Instructional Design and Development Program
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January 19, 2023
CWJJ Episode 146: The Kickoff Episode
February 15, 2023

CWJJ Episode 145: Efrain Garcia

efrain garcia

Friday, February 3- Surprise! This week the guys are bringing you an early sneak peek of season 4. Listen in as the guys discuss networking with a purpose with Efrain Garcia.

Quick Links:

Efrain Garcia on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] [music]

James Cross:  [0:23] How do we start this thing? It’s awkward.

Jim Schauer:  [0:25] Awesome.

James:  [0:25] It’s like a support group when…

Jim:  [0:28] I got it. I got an idea.

James:  [0:30] Internet sensations around?

Jim:  [0:33] Internet sensations around and the best thing about this whole meeting today, James, it’s one degree of separation.

James:  [0:40] Yeah.

Jim:  [0:41] We really all. Ethan and I may have ran into each other. I would be surprised with the way that we travel that we have in over the past, but we can’t remember it. We’ve talked about mutual friends and everything. This is wonderful to be absolutely coming together like this today.

James:  [0:59] Efrain, I don’t know if you know it but we met Monique Roberts…We were fighting about this the other day, Jimmy.

Jim:  [1:10] Yeah, I remember that.

James:  [1:11] We couldn’t decide if it was in Charlotte or…

Jim:  [1:15] LGA in New Orleans.

James:  [1:18] That’s true. I think it was back in Charlotte…

Jim:  [1:22] Could have been.

James:  [1:23] or St. Louis, one of those. We talked to Monique. Monique said, “Man, I need to hook you guys up with Efrain. Do you know Efrain Garcia?”

James:  [1:33] At the time, no, I did not but while we were sitting there, I went on LinkedIn and I connected with you. I can’t remember if you accept it or not, but…

Jim:  [1:42] He has.

James:  [1:43] Yeah, we’re working on it. Maybe after the show.

James:  [1:48] We connected, right? I started see what was going on. Then I told Jimmy. I was like, “Hey, man, we need to have this guy on the show,” and so the rest is history. Today, Efrain Garcia, welcome to the show. How are you?

Jim:  [2:02] Welcome.

Efrain Garcia:  [2:04] Thanks for having me, guys. It’s been a very eventful week and I’m happy to be here. It’s only get everything connected, and working in the portable studio.

Jim:  [2:16] You know what, as we talked about you, we live technical challenges at times in this remote world we live in, so we’re all used to it. I mean, everything’s running great now.

Efrain:  [2:26] Let’s keep running.

Jim:  [2:27] Let’s get into. Let’s keep running. Before all runs out or when if you get the other [inaudible].

Efrain:  [2:37] That’s what I was going to say. Took the words out of my mouth.

Jim:  [2:40] I love it. Really like yin and yang. Efrain, we like, we love, I shouldn’t say like, love garage door stories. Garage stories. Am I saying that right? Beginning stories, origin stories.

James:  [2:55] Did you coin that? Is that new?

Jim:  [2:57] I’m trying to.

Efrain:  [2:59] This is only Rod, right?

Jim:  [3:01] We’d like stories to understand where things began. Really you have been all over LinkedIn for a while now. You’ve and I have been connected, and James and Brie and us are connected. Share with us, tell us where this all began. What started your journey?

Efrain:  [3:24] I kept hearing everybody, for 20 years, everybody’s been saying, “Man, we just need a calendar. We just need to get everybody in sync.” It took the world shutting down and rescheduling, going half virtual, half in person, kicking it down another year to finally say, man, somebody’s got to take the initiative.

[3:46] Fortunately, I have a really nerdy friend, and one day, I had a wild hair. I bought the domain actually a year before because I like going to these events. I really enjoy the people part and learning new technologies and services and actually go booth to booth and try to learn something.

[4:11] When the global pandemic hit, I’m like, “Oh man, this is the opportunity to help people.” The other part is, I sit on five boards and planning committees for scholarship fundraising, community outreach in the supply chain engineering construction pipeline world, integrity management world.

[4:33] I realized that nobody talked. When I bought the domain, there was three young professional organizations having a happy hour on the same Thursday before Halloween, instead of having one large, great party, they split it three ways.

[4:54] That’s when ought the domain. I was like, “One day I’ll do this.” Then fast forward, we launched in 12 hours. [laughs]

James:  [5:04] Let’s talk about that, Efrain. You told us about that, we think about a few weeks back and talked about the show and what we wanted to cover. You talked about that sprint. Being a technology company ourself, it’s a hell of a sprint. Tell us about that and what you mean by that.

Efrain:  [5:24] I was talking to a manager, and he was talking about an ex‑employee that was amazing. That guy was great. That guy was so amazing. I’m like, “That guy doesn’t work here anymore.”

[5:36] The world shut down. I’m not so bad. I went to school to be a firefighter. I’m not a PhD, mechanical engineer with a 20‑year Head Start. I got a little wild here. I said, “You know what, I’m about to do something that’s going to be bigger than all of us put together. I’m taking PTO.”

At 5:  [5:53] 45 PM, I jumped in my truck and I called my nerdy friend, I said, “I need a website tomorrow 7:00 AM. I’m launching.” He was like, “I can’t do it.” I was like, “Man, put the subscribe now website coming soon.”

[6:10] I had a newborn baby during the pandemic. It was wild dealing with all that and trying to provide for the family, make sure the kids are safe, and whatnot. After everybody was put to bed, I was in this area. I said, “OK, what’s going to be the story?”

[6:33] During the pandemic, I learned how to make my own homemade flour tortillas and videography. Tell them the story. Let’s tell a story. Then I said, “You know what the story is? We need to play nice together. The whole industry needs to work in sync.”

[6:49] I pose the problem on video in here. My lighting was horrible. I had a shotgun mic, a very beginner setup. I was like, “Who has…” I looked back at the thing. I cringe on the quality and the audio is clipping out, not great.

[7:03] I was like, “Who has time to keep track with all these things?” It was [inaudible] at the time as they converted and all these different GPA midstream at pipeliners and conferences.

[7:13] I was like, “You don’t have to anymore because we’re going to do it for you.” I was on half of the planning committees, and then we communicated with other people and conferences, making sure that we weren’t going to be conflicting, splitting the industry.

[7:28] I don’t know if you remember right at 2020, FEMSA called a meeting in DC. It pulled half of the PPIM attendees to DC.

Jim:  [7:40] I do remember that.

Efrain:  [7:41] We crushed them. I was like, “If only they knew that there was a major event that they need to learn about new technologies to keep them happy.” Anyway, the wild hair, we launched. 7:00 AM. I launched. I put the LinkedIn up and all that.

[7:58] We had like 80 new followers, 100 subscribers to a website that didn’t exist yet, technically. I call my nerdy friend I’m like, “Good news and bad news.” Just like, “What?”

[8:13] Got 200 subscribers in a day, so in three weeks, we need a website. He’s like, “You got to be kidding me.” He’s my best friend. He doesn’t take a salary. Every now and then if we get a sponsor, I throw him some money to keep maintaining the website, keeping it free.

[8:29] That’s the start. Then it’s grown, read 8,200 LinkedIn followers now. We average 50 to 80,000 impressions a month there. The website I checked last night, we had 25,000 clicks in 30 days on the website for…

[8:46] [crosstalk]

Jim:  [8:48] Go ahead, James. Go ahead.

James:  [8:49] No, I was echoing that that was nice. Nice there.

Efrain:  [8:54] I want to provide the data and the value. What do we want to do? My mission statement is networking with a purpose. If we can bring these people together, we can bring awareness to tell a story with a videography. That’s why I use a shirt cameraman.

[9:12] If we can tell a story about what we do as a community and what we do to impact the next generation, then let me capture this and tell that story, and then by everybody offsetting their dates then we can be stronger.

Jim:  [9:28] I would agree and let me jump in here real quick because I have to tell you, you’re speaking my love language because this is my world and has been for years.

[9:37] I have to tell you that the beginning of the year, when we get our master calendar out, I go to it right away and I sometimes panic. I panic can tell you look because what I’m doing, first of all, I’m seeing the events and then I’m looking for overlaps.

[9:54] If I’m supposed to be at this one and that one at their two days here and then two days here and it doesn’t work, I’m like, “What do I pick? How do I pick?”

Efrain:  [10:03] How do you pick your favorite child? [laughs]

James:  [10:04] You don’t have to. No, no, that’s what you said last time we talked and that stuck with me because that’s really what happens. You guys know it. There is a chunk of time where it is laid in…

Jim:  [10:18] Back‑to‑back…

James:  [10:19] and over each other. It puts you in a spot where sadly, I don’t want to have to pick but I’m going to have to.

Efrain:  [10:27] Actually, I met the CEO for United Way of Greater Houston at the Phillips 66 United Way thing. I may or may not have cornered her and said, “What are you all doing? Williams and you allowed two of your biggest supporters to have events on the same day. Instead of doubling it, you actually split it.”

[10:49] She goes, “I didn’t realize that.” Being able to have the voice. The platform is really the voice of us. I gave away 300, 350 T‑shirts last year. The back said, “We are Midstream,” and really, the message is we, as individuals are the relationship holders. We are the community. We’re the ones that give back.

[11:16] We’re the ones leaving our families to go out to another city and really network with the purpose. The purpose is to keep our jobs happy, but also how much more beneficial if we can impact the community, build lasting business relationships, and then you have a little fun. It’s fun.

James:  [11:36] Efrain, you hit on it early and I hope I’m not stealing your thunder. You said Midstream calendar. I know Jimmy and I are sitting here going, “That’s great.” How about all the rest of the streams? What are you going to do for us like myself?

Jim:  [11:53] Yeah, up and down. [laughs]

James:  [11:54] I know a lot of folks that are all up and down. This is something I feel like all of us could benefit from.

Efrain:  [12:03] Yeah. One of the main questions was when are you going to do downstream? I also have that domain. When are you going to do upstream? I have that domain. I was ready for and then, somebody said, “Man, all these new energies and renewables are coming out.” I also have that.

[12:22] I didn’t want to go off and bite off more than I can chew. I’m actually a downstream guy in 2000. In 2001, I started working inside of the plant. I provided tools for them to build and maintain every refinery, chemical plant. I have physically been inside of 95 percent of the Ship Channel. I’ve actually been inside of an ethylene furnace one time I could fit back then.

[12:48] I’ve been in it. I know the turnaround work, the jargon, the people, also on the supply chain world. I said, “Well, how do I describe everything that we do as a community?” I said, “You know what? We’re supporting all streams of energy.” Rising above all the different brands is Allstream Energy Partners.

[13:10] We support all streams of energy and we partner with the community to advance technology and community and just for a common good. It’s been super, super fun.

Jim:  [13:21] That’s awesome.

James:  [13:22] It’s awesome. Good. I’m excited. I thought you were just going to leave us out and other folks out completely. Appreciate your inclusiveness.

Jim:  [13:31] We love Allstreams.

James:  [13:32] Absolutely. Efrain, something that I honed in on it and it’s funny to talk about today because we can laugh about it as a group leading into this all that we did to try to make this episode happen. But even the quality of your work, the post‑production, like you said, whether you learned it in an afternoon or over 15 years, it doesn’t matter.

Efrain:  [13:56] You should try my tortillas.

James:  [13:57] Oh man, I’m a big tortilla maker too. Man, say less. I can tell you I’ve a passion for, back in the day, we would call it radio and television. You know what I mean for meeting, for working with it to, whether it’s post or recording. You’ve got amazing equipment and it shows. Where does that come from?

Efrain:  [14:22] Just the desire. Desire and research. When I started trying to tell a story, I saw that some of these organizations prior to being a board member, they were these are our territory. Some way I was a photographer years ago and I said, “Anybody taking pictures?” “No, actually.”

[14:45] I started off taking pictures and I would donate the pictures. Then I said, “Well, I can do a slideshow and put music to it to kind of summarize.” Then I thought, “Well, shoot, I have a GoPro. Let me try that.” I use a GoPro for take a little video clips. My little signature move is the tent panning back with the GoPro on a stabilizer.

[15:08] Now, you’re seeing the whole image of everybody going back. People thought I had a drone, I had a stabilizer with the selfie stick and I look tall. I was like, “Oh shoot, I got pictures and I got this. Well, let me see if I can stitch it together.” The little waving goodbye is the conclusion now ‑‑ my signature conclusion ‑‑ to the videos like welcoming the people.

[15:33] I did notice that the only people with pictures at the golf tournaments was the force on the paid the least amount of money. The people that the prime Morris of the worlds spend $15,000 worth of tent and barbecue and overhead. They got nothing, they got no team pictures.

[15:49] I would go over there and make sure that I showcased the actual people that are behind the scenes making this great event happen. It kind of like, “Hey, man, this stuff must cost a lot of money.” I’m like, “Yeah. If it breaks, my mama said I can’t buy any more.” “Can we pitch in a couple hundred bucks?” I’m like, “Yeah.”

[16:11] I didn’t create this to make any money. I did it as a break even. A couple hundred bucks pays for a flash drive. Like, “Let me put your logo up,” and it’s fine, it’s digital. That’s how it got funded. If you’ve seen some of the things online to the wine tastings, once we get our operating costs and pay off my nerdy friend to keep it maintained, what’s left over, we do meet up.

[16:39] We do have a wine tasting, executive meet up. What I like to do is I’ll put a future engineer or supply chain student at the table with these people from the industry moment. Now, it’s a knowledge share. It’s really a crowdfund for digital media and a crowdfund for entertainment.

James:  [16:56] Crowdfund for networking.

Efrain:  [16:58] I work full‑time.

James:  [16:59] No big deal. Me too.

Jim:  [17:03] It sounds like us.

Jame:  [17:04] We laugh about it all the time. People come up while we’re at live at shows and getting up. Afterwards, we’ll get done recording, they go, “Wow, so like this is what y’all do all the time, huh?” Like, “Not really. Nobody pay us…”

James:  [17:19] Yeah.

Jim:  [17:20] Night and weekend.

Efrain:  [17:22] It is.

Jim:  [17:23] But it’s a thing of purpose and passion. James and I talk about it all the time. We love doing it. Absolutely. Love meeting with folks like this, like you. It gives me a lot of energy.

James:  [17:37] You don’t need much sleep when you have purpose and passion.

Jim:  [17:40] You don’t.

Efrain:  [17:41] Like, “OK, yeah, let me tell this to light.” What’s funny is after it, I’m still excited about the event. I’ve done some film like, get home at four o’clock and then in an hour, I got a video creep out. You’re like, “How did you do this so fast?” I was like, “I was reliving the moment and the people, the smiles.”

[18:03] We have student volunteers and their energy, man. That keeps me young.

James:  [18:08] Efrain, I don’t know if you have plans to go to the American Gas Association event. Great fun this year, but every two years they have a biennial expo and that’s a big show. It’s kind of fun, but you are welcome to be our guest up there if you want to come check it out…

Efrain:  [18:27] I keep missing their dates and it’s not very clear, but I would love to publish it. I would love to film.

James:  [18:35] Yeah, we’re going to be there live doing the show as well. We’d love to have you up there so we’ll set that up. Efrain, we are wrapping up. We are coming to a close, but we asked everybody one question. This is a new season, so we got a new question. You’re one of the…

Jim:  [18:54] It’s a great worst.

James:  [18:55] first ones to get it. You ready? You ready for it?

Efrain:  [18:59] I’m ready.

James:  [19:01] The question is Efrain, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Efrain:  [19:06] [laughs] Funny. I want to just work for the fun of it and be able to connect people. Since I was a two‑year‑old little kid, I would make friends with everybody. I’d walk away saying, “That’s my friend.”

[19:26] Fortunately, I’m in a commercial role that I can make friends for a living and aligning with a good product and service. The friendship is there. The business comes. If I could just make friends for a living for the rest of my life, I’d be in a good spot.

James:  [19:48] Amen to that.

Jim:  [19:50] I think you’re separated at birth. Efrain and I [inaudible].

Jim:  [19:55] My passion. Like I said, I get energy off that. I really do. It’s a passion.

James:  [20:02] Jimmy, I think this question is going to work out. I got cold chills even when you said that. I was going to show you, but I’ve my jacket on. I’m not kidding. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what…

Efrain:  [20:16] Are you guys going to be able to make it to the pipeline painting show?

Jim:  [20:21] Unfortunately…

James:  [20:22] I’m double‑booked. See, the thing happened that we’re talking about.

Efrain:  [20:26] See, it’s a need.

Jim:  [20:29] It is a need.

Efrain:  [20:30] If you all were there, you would have been able to participate in the PPIM conference call.

James:  [20:37] Tell us a little bit about that.

Efrain:  [20:40] I told anybody that sponsored the calendar, again, people that keep it free. I said, “Let’s do something unique. Let’s create an incentive to make sure that these six, eight people that are generous in keeping our platform free and funding our nice social events, we’re going to give away an iPad.

James:  [21:02] We do.

Jim:  [21:03] Whoa, whoa, my buddy…

Efrain:  [21:05] PlayStation 5. I’m trying to figure out what’s good and can fit into carry‑on, so it might be some earpods or a Bluetooth speaker.

James:  [21:15] [inaudible] Jim. Jim can roll up in a carry‑on.

Efrain:  [21:19] Coffee mugs.

Efrain:  [21:20] [laughs] I put a Rodecaster in somebody’s carry‑on. No. Basically, it’s going to be a conference bingo, if you get to visit all the different sponsors that are believing in same core values as us, really passionate about connecting people in the industry.

[21:42] All you got to do is visit six to eight booths and you put your name in the hat to go back to Findlay, Ohio or Alpharetta, Georgia, or wherever these corporate offices are with the…

James:  [21:53] Pay their taxes.

Efrain:  [21:54] Incentivize people too. The hardest thing is to have a reason to go up to a booth and say, “Hey, what do you guys do?” We give a reason. I came up with that idea a couple of weeks ago, so it’ll be fun. Little bingo cards.

James:  [22:07] Love it. I’ve never been to PPIM myself. Jim has multiple times, and he’s told me about it. I had all plans and got double booked because there wasn’t a calendar I could use.

Jim:  [22:20] Georgia Brown, isn’t it? Isn’t that Georgia Brown again? That’s been in the home base forever.

Efrain:  [22:27] It was Westchase for years, and then they had a tent outside and outgrew that.

Jim:  [22:37] That’s right.

Efrain:  [22:40] This whole industry has grown so much. A couple of years ago with the first year that I came there, I got a call from the general manager of Morton’s he goes, “What is going on in downtown? I sent my guys home a little early and I’m completely slammed.”

[22:55] I’m like, “Oh, the Pipeline Pigging show midstream is strong right now.” He’s like, “Oh my goodness. What year was the calendar?”

Jim:  [23:04] What year was this? What year?

Efrain:  [23:05] There you go.

Jim:  [23:07] In 2000, last time I was there was a few years back and I think there was 4,000, 5,000, maybe 7,000 attendees, something astronomical. It’s fantastic.

James:  [23:18] That’s awesome.

Efrain:  [23:18] It’s a great show. It’s like a reunion. It’s great.

James:  [23:21] Efrain, you’re obviously going to be there. Anybody’s going to be there, stop, find them, get on camera, see if you can harass him in some way.

Efrain:  [23:32] Absolutely.

James:  [23:32] If he his hug dealer shirt on, give him a hug, whatever it is.

James:  [23:38] Efrain, I wish we were there. I know you’ll do it justice. Would love to hear about it when you get back. Again, that invite is open for AGA. I hope you can come up and join us for sure.

Jim:  [23:52] I looked it up, it’s May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

Efrain:  [23:58] I think I can make that up there OTC time, but I can try to make it.

James:  [24:01] We’ll figured it out.

Efrain:  [24:04] If anybody needs free passes to the pipeline and picking shows of the Midstream Calendar, it has the link that you can go register. Whenever we find out about any free passes, we’ll put it up on the website for all to benefit from. At least we can help with budgeting and logistics. A lot of times, the hotels are booked up and you’re out of luck.

James:  [24:27] For sure.

Efrain:  [24:29] It’s been fun. Yeah, I’ve been very blessed to meet people like you all. I’ll go to a conference and now, we’re trying to showcase some positive news or project announcements to get people excited again. We’ll post some jobs.

[24:44] If anybody has any jobs, let me know. We put them up for free.

James:  [24:47] I love it.

Efrain:  [24:50] It’s fun.

James:  [24:51] Awesome. Efrain, I’m going to end on this. One of the things that you said when we talked first, the reasons you’ve built Midstream Calendar was to bring the industry together.

Efrain:  [25:03] Yes.

James:  [25:04] That stuck with me and so, hey, I hope this episode brings the industry together. I appreciate your time today, brother.

Efrain:  [25:13] Yeah, we are a Midstream.

James:  [25:15] Amen, we are.

Efrain:  [25:17] [laughs] Take care.

Jim:  [25:19] Yeah. Be safe.

Efrain:  [25:20] Bye‑bye.

Jim:  [25:21] Peace out. We’ll see you around. Bye.

[25:23] [music]

Transcription by WatchingWords


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