Episode 311 – Scott Dell

Scott is an Accountant & Motorcyclist

Dr. Scott Dell talks about his passion for motorcycles and how it has provided a platform for networking either through motorcycle groups or in the office!

Episode Highlights

Getting into motorcycles
Getting a motorcycle as a surprise gift
Riding with his 5-year-old to Washington, D.C.
Meeting people through teaching motorcycle classes
Starting an accounting motorcycle club
How his passion for motorcycling translates to his skills in the office
Roles that both the organization and individual have in workplace culture

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    Welcome to Episode 311 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett, and each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “And,” those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re in the office.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published very soon. It’s available for pre-order right now with some really cool added bonuses, as well as a buy one, give one offers, so you can hook somebody up with the Kindle version. Check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s listening to the show and changing the cultures where they work because of it, and the book will really helped to spread this message.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe, so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest, Scott Dell. He’s an assistant professor of accounting at Francis Marion University, where he’s known as Dr. Scott, just relocated from Wisconsin to Florence, South Carolina, and now he’s with me here today. Scott, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Scott: Thank you for having me.

    John: This is going to be so much fun, man. Motorcycles, super cool. But before we get into that. I got 17 rapid fire questions for you.

    Scott: Hit me with them.

    John: Here we go. Favorite color.

    Scott: Favorite color, orange and purple.

    John: Orange and purple. Oh, Clemson fan. I see what’s going on.

    Scott: I adjust. I adapt.

    John: It used to be red and white. What? How about a least favorite color?

    Scott: Least favorite color. Brown-ish.

    John: Yeah, that’s gross. The -ish makes it even grosser.

    Scott: You don’t want -ish.

    John: No, no, not at all. What’s a typical breakfast?

    Scott: Typical breakfast. Beef tongue with eggs.

    John: Really?

    Scott: Yeah.

    John: Good for you, man.

    Scott: Although I confess I’d like French toast too with a little maple syrup.

    John: Okay, okay. All right. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Scott: Oh, Star Trek. As a matter of fact, this summer, Netflix has the original. I’ve been binge watching. I confess. In my book, I have a Star Trek reference too. I just published a book, and I’ve got a Mission Impossible reference and a Star Trek reference.

    John: That’s fantastic, so then it gets everybody there. That’s really cool. How about pens or pencils?

    Scott: Oh, pens. Actually, markers.

    John: Markers. You’re going even heavier duty.

    Scott: Oh, yeah, we’re all in.

    John: All in. No mistakes. I love that. Your computer, more of a PC or a Mac?

    Scott: Oh, PC. Without a doubt. I’m a business guy, okay? What can I say?

    John: Right? I don’t know how Macs work. I’m not going to lie.

    Scott: I have a daughter who loves Macs, and I have a doctor who hates Macs, and I’m in between, but I’m a PC guy.

    John: Yeah, and one of them is your favorite. No, I’m just kidding.

    John: No, no, no. How about puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?

    Scott: Oh, Sudoku. Actually, I get to play it on my phone. Although, I do crosswords when opportunities happen.

    John: Yeah, on occasion, but yeah, Sudoku is your go-to. How about a favorite ice cream flavor? I’m an ice cream junkie.

    Scott: We used to have an ice cream shop, bakery, called Cheesecake, Etc. in Door County, Wisconsin. My favorite of all time is something called lemon meringue. I’m no lemon guy, but it was an amazing. Anytime I go back to Madison or Wisconsin, I make sure. It’s a summer flavor but it’s oh. Next time you’re back in Wisconsin sometime, scoop it up.

    John: Yeah, for sure. Do you prefer more hot or cold?

    Scott: It depends on the day. I’m always in South Carolina right now. Raking leaves more fun than shoveling snow, but they both have their place.

    John: They both have their place. All right. All right. How about balance sheet or income statement?

    Scott: Oh, you need the full picture. Give me a cash flow.

    John: Oh, cash flow. Look at you next level. Yeah, I could never get it right. When I speak now, it’s funny. I say, if you ask somebody in an interview, how do you do a cash flow statement? It’s you go to reports, cash flow, print. That’s how you do it. You just go to the computer.

    Scott: I like that technique. Very effective.

    John: It was brutal. I mean, the hair on the back of my neck’s standing up right now. You’re just, bad nightmares. How about a favorite actor or actress?

    Scott: Actor or actress. That’s a tough one for me. We get back to Star Trek. Will Shatner. He made his waves, advertising. He’s got all kinds of things, and he’s doing well.

    John: Yeah, he’s not hurting. That’s for sure. Would you say more oceans or mountains?

    Scott: I’d probably oceans, grew up outside of Boston. So hot water is attractive and saltwater fish beats freshwater fish every day.

    John: Every day.

    Scott: If I can find a grouper anywhere on the menu, that’s a winner.

    John: Yeah, then you’re in the right place, that’s for sure. How about suit and tie or jeans and a T-shirt?

    Scott: Depends on the day, depends on the location. I’m more of a T-shirt, and I actually am more of a polo shirt kind of guy. Blazer and a polo in all my classes. I was a three-piece suiter in the Big Eight days, not Big Four. I appreciate a three-piece, but nah.

    John: I like that. Okay. We got four more. Do you have a favorite number?

    Scott: Favorite number. I’ll go with 18.

    John: Is there a reason?

    Scott: Yeah. Hhai is life. Hebrew translates the number 18, Yod, ten and eight, and it’s the number 18 which is a lucky number.

    John: Right, okay. I like that. I like that. How about for books? Kindle or real books?

    Scott: Oh, got to put it in your hand and read it. I mean, it’s hard to take computer in the bathroom.

    John: Right. I’m sure somebody’s doing it, right now listening to us. Who knows?

    Scott: I confess. I’ve done that too.

    John: Right. Would you say you’re more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Scott: That also depends. I get up pretty early usually. Entrepreneurs work all kinds of hours.

    John: That’s true. The last one the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?

    Scott: Favorite thing I have is my health. That’s kind of crucial.

    John: Yeah, kind of.

    Scott: Actually, I own my decision. We need to take more responsibility for our own —

    John: These are very thoughtful answers.

    Scott: Yeah, I’m academic. What can I say?

    John: No. I need to up my game here. That’s fantastic. Because yeah, without your health, you can’t ride motorcycles. There you go.

    Scott: You got that right.

    John: Let’s talk motorcycles. Start there. Was this something that you grew up doing or was it more of recently?

    Scott: Frankly, I didn’t really get started riding motorcycles until I was in my 30s. I’d mopeds. I actually wear a suit and tie in a moped when I was at Grant Thornton out in Madison at one point.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Scott: When my car was in the shop or something, but I actually got into motorcycling, took one of those three-day weekend courses, motorcycle safety foundation classes, and they are amazing. You basically walk away with your license ready, you don’t have to do any road test or anything. Cool way to do it, and then really started getting into it. Eventually, I actually started teaching those motorcycle safety classes for Harley Davidson.

    John: Oh, cool. That’s a Wisconsin company right there.

    Scott: Good Milwaukee roots, been to the Kansas City plants, also been to New York, Pennsylvania as well, they closed Kansas City. Amazing company, amazing organization and my wife bought me an Ultra and had surprised me with it. It was a huge bike. We had a company in Madison, and she was communicating from New York. Her dad was in the hospital, she was in New York City and called me and said, “Scott, you need to take a ride with your controller,” the business we had. I said, okay.

    We went for a ride. I thought I was going to talk to him about business, and had to talk about something that you want to be off premises, pulled into the Harley dealership, and pointed at that blue Ultra classic motorcycle and said, “Oh, by the way, Scott, that’s yours.”

    John: Wow.

    Scott: Excuse me? Your wife coordinated this while you were — she’s been shopping for a while, found this, and thought it might be the ideal present.

    John: I said, did you check the insurance policy to see if it was paid up or where are we going with this? She said, no, this is yours to go. Then we had the sesquicentennial ride, 150th anniversary, Governor’s ride. That was my first big ride on there. I had a Kawasaki. I ended up taking my five-year-old to Washington, D.C. on the back of this bike.

    John: Wow. That’s quite a ride.

    Scott: Yeah, she didn’t know he was going to go, because that ride was within a few days from when we got the bike. The night before, my son, he was like, five years old. We got really excited when he heard I was going on this motorcycle trip. “Can I come? Can I come?” I said, well, let me talk to mom.

    I talked to mom over the phone and said, well, if he really wants to go, I don’t know. That was enough for me. I talked to him and said, you know, if you’re up in the morning, I’m leaving about 6:00 in the morning. If you’re up, I’d love to have you. Well, my wife ended up flying back two days later, actually had to take a taxi from Chicago up to Madison to get home, because she knew I was leaving and she was going to take care of Jordan, our son.

    What happens is 5:30 in the morning, he wakes up. My wife is up in about 2:30 in the morning, and she is worried that he’s going on this motorcycle, like what responsible parent would let a five-year-old go in the back of a Harley. As it turns out, he got up and I said, well, you may not want to come. The expression on his face just dropped. He was packed. He was ready. My wife conceded at that time saying, okay, you guys can go.

    It was the early days of cellphones. As it turns out, after we left, my wife called my cell and said, Scott, I’m not real sure about this. I don’t really know what to do if anything were to happen on this trip. Fortunately, I did not get that message until I was back in Wisconsin because I couldn’t get it on the road. I couldn’t get in D.C., and I got it and I got back into Wisconsin. I said, really? Is that how you felt? It was a cool trip he remembers now.

    John: He’s back, he’s got a huge Harley tattoo on his forearm.

    Scott: On the thighs, on the arms. He got it covered.

    John: But what a cool experience, and something that even at five years old, I’m sure he still remembers.

    Scott: We rode on the 500 track. We did rounds.

    John: There you go.

    Scott: Oh, yeah. It was a wonderful trip.

    John: That’s pretty awesome. I mean, so Harley is your go to then.

    Scott: Although right now, I have a Triumph Trophy. I will confess, I went back to my doctorate four years ago, and I was deciding between another Harley or the doctorate. I was praying to all the Gods. I was really deciding. I was going back and forth, and the doctorate won. I said, well, you know, Harley isn’t probably in the cards. I won’t have time to write it.

    It’s not something I — the money, to get into it. I got to put it towards the degree. I said, okay, let me go next step down. I ended up getting a Triumph Trophy. My nephew out in Atlantic ended up with the same bike. I recommend it to him, he got it first, and then he found one down in Pensacola, Florida, and I ended up picking it up, and I ended up traveling.

    I actually had my bike down on the Talladega track in Alabama as well when I still had the Harley. I’m a highway guy, I like to ride.

    John: Yeah, and I mean, you can always get a Harley. I mean, you can’t always get your doctorate. Is this something that motorcycles you’ve shared, well, obviously at work, because your controller brought you to get that that first Harley, but even now, is it something that comes up in conversation?

    Scott: It does. Actually, I’m in a new job, a new location, new environment, new school, and there’s a community. There’s a temple I belong to, and they used to have a group called Jews on Twos. It’s like, okay, so you kind of fit, and then you had other groups at that school, that you find out that ride, you actually seek out or they seek you, you talk, you get together, and it’s just an icebreaker, and then it kind of pulls things together, and I bring them to the class. When students look at that, and they say, you’re an accountant but you ride a bike? What kind of accountant are you?

    John: A good one.

    Scott: But it humanizes it. There’s outside interests, and you get those soft skills. I mean, teaching motorcycle safety, teaching a skill, actually taught photography when I was in high school. I’ve taught a long time, all kinds of things. It really is powerful to have that background. Frankly, my certification expired, but when I got to South Carolina this fall, I reupped. I said, I want to get back into it. I took the course again.

    I actually went to three different dealerships where the courses were being held, met a whole bunch of folks, a lot of law enforcement folks, a lot of writers, got a good friend now in Charleston, and you just meet people, you network, you get a feel. It’s a fun way of exposing and getting interested in talking to people, meeting people.

    John: Right, yeah. I mean, if they also ride and that’s super cool, but if they don’t, well, it’s also super cool to find out whatever they do.

    Scott: We started a club, an accounting club, now the accounting and finance club, the AFC, and for homecoming, rode the motorcycle, had a couple of our members, we dressed up the bike, and then we were in the parade with my bike.

    John: That’s fantastic, man. I mean, that’s the thing is, I think a lot of people, they have these things outside of work, but then they feel like they have to hide them or not talk about them that no one’s going to care, or that maybe even worse, people will judge them.

    Scott: Although it’s really hard on campus when you drive the bike into the parking lot to hide it.

    John: Yeah, well, I mean, but what’s there to hide? It’s not illegal. So what? You drove a car? Are you not talking about that? It doesn’t matter.

    Scott: Oh, it’s convertible. It’s so dangerous. You got to watch out.

    John: Right? It’s crazy. I mean, was there ever a point in your career when you didn’t share some outside of work interests, or I mean, I know that it was a different time. It might have been a little more difficult.

    Scott: I’ll say one thing I liked about working with the Big Eight is the peers you work with, real sharp group of folks, and when you traveled, but you were more focused, there wasn’t — well, but we did some ski trips and some other things. We actually started getting together, but usually, it was down to business. It was really focused on getting the job done, especially busy seasons, you had your task ahead of you. It’s hard to have fun sometimes. It’s hard to be a skier during those intervals.

    John: Do you feel like now it’s — I mean, it’s different, but do you feel like it’s better when you get to know people a little bit more?

    Scott: So much for perspective, understanding and appreciation. Everybody now is so tunneled in their own echo chambers. They want to listen to that just mimics what they think. There’s such intolerance out there that scares me in a lot of ways. I won’t get to the politics of it, but you look at that and say, where are we headed? Where’s the tolerance? Where is the middle ground that we can compromise and work together? It’s called both sides of the aisle, and that’s been a hard line to cross these days.

    John: We have so much more in common. I mean, like, I’ve never ridden a motorcycle.

    Scott: We can change that, by the way.

    John: Yeah. Well, you know, next time you’re in South Carolina, you better believe it.

    Scott: I’ll get you a three-day class. We’ll make it work.

    John: Oh, fantastic. All right. I was worried I was going to have to just ride on the back. But no, I could do my own. Okay. Yeah. But I mean, we have so much in common anyway, and it’s also fascinating, like just to talk motorcycles, even if somebody doesn’t do the same thing you do, it’s still an interesting conversation.

    Scott: I’ll tell you. I’ve done a lot of traveling. I was in the Navy as well. That was one thing. You meet people, you realize we’re all the same. The Russians love their children too. Well, actually, I think I got the wrong one. They have police, but anyways, we’re all in this together. The tolerance is crucial.

    John: I think that lie the more that you learn about someone, like you said earlier is there’s that empathy and that, where are they coming from and what’s their story, and everyone’s got a story. They’re all fascinating. If you don’t take the time to ask those questions just to find that out, then you’re really missing out on a lot.

    Scott: When you get to know somebody, when you understand — I’m a lifetime HOG member, Harley Owner Group, and just when I finished my book, I drew it up on LinkedIn. I got a response from a Harley rider out of India.

    John: That’s great.

    Scott: Yeah, it’s kind of neat that you’re here, and you compare notes, and you have a passion, you share the passion.

    John: That’s so coo, and the teaching as well, which now of course, has turned into a profession. But do you feel like that skill that you were doing even when you had the corporate job translated into something in the office.

    Scott: Very much so. I mean, the idea of writing and planning, I’ll tell you, I had a roommate, who was at the Naval Academy who became a fighter pilot, he was actually a commanding officer on a carrier, and took over a base in Japan at one point, now retired. But pilots have a system. The pilots are some of the sharpest folks I know from academia, from civilian life, from work areas, and the same thing when you’re traveling, when you’re planning, when you’re going on a trip, when you’ve got to check your bike and go down and say, okay, tires, horn, lights, oil, make sure we’re in business.

    Those kind of procedural, operational, gets you on the road kind of things, carry over in life in a lot of ways. Teaching part, like the motorcycle safety training, there’s different kinds of teaching. It was more hands on, and the muscle memory emphasis and the idea of how to do something. Well, now I’m talking how to do accounting. There’s a logic behind that. It helps me in the classroom. It helps me communicate. I always tell my students, we’re all in sales. I sell ideas in the classroom every day. You’re selling on the podcast. When you emcee, we’re all selling ourselves when we go up. That’s why I’m in the startup I’m in too.

    John: Yeah, and I mean, if you’re selling the exact same thing that everyone else is selling, I mean, that’s boring. You can still be good at your job, but have interests that are outside of work. I mean, so I did my own research, actually, as an academic, you should be like, super proud of me. It’s over 1,000 respondents and 92% of professionals have a hobby or passion outside of work they regularly do.

    Scott: That’s good

    John: That means that that’s the norm, that’s the stereotype. For so long, forever, really, we’re taught to believe the opposite.

    Scott: Or hide it.

    John: Yeah, or just to hide it. That’s just not true.

    Scott: You can’t be treating yourself that way. That’s right.

    John: Yeah. How much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create that tone at the top versus just an individual in the small circle?

    Scott: I’ll give you the answer that I expect of all my students in the classroom. It depends.

    John: Exactly. There it is.

    Scott: Now, my follow-up to that is always, okay, great answer. It depends on what? It depends on the environment. It answer your question, yes, the tone is set at the top, and the example is set of the top. Also, the tone comes from the masses or undulates up through the ranks. That’s something that can permeate based on everybody’s participation, desire, and you create your own social groups, professional groups, your own networks. That can have a very strong positive influence in getting these things shared, and interest and opportunities.

    There’s a lot of online stuff now, from meetup groups, to other social networking groups that you can really tie into and really pursue passions and interest as well.

    John: That’s true. I love how you said that. It’s not just the tone, it’s the example. That’s really huge, because you can say whatever you want.

    Scott: Do as I say, not as I do, and that’s all that.

    John: Yeah, people are wise to that now, that’s for sure. Yeah. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that has a hobby or an interest outside of work that they feel like has nothing to do with their job?

    Scott: Well, I hate to take the three words that Nike came across, but just do it. Explore. You need to find what you like. Like I said, I didn’t start writing until my 30s. I just got my doctorate. I wasn’t the oldest guy in my class to graduate. Pursue the passion, but you have to find it first. To find it, often, you have to experiment and go down a number of roads and tracks and you say this is pretty cool, and this isn’t so cool, right?

    John: Yeah. Well, how important do you think it is to have a hobby or a passion that’s outside of work?

    John: You need to have a profession and a vocation but an avocation are all key. Holistically, you’ve seen the spoked wheels, the six areas. You get that. I’ll give you my dad’s famous quote was, all work, no play makes Jack —

    Scott: He stopped. All work, no play makes Jack.

    John: Oh, makes Jack. That’s hilarious.

    Scott: I had to work that through in an earlier age. I think I did. I get away from the dull boy, but he was pretty workaholic and pretty tied. I love my dad, rest his soul. Dad had some ideas and thoughts. That was some habits I needed to break.

    John: Well, good for you, man. That sounds awesome. It’s been so encouraging talking to you. If I had you as a professor, I might still be in accounting.

    Scott: But actually, you made it to the ranks. You made it to the —

    John: Passed the exam, did it all, and I got the sticker and everything. But it’s only fair since I started out the episode asking you all these rapid fire questions that it’s now the Dr. Scott show. You’re the host and you can now ask me some questions. I’m now in the hot seat, so whenever you’re ready.

    Scott: All right, chocolate or vanilla?

    John: Oh, you know, that’s actually a hard one. But I’m going to go chocolate just because like ice cream. That’s tricky. But for candy bars, there’s not a vanilla candy bar, or maybe there is but I don’t want it. And so yeah, chocolate.

    Scott: Or Redlands truffles.

    John: There you go.

    Scott: There you go. What country have you not been to that you would like to go to?

    John: Oh, wow, that’s a good one. Because I’ve been to a fair amount. I mean, it’s not like a burning desire, but I’ve never been anywhere Asia. It’s definitely unique compared to everywhere else I’ve been including Africa and Europe and Central America and stuff. So yeah, I don’t know. Maybe whatever you pick, somewhere in Asia like I’ve never been but maybe Bali seems to have cool pictures.

    Scott: They say, join the Navy, see the world. But they don’t tell you it’s two-thirds water. That was the catch. They sent me to Asia to. Japan, Korea, but what country that you’ve been to is your favorite outside the U.S.?

    John: You know, I guess I’ll say two is Costa Rica is been just fantastic, and then South Africa was really cool too.

    Scott: Johannesburg or Cape Town or where’d you go?

    John: We also went through Johannesburg, but not actually got off the plane. But yeah, Cape Town and then Durban on the Indian Ocean side in Zanzibar up Northern Africa. The Indian Ocean is the best ocean. I’ll fight anybody on that. So probably those.

    Scott: Okay. Very, very cool. If you were not an accountant, and you were not a podcaster, emcee, or comedian, what would you be?

    John: Maybe an astronaut. When I was little, I totally wanted to do that.

    Scott: Would you go to Mars?

    John: It depends on like, do I have to stay there, or can I come back?

    Scott: You couldn’t come back.

    John: Probably not. I mean, it’s not like I like all people, but there’s a fair amount of them that I do particularly enjoy being around. I mean, if all of those people were on a pod that went to Mars, yeah, that would be fun.

    Scott: It depends, right?

    John: Yeah, I would definitely make a law that if you leave your shopping cart out randomly in a parking lot that you’re kicked out. That’s my platform for running for political office.

    Scott: Favorite food?

    John: Favorite food. I mean, ice cream. If that’s going to count, like ice cream for sure.

    Scott: Okay, favorite thing to put on ice cream?

    John: Oh, okay. Well, I mean, just old school hot fudge, but it’s got to be hot fudge. It’s not that fake chocolate that you call hot fudge. It’s got to be like, not just warm chocolate sauce. It’s got to be hot fudge. That’s some good stuff. Then the ice cream is like it’s got chunks in it like cookie dough or whatever cookies and cream or when I’m chewing it, fudge brownie chunks, like, yeah, how many calories can I get in this bite is so pretty much what I’m going for.

    Scott: You’re the numbers guy. Max out on the calendar. Let’s go for it.

    John: Totally. I don’t mess around. Well, this has been so much fun, Scott. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? Really, really fun.

    Scott: I’ve enjoyed it too. Thank you for having me.

    John: Awesome. Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Scott and his Harley or 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 to 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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