PROCO360 | Best Podcast for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Dave Tabor, PROCO360

"BEST PODCAST" Featuring world-class entrepreneurs who could be successful anywhere, and choose Colorado.

All Episodes

“I’ve learned the value of culture – if we don’t create a culture, the culture will be created whether you like it or not.” Phil Dumontet, CEO and Co-founder, Whole Sol Phil discovered that healthy options for fast casual food that he found in NYC were not available in Colorado – a place with an active and healthy population.  That seems odd to Phil and his wife Alexa so they decided to fix that by using profits from a delivery company Phil bootstrapped then sold to GrubHub, move to Denver, and create Whole Sol – now five locations and growing fast.

Nov 24

36 min 20 sec

“Making things is not for the faint of heart – everything takes so much longer and costs so much more than anybody expects.” Andrew Coors, Steelhead Composites Andrew Coors is a member of the famous Coors family of brewing fame.  But he wanted to do something different – take new advanced materials like carbon fiber used for sporting goods and adapt them to a commercial environment.  You’ll enjoy hearing Andrew talk about using discipline to resist “fun” projects and stick to the mission – but he didn’t always succeed – listen for a great story about Champagne bottles!

Oct 28

33 min 5 sec

“It (electric chair prop) was so violent we had to replace 100 bodies the first year because the heads flew off!” Ed Edmunds, Founder & CEO, Distortions Unlimited I heard about Distortions Unlimited, based in Greeley, and decided to bring this bonus episode to you just in time for Halloween!  The conversation is an entertaining conversation about the creation of very advanced monster props, masks and animatronics!  If you like Halloween, you’ll LOVE this episode!

Oct 25

28 min 24 sec

“That’s where my passion comes from... I love getting that response of WOW!”  Rick Case, Founder & CEO, Nite Ize  Rick Case started Nite Ize with a single invention – an elastic band that would hold a small flashlight at the side of one’s head to enable hands-free lighting.  Now, that seems obvious.  Back in 1989 it was a new idea – and since then Colorado-based Nite Ize has created over 600 products based on solving problems that make customers say, “WOW!”  How do you improve a bungee cord or a key holder?... or better tie loose cables or play with a flying disc at night?  Rick and I talk about how Nite Ize has become a world leader in creating innovative products.  Very cool.

Oct 21

34 min 56 sec

“We’re doing something no one’s done before, and it’s really hard... with that comes a lot of friction...”  Nick Martin, Founder & President, The Pro’s Closet  Nick Martin started selling used bike parts out of the back of a van to support his racing ambition lifestyle.  He turned that scrappy effort into Colorado-based The Pro’s Closet, the world’s largest seller of certified pre-owned bikes.  An intriguing niche for sure, this conversation covers a lot of ground around disrupting a market.  I appreciate Nick’s comments about “friction” and how The Pro’s Closet has addressed supply and demand imbalances during covid, shipping, guarantees, and more.   

Oct 7

33 min 36 sec

“We scream from the mountaintops about what our product is and how we make our product.” Eric Foster, Co-founder, CEO, & “Lifter of Heavy Things,” Stem Ciders If you’ve shopped for craft beer in the last year, you’ve seen alongside beer on the shelves, the fast and furious increase in cider products – the brands, the flavors, the total shelf space – and you’ve probably seen the presence of cider tap rooms.  I’m a lover of craft beer, and fascinated by the growth of what it seems is a product on a “parallel” growth track.  I wanted to know what’s similar and what’s different.  Plus, wanted to understand Eric’s title, “Co-founder, CEO & Lifter of Heavy Things.”  Thanks to sponsor 1stBank for introducing me to Stem Ciders. 

Sep 23

33 min 17 sec

"I could have cut off a lot of the time to get here by dreaming bigger earlier on." Tim Reeser, CEO & Co-founder, Lightning eMotors Colorado is about to have a real vehicle manufacturing factory. It’s hard to believe – and amazing and exciting. Lightning eMotors is a Loveland based company that began with technology developed at CSU, then adapted several times as its co-founder, Tim Reeser, and the team adapted and redefined the company until they found the answer for an important niche in the electric vehicle market – one that’s substantial enough to scale, yet small enough to be somewhat uninteresting to the major EV players. That in itself makes an interesting podcast episode. We also talk about going public via a SPAC – a special purpose acquisition company – all the rage right now.

Sep 9

36 min 14 sec

“Our developers don’t need to know code – they just have to be smart people that know the business problem they’re solving.” Kylee McVaney,CEO, Nextworld An interesting episode about building a self-adapting ERP software platform in Colorado.  We’ve all heard about ERP software systems that are so huge and so cobbled together with hacked fixes over time that they’ve become unwieldy and brutal to use and maintain – and massively expensive and painful to replace.  Of course, when ERP systems are eventually replaced, they are on a new path to obsolescence.  Nextworld’s mission is to solve that “locked on delivery” problem with a software platform that takes the business function blueprint and adapts it to the best technology of the day.  Fascinating.

Aug 26

32 min 11 sec

“There are accessible ideas that instantly make sense, are easy to invest in… then there’s our idea: niche, geeky, weird…” Jenn Knight, AgentSync It had been a while (Xero Shoes) since I interviewed spousal co-founders.  Aside from a great story of a niche business born to solve a painful problem, I enjoyed hearing from Jenn and Niji about how they manage the business and their lives together.  A point I found particularly interesting is how the established trust between them facilitates business decisions and progress. 

Aug 12

35 min 39 sec

Re customer experience: “We are the ultimate arbiter of truth.” Mario Ciabarra, Quantum Metric My interview with Mario Ciabarra of Quantum Metric was tons of fun.  Mario is a high energy entrepreneur who built a few very small businesses before hitting on something BIG with Quantum Metric – in its last round of funding, Quantum Metric was valued at over $1 Billion.  Now bestowed with “unicorn” status, I asked Mario how he feels about that.  We talked lots about the problem the company solves, and the challenge of even explaining what they do to early customers who needed a solution they’d never seen before. 

Jul 29

38 min 31 sec

“We decided to tackle the hard stuff… which nobody’s replicated – and that’s because it’s really hard.” Dr. Mark Prather, DispatchHealth I begin this episode stating, “I thought that house calls disappeared in the 1950’s!”  As it turns out, Dr. Mark Prather and the DispatchHealth team have figured out how to bring two technicians to a patient at their home more cost effectively, and with better outcomes, than if that patient had gone to a medical facility.  During the interview I was struck by how Mark began the business, and with what looks like become an extremely fast-growing Colorado company! 

Jul 15

37 min 30 sec

“We’re focused on aligning all of those computing resources with the future of the climate and the future of the planet.” Chase Lochmiller, Crusoe Energy Sometimes when I hear about something that seems strikingly unusual, I remark, “Wait – WHAT???”  When I learned about Colorado-based Crusoe Energy it was one of those moments and I was curious to learn more.   Chase Lochmiller, an MIT grad with a background in plasma physics and data science, and co-founder Cully Cavness with a background in oil and gas and geothermal energy, put their skills together to create a way to convert wasted and polluting natural gas “flaring” to power Bitcoin mining.  Creative, inventive, and now well a well-funded and fast-growing company.

Jul 1

32 min 13 sec

“We hired business to consumer experts to do this (launch Ball aluminum cups) and left them on their own, without being pulled and tethered to the other bigger businesses.”  Dan Fisher, Ball Corporation  I’ve been a huge fan of Ball Corporation for years – its leaders are the real deal when it comes to a commitment to sustainability.  Two topics I wanted to discuss with Dan Fisher, President, were:  1) the naming of Ball Arena (and WHY), and 2) the invention, investment in, and marketing of a new, never-before disposable – scratch that – RECYCLABLE aluminum cup.  You’ll hear Dan’s authentic enthusiasm in this interview. 

Jun 17

27 min 1 sec

“I didn’t want a product with Bluetooth components or software engineers on staff.  I wanted something with fabric and elastic that I could bring to market in a very speedy way.” Colin McIntosh, Sheets & Giggles My guest Colin McIntosh wanted to create a company and when he was laid off, decided to do that.  He didn’t know what that product would be, but he knew that had criteria: a massive and highly-fragmented commodities market where there was no strong brand loyalty, where products were sold mostly through traditional retail so that he could dominate online, and a market where existing brands were boring.  You’ll love Colin’s excitement about the dynamic growth of Sheets & Giggles and the role that Colorado has played in its success. 

Jun 3

39 min 11 sec

“We have a responsibility to be a shining star to other states...about how we do business in Colorado.” Johnny Le Coq, Fishpond Everyday more and more companies promote what author Simon Sinek calls their “WHY.”  Some pretty famous companies position their companies as supporters of a cause.  Colorado-grown Fishpond goes even further, fully integrating its dedication to river conservation into its brand.  Johnny’s enthusiasm for his vision, the business, for product innovation, and for Colorado are infectious. 

May 20

27 min 51 sec

“Every entrepreneur needs help all the time.”  Erik Mitisek, CEO, Highwing  You may know Erik Mitisek as a founder of Denver Startup Week, or as Colorado’s Chief Innovation Officer, or from his many other endeavors in the Colorado entrepreneurial community.  This is a great conversation with Erik as we transition through several topics including Colorado as a home for startups, Erik’s current venture – Highwing, and lessons of entrepreneurship.   

May 6

35 min 24 sec

“1 person, 1 share, 1 vote… how we spend profits is an important ownership decision.” Jason Sharpe, CEO, Namasté Solar Namasté Solar takes being a “B Corp” to a new level with what CEO Jason Sharpe calls a “Democracy” where employees can become owners by buying-in ($5,000).  I explored with Jason how that could possibly work, and he explained that they run the business day to day differently from how they make Governance decisions.  A really fascinating look inside an employee owned “democracy.”

Apr 22

37 min 25 sec

“It’s a logistics challenge… we’re building a Garden Market every week for 5 weeks in a row.” Jeremy Friedman, President, Plum Creek Garden Market and Brown’s Greenhouse I like this episode for two reasons.  First, I’ve always wondered about the greenhouse/nursery business, particularly about how and why quality varies so much.  Second, I am fascinated by the whole “pop-up” business concepts – businesses that temporarily take space to meet seasonal niche demand like at Halloween, Christmas – and in this case, spring planting.  I dove into both of those topics in this interview during which I was surprised to learn that Jeremy Friedman had no background in the business… he found the original greenhouse company for sale online! 

Apr 22

28 min 43 sec

“You have to meet all of today’s performance requirements… then of course greatly outperform on others – that’s the justification for adoption.” Doug Campbell, CEO, Solid Power Solid Power is a “technology transfer” business with science that originated at CU.  Solid-state batteries are 50% more efficient than current lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles and other products. I wanted to get a better understanding of Solid Power’s technology and learned that the battery business, even the newer solid-state battery business is more competitive than I’d realized, and even more wildly expensive to get into.  Doug Campbell explains Solid Power’s focused strategy: develop and then manufacture the solid-state POWDER electrolyte that is the critical substance inside of solid state batteries, and sell that powder to the many companies building batteries for electric vehicles and other applications.  Doug is a dynamic entrepreneur, and you’ll enjoy this interview.  

Apr 8

33 min 21 sec

“That was the problem – we had too many mountain bikes… and I decided to build my own nice looking shed.” Jeremy Nova, co-Founder, Studio Shed Studio Shed is another Colorado example of a business started, not on purpose, but as the outcome of one person’s effort to solve his or her problem and not being able to find that solution on the market.  Jeremy Nova was a professional mountain bike racer – an Olympic athlete – who needed a way to store his mountain bikes.  His answer became the now thriving Studio Shed! 

Mar 25

37 min 3 sec

“We had somewhat of a plan, we kind of knew where we were going… the truth is the basis for a plan didn’t even come close to what the business is today.” Randy White, co-Founder & CEO, Wheel Pros It took me a while to understand the impressive scope of Colorado-based Wheel Pros.  I’d done my research and erroneously entered my interview with Randy White thinking that Wheel Pros was a distributor of many brands of custom wheels.  No – Wheel Pros created and built 30 distinct brands of wheels that owners of Ferrari’s to lifted Jeeps to ATVs purchase for their vehicles.  The story is bigger and more impressive than I’d realized! 

Mar 11

38 min 5 sec

“I constantly tell my senior leadership to try to do less and think more.” John Street, Founder & CEO, Pax8 Pax8 CEO John Street shares perspective and wisdom in this episode, all shaped and earned through his multiple startups.  John has been an entrepreneur steering technology innovations in telecom, email, internet technology, and now cloud services technology.  In each business, John was the industry innovator – early to the game with the risks and opportunities of being at the forefront.  You’ll love when John goes off on a tangent and shares the 8 rules for naming a startup, including Pax8! 

Feb 25

39 min 24 sec

“What I think is great about the TRUTH is that it always wins… It’s not about selling – it’s about sharing knowledge with people and letting them make a decision.” Avrum Emakis, Founder & CEO, CLMBR CLMBR (“Climber”) is earlier stage than I normally feature and I was super excited to do this interview because I love cool fitness equipment (see the picture of me demoing it!) and because CLMBR has attracted a ton of celebrity support and investment.  CEO Avrum Elmakis has very engaging “humble confidence” – and I’m humbly confident that you’ll enjoy this episode!

Feb 12

39 min 41 sec

“Most people don’t think of the Arts as an industry sector.  It’s 4 ½ % of our GDP – we need to make sure that arts and creative industries are part of our state’s economic recovery strategy.” Christin Crampton Day, Executive Director, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts A couple of times a year I feature a successful non-profit and its leader.  I like to find non-profits that intersect with Colorado’s business community, and in the midst of the brutal effects of COVID on the arts and entertainment sector, I invited Christin Crampton Day, Executive Director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, to join me  CBCA advances Colorado’s creative economy by connecting business and the arts.  Christin obviously faces some huge challenges now – arts venues are shut down – we talked about that, and about WHY there’s a strong connection between business and the arts.  I left our conversation convinced that a business’s operations can be enhanced by partnerships with the arts community.

Jan 28

25 min 35 sec

“There’s a profoundly important problem to be solved... in terms of creating a product with DEMAND, electric aviation is the ideal solution.”  George Bye, CEO, Bye Aerospace The key topics I wanted to discuss with George were 1) the patience and perseverance required to create an entirely new aircraft, and 2) how he maintains his excitement for an aircraft that is designed as a 2-seat trainer when in his past, George flew fighter jets.  Both answers really speak to lessons of entrepreneurship which make this episode interesting and valuable! 

Jan 14

36 min 28 sec

“The top three questions I get are: 1) Which were my favorite episodes?  2) Have you had any really difficult guests? and 3) How do you get such great guests on the podcast?” Dave Tabor, Host, PROCO360 podcast This episode of PROCO360 was a lot of fun for me.  It reminded me of all the great guests I had during 2020 – guests I’d almost forgotten about in my eagerness to find and interview the next great one!  Mike did a great job editing together this show, weaving in excerpts from each guest, along with my answers to the most frequent listener questions.  

Jan 1

32 min 57 sec

“Because of the opioid epidemic I expect we can develop that market to $1 Billion a year because our products provide great pain relief without side effects.” Thomas Sandgaard, Chairman and CEO, Zynex Medical Zynex’s main product line treats pain with FDA-approved electric stimulation that reduces the need for opioids in the marketplace.  Direct and understated, Thomas Sandgaard doesn’t seem at all impressed with his success.  His story of starting with $2,000 twenty-four years ago, and building that into a public company valued at half a billion is pretty impressive.  We discuss that, as well as Thomas’s transition from full-time CEO to a life that includes philanthropy, a UK football club, and a return to his rock-and-roll guitar roots.

Dec 2020

32 min 43 sec

“You will have your physician’s cell phone number… we’re creating nice alignment with those providers… they are being incented to provide better clinical outcomes and better patient satisfaction scores.” Chris Miller, CEO, Paladina Health Kudos to Chris Miller on two fronts:  1) he’s delivering on the holy grail of health care – providing high patient satisfaction AND better clinical outcomes AND at lower cost, and 2) he’s a great guest – candid, personable, and really good at explaining how Paladina Health is making inroads in what is arguably the country’s least cost-efficient industry. 

Dec 2020

28 min 21 sec

“The problem with organic social media is there is so much noise – everybody is producing content… you gotta PAY TO PLAY.” Benjamin Kepner, Global Social Media Marketing I struggle with what I perceive to be endless NOISE on social media and I was eager to understand from Benjamin how to cut through that noise for effective social media execution.  His answer:  “You gotta PAY TO PLAY – you need a paid social media strategy.”  OK, well that clears it right up.  Listen in.

Nov 2020

37 min 15 sec

“It always seemed disingenuous to me for companies to talk about how well the animals for the food source are treated when their employees have to work two or three jobs.”  Pete Turner, Founder and President, Illegal Pete’s I used to think that Illegal Pete’s competed with Chipotle and Qdoba.  The more I explored Illegal Pete’s, the more it’s clear that Illegal Pete’s is in its own category – great food, sure.  Full bar where people really want to hang out?  That’s unusual.  Voluntarily paying a living wage at a quick serve restaurant – wow, that’s almost unheard of.  Pete talks about how and why he made these decisions.  You’ll leave the episode a fan of Illegal Pete’s!

Oct 2020

42 min 6 sec

“It dawns on the guest that it’s done by design – that the sincere friendliness of the staff is something that rings true.”  Jack Damioli, President & CEO, The Broadmoor I feel terrible for all our state’s hospitality businesses that are suffering through the COVID pandemic – none more than the Broadmoor, a Colorado icon.  Here’s what I really wondered going into this interview: while many properties can trim and cut back on various expenses when business is slow, the Broadmoor is the longest running 5 Star resort in the world – can you “cut back” on expenses that could jeopardize guest expectations and the resorts reputation?  We talk about that, about the Broadmoor’s “Colorado luxury” service culture, and why Jack Damioli, the current CEO, spent over a YEAR in transition to his role.  If you’ve ever wanted to know more about a world-class resort with over 1200 employees operates and has MAINTAINED unsurpassed quality year over year for over 100 years, you’ll love this episode.

Oct 2020

32 min 35 sec

“Yes, things change – we want to bring the people in the community along as we develop.”  Haroun Cowans, Partner & Chief Real Estate Development Officer, Five Points Development Corporation I’ve always been curious about real estate development and cognizant of the impact of “gentrification” on a community.  After a walking tour of Five Points by Haroun, I was really impressed at how he’s approaching the redevelopment.  This interview features some great highlights of the area’s music history and iconic buildings.  You’ll also better understand how Haroun, who grew up in the area and is an Associate Pastor of a nearby church, thinks about “bringing the community along with redevelopment.” 

Oct 2020

32 min 56 sec

“There is the fallacy that you can outgrow any problem.  (You think) I’ll just sell more – that will solve the problem.  Well, that’s not true.”  Matt Cutter, Co-founder & President, Upslope Brewing Company Many of us are familiar with the stories of our favorite small microbreweries and of the huge Colorado successes like New Belgium Brewing which was acquired by Kirin.  Regional beer makers (starting at 15,000 barrels a year) have their own niche – big enough that we know their brand and big enough to be in stores, and small enough to still feel like the term “craft beer” still fits.  I love Matt’s comment that “Good brewers dump beer!“ referring to the need to throw out beer that doesn’t meet their standards.  About a year ago, I interviewed Dave Thibodeau, Founder and CEO of Ska Brewing in Durango (episode) – it’s fun for me to contrast the style and the story of this week’s featured guest, Matt Cutter of Upslope Brewing. 

Sep 2020

36 min 46 sec

Every job I've had before this I'd get bored after 4-5 years... fixing the home services business, fixing the experience for home owners, is an intractable problem that will probably outlast me. Brandon Ridenour, CEO, ANGI Homeservices Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor have always fascinated me – and until recently I didn’t know that the company that holds those brands and 10 others, ANGI Homeservices, is a Colorado-based public company.  We discussed what makes me curious about these businesses: how they compete with Google and Yelp, and particularly how ANGI can serve BOTH the consumer and the advertising service providers with integrity.  Brandon explains!

Aug 2020

34 min 21 sec

“We think about the consumer first and foremost and not about a business opportunity.  That authentically resonates.  What do you do after that – who the heck knows?” Ian MacGregor, CEO, Skratch Labs Ian at Skratch Labs was recommended as a guest by Dan Konigsberg of CampMinder (listen to that episode!)  This is an episode you’ll enjoy if you still believe there is such a thing as “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”  In today’s world, that RARELY happens – it CAN – if you develop just the right product for just the right customer – and have a team working its ass off doing whatever needs to be done.  It also takes discipline to stay focused on the customer, and a lot of humility, particularly by a CEO who got the job by default. 

Aug 2020

32 min 46 sec

“I used to be embarrassed to charge for my pictures… It took many, many years to value my own work.” Guadalupe Laiz   Once a year I do an episode in which I feature three rising entrepreneurs with businesses and styles that I really like.  I had intended that Guadalupe Laiz would be one segment of this episode.  I am so enthralled with her work, her business one that I’ve been so curious about, and her story so heartwarming, that I decided to make it a standalone episode.  I met Guadalupe in Aspen when Cheryl and I were drawn into her gallery.  Honestly, her photos took my breath away.  You can see them on her website and of course at her gallery.  Watch for the “rising entrepreneurs” episode later this year. 

Jul 2020

28 min 30 sec

 “My goal is to make passion and business line up... and usually passion wins out."   Adam Miller, Founder and CEO, Revel Bikes, Why Cycles You’ll enjoy the interview with Adam Miller.  It’s different from what you normally hear from a founder basing the business on a “passion” because Adam is passionate about business as well as his passion. This episode tells the story of a founder who exited his first business via a messy divorce and little financial gain. Adam doubted whether he needed a different life path, went back to his roots at a bike shop (remember when Rocky goes back to a nasty old gym after being beaten by Clubber Lang?).  Adam soon reemerged ready to create two new brands that would build the best bikes in the world – Revel Bikes and Why Cycles.  Outside Magazine agrees – the Revel Rascal was selected by as Best Mountain Bike, 2020.

Jul 2020

33 min 47 sec

“A lot of entrepreneurs want to get into stores way too fast – before they have the consumer following… as quickly as they got on the shelves, they’re going to be off.”  Jane Miller, CEO, Lily’s Sweets Consumer products companies are tough!  For every home-started product like Bobo’s (PROCO360 episode) and Justin’s, there are tens, hundreds (thousands?) who fail.  Lily’s is different.  While its founder, Cynthia Tice, set out to create a product for herself (as most founders do), she set out to create a business at scale when she created a no-sugar-added product.  With only three employees, including herself, Cynthia brought on Jane Miller, my featured guest.  Jane is an experienced entrepreneur (including CEO of Rudi’s Bakery) with lots to share during our interview. 

Jun 2020

35 min 18 sec

“It comes back to the science... I do think it comes down to credibility and trust.”    Deanie Elsner, CEO, Charlotte’s Web    The CBD business is exploding and Charlotte’s Web went from startup to $100 million in 3 years!  Deanie Elsner, CEO, left a consumer foods company where she was named a “Top 50 Chief Marketing Officer in the World” to join Charlotte’s Web.  I was eager to discuss sales and marketing for a line of products that people don’t understand very well, and that doesn’t stop them!   

Jun 2020

34 min 46 sec

“It (effective marketing) isn’t about a consumer angle!  It’s about razor sharp focus by the brand that triggers some tension that a consumer has.”  Christian Gani, Match Marketing Group Christian Gani focuses on “experiential marketing” for his clients.  Until COVID-19, that meant creating amazing experiences that customers would visit to be WOWED by a company’s brand and products with high impact. Christian gives some great pre-COVID-19 examples. But, now what?  We can’t bring customers together to congregate and enjoy a collective, high energy, massively creative experience.  Christian and his team are figuring that out, flipping the approach and bringing the experience to the customer.

May 2020

37 min 9 sec

“The #1 thing going forward is going to be about hygiene… The thing that surprises me most?... with 125 shops, the importance of technology in the customer experience – I didn’t see that coming.”  Jamie Repenning, President, Floyd’s 99 Barbershop I’m always curious about franchises.  There have been some great success stories from Colorado, and some, less so.  It seems to me that a key to success for those who make it is that they are owners and operators first, and franchisors 2nd.  They great ones care most about building a business that serves the end customers more than about franchise sales.  That’s the case with Floyd’s 99 Barbershop – and you’ll hear that as President Jamie Repenning describes operations during COVID-19.

May 2020

33 min 21 sec

“We are focused on a mission and a vision to truly disrupt product development and design... along the way we’re probably gonna step on some toes.”  Matthew Klein, CEO, Backbone PLM Backbone PLM is a quintessential story of tech company success.   The dominating and most intriguing point for me is that the company was created to solve a very painful problem in the market that existing service providers were falling short of solving.  The problem was so painful that early customers helped Backbone refine the solution, and customer executives invested in Backbone to help them succeed.  Lesson to be learned:  when starting a business, find a really, really painful problem that when solved, creates massive value – then solve it. 

May 2020

37 min 33 sec

“I believe the role of a CEO is to be that face, the smile, the heart and soul that the customer thinks of when they think about the company.”  Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX Most CEOs of large public companies, no, just about ALL of them, seem to keep their private lives, even their personal personas, separate from their public facing CEO self.  Not this episode’s guest, Adam Contos.  Adam believes in “digital transparency.”  I probed and prodded during this interview, because it was truly hard for me to believe that the CEO of a $500 million public company so easily and informally shares himself as the face of the company, using Facebook videos, a podcast, speaking engagements, and an accessible management style. Adam predicts this is the future for his peers, and he adds his perspective on the role of a leader during a crisis, such as the COVID-19 crisis we’re facing now.

Apr 2020

30 min 50 sec

“When there’s CHAOS all around you, and when things are moving SO fast… the best way to figure out how to balance competing interests… is look at your values…”  Paul Raab, Managing Partner, Linhart PR Notice that while Paul and I were together in the studio, we were 6 feet apart! Normally when we think of “crisis communications” it’s about a company that’s having to do emergency public relations because it did, or is accused of doing, something BAD (ie, an oil spill, harassment), and it has to defend its reputation.  That’s NOT what’s happening here in the face of the coronavirus.  In this case, something has happened TO everyone, TO every company.  Still, while not at “fault,” leaders need to speak to the issue in ways that support their people, their brand and their values.  It’s tricky, so I recruited a seasoned PR pro for this very important and timely interview.  Even when we’re past this challenge, you’ll find the lessons in this podcast episode valuable.  

Mar 2020

28 min 19 sec

Tory Bruno, President and CEO, United Launch Alliance – From aerospace engineer to CEO of the world’s most successful launch company, Tory shares his approach to management that has yielded 137 rocket launches with 100% success. “Nothing trumps mission success... now, let's talk about the decision we have to make.”  Tory Bruno, President and CEO, United Launch Alliance There are recent and very high-profile examples in which notable companies have had product failures – air bags, helicopter fuel tanks, aircraft and more – which appear to have been caused by decisions to optimize speed or profits over safety and certainty.  On its website, United Launch Alliance says it is CREATING VALUE THROUGH CERTAINTY.  How one manages for CERTAINTY, and still can charge a price customers will pay, that’s the topic I couldn’t wait to discuss!  You’ll enjoy the conversation!   

Mar 2020

32 min 12 sec

Eric Gutknecht, CEO, CharcūtNuvo – Eric and his wife Jessica basically STOPPED the multi-generation business of Continental Sausage to remake the company and its products.  The decisions, the branding, and the product innovation are the subjects of this episode. “People try it at Costco and it’s, ‘oh my goodness’ – They’re so proud to have found us and they want to share it.” Eric Gutknecht, CEO, CharcūtNuvo   This episode of PROCO360 is the story of a multi-generational business in which the youngest saw an opportunity to reinvent the business.  Eric Gutknecht and his wife Jessica decided to shut down the deli and its small sausage making operation in the back, replacing both with a manufacturing company focused on product innovation and distribution.  The decisions, the branding, and product creation are the subjects of this episode.     

Feb 2020

32 min 58 sec

"The people with the best ideas were the least likely to share them… I set out to solve the problem of getting those people to speak up.   Anthony Franco, CEO, MC Squares Anthony Franco’s company, MC Squares, is an earlier stage company than I typically feature on PROCO360.  I wanted to interview him NOW, because 1) the company has gone from $5,000 in monthly sales, to $100,000 in monthly sales over a short period of time, and 2) because I’m intrigued at how he’s made the transition from a serial B2B entrepreneur to a B2C entrepreneur. 

Feb 2020

33 min 22 sec

Nancy Fitzgerald, CEO of iLendingDIRECT – After her husband, CEO of the company, was killed in a tragic bicycling accident, “the sharks were circling” the company.  Now it’s thriving.  Here’s the story. “I never quit... I’ve always known that no matter how hard my life has been at times that the sun is going to shine the very next day.” Nancy Fitzgerald, CEO, iLendingDIRECT   I wanted to interview Nancy because I LOVE the service delivered by her company to its clients: it gets consumers out from under expensive (predatory?) car loans, lowering their interest rate by an average of almost 6%.  Nancy, former Miss Canada, shares a bit of her vocal talent during our interview.  More importantly, she shares a story of massive determination and running a culture-driven company. 

Jan 2020

31 min 18 sec

Dan Konigsberg, Founder and CEO of CampMinder – an inspiring and entertaining story of creating a software as a service to enable an old industry to flourish.  “Employee engagement is our #1 goal, before client satisfaction… That will lead to client satisfaction.”   I really was eager to talk with Dan Konigsberg about building a COMMUNITY of customers in a powerful niche.  CampMinder is a Best Place to Work winner while helping its clients average 42% revenue gains.  That all weaves together in this high energy conversation with a durable (18 year) entrepreneur.

Dec 2019

36 min 48 sec

The owner of Third & James developmental record label and two rising artists, Oli McCracken and Kayla Ruby, talk about the business.   “There’s about an 80% non-recoup rate, so record labels are for the most part venture capital.” Joshua Olsen, Owner, Third & James Recording Studios   Recorded in front of a sold-out live audience at Third & James Studios, this episode was a blast!  We talked about the business of promoting rising musicians, and we heard some candid stories from Kayla Ruby and Oli McCracken about their struggles and progress in the early stages of promising careers.  Owner Joshua Olsen sums up the business well when he said of his record label, “We’re like venture capitalists.”  Special thanks to R. Chris Clark for taking tremendous photos at the event (seen above), and to Community Banks of Colorado for sponsoring the event.

Dec 2019

42 min 34 sec