, leadership impacting them through your journey. Am I picking that up right?

Nick:  [10:22] It’s spot on. Absolutely. We’re striving. As every company, I guess could say they’re striving to be an industry leader. We want to make an impact, and if that means we put our dirty laundry out a little bit.

James:  [10:35] That’s one of my favorite moments. I’m telling you why. You can’t walk around and tell everybody to be vulnerable and that lessons learned and be better and all those things if the company is not OK with saying the same thing as a company, right?

Nick:  [10:51] Absolutely.

James:  [10:52] It’s not about pointing a finger, it’s about…

Jim:  [10:55] Being honest.

James:  [10:55] and growing.

Nick:  [10:58] When you think about it, at the end of the day, whether you’re targeting customers, employees, future current investors, they need to know this stuff or they’re going to want to know and start to demand it.

James:  [11:11] It’s instant.

Nick:  [11:11] Again, it’s not an embarrassing thing, it’s “Hey, this is where we’re at right now in our journey, and here’s a strategy laid out in place to how we’re going to do better, continue to get better.”

James:  [11:24] You said something in the pre‑show, Nick, about when it comes to ESG that you all were heavy on the environmental and the social. I think that’s a great way to phrase it and I wanted to unpack that a little bit more with you on what that means in the scheme of this campaign.

Nick:  [11:44] I’ll start with environmental because that seems to be probably the more well‑known area. In the beginning of the report, we talk about all our core services, distribution, gas distribution, transmission, municipal services.

[11:59] We really started talking about it through the lens of actual impact we’re starting to make with it, not just they were really good at maintenance, repair, modernization of pipeline.

[12:09] That’s cool, but what we’re doing, every pipeline we replace versus starting new companies focused on reducing methane emissions. Or it’s trying to change that…

James:  [12:22] That’s who you work for, right? No, I’m just kidding. I’m kidding.

Nick:  [12:25] [laughs] I like to think I’m a versatile person, but I do not like…

James:  [12:30] You shouldn’t go there. I think that’s a bad joke.

James:  [12:32] Nick loves a good bad joke. We spent a lot of time around with it.

Jim:  [12:37] How long did you work on that? Come on.

James:  [12:39] I think you just came up with that.

Nick:  [12:40] It was so bad, I can’t say that I worked on…

James:  [12:43] Sorry, I threw you off track.

Nick:  [12:44] [laughs] Again, just really trying to focus on the positive environmental impacts our work does, and how that translates into positive work for our customers. We understand environmentally our mission profile’s not going to be huge just by the nature of what we do. Where our real impact’s going to come is with our customers and our communities. It’s environmentally.

Nick:  [13:13] Yeah, it ties right back into the social piece of it and the culture. We can’t make any impact without our people. People are most important, special in the front lines that are out interacting with our communities, day in and day out.

[13:26] I would love to say I’m out there every day, getting to talk with our customers and interacting, but I’m not the one out there. Our men and women are out there doing the hard work, the real core of our business. They’re the ones making the impact.

[13:43] What we’re trying to do is do a little internal campaign to start educating and give them ESG toolkit so that anybody from Brian Palmer, our CEO, down to day‑one employee has consistent messaging across the board, and really can translate and talk about the social impact we’re making to these communities.

James:  [14:10] I love it. Man, I was sitting here thinking, “How do we become ambassadors?” Can we become? Have you thought about that? See, we need the external ambassadors. Am I stealing some thunder? Really, I would love to be able to spread the message as well.

[14:26] We’re great partners in this industry all over the place, whether it’s committees we sit on or shows like this where we’re side by side, but think about that. You don’t have to answer if you’ll get in trouble.

Nick:  [14:38] I’m not going to necessarily directly answer it, but that morning session yesterday was exactly what you’re talking about and I think is exactly what we need as an industry. We all need to be ambassadors.

Jim:  [14:49] We do. Absolutely. We really do.

James:  [14:54] Have you been through that program?

Nick:  [14:55] Have I? No, I have not. I have not.

James:  [14:59] I wrote an awesome elevator pitch. I’m going to find it.

Nick:  [15:02] Did you?

James:  [15:02] I am. I’m going to send it to you all, so you can read it because I’m a marketer and I like to write.

Nick:  [15:07] He is a guru. He loves to write.

James:  [15:09] I actually story branded it. I went through the process and story branded it real fast while everybody was writing, and then I wrote a perfect sentence. They mainly get on and read it, and then they put it in the magazine and stuff in there.

James:  [15:26] I’ll show you all. I’m not kidding. I’ll send it.

Nick:  [15:28] The royalty check is still rolling it?

James:  [15:30] Yeah.

Nick:  [15:30] Well, I am a Natural Gas ambassador by blood. It is in my bones from years ago.

James:  [15:37] No doubt about it. I love that program, by the way. We’re here at SGA, so it makes sense.

Nick:  [15:42] It does.

James:  [15:42] We’ll promote it. I love it. Nick, man, that’s it. We did it. Just that fast. It ran away from us.

Nick:  [15:49] That’s it. Easy as pie. Listen…

James:  [15:51] Unless you…No. You know what, he does.

Nick:  [15:53] Oh, wait.

James:  [15:54] We almost got in trouble. We’re out of practice. When we’re live, you know, no more.

Jim:  [15:59] You want me to ask or do you want to ask it?

James:  [16:02] No, go for it. I’ll do it, I’ll do it.

Jim:  [16:02] Go ahead.

James:  [16:03] So, we let everybody have the floor and this is no different live than not. State, what’s your purpose? What do you want to leave people with? So today, what does Nick Pero want to leave our audience with?

Nick:  [16:16] I’ll leave the audience with don’t be scared to make a difference. Don’t be scared to make an impact, and don’t minimize the impact you can make. I started Artera in July to keep the ESG momentum going, and you’re thinking about it, “I’m one person, what am I really going to do?”

[16:37] I am one person. We had a team, though, and just because you’re a single person doesn’t mean you can’t get that good team around you.

Jim:  [16:44] You can make a difference. You touch one person’s life in a positive way, it makes a difference that they pass on.

Nick:  [16:48] Absolutely.

James:  [16:49] Look where you have influence. Start there.

Nick:  [16:52] So again though, check out the sustainability report on Artera…Thanks, James.

James:  [16:57] I don’t know if this will pick up, but if not we’ll make a graphic for it I’m sure.

[17:03] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [17:04] Yeah, call to action. Where should they go?

Nick:  [17:08] Artera sustainability page. So we have an interactive version and a PDF to download, print out if you want to do so as well.

James:  [17:17] We’ll link it up here as well. Make it easy. Nick, it’s been great, man. Looking sharp, you’re always looking sharp. His hair is on point. Always on point.

Jim:  [17:26] Like GQ, I’m telling you right now.

Nick:  [17:28] James, I’ve never seen your hair messed up.

James:  [17:30] I don’t. It doesn’t matter.

[17:32] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [17:32] Never mind. We’ll leave that one alone.

James:  [17:34] were friends.

[17:35] [laughter]

Jim:  [17:36] Thank you for joining us this week on Coffee with Jim & James. Until next week, as we always say, stay safe. Take care.

James:  [17:41] Bye‑bye.

Transcription by WatchingWords

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