Thursday, July 2- Roger Cox with ACTS Now joins Jim & James on this week’s episode
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Jim Schauer: [0:37] Good morning, everyone. Welcome to another exciting episode of Coffee with Jim & James.
[0:43] I have to say that I am feeling much safer today very safe. And I think a main reason is because we are sharing the screen with this industry icon. Mr. Roger Cox who we will introduce in a second.
[0:55] But before I do as always my partner the James out of the Jim and James. Mr. James Cross James, are you feeling safer today?
James Cross: [1:05] Absolutely, yeah, if it was possible to feel safer than we always are it’s due to Mr. Roger Cox. Roger. Good morning. Thanks for joining us. How are you?
Roger Cox: [1:16] I am thrilled to be with you guys. [laughs] Maybe I’m the only one that don’t feel safe. So I don’t know what that means.
James: [1:24] I think we all know what that means.
Jim: [1:28] Roger we’ve known each other for years my friend and we go way back and you probably know more people than I know in the industry, which is saying a lot.
[1:39] But for those people that maybe don’t know all of everything. Can you give us a little insight into your world and the organization that you run, please?
Roger: [1:48] Well, yeah, thanks. Yeah, we have known one another for a long time and it’s been a joy on my side. I’ll tell you it’s awesome.
[1:57] We started this company kind of almost by accident back in 2007 had a in Mississippi Sam Johnson, y’all both know Sam. They were trying to get some legislation passed and he asked would I help him try to figure out the best way to do that.
[2:18] So really the aligning change to succeed which is what ACTS stands for was formed to help Mississippi get legislative effective enforcement passed. It was a five‑year plan the “811 Magazine” was born out of that. It was a way for him to get a consistent message across the state.
[2:41] Other states saw it, liked the model contacted us, wanted to know would we do that for them? And so we’ve grown the 811 Magazine into what it is today?
[2:51] And then the Damage Prevention Summit was the second tool we provided Sam Johnson in Mississippi. And we began having an annual event in Mississippi. We had other folks come to Mississippi to see that. They wanted us to do the same thing for them.
[3:11] So as you guys know we’ve moved that pretty well across the South and and it’s it’s still growing. So we’re excited for the opportunity. It’s about damage prevention, but it’s really about people.
[3:27] And and our passion is taking care of people and that means helping them be safe and trying to introduce them to people they don’t know. That’s that’s my favorite thing in the world to do is introduce you to somebody you don’t know and have you guys have a meaningful conversation.
Jim: [3:48] Well Roger, let me let me jump in because you mentioned relationships. And again, I we know it. Can you expound a little bit on that?
[3:57] How important do you think it is to our industry the relationships that we all have and how we interconnect and how we share messages? How do you think that impacts our safety culture as an industry?
Roger: [4:11] Well, I think I think it’s everything. I think the culture that we’re trying to achieve is not possible to achieve without relationships.
[4:21] You can serve on committees and you can you know, you can have all the roundtable discussions in the world you want, but if you don’t trust the people you’re sitting with you’re likely not going to be motivated to work with those people outside the cameras. And we have to build relationships.
[4:40] Now both of you guys know that the book that I rely on more than any other book in the world about relationships is the Bible. If that offends anybody. I apologize.
[4:50] But I don’t believe we can go to heaven by ourselves. I know we won’t go to hell by ourselves, and I’m convinced we can’t be successful in life without one another.
James: [5:00] Amen to that. Roger so so saying people is the important part. I know when we talked before, you know, Jim and I know you really well, but some people you know, there may be two or three people left on this Earth and within our industry that don’t know you as well as we do.
Jim: [5:19] Maybe two, two.
James: [5:20] What what about Roger? Tell us a little bit about you and and you know, what what are you blessed with? And a little more personal about you. We understand the companies and we understand the initiatives. But what is it about Roger that makes people want to connect?
Roger: [5:40] Well, I don’t know if it’s about me as much as it is about what I try to represent. I try to create an environment that people are comfortable with. I’ve been married for 52 years.
Jim: [5:50] Wow.
James: [5:51] Wow.
Roger: [5:52] I’ve got a lot of grandchildren and I’ve got almost eight, seven and one on the way, great grandchildren that I’m thrilled to be with on the weekends mostly.
[6:06] But really I’m blessed with a super great team to work with, the ACTS team, y’all have met Miss Kerry Brown.
James: [6:13] Kerry’s awesome.
Roger: [6:14] And we have we have a team of folks here who are working. You don’t know they’re just as great as she is, so we all work together.
[6:24] We don’t we don’t feel like that. I’ve done my job and I’m going home. We feel like hey before I go home. Is there something else you need us to do? That’s just kind of way. We are we’re a family.
[6:35] And then beyond that guys, I mean you’re all my extended family anywhere I go if I see one of you guys or see some of the great friends that I’ve made over the years, I just feel lucky and blessed.
[6:49] I was raised an orphan. I grew up with a chip on my shoulder somewhere along the way I found out that wasn’t getting me where I wanted to get and so I began to try to make a change in the way. I think not the way I acted.
[7:04] I knew that if I change the way I thought the actions would follow so I began to think about how blessed I was and the next thing. I knew I was blessed.
James: : [7:13] Amen.
Roger: [7:14] Ain’t that great how that works?
Jim: [7:16] Yeah.
James: [7:16] That’s an awesome story.
Roger: [7:17] laughs]
James: [7:18] Roger going back to the Damage Prevention Summits. We we’ve we’ve been blessed to be a part of those for. Quite some time in different capacities and different places. We try to support them in all the states.
[7:36] We always say, you know, our vision at EWN is to make the world a safer place to work and for us that begins with damage prevention.
[7:46] And so as we began, you know, or as we take part in these events and learn really what that culture is like and that safety culture is like and that it’s more more than just the event it’s more than just, you know, people are going to attribute. Oh, what’s the event? They’re going to tell you to call 811.
[8:05] You know, absolutely right. That’s a no‑brainer but there’s so much more to all that. Do you want to kind of expand on that a little bit for those that maybe haven’t taken part in those damage prevention events?
Roger: [8:20] Sure, you know each state’s a little bit different. Although the model is the same and what makes it different is what the one‑call system are the Regional Common Ground Alliance group that we’re putting this on for what they’re trying to accomplish.
[8:36] So what I do when I go to a state is I try to talk to those folks who have have reason to have an event like this.
[8:49] The thing that’s exactly the same every time is that we like meeting new people. We like seeing our old friends. And as I said earlier, it’s about networking and it’s about building meaningful relationships.
[9:04] So as people get in the exhibit hall and I’m in there. I’m usually looking around the room to see who looks like. They’re lost or looks like they hadn’t made any friends yet.
James: [9:21] That’s we that’s why we bonded.
Jim: [9:23] They hadn’t met me yet, you know, they hadn’t met me yet.
James: [9:29] That’s also how I met Jim.
Roger: [9:32] laughs] That’s right.
Jim: [9:33] It is. That is.
James: [9:35] He said boy are you lost? [laughs]
Roger: [9:38] Yeah, so it’s just a joy to be able to introduce those folks and people like y’all ’cause y’all are heroes to people that don’t know you.
[9:50] And so I got and now I’m going, hey, have you met James? Have you met Jim or have you met, you know, this person? You need to meet him. Come on, let me introduce you. And it just thrills them to death.
[9:49] So, I believe we just need to treat people like they’re important because they are. People do that. We’ll be successful.
Jim: [9:57] Absolutely Roger. Let me you know me at conferences, you know, whenever I’m at one of the summits you know, how I am. I’m like all over the place.
Roger: [10:08] laughs]
James: [10:08] Now COVID has put a little bit of a damper on some of the Damage Prevention Summits. I think we were talking the last one that you and I were together was in Tennessee. That was like two days before the United States had shut down so to speak.
Roger: : [10:21] Yeah.
Jim: [10:23] How has this summer spring and summer been for you so far and then what do we have coming up in the fall and winter that you know God willing we’re going to be back to whatever our new normal is. Give us your thoughts on and share some what’s coming up for the fall with us if you would.
Roger: : [10:42] Sure. Well as you as you know from all the other events that we might see one another at other than the summits they’ve mostly been canceled including the Arkansas summit was rescheduled this year. Typically it would be in April.
[11:00] And because it was at the very height of all the concerns everybody had, you know, everything just shut down.
Jim: [11:07] Yep.
Roger: [11:08] So it’s been it’s been a very interesting experience if I can pull myself out of the frustration it’s been very interesting just to just to look at the dynamics and to see the uncertainty that there is.
[11:24] I think for the most part people I talk to whether it be a church or at work. I think we’ve gone through a couple of cycles where people were just really afraid and then they’re they’re tired of being afraid and so they started getting out more.
[11:40] And then when testing really began to get rampart again and the numbers got higher now. I’m seeing people get afraid all over again. And and and I don’t blame him for being concerned. There are some things we look at that in my mind that ought to drive us to move forward.
[12:00] But I will tell you that looking forward in the fall. We do have some summits that are scheduled and right now we intend to have them Alabama. For example, September the 22nd through the 24th of this year will be our first summit following everything shutting down.
[12:18] And then as I mentioned Arkansas got rescheduled from April to October the 12th through the 14th, right on the heels of Arkansas is New Mexico and New Mexico is October the 20th through the 22nd.
[12:32] And then of course Mississippi, which was our very first summit ever way back in 2008 is scheduled for November the 4th through the 6th.
[12:42] Now what we intend to do at all these events and we’re our team is still talking about how best to handle that. So we’ve lined up with the hotels and the convention centers that we’re talking to to find out what they’re doing to ensure maximum sanitation and safety for the attendees.
[13:04] We’re looking at spreading out the rooms so that we would minimize how many people get in a room those kinds of things whether we have shields at the registration table we’re going to be giving out masks, of course. We expect the hotels and convention centers to to work with us to provide as safe an environment.
[13:28] The good news, these convention centers and hotels, nobody wants to be safer and more secure than they do.
James: [13:36] No doubt.
Roger: [13:36] So we really feel good about the environment. We’re just going to instead of me coming up and hugging your neck I may not do that. What I might do is elbow bump you or high‑five you from a distance.
James: [13:52] I heard this is the new handshake, Roger.
Roger: [13:55] Is that it? OK.
James: [13:57] Until we get there, you got a place in my heart.
Roger: [13:58] All right.
Jim: [13:59] Yeah, yeah.
Roger: [14:00] I like it.
James: [14:01] It’s better than nothing, I think.
Roger: [14:04] I think so. And personally. I like it better when we get back. We can you know hug one another like we like one another cause we do.
James: [14:11] Amen.
Roger: [14:11] But at the same time. We don’t want to set a bad example for other folks and you know, I think I think it’s critical that we set the right kind of example.
James: [14:20] Yeah, I agree with that.
Jim: [14:22] I agree. Absolutely.
James: [14:24] We can’t go out there in a safety‑first environment like we are talking about things like damage prevention and then be reckless in the process.
[14:33] So I like what you’re saying, you know, there’s the logistics that every company I think right now is, you know hashing their way through trying to figure out what that looks like to come back come back, come back stronger, you know, what is it look long term?
[14:49] So there’s a lot of logistics and I appreciate you guys really focusing in on that.
[14:55] Roger, one thing that one of the first conversations I had and I have this blessing to remember a lot of this interaction. So I don’t don’t apologize if you don’t.
[15:08] But one of the first things I remember talking you about when we kind of prepped for this call you brought it up, too, is, you know, the same focus that you’re putting towards these logistics for these events. There’s a there’s kind of a I’ll call it kind of a back‑end approach also that you guys use for these events.
[15:28] And we talked about relationships and that’s a big part of it. But one of the things that ring true for me, which I’m a big proponent of as well is the amount of trust and integrity.
[15:40] Like these words that just poured out of you that you know getting the right people in the rooms and is is all about having people with their hearts in the right place and having that trust and integrity.
[15:52] And that really struck a chord with me because that’s that’s a personal commitment that I have not just to the industry, but the way I live life the way I raised my children.
Jim: [16:02] Yep.
James: [16:03] And hopefully something that people will remember is I have those interactions as well. So you want to speak on that a little bit and how important that is for damage prevention as a whole and and for our industry as a whole.
Roger: [16:19] Well, I think it thank you, by the way. I think it speaks to the future of our nation.
[16:28] You know the kind of the kind of people and the and the kind of mindsets that we have in my estimation lends itself to success in any endeavor, whether it’s national or state or an industry perspective the church. It doesn’t matter. If you got people together and you don’t trust one another you’re not likely to work well together.
[16:57] And I think at the end of the day every organization in the world is driven by compliance of something to something.
Jim: [17:10] Sure.
Roger: [17:10] And I guess that’s OK. But you know, if it’s something we have to do because we have to do it. We’re likely not going to be as committed to doing more than we have to do.
[17:23] And what I like to do is I like to align myself with people and there are a lot of great people out there, by the way. I know right now I’m hearing people say there’s just not many good people left.
[17:34] I don’t believe that I believe there’s a whole world full of good people. Just waiting to bust out. They need somebody to help them bust out and give an opportunity to bust out.
[17:44] But I learned a long time ago from an old fella that’s been dead for many many years and he’s told me don’t get caught up in what you know. Because everybody knows something.
[17:59] And he said what you will learn is is that long after people forget what you told them. They’ll never forget how you made them feel when you told them.
Jim: [18:08] Good point. Good point.
Roger: [18:09] So I think it’s critical that when people see us there is they have this good feeling they just they don’t know where it come from. I said, oh there’s Jim or there’s James man. I really like that guy and they can’t tell you why but they really like you.
[18:26] And the reason they like you is because of how you treated them. You treated them with respect you they’ve told you something and said, hey don’t tell anybody and you didn’t so they’ve learned to trust you and that’s critical.
[18:41] Without that component guys. None of us can be very successful. That’s how that’s how we try to run our magazine. That’s how we try to run our our summits. We want you to have a good time. We want you to learn something but more importantly we want you to know that we treated you like you were somebody.
Jim: [19:00] Wow, Roger. I got to say [laughs] I touched my heart as you were saying that and James are you crying a little bit? [laughs]
James: [19:09] A little bit.
Jim: [19:10] That’s OK.
James: [19:10] A good cry. It’s just a quarantine cry, it happens. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions these days.
Roger: [19:16] Yeah, it’s…
James: [19:20] And that’s powerful, Roger, for sure.
Roger: [19:21] Thank you.
James: [19:22] And normally we finish with final thoughts but that was…
Jim: [19:26] And yeah, Roger. Do you have any final why don’t you give us your websites? Because I do know that you’re going through some website migration.
[19:33] List those off or if you could say those so our audience and then went I’ll remind them about the LinkedIn so they could probably connect the dots to the LinkedIn. So…
Roger: [19:42] Yeah, sure. Well years ago when we started ACTS and we had a website called www.aligningchange.com. And we found out that when we invoice folks for a summit or for an 811 Magazine, they never heard of ACTS.
James: [19:59] laughs]
Roger: [20:00] And so they’d reject the invoice or the credit card charge, you know, so we had to go back and go through and you know, they’re always glad to pay but they just didn’t know who ACTS was.
[20:08] So we developed two other websites one’s called www.811magazines.com.
Jim: [20:15] OK.
Roger: [20:16] And developed one that said www.damagepreventionsummit.com. And they’d become the parent websites and that’s what people really knew us as.
[20:26] Well two years ago. We came up with a new logo and it incorporated the 811 Magazine, the summit, and the ACTS logos all into one logo.
[20:42] And because we develop a lot of training as well, you probably don’t know that because we don’t tell anybody we don’t want to we don’t want to turn the world upside down with training.
[20:51] So what we’re doing now is we’re rebranding our whole company. We’re bringing everything back into one website and the and we’re shooting for July the 6th as a turn‑on day for the new aligningchange.com website.
Jim: [21:09] All right.
James: [21:10] Very cool.
Jim: [21:10] Wait. So is this the platform that we’re announcing this to the world James?
James: [21:14] Is it public?
Roger: [21:15] Yes.
James: [21:15] You know, Jim announced his engagement on here a few weeks…
Roger: [21:21] Really?
James: [21:22] Not to you know overshadow anything but Roger’s is a pretty big deal, too, and so.
Jim: [21:28] Absolutely.
James: : [21:28] You heard it here first.
James: [21:31] Well, that’s awesome.
Jim: [21:33] That’s that’s fantastic Roger. I can’t we can’t. Thank you enough for your time. You know being friends, it’s great to see your face. We can’t wait to get to the summits this fall God willing they’re everything’s smoothed out by then and we’re going at it.
[21:50] I want all of our audience. If you’re interested in it. Please connect with both James and myself as well as Roger on LinkedIn. When you connect with Roger you can see all of his accolades and I would imagine too the links to the website are probably in the LinkedIn. If not, you can find them easy.
Roger: [22:09] Right.
Jim: [22:10] You know, but please do we and we hope to see you at one of these summits in the fall time. I believe quite honestly James and I are planning on both attending as many as we can.
[22:20] They’re great events. They’re they’re very fulfilling in so many aspects learning education networking relationships. All of its safety.
James: [22:30] Yeah, we’re hoping we can speak again for you Roger. So keep us in mind.
Roger: [22:35] I’m counting on that. I’m counting on that.
Jim: [22:37] Yep. Well, you know, James and I kind of like to speak now and then, so…
Roger: [22:41] laughs]
Jim: [22:43] 45 minutes might not be enough for…
James: : [22:45] That’s really what this is, Roger. That’s why we started this show is because we didn’t have anybody to talk to and it’s frowned upon if you talk to yourself for long periods of time.
Jim: [22:55] Yeah, trust me. I know. Anyways we want to wrap it up. We thank you audience for listening tuning in today. We hope you got something out of it. We again want to thank our so special guest and friend. Mr. Roger Cox. Thank you. So So much Roger for joining us. You are always a pleasure, sir.
[23:13] And we want to tell our industry to be safe. May God bless our industry and may God bless you and have a safe and wonderful day.
[23:21] Until next time. It’s the Jim of the Jim & James show signing off and saying be safe out there everybody. Have a good day.
James: [23:29] And call 811.
Jim: [23:31] Ooh, I like it.
James: [23:32] All right. Thank you Roger.
Roger: [23:34] Thank you.
Jim: [23:34] Thanks Roger.
Roger: [23:35] Thanks.