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Andy Wojtowski

2020 In Review

Since we are nearing the end of the year, today’s episode is a little bit of a recap about what the year was like here at Structure Tech.

The show starts off with the gang expressing their appreciation and gratefulness that in spite of how challenging the year was, the business is still running and everyone is busy. Then, they bring up all the changes that took place in the company.

TRANSCRIPTION

The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.

Bill Oelrich: We thought we’d recap a little bit about what the year was like here for Structure Tech. I think 2020 can go away as quickly as possible, very much looking forward to 2021. Welcome, everybody. You’re listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich, alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman, as always. Say hi to everybody.

Tessa Murry: Hey.

Reuben Saltzman: The three-legged stool.

[laughter]

Yeah, the three-legged stool. It’s wobbly, it’s at the end of the year, it’s taken a lot of use.

RS: It’s still standing still, it’s still here.

BO: It’s standing, could use some glue, maybe some wire. We’re getting there. So we come to you today, nearing the end of the year, as I’ve already indicated, right around the holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, whichever applies to you. But we thought we’d recap a little bit about what the year was like here for Structure Tech. I think 2020 can go away as quickly as possible, very much looking forward to 2021. Reuben, how do you feel about it?

RS: Yeah, I think so. I mean, that’s kind of the cliche right now. Everybody’s like, “Yeah, good riddance, and January 1st is gonna be here, and it’s gonna be a whole new year and everything’s gonna change suddenly.” No, it’s gonna be just like 2020 when we wake up on January 1st. Nothing is going to be different at all. There’s gonna be some changes that happen, but I mean, when I look back on this year, it’s like, “Yeah, there’s some crappy stuff that happened, but at the same time, there’s a lot of good stuff that happened this year.” I mean, I have so much to be thankful for. There’s a lot of good that came out of this year. I guess that’s what we’re gonna cover today, right?

BO: Yeah. Tessa, I wanna get you on board here right now, how are you feeling about this conversation.

TM: You know, 2020 has been… It’s been a difficult year, and I think it’s been a difficult year for everybody, and there are parts of it that I am ready to move on from, but at the same time, like Reuben said it, it’s kind of a love-hate relationship, because I think this year, it was revealed to me a lot of things that I wasn’t even aware of that personally I could work on. So just some self-awareness, and some personal growth, and some spiritual growth, but then also too with the business. I feel like this year was really transformational for us, and how we do things, and what we do, and where we’re going, and I don’t think we would have got to that point of self-reflection unless we had this pandemic that happened. I’m feeling grateful, I’m trying to feel grateful too, even though it’s been really challenging and I’m pretty exhausted. [chuckle]

BO: All of us can appreciate the fact that even though 2020 was a very challenging year, we’ve been busy all year, and there is something really to be grateful about ’cause there’s a lot of people who cannot say the same thing. So, it’s with full appreciation that we are in the business that we are in, which allowed us to stay busy all year. Good insight, gratitude’s an important thing. I’ll kick it off. Besides the fact that I got knocked out of my fantasy football league without making the playoffs, that was a major disappointment.

[chuckle]

TM: Oh no.

BO: But that aside, I actually think 2020 was one of the most life-changing years of all time. And I think you’ve already alluded to it a little bit, Tessa, but I personally have learned a ton about myself as well, and as we move forward, it’s just like… I’m excited, but I’m so happy to have gone through this process, just from a business perspective, like you said. We can list off 30 things that we are doing differently today than what we were doing on January 1st, 2020. I think they’re all positive movements too. I think it’s all been good. So with that change though, came a lot of chaos.

RS: Oh my goodness, yes.

TM: Yes. Yeah, the change is not easy, yeah.

BO: So what do you think was the hardest pill to swallow or the thing that caused the most chaos?

RS: In my mind, I think changing home inspection report software was one of the biggest waves here at Structure Tech. That was a big deal.

BO: For sure.

RS: What do you think, Tessa?

TM: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think with that too, just… And this isn’t one thing, but this is just the gradual process of changing the business structure, like I guess the different positions within the company, how changes occur, who implements something, who does what? All of those changes have, really, I think, taxed us this year too internally.

RS: Well, and to touch on that, we have basically an entirely new leadership team here at Structure Tech. Millind got tired of being the Inspector Manager of overseeing all of the inspectors, and it really wasn’t working well with him on work-life balance, and he said, “Reuben, I wanna step down. We gotta change this.” And we had hired on Eric Houseman about, I don’t know, 18 months ago or so. He’s one of the newest inspectors on our team. But I had worked with him at Home Depot like 20 years ago or something, and he was a rockstar then, and we stayed in contact with each other, and eventually convinced him to start working at Structure Tech. And when Milind was ready to step down, he was the first person that we thought of. I discussed it with Milind. I said right away, “Okay, you don’t wanna do this anymore. Who would you have do it?” And it was like, “Well, Eric,” right away. And so I ended up moving Eric over into that position. We have a new inspector manager, and then this was the year to add an operations manager and thought we had that all lined up internally. Things happened, it didn’t work out internally. So we went external, and now we have an operations manager. We gotta get her on the podcast. Jenni Rislund. Yeah, she should come on here sometime.

TM: 2021.

RS: Yeah, exactly. But she’s a rockstar. She comes from the real estate world. She managed, I don’t know, like 40 real estate offices, and she’s a huge asset to our team. But she’s new, she’s only been here for probably two months or so now. So we have a new operations manager and now we have a growth division as well. We took Lisa, who was a client care coordinator, the longest client care coordinator we’ve had. She’s been with us since, I don’t know, 2011, 2012, and moved her over to a growth role or agents relation manager. And that’s all she’s doing now, is establishing and maintaining relationships with real estate agents. That’s it. So it’s like we’ve got a bunch of… Well, and then there’s you, Tessa. I almost forgot about you, you used to be a home inspector.

[laughter]

TM: Yeah, it was like forever ago.

BO: Yeah.

RS: I know… You were inspecting houses earlier this year, right?

TM: Yeah, I was… Yeah.

RS: My goodness, that seems like… You’re right.

TM: I know. A life time ago.

RS: So what are you doing now? Put it in your own words.

TM: Yeah, now I… I guess I am in charge of finding the right people to add of the team as home inspectors. So some of that’s recruiting, the hiring of them, and then also developing the training of these home inspectors and basically kind of doing a complete overhaul on our training process. And so developing curriculum and this whole process. And I’ve got a lot of help from people on the team though. I cannot take credit for that, I mean, a 100% credit. I’ve got Eric Houseman, who’s been a huge help in getting the training program where it is today. And Neil, your Dad, oh my gosh, we could not have done this training without Neil. And shout out to Pete if he’s listening too. Being our first guinea pig with the new process when we launched it during the middle of the pandemic. So we’ve learned a lot this year and it’s only getting better, but that kind of been the primary focus this year. So definitely it’s been a huge shift for me as well.

BO: Can I toot your horns a little bit just because we had so many conversations about changing up our training process. And I remember us talking about, “Is it possible to go from this to that?” And the idea was, “Ah, boy I don’t know.” I don’t know if we can squish it down. Well, we’ve squished it down to what we had talked about and then squished it even further. And it’s really amazing. I feel… I’m gonna steal this from an interview that I heard on the Service Titan podcast called Tools of the Trade, but there’s an HVAC contractor out in LA who’s just growing an amazing business, and he was like, “I figured out how to compress time.” And I feel like 2020 has been an exercise in compressing time. And for us specifically, we compressed just the whole planning of redesigning our training program, and then got to work even more. And I take no credit for any of this because I basically stood by and watched, you guys all do it. But I was a big cheerleader for it. I was convinced…

RS: I’ll jump in and say, “No.” You were pushing this the entire time, Bill. So don’t…

BO: Well it’s ’cause… It’s because I’m…

RS: I’m not gonna let you just slip that by.

BO: Well.

TM: Yeah, Bill, you were the orchestration behind all of this, a lot of it, I would say.

BO: Well, not entirely true. But Reuben has a word for me that we pulled out of the latest book we’ve read together, Traction. But basically, I walk around with my head firmly stuck in the clouds all the time. I’m a dreamer. It’s who I am.

RS: He’s called the luftmensch.

BO: Yes.

TM: There’s nothing wrong with that, and that’s such a valuable skill to have it. And a gift to have really to be able to kind of see things from that higher perspective.

BO: Well, thank you, but we’re gonna give full credit to Gino Wickman and the wonderful book he wrote called Traction. So I finally have the proper title. I’ve been searching for a title for years, and he gave it to me. So thank you Gino. I really, really appreciate it. But that was a big step for us, and that feels like a ton of work, I mean, we completely turned our service delivery mechanism inside out.

TM: Yeah. Yeah.

BO: I just look and see how much change has happened over the course of… It’s actually nine months, it’s not even a full year. It’s like eight and a half months actually, ’cause we’re talking before the end of the year. So fun and scary and exciting. But you can’t throw enough props out to the team, they absolutely adjusted on the fly. And there’s a certain personality type that’s really good at inspecting, and they had to make some serious adaptions. And I’m not saying that everything was perfect, but wow, we pushed everybody to the limits. It’s been a fun year. It’s been fun to see what’s possible when you’re scared to death, like the state starts shutting down and we’re asking, “Are we essential?” Are we not essential? Do sellers want us in their house? And lo and behold just… Everybody marched forward. ‘Cause I think in Minnesota, we get two and a half months of good weather, and they weren’t gonna let a good real estate season grind to a halt because of a virus.

RS: Yeah, it’s crazy. I’m looking at a graph here, we keep track of this. We go in and we graph this every couple of months, comparing our number of home inspections against the number of pending sales for our market. And when I’m looking at the number of pending sales, we had the highest number of pending sales in any month since we started keeping this information. The market was crazy this year for houses. And the theory that I hear everybody saying is, yeah, it’s ’cause people were stuck in their houses and they couldn’t live in their house anymore, and they needed to upgrade. That may have been a big driver. But the one thing that sticks out to me is that we only added one more inspector this year, and then we took Tessa off the calendar of the schedule entirely. So it was basically a net zero. And this was a new guy who didn’t finish his training until mid-year or whatever. So we were almost down for inspectors and our…

TM: Your dad too. Sorry, to interrupt but your…

RS: You’re right. Yeah. And so really, our market share dropped this year because we couldn’t keep up with demand. While the number of inspection needs kept increasing, we could not keep up with that this year. So our market share actually dropped this year. Not by a lot, but just by a little despite the fact that we did more inspections this year than we ever have, we have surpassed 2019’s inspections. So it was a great year, but we lost market share.

BO: So capacity-wise we’re up but market share we’re down a little bit. But that just speaks to the strength of the market.

TM: Yeah.

BO: That’s here.

TM: Yeah.

RS: Yep. Exactly. And we’re hoping to not have that happen next year. [chuckle] Next year, we’re gonna be making way less changes. It has to be less changes, ’cause we really stressed our team. That’s one of our core values at Structure Tech, is change. But maybe I should rethink one of those core values. I don’t know. When we…

[chuckle]

TM: Healthy change.

0:13:16.4 RS: Healthy change, yeah. When we look at what all of the inspectors on our team deal well with, change really isn’t one of them.

[laughter]

BO: To me that’s a human component Reuben, and I don’t think that’s simply unique to inspectors or inspectors your age.

RS: You know, you’re probably right. You’re probably right.

TM: Yeah. Yeah. It’s hard for everybody. I think some people might embrace it a little bit more than others, but it’s hard for everybody.

RS: Yeah, but…

BO: So Tessa, don’t forget to hand out your email, so anybody who’s interested in doing home inspections, who might wanna work for Structure Tech can get a hold of you.

TM: Yes, tessa@structuretech.com, shoot me an email if you’re interested in becoming a home inspector, we’re always looking for good people. You can also go to our website, structuretech.com, and go to our employment page and apply there.

RS: Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the home page, there’s a link for employment, and we got lots of information about who we are, there’s a application process, a behavioral assessment that you have to take as part of the application process. It’s pretty cool, and that’s all stuff that we started doing this year.

TM: Yeah. Yeah.

RS: We had nothing like this in the past.

TM: Few months now, I guess, yeah.

RS: Yeah.

BO: That’s another one of those conversations I remember having, coming back when I first saw these tools and I’m like, “Reuben, we have to look at this.” He said, “I don’t know about that,” ‘Cause we got comfortable with the way things were being done, and I’m like, “No, we gotta look at this.” And then we’re here, and I don’t wanna say that I had total influence, ’cause Tessa, you went through the same training and you saw the same tools and you were like, “Oh my goodness, this is really, really interesting.”

RS: Yeah, and what we’re talking about is a hiring process through this training put on by kind of a… I don’t know if almost like a sister company to IEB, we’ve talked about IEB, Inspector Empire Builder many times on this podcast. And one of the owners there has another company called BERGflow, and he puts on this training called Pivot Ready Teams. I’m sure we’ve talked about it on this podcast, but the way I sum it up, it’s basically a world class training program. Hiring and training and recruiting program, it’s a way to find good employees and screen people out, and that’s what we’re using now. It’s pretty awesome. Pivot Ready Teams.

BO: Yeah. And these conversations that you’re having with potential employees are really powerful, and I remember we were talking about this, it seems like, I would never answer any question like that, [chuckle] Now you’re asking the questions and people are happy to answer them, because you care, you wanna know what makes somebody tick, because if you don’t know that, how do you know if they’re really gonna fit well into this job? And you get to peel back the layer of human beings, and it’s such a powerful process, and I should let you talk about it. You’re the one who does it all.

TM: No, I mean, what you said is perfect. And I think, it really is, this hiring process is… It’s changed completely from what we used to do before, Pivot Ready Teams and the AcuMax and everything, and we really are trying to see who someone is at their core and learn what their natural strengths are, and we want them to get to know our company as well at the same time to make sure that it’s a good fit for both, it’s mutually beneficial. It’s a huge shift in what we used to do, but I really enjoy that process. I think it’s really fun going a little bit deeper and getting to know people and helping our company grow, I think in a sustainable healthy way.

BO: Let’s just clarify one thing. So any home inspection company that might be listening, if they’re like, “What are they talking about? How do I get a hold of these tools?” The first thing I would say is, get a hold of IEB, iebcoaching.com, because they’ve got rights to these platforms in terms of being able to use these fancy tools that we’re talking about, so the conversation starts down there, in the exact same way that Reuben started.

RS: But Bill, if I can jump in, the Pivot Ready Teams is not just for home inspectors, he offers that to any company, so if you’re in any type of trade and you’re in the business of hiring people and you’re looking for a world class method for screening out people and hiring better people, check it out.

BO: Absolutely, so that’s the fork in the road, so if you’re a home inspection company, you call IEB and you talk with Dirk and Greg, actually you talk with Mark Hummel, if you’re any other service company, then you wanna be reaching out to BERGflow and speak with Dirk. So, awesome tools. It’s been a fun year to just dig through this amazing toolbox and deploy all these systems and go for it. Okay, so what are you most excited about for 2021?

RS: For me, there’s something we’ve been working on, it feels like almost all a year, and we’ve talked a little bit about it on this podcast, when everything was shut down, we couldn’t teach classes in person anymore, we had to go online. And when we first started doing online, it was like, we signed up for a 250-person Zoom account, and I thought, we’re never gonna have 250 people signing up, but we’ll do this just in case, so we don’t run out of room. Well, boom, 250 people signed up, just like that, just like nothing. And so that was totally overwhelming. And it was probably a mistake. It is so difficult to try to teach to 250 people at once, ’cause the comments come in way faster than you can possibly answer them, we could spend the entire class time simply answering the first round of questions, and that would be the whole class. So it’s pretty crazy trying to teach that many people, but Tessa and I taught thousands of real estate agents in a couple of months period, and it was good, we reached a lot of people, but we realized we need to change, we really need to go to an on-demand format, if we’re gonna keep offering these classes.

RS: So once it got to the end of the training session, here in Minnesota, everybody’s gotta have their continuing education done by, I don’t know, sometime in June, I believe, and that’s when we wrapped up our training, and then our goal was to get on-demand training available to real estate agents in the Fall. Well that process took way longer than we thought it would, and we still don’t have it completed yet, we’re in the final stages, it all needs to be approved by the State and during the very last round of approvals, we submitted our finals, it’s all supposed to be totally done, and there was these thumbnails where the screenshot did not refresh properly, even though we had updated our videos and the State saw the old thumbnails and they denied them all and they were like, “Dummies, you still haven’t fixed your video,” and it was just urgh. It was so frustrating, but as it stands, by the time you listen to this podcast, I fully expect everything to be approved and real estate agents will be able to take continuing education classes on-demand on our website.

RS: We’re charging $5 per hour of education, we have five different classes available, ranging from one to 3.75 hours in length, for a total of almost 11 hours of content. And I guarantee Bill, we’ve been beta testing this with a bunch of different agents, just to get their feedback on it, and everybody says these are the best CE classes they have ever attended, there’s nothing that compares to this. So we are guaranteeing, you take this class, you will learn stuff, you will enjoy it, and if you don’t, you can have your money back and I’ll still enter your CE credit into the system, and you’ll still get credit for it. It’s the same guarantee that we make for our home inspections, so it is going to be awesome. I cannot wait. It really should be live by the time that you hear this podcast. So I’m… Bill, I am super excited about that. That’s my answer for 2021.

BO: Awesome. So you’re leveling up the agent knowledge when it comes to houses. Are you making Structure Tech over a, relevant now? Can agents just go in and do their own home inspection after going through your training classes online?

RS: They’ll be a lot better at figuring out what’s going on. They will be much better able to serve their clients once they go through these classes. It’s gonna put them in rare air compared to people who haven’t gone through this or don’t have a background in any of this, especially for agents just getting into this business. But I’ll tell you, all those people I had beta testing these classes were veterans. These are people who have been in real estate for 10, 20, 30 years, and they said it’s some of the best stuff they’ve ever taken. So it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, I guarantee you’re gonna learn stuff out of these classes.

BO: Well, that’s awesome. And as a person who holds a real estate license in the state of Minnesota, I’ve been a part of many, a continuing ed ed class, and oftentimes they are not the most exciting thing in the world, so it’s always fun to learn.

RS: These will be man, this will be exciting.

BO: Okay, so you tore down your report writing system, you completely changed how you inspect houses and… Well, we didn’t change how we inspect houses, but we certainly changed how we interact with the client on the day of the inspection. We changed how we hire and train, and then you added a full line of online CE classes in eight and a half months.

RS: We launched a new website this year. Let’s not forget that. We switched over from WordPress to Squarespace. Now, unless you really know websites, that doesn’t mean anything to you, but the one thing that’s very visible, it’s a whole new look for our website, the look is gorgeous, it’s a nice layout, I love it. The one thing I don’t like is the platform. I hate Squarespace, and I know a bunch of good people who use Squarespace and they love it, and their websites are set up on it, and, good for you. I think that’s wonderful. I’m glad you got something you like, but I couldn’t hate it any more, and we are paying a boatload of money to have our website completely redone, have it put back on to WordPress, and it should be done within a couple of weeks. Odds are, if this goes like any other website re-launch that we’ve ever done, it means that our website is gonna be completely crashed, it’s gonna be down, nothing’s gonna work, and I’m gonna pull out my hair for several weeks. I expect that’s how it’s gonna go. So I’m dreading another website re-launch, but it’s all gonna be worth it when it’s done.

TM: Bill, did you mention the fact that we’ve hired four home sectors this year too? And I don’t know if we’ve ever had a year we have hired that many new home inspectors, have we?

BO: No, we have not.

TM: Yeah…

RS: Yeah, and I’ve thrown out the gauntlet for next year, I think it’s 21 or 22, that we’re bringing on board.

TM: I don’t know, we’ll see about that. But yeah, it’ll hopefully be more than four.

BO: Reuben, I have to ask you about something that kind of came to an end this year. Can you share?

RS: Sure.

BO: After how many years, after how many years… Yeah, no, your blog is always gonna be your blog, but where the blog all began is sort of fading, right?

RS: I’ll tell you, I was blogging before that. Here’s the history of the blog. I had a real estate agent, Sharlene Hensrud, asked me if I would blog on her sight, so I said, “Yeah, sure. I don’t know what a blog is exactly, and I don’t know what I’m gonna write about.” And she gave me a few ideas and we both chuckle about that now, like a thousand blogs later. But I started blogging on her site and then I realized that she’s getting all the Google credit. So I started blogging on my site, and I started blogging on this real estate site called ActiveRain, and I’d get like a 100 comments on some blog post ’cause it’d get featured there. And that was kind of where I cut my teeth in blogging and developing a bit of a skin for comments and realizing that I had to keep it a lot tighter. So that trained me a lot over about a year of blogging on that site, and eventually I had a buddy who now works for Structure Tech, Peter Schilling, who’s a writer, said, “You need to blog on the Star Tribune, this is good stuff.” And I kept bugging the folks at the Star Tribune and eventually started blogging there almost 10 years ago now. And this year, it came to an end. I got a notice from them saying, “Hey, we’re eliminating all outside blogs.” And of course, I’m like, “What did I do wrong? I’ll change, I’ll do better.”

BO: Conversation at the end of a relationship.

RS: Exactly. And they said, “It’s not you, it’s us.” Of course. And that was that. So my last post on the Star Tribune was mid-December, I think. It was just a goodbye, like, “Thanks for the memories”. That’s about it. But you know what, on the other hand, I’ve always thought… For these last 10 years, I’ve always thought, “Is this worth it?” Because a lot of the time when I Google a topic and I’m trying to find an answer to something, and I know that I already wrote about it, I’ll type in whatever I think my headline was, and half the time, the first thing that comes up is not our website, but the Star Tribune website. So it’s good exposure, but at the same time, it’s taking people who would be on our site to the Star Tribune instead. So now, we’re keeping all of that Google juice for ourselves, so it’s a bittersweet. It’s okay.

BO: And the press passes to the twins and the vikings in the wild, those are all gone now too?

RS: Yeah, right. No, that was not a paid position. I was a freelance blogger.

BO: Think of your life… I mean, this is a little bit of a dramatic comment, but I think it changed the trajectory of the whole company, right? When the Star Tribune came into your universe?

RS: Probably, probably so. At the time when I was doing that, it was like 2011, it was me, my dad, Duane and Millind, it was just the four of us. And we were growing at that time. You know, who knows what the cause was. There’s so many things we’ve done over the years, so I don’t know. I definitely know that people read it, and I’d always have people talking about me having a column in the Star Tribune and I always chuckled ’cause it’s like… I think of a column as you’re in print, I’ve never been in print, but it still felt nice to hear that.

BO: So that never ended up in the physical paper, it was always just the online version?

RS: That’s right, that’s right. And at one point, many years ago, they tried to do that and they took one of my blog posts and they chopped it up, they totally changed it and they re-phrased everything, and they totally changed the meaning. Like, they wanted to use better words, and I just said, “No, I’m not interested in this.” After one look at how they changed it, I said, “No can do. We’re sticking with online.” I know I would’ve had more readership that way too, but it just wasn’t worth it. It was way too aggravating.

BO: Your first and last editor. Wonderful.

RS: That’s right, exactly. Yeah, that didn’t work out.

BO: So anything else you wanna bring to the forefront?

TM: You know, we’ve talked about all the big changes this year. We really couldn’t have gotten to where we’re at today, if it wasn’t for this amazing team that we have at Structure Tech. And so I just wanna do a quick shout out to some of the people we haven’t even mentioned their names yet, but we couldn’t have done it without them. I mean, just starting with the client care coordinators, Trina and Kim, our new client care coordinators this year, they’re really helping us out. And the training of them too has been huge, so everyone that helped with training them. I’m thinking of Peter, he’s another client care coordinator, but he’s helping with some diversity and recruiting and all of that too. So thank you so much for that. We’ve got Brian who, oh my gosh, has been so helpful with helping manage the… Goes online real estate education classes that Reuben I did this summer and this fall with 250 real estate agents on a class, we could not have managed that many people without him. And also all the work he’s put into making these on-demand CE classes available too. So Brian, thank you so much.

RS: And Robin’s help with all those online classes. Oh my goodness.

TM: Yes, I almost forgot. And Robin too. Yeah, we couldn’t have done it without Robin. All the work that Eric has done this year too, with helping with training and complaints, and Millind’s help with all of that too, and complaints, and all that stuff.

BO: Nobody ever complains. Come on.

TM: We don’t have any complaints. Yeah, we’re perfect. Oh my gosh, Neil, with the training, we already talked about all the help he’s been with the training process, too. Shout out to our new inspectors. We’ve got Pete, we’ve got Eric, we’ve got DJ and Andy who are being guinea pigs for this new training process. Our team leads in the company that are helping develop our processes and our communication and making us better and offering support to their teammates as leadership. And then even our radon technicians too, shout out to Bethany. Reuben, you can speak more to what she’s working on.

RS: Goodness. Yeah, well, and we got three radon techs. We got Bethany and Rick and John, but Bethany has been working on rolling out these new monitors. We ordered all new radon monitors this year. I did not wanna change monitors, we’ve been using the same radon monitors since 1992 or something, I don’t know how long, but they’re super old. They run off a nine-pin serial cable, and we’re finally giving those up and we’re stepping into the modern age with these new monitors, we ordered 50 of ’em. And then it was a big pain in the butt getting the state to approve the new reports, and Bethany has been fighting that battle and trying to get all these things into the field. It’s been a lot of work, so we appreciate all of her work in that department as well.

BO: Awesome.

TM: You know what, you guys, we forgot to mention George. Oh my gosh, George has taken on the challenging task of switching softwares, so thank you so much, George for all your hard work.

RS: George stayed home for months, doing nothing but working on that software. That was a labor of love. If you wanna hear more about that, George and I just did a podcast with Spectora, that’s the people who offer that software, it was like… It was a long one, it was like a 80-minute podcast or something, and we talked about all things Structure Tech and home inspections and software. Good podcast, and we talked about a lot of people on the team. So if you Google “Spectora podcast”, it’s one of the last ones to show up in December. That was a good one.

TM: Yeah, that was…

BO: Did you walk them through what it means to go from the old software which will remain unnamed to this new platform and the steps and the challenge, and all of that?

RS: It wasn’t step-by step tutorial, but we did share some of the pains. Yeah.

TM: Yeah.

RS: Definitely.

TM: Yeah, that was good.

BO: Are you suggesting that it wasn’t just seamless? It did just like…

[laughter]

RS: That would have been nice. That would have been nice.

TM: Yeah.

BO: Well, listen, we couldn’t go without saying thank you to everybody who’s helped us in this podcasting journey too. If it were just us three talking all the time, people would probably turn off, but we’ve had great contributors to the podcast, just industry experts, people who know a lot more about a lot of things than I’ll ever pretend to know.

RS: And great producing. Producer Larry, huge shout out to producer, Larry, he takes all of our coughs and our, “Oops, I shouldn’t have said that”, and all that stuff, and he cleans us all up.

TM: Reuben, all of your swear words, you use them, he leaves them out!

RS: Oh my goodness, do I curse like a sailor or what?

[laughter]

RS: Yes.

BO: So officially, at what number are we at?

RS: For a podcast?

BO: Yeah.

RS: I’d say right around 75 podcasts, something very close to that.

TM: Wow.

BO: Awesome. It’s one of these things that drips out over time, it’s like the blog, right? You start doing it, and eventually you look back and it’s all grown up, your blog is graduating from high school.

RS: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. If you read the book, The Slight Edge, I love that book. I’ve given that book away to a lot of people, it’s these little efforts made continually over time that add up to a ton of returns, just like compound interest, another book called The Compound Effect, it’s a lot like that. You stick with it and you do it over and over again, and it pays off. This hasn’t paid off yet, the podcast hasn’t paid off, [chuckle] but we’ve got 75 episodes recorded.

TM: Personally, I feel like I’ve learned so much from doing this and all the experts we’ve had on? Great, great information and knowledge, so, yeah.

RS: Yes. Even if nobody listens and nobody cares, we get value out of it.

TM: Exactly. Yeah, exactly.

BO: Yes, we get to go to school once a week. Yeah, but thank you, Andy Shrader, John Williamson, Ross Anderson, I’m trying to think of all the people, and I’m gonna fall flat on my face trying to drop names, but thank you to everybody who just gave us some time, I really, really appreciate it. Reuben, I don’t wanna drop off without handing you the baton, because I know this year you’ve changed up the charitable donations, you always do something at Structure Tech, but this year it’s been a little bit different, so can you kinda just share with everybody the things that you’ve moved towards?

RS: We’ve given quite a bit of money to quite a few different organizations this year, one was Wounded Warrior Project, we teamed up with the folks at All Around, and they got a big check at the end of a big day of paintball that we did with them. That was a lot of fun. That’s one of my highlights of the year, is doing paintball with the guys and all the vendors at the All Around radio show, that’s a blast. So Wounded Warrior Project, another one was The Edina Realty Foundation, and they’re all about providing local housing, they’re trying to help people get into houses here, so that’s something that is very near and dear to our heart as home inspectors and Coldwell Banker Cares is a very similar Foundation, which we had a matching contribution to that organization this year as well. It’s all about getting people in the houses, and then we also had a big donation to a COVID-19 response, so that’s what we did this year, and that’s something that everybody on the team can rally behind.

BO: Awesome. Well, I think we should put a wrap on this episode, this is coming to you just before Christmas, so let me be the first to say of this three-legged stool Merry Christmas and thanks for tuning in. We appreciate the support and we appreciate the comments, and we appreciate being able to do this on a daily basis, so thank you for everybody who’s listening, we will catch you next time, and enjoy the holiday.