Episode 16 – Randy Watkins


Randy rocks his way to better client relationships

 

All the Partners at Anton Collins Mitchell have website headshots that show their hobbies or passions. When Randy became a Partner, golf was already taken so he had to dig into his past to bring out his guitar. By opening up a little about his college guitar playing days, clients began asking him to jam with them. That’s when he had to admit that he needed to practice quite a bit before taking the stage with them, which shows that you don’t have to be proficient in your hobby to share it with others. You just have to be passionate about it.

I talk with Randy about how Anton Collins Mitchell uses a Fun Calendar to encourage staff to develop stronger relationships with others that share the same passions. And how, as a Partner, he looks for people who are eager to continue to grow — which is only enhanced by bringing your hobbies and passions to work.

Randy graduated with a degree in Accounting from University of Northern Colorado and has worked in public accounting ever since.

 

Other pictures of Randy

(click to enlarge)

Randy let’s loose on the golf course.

Randy poses with Blues Traveler after the NOCO Unify Suitcase Party fundraiser.

Randy’s Blues Traveler tattoo signed by lead singer John Popper.

Randy’s links

 

Transcript

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    John: Welcome to Episode 16 of the Green Apple Podcast. Every Wednesday, I interview a professional who stands out at work for being known for his or her hobbies and passions, and this week is no exception with my guest, Randy Watkins, who has the tattoo to prove it. Before I get started though, let me give Randy a quick introduction. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and he’s been in public accounting ever since. Now, he’s a partner in charge of the Northern Colorado practice with Anton Collins Mitchell and I know you guys are doing some really, really cool things, so I’m so excited to have you on the show, but first — I like to ask everybody — how did you get into accounting?

    Randy: Interestingly enough, my dad’s also a CPA, retired CPA. And growing up, I actually had no idea what he did for a living. I knew that there were three or four months out of a year that he was gone a lot and worked a lot, and then he spent the rest of the year playing golf.

    John: He sounds like an astronaut.

    Randy: Exactly, yeah, so I didn’t really know much about what he did and to be honest, he never pressured or really encouraged me to go into accounting. I happen to take an accounting course my senior year in high school really just to see if I could figure it out. I don’t know why I didn’t just ask him, but I took an accounting course in high school and at that point in time, I wanted to be an engineer. I took the accounting class, really enjoyed it. It came easy to me. I ended up actually placing in a state competition even though I was a year behind everybody else that I was competing against, so I figured I must have a natural aptitude for it. So I ended up circling back and talking to my dad about it and then that’s when he got excited and started really pushing me into it — not pushing, but encouraging me. So yeah, that’s how I got into accounting. Now, I’ve surrounded myself with it.

    John: Wow! That’s great, so a senior year high school class changed it all.

    Randy: Yup.

    John: Well, that’s excellent, man. I know that obviously being a partner there takes a lot of time, but in your free time, what is it that you enjoy doing on the nights and weekends?

    Randy: Well, there are a few things that I enjoy. Golf is one.

    John: Well, sure. That comes with the territory, I think, right?

    Randy: Right, so that’s one of my hobbies. I spend a lot of time playing that. My wife and I actually both golf, and so we enjoy doing that together. Something else that I’ve really enjoyed being a part of, I do a lot of work with nonprofits and governments in my work as a CPA, but I also do a lot outside of work and that’s something I think that I’ve gotten — that one has been the most rewarding activity outside of work for me, is just the nonprofit involvement that I’ve been able to be part of.

    John: Right. Are there specific ones that you align with more?

    Randy: Yeah. There are so many causes out there that are great and it’s easy to get sucked into all of them all of them, but I’ve tried to figure out the ones that are more important to me. One that I think is super important is just making sure that everyone at the early age has the same opportunity that I did, so underprivileged kids is one of the areas that I’ve spent a lot of time in, cancer because I’ve had some family-related issues with that, so that’s important for me. And then the other one is the profession, so I get pretty involved with the professional affiliations. But with respect to the kids, that’s probably been the one that I’ve enjoyed the most. I really started by getting involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and then it went from there.

    John: Yeah. I actually did Big Brothers Big Sisters before I moved to New York and for about ten years, I was matched up with my Little. It was so fun and so rewarding. Also, I don’t have children, so it was a huge learning curve for me. You see them take one step forward and then two steps back the next time you see them a week or two later and you’re like, “Man, come on. We’re right here two weeks ago.” And then I guess the third thing —

    Randy: Oh, the third, guitar. If you go to our website, you’ll see that I’m sitting there with my Fender Strat and then my Peavey amp, but the funny thing about that is that was really a hobby that I spent a lot more time doing when I was in college. When I was made a partner — all of our partners have their pictures there with a bio and we’re trying to show the cool, fun things that we do outside our work and I was told I had to come up with something unique that wasn’t already on the website. He’s no longer on there, but Gary Mitchell, one of the founding partners, he was still on there when I was made a partner and he had a golf bag in front of him, which that would’ve been my ideal choice, so I had to find something else. I’m walking through my basement and I see my old Fender Strat and my Peavey amp sitting there and I’m like, well, that was a cool thing even though I don’t really do that much anymore.

    So I grabbed that and took it down and that’s what ended up being on the website. And the funny thing about it is for the next three or four weeks, I was getting emails from clients and friends and prospects and referral sources and I didn’t realize I had so many friends that were into music and played instruments and had bands. And so, I got invited to —

    John: Wow!

    Randy: Yeah. I got invited to a whole bunch of bands and I basically had to tell them that I’m not nearly as good as they might expect seeing that picture on that website.

    John: Right. You’ve got to start practicing again.

    Randy: Yeah. I actually have. Now I have a guitar in my office. My wife bought me a new guitar for Christmas last year, so I’ve picked it back up.

    John: That’s excellent, man. That’s so cool and that’s so great that they just see your picture and all of a sudden, it’s like a magnet, just people gravitating towards you out of nowhere, people that you didn’t even know did music or enjoyed music or what have you.

    Randy: Exactly.

    John: That’s very cool, man. That’s I guess the whole reason that I’m doing the podcast just to show that that one little thing, just grabbing your guitar out of your basement and taking a picture for the firm headshot all of a sudden makes a lot of people open up to you that never would have.

    Randy: Yeah, it was crazy. It was really neat.

    John: Yeah. I can’t even imagine. I’m sure you hung up the phone and would start laughing sometimes.

    Randy: Oh, big time. Actually, we were both laughing on the phone together when I told them that I might be okay with rhythm guitars, but they won’t want me playing lead.

    John: Yeah, yeah, we’re not playing lead. I’m the guy in the back with the chords.

    Randy: Yeah. You can actually turn off my amp if you want and I’ll just look cool.

    John: Yeah, exactly. I’m an eye candy. That’s what I am.

    Randy: Exactly.

    John: Right. That’s hilarious. That’s so funny. So you got into the guitar-playing in college?

    Randy: Yeah. I had a college job and I had a friend who is a phenomenal guitarist, so I bought a guitar and he started teaching me. I’ve actually never had any formal training, but he’s taught me a whole bunch of songs, so basically I know — the other funny thing about it is I know the first 20 bars of about 15 songs, so yeah.

    John: Just like every college dude out there who’s like, “I know the chorus” and then that’s it.

    Randy: Yeah, another cool part and that was about it.

    John: Yeah, just enough for the girls to go “woo!” That’s excellent, man. That’s so great with that passion that you had and you just keep practicing and playing like that and —

    Randy: Yeah. Music’s always come easy to me. I taught myself how to play piano. I’ve played a bunch of instruments growing up. Yeah, I enjoy it, so I’ll hear a song and I’ll grab the guitar and see if I can figure it out real quick.

    John: Yeah. I played the piano growing up myself and then I tried guitar just like I think every college guy has, but my fingers are — I don’t know. They are, I don’t know, short and fat. I don’t know what the word is, but they’re just not good for guitar.

    Randy: Yeah, they get in the way.

    John: Yeah, and I was like, you know what? I’m not that guy, so I just stuck with trombone in the marching band and —

    Randy: You played trombone, too?

    John: Yeah.

    Randy: I played trombone in the marching band.

    John: Yeah. That’s just a total goofball instrument right there.

    Randy: Absolutely.

    John: Yeah. I guess what’s been maybe one of the coolest or most rewarding things in general that you’ve gotten to do?

    Randy: I would say that the coolest opportunities that have come to me are through my involvement with the charities. Actually, there’s another one that I got after I left Big Brothers Big Sisters. I got into a group called Denver Active 20-30. It’s a huge fundraising group down in Denver and it was actually an organization that actually started in the ’40s I think to really encourage young professionals or young people to get involved with philanthropy. So basically, the gist is anybody between 20 and 39. Our group happened to be an all-male group in Denver, but there are gender neutral groups all over the country. Anyway, our group is all men, 60 guys in the group, and we just threw big events and raised money. And then we had a big charity review process that we went through and doled the money out at the end of the year. Annually, we gave away usually around a million bucks to charities.

    John: Wow! That’s impressive.

    Randy: Yeah, charities in Colorado or in Denver that benefits disadvantaged kids. So one of the coolest opportunities, I think, came through that group. Our biggest event was the Denver Polo Classic. It’s actually the world’s largest charity polo tournament. I don’t know how many charity polo tournaments there are in the world, but this is the world’s largest.

    John: Right, so the horse polo, right?

    Randy: Yeah.

    John: Yeah. That’s a lot of horses coming in.

    Randy: Oh yeah, and these teams were from around the world. There were Argentina — it was crazy. It was a national event. It was pretty neat and that event alone raised 600,000 bucks, so that was a cool event.

    I enjoyed doing it, but the neatest thing I think I ever did was when I was evaluating whether or not I wanted to join the group, one of my friends who was in the group invited me to go along with him on one of their events called Christmas for Kids and that is an event where Denver Active 20-30 partnered with one of the biggest beneficiaries, Denver Kids Inc., which is a nonprofit based in the Denver Public School District for disadvantaged kids where they would pair the children up with a member and we’d take them to a local target store. They’d open the store up an hour ahead of time or an hour earlier and let us roam the store with a $45 gift card helping this kid pick out presents for his family, so I got to go along on that.

    My friend and his wife took one kid and I took the other little seven-year-old kid named Gervantre and the first thing he tried to buy was a Boogie Board for his brother and I’m like that’s going to blow your budget pretty fast, so we tried to help him pick things out. The funniest thing he bought — we got to the end where he’s picking something out for his mom and he really wanted to buy her one of those magic eight balls. I’m like, “I don’t know if she’s going to enjoy this. You might want to think about maybe something over in the home section or something, maybe clothes or something,” but he was determined, so his mom got a magic eight ball.

    John: That’s awesome. That’s so great. That’s just so funny to just see their perspective and you know what they think is important.

    Randy: Yeah. And so it went from that, which was really fun and neat, to kind of the heartbreaking side of it where we had to drop him off. I wasn’t part of the group then, so Dave took him up to the kid’s door and knocked on the door and nobody answered, so Gervantre opened the door and the kid’s dad is passed out on the couch with a bong sitting in front of him. It was pretty heart-wrenching to see where these kids are raised in.

    John: Yeah. I had a similar experience where just your concept of reality is nuts. I remember my Little was Jack and one of his friends that we would play basketball with at the YMCA on occasion got shot in a drive-by just in the leg or something, and I say “just” as if that’s not — yeah. So I pick Jack up and I was driving and out of nowhere, he just goes, “Yeah, yeah,” I forget his name — Dwayne. “Dwayne got shot in the leg,” and I pulled the car over. I was like, “Jack, do you understand? I’ve never known anyone that’s been shot before. That’s crazy, dude. Do you understand that that’s not normal, that’s not good?” Yeah. It was —

    Randy: It’s sad, their perspective on life now.

    John: Yeah. To him, it was like yeah, it was raining yesterday. It was just so off-the-cuff, just nonchalant. He wasn’t shaken up about it. It was Denver Active 20-30. Is that what you said?

    Randy: Yeah.

    John: I’ll be sure and put a link on the website for that so if people want to check that out —

    Randy: Absolutely, please do. And if you don’t mind, I would also mention now that I’m in Northern Colorado, I’m no longer part of the Denver Active Group, but I joined the Northern Colorado Active Group. We just rebranded to Northern Colorado United for Youth. I’ll be fined by my group if I don’t mention that in the interviews.

    John: Well, we’ll put that link first and then —

    Randy: Perfect!

    John: Yeah, but definitely, people that want to check that out or people in the area that want to also join in, definitely be a part of that. That would be very cool, very cool. Have any of those hobbies helped develop a unique skill set for work or enhanced your work in any way?

    Randy: Yeah. When I joined the Northern Colorado Active Group, I had the opportunity to become president three years ago, so as president —

    John: Congrats!

    Randy: Yeah. It was really neat. You’re responsible for basically making sure everything happens. The biggest thing that we do is sell, so we’re out there trying to sell sponsorships. One of the skills that I think is important as a partner in a CPA firm is having the ability to go out and drum up work and develop relationships and those types of things. And having to coordinate 40 guys out there trying to put on a massive event and find sponsors and really sell the organization, that was huge. I basically was managing a sales team of 40 guys and it was neat.

    John: Yeah, and the organization side and things like that, yeah, you’re able to fine tune the skill that you’re using also with the firm.

    Randy: Right. The other thing we’ve done with that is because we are — the money that we’re giving out is going to charities in the area.

    Also, we’ve gone both ways and taken the skills that I have as an accountant and gone and done presentations for some of the beneficiaries of our efforts and helped them understand their financial data better, helped them present their financial data in grant applications better and things like that, so it’s kind of worked both ways, so it’s been kind of neat.

    John: Yeah, that’s perfect. That’s so perfect. Do you talk about the Northern Colorado United for Youth at work with your co-workers and/or clients?

    Randy: Yeah. A lot of my co-workers and clients are involved with some of these charities that we benefit. Yeah, we talk — NoCo 20/30 or NoCo Unify comes up quite a bit just because we’ve made such a massive impact in the region. We started seven or eight years ago and the first year, I think we raised 150,000 bucks an hour. This year, I think we’ll do about 500,000, so that’s a massive impact in a pretty small community.

    John: Yeah, that’s a huge impact. I apologize. I said it wrong. I’ll fix it.

    Randy: Oh no, it’s United for Youth. You had it right, I had it wrong.

    John: Oh, it is United for Youth.

    Randy: I’ll get fined for that, too.

    John: Okay, all right, United for Youth. All right. Suddenly you guys are going to be up to $2 million by the time you get done paying all your fines.

    Randy: Exactly.

    John: Right. I see how you guys make all your money.

    Randy: Yeah. All the members are broke.

    John: Right, right. You’re going to be serving each other by the end of this. So when you talked about it at work, was it something that you did consciously or was it something that just came up organically in conversation?

    Randy: Well, I guess I don’t really know how to answer that. If I’m bringing it up, it’s usually around one of the events we’re doing and I’m mentioning to people if they want to go, I got tickets and we need to sponsor it. If it’s coming up from them, it’s usually just asking what’s going on, how are the events this year, those types of things. I wouldn’t say that it comes up all that often in conversation at the office except around those events.

    John: It’s certainly what people know you for.

    Randy: Yeah. One good example I guess that just came up — I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier — but because I’ve been so involved with 20-30 and because we’ve had such a massive impact and have been so successful, one of my clients did invite me to help him with the event he’s planning now for — it’s called Cattle Baron’s Ball, but it’s an American Cancer Society event that we do in Weld County. He is the chair this year, and so he invited me to join his group, which I thought was kind of cool. I was a little nervous but it was a major nod.

    John: Yeah, that’s excellent. It’s obviously a stronger relationship than with that client that has come about through something that had you not shared then that extra dimension wouldn’t be there. It enhances the client’s service side of it as well. That’s really great. So obviously, that’s a perfect example of a client relationship that’s grown stronger. And even like you said, a lot of co-workers are involved as well, so plenty of relationship-building on both sides. That’s really great. I guess one thing that before you got in — so the guitar-playing hobby didn’t really come out until you guys were doing headshots, right?

    Randy: Yeah.

    John: So that’s when all of a sudden the big secret was revealed.

    Randy: Yeah. Well, what’s funny is — I think I mentioned it one time before that and it was when Greg Anton was interviewing me at UNC and I mentioned that. He asked what one of my hobbies was and I said, “Well, I like to play the guitar.” And then he mentioned that his brother played bass guitar for Prince, Madonna, Jonny Lang, and I’m like, never mind.

    John: Yeah, but I’m sure that you stuck out then compared to other interviewees.

    Randy: Yeah, I’m sure.

    John: Yeah, that either have no hobby or something that didn’t necessarily connect. So yeah, just on accident, you were standing out. I’m sure that your job credentials carried itself, but a cherry on top doesn’t hurt.

    Randy: Oh yeah, anytime you can somehow distinguish yourself from others positively.

    John: Right, exactly. I don’t know if you want to talk about that a little bit of just distinguishing yourself from others especially from a partner’s perspective when looking at staffing a client or looking at promoting people or what have you.

    How do you look at people that stand out and necessarily maybe using their hobbies or passions? I look at it as the simplest way to stand out because it’s something that you’re already doing and it’s something that you really love anyway.

    Randy: Yeah. Well, taking it back to the very first step, when I was a few years into my career, I started getting really involved with the on-campus recruiting at my alma mater, UNC, and when I would look at or evaluate candidates, I’d obviously look at their GPA and that was sort of important, but I’d also look at the things that they also listed on their resume or talked about in the interview.

    If someone has a 4.0 but they don’t have a job while they’re in school or they’re not involved in some sort of sport or athletics or if they’re not doing something outside of school, to me at least it’s not all that hard to get a 4.0 if you don’t have anything else going on. When I was in school, I was working 30 hours a week. I was doing things on the side. I was volunteering. Those things I think build a more well-rounded individual and someone who’s going to be able to have conversations with clients and think about things differently, so that’s why I actually placed a lot of weight on that kind of stuff. So starting at that point, I started really evaluating people based on the things they did outside of the pursuit of their profession. I think that has carried through in how I evaluate folks that work with us. One of the things I think I placed the most value on is just an eagerness to learn and grow in whatever it is, mostly with respect to the profession, but also getting involved with other things that are important to you like hobbies.

    John: Right, because those hobbies can also develop some skills that you can bring to the table that not everyone else has got because everyone else can do debits and credits but maybe not everyone can present to a group or different skills that you’re developing. I think that’s really great. I guess something that I struggle with on my own, because I have some free time by myself on an airplane, but how much weight is it on to develop this environment I guess for people to share? How much of that is on the organization and how much is it on the individual to just step up and maybe at lunch bring up what you did over the weekend?

    Randy: Well, our firm encourages it quite a bit. We’ve got a charge code that if you are involved with charitable organizations, you can put time towards that.

    John: That’s so great.

    Randy: We don’t call it at impact day, but something like a day in action type of thing where we’ll shut down an office and go volunteer with the local charity, do some team building. It’s getting to do things together on the firm’s time, so it’ll be an excused day. I wasn’t raised in a household where this was encouraged, so if I hadn’t been encouraged by others, I don’t know that I would’ve gotten all that involved with other activities like this. So I think doing that helps them see those types of opportunities and get excited about it.

    I always enjoy hearing about things that people are doing that are important to them and fun to them. I think it is important for them to share that kind of information and open up and start to get to know each other on a more individual basis versus how we know each other at the office, so I think it’s important for both. I think it should be highly encouraged by the organization and then I think the individuals within the organization should absolutely open up and talk about that kind of stuff.

    John: Yeah. I think that’s great. Is there anything that you guys do in your office by encouraging people to share?

    Randy: In my office in Northern Colorado, we got about 12 people working here in my office and we have a monthly all staff meeting where we all come together on a Monday morning and one of the things we are starting — we started doing this awhile ago, but we spend a lot of time just doing some sub-culture work recognizing that there’s going to be a firm-like culture and then there’s going to be the individual office sub-cultures. That’s where this day in action came out where we close the office once — I think it’s three times a year or four times a year. We haven’t decided on that yet. We just had our first one a month ago, so that came out of this.

    In those meetings, we’re also asking people to share something that they’re doing, but that’s something pretty recently that we’ve asked them to do.

    John: Okay, all right, and people seemed comfortable with that or —

    Randy: Yeah, I think so.

    John: I guess it’s a 12-person office, so it’s a different dynamic. I think that’s fantastic. I remember when I used to work corporate because I was Big Four and then transitioned to industry and no matter where I would go, a client or a new team, co-worker, whatever, I would always ask them, “What do you do?” and they would always start with their job. I would cut them off and I’ll be like, “No, no, no, I know what you do. What do you do outside of work? Who are you?” And it’s so disappointing how people struggle to answer that question because either they don’t have anything or they don’t think that what they do is a thing. If you love watching horror movies, well, great! That’s your thing. I don’t want to label you myself. You label yourself with what you love to do and who you are, and if you have no answer, then that’s just the worst. That’s not a good bucket in my mind to be in.

    Randy: Well, that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I’m the same way. If I’m asked what I do, I talk about accounting. It’s funny. I saw a presentation not too long ago where a guy said something similar. Everybody says, “How are you doing?” and everybody answers, “I’m really busy.” We’re all busy.

    John: Yeah, right. Yeah. We all do accounting. I know what you do. I’m not excited by that. Tell me something that’s going to make me want to like you.

    Randy: That’s a great point. I think we do that pretty well. We have a semi-annual all firm meeting, which just happened to happen last Thursday, but at those meetings, we do recognize — we don’t actually stand up and talk because there are 150 of us now, but we do recognize things that are being done within the firm, so there are a lot of people involved with a lot of organizations. And so, those people do get recognized in those meetings.

    John: Yeah. I think it’s excellent. The volunteer work is a huge thing because it connects you with the community as well, but even on top of that, there are other hobbies that people are doing. Maybe it’s a sports league or what have you, but also it’s connected with the community that is a good —

    Randy: Yeah. We have our fun calendar in the group, too, and that is where people share the things that are going on. There are a lot of people who are into music and there’s a great live music scene in Denver, and so you get posts, “I’m going to this. I’m going to the Fillmore on Friday. This is who’s playing. Anybody who’s interested in going?”

    John: Oh, that’s so great.

    Randy: Yeah, and that’s kind of cool. We have a fun committee in the firm and they came up with that idea, so it’s kind of neat, fun calendar. There’s hiking on there. There’s fishing. There’s golf. There’s anything that you can think of that people could be doing outside of work.

    John: Oh, that is so excellent. That’s perfect because then it’s saying this is what I love to do. Other people that love to do this also, let’s do it together. And then you create that extra connection with co-workers. So somebody is staying late and they’re like, “Hey, I need a little bit of help on this,” it’s like yeah, I’ll help you because I like you as a friend as opposed to just another senior associate. So you do have those connections and those bonds. Oh man, that is such a great idea like an online message board, fun calendar and committee. That’s so great. Perfect!

    I guess the last thing I’ll ask is — because I remember when I was new, when you’re trying to just be a super accountant and meeting other people as well — what might be some barriers, you think, that keep people from wanting to open up?

    Randy: I think it’s just the perception that you have to be viewed a certain way, maintaining professionalism and things like that, not to suggest that you let go of that, but I think early on, I probably was a little more worried about opening up and sharing my personal life, not that there’s anything that I should be worried about, but just opening up because I’m supposed to be viewed as —

    John: It’s a whole another podcast.

    Randy: Right, yeah, exactly. I’m supposed to be viewed as this ultra professional and I think that it might cause people to exercise caution, I guess, or to be hesitant to open up. I think that’s where it’s on upper level people’s management or seniors and those types of people to really pull that out of brand new staff and really create an environment where that’s encouraged and welcomed.

    John: Yeah, and I think that that’s great. What you guys are doing from the top, your own headshots on your website are each of the partners doing the activity that they love to do. And so, you’re showing at the top that that’s great and I’m sure that clients got to gravitate towards that I would imagine a lot.

    Randy: I think so too.

    John: It just shows that you guys are real people. You’re actually so good at your jobs that you have extra time to do these other activities, but it’s also something that the other clients, they do it too because we’re all people and it’s time to stop pretending that we’re robots. They’re people too, so that’s how you make that connection.

    Randy: I think that there are a lot of opportunities in this profession. I’ve met some really cool people doing what I do both professionally and then outside of work activities. I was with a client where I met Charles Barkley. I was at a CPE last week and I met Gerry Rice. The year I was president, we had our big event in Northern Colorado. It was the Suitcase Party and Governor Hickenlooper showed up. I got to meet Governor Hickenlooper and then the next day, he went to the state assembly and said he just attended the coolest party ever.

    John: Nice! Yes!

    Randy: Blues Traveler was my favorite band in college and I got them to play at the event. I got to meet John Hopper and —

    John: Oh, that’s so great!

    Randy: If you get out there and do things, you’re going to have some really cool opportunities.

    John: Right, and I guess that’s part of getting over that hump. Once you start to open up a little bit, you start to reach out a little bit, then it’s amazing that there are other people reaching back and that cool opportunities are going to happen and you’re going to be exposed to some great things. If you just keep locked up and shelled in your shell then none of that is going to happen whether it’s professionally or personally and I think your career suffers as well.

    Randy: That same night — I’m not sure if I want this on the podcast or not, but that same night —

    John: Okay. I can cut it off if you want.

    Randy: No, it’s okay. I have one tattoo and it was something I got when I was 18 years old and it was the Blues Traveler Band. So up until that night — only a handful of people had seen this tattoo because it’s below the bottom of my shorts. I did that so that my dad wouldn’t find out about it, but that night, we actually made $4000 auctioning off the opportunity for me to get on stage and show the entire audience of a thousand people my tattoo of the Blues Traveler Band, so talk about opening up and dispensing any professionalism.

    John: Yeah, but I think that there’s a certain level of authenticity there that I think is definitely in the professional bucket. You’re just being real. I’m sure that that’s got to be so cool for the Blues Traveler Band to see if somebody still has that tattoo, that it’s not faded.

    Randy: Yup. John Popper even signed it.

    John: I was worried that you’re going to tell me that the tattoo was like of a T-chart or something like that, debit-credit, oh man!

    Randy: No, I’m not that nerdy.

    John: Right. That’s so excellent. Well, on that note, I think that we’ve really gotten to know you, Randy, really well, but I don’t think that we totally get to know you until we go through my 17 rapid fire questions, which as a partner, I recommend you use in your interview process going forward. No, not at all actually, but it’s just good fun. We get to know you, a couple of quick questions. Here we go. The first one is Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Randy: Star Wars.

    John: Favorite ice cream flavor?

    Randy: Butterscotch — oh, wait, pecan really.

    John: Okay. All right. Sudoku or crossword puzzle?

    Randy: Sudoku. Well, actually neither, but —

    John: You don’t like either? Next one, jeans or khakis?

    Randy: Jeans.

    John: Balance sheet or income statement?

    Randy: Income statement.

    John: Pens or pencils?

    Randy: Pens.

    John: Oh, no mistakes! Nice! I like that. Least favorite vegetable?

    Randy: It used to be Brussels sprouts, but there are a lot of better ways of making those now, so it’s become one of my favorites. I like all vegetables.

    John: Oh, wow! Yeah, Brussels sprouts are on my list, even cauliflower. Favorite number?

    Randy: Seven.

    John: That seems to be a common one.

    Randy: Is it really?

    John: I don’t know why. Yeah, it’s my number too.

    Randy: Is it really? My birthday is the 14th and I was born in 1977, so there’s a lot of sevens coming out there.

    John: Okay, all right. Mine I think was just through sports. Number seven was always the quarterback or the star player, whatever. I don’t know. I’ve got no reason, which I guess leads us to your favorite sports team.

    Randy: CU Buffs.

    John: Oh, okay. PC or Mac?

    Randy: PC.

    John: A movie that makes you cry?

    Randy: ET.

    John: Oh! Favorite color?

    Randy: Blue.

    John: And least favorite color?

    Randy: Red.

    John: Right click or left click?

    Randy: Left click.

    John: That’s just a silly one. Do you have a favorite comedian?

    Randy: Yeah. Howie Mandel probably.

    John: Howie Mandel, all right, that’s a good one. Favorite toppings on a pizza?

    Randy: I like the jalapeno and cream cheese.

    John: Holy smokes! Where do you get that at?

    Randy: There’s a local pizza joint here in Greeley. There are other things on there too, but those are the two favorite ingredients. It’s called the Hot House and it has jalapenos, spicy sausage, cream cheese, and it’s awesome.

    John: Wow! Yeah, I’ve never heard of that one. That’s impressive. And then the last question is favorite thing you own?

    Randy: I have a corvette and it’s not a midlife crisis. I’ve wanted a corvette since I was 15 years old and I finally got one this year.

    John: Well, congrats, man! That’s awesome! What year is it?

    Randy: It’s in ’07.

    John: Okay, nice! That’s great! And so, you drive that around and you tell people, “It’s not a midlife crisis, I promise. It’s not.”

    Randy: Well, it’s funny because every time, someone will ask me what I drive and I say corvette or they’ll see me in a corvette and they’re like, “Are you going through a midlife crisis or something?” It’s not a midlife — I literally wanted one of these for 20 years.

    John: Right. You worked so hard for it and you finally get it. If you started playing guitar again, that’s the midlife crisis.

    Randy: Yeah, exactly.

    John: Thank you so much, Randy. I really appreciate you being on the show.

    Randy: Absolutely. I really appreciate it. It’s fun.

    John: Wow! I can’t get enough of that fun calendar idea. I hope everyone’s office can implement that to start developing stronger relationships with each other. Be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com for links to Randy and some pictures including that Blues Traveler tattoo signed by John Popper. And I’m so thankful for the five-star reviews on iTunes and Stitcher that definitely helps others know they need to listen to this crazy, fun business show. Now, go out and be a green apple.


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