Catch Dr. Jim White on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] And it's another beautiful day in Arizona. And I got somebody from Arizona here in the room, another pirate, Jim White. Welcome. And thank you so much for being here.
Jim White: [00:00:21] My pleasure, Russ, my pleasure. Always look forward to talking to you.
Russ Johns: [00:00:25] We were introduced through Scott Klein and I know that we have some mutual connections and you met Scott through his radio interview and his show out of, I believe Chicago, and do some great things together. So I just kinda wanted to let people know that you've been in the business world. You've been in the arena, developing projects, helping a lot of people in the community. And one of the projects that came top of mind for me is the one you have over in California. And you're developing that. And I wanted to have you share a little bit about that project and what's going on there and what the current status is.
Jim White: [00:00:59] Sure. Sure. Yeah. And yes far as networking is concerned, you talked about our mutual friend, Scott Klein. I did meet him on a radio show and and this is what it's all about, folks, is networking and getting a big smile and open to possibilities. Scott and I have connected and he's doing some great things with us in regards to our project in Salinas, California. I will briefly say that it's 28 acres and it is into the heart, what we referred to as the salad bowl of the world. Salinas Valley is referred to as the salad bowl of the world. It's a $4.4 billion market within a hundred mile radius. Anything green, fresh vegetables is a primary of the Salinas Valley. One of my companies, Growers Ice Companies started in 1936 was one of the pioneers in the Salinas Valley. And the term iceberg lettuce that you and your viewers may be familiar with is from our location from our campus. So what did we do? When you grow vegetables, once it comes harvest, what you need to do, you need to get the vegetables from the field to a facility to do, step one is what's called pre-cooling and get the heat out of the vegetables. As soon as you can do that, it's going to extend the shelf life to create more quality and create more value for your products. Because this is a commodity business. Sure. Then you put it into a kosher storage facility. Our facility is over 50 years old and I started looking at it about four years ago to redevelop it. And so I started looking at that. There was some legislation that was passed in December, 2017, that designated certain areas in the aner station territories. And there's actually 8,800 referred to as qualified opportunity zones and our campus was in the zone. So that matched our impact invested. What can we do in the community? So we started to build a master plan. We have been master branding for four years. It's approximately a $200 million project. We are focusing as much as locals we can. How many jobs can we create is not necessarily the numbers are jobs and people get confused about that, but the quality of the jobs and how can we create jobs going to pay more money? So we're doing that. So this campus is going to be a new state of the art 400,000 square feet cold storage facility. We're taking the existing facility to the ground. It's going to go to bare dirt and we're going to be back. It will be the largest and the most technology advanced facility in the nation. And so we're very excited about that and we're moving it ahead. And we've got about three years of hard lifting to do and and we intend to be open in March of 2025 and then go from there. So got a lot of exciting things to do there.
Russ Johns: [00:03:47] That's amazing. It takes me back. I was actually one of my early careers, in fact, my first career growing up in a construction family was in construction and I've actually helped build distribution centers for the organization. One was a seven acre warehouse that I helped construct. And those adventures and activities give you a huge respect for the time and effort and energy. And the fact that you're focusing in on giving back to the community in a way that creates jobs that are meaningful longterm and important to the community. Every job that you promote or you produce as a result of building up the community has ancillary jobs that go along with it. The people that are supporting those individuals, the stores that can come along and it's economic force that drives the economy. And I think job creation is so important in anything that we can do. Cause you know, small business, I believe in small business, I believe in entrepreneurs. I believe in the idea that if I can start something from nothing, which is exactly what you're talking about, grow it and go back to the dirt and bring it to life. That's an incredibly valuable skillset. So you've been working on these projects for a long time, Jim and so give us a story of how did you get involved in this evolution of where you came to today? What's the start of your beginning?
Jim White: [00:05:19] You see me smile and I'll have to refer to that... and I don't mind sharing the... I'm 72 years old going on 28. So I'm just getting started. So I will talk...
Russ Johns: [00:05:29] I would argue that you're a 28 year old with a few years of experience.
Jim White: [00:05:33] I like that better. I'm going to take that. I'm going to wordsmith that. I'll never do that again. So I got it. I like that. I, like you, actually grew up in heavy construction. I was actually a crane operator. My father was the crane operator in the sixties, so I was a crane operator and there's a lot of story behind that, but I'm affirmed rural as poor, as poor as you could be. I know what it is to be hungry, I know what it is to be barefoot, literally. And I knew as the far back as 10 years old that there had to be something better than this. And that's very interesting, what the universe, the energetic forces of the universe and I went in the army. I did two tours in Vietnam, combat veteran, and arranger and got out of the army. And to my surprise, got accepted to Georgia tech. So I finished, I have a civil engineering degree and undergraduate and started working for construction equipment dealers. Then I went to work for Ingersoll Rand company. And Ingersoll Rand as a salesman move very rapidly through the company. Went in the international group and I became the middle Eastern manager for Ingersoll Rand. I was in Saudi Arabia, early days in the somebody and then got promoted to VP construction and mining group, New Jersey. And I say that I love everybody in New Jersey, but it wasn't fate. And so in 1980, I left the corporate world and had the story literally a chair and started my first business and didn't know what to call it. So we said we're going to be a consulting company and then, you know what that meant. And, but we had a lot of experience working in Washington, DC from Ingersoll Rand we knew how to put together project financing and we worked with the world bank and USAID and other projects. So we started representing mid-sized companies. Mid-sized to find about a hundred million in revenue. And we started representing them and doing projects in third world countries. And we were focusing on third world countries, all types of projects, ag project, port facilities, grains, grain facilities, more infrastructure projects. And my first big project that I received was in Nigeria. And Legos Nigeria actually a the place called Kaduna. And I remember one of my guys that worked for him at a time. We got the contract and he walked out and he said, you have any idea of how are we going to do this? I said, hey, I haven't a clue, but we're going to figure it out. So we're on a plane to Kaduna and...
Russ Johns: [00:08:06] Everything you can figure out, right?
Jim White: [00:08:08] You can figure that. We, we did that project and speed the story up and then I went on to started buying and selling companies and I bought 23 different companies from all industries and around the world. And the last one was in Belgium. We manufacture pumps for the oil and gas industry and I sold it in 1991 and retired for about 24 hours. And when people said, what are you doing retiring like that?
Russ Johns: [00:08:35] You slacker.
Jim White: [00:08:36] Slacker. I know.
Russ Johns: [00:08:38] Taking 24 hours off. What are you doing, Jim?
Jim White: [00:08:41] No, I understand. Jeez and then I was part of a group if I remember in 1992, when the ECC was coming is when one community become the economic community. So I was asked by the governor of Wallonia region of Belgium to represent the region during a speaking tour and around the world. And we would team with Citibank London, Jones Day, Rierson Pogue, Standard Oil, and the officer said the token entrepreneur. And going around speaking to the benefits and we were in New York at the American management and I had five minutes to speak on the diocese and there's about 600 people in the audience and I started talking and before I knew it, I'd been talking for an hour, which is, you can tell it's not hard for me to do. And people started asking questions how did you do this deal? How did you do this deal? So I realized I had another business in the making, so I created a curriculum called circle success, and I created a consulting company JL international. And before I knew, it was twenty-five years old. And I had 167 with consultants around the world were specialized in a lot of turnaround, a lot of tough turnaround situations and getting leadership development, project management and getting people ready to take the next step in life. And then in 2008, I released my first book called, What's My Purpose, a Journey of Personal and Professional Growth. And with the intent to, if we're talking to people at least the pull back the curtains a little bit, take a different look into into the so in why don't you get up everyday? Why are we doing all this stuff? And so that became very powerful. And then I just started doing more speaking and training and coaching. Then it led me into what I'm doing now. In 1997, there actually a guy that we become acquainted and it was a family member and a shareholder, the existing companies. And In 2013, we reconnected. You lose track of time. And we started looking at this project. So long story short is 2016, he said, will you come and take a look and see what you can do? I'm not looking for a job. Don't need a job, but I did. And I found the industry to be fascinating, Russ, there's been no innovation and no technology improvement. Ag workers himself sometimes necessarily represented the way they need to be represented in my opinion. And so I took on this and now we're in our fifth year of the engagement and the last four years, it's just been a beautiful ride. We've done a lot of diversification, with the intent setting up companies to focus on their very specific mission so we can help create a quality of life for the people that's working for us. I could have probably said that a little shorter.
Russ Johns: [00:11:25] I wanted to dive into this, Jim, because I know that the years of experience that you have, and some of the things that I've known and learned about your background is the reason I wanted to highlight this is because it illustrates the idea that if you can go from, a very average beginning and take initiative and follow plan, work a plan, discover, have conversations, put yourself out there, try a few things, experiment along the way. Amazing things can take place in your life. I've had an amazing adventure and it sounds like you have as well. It's really about how we can add value to the community, how we can build relationships with the community and when we're adding value out there and we continue to add value. I think it always comes back in a lot of different ways that we never expect. Has that been your experience?
Jim White: [00:12:23] Yeah. Yeah, it has been my experience and as I was listening to you, one of the pieces that sometimes I share sometimes I don't, but I go back to early childhood at five. We're literally abandoned and actually had to drop out of high school in the 10th grade to make living. At eight, I found myself being the provider for my brothers and sisters, and then we got split up and different people would take us in and etcetra and at 10, I met my father for the first time. And I went to live with him and like I said, he was in construction business and I learned the trade. I knew if I could do something and at 12 years old, I was standing by him on the crane, watching what he did. And then I used to sneak in the construction sites and get on the equipment, learn how to run it. And then at 17, I was good at what I did and I was running a crew of 250 people on the construction project. And then when I went in the army, I was an the army ranger. I did two tours and and I really credit my...
Russ Johns: [00:13:27] Angie says, thank you for your service too, by the way.
Jim White: [00:13:31] Thank you. Thank you. The military gave me my foundation, gave me the opportunities. I was able to finish my GED. I stepped out of the first year of college and the GI bill allowed me to go to school. And then I just continued. I love education. And that's one thing that I'm strong on in all of our companies and then Ingersoll Rand paid for my MBA. And and then I started my PhD program when I was 55and into psychology. I thought I would just back up and share that with your audience, because it goes exactly what you're saying. It's don't be a victim.
Russ Johns: [00:14:09] Don't be a victim.
Jim White: [00:14:10] Don't be a victim
Russ Johns: [00:14:11] Every obstacle. And this proves my point that I talk about all the time, Jim, is every obstacle has an opportunity attached to it. You cannot have a challenge without an opportunity showing up in some way, shape or form. And when you start looking at the opportunities, looking for the opportunities, that's when your life will start changing.
Jim White: [00:14:34] Correct.
Russ Johns: [00:14:34] When you look at how bad things are or how poor things are, you just announced that's what you're looking for. And it just seems to me that every time you add value in you, you help others along the journey and mentor them and coach them like you have in your entire life. You've been a leader from day one, it's even for yourself when you had to do that. I remember back the first time I earned a dollar was at a construction site, pushing a broom when I was five years old and my dad used to drag me out on Saturday mornings and I used to get upset about it. Cause I wanted to watch cartoons or something. And the reality is that I was being taught how to work, how to figure things out and how to move forward in my life and take responsibility for stuff. It's a story that we need to share.
Jim White: [00:15:20] I agree. And this is the reason this impact, this, the overused impact investing. That's really just so important to me and I give thanks every day. You and I were talking about that welfare. I get give thanks every day for the opportunity and for good health and to be able to reach out to people. And I also get very frustrated with some of my colleagues in the industry where there's this fine balance between short term financial returns and long-term buyer. And I know that's what you've just talked about value and also agree with that. And I often ask my employees, I said, why do you get up in the morning? Why do you go to work? They said to make money, I said, oh, okay. Okay. Work with me a little bit. Let's wordsmith it. If I said you get up in the morning to go out the door to create a better quality of life for you and your family. How does that resonate with you? Oh yeah. I said so and do that. Yeah. We need to have a profession and a scale to be able to make those dollars that you're looking for. And then how do you multiply that and how do you continue to get better? And if I would say anything to our workforce today, they're a little complacent. We are huge education supporter. All of our employees, we will say to you, if you want further education, bring it to us and we will pay for it. We got different classes and we just gotta do a better job because, they're not that motivated in a lot of our sectors, which is a challenge and it bothers me a little bit, it frustrates me a little bit.
Russ Johns: [00:16:58] It really does. I was in Houston. I used to be in Houston and one of my clients, my partners and people that I associate with are in the oil and gas industry. You mentioned the oil and gas industry, and that's an industry right now where construction and the trades are really looking at some challenging futures because the younger generation may not necessarily be moving in that direction. They're looking for a different outcome. And plumbers, carpenters, electricians and trades in the oil and gas industry. There's a lot of opportunity out there that people could takeand learn something about. And I would really love the opportunity to actually engage with some of these seasoned veterans that have been in the field for years and capture some of that education and that intuition and experience that they're going away and they're taking off and retiring and enjoying their life and some of that stuff is going to leave the career and there's a lot of ways we don't get it back. And so education in those areas are really important. I think a lot of mentoring, I believe in mentorship and I believe what you're doing with that as well.
Jim White: [00:18:09] Absolutely agree with it. And we have the same thing and say into cooler, working in a cold storage facilities, you will know, it's a 34 degrees cold gear. Even being a roughneck I've been, yeah, it's...
Russ Johns: [00:18:24] Been there, done that.
Jim White: [00:18:25] Yeah. Yeah. I understand, it's hard work, but yeah. What I always enjoyed about that at the end of the day, I can look around and I could see my immediate results of what I'd accomplished today. And it was just absolutely fantastic. And to be on a crew where everybody was working together and we used to do that early in the sixties. We were building bridges on when the interstate system came as a young man. We used to have that. We're going to deck this bridge out in 14 days and man everybody, the iron workers, the carpenters, were pouring concrete, we're finishing concrete, we're doing all that. And everybody was working together. It was like it was a competition between the teams, but was friendly and you learned from each other and you learn how to communicate. And so I look at that and I look back on it with very fun memories and that sets the foundation. But when we have that conversation today and I want to be careful not to paint this as a broad brush. This is not everybody, but I just want people to look deeper into their soul and so there's more than I can do. There's more to that. How do I want people when that day comes when we leave this physical body, what's people going to say about me? What did I do, what contributions I actually made? And I know that's your passion, Russ. And that's one thing that we continue to go out every day and try to get people to engage in that.
Russ Johns: [00:20:02] Yeah. Inspire and motivate and just create something amazing. So I want to Howard Kaufman here is what an awesome guest and topic. Great role model example and Howard is another individual he's over in your neck of the woods as well. He's an entrepreneur building a business, creating opportunities for other people and this kind of attitude. And what a chord in my thought process was because of your background, watching that process of building a bridge, watching the evolution of all of these people working together, it really triggers the project manager and how if you work the system and you have a process and you have a project you can accomplish so many amazing things. I just think of the architecture alone and building a business and recovering a business, saving a business. How much of an impact you've made in so many lives and we're all capable of doing more. And the whole is greater than the sum of our parts, our experience and our education and our value that we bring to the table is unique. And so we need to be continuing to think about how we can add that.
Jim White: [00:21:12] Yeah we do. And if I may go back on a point that you made Russ, about losing. I'd say the hard skills and the people retiring and for some reason, not being able to collect that intellectual training. And we're talking about to complacency. Well, Salinas, California is only 45 minutes South of San Jose, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, right? And one of the challenges that we have there, because so the proximity is the cost of living and everybody coming out of the school, they're looking to one thing, let me develop the next big app and let me be a billionaire before I'm 23. Right now I'm all for that. Fantastic. I go for it. But at the same time, we've created a culture that we also need people to, as we call it, to be skilled in our infrastructure, without our infrastructure development, the person out here doing a great app, you got to have a way to get there. So we've got to set back. Yeah, we need all of us, but there are certain personalities, a lot of people there's not of that mindset that I wanted to go to college, but what's missing is the technical. I think our technical schools are challenged. That's one thing we're doing in Salinas is working with the, from our nonprofits that we support called Rancho CLO. And it actually started by retired superior court judge and Monterey County or his vision. I see a lot of young people coming in from my court and let's rehab them versus always just putting them in the system.
Russ Johns: [00:23:03] Yeah, exactly. Just imagine if you would, if they had because I think it boils down to hope, too. Having this idea that there is an alternative and a different outcome that they can add value and they have value. And a lot of people are lost these days, from some of the conversations I've had over the years. It's how do I make a difference? What matters? And it goes back to if I go to the job for the money. No, you go to the job so you can create an environment that is healthy for your family. And there's a different outcome. If you just twist your perspective, two degrees.
Jim White: [00:23:43] I agree.
Russ Johns: [00:23:43] I think it's important that we share that as well.
Jim White: [00:23:46] I agree. Absolutely agree. Absolutely agree.
Russ Johns: [00:23:51] So tell us about before we take off today and I know you're a busy individual that has lots of things going on. I want to come back to your book. You mentioned a couple of books and one of the books that you have out right now is important for people to know about and understand that there is a different outcome that they can choose. So tell us a little bit about that.
Jim White: [00:24:13] The last book that I released is called Broke in America. And I chose that title honestly to be provocative and I lay out 10 principles in there and I start with the constitution and the message I want to fit. We got to get back to the basis to civility, to honesty, to corporation, the bipartisan and I'm gearing this to our political, and that's a dangerous slope for a person to go. But I...
Russ Johns: [00:24:47] We won't go too deep on it, Jim, but talk to you about offline.
Jim White: [00:24:52] We're not, but just to be able to say that we as a country can do better. And that's the book. And then the other book I'm working on is called The Next Big Change. What's that mean? How do we attack change? How do we accept change? What does change look like? What can we do? Why should we be changing or why should we not be changing? What do you do if you don't change? You become stagnant. What if you don't grow? So that's that's and that's scheduled for release in July of 2021.
Russ Johns: [00:25:24] Jim, it's amazing adventure. And I love, I, I love talking to you and we could probably sit around and have a great conversation for hours, and I know you're busy and I want to make sure that I'm considerate of your time. And thank you so much for being here and sharing your story with us in the pirate community. Cause it's all about kindness and, having a little generosity and adding value to the world today. And so I look forward to future adventures. And when you release your next book, I'd love to invite you back on and talk about it and have another conversation in the future.
Jim White: [00:26:00] You bet.
Russ Johns: [00:26:01] Thank you so much for being here.
Jim White: [00:26:02] Oh, you I really enjoy. Thank you so much. And thank you for what you do. Russ.
Russ Johns: [00:26:06] Hopefully it was a good experience in getting the process and everything to be here was okay. Tracie and the crew is always good.
Jim White: [00:26:15] I love it and we could just keep going for hours, but people wouldn't like that. So thank you, Russ.
Russ Johns: [00:26:23] People might enjoy it. Don't go away, Jim. I'll be right back.
Jim White: [00:26:27] Okay.
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