Thursday, Sep 3- Darrell Cherry joins the show to discuss the Texas Gas Association and the upcoming Virtual O&M Conference.
Jim Schauer: [0:11] Good morning, LinkedIn community. Welcome to another riveting episode of “Coffee with Jim & James.” Out of the Jim and James, I’m Jim, he’s James. And we couldn’t be more excited to have this special guest with us a longtime friend.
[0:24] But before we introduce him, I’ll just give you a little hint as to what today’s going to bring. Now, if that hat doesn’t scream, Texas…
James Cross: [0:34] Crocodile Dundee?
Jim: [0:35] Crocodile Dundee? No, Texas, Texas.
James: [0:37] I wasn’t sure who we had on.
Jim: [0:40] We’ll get rid of the hat. Let me introduce my co‑host the yin to my yang the Starsky to my Hutch. Yes, my they’re always dated but that’s okay. Darrell understands them anyways. Mr. James Cross. James. How are you this fine and beautiful morning?
James: : [0:58] Great, Jimmy, excited to have Darrell on. For those who don’t know. Mr. Darrell Cherry. He is the president of the Texas Gas Association. And a longtime friend of ours so Darrell welcome to the show.
Jim: [1:11] Welcome Darrell.
Darrell Cherry: [1:12] Thank you very much. I’m excited to be here. I think it’s a real honor that I get to be between the two ferns. Oh, I mean Coffee with Jim & James.
James: [1:23] We’ve been kind of a lot worse.
Jim: [1:24] Oh yeah.
Darrell: [1:26] But anyway, I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to have the opportunity to put the Texas Gas Association out and in front of all of y’all some LinkedIn membership.
[1:37] I think it’s that we’ve got a lot to lot of things to be proud of at the association and a lot of things that a lot of people don’t know things about so we’re proud to be here. Thank you all very much.
James: [1:51] Absolutely. Thank you.
Jim: [1:53] Yep and Darrell let’s let’s dive into it. The one of the biggest events that we at the TGA hold every year is the O&M Conference and that’s upcoming very shortly.
[2:05] So would you give us a little details of the O&M Conference and tell our viewers a little bit about that and some of the excitement that is surrounding that event?
The: [2:16] O&M conference is coming on September 22nd through 24th, like many things other that you the that’s going on around us. Now. It is going to be virtual.
[2:29] We don’t want to have that that situation where we infect hundred thousand people because that’s our normal attendance at the O&M conference.
James: [2:38] It is. It is.
Jim: [2:40] laughs]
Darrell: [2:41] We had to have to have it out on the streets for most part but we’re we’re being thrown into this virtual world and we’re finding our way along.
[2:54] The virtual world is sort of one of those situations where it’s an old dog new tricks and I’m muddling my way through Zoom trying to find out a way to put this on the best we can.
[3:10] And so far so good. It looks like it’s going to be really exciting got some really good speakers. We got folks from The Railroad Commission. We have folks from APGA. We have several good round tables.
[3:26] You can find all of that on the the TGA website, which is texasgas.com if you’ll look tomorrow. It will be there. It’s not there right now, but it’ll be there tomorrow.
[3:41] And when you when you commit to these sorts of things it actually moves it up on your to‑do list. So take a look take a look at some of that and see what we have in store the conference. This year is complementary for all the attendees.
[3:59] It’s being being underwritten by some of our larger operators, and it’s also being sponsored by some of our associate members so that we were able to monetize the the conference as well.
[4:16] I guess we could need to call it a meeting rather than a conference, but we’re able to monetize it for us which was really good because our O&M Conference is our second largest fundraiser during the year. So without it our balance sheet was going to look even worse than it. does today.
[4:40] But with a with the gratitude with the help from all of our folks. We’re going to have some money because the only other way to balance the balance sheet is to reduce expenses and I’m not a real fan of that at this point.
James: : [4:58] I’m just the same with me. Well, I’ve been to the O&M, you know, obviously in person never virtual, but I’m excited to attend that way as well.
[5:08] But O&M is a big deal. I know a lot of folks rely on that to sneak in some training each year and also to be able to fellowship and you know spend time with the associate members as well to really get their sampling of the industry each year.
[5:27] So although virtual I’m excited and I’m excited that it’s at no cost to those that want to attend. I think that’s going to be awesome. As far as reach goes, Darrell.
Darrell: [5:38] James when you first suggested that I thought you were totally insane and and you can for those of you that knows James, thank him for the complementary attendance rate. I thought he had lost his mind particularly until I found out a way to that. We were able to monetize it.
James: [6:00] No doubt, no doubt. Well, you’re not the only one that’s for sure. [laughs] He thinks I’m crazy is what I mean.
Jim: [6:09] I think it’s really exciting because we have viewers now that are tuning in to this that you know. May be from much other states around the world even that may be interested in this.
[6:19] And with it being complementary. Maybe they can pop in and sit in for an afternoon or a morning or two days are all three days doesn’t really make any difference.
[6:29] But I really I’m really excited to see what the numbers will end up to be with the conference because I think opening up this way will give people a lot of insight into the TGA and you know.
[6:41] For future, you know, you might get people traveling from around the country to our O&M Conference every year as a result of this. I’m excited for I think the I think good things are going to have them have happened from this and I think it’s a good thing.
James: [6:55] Well, Darrell, let’s build on that a little bit. So we reflects on a little bit and going virtual on the O&M. What about the rest of 2020 are there other events. Is there anything else that TGA is doing to try to stay in front of its members and the industry?
Darrell: [7:15] We talked about in our board meeting last week how we can move forward and one of the things that we’ve talked about is doing our roundtables virtually little bit different format than we’ve used before maybe a couple of hours a day for two days.
[7:39] Putting it on complementary for the attendees with some sponsorships I think is a good basis to begin with make sure that the sponsors get plenty of face time during the during the roundtables.
[7:59] And one of the things that we’ve done which I’m pretty excited about is we’ve moved Damage Prevention from a subcommittee to a full committee because I think that’s really really important for the industry.
[8:13] Damage prevention is is one of those things that as safe as we are and we are an incredibly safe industry considering every time we do have it and have an incident or accident. It makes all of the media.
[8:29] So moving that up to an area where that we can show that we are looking at that constantly I think is going to be a feather in our cap and give the damage prevention folks a great opportunity to get their message out even more than they have in the past.
James: [8:49] I just heard about that as well after the board meeting and I think that’s a fantastic change. We’re passionate about damage prevention at EWN.
Jim: [8:59] There. He is. He’s back. We just lost you. you’re back you’re back. You’re good.
James: [9:04] It’s going virtual. No big deal. Darrell. Don’t freak out.
Darrell: [9:07] It was nice and in there for a second.
James: [9:10] Well, what I was going to say was I just heard about the Damage Prevention committee from Coleman and after the board meeting and I think that’s awesome.
[9:21] We’re passionate about damage prevention here at EWN. We remind people all the time our vision is to make the world a safer place to work and we believe that starts with damage prevention. So we’re very active in that space and we’re excited to see that change for sure.
Darrell: [9:40] You know every day that we can bring our our people home safely to see their families and children their pets. It’s a good day for us. And that’s certainly true for the free world out there the folks that are not in the industry that we depend on for our existence. It’s absolutely important that everybody goes home safe.
James: [10:04] You bet.
Jim: [10:06] Darrell, let me ask you a question myself being the next board of directors member for the Texas Gas Association and I’ve been a member since you and I were young we had full heads of hair and we’re about 40 pounds…well, you’re lighter now, but we were about 40 pounds lighter. The TGA has come a long way.
[10:24] And I know that it is because of the operators and associates and everybody that’s involved with it. You mentioned earlier that you were a little concerned this year being virtual and you know will concern about the revenue stream because cuz we’re funded by our members. Basically. What we bring in is what we get.
[10:46] How bad have your concerns been if we can dive a little bit more than that, but more importantly I just want to then transition to over all the good things that we do like this damage prevention.
[10:55] You know, how many operators come to our conferences to you know, learn things that can make their teams or their subcontractors better and safer. So kind of to two paths to go down, but I thought those would be both both interesting for our viewers today.
Darrell: [11:13] You know, one of the things that we actually we have a video on our website that EWN was gracious enough to provide for the association.
[11:24] And one of the things we talked about in that is that the O&M meeting has a great opportunity to learn from others.
[11:35] But one of the singularly best things that happens at the O&M meeting are the sidebars that take place where people go out in the halls talk about the things that they have in common the problems that they have the solutions they have.
[11:53] One of the things that I always preach is for crying out loud don’t let somebody go down a dead end if you found something that doesn’t work share that with everybody don’t let them go down the same dead end.
[12:07] If you’ve got something that works excellently, that’s a great that’s a great thing to share as well. But letting them spend time and effort going down a dead end is so counterproductive. And that’s the one of the I think one of the great things we get.
[12:23] And that’s one of the things that I’ve really I’ve really wrestled with in this virtual reality that we’re in right now. It’s how we get five or seven people together to talk just amongst themselves without having presentations or things like that.
[12:41] And I think we’re coming to some some thoughts on that and I think it would be great for us to have a minor Zoom meeting where four or five people come together and talk about you know, what, why did you send everybody home?
[12:58] Why were you able to send everybody home safely last week? What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? If you had an accident, what well was to be learned from that accident and when we’ve been very fortunate to have people share that kind of information in the past.
James: [13:19] Well, Darrell, I have a very special question for you that we’ve actually been wrapping a lot of our shows with and you didn’t get the opportunity to prep for it.
Jim: [13:31] Wait.
James: [13:31] So that means it’s a good one.
Jim: : [13:34] Wait, we lost him again.
Darrell: [13:34] The question is perfect. I can answer that. [laughs]
Jim: [13:39] I think he’s back and again…
James: [13:40] Virtually.
Jim: [13:42] Oh, that’s all right, you know this this is a product of where we live today. We are in different locations multiple states working on ready for this broad bandwidth. [laughs] James just [inaudible] that term.
[13:54] But anyways James you’re back with us now you’re back.
James: [13:57] Well, this is a product of my son playing Fornite. I can promise you that.
Jim: [14:01] laughs]
James: [14:01] But the real question for you Darrell is do you love what you do?
Darrell: [14:07] I absolutely do. I’ve been doing this since 2004. I was a salesman at the time I’ve been in the association for a long time. And I realized the good that can come from the association the good that came to me from being there.
[14:26] And we had we had a few issues at the time that were problematic and I thought that it would be a good opportunity and I thought that it would be fun to try and as it worked out we’ve done really well.
[14:42] To be honest if with if this pandemic and shutdown had have happened in 2004. We would have already been gone. I worked for nothing practically at the time. I signed on for a 30 30‑hour week which ended up being about 60 or 70.
[15:05] And none of that’s a complaint because I love what I do and I love being where I am. I admit it to frequently to folks. But it’s fun. I’ve enjoyed watching the association grow. I’ve enjoyed watching all of our membership grow.
[15:26] Just another another little pitch for the association our operators represent over 99 percent of all the meters in the state of Texas.
[15:36] So for any associates watching this if you want to do business in Texas, we’re a good place to do it because we’ve got a lot of the membership.
[15:49] We don’t have 99 percent of the operators out there, but we’ve got a heck of a lot of them. So come on and see us and we’ll show you how to make this work for for us and for you.
James: [16:03] And that’s all I got Jimmy.
Jim: [16:05] That’s all right. Let me let me wrap this up. I have a few things to say first of all to Darrell and James. We’re longtime friends all of us. We’ve been together for years at transmission roundtable distribution, safety roundtable O&M.
[16:20] You know, we slap each other’s back. We give each other hugs, you know, we’re there to carry boxes to help each other and I tell you I miss you Darrell and miss everybody and we’re going to miss everybody at the O&M live, but we’ll be back.
[16:34] But I think there’s a lot of things again. We can learn from this virtual world that we’re going through and we’re going to make it the best that we can and so I’m excited for that.
[16:42] But I do want to encourage all of our viewers today to please. Please go to the website click on Register its complementary, even if you pop in for an hour or two hours a segment.
[16:55] James and I are going to host the Happy Hour, virtual Happy Hour the first night Tuesday night the 22nd at 4:05 PM Central Standard Time. That is a shameless plug, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.
[17:06] But really just come and enjoy it. You might I would say you will probably learn something from it and it’s a great organization.
[17:15] Even other associations other state associations are going to tend too which is great. There’s a lot of camaraderie in our world. And so it’ll be fun seeing people from the other states nearby attending our conference.
[17:28] So with that I want to say again special thank you to Mr. Darrell Cherry. It has been a pleasure having you on James as always, my friend and brother I couldn’t do without you. You’re the one that picks me up every day. I appreciate you like there’s no end.
[17:43] And all of our viewers out there. God bless you and God bless our industry everybody. Please stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you next week on another episode of Coffee with Jim & James until then everybody. Take care.
James: [17:57] Bye, everybody. Thank you. Thank you Darrell.
Jim: [18:00] Thanks, Darrell.
Darrell: [18:00] Thank you very much.