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CWJJ Episode 79: AGA Live: Phil Wiegers, Mary Palkovich & Christina Sames

CWJJ AGA Live Phil Wiegers

Thursday, October 14- Phil Wiegers, Christina Sames, and Mary Palkovich all stopped by the EWN booth at the American Gas Association Operations Conference.

Quick Links:

Phil Wiegers on Linkedin
Mary Palkovich on Linkedin
Christina Sames on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] background music] [0:00]

Jim Schauer:  [0:20] Welcome back, everyone. It’s great to be with our good friend CEO, founder of EGW, Phil Wiegers. Phil, how are you, sir? [0:00]

James Cross:  [0:29] In person. [0:00]

Phil Wiegers:  [0:31] That’s right. First time in a long time. [0:00]

James:  [0:33] Long time. Too long. [0:00]

Jim:  [0:35] It’s good to have you here. [0:00]

Phil:  [0:35] I am doing great. [0:00]

Jim:  [0:36] It’s good to have you. [0:00] [[0:39] crosstalk] [0:00]

Phil:  [0:39] Thank you. It’s kind of like, being back in your element. [0:00]

Jim:  [0:41] What are you, and that’s why we just wanted to bring you on for a second. What do you think about the AGA, being back at it? Give us your, give us what you’re feeling right now. [0:00]

Phil:  [0:49] I feel like I’m at my high school reunion. [0:00]

James:  [0:52] That’s what somebody said, a family reunion. I was like, “My family is not this messed up. [0:00] [[0:57] laughter] [0:00]

Jim:  [0:57] Mine is, but that’s a whole ‘nother story. [0:00] [[1:01] crosstalk] [0:00]

Phil:  [1:03] No, I think this is awesome. You know, everybody’s, I think, probably wishes there were more operators here. At this point, I’m just happy that we’re here and good folks that we’re seeing. [0:00]

Jim:  [1:16] Yeah. [0:00]

Phil:  [1:16] And if they didn’t come, you know, understand that as well. [0:00]

Jim:  [1:19] We’ll see you next time, but it, I think the overall feel, my perspective, is people are happy, you know, people are really happy. They’re, it’s like a reunion almost. You know what I mean? It’s like a 20‑year family reunion or a class reunions, whatever you want to call it. [0:00] [1:33] Like we’ve been let out for the first time in a long time. [0:00]

James:  [1:37] Some people… [0:00]

Phil:  [1:38] True. [0:00]

James:  [1:38] I’ve seen a few people, and it looks like this was the first time they were led out. [0:00] [0:00] [

Phil:  [1:43] laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [1:43] Yeah, especially last night after 11 PM. Never speak of it again. [0:00]

James:  [1:48] Never. Y’all are, y’all have a booth here, but y’all are kind of going around and checking it out. We, how’s that going? [0:00]

Phil:  [1:58] It’s good. You know, our, as, as a distributor and service provider who brought, like, seven of our guys here. We just try to go to our suppliers booths, spend some time, reacquaint with our partners. [0:00] [2:12] We got some young guys that are kind of the future. And so we brought them to make sure that they get a taste of what this is like and try to indoctrinate them in the culture. [0:00]

James:  [2:23] Totally, man. [0:00]

Phil:  [2:24] So far so good, been great. [0:00]

Jim:  [2:26] Let me ask you one question and we’ll wrap it up. When we talk about networking and relationships in the energy industry, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most important, 1 being eh, where would you put relationships and network and, and bonds like that on that scale? [0:00]

Phil:  [2:43] I’ll say 10, but if I could go higher, I would. I mean… [0:00]

Jim:  [2:46] You and I are exactly alike. Yep, that was… [0:00]

Phil:  [2:48] That’s what it’s all about. [0:00]

Jim:  [2:49] It is, it is. Anyways, Phil, thank you so much for joining us. [0:00]

Phil:  [2:52] Thank you guys. [0:00] [[2:53] crosstalk] [0:00]

Phil:  [2:53] Great to see you. [0:00]

James:  [2:53] Great to see you in person. [0:00]

Jim:  [2:56] We know you’re busy. It’s great to see you. [0:00]

James:  [2:56] Friend of the show. [0:00]

Jim:  [2:57] Oh, absolutely. [0:00]

Phil:  [2:59] Guys, you’re doing awesome. [0:00]

Jim:  [3:01] Cheers. [0:00]

James:  [3:01] Cheers to that. [0:00]

Phil:  [3:03] Need coffee… [0:00]

Jim:  [3:03] Stay tuned. We’ll be back. Yeah. [0:00] [0:00] $

Phil:  [3:05] 24 a cup of coffee right here. [0:00]

James:  [3:08] Don’t talk…Coleman doesn’t know… [0:00]

Phil:  [3:11] It’s worth it. [0:00] [0:00] [

Jim:  [3:12] laughs] [0:00]

James:  [3:13] Coleman doesn’t know that. [0:00]

Phil:  [3:15] 24¢ cup of coffee. [0:00] [[3:16] laughter] [0:00]

Jim:  [3:15] No, this is a story that will go down in infamy. [0:00] [0:00] [

James:  [3:18] laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [3:18] We’re enjoying this cup of coffee. We’ll see you. [0:00] [[3:21] audio splice] [0:00] [3:21] All right, we’re back, everybody. [laughs] [0:00]

Mary Palkovich:  [3:23] Oh my God. [laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [3:25] I am really excited. 2003, ’04, ’05, and ’06, when I ran the Minneapolis CenterPoint Minnegasco Torchlight Parade, I had a great sponsor there, Mary Palkovich joins us. We are old friends from our CenterPoint days. She is now… [0:00] [0:00] [

Mary:  [3:43] laughs] [0:00] [0:00] …

Jim:  [3:43] go ahead. Tell them about yourself, Mary. [0:00]

Mary:  [3:45] Well, now I have, I’m trying to be retired. But instead I’m doing some parts of consulting work. I’m happy to be back here, talking with these guys. [0:00]

Jim:  [3:57] See, this is great. [0:00]

James:  [3:59] And I heard that you’ve watched at least one show. [0:00]

Mary:  [4:02] I have. I’ve watched… [0:00]

James:  [4:04] Was it an accident? Did you get assigned to it by someone? [0:00]

Mary:  [4:07] I did stumble onto it, I’m sorry. But it was good. It exceeded my expectations. [0:00]

Jim:  [4:12] Well, that’s, that’s a big… [0:00]

James:  [4:14] That’s it, folks. [0:00] [0:00] …

Jim:  [4:15] that’s a big bar. We’ll see you over… [0:00] [0:00] [

James:  [4:16] laughs] [0:00]

Jim:  [4:16] Mary, AGA. We haven’t been traveling for a year and a half. It’s been very tough. Give us your feedback about traveling here, seeing friends, and what AGA has been to you. [0:00]

Mary:  [4:29] There have been some folks who obviously have lost some weight and others that have gained weight. And other than that… [0:00]

James:  [4:38] Wait, I feel very… [0:00]

Jim:  [4:40] You should. [0:00]

James:  [4:41] It’s a good thing we didn’t know each other before. [0:00] [0:00] [

Mary:  [4:43] laughs] And then there have been a lot of different shifts in the jobs. You know, like we’re all trying to figure out how do we get employees and things like that. But it’s great to see people and have good conversations about pipeline safety and other good things. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:02] Like Steve Allen, right? [0:00] [[5:03] crosstalk] [0:00]

James:  [5:04] I feel like Steve Allen just, like, wants to jump across the table at her. Any time, like if you say PSMS three times, Steve Allen appears wherever we’re at. [0:00]

Mary:  [5:15] I said it in my panel this afternoon. [0:00]

James:  [5:18] He went, boop. [0:00]

Steve Allen:  [5:19] I know my Potter. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:21] He does. He is, like, everywhere. [0:00] [[5:23] crosstalk] [0:00]

Jim:  [5:24] The guru. [0:00]

Mary:  [5:24] The guru. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:23] Anyways, it’s so great seeing you. Our friendship has been around for almost 20 years, and it means a lot to me. Every time I see you, you always give me a big smile, and I always give you a big smile back. So it’s great having you here. [0:00]

Mary:  [5:35] Thanks. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:36] Thank you for being on with us. [0:00]

Mary:  [5:37] You’re… [0:00] [[5:38] crosstalk] [0:00] [0:00] …

Mary:  [5:38] it’s a pleasure to be here. [0:00]

James:  [5:41] It’s so nice to meet you. [0:00]

Mary:  [5:44] Where do I get one of these mugs? [0:00]

James:  [5:47] We’ll send it to you. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:49] We’re gonna send it to you. Yeah, absolutely. 100 percent, we got you covered. [0:00]

James:  [5:55] 100 percent. [0:00]

Mary:  [5:56] Thank you. [0:00] [[5:57] crosstalk] [0:00] [0:00] …

James:  [5:57] it’s 100 percent. [0:00]

Jim:  [5:59] Take care. [0:00] [[6:00] audio splice] [0:00] [5:49] Welcome back, everybody. We have a very distinguished guest with us, Miss Christina Sames, that is, the senior vice president of the AGA. The area that she’s over is so complicated, I’m going to have you explain that to our audience… [0:00]

James:  [6:06] Please, please. [0:00] [0:00] …

Jim:  [6:07] if you would, please? [0:00]

Christina Sames:  [6:08] I have safety, I have operations, and I have security, so senior vice president of Safety, Operations, and Security. [0:00]

Jim:  [6:16] Great. [0:00]

James:  [6:16] Well, that’s a lot. SOS. [0:00]

Christina:  [6:19] SOS. [0:00]

James:  [6:19] All right. [0:00]

Jim:  [6:20] I love it. [0:00]

James:  [6:21] Christina, awesome event, number one. [0:00]

Jim:  [6:23] Yes. [0:00]

James:  [6:20] So proud of it. [0:00]

Jim:  [6:21] It’s fantastic. [0:00]

James:  [6:22] We have, no lie, so many people say in our group, best event we’ve ever been to. [0:00]

Christina:  [6:28] I’m very, very happy to hear that. [0:00]

James:  [6:31] In a year that we were, I know that y’all were probably concerned, we were concerned, it has been so good. And we thank you for that. Now, how’s it been for you? [0:00]

Jim:  [6:41] Yes. [0:00]

Christina:  [6:42] This event has only exceeded my expectations. And but, so when, when we got the vaccine, we were all very optimistic that we could have a very formal event… [0:00]

Jim:  [6:56] Yep. [0:00] [0:00] …

Christina:  [6:57] with record attendance. And when the virus came back and swatted upside the head, we had to have a really hard conversation internally on whether we should even hold this. [0:00]

Jim:  [7:10] Sure. [0:00]

Christina:  [7:11] And we started reaching out to our natural gas companies and asking them “What would it take to get you here?” therefore the masks and the requiring the vaccine or a test. [0:00]

Jim:  [7:25] A negative test before, within 72 hours, safety first. [0:00]

Christina:  [7:30] Absolutely. But from that, you know, going in, after we decided to do this for real, I thought, “Well, if we get 1,500 people, I’m going to be happy. And if I get 150 exhibitors, I’m going to be happy. And if I get at least 25 execs around my Operations and Engineering Committee table, I’m going to be happy.” [0:00] [7:54] As of yesterday, over 1,800… [0:00]

James:  [7:56] Yeah. [0:00] [[7:57] crosstalk] [0:00] [0:00] …

Christina:  [7:57] exhibitors, and a good 40 executives that I’m still seeing roaming around the exhibition. [0:00]

Jim:  [8:04] It’s wonderful. [0:00]

James:  [8:05] It is. [0:00]

Christina:  [8:06] So all in all, I think the most important thing, though, is we’re able to come back together… [0:00]

Jim:  [8:12] Yes. [0:00] [0:00] …

Christina:  [8:12] socialize, have the conversations that are so important, including those sidebar conversations that you weren’t expecting to have and re‑engaged. [0:00]

Jim:  [8:23] Yes. [0:00]

Christina:  [8:23] And it’s all about, at this point, re‑engagement. I think the other thing that I’m really excited about with this exhibition is the new technology. [0:00]

Jim:  [8:30] Yes, yes. Absolutely. [0:00]

Christina:  [8:32] There were so many new technologies that we didn’t have two and a half years ago. And for an engineer geek, I’m pretty excited about this. [0:00]

James:  [8:43] Yes. [0:00]

Jim:  [8:44] You guys… [0:00]

James:  [8:44] I’m telling you. I will say that we’ve interviewed a lot of people. We’ve been doing this for the last two days. And two things came out, almost, not every time but a lot, and that was collaboration and innovation. [0:00]

Jim:  [8:56] Yes. [0:00]

James:  [8:56] We’ve, I don’t know if everyone had a couple years off and they really got to get all their ducks in a row, really push those limits. But everyone has mentioned it. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:07] Yes. Well, let me throw my aspect in because I’m a network, a people person. Everybody I’ve talked to has said how great it is to see one another, to see the expressions, you know, to do the elbow bumps, to do all the safe stuff. [0:00] [9:23] But everybody’s together, the excitement. The, it’s been absolutely wonderful. So again, kudos to everybody at the AGA for doing this. [0:00]

James:  [9:31] Thank you so much. [0:00]

Christina:  [9:33] You’re welcome. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:31] Yeah, it’s been a wonderful event. [0:00]

Christina:  [9:33] Glad you guys are here. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:35] Yes, and thank you for coming by. We know you’re extremely busy, so we thank you for your time. [0:00]

Christina:  [9:39] You’re welcome. [0:00]

James:  [9:41] Thank you… [0:00]

Jim:  [9:40] And we look forward to many, many more AGA events. [0:00]

James:  [9:45] And pass on our kudos to the whole team. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:47] Yes. [0:00]

James:  [9:48] Because I know it takes a village to do these and extension with the committees and everybody else, so thank you all so much. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:54] Yep. [0:00]

Christina:  [9:54] You’re welcome. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:55] Absolutely. [0:00]

James:  [9:56] All right. [0:00]

Jim:  [9:56] Thank you. [0:00]

James:  [9:56] Thank you [0:00]

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