Episode 268 – Ron Seigneur

Ron is an Accountant & Clown

John visits Ron’s office in Denver to follow up on his latest adventures as part of the Distinguished Clown Brigade, taking on the role of Santa Claus, and writing a book on the cannabis industry!  He returns to the podcast from episode 26.

Episode Highlights

6th year with the Distinguished Clown Brigade
Being Santa Claus
Being questioned about the Distinguished Clown Brigade during cross exams
Why he feels it is beneficial to include the Distinguished Clown Brigade in his resume
His book on the cannabis industry
Picking up guitar again
Why he enjoys speaking and traveling to conferences

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Ron’s Pictures

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Ron with children Zoe, Oliver and Lila

Ron with friends fishing in Canada

Ron as a clown

Ron’s links

Transcript

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    Welcome to Episode 268 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I’m following up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also to hear how this message might’ve impacted them since we last talked.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published very, very soon. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details or sign up for my exclusive list and you’ll be the first to know when it’s being published. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This Follow-up Friday is going to be no different with my guest, Ron Seigneur. He’s the Managing Partner at Seigneur Gustafson in Denver and I’m visiting his office today. Ron, thanks so much for opening the doors and taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Ron: John, I’m just delighted to be here. It’s amazing. It was four years since we did the first episode.

    John: It’s insane, man. It feels like four weeks. It really does. But it was so fun meeting you when I did the AICPA conference many years ago. Yeah. And then having you on the show and then now, coming to your office. It’s a real place.

    Ron: And you live here in Denver now. So welcome to Colorado. Yeah.

    John: No, I appreciate it, man. Yeah. It’s been awesome. And since then, I’ve moved to rapid-fire questions up to the front now. These are pretty fun. We’ll do seven. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?

    Ron: Harry Potter. The train ride from Diagon Alley to Hogwarts at Universal was amazing last year. Yeah.

    John: Holy cow, look at this. You’re jumping. That’s like you didn’t just pick one. You knew. Okay.

    Ron: Yeah, absolutely.

    John: All right. More cats or dogs?

    Ron: I’m a dog guy. I’ve got a French Bulldog that’s incredibly spoiled.

    John: That’s awesome.

    Ron: Yeah. I raise the dog.

    John: Exactly. I remember the picture from the first time you were on the show that you sent in.

    Ron: Little bulldogs are my world.

    John: Exactly. This is a tough one. Brownie or ice cream?

    Ron: Oh, God, I love chocolate, but a hot brownie with a little vanilla ice cream on.

    John: That’s actually the correct answer. That was a trick one. It’s a combo. Exactly. How about a favorite Disney character?

    Ron: Oh god. I have a golf buddy that we call him Goofy. So I’ll go with Goofy because he’s one of my best friends.

    John: Goofy is a good answer. Do you prefer more hot or cold?

    Ron: I like hot. I like hot, black, strong coffee in the morning that gets me started.

    John: Okay. All right. All right. How about a favorite sports team? And sport?

    Ron: Michigan Wolverines.

    John: Really?

    Ron: I’m a Spartan and a Wolverine. They played each other on Saturday. I grew up in Ann Arbor so when you cut me, I bleed more blue than I do green.

    John: Wow. Interesting.

    Ron: I just dislike the Ohio State Buckeyes.

    John: Yeah. So either way, you got that, so that works. All right. All right. And the last one, this might be the most important one. Toilet paper roll, over or under?

    Ron: Oh, it’s got to be over. I’ve got a brother in law who’s in the Navy and he’s just over. He goes to our bathroom. He’ll turn it around if it’s wrong. It’s got to be over. I think that’s a military code.

    John: Yeah, pretty much. That’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. Yeah. I mean the Episode 26, you were so brave to be on, so early on. I had no clue what I was doing. I still kind of don’t. But we talked about being in the Distinguished Clown Brigade, which was just so cool. And part of — I mean for charity in a parade, give everybody a quick backstory on that.

    Ron: I’ll try not to take too long, but I have two thoughts. One, this would be the sixth year that I’ve been involved. It’s part of the Parade of Lights, which is December 6th this year. Unfortunately, this will be the first year I’m going to miss it because I’m going to fulfill a bucket list thing. I’m going to be Santa Claus the next morning at Denver Country Club. And we have our dress rehearsal on the night that I’d be clowning around. So I’m stepping up to be Santa Claus this year. But the Clown Brigade is alive and well. It’s a charitable thing. I’ve got a couple of pictures on my wall. Yeah, it’s a privilege to be invited to do that.

    John: And you nail it. I mean it’s just really fun and jovial. You make it into an experience for everybody, which is what you do.

    Ron: It’s funny because I have a CV for all the expert witness stuff I do. On there, I say I’m a member of the Denver Distinguished Clown Brigade. And I’ve been in trials where I get asked that question in cross exams. It’s a nice way to avoid dealing with the real numbers and the real issues. It’s like, “Mr. Seigneur, tell me about this clowning around thing you’re doing.” Yeah.

    John: Right. Exactly. Do you find that it’s a detriment? Or is it more of an enhancer?

    Ron: I think it’s an enhancer. It just shows that I’m a real guy, more than just a number counter type of guy.

    John: Yeah, totally. Because I mean there are some recruiters that I’ll run across or people that tell me that their recruiter or their headhunter or whatever is telling them to leave those things off of their resume. And I’m like, “Well, that’s the only thing that differentiates you. I mean why would you?”

    Ron: I was in a trial, a contentious trial several months ago. I was being cross examined and the cross examining attorney had things they’re putting up on the screen and asking about numbers and empirical stuff and flashed a picture of me in my clown outfit. I was up on the stand sworn in. He said, “Mr. Seigneur, is this you?” I said, “Yes.” Then he went on to the next accounting thing. And I said, “Aren’t you going to ask me about…” He goes, “I don’t have time.” And I’m up there and I go, “That’s bullshit.” The judge paused and everything. We had to straighten that out on redirect, which we did. I think I scored points, but it was weird having somebody show a picture of a clown up while I’m in court.

    John: And what does that have to do with your ability to be an excellent forensics investigator? I mean it has nothing to do with it.

    Ron: Well, it has everything to do with the old line that lawyers say, “If the facts are against you, you argue the law right. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If both the law and the facts are against you, you call the other side names.”

    John: Right. There you go.

    Ron: I think it fell into that category.

    John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, but I mean it’s such a cool thing that you do. And now, Santa, I mean that’s next level. That’s legit.

    Ron: I have a Santa outfit that I inherited from the guys the last couple of years. I have it at home. I was trying it on last night as a matter of fact. And I need to enhance it with a few things. So I’m going down the street to Disguises, which is a great costume shop just down the road, making sure I have the right glasses and the right beard and the right gloves and everything because you want to be the right Santa.

    John: You have to be legit. Yeah. You can’t be mailing it in these days, I mean kids with the internet and everything.

    Ron: Yeah. I don’t want to be Bad Santa.

    John: Right. That’s awesome. Yeah. So other hobbies, passions? I know that it seems like you’ve expanded some outside of work interests.

    Ron: Yeah. I’ve got four grandkids, another one on the way. They all live here in Denver, so that’s cool. We just took my oldest granddaughter who’s 13 to see Phantom of the Opera last night. So that was cool, a little culture for her and myself and my wife and my daughter. I still play golf, still hack away at the golf course just down the street here. I love to travel. I do a lot of speaking as you know, John, around the country.

    John: Right. Oh yeah, absolutely.

    Ron: One of the things is I become known as the pot guy because I wrote a book called The Cannabis Industry Accounting and Appraisal Guide with my partner and another colleague. Now, I literally have people walking up to me going, “Hey, you’re the pot guy, aren’t you?”

    John: It’s like, “Well, it depends on how you define that.”

    Ron: If it pays enough, that’s it. If my mother could see me now, do you what I’m saying?

    John: Right. Exactly. Yeah, but I mean from having that niche in that industry especially in Colorado but so many other states, that’s becoming a big business opportunity.

    Ron: It’s huge. We’re doing a lot of stuff in hemp and CBD right now. As a matter of fact, we’re about ready to issue a big report on a seed genetics firm that’s located here in Denver. But we’ve done cannabis and hemp related work in Oregon. We have stuff in Nevada going on, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan, Virginia. So we’re finding our way all over the country. Primarily because of the book, the book kind of just all of a sudden, you wrote the book. It’s like you must know something. Yeah.

    John: That’s really awesome. With all your travels and talking to people and expanding business and everything, do you find that people are sharing hobbies and passions more now or you’re more keen to it? Or is it, “I still have work to do.”

    Ron: I’ve always been a curious people. I’m a people person. So I always like to talk to people, like what you’re doing in a smaller degree, kind of, “What do you like to do? What do you do outside of work? What’s unique about you as an individual?” It’s fun to learn about people and see what other people are into. I always ask people, “Do you really have a hobby?” Because most people, it’s like, “Well, my hobby is running or working out,” versus gardening or woodworking. It seems like nobody has time for legitimate hobbies anymore. They’re all slaves to the internet. “My hobby is doing emails all day long.” It’s like, “Hmm, not so much.”

    John: Right. Yeah. That’s why I try to push people. It’s something that has nothing to do with your job at all. Yeah. And why do you think it’s so important that you find out these things when you talk to people?

    Ron: I’m curious. I just like to know what they’re about. What do they do besides their job to define themselves? We’re all spinning through this world at a rapid pace. Do you like to travel? Are you finding time for it? Do you like to take photography? Are you really following it? I like to play guitar. I have a guitar in my basement. I just haven’t found enough time to do it. But it’s one of those things I’d like to get back into. I have a couple good friends. I think you know one, Kevin Yeanoplos.

    John: Oh, yeah, he’s been a friend of the podcast. Absolutely. Yeah, he’s been on.

    Ron: He and his buddy, Harold Martin, have been actually playing their guitars when they — we just did a conference in Virginia. For the afternoon reception, Harold and Kevin broke out their guitars and sang and played. It’s cool to see them do that. They’re willing to get up in front of their peers and, “Let me show you that I’m good enough to stroke a few notes and play some for you.”

    John: Right. And now, everyone knows who they are.

    Ron: Absolutely.

    John: So instead of just another forensics person, it’s, “Oh, no, you’re the one that played the guitar.”

    Ron: Yeah. You’re the one that has another talent.

    John: Exactly. Exactly. I think it’s cool that you’re doing that well before I came along, which is great. You’re creating those deeper connections that actually matter because you care about them as a person, which is awesome.

    Ron: Getting around and speaking and teaching at conferences, the best part about it is the relationships that I’ve built over the years, people that I consider close friends that I might only see once or twice a year. We go to the AICPA Valuation Conference and it’s like Old Home Week when we show up there. Yeah.

    John: For those people, I’m usually good friends with them because I only see them once or twice a year. If I saw them more, they would be like, “We’re sick of you, John. Leave me alone.”

    Ron: Kind of like my relatives.

    John: Right. Exactly. I think that’s great. Do you have any words of encouragement to others? I mean clearly, being Santa and then the Distinguished Clown Brigade, it’s not something that’s normal that people would think of as something that makes you better at your job, but it clearly does.

    Ron: Well, I said bucket list before and I think we might’ve talked about this back in April of 2016 when we did Episode 26, but have a bucket list. Sit down. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Write out — what is it that’s on your bucket list that you’d like to do. Then every year, revisit it and see if you can check off a couple of things. Maybe add a couple. “See, I want to play guitar.” Okay. Did you do that this next year? That’s like a priority list that you can refer to to see what it is that you want to do in addition to working all day every day and being a slave to the internet.

    John: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely, man. That’s such a great thing. It’s just be intentional with it because before you know it, I mean all of a sudden, 20 years have gone by or 40 years have gone by and you’re like, “Well, what now?” That’s crazy.

    Ron: Well, I’m 66. You start to think about your mortality and how much — I have people asking me like, “Are you still working? How much longer are you going to work?” It’s like, “I don’t think about it. I feel young.” But then I see my friends that I went to high school with and some of them are retired. So I started thinking, “What else do I want to do while I…”

    John: Well, that’s because they’re old.

    Ron: I go back to my high school reunion. It’s like half the people are like, “God, they’re old.” The other half are like, “They’re looking pretty good.” It’s like, “Which group am I in?”

    John: Right. Exactly. That’s awesome. Well, this has been really fun. And I do now allow people to turn the tables on me now. So if you want to fire away, you have any questions you want to ask me, we can chat.

    Ron: Tell me what you like best about being in Colorado.

    John: Probably the weather. I mean just no humidity and sunshine all the time. I didn’t realize that — humidity, I know, is bad when it’s warm. It’s makes it gross. But when it’s cold, humidity makes it terrible. That’s the bone-chilling cold. But here, it’ll be 35 or 40 degrees and I’m wearing a windbreaker because the sun is out and it’s not that cold.

    Ron: I think statistically, we have more sunshine here than San Diego.

    John: Which is crazy.

    Ron: About 300 sunny days a year. Yeah.

    John: Yeah. No, the weather is just amazing. And not a lot of rain, which I’m not a fan of. I think it’s because I’m made of sugar. I’ll melt.

    Ron: One of the questions, what are your hobbies?

    John: What are one of my hobbies? I’m huge into college football. Yeah. So your Michigan Wolverines can eat it. But no, no. I’m just teasing.

    Ron: Who’s your team?

    John: I went to Notre Dame. Yeah.

    Ron: Okay. Notre Dame’s okay. Just like don’t be a Buckeye.

    John: Yeah. We’re not Ohio State.

    Ron: How did we do this year, Notre Dame? I can’t remember.

    John: Yeah. That game didn’t happen. It was in the rain so it didn’t happen. We canceled it. No, I’m kidding.

    Ron: Never mind.

    John: Oh yeah. That was good for Michigan to finally turn it around. So college football, huge into that. Then ice cream, I’m just huge into — local ice cream places when I travel, I’ll make my way to their local establishment. And then of course comedy. I don’t do the clubs anymore but my friends are and my friends have Netflix specials and stuff like that. So it’s fun to see them, but yeah. But definitely college football and ice cream. And if I can combine those at the same time, yeah, that’s heaven.

    Ron: Do you get back for game at all?

    John: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I write the Award Show for the football team. Two of them have been nominated for Emmys because they all air on NBCSN. So first year was with Dan Hicks and Hannah Storm. Hannah’s an alum. Then two years ago was with Jerome Bettis. Then last year was with Aaron Taylor. Yeah. So it’s been fun.

    Ron: A good friend of mine, Otto Hilbert, the guy that I’m inheriting the Santa outfit from is a Notre Dame grad. He played football for them for a couple years. We always accused him being kind of the Rudy on the team.

    John: Right. If he got carried off, then that’d be amazing. Yeah. I mean that’s what I love to do. Yeah. I mean that has nothing to do with work, but I find that there’s a lot of people that can relate to those things.

    Ron: There you go.

    John: Cool. Well, thanks, Ron. This has been really awesome.

    Ron: Thank you, John.

    John: Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Ron in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.

    Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread that who you are is so much more than what you do.


		

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