Broker Check


Episode 62: Over-Delivering & Delighting - Keeping Service at the Center of Family Business

In this episode of the Family Business Show, host Michael Palumbos from Family Wealth and Legacy in Rochester, New York, welcomes Fred Matt from the iconic Saranac Brewing, also known as the FX Matt Brewing Company. Fred Matt, a fourth-generation family member in the business, shares the remarkable journey of their family-owned brewery, which has thrived for over 134 years, a rare feat in the consumer company sector.

Fred discusses the evolution of the brewery, highlighting the transition from regional to contract brewing and the introduction of Saranac beers. He emphasizes the importance of delighting customers, a principle that has guided the company through various industry changes. Fred also touches on the brewery's conservative financial approach, ensuring quality and modernization while maintaining fiscal strength.

The conversation delves into the broader context of family businesses, with Fred offering insights on employment policies within family-run entities, stressing the necessity of outside experience before joining the family business. He advocates for empathy and kindness in the workplace, reflecting on personal experiences and the significance of creating a supportive and inclusive environment.

Fred's narrative is not just a success story of a family business but a testament to the values of hard work, innovation, and commitment to quality and community. His reflections offer valuable lessons for other family businesses and underscore the resilience and adaptability required to sustain a legacy across generations.

Episode 62 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Welcome everybody to the family business show I am your host Michael Columbus with family wealth and legacy in Rochester New York, and we have an incredible show for you today, we have Fred matt with welcome.

 

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Michael Palumbos: From saranac brewing.

 

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Michael Palumbos: fx matt company you to club beer all of the wonderful things above we're really excited to have you with us welcome.

 

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fredm: yeah i'm glad to be here.

 

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Michael Palumbos: So you know when we talk about iconic brands in upstate New York, I have to say, you know you're definitely you know, in the in the top five of the iconic brands and upstate New York and through the years I might have to tell you I know what a beer ball is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: and

 

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Michael Palumbos: That would have been high school college days and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And we have definitely shared some Sarah next to the year, so thank you for all that.

 

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fredm: Well, we love being part of that, and I would say that I have to be at least in the top two iconic brands and i'll say to because of our friends at genesee.

 

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Michael Palumbos: They are you go, so what we typically do we have a good.

 

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Michael Palumbos: habit, that we do on the show that's not the word that I wanted, but you know we have a tradition of allowing you to kind of give us.

 

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Michael Palumbos: The lay of the land and Fred Fred matt story, you know what was your background, how did you get involved with a family business, what are you doing today, you know those kinds of things so use yourself to us if you want.

 

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fredm: yeah so i'm Fred matt i'm fourth generation of the map family to run the company i'm.

 

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fredm: A so I grew up in the family business I am fourth generation to run the company and what I think's really cool about that.

 

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fredm: Is that you take one companies that have been around for 134 years and family your success rates about one to 3% and the fact that we have survived for four generations, and I would say, mostly thrived.

 

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fredm: I think it's pretty cool.

 

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fredm: And I would say, you know the nice thing is that we are a family company, still today and the family gets along and we enjoy each other's company and so that I think that's a.

 

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fredm: that's a really nice tribute to you know really my great grandfather, and my my grandfather, and my father and his siblings that.

 

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fredm: really make family first and family, an important part of our lives that that you know the company is is is really done well and done the right thing and I think that you know, also been around for 134 years a consumer company is a feat.

 

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fredm: You know I always I always say that the he asked me what what we did well.

 

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fredm: I think we have always tried at least to delight the customer, and when you delight the customer you win, and you know times that we didn't delight the customer really the 80s.

 

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fredm: You know, we struggled and i'm not sure we weren't delighting the customer, as much as markets were changing and we didn't maybe recognize it as quickly as we should have but.

 

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fredm: it's it's I will go to my grave that if you if you give the customer what they want, and in over over.

 

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fredm: Over deliver, you will have customers for life, and I think that, and I think the other thing is that you know we've been you know generally a fiscally conservative company so.

 

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fredm: we've always been aggressively in upgrading the brewery and making sure that we're top quality.

 

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fredm: But you know, we also have been very conservative about you know where we spend how we spend you know what we take out of the company and so that you know today 134 years later.

 

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fredm: We don't have debt we're very fiscally strong and we have a you know very modern brewery complex that is set to really I think floods go forward.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Great yeah I love what you said delight the customer and everything else falls in place our version in our company of that is her first and let the pay take care of itself.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You do what's right and not what you know what you think is you know right for you or what's right for them, the bottom line, and it makes a huge difference people respond to that good for you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um walk us through your background again what was your journey, you know how did you end up in the family business was it right out of school was it, you know what else.

 

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fredm: So I you know I grew up in a family of six i'm one of five boy, or will we have six kids five boys and then my sister.

 

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fredm: You know, growing up, we.

 

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fredm: You know I would say a couple of things you know we really it was a pretty Germanic family but it close family and my dad worked a lot of Saturdays and so the.

 

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fredm: You know a lot of saturday's see you know, with six kids you know my sister was eight years younger than I am, we were all close in age, but.

 

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fredm: You know least the three holders always went with my dad to to work on Saturdays.

 

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fredm: And you know, so I don't know from when I was four or five we we came to the brewery you know a lot of saturday's is a good thing was at the.

 

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fredm: Allow the Secretary said penny candy in their drawers and so that we could go grab all the penny candy and then my dad would put us in a conference room with you know that carbon paper.

 

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fredm: yeah in drawn and.

 

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fredm: You know, he do a couple hours of work and then before we left, we always took a tour of the brewery.

 

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fredm: so that you know, I think that you know in, you know as a kid if you want a Jager beer, you can have a Jager beer, I think that you know the what was impressed upon us, as his children was hard work and.

 

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fredm: You know, giving back and that we did have a family brewery and that you know.

 

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fredm: It wasn't really talked about that you know you could come back or that you would come back and so that you know my brothers and I all you know we went on to college, I went to Hobart, which is a I think a great school.

 

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fredm: It did great things for me I left when I got out of Hobart I went to New York City, I worked in international shipping for three years.

 

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fredm: And then I went to Grad school at the assignment school for two years, I went back to New York City for almost four years and work, the Gray advertising and in 1989.

 

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fredm: You know the brewery was in pretty rough shape, we were regional brewery that it had really you know gone away of most regionals we made great beer, but the national beers were coming in, they were coming in with you know advertising and marketing that was new to the category.

 

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fredm: And you know Miller was coming out with great advertising Bud was coming out with great advertising, and you know companies like ours could not compete on a marketing sales.

 

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fredm: side and maintain quality we chose to maintain quality and.

 

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fredm: You know, virtually what happened is that the you know price increase would come along and because of marketing the other companies were perceived to be better products more premium.

 

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fredm: So we held back on price, and you know all of a sudden you're in a situation where your margins are being squeezed and people's perception of lower prices, quality is not as good and so now you're in what I would call the death spiral.

 

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fredm: You have no way out, and you know it's the time is is not very long and really almost every regional brewery except for I think Austin gangling went out of business.

 

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fredm: We we stayed in business by my dad getting us into contract production which help fortify the business and then he got us into sona beer in 1986.

 

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fredm: And I think those two strategies and then really, really, really good to us, you know the the contract production side is.

 

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fredm: is now you know that's really growing force and that's actually about 50% of our business and then our own brand company brands or or the other 50% saranac beer is the horse saranac soft drinks does exceedingly well as well.

 

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fredm: I would say that the you know your ticket club which you know was you know got a lot of bad names and considered really cheap beer.

 

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fredm: Today is is in the hipster Community you know kind of a cool beer to drink and, interestingly enough when I came back in 89 if you had said that saranac computer club were made in the same brewery saranac beer would be considered, you know i'm not touching that stuff.

 

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fredm: Right and today is the world about the fact that you clubbing and saranac come out of the same brewery is actually something that's considered really cool and just strengthens our story.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's great.

 

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fredm: We am we also have gotten into cider so we make mackenzie cider we do Kingfisher for the nation which Kingfisher is the largest beer in India it's about a 55 market share and now we've gotten into distilled spirits joint ventures and.

 

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fredm: we're going to be doing CBD ultimately will do thc so that you know we've really kind of taken ourselves and broaden our our our portfolio and you know, we are in a cyclical business and things have been great on the crowd side of the business for a lot of years.

 

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fredm: craft is struggling a little bit right now, especially if you're more of a legacy brand but you know we've done a lot of great things and.

 

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fredm: kind of breed look creating a new look persona and it's getting great reception our friends at wegmans I would tell you our friends at wegmans I would say that.

 

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fredm: One of the reasons we're still around as a company is when I came back in 89 they they believed in what we did we're doing and incredibly supportive and, to this day or.

 

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fredm: One of our biggest customers and most supportive customers so for all those people in Rochester you got a great company and white ones yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That sounds or earlier, we talked about the iconic brands of upstate New York, I would say there's a there's another one you hit on that.

 

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fredm: One yeah and you know they do is we talked about earlier is a delight the customer, I mean you go in there.

 

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fredm: And you go into any wegmans and the customer experience is fantastic and you do when you talk to their you say to someone like me and it's in stores a lot but.

 

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fredm: doesn't do the grocery shopping and now I gotta find something you know you can we unfortunately we don't have a wegmans near ticket, but you know you go up and say where's whatever lip balm oh that's i'll six on the right hand side you know blah blah blah blah.

 

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fredm: So.

 

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fredm: have fun.

 

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fredm: So I think that the you know that's that's cool too.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah that's fantastic and you just gave us a whole bunch.

 

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fredm: Of.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You came back to the company, at a time when you were struggling.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: One that's brave.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know a good on you, for stepping in and you know and and helping out rolling up your sleeves right.

 

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fredm: yeah I wouldn't say that you know I mean I certainly wasn't alone and came back with my uncle Nick matt who would run run richards index and then predictions richards and fixes Bob by Procter and Gamble so he's running into division.

 

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fredm: You know, really, he was the one that said, you know i'm going back because you know we have a family history, and we have something that legacy that we ought to keep going and asked me to come and so that we came back to.

 

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Michael Palumbos: bed okay.

 

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and

 

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fredm: You know I would say to some degree, it sometimes you could say that you know, Nick and I were heroes, because this place was in bad shape when we came back, but.

 

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fredm: You know, really we've we've been able to stand on the shoulders of the people before us and you know everything is built to where we've gotten today and.

 

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fredm: You know I would say that you know our timing was great and that's, not to say we didn't do a good job, the people before us did a great job so just as.

 

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fredm: You know timing is everything, and you know this family's worked really hard and I think with hard work comes some luck and we get a little luckier than some people in different times of the company's career and.

 

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fredm: You know, we were fortunate to take advantage of opportunities that were given to us and and made the company much money one got it so we survived but also got it now so we're thriving and we're in really good shape.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: we've all we're on the tail end of coven we've kind of moved through all of that stuff and you know a lot of the big.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Talk track through that time with pivoting and making it through you guys are a company that has pivoted what you mean this is like family history you living through prohibition, that was a probably had to be one of the biggest pivots that you had to make.

 

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fredm: 13 years.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You mind talking about that.

 

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fredm: Though I you know i'd say i'll talk about prohibition i'll Doug about code, because both are kind of events, the you know prohibition.

 

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fredm: I always say think about the business you're in today, and you know the government deciding you're no longer in it, and you know that's virtually would happen to us, you know I say overnight, it was an overnight people at some warning but.

 

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fredm: You know, we went from a beer company to a non alcoholic company pretty damn quickly and we made soft drinks and we made all tonics and near beer, I always love near beer, because we put on the side of the can do not add yeast or you'll create alcohol.

 

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fredm: So virtually told people how to how to create alcohol.

 

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fredm: You know, we did that, for you know the 13 years of prohibition his family folklore goes, is that you know my grandfather great grandfather going into production and become a pretty wealthy man between the brewery and the on the Bank and you own the hotel and bunch of other companies.

 

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fredm: urinal or unica cutlery.

 

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fredm: He had become a quite a successful man, and you know the folklore guys that have been gone another six months, he would have been in trouble, because he paid people throughout prohibition.

 

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fredm: And the cool thing coming out of prohibition was my great uncle frank been in Washington lobbying constantly for prohibition to be repealed.

 

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fredm: So he was there when it was repealed, we have the number one license utica club, is the first beer brewed after prohibition So while we did not cheat during prohibition.

 

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fredm: We did ship 55 truckloads or 52 truckloads out of here and the day the prohibition was repealed, so we did cheat at the end.

 

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fredm: And I think that was pretty cool I will tell you what covert hit, and you know, no one knew what was going to bring.

 

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fredm: march 18 is my designated day for coven new kovats here, and you know our sales literally were canceled that first week we were cancelled 50 50%.

 

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fredm: APR sales were cut 50% may sales for who knows what they're going to be, you know people are nervous, so we went around to you know all our employees and did small employee meetings.

 

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fredm: And we said to the employees, you know we don't know what color it's going to bring but here's what i'm going to tell you is that.

 

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fredm: You know our our families live through pandemics and world wars and prohibition and one thing we've always done is we've always paid our employees during all those those times and.

 

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fredm: So we're going to do the same now, and you know I hope it's not long that we're going to be.

 

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fredm: You know not producing a lot but pain, but you know it's, the least we can do, everybody hears family and that's what we're going to do and.

 

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fredm: truth we did get PPP ultimately when we made that decision, we did not know that we are going to get PPP we were down, you know 50% March, April June, July start I think we're down 28% in July 28% August, and then the fourth quarter.

 

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fredm: We had been working on.

 

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fredm: Three contracts that you know I wouldn't have told you and landed in the fourth quarter, but they did so between our business coming back a little bit and the contract production heading we actually ended the year down only half a percent.

 

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fredm: which was pretty remarkable.

 

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fredm: Your um I think the cool thing is, you know we did the right thing with our our our family of employees.

 

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fredm: And you know I would say, you know coven broad challenges but coven brought really cool stuff and you know our I would say our cultural indexes today are higher than they've ever been.

 

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fredm: There is, you know, certainly there's always been goodwill but you know, there is differences in trust and there's a lot more trust we get rid of.

 

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fredm: You know attendance policies we got rid of sick days, so you know if you're sick stay home you get paid and your spouse's six six days stay home we haven't changed any of those back.

 

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fredm: I would have I would tell you that I was concerned that they would be gamed to some degree.

 

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fredm: What I would tell you it was my thing was if it's game, then we'll fix it, but no one gained it, if anything, people were like how quickly, can I get back and.

 

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fredm: We ultimately did not have a covert case from March 18 until December six with our first Calvin case, and that was due to thanksgiving and we went from zero to six to 10 like that.

 

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fredm: But you know I would say that it was a great experience, I think, for us as a company, you know we've had a terrible fire in 2008.

 

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fredm: And you know, for when i've been here and now this and you know people really do come together during stressful and hard times and coming together in a positive way that.

 

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fredm: That making a much stronger and better company, and so I, you know as much as I personally did not like coven I would say, from a company standpoint I think it's been good for us, and a lot of good lessons learned of you know how to work together as a team yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: In team is key to all of that, and I.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I love the idea of, whether it be quarterly or an annual but a an event driven silo buster.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and so you know coven was that for a lot of people, so I think there's a really good point just to make sure people hear this real quick, is that you can.

 

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Michael Palumbos: With with right management get your leadership team together and say you know what for the next six months let's all go after this goal together and create that thematic.

 

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Michael Palumbos: bent to break down the silos because it's when you don't have those silos a lot can happen and much, much more positive manner than it can you know, then the during those non thematic when you don't have that crisis, I guess you don't in front of you.

 

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fredm: yeah no I think that's totally right, you know you get a real rallying cry and everybody's got to go everybody's going in one direction versus.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Right.

 

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fredm: to your point the silos which we all have.

 

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fredm: And you know diverse thoughts I always say that the you know a lot of companies are included is you know you put a nail and i'm not a big carpenter, but if you put a nail in the wall.

 

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fredm: And everybody hammers his nail it goes in pretty quickly you know, unfortunately, a lot of people that nail girls and slowly and there's a lot of dance around that now.

 

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fredm: On the wall.

 

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fredm: And you know I you know we don't always work that way, but you know we are working together better than we ever have.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's great talk about if you don't mind, and this is a question don't normally ask, but it just like is talking to you it's coming to me.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Talk about your leadership team, how do you how do you structure, you have non family members on the leadership team mode imagine yourself and what does that look like and how do you guys communicate what's like the rhythm for communication through the leadership team.

 

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So.

 

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fredm: You know, we have been much more family, we are you know my uncle just retired and so that you know the family, the management team today is a guy named Dan gross who's our Vice President aubrey operations and he just does an awesome job.

 

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fredm: And he's really my right arm and then we've got a woman Nicole Burke who's our Controller and she's new to the job we had a guy that is an air for 34 years who retired we brought in another gentleman.

 

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fredm: And after about two years deciding you know just be announced in January us moving to Florida.

 

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fredm: So, which was kind of surprised.

 

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fredm: And and Nicole was here and already proven herself in to our capacity, she only been here a year, but we put her in the position of controller I think she will grow in that job she's doing an outstanding job the guide left with little bit of a mess let's say.

 

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fredm: hey, and so I feel badly for because she said trial by fire, but at the same time she is turned around a mess in in basically six months.

 

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fredm: And really stabilize that department and.

 

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fredm: You know now we're going in the right direction and so she's done a really outstanding job.

 

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fredm: yeah that's that's really the core.

 

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fredm: Because Dan oversees all that, and then we obviously have a plant manager and things like that, but.

 

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fredm: We have every Friday morning is production meeting.

 

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fredm: All disciplines are their production brewing purchasing finance.

 

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fredm: And then i'm a sales and marketing guy by trade so i'm very involved in both of those and you know we have.

 

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fredm: Sales meetings every other week with the division guys so that we're staying on track on sales and then.

 

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fredm: You know I probably lead the contract sales side and then hand it off, you know when we get up and stay very involved in that just because it's.

 

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fredm: You know the I just think that you know you're a customer you want to know people care and the more touches you have with your customer base, I think, the more likely that you're not going to end up with a surprise, and I personally don't like surprises so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Understandable see so on the contract side you're keeping your fingers on the pulse.

 

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fredm: You know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You talked about the 80s and that was a tough time of maybe being behind the curve just a little bit behind that you know what was happening, the trends that were happening.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What do you what are you and your team do today that's different to try to stay in front of the curve or and you know and watching the trends.

 

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fredm: yeah so I mean the world of brand marketing today is is an interesting one, because we were the first ones to come out with expects and the craft beer category with sin and trail mix which served us exceedingly well for years.

 

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fredm: You know the the mix packs now are you know what I don't care what category, you have now it's mixed packs are you know, so the Celtic category started here the Celtic category it's probably 60 to 70% of all sales craft beer it's probably.

 

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fredm: You know, for us it was it was 50%.

 

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fredm: But in the craft category it's probably somewhere between 20 and 30% depending on you know become seasonal etc.

 

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fredm: But it's you know trail mix when we came out with it was a rocket ship for us and.

 

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fredm: We didn't you know, Jim Koch, was the first one to come in with it, Sam Adams and and we were making beer for him at the time.

 

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fredm: He was probably two years behind where you know, we had already had two years of sales and you know I forgot their first version was like an American pack or something that didn't do well.

 

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fredm: So I would say on trail mix, we probably had five year lead time and you know your first mover and you know today.

 

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fredm: You take the seltzer category where.

 

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fredm: A guy named Nick shields created it, it was it was called spike seltzer and he ended up selling it the Budweiser two years before why Clark truly even were out.

 

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fredm: But you know once that category started to take off, you know you've got 1000 entrance immediately, and I would say.

 

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fredm: You know the differences is big corporate is much quicker to come in either copycat or by and so that you know I almost think the trick today is.

 

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fredm: Is get a product that is showing steady growth, but not enough to get attention and so that you can get a few years out of it before you get a bunch of copycats because.

 

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fredm: If it comes to quickly you're going to have a copy characters in a heartbeat and we make a product called ranch water for.

 

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fredm: Now Diaz you know, but it was a woman named katie brown a great great you know person and did a great job.

 

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fredm: You know the product it's you know she started the company it exploded and i'm going to say months later, and I might be wrong in that time but i'm close you know she was basically selling because you had.

 

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fredm: Four or five other bigger companies coming out with a ranch water type product that you know she's new to the business.

 

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fredm: You don't have a distribution channel defined and you're just not gonna you're not going to get a shot.

 

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fredm: And so you know, unfortunately, for her she's sold out, I mean i'm sure we're adele for from a financial standpoint, and you know she's working with Dr john I think having a great time but.

 

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fredm: I just I think that the you know the world today is its copycat very quickly it's very, very competitive.

 

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fredm: And I think that makes it much more challenging I think the product life cycle cycle of a product is much shorter, so you know I think one you're going to have copycats I will tell you within six to 12 months and brodick lifecycle might be, you know.

 

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fredm: 18 three years right 18 months to three years, so you know it's a it's a it's a much different business and.

 

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fredm: You know so, to what are we doing and what are we doing to make sure we're successful one we've diversified so we've gotten into distilled spirits, both in our own products and contracts we're doing.

 

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fredm: You know, wine products non alcoholic smelters non alcoholic sodas not all non alcohol, good for you drinks obviously beer, wine and cans and you know now we're getting into CBD.

 

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fredm: So we're we're diversified in that way, and then the last two products we just launched.

 

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fredm: we've done is joint ventures and we did a distilled spirits as a joint venture and we're doing it with harpoon and with flying dog.

 

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fredm: If you say, well, why are you doing that, so you know it's really simple and in this came, you know we have this idea we call them up and said you guys in and within five minutes, yes, a man.

 

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fredm: it's a handshake deal basically and it's shared third a third, a third all costs, all profits.

 

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fredm: And the reason we did it is you now go into New England who owns New England are prone their sales force their their got great distribution.

 

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fredm: we've got the New York swatch or East Pennsylvania, the New Jersey and it's not that we're not in those other areas, but we're not as strong as they are.

 

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fredm: And then you go to flying dog who's really strong in the mid Atlantic so we launched a product in we're in market like that.

 

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fredm: And you now can get bigger quickly, and you know, the goal is to keep we've actually got another product coming right behind that.

 

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fredm: The goal is to build this company we joint venture company and if someone comes along taking advantage of what I just said, big wants to either borrow or by.

 

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fredm: You know if they borrow you know I can benefit from that, but if they come in and say you know we're going to throw you some money to buy it.

 

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fredm: So they buy it hopefully I keep the contract if I don't now we've got a track record of creating things so people are gonna want to follow us going forward, so I think that joint venture strategy is a is a really interesting one it's really different.

 

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fredm: You know, mostly I think that you know you've got to the thing that if you said to me again what's the thing you most focus on its delighting the customer and.

 

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fredm: You know this distilled spirit we've done there's 1000 of them out there, right now, how would I would tell you is our product over delivers and taste.

 

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fredm: and quality and so people say there's you know there's too many of these out here, we have them sample and they're like i'm in and so that you know I I literally will go back to you delight your customer you're going to be okay you don't delay your customer you're gonna have issues.

 

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Michael Palumbos: makes sense, I am as i'm talking to you i'm having a blast, by the way this is.

 

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Michael Palumbos: not really.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I can see the market map that you must draw to see how does money flow through your business with all the joint ventures what's direct to market where where does the cash flow from just I would that's got to be like a you know, a whole wall in your.

 

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Michael Palumbos: business to be able to to see that on one page kind of thing that's that's interesting.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm talking about in the let's go back to family business for a second appreciate everything that you've shared there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know it's been ingrained that you have a family business you're proud of working in the business other other family members today involved at any level of the business.

 

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fredm: mogul born, his family.

 

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fredm: And you know guns a close knit family, the.

 

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fredm: You know, we had a family last family reunion was right before cope with and i'd say you know, on the mat side of the family.

 

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fredm: I don't know, maybe 80% showed up.

 

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Right.

 

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fredm: So you know I think that's pretty cool you know growing up in this music area.

 

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fredm: You know i'm wanting to sex my cousins were here they had seven my other cousins were here they had sex so that it's your you know your cousins and you know them well.

 

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fredm: and your kids know each other and so that it's you know all that's fun and you know I always I always loved with little kids my kids are older now but yeah when when kids see their cousins there's just a bond there that they.

 

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fredm: don't it's like an unspoken on I don't know it creates it but it's just their school yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: No, no, I would tend to agree um so had had what is our family employment policy, or is it you know just if you wanted to come to work there well.

 

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fredm: what's that look like over the family, employment policy.

 

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fredm: started by really say next started this was at the you have to be 30 to come before you can even be considered.

 

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fredm: And thought on that was it, you know go out and get outside experiences and bring them back, and you know necessarily you know family isn't necessarily the best trainer which I think is a fair comment to make.

 

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fredm: Her happy and in realistic.

 

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fredm: And then I think you know the other thing to me is that we are a business, and so you know you can't just show up and say hey you know.

 

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fredm: i'm a mat so I ought to have a position here is that you know if we have an opening and you, you are the best suited then, then we have a position but.

 

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fredm: If we don't have a position for you, then we don't have a position for you and it's you know i'm probably maybe more focused on that and some of the people in the in the earlier, you know, certainly my father's generation was if you're a MAC you're coming back here.

 

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fredm: Right I my generation was you know grew up in you know, seeing the thing in the 80s kind of start to implode and you know, everybody was well educated and done exceedingly well so.

 

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fredm: yeah I think that everybody wants to see the thing go well, but you know there's no, you know wish I was there because they're doing just fine themselves and and then you know, is there there's a lot of fifth generation people, and you know, is there opportunity for them to come back.

 

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fredm: I would say for sure, but i'd also say that you know you gotta bring your chair to the table, and you know it's not just a way to complete it, you know i'm Max matt and I can I can come back.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah it's interesting I just had a meeting with Carol whitmire who's the interim Dean at St john Fisher.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And she runs the family business Center there that's what she was brought in to do and then ends up being the interim Dean, for the whole school but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: She did a whole bunch of research on families and the employment policy and the benefits of you know not work, not coming to work for the family business immediately going out, and you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know sharpening your own XL the world and making your own way, through versus families that you know it was immediately come on in your family member we're going to find a spot for you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And I found I found it really interesting because what she said she you know came back with was it just depends.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, every family is different there's no right or wrong on how to do it, I love the fact I always grew up feeling that you know your way of doing things was the right way go out and you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Look, these prove to the family that you can succeed someplace else and going to you know, bring something really important back to us because we don't know it all.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And then I have another business that you know that i'm following i'm just watching the success the G three is having and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Every one of them, except for one you know started right out of high school.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Some of them, you know did a semester or two of college dorm didn't even do the the College route and they're just run the business and they're doing a phenomenal job with it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Because of the industry that they're in they needed more time with the family to learn the the specialty niche that they're in.

 

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fredm: So all agree with that comment, it depends, most of my friends and family businesses.

 

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fredm: did go out and did their own thing for a while, you know, for me, I think that that is you know it depends on the company really in the business you're in I mean.

 

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fredm: You know I, I think that the you know a lot of our employees knew me from working in the brewery knew I was hard working and.

 

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fredm: would do anything but you know, there is is a little you just come back out of college it's you know my dad was effects it's a little bit you know.

 

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fredm: Oh it's ready it's ready so effects the sun, and you know the differences is that when you've had successes on your own, and now you sit in the room.

 

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fredm: And you know for any murmuring and I will assure you there's murmuring when the one some younger generation comes back is that you know, the second you open your mouth I think they're generally there's opportunity, people say Oh, I get this this is going to be good.

 

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fredm: And you know, again, I certainly can work, and I think it depends on the business the the people teaching and.

 

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fredm: And really the person going into the culture of the company, etc, so you know if someone's work they're all they're all their high school and college years and all that and everybody knows them already and they really like wishing come back then it's using sliding right.

 

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Michael Palumbos: That makes sense i'm not sure mentioned having friends other friends that are in family businesses are you involved in any associations or any groups that are family business oriented.

 

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fredm: So i'm in a conscious capitalism group.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Now, but.

 

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fredm: When I first came back, we were in a family business group there were six of us that they all had family businesses and we meet once a month and.

 

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fredm: You know, it was there was call it a presenter every month, but the presenter was really kind of you know, the one we got on the most was what keeps you up at night.

 

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fredm: And I would say generally people was the issue but.

 

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fredm: That was a really good group I mean it was you know a lot of you know we don't sign confidentiality agreements, but we make it clear that this stuff is confidential and you know what i'm going to share it really not what get out.

 

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fredm: Now, and you know the cone of silence, so to speak, in that group and and conscious capitalism group is, I think, really helpful.

 

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fredm: Because you can be open and honest and no judgment yet really constructive criticism or.

 

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fredm: COP criticism and some points constructed direction and other points.

 

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fredm: So I think it's I think those groups are really good.

 

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fredm: And then i'm in our industry groups and then i'm on the brewers institute board and i'm on the which is really the big breweries, and then i'm on the board brewers association Board, which is all the craft small breweries.

 

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fredm: And those are those are both very different boards, but both fun yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: No, I I found that I, my father was involved with every industry board and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: whatnot through the years, and so, for whatever reason, I was like i'm not doing that i'm going to you know I I was the kid that always had to do things differently than my father so.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I got you know very involved in family dynamics, we got involved in, you know the business side of strategy and execution and helping you know people think through those things, not just the wealth management for the family, so it was really family office kind of thinking.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so, then you know as Dan was getting close to retirement I started to get involved in some of those organizations and associations and like Oh, I should have done this, years ago, he was right, it was I really enjoyed my time with them.

 

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fredm: I don't know what I always say, is whether it's a charitable board or you know associations or whatever, I mean I always I always love how.

 

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fredm: You watch how people think, and you know you get to know them, and you know exactly where they're going to go on an issue but.

 

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fredm: I always take back, something that I learned from those meetings in in bring it back to the company, it may just be being out of the out of the day to day business for two days and.

 

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fredm: Being with a bunch of other smart people where you're talking about issues that aren't even affecting your company, but.

 

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fredm: it's stuff that all of a sudden comes in and it's like ding ding ding that I don't know what was said, but you get an idea from your own business or it's just literally outright plagiarism of you know somebody says something and you're like i'm taking that back.

 

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fredm: yeah so I I truly enjoy the the outside stuff as well, because I found it to be a really good learning experience and and just working with very diverse and smart people.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You just to keep always be learning like is you know you're always open to that and surrounding yourself with smart people.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I tell my kids all the time you want to be the dumbest person at the table as good as smart, as you are keep surrounding yourself with you know people that are doing great things wonderful things that you appreciate and that'll make a big difference in your life and how you operate.

 

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yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: um the topic that you mentioned what keeps you up at night, what keeps you up at night today.

 

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fredm: and probably the inflationary situation.

 

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fredm: You know I think it's I I don't think we know where it's going and I don't think that.

 

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fredm: there's easy fixes and so you know I worry about.

 

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fredm: Your employee base, you know you go and fill up the gas tank and it's $70 for a tank and I look at that if i'm thinking about that you know my employees are certainly thinking about that we pay our employees, well, we pay 100% of healthcare.

 

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fredm: and very good on the retirement it's but it's you know people gotta live, and you know.

 

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fredm: I work about worry about you know if you look at the American worker who's from the 90s had you know, an average of a 2% raise and you look at CEO compensation over that period it's just it's wrong and that I find really frustrating and it's you know we don't do that.

 

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fredm: And I I just in the divisiveness in this country is is ridiculous, I mean the gun violence, and I mean I I don't understand it, I don't understand why we got to have all the guns, the you know the.

 

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fredm: You know inability for people to work together and legislators will there be New York state or.

 

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fredm: Federal Government is it's just it's ridiculous and I get you know given take, but you know, there ought to be a compromise and how do we get there and.

 

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fredm: Then you know the the world affairs and potent and you know that's a loose cannon over there that anything could happen and I always have one simple answer on.

 

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fredm: How we fix the world issues, and this is not sexist and please don't know when she take offense to it is put a bunch of mothers in a room.

 

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fredm: and say here's the situation and let them fix it, because in that to me, is a credit to mothers and women is they are going to look for a solution, no one wants to lose a kid and I just I think we, you know.

 

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fredm: Men, to some degree, have messed it up enough let's let's let somebody else handle it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I can't disagree with that I hear what you're saying, and it is, it is, it is this time is different, or you know what I say, are some of the most dangerous words, people can say.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I wouldn't want, and I would argue that every time is different, you know we live, all these other things and we come out of them, and this time is different, but it's there is some differences in terms of you know, like you said you used to be able to disagree and commit.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah and you can't you don't you can't do that today it's not the same, you know people family members dropping their relationship with family members over political views.

 

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yeah.

 

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fredm: yeah.

 

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Michael Palumbos: i'm hurt i'm not talking to a family member, for I mean.

 

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fredm: To me it's just it's just ridiculous and then there's.

 

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fredm: there's bigger issues and we just you know we will get through this is the one of my favorite experiences, one of my oldest son went to deerfield Academy in western mass and he.

 

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fredm: We went out there and they did this great kind of parents weekend thing in this.

 

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fredm: person read these cards from the kids which were some of them were absolutely heartbreaking you know I feel like i'm pushed by my parents and all those kind of stuff.

 

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fredm: And you know they were talking about the same woman was saying, you know just recognize that these i'm not gonna tell you who it is and it's not necessarily your kids in the room.

 

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fredm: But you know, take the heat off your kids and let a kid be a kid and then the second thing was is that they read.

 

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fredm: Six little statements from you know I this generation is going to screw up the world and the next generation is.

 

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fredm: Man, what are we going to do, and all this, and so they started reading and it started with our Aristotle, and they literally came up and every all six people that had said this generation is going to be our depth a little bit.

 

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fredm: that's been going on since you know, whenever errors 1300s or whatever.

 

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fredm: someone's going to correct me on that one but.

 

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fredm: But I think that that's you know that's true is it you know we we do come through it we do, learn and we will be, we will be okay.

 

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fredm: And we will solve this one I just you know it's kind of like you're sitting on the sidelines watching this stuff happening in your you know how do you how do you help be a positive force and changing it was really what.

 

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fredm: A lot.

 

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Michael Palumbos: I think that you know as a business, you have proven to do that and I love that you pay 100% of healthcare that does not happen, and many, many places nowadays.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know, you talked about the the trust that you have with the employees.

 

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Michael Palumbos: In terms of sick days and whatnot and that you know we learned the lesson to a coma that they still want to you know, create a paycheck and they still want.

 

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Michael Palumbos: To have a vision and be part of the company, I always use the that vision piece in terms of I don't remember who it was but.

 

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Michael Palumbos: A President, you know the story goes a president was you know going through Kennedy space station as their you know.

 

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Michael Palumbos: As they were getting ready to do the moon launch so it was it was probably going to be before you know when you're going through NASA and he asked the janitor What do you do in the janitor says i'm helping to put a man on the moon.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Oh it's when you think like that, when that vision go back to what we talked about earlier that theme when we have that driving.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It can go through the whole company just makes a difference, so we may not have coven, but when you got me i'm going to be make sure i'm talking to clients about this right now we called it may be going away but now's the time.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It was always a good time for crisis to get the company moving in the right direction what's the theme what's the goal to get everybody rail and get that really cried going.

 

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fredm: So I will tell you, interestingly enough we're on the same page because I wrote down coven when we're talking about that because we distance ourselves from coven like anything.

 

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fredm: You know, we don't that railing crime that good spirit all that stuff together, but the the rallying cry is is waning, because we don't have that.

 

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fredm: And I just wrote that down because what's our next real and cry to to make sure that we transition in a strong way versus go back to where we were.

 

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Michael Palumbos: got it i'll give you have you ever read verne hornish his book scaling up.

 

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Michael Palumbos: No ran the book he's got a whole chapter or two on that thematic.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Events and I where else did I read that just recently that I thought did a even a better job.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It might have been Jim Collins good to great maybe.

 

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Michael Palumbos: that's what's popping in my head.

 

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Michael Palumbos: But fanatic events in the business and betcha there's also a Harvard Business article about it someplace every business review probably has done stuff on it.

 

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fredm: But mostly I.

 

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fredm: I read them but I can't stand those business sell books, because you know now they're in the parables and i'm on those guys if I started buck, I feel like I got to read it.

 

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fredm: And you know, to me, I I not diagnosed but anybody that knows me says, I have raging add to me, is just give me tell me the point you want to make in the chapter and wanted to sentence.

 

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fredm: yeah on an example i'll read it, so I keep thinking about you know, could I write a business book and change the whole way to do it and say.

 

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fredm: Okay, the theme of this chapter is very simple delight your customer get it okay you don't get it here's two examples Chapter three here's what it is here's three examples.

 

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Michael Palumbos: love it love it, you know you well in the in the case of what I just talked about I started to grab the summaries I love you know because I can do in six pages, I can get the the summary for the book and if I find the thematic thing i'll be sure to send it over to you.

 

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Michael Palumbos: find that the summary one for you um we're getting we gotta wrap this up, I can talk to you all day, this is just one of I really.

 

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fredm: enjoy your lunch done.

 

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Michael Palumbos: It absolutely i'm in.

 

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Michael Palumbos: When you talk about you, we talked about employment policies you're just giving advice to other family businesses out there.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What would you say you know that we haven't talked about maybe that you'd say you know what you really should be thinking about these one or two things, what do you know what are the.

 

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Michael Palumbos: What do you what would you hang your hat on.

 

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fredm: You know I think you know what I try and do let's just say show empathy for others.

 

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fredm: I think that's really important and I I share personal you know when say personal troubles of mine to our employees and it, it is, I did I read an article on.

 

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fredm: Google work groups, and you know they've done all this research and they put the best and the brightest in the room, and what can they get and they put the you know.

 

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fredm: The ones that were more dysfunctional together, and then they put they mix them, and you know they're trying to do is get the both the best and.

 

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fredm: What they found ultimately was the groups that were the most successful ones that cilia smartest and you know not as smart whatever was the people that when they shared something personal of themselves and showed a human frailty.

 

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fredm: The group came together in a stronger as a result and.

 

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fredm: I really push people to be open, I share, you know.

 

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fredm: You have a song that has anxiety and depression and you know that is an issue that is he's a very good place right now but.

 

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fredm: that's a that's, a thing that is is you know it's a tremendous problem in our country and we're not solving it and it's you know I mean I always think of when I was a kid I mean.

 

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fredm: You know, you know what it's like you know you wanted something and go get in there, you know.

 

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fredm: We went to this golf course and we was five miles away my mother was six kids at eight o'clock in the morning wasn't driving us we rode our bikes by miles.

 

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fredm: And you just did more yourself, you took kits and we, I think we as a generation of done too much for our kids.

 

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fredm: and made to softer landing and then you throw in social, which is you know, a snapshot in time, but you know you can tell you tell a kid that's going through some anxiety and depression, you know.

 

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fredm: They look like they're having a ball, right now, because they're with all their friends, do you think they put that picture up the beginning it's it's just one moment.

 

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fredm: But you know, no one gets set, and I think this mental health issue crisis that we have is a difficult one, and I can tell you from sharing it to our employees is that they they are much more inclined to come and talk.

 

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fredm: and share their concerns and and and you know, quite frankly, it allows us to help them, because now, when we know they have an issue.

 

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fredm: We can get them help that they need, and so I think you have to be is number one and my other one is just you know I always say to everybody, you know your mother always said.

 

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fredm: You know began say something nice don't say it at all, every mother said that and I don't care whether it's harassment or inclusive behavior or whatever it is just be nice and.

 

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Michael Palumbos: cost anything.

 

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Right.

 

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fredm: and things will be okay.

 

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Michael Palumbos: yeah I so to your empathy point real and it just like this very rarely do I hear anybody talking about it and it's so important, we call it cohesiveness.

 

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Michael Palumbos: On the teams that we're trying to build on, especially within the leadership teams or their teams that they're working on, and so we start monthly and quarterly meetings with a cohesive question.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so, if you start with that in the you know the the Leader goes first and so like the first one we usually do with leadership teams is you know when you have it, what was the most meaningful event for you, under the age of 12.

 

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Michael Palumbos: And so we start with that kind of thing and they never they never knew how many kids and Where were they were where were you in the birth order, and you know how many siblings yeah just sharing those kinds of things through.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Something once a quarter.

 

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fredm: You know yeah.

 

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fredm: it's an icebreaker.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Exactly exactly and a good way to do it.

 

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Michael Palumbos: up all right i'm going to i'm going to wrap this up here, thank you, everybody for joining us Fred matt Thank you, this has been you know just a delightful delightful conversation I hope.

 

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Michael Palumbos: You know Fred took some notes from this himself I hope all of you that are listening to this are able to grab some notes from this there's lots of really good nuggets in here.

 

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Michael Palumbos: Again, my name is Michael Columbus you've been listening to the family biz show we're in Rochester New York family business family wealth and legacies our company appreciate you listening and everybody have a great day.

 

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fredm: it's been fun.

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Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.

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