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Episode 86: Building The Best: How MAC Products is Revolutionizing the Welding Industry

In this episode of "The Family Business Show," host Michael Palumbos from Family Wealth and Legacy in Rochester, New York, delves into an engaging conversation with Eddie Russnow of Mac Products. The episode unfolds Eddie's journey from his initial career in banking to his pivotal role in his father-in-law's business, Mac Products, highlighting the transition and growth within a family business context.

Eddie shares his path from starting as a banker to joining Mac Products, a company started by his father-in-law. He emphasizes the importance of seizing better opportunities and how he learned the business from the ground up, showcasing the mentorship he received within the company. Eddie's narrative provides insights into the challenges and successes of Mac Products over the years, from its inception as a small team to its growth into a significant player in the industry, specializing in manufacturing compression connectors for underground electrification.

The conversation also touches on Eddie's role in the business, emphasizing the importance of family bonds, trust, and how the company has evolved to include his son, bringing three generations together in the business. The episode also delves into Mac Products' business model, its focus on solving customer pain points, and the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in a family business setting.

Eddie discusses the recent acquisition of a competitor, outlining the strategic decision-making process and the integration of the new business. The discussion sheds light on the significance of company culture, the challenges of finding qualified staff, and the importance of personal connections in business.

The episode wraps up with Eddie sharing valuable insights and advice for non-blood family members in family businesses, emphasizing passion for the work, the significance of overcoming ownership concerns, and the joy of working with family across generations.

Watch the entire episode!

Episode 86 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Well welcome everybody to the family business show. I am your host, Michael Columbus, with family wealth and legacy, and Rochester, New York. Today we are joined by Eddie Rus, now of Mac Products, and we're really excited to have you here, Eddie. Thank you.



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Eddie Russnow: Well, Michael, thank you. I'm happy to be here, and i'm happy to answer any questions you have for me, and certainly love to hear about the things that



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Eddie Russnow: that you do as well.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: sure sure. So Mac Products give us, you know we like, before we dive into the history of Mac Products. It we love to hear. Your journey



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: into the business was, you know, for some people it was a straight path. I was there from the day that my father or grandfather was doing this for other people. It was I just started the business, and it came from, you know. So what what was your journey into Mac Products?



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Eddie Russnow: Okay, Well, thank you for asking that. So when I graduated college I started off as a banker.



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Eddie Russnow: I was in a commercial lending training class.



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Eddie Russnow: and I had expected to do that for a while.



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Eddie Russnow: I maybe transition to a a money center bank in New York City because I was working in New Jersey at the time. and right before I got married



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Eddie Russnow: my father-in-law, who started the business, had offered me a position at Mac.



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Eddie Russnow: and



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Eddie Russnow: basically the way that we understood it was that



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Eddie Russnow: there's a much better opportunity here for you to grow than it would be maybe staying in the banking industry. And I agreed wholeheartedly with him at the time and said, okay, I'm. I'm ready to come into the business. And then I transitioned into the business a few months after



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Eddie Russnow: my wife and I got married.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Okay, how long ago was that?



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Eddie Russnow: 33, almost 34 years ago?



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Congratulations. I love the fact that your father in Law invited you into the business, because that doesn't always happen, and and i'm a big proponent of, you know, if somebody love



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the family is not just about blood, it's about love, and it's about the people that we decide to place our trust and love in. That makes all the difference in the world without you coming into the business. What if what what if his, what would his options have been?



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Eddie Russnow: That's a good question. So my wife does have a another sibling a sister, but there is no other members there. There were no other members of the family in the business just until a few years ago, when my son joined. So it was really me working with my father in law.



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Eddie Russnow: but



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Eddie Russnow: at the beginning I never worked for him. I was under others who were mentoring me



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Eddie Russnow: to learn the business. That's great, and I learned it from the ground up from the day I started I was working. He paired me up with somebody who was a fantastic



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Eddie Russnow: Mentor to me, and I really learned a lot from that person. and we worked. That person and I worked together for about 2025 years until he retired.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's fantastic. And and you know just what he did. Is that arms length? Separation between you and him allowed that space so that he could still be father in law, you know, and somebody else was doing the training correct. That's awesome.



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Eddie Russnow: Super smart. So are you. I do. You have the intention of doing the same thing with your son. I have. I've already done that. From the day he came in he started working directly with the plant manager.



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Eddie Russnow: He has not worked directly for me. He's worked with me on this transition and acquisition of this new, this new business.



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Eddie Russnow: but he doesn't report to me.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: love it.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So let's talk about Mac Products. Your father in law started it, and when he started the company talk about what it, what did the company do at the beginning.



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Eddie Russnow: And how did the company make money? Then?



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Eddie Russnow: It was him



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Eddie Russnow: a person who



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Eddie Russnow: worked in the office and took the orders, and did the billing and purchasing, and a person out in the factory. There were 3 of them.



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Eddie Russnow: and



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Eddie Russnow: we were a manufacturer of compression.



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Eddie Russnow: copper and aluminum compression terminals and connectors for underground electrification.



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Eddie Russnow: The company was a company that had been established before it. It went bankrupt.



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Eddie Russnow: and he had an opportunity to to buy it.



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Eddie Russnow: based on a recommendation that one of his mentors had made to him.



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Eddie Russnow: So he went ahead and did that jumped all in. and



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Eddie Russnow: the company has since grown over the years. We're about 120 employees now. and we have diversified the product line tremendously over the years



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: nice. So walk through.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know.



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Eddie Russnow: I apologize, but so it's electrified in transport. So our our product line varies. I I would say to you that if I was giving you my elevator pitch. I would say to you that Mac Products is a solutions based



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Eddie Russnow: engineering and manufacturing company that supports customers in the electrical utility



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Eddie Russnow: mass transit



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Eddie Russnow: diesel electric locomotive and other electrical oem markets.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Love it. That's super helpful for those of us who don't understand what you said. You know the from a. From a product standpoint that it really helps. So we we see you.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Most people see something that you've done everywhere in this country. That's correct. Yeah, whether you know whether it's subways or you know the electrified, you know transportation or but we all have utilities and



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: whatnot. So that's very cool. That's one of my favorite parts about what I get to do is learn about



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Eddie Russnow: tons of businesses that I would have never learned about. And so I appreciate you sharing that with us



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Eddie Russnow: underground electrification systems at their plants. So they standardized on our splice kits that are used to connect high voltage, wire and cables together.



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Eddie Russnow: So I remember When I first started working at the business back in the early nineties



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Eddie Russnow: Kodak used to buy from us, and contractors would come to us when they were doing installations on their sites in Rochester, and then, of course, at the time Rochester, gas and electric as well.



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Eddie Russnow: was a customer of hours.



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Eddie Russnow: So there's a lot of our product buried underground in the Rochester area. Because this is all our our electrification Business is underground electrification. It's not overhead for utility.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Got it got it? Got it? Okay, Thank you.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Through the years, you know, in conversations with your father in law. when you know it might have just been the 2 of you talking about stuff.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What were some of the tough times? What were some of the stories that you remember that he was proud of having. You know whether those storms or those tough times? What were some of the things that happened through the years?



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Eddie Russnow: Well, certainly.



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Eddie Russnow: when he was starting out, and it was really just him being the one to make all the decisions.



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Eddie Russnow: I think, taking gambles on things where



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Eddie Russnow: it might have been something we weren't that familiar with



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Eddie Russnow: where a customer might have said, hey, listen! I know you do this product.



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Eddie Russnow: but we really need somebody to replace another supplier.



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Eddie Russnow: Would you be interested in trying this.



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Eddie Russnow: and it might have been a leap of faith to say, hey, yeah, we think we can do it, and we're willing to take the challenge.



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Eddie Russnow: Let's do that. and



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Eddie Russnow: I can point to a particular time. Back in the the late eighties, where one of our utility customers came to us and said.



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Eddie Russnow: There's only one supplier making this one particular product right now. and it's



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Eddie Russnow: more advanced than some of the things you might be currently doing. But



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Eddie Russnow: We know from being in your factory and knowing some of your engineers. that you definitely have the capability. and we took a chance. and



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Eddie Russnow: we ended up becoming the premier manufacturer of that product throughout North America.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's very cool.



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Eddie Russnow: Yeah. So I would say to you



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Eddie Russnow: one of the things that we've come to be known for.



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Eddie Russnow: or that we



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Eddie Russnow: we pride ourselves on is that people don't come to us



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Eddie Russnow: when it's necessarily a me, too product.



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Eddie Russnow: We have a tagline at the company that we use, and we say we don't do easy. and we don't do things that are easy, and



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Eddie Russnow: you can interpret that 2 different ways, right? We it might be we might be giving people a difficult time. But but the truth is.



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Eddie Russnow: they come to us for a solution. Yeah. And when they have pain, and our job is to find a way to cure their pain. And that's why we say we don't do easy



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: smart, you know what it is.



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Eddie Russnow: Go ahead. Difficult things.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, it it. I think that's true for many people. And and you know that type of industry. And when you're service minded. I guess that's really like my industry is. You know, when when a family business is in crisis, when the CEO gets stuck and can't figure out how to get to the next level when they're going to sleep and worrying about people issues.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's when we get the phone call, we don't get the phone calls. When everything is easy and simple. They they wait until it's, you know. Oh, here, let me throw you in the deep end, Mike, go have at this



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Eddie Russnow: emergency, and and emergencies are our friends.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, a 100% a 100%



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: through your tenure, you know. Let's tell you. 60, 60 90 started the business.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: The market has changed. The economic situations have changed. You know. What are some of the other things that were obstacles or challenges or things that you saw that. You know through the time that you've been with the company now running the company.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Anything else? Come to mind that you're like. Oh, boy. That was a that was a good one. And here's how we survived it.



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Eddie Russnow: Yeah. So we have. We had a customer back in the early nineties. That was in the process of getting out of the manufacturing of their product and becoming more of an assembler.



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Eddie Russnow: and



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Eddie Russnow: they decided to outsource all of that manufacturing. Somebody at the company remembered us from the 19 seventies when they did what was called farm out, because they had.



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Eddie Russnow: They didn't have the capacity. So they just farmed out the work temporarily. They happen to have remembered Mac products that we did the work. So a phone call comes into us one day and says, Look.



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Eddie Russnow: we're looking to get out of the manufacturing business. We need somebody to come here. Take a look at what we're doing. What can you do to help us. What can you provide?



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Eddie Russnow: And I remember the story. I wasn't part of it. I wasn't there for the initial visit. but my father in law went. He



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Eddie Russnow: did his, he did his 30 s commercial.



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Eddie Russnow: and they loved it. And lo and behold! All of a sudden, within a week. hundreds upon hundreds of products end up at our facility, and they say.



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Eddie Russnow: find a way to make these parts as quickly as possible. And we did. We turned our business upside down. One of the really really ingenious things that my father-in-law did was he



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Eddie Russnow: had approached one of the key manufacturing people at that company



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Eddie Russnow: who was being let go, they told him. Hey, listen! You're just gonna be here for the short transition, and your job is done.



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Eddie Russnow: He hired him. Hmm, smart, and we took the brain power



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Eddie Russnow: that we need it to get us into this business. And this gentleman.



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Eddie Russnow: God rest his soul. He since passed away.



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Eddie Russnow: really helped in that transition.



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Eddie Russnow: and it just worked out so well for us.



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Eddie Russnow: and to this day. from 1,993



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Eddie Russnow: until now 30 years they're still our custom.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Wow! What a testament to your your father in laws! And the whole team's ability



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: to pivot, you know. Talk about pivoting. That was. That was a big pivot, and I remember sitting there every



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Eddie Russnow: Saturday morning I would come into do the estimates, and he would hand off the stuff to me, and he'd say, okay, get this in. Send this quote out to them, Get this, get to do this, do that, and



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Eddie Russnow: we just do whatever we had to do, and that's also



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Eddie Russnow: one of our one of our mantras at the company is, we do whatever it takes to get the job done for the customer.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You just said something that I want to. I want to hit on real quick. You, you know, talked about doing estimates. You are a banker.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What so how do you go from banking to being able to? I I to imagine you're looking at blueprints. You're looking at design specs and and creating these things. What was? How did you make that skill set shift?



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Eddie Russnow: So I enrolled in a at the time they called the blueprints right



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Eddie Russnow: blueprint reading class at New Jersey Institute of Technology. We're located right outside of Newark, New Jersey. So Nj: it



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Eddie Russnow: is



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Eddie Russnow: a stone's throw from where we're located. So I would go twice a week after work



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Eddie Russnow: for a semester. and



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Eddie Russnow: I didn't do well from a design standpoint.



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Eddie Russnow: But I learned how to read



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Eddie Russnow: drawings. Because of that I I couldn't be an engineer because I can't. I can't draw a straight line.



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Eddie Russnow: Okay, so. And I remember going up to the Professor at the time. And I said, hey, you know i'm not going to take any tests. I'm just here i'm business guy. I'm learning how to read these things, and he said to me, Go, sit down in that seat.



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Eddie Russnow: You're not auditing this class. You're going to take the test with everybody else. So it it was humbling. But at the same time I did learn



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Eddie Russnow: how to read and interpret those things that I needed



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Eddie Russnow: to learn how to do. Yeah. And in my the way I learn is by doing.



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Eddie Russnow: I need to see it



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Eddie Russnow: in order to understand it. I can't necessarily conceptualize it, or I couldn't at the time.



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Eddie Russnow: Certainly now, with my experience over 33 years, I I can, and there are things that I I know right away by looking at it.



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Eddie Russnow: How long it's going to take us to manufacture it. What it's going to cost.



00:17:03.150 --> 00:17:04.839

Eddie Russnow: and things of that nature



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: love it so to what Number one congrats and hats off to you for doing that. But the reason why, when you said it I was, I think it's important for people to hear that when you have a players



00:17:19.140 --> 00:17:20.450

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: on your team.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's more important to have a players on your team than it is to have people that can do the functions because a players can learn new functions



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: because they they have a desire to learn. They're constant learners. My gut, says Eddie, that you probably learn something new in the past month, and you're looking forward to. You know what's next, you know, in the next month, you know it's you're always looking to learn. You wouldn't be doing this show. If you weren't open to learning



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Eddie Russnow: correct, I consider myself to be a lifetime learner. I do a lot of reading.



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Eddie Russnow: and I try to pass that along to my staff.



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Eddie Russnow: It's why i'm constantly introducing new things to them. I'm a member of vistage. so



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Eddie Russnow: I come back every month after somebody presents something to us, and not necessarily the flavor of the month. But there are certain things that resonate with me



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Eddie Russnow: that I want to share with them, because I want not only to make them better, but I want them to make their staffs better. because it's so important to us to get people to



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Eddie Russnow: become more valuable to themselves and more valuable to the business.



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Eddie Russnow: It's the only way you can earn more money. You can't earn more by just saying I do my job.



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Eddie Russnow: That's what we pay you for. Right Any business. my obligation.



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Eddie Russnow: our our obligation is as a business



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Eddie Russnow: is to pay you for the work that you do. But if you want to grow



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Eddie Russnow: you gotta go beyond just the standard stuff that you do every day



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Eddie Russnow: right because we pay you for that. That's what you that's what you get paid. That's the contract between the employer and the employee. Right?



00:19:07.610 --> 00:19:08.280

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: a a 1,000. I couldn't agree more. I love it. Let's change gears for a second. Let's talk about the



00:19:16.910 --> 00:19:20.050

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you transition from your father in law



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: to you. So when, when, when when the hats came, you know his hat of CEO running. The company came off. He was. He was a pretty unique individual, I mean, based on what you said already. You know he made all the decisions he was that he was that strong deed that a type personality



00:19:39.240 --> 00:20:00.690

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: he was the I i'm gonna give you some words that I heard from another client. Tell me if this resonates he was a benevolent dictator, got things done, knew how to get it done. How did he make the transition to you. And how did that? What was that process like? If you don't mind sharing that Sure, and i'll, i'll tell you Also, he still comes to work every day.



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Eddie Russnow: Okay, wonderful. Yeah, he's. He's still there. So



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Eddie Russnow: when my son is in the office, it's we've got 3 generations there working



00:20:12.570 --> 00:20:20.600

Eddie Russnow: together, and it's, and it's fantastic. It's yeah, and and he loves it. I know he loves seeing his grants on there



00:20:20.740 --> 00:20:21.700

Eddie Russnow: every day.



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Eddie Russnow: but



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Eddie Russnow: I think it was



00:20:26.020 --> 00:20:28.680

Eddie Russnow: more of a



00:20:30.210 --> 00:20:35.150

Eddie Russnow: It was just a natural thing. right he.



00:20:35.280 --> 00:20:49.960

Eddie Russnow: There are still things that he needs to be involved in which I totally respect and understand, and he likes to make those decisions. But there are certain things that he he's not comfortable doing. He doesn't love the personnel stuff right? So I handle that



00:20:52.090 --> 00:20:57.170

Eddie Russnow: a lot of the customer relationship things that need to get done



00:20:57.370 --> 00:21:05.180

Eddie Russnow: I might handle. But we do have a obviously a staff below me. but I think it kind of just happened. Naturally



00:21:05.870 --> 00:21:07.250

Eddie Russnow: I was



00:21:07.290 --> 00:21:12.790

Eddie Russnow: one of 3 other key people below him it for a long period of time.



00:21:12.830 --> 00:21:14.160

Eddie Russnow: It was myself.



00:21:14.290 --> 00:21:25.240

Eddie Russnow: It was the guy I told you, who was my mentor who was our vp of operations. And then there was our general manager and vice President of sales, and those were, and then our Cfo.



00:21:25.320 --> 00:21:27.810

Eddie Russnow: and that was our leadership team.



00:21:27.820 --> 00:21:31.340

Eddie Russnow: And then our so 2 gentlemen retired.



00:21:31.870 --> 00:21:37.570

Eddie Russnow: our Vp. Of operations, and our general manager and director of sales. So they retired.



00:21:37.710 --> 00:21:43.310

Eddie Russnow: and then we never really replace them. So all those other functions kind of all just



00:21:43.670 --> 00:21:49.570

Eddie Russnow: came to me. Okay. right. So



00:21:49.600 --> 00:21:52.180

Eddie Russnow: I think is that happened?



00:21:53.040 --> 00:21:54.340

Eddie Russnow: He started.



00:21:54.630 --> 00:22:00.020

Eddie Russnow: you know, leaning back a little bit and saying, okay, you know, I can trust that all this is going to



00:22:00.180 --> 00:22:05.200

Eddie Russnow: get done. and I team up with the Cfo.



00:22:05.470 --> 00:22:08.720

Eddie Russnow: Our plant manager has



00:22:08.970 --> 00:22:12.200

Eddie Russnow: risen up and assume more responsibilities.



00:22:13.610 --> 00:22:19.910

Eddie Russnow: and I have a good, and I have a director of sales now, so I didn't have to be the one leading



00:22:20.230 --> 00:22:22.890

Eddie Russnow: the sales group. I did that for a long time.



00:22:22.910 --> 00:22:25.120

Eddie Russnow: I love it. I'm very passionate about it.



00:22:25.470 --> 00:22:28.090

Eddie Russnow: because I know i'm good at it.



00:22:28.360 --> 00:22:33.730

Eddie Russnow: But I needed somebody else to be able to do the day to day managing. I



00:22:33.790 --> 00:22:39.070

Eddie Russnow: It's not reasonable for me to do that, because I've got to grow the business, and I have to pay attention



00:22:39.710 --> 00:22:41.120

Eddie Russnow: to the other



00:22:41.330 --> 00:22:44.520

Eddie Russnow: different managers within the company



00:22:44.640 --> 00:22:45.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: right?



00:22:45.520 --> 00:22:59.710

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: So that that's the responsibility side of it, and feel free to say, I don't want to talk about this. But did ownership you know of the the actual shares of the you know ownership of the company. Did that transition or does? Is he still the owner?



00:23:00.060 --> 00:23:06.600

Eddie Russnow: It's it's family, but not through not through me.



00:23:06.760 --> 00:23:07.590

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Okay.



00:23:07.640 --> 00:23:24.080

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Got it? Got it? Got it? So there's so, then. And this is interesting. And and and I hope you again feel free to say that's too, You know, too personal. A lot of families have a situation. So he's taking ownership shares, and they're going to his daughters. I'm gonna assume.



00:23:24.080 --> 00:23:39.940

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And and you're still running the business, and your son is coming up behind you, you know, behind you when the business, you know. Has there been conversations with the 2 sisters



00:23:40.160 --> 00:23:54.520

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: to talk about. Look at, you know. Here's how things move forward over the you know, when when dad passes this is what it's gonna look like. How are those conversations? And how have you, you know, maneuvered your way through those?



00:23:54.930 --> 00:24:03.140

Eddie Russnow: That's a good question. So certainly that is a recent



00:24:03.680 --> 00:24:11.260

Eddie Russnow: phenomenon and discussion. It's very timely. They've They've just recently started having these conversations



00:24:11.400 --> 00:24:13.450

Eddie Russnow: and planning for



00:24:13.790 --> 00:24:18.100

Eddie Russnow: the future. And I think a lot of this came because of



00:24:18.320 --> 00:24:28.720

Eddie Russnow: this new business that we have. and as I was working with our attorneys, our accountants, and everything else, I was pretty much doing most of it



00:24:29.200 --> 00:24:31.530

Eddie Russnow: myself, and then we porting



00:24:31.730 --> 00:24:35.580

Eddie Russnow: to my father in law what was going on during all the due diligence.



00:24:36.990 --> 00:24:49.930

Eddie Russnow: A lot of this came up during the you know during these conversations, and how are we going to do this? And how are we going to do that? And I said, okay, so to my wife, I said, hey, look you. you and your sister, your mom and your dad, You guys all need to get together and



00:24:50.580 --> 00:24:53.300

Eddie Russnow: talk about the future



00:24:53.360 --> 00:24:56.350

Eddie Russnow: right? And



00:24:56.490 --> 00:24:58.770

Eddie Russnow: you know one of the jokes we used to have



00:24:59.140 --> 00:25:07.220

Eddie Russnow: if the company was after after my son was born, and we used to send holiday cards out to people at the end of the year.



00:25:07.340 --> 00:25:15.830

Eddie Russnow: some of them who I used to send them to in the in the office, they would say to me, oh. there's the future president of the company. you know. He was 2 years old.



00:25:15.920 --> 00:25:17.420

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: right right?



00:25:17.770 --> 00:25:25.660

Eddie Russnow: And, by the way, that's not being sexist or anything related to my daughter, because I do have my daughter's older than my son, but



00:25:25.730 --> 00:25:27.430

Eddie Russnow: she's an attorney, and



00:25:27.610 --> 00:25:28.990

she has no



00:25:29.670 --> 00:25:30.540

Eddie Russnow: desire.



00:25:30.580 --> 00:25:38.890

Eddie Russnow: and i'm sure i'm sure that if you had to desire, you would have said, come on in, and it was absolutely right. 100% absolutely.



00:25:39.000 --> 00:25:46.340

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Those conversations I can't, you know, for those for those people listening. I'm. I I I



00:25:46.390 --> 00:26:04.140

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: kind of felt that this was just happening, based on how you were, how you were speaking about it, and that's not what we're here to discuss, but it's just so important to get them on the table, and what I would throw to you is the what if questions



00:26:04.290 --> 00:26:13.050

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: are some of the most powerful questions that you can talk about now and record them on paper? What if sales decline?



00:26:13.240 --> 00:26:24.650

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: What if we go into a recession. What if you know something happens to mom before dad? What if it happens? What if? What if somebody thing happens to the sister.



00:26:24.650 --> 00:26:41.900

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know that's not working in the business before her other sister, and putting all of those. What ifs on the table right now? I have a family that are they? They're not a client. They it's a long story, but family, either family, friends.



00:26:42.010 --> 00:26:47.530

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and they are now in year 6 of Probate Court.



00:26:48.930 --> 00:27:07.350

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: because they, you know, in in this circumstance they named, you know, legal counsel and the accounting. You know, the accounting firm as the executor of their State, and Dad never talked to anybody about



00:27:07.490 --> 00:27:10.690

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the wishes, and what the what if



00:27:10.720 --> 00:27:29.270

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and money has the strange impact on people when things don't go the way that they had a store. Everybody has a story in their head. Human beings have this crazy ability to create a story, and if the story, if we don't know the end of the story before it



00:27:29.270 --> 00:27:45.220

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: before we get there. We create it. You know that's why the you know soap operas, and you know all the the movies, you know, when they have the clip Hanger. You know that there's a an episode to coming, You know. They They want to hook us because we want to hear the end of that story.



00:27:45.410 --> 00:27:50.540

Eddie Russnow: Yeah, I I would say to you that I've heard those horror stories.



00:27:50.600 --> 00:27:52.540

Eddie Russnow: Hmm. Over the years



00:27:52.660 --> 00:27:55.120

Eddie Russnow: from friends



00:27:55.440 --> 00:28:00.620

Eddie Russnow: who have gone through this with their families and family businesses, and it



00:28:00.830 --> 00:28:03.910

Eddie Russnow: is really bad, and it ruins



00:28:04.580 --> 00:28:10.700

Eddie Russnow: families. And I I I know personally 2 or 3



00:28:10.750 --> 00:28:18.800

Eddie Russnow: of those situations, and I believe that what we've been doing is preparing



00:28:19.330 --> 00:28:23.500

Eddie Russnow: for that in a very positive



00:28:23.640 --> 00:28:29.730

Eddie Russnow: way. Yeah, it took a little longer than maybe we wanted to for the conversation to start.



00:28:30.030 --> 00:28:30.830

Eddie Russnow: But



00:28:31.310 --> 00:28:34.950

Eddie Russnow: it it happened, and



00:28:35.500 --> 00:28:46.560

Eddie Russnow: I think we're in a in a much better place than others that I know that have not been as fortunate to be prepared as you indicate.



00:28:46.720 --> 00:28:56.670

Eddie Russnow: And as you've indicated, because you've seen it so many times, it's just it's just awful. You never want. You never want that to happen. You don't want things to come between



00:28:57.110 --> 00:28:58.950

Eddie Russnow: close family



00:28:59.330 --> 00:29:01.460

Eddie Russnow: members.



00:29:01.900 --> 00:29:05.820

Eddie Russnow: and I. I've seen it in families where there's just.



00:29:05.910 --> 00:29:09.960

Eddie Russnow: and there's an abundance of money available to everybody.



00:29:10.780 --> 00:29:16.700

Eddie Russnow: But yet they still want more than what the other person has, and it's crazy.



00:29:16.890 --> 00:29:21.770

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, and and I have another one right now where it was



00:29:21.940 --> 00:29:30.930

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I not in a 1 million years, when I, my first 5 years of dealing with them as a client Would I have ever suspected what I'm dealing with today?



00:29:31.070 --> 00:29:37.320

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And so I just I it money, and it doesn't have to be tons of money



00:29:37.320 --> 00:29:53.440

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: sometimes. You know I I have stories that you know. The one I always use is, you know Grandpa's wood nickel, you know. Johnny thought he was getting it, and Suzy thought she was getting it. And now they don't talk, because, you know, he's cut it in half, and you know, said, Here, fine, we'll split it. And



00:29:54.980 --> 00:29:59.120

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And so yeah, again, there are horror stories. But what you're doing



00:29:59.370 --> 00:30:00.880

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: communication



00:30:01.200 --> 00:30:12.640

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and and and Establishing Trust and establishing, you know, going through the what if that's the inoculation against that? The the plan for



00:30:12.760 --> 00:30:20.530

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: succession or transition 9 out of 9.9 times out of 10.



00:30:20.640 --> 00:30:22.120

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's fine



00:30:22.270 --> 00:30:30.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: from a technical standpoint. The attorney did all the right things the account, and did all the right things. And you know we we've got everything covered technically.



00:30:30.450 --> 00:30:33.400

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: but we. So we prepared the asset



00:30:33.650 --> 00:30:40.340

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: for the errors. but we don't always prepare the heirs for the asset.



00:30:40.350 --> 00:30:58.050

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and so that's the you know. The way to do that is, by building trust and communication, and making sure that everybody's understanding what this looks like. And if anybody has a different thought that we're airing, that while you know dad's here and mom's here, we can have those conversations to go through those. So



00:30:58.250 --> 00:31:03.920

Eddie Russnow: yeah, I I read the I'd write a book that



00:31:04.060 --> 00:31:09.000

Eddie Russnow: was published by Harvard Press or Harvard Business Review. I think



00:31:09.540 --> 00:31:16.290

Eddie Russnow: the 2 guys I forget their Baron I what's his name from their wealth.



00:31:16.400 --> 00:31:20.240

Eddie Russnow: their wealth, advisors. and



00:31:20.760 --> 00:31:26.630

Eddie Russnow: they both, the 2 of them wrote a book together. Follow one of them on Linkedin, but



00:31:26.800 --> 00:31:34.230

Eddie Russnow: they have a terrific book, and this is very interesting prior to my son joining the business, I bought this book.



00:31:35.460 --> 00:31:40.530

Eddie Russnow: and lo and behold, he's sitting in my office, and he said, hey, dad. I bought that same book.



00:31:40.600 --> 00:31:42.280

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Oh, that's very cool.



00:31:42.860 --> 00:31:49.740

Eddie Russnow: so I never said anything to him. I just said, hey, i'm reading this book. You might want to take a look at it, because no, I already own it. I I bought it



00:31:50.110 --> 00:31:53.160

Eddie Russnow: as well. That's phenomenal. So



00:31:53.310 --> 00:32:01.550

Eddie Russnow: just coincidentally. But it was, you know it was very helpful. It gave me a lot of ideas about things. And then.



00:32:01.650 --> 00:32:13.630

Eddie Russnow: before he came into the business, because I know a lot of people whose sons work with them or have work with them. I called those people. and I asked for recommendations.



00:32:13.920 --> 00:32:18.910

Eddie Russnow: What did you do wrong? What did you do right? And



00:32:19.620 --> 00:32:23.460

Eddie Russnow: they gave me a list of the things. Hey, don't do this because



00:32:23.820 --> 00:32:27.640

Eddie Russnow: I made a huge mistake. And now my kids don't talk to me anymore.



00:32:30.030 --> 00:32:35.080

Eddie Russnow: those types of things, and it was really really



00:32:35.100 --> 00:32:37.570

Eddie Russnow: helpful for me



00:32:37.950 --> 00:32:40.470

Eddie Russnow: to hear others



00:32:41.060 --> 00:32:42.280

Eddie Russnow: experiences.



00:32:43.670 --> 00:33:03.530

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You're it's smart to reach out to others and ask you. You know we Don't live on an island, and sometimes, as Ceos and presidents of a company. You feel like you're on an island, and that's one of the the beautiful parts about this stages. They teach you right away. You're not, you know, and I have to. I'm a vistage member, and



00:33:03.530 --> 00:33:10.870

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: or you know I I do. You know this succession planning, I, you know, build teams, but doing it You're on your own.



00:33:10.970 --> 00:33:24.350

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's always different. It's. It's so much easier to help somebody else build their team and do their succession planning than to do your own. And that's one of the reasons why I joined this stage was to help me, you know, take time to think about those things.



00:33:24.420 --> 00:33:28.830

Eddie Russnow: I don't have a board of directors.



00:33:28.960 --> 00:33:30.180

Eddie Russnow: and



00:33:30.890 --> 00:33:46.140

Eddie Russnow: I didn't have somebody or people that I could talk to about things i'm going through because I didn't have the trusted advisors within my own company. There are things I could talk to them about, but not the things that I go to vistage to talk about. And



00:33:46.670 --> 00:33:52.730

Eddie Russnow: thankfully the outreach came to me. My The chair of our group



00:33:53.250 --> 00:33:57.340

Eddie Russnow: found me. I didn't find him. I had never heard of vistage before.



00:33:57.560 --> 00:34:06.610

Eddie Russnow: and i'm so thankful that he did, and I only wish that I had done it 10 years sooner, because I know I would have been that much further ahead



00:34:06.860 --> 00:34:09.550

Eddie Russnow: had I had that opportunity.



00:34:09.690 --> 00:34:15.850

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's great again. I just hats off to the family for having these conversations.



00:34:15.860 --> 00:34:21.719

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You know better late than never. But you're having everybody still here, not after the fact. So



00:34:21.820 --> 00:34:33.130

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: if you remember the name of that book, because we're going through this. I want you to, you know. Pull it out. Remember it. I probably read it, but I don't know it's it's hard to pull out, you know.



00:34:34.590 --> 00:34:47.179

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: when we talk so. So today you've got Grandfather son in law, and and your son all working in the business in different parts of the business. Do you mind sharing ages



00:34:47.310 --> 00:34:51.580

Eddie Russnow: sure. So my father in law just turned 84. Okay.



00:34:51.940 --> 00:34:56.020

Eddie Russnow: I will be 57 this month actually on Saturday.



00:34:56.480 --> 00:35:00.560

Eddie Russnow: and my son will be 26 at the end of June.



00:35:00.900 --> 00:35:01.600

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Right?



00:35:03.650 --> 00:35:12.980

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I and I just just to give people that picture. I think it's it's helpful. The other thing. When you ask questions of people I forgot to mention. What I wanted to say was



00:35:13.300 --> 00:35:18.460

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what what worked for somebody else may or may not work for you.



00:35:18.560 --> 00:35:30.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And so the fact that you know I I that you asked the question didn't mean necessarily. You're going to go out and do everything this way. Everybody else did it. I have found that there are some families



00:35:30.330 --> 00:35:35.740

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that you know the the the kids were so involved in the business



00:35:36.000 --> 00:35:46.250

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: in grammar school and high school that they were like, You know they didn't go to college, or if they did go to college, they went to college and came right back to the business.



00:35:46.270 --> 00:36:06.190

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and for many businesses that's like a No, no, no! Go spend 3 years or 5 years out of the business, and, you know, build up your skill sets, and make sure that you know you're coming to an a place that you've earned it, you know, and so there's there's no right or wrong, as I've gone through the show and talk to so many people, it just



00:36:06.190 --> 00:36:25.880

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the again I go back to communicating and talking about. What is the family employment policy, and if your son has children, or when he has children, You know, however, that works out, you know, I would say it's that it's that third generation.



00:36:25.880 --> 00:36:31.790

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's really time, and you might do it together to say, what is the family employment policy



00:36:31.790 --> 00:36:50.960

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: in the future? It's. It was one thing when it was one to one to one. But when we start talking about, you know the other. The other sister might have children, or they might have children that might have an interest. So, putting that family employment policy in place, and as a family talking about it, you may find how helpful as you grow



00:36:51.510 --> 00:36:52.260

Eddie Russnow: Well.



00:36:53.200 --> 00:36:56.900

Eddie Russnow: it's interesting where you brought up the



00:36:57.630 --> 00:36:58.930

Eddie Russnow: the fact of



00:36:59.180 --> 00:37:09.570

Eddie Russnow: working in the business right out of college or not right out of college. So my son went through a similar thing that I did. He was a wealth manager in a training program when he graduated from college.



00:37:09.740 --> 00:37:12.490

Eddie Russnow: so he was starting in that



00:37:12.560 --> 00:37:13.880

Eddie Russnow: career path.



00:37:14.440 --> 00:37:17.560

Eddie Russnow: I think he was pretty passionate about it. But



00:37:17.620 --> 00:37:24.400

Eddie Russnow: Covid hit me and the training program, you know they put them on hold.



00:37:24.580 --> 00:37:36.880

Eddie Russnow: and they weren't doing anything. They were just sitting there in front of a computer during the day and taking classes that he had already taken, and we felt that he was stagnating, and that it wasn't the right thing to do. So we said, Look.



00:37:37.160 --> 00:37:37.990

Eddie Russnow: this is



00:37:38.420 --> 00:37:42.210

Eddie Russnow: me and my wife, and it was really my wife, who was the impetus for it.



00:37:42.420 --> 00:37:47.280

Eddie Russnow: she said to him. His name is Henry Henry. If your



00:37:48.380 --> 00:37:54.500

Eddie Russnow: if you want to stay in that industry that's great. You gotta find another company to work for. That's not



00:37:54.670 --> 00:37:59.770

Eddie Russnow: stopping you from actually working, even though they were paying him a 100% of his salary.



00:37:59.920 --> 00:38:03.100

Eddie Russnow: They were just stagnating. and



00:38:03.660 --> 00:38:11.530

Eddie Russnow: she said to him, Look, the reality of it is, Dad, that's me is not going to be like your grandfather and work until he's in his eighties.



00:38:13.060 --> 00:38:14.550

Eddie Russnow: So if



00:38:15.300 --> 00:38:20.130

Eddie Russnow: you don't come into the business, then we have to look to, maybe sell it eventually.



00:38:21.020 --> 00:38:24.030

Eddie Russnow: So we gave him a few months to think about it.



00:38:24.130 --> 00:38:30.420

Eddie Russnow: and after the few months was up I called him, and he came in to meet with me and my father in law, and he said.



00:38:30.900 --> 00:38:34.610

Eddie Russnow: This is where I want to be. and I want to come work here.



00:38:34.940 --> 00:38:37.900

Eddie Russnow: He had worked a few summers during high school



00:38:38.360 --> 00:38:41.810

Eddie Russnow: at the company working on the shop floor.



00:38:43.130 --> 00:38:45.710

Eddie Russnow: doing whatever was needed to be done



00:38:45.810 --> 00:38:47.240

Eddie Russnow: during the day.



00:38:47.580 --> 00:38:55.970

Eddie Russnow: and working with the guys out in the shop. So he knows so many of them because they're still there with us, and



00:38:56.160 --> 00:39:00.680

Eddie Russnow: just like I did. I mean he rolls his sleeves up and does whatever he has to do to get the job done



00:39:00.920 --> 00:39:02.740

Eddie Russnow: doesn't matter doesn't matter what it is



00:39:05.040 --> 00:39:13.400

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: as the CEO of the Company today. what would you say? Your your 3 biggest pain, points or frustrations.



00:39:14.290 --> 00:39:15.300

Eddie Russnow: Good question.



00:39:17.030 --> 00:39:19.770

Eddie Russnow: I would say. Certainly number one



00:39:19.960 --> 00:39:22.280

Eddie Russnow: is



00:39:23.150 --> 00:39:26.220

Eddie Russnow: the constant



00:39:27.060 --> 00:39:32.200

Eddie Russnow: change or the constant difficulty in finding



00:39:32.300 --> 00:39:36.480

Eddie Russnow: qualified competent staff.



00:39:38.830 --> 00:39:46.160

Eddie Russnow: That's certainly a big. a big challenge, especially in manufacturing in the State of New Jersey. Okay, and



00:39:46.250 --> 00:40:00.650

Eddie Russnow: we plan on being there in our facility for as long as we as long as we can. So that's number one. Number 2 is keeping up with the pace of technology changes.



00:40:01.410 --> 00:40:03.810

Eddie Russnow: That is certainly



00:40:04.570 --> 00:40:09.500

Eddie Russnow: a challenge. It's it's great, because things are constantly



00:40:09.600 --> 00:40:17.220

Eddie Russnow: changing. But then you're making investments in technology, hoping that the technology is going to stay



00:40:17.370 --> 00:40:23.740

Eddie Russnow: at the cutting edge for a while and not change every 30 days right? Right? Making sure that you're making the right



00:40:23.750 --> 00:40:24.720

Eddie Russnow: investment.



00:40:24.980 --> 00:40:37.190

Eddie Russnow: And then number 3 is making sure that you are spending enough time



00:40:37.310 --> 00:40:50.490

Eddie Russnow: with your key constituents. whether that is customers. vendors. or your staff. and making sure you have the time to devote



00:40:51.290 --> 00:40:52.840

Eddie Russnow: to each one of them



00:40:52.940 --> 00:40:55.330

Eddie Russnow: as time dictates.



00:40:55.950 --> 00:41:07.530

Eddie Russnow: That's really really important. because you you understand that it's important to meet with this with the staff and interact with the staff.



00:41:07.600 --> 00:41:12.790

Eddie Russnow: We're very lucky that I would say 98% of our people are



00:41:12.850 --> 00:41:18.290

Eddie Russnow: in the office. We have some people who work remotely but they work remotely because they don't live in the area.



00:41:18.500 --> 00:41:19.100

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Bye.



00:41:19.260 --> 00:41:22.300

Eddie Russnow: we're a manufacturer. You need to be there right.



00:41:23.980 --> 00:41:25.280

Eddie Russnow: and



00:41:25.410 --> 00:41:29.600

Eddie Russnow: that allows me to have interpersonal relationships with



00:41:29.820 --> 00:41:33.050

Eddie Russnow: most of the staff and check in with them



00:41:33.200 --> 00:41:36.810

Eddie Russnow: fairly regularly to see how they're doing.



00:41:37.970 --> 00:41:39.640

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It speeds communication



00:41:39.670 --> 00:41:56.680

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: by you, taking the time to meet with them and and be around them, whether whether they're you know people on your team or vendors, or you know customers. The more you're interacting with them, the more you're hearing. You know



00:41:56.800 --> 00:42:04.450

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the things that you need to the things that you need. That may be, you know. obstacles. If you don't listen.



00:42:04.590 --> 00:42:18.170

Eddie Russnow: Yeah, we we truly believe that people want to do business with people. Yeah. And the interpersonal relationships are so important and



00:42:18.710 --> 00:42:20.070

Eddie Russnow: so having



00:42:20.350 --> 00:42:26.050

Eddie Russnow: such a large part of our success over the years that



00:42:26.120 --> 00:42:34.280

Eddie Russnow: we impart that to our staff and explain to them why it's so important to establish a human



00:42:34.350 --> 00:42:40.110

Eddie Russnow: relationship with somebody and not just text them and not just send them an email.



00:42:40.320 --> 00:42:43.560

Eddie Russnow: pick up the phone and have a conversation.



00:42:43.690 --> 00:43:02.200

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's one of my favorite parts about Zoom is like right. Now we're on on zoom for those of you. Who are, you know, listening to the podcast. But we record on Zoom so that Eddie and I can be look any I do, I. And and it's like it's just it's such. It makes for the show to be so much different, in my opinion.



00:43:02.200 --> 00:43:15.100

Eddie Russnow: Then, if we were just doing this over a phone or without the video make such a huge difference. Yes, I would agree with you, and I had listened to quite a few of your podcasts before, which is how I found you



00:43:16.230 --> 00:43:22.710

Eddie Russnow: and I did not know prior to Christina, sending me a note saying, hey, we're going to do this over, zoom.



00:43:22.860 --> 00:43:32.540

Eddie Russnow: and I was trying to think to myself. Wait a minute, I it doesn't sound like it's on zoom when i'm listening to the recording. But I have to tell you that it



00:43:33.150 --> 00:43:43.920

Eddie Russnow: now that you say that I could tell the reason why there was so much good content from the podcast was because of this that we could look at each other.



00:43:44.020 --> 00:43:50.910

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah, and and i'll throw to you. We just. We interviewed me and several other business coaches



00:43:51.000 --> 00:43:59.910

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: interviewed 72 Ceos across the country, and their number one



00:43:59.980 --> 00:44:10.430

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: prior or the number one issue and Pain Point. It was attracting and retaining people. There were some other things that it wouldn't when we're just finishing the paper now. But we



00:44:10.740 --> 00:44:12.740

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: what we found was



00:44:12.780 --> 00:44:18.380

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that you know people their number One priority, was to grow revenue or profit right.



00:44:18.680 --> 00:44:20.880

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: But in the number one problem with people.



00:44:21.850 --> 00:44:30.470

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And so what I you know. And when you looked at all the integrations of the things that people were saying you the the the phrase that we came back with is to say.



00:44:30.480 --> 00:44:32.840

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: not a single CEO



00:44:32.900 --> 00:44:46.300

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: is in the business that they think they are, and I think you nailed it. You're not in the you know rail business. You're not in the electric, you know, underground business.



00:44:46.300 --> 00:44:53.480

Eddie Russnow: So it's interesting. You say that? Because over the weekend I just finished reading the book, the dream Manager, by



00:44:53.570 --> 00:45:00.150

Eddie Russnow: he, he! He! He gave me a quote from my book. It was really super. He's such a sweet.



00:45:00.440 --> 00:45:06.530

Eddie Russnow: I was talking to my Sandler trainer yesterday. He and I have a standing call every



00:45:06.620 --> 00:45:08.110

Eddie Russnow: Monday at 4 30,



00:45:08.650 --> 00:45:20.910

Eddie Russnow: and I forgot who had recommended the book to me, and he started laughing. He goes, Eddie Don't, you remember I recommended that book to you. I said, because it's it is so Sandler or Esk. If you're familiar with Sam, of course. Right.



00:45:21.440 --> 00:45:23.450

Eddie Russnow: The dream manager



00:45:24.150 --> 00:45:27.240

Eddie Russnow: resonated with me tremendously.



00:45:27.820 --> 00:45:31.150

Eddie Russnow: and you know it hits you over the head.



00:45:32.840 --> 00:45:35.540

Eddie Russnow: and you look at it and say, Aha!



00:45:35.560 --> 00:45:43.840

Eddie Russnow: It's one of those aha moments right, and that is connecting with the people that work with you. What is it that we could do



00:45:44.040 --> 00:45:46.500

Eddie Russnow: to help you fulfill your dreams?



00:45:46.850 --> 00:45:49.060

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Right? It's it's and we do



00:45:49.290 --> 00:45:59.500

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I it it's Zig Ziggler, 101. I don't know if you remember Z existing. Oh, yeah, open up, people, get what they want, and you'll get what you want, and but it goes back to help people.



00:45:59.510 --> 00:46:00.290

Eddie Russnow: Yes.



00:46:00.630 --> 00:46:14.500

Eddie Russnow: love it. Oh, good Matthew Kelly, that book was phenomenal. Yeah, i'm i'm ready on a weekend. I b breezed right through it, and because of the parable, the way he writes it just like Pat.



00:46:14.940 --> 00:46:16.620

Eddie Russnow: It's the same formulation



00:46:16.920 --> 00:46:23.980

Eddie Russnow: the way the book is written. That's why they're so easy to read. You get through it very quick, and there's one theme.



00:46:24.060 --> 00:46:26.710

Eddie Russnow: and you get that theme, and



00:46:27.600 --> 00:46:33.360

Eddie Russnow: it can open up. A lot of it can open up a lot of possibilities for your company



00:46:33.520 --> 00:46:46.950

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: if you can follow through on some of the things that you read about



00:46:47.100 --> 00:46:53.000

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: speaking of implementing things, what would you. You know. What are your top 3 priorities



00:46:53.020 --> 00:46:56.480

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: over the next 12 months?



00:46:56.610 --> 00:47:06.230

Eddie Russnow: Right? So certainly one of them is the the integration of this new acquisition that we have here in North Carolina.



00:47:06.420 --> 00:47:09.770

Eddie Russnow: and learning more about



00:47:10.060 --> 00:47:13.960

Eddie Russnow: the business and getting it to



00:47:14.140 --> 00:47:15.540

Eddie Russnow: be able to support



00:47:15.580 --> 00:47:16.570

Eddie Russnow: itself.



00:47:16.640 --> 00:47:23.550

Eddie Russnow: So we're going through a whole bunch of things and learning about the things that we didn't know before we made. The acquisition



00:47:23.820 --> 00:47:28.990

Eddie Russnow: Number 2 is, we're working on a program



00:47:29.370 --> 00:47:39.300

Eddie Russnow: called Culture Wise. You might have heard David Friedman Culture wise. So I we just had our first meeting with them last week.



00:47:39.470 --> 00:47:47.680

Eddie Russnow: and we're starting to implement that, and that is going to be based on the vision that I have for the company, and what I want the culture



00:47:47.720 --> 00:47:51.660

Eddie Russnow: of the company to be going forward and knowing that



00:47:51.980 --> 00:47:56.610

Eddie Russnow: we're going to start hiring for culture and training for skill.



00:47:56.710 --> 00:48:04.790

Eddie Russnow: Yeah, that's what we talked about at the beginning of the show. Right? That's number. That that's really really important. And



00:48:05.440 --> 00:48:11.180

Eddie Russnow: I found out. you know, the hard way that there were some people that just



00:48:11.340 --> 00:48:15.080

Eddie Russnow: you know they don't fit our culture, and we we live with them.



00:48:15.380 --> 00:48:18.490

Eddie Russnow: not realizing how miserable they're making everybody else.



00:48:18.510 --> 00:48:21.280

Eddie Russnow: Yeah, and we've got to stop



00:48:21.390 --> 00:48:24.220

Eddie Russnow: with that just because they might be good at their job.



00:48:25.210 --> 00:48:29.370

Eddie Russnow: There's a lot more that goes into it than just doing a good job.



00:48:29.480 --> 00:48:35.100

Eddie Russnow: It's making sure that you are working with the other people at the company



00:48:35.240 --> 00:48:43.330

Eddie Russnow: to make them to make them good, and to make them be the best that they can be, and not having you, or whoever dragged the rest of them down.



00:48:43.560 --> 00:48:45.340

Eddie Russnow: So that's number 2,



00:48:45.460 --> 00:48:48.150

Eddie Russnow: and then number 3



00:48:48.160 --> 00:48:52.920

Eddie Russnow: is to focus on continual



00:48:52.950 --> 00:48:54.130

Eddie Russnow: improvement.



00:48:56.080 --> 00:48:58.090

Eddie Russnow: Get 1% better each day.



00:48:58.430 --> 00:49:02.940

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I love it. No, you you! You hit the nail on the head on the formula.



00:49:02.940 --> 00:49:19.720

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You said. Your biggest frustration is people. When you fix the culture the people issues start to go away and and and not enough. Ceos understand how that works, because we were taught through the seventies, and even in the eighties, that it's just get stuff done.



00:49:20.100 --> 00:49:45.000

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and if we get stuff done we'll grow the business, but at what cost. And in this day and age, when we have choices, especially when you know there's there's point 5 9 people available, according to one of the statistics, is a point 5, 9. It was in my vistage meeting, and I don't remember where it came from, so don't quote me on it, but point 5 9 people available for every job that's out there.



00:49:45.200 --> 00:49:51.840

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: It's like the the employees have the time. I just had a conversation with



00:49:51.860 --> 00:49:53.200

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: my son in law.



00:49:53.260 --> 00:50:03.800

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: who, you know, happens to, you know, work a really nice job. He loves his job. He's not even thinking about changing what I explain to him. I said, you're not going to get



00:50:03.920 --> 00:50:09.990

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the kind of opportunity that you have right now. You don't have to go out and interview for a job.



00:50:10.200 --> 00:50:29.310

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: You can now, right now go out and interview a company for the right culture benefits, and salary. You've never been in this position, and because you work, you know that that be shift at 10 am. To you know. Pm: he works because you work that time. You could be interviewing other people



00:50:29.570 --> 00:50:31.450

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: 5 days a week, if you so choose.



00:50:31.750 --> 00:50:45.400

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: and find that dream job. So that's exactly. You know the the the reverse of what we're talking about. But if you have that culture, and in the interviews, you know, you probably have read



00:50:45.560 --> 00:50:50.110

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Patrick Lindsey on his. What is the come on



00:50:51.400 --> 00:51:05.960

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: the advantage? So I mean, and then it's all time. I read that during the pandemic. Yeah, you know. How do we? How do we hire these people? Then there's the you know all anything Patrick Lennon is is fabulous. So



00:51:06.770 --> 00:51:16.560

Eddie Russnow: talk about the business that you just purchased. And how did that integrate? And how did that come together for you guys.



00:51:17.030 --> 00:51:26.870

Eddie Russnow: this business that we acquired? They were our main competitor in one area of our business. and



00:51:27.110 --> 00:51:39.540

Eddie Russnow: I was working with a broker on another acquisition that went south, that we we had a we had to push it off to the side, because the company, the people we were trying to acquire it from



00:51:39.580 --> 00:51:41.030

Eddie Russnow: couldn't come to an agreement



00:51:42.160 --> 00:51:44.250

Eddie Russnow: amongst the shareholders.



00:51:44.820 --> 00:51:53.410

Eddie Russnow: So he called me one day to say that that was put on hold, and while I was on the phone the reason but but this company is now



00:51:53.570 --> 00:52:00.400

Eddie Russnow: up for sale. Are you interested, and I said, yeah, get me the paperwork right away. So we did that.



00:52:00.640 --> 00:52:07.880

Eddie Russnow: We went through the due diligence last year towards the end of the year. I think this started in early October.



00:52:08.000 --> 00:52:09.710

Eddie Russnow: and



00:52:09.940 --> 00:52:20.730

Eddie Russnow: went through a lot of back and forth paperwork, wise all the due diligence, everything. I had known so much about the business because they were our



00:52:21.000 --> 00:52:23.710

Eddie Russnow: competitor. and



00:52:24.960 --> 00:52:38.060

Eddie Russnow: at the end of the day they. the company, said to us, okay, well look. We realize how passionate. You are about this business, and we know that the best home for this product line



00:52:38.310 --> 00:52:41.240

Eddie Russnow: is with you. And



00:52:42.490 --> 00:52:45.060

Eddie Russnow: would you offer us a little more money for it. I said, Nope.



00:52:45.210 --> 00:52:53.070

Eddie Russnow: Nope. Okay, we had to ask because there was a you know. Again they told me they said there was a better offer. but



00:52:53.760 --> 00:53:02.570

Eddie Russnow: we think that it's really all about where this business should be. And because you guys are so familiar, and you already have a name



00:53:02.810 --> 00:53:04.900

Eddie Russnow: and a very good name in the industry.



00:53:06.020 --> 00:53:08.140

Eddie Russnow: This is where it should be.



00:53:08.250 --> 00:53:14.970

Eddie Russnow: and that's how it all came into play. It was just the right.



00:53:15.570 --> 00:53:18.880

Eddie Russnow: the right mix, and it's the right business for us



00:53:19.010 --> 00:53:20.470

Eddie Russnow: without a debt



00:53:20.650 --> 00:53:21.770

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: that's awesome.



00:53:23.920 --> 00:53:28.420

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Totally off the topic of family business. What is your favorite



00:53:28.500 --> 00:53:32.780

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: being part of this family now for so many years. What's your favorite family tradition.



00:53:34.360 --> 00:53:39.140

Eddie Russnow: the favorite family tradition? Well, there, there's a couple of them.



00:53:39.400 --> 00:53:44.840

Eddie Russnow: certainly around Thanksgiving, you know it's always nice when we're all when we're all together



00:53:44.920 --> 00:53:50.170

Eddie Russnow: for years and years we used to do it at my in-law's house.



00:53:50.390 --> 00:53:57.250

Eddie Russnow: and then they sold their house, and they moved, you know, into a smaller location and into a townhouse, and that



00:53:57.560 --> 00:54:04.690

Eddie Russnow: now Thanksgiving gets done at my house, and I like it because I get to control the TV with all the football



00:54:04.700 --> 00:54:05.540

Eddie Russnow: on.



00:54:05.740 --> 00:54:21.340

Eddie Russnow: That's one of them. And then certainly we we get to spend some quality family time together down in Florida, and I almost have a house down there, and that was always one of the things my kids



00:54:21.550 --> 00:54:25.080

Eddie Russnow: and their cousins. My my wife's sister's kids.



00:54:25.100 --> 00:54:30.160

Eddie Russnow: They have these incredible memories of always being at that house



00:54:30.250 --> 00:54:31.420

Eddie Russnow: together.



00:54:31.600 --> 00:54:39.550

Eddie Russnow: during you know, during winter break in between Christmas and New Years, and the 4 of the kids were always together and



00:54:39.590 --> 00:54:46.680

Eddie Russnow: grew up with just these incredible memories of being of being in that house, and when they were little



00:54:47.450 --> 00:54:48.580

Eddie Russnow: they thought



00:54:49.060 --> 00:54:54.130

Eddie Russnow: Florida was the name of the house. They didn't understand that was a State.



00:54:54.140 --> 00:54:58.960

Eddie Russnow: So whenever we said we were going to Florida, they thought we were just going to the house. They didn't.



00:54:59.320 --> 00:55:02.470

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: I didn't understand that so funny. So



00:55:02.540 --> 00:55:10.870

Eddie Russnow: yeah, so it was. Look, they're all in there. They're all in their twenties now, or you know, late twenties, and



00:55:11.040 --> 00:55:16.790

Eddie Russnow: these are just, you know, fond memories that they have of of always being together



00:55:17.140 --> 00:55:23.200

Eddie Russnow: when they when they were little. Yeah. And and even to this day amazing. Yeah.



00:55:25.110 --> 00:55:36.930

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: if you're sitting talking with, you know, family businesses, family businesses right now, you've got 10 or 15 of them in front of you and you. They ask you to impart



00:55:36.950 --> 00:55:42.290

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: your wisdom as being a non-blood



00:55:42.350 --> 00:55:51.490

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: family member in a family business, and and that had to be, you know. Difficult at times. What are you sharing with them?



00:55:52.940 --> 00:56:01.190

Eddie Russnow: What I would share with them is that if you love what you do, it doesn't matter right. and



00:56:01.600 --> 00:56:06.730

Eddie Russnow: I love what I do. I really do. I love my business. I love



00:56:07.340 --> 00:56:08.840

Eddie Russnow: the challenges.



00:56:09.010 --> 00:56:20.470

Eddie Russnow: If I didn't have challenges, i'm not sure I would. I'm not sure I would enjoy it, because i'm always up for a challenge, especially when it comes, especially when it comes to business, because solving problems



00:56:21.390 --> 00:56:23.070

Eddie Russnow: is really important to me.



00:56:24.380 --> 00:56:28.220

Eddie Russnow: and finding ways to do things



00:56:28.420 --> 00:56:33.830

Eddie Russnow: better. I would say also that you have to take that



00:56:34.810 --> 00:56:37.520

Eddie Russnow: part of the equation away



00:56:37.750 --> 00:56:41.800

Eddie Russnow: as far as the ownership thing is concerned.



00:56:43.260 --> 00:56:46.410

Eddie Russnow: especially if you have a strong marriage, you don't have to worry about it



00:56:46.630 --> 00:56:48.610

Eddie Russnow: right that that doesn't matter



00:56:48.920 --> 00:56:51.840

Eddie Russnow: at the end of the day. So



00:56:51.850 --> 00:56:57.040

Eddie Russnow: yeah, once in a while it's frustrating. But I but I will tell you that with this new



00:56:57.200 --> 00:57:02.860

Eddie Russnow: acquisition I I do have now in the new business. I do now have equity.



00:57:04.220 --> 00:57:05.140

Eddie Russnow: So



00:57:06.120 --> 00:57:10.120

Eddie Russnow: you know that that's a very positive thing.



00:57:11.400 --> 00:57:19.470

Eddie Russnow: But certainly I would advise any peers or other people that have a



00:57:20.610 --> 00:57:28.120

Eddie Russnow: have a similar situation. What I have is again, if you're not passionate about what you're doing.



00:57:28.600 --> 00:57:33.120

Eddie Russnow: then nothing is going to make you happy whether you have ownership



00:57:33.310 --> 00:57:34.230

Eddie Russnow: or you. Don't.



00:57:34.480 --> 00:57:35.760

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Yeah agreed.



00:57:36.570 --> 00:57:38.710

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Did you happen to remember the name of that book?



00:57:40.070 --> 00:57:53.940

Eddie Russnow: No, I mean, I know it's sitting actually right here on my computer. I didn't want to minimize my screen while we were talking, but I have it. If you give me a second I can pull it up because it's in my folder here on my



00:57:54.460 --> 00:57:56.900

Eddie Russnow: on my computer.



00:57:58.070 --> 00:58:02.680

Eddie Russnow: And it it was a it's a fantastic.



00:58:02.710 --> 00:58:04.570

Eddie Russnow: It's a fantastic book.



00:58:05.850 --> 00:58:10.010

Eddie Russnow: and it goes back a little ways, but I will get it for you.



00:58:10.030 --> 00:58:14.900

Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: And this is about. This is Christina. We can edit all of this stuff right out.



00:58:15.010 --> 00:58:18.730

Eddie Russnow: Oh, excellent. Okay? Oh, that's good.



00:58:18.880 --> 00:58:20.380

Eddie Russnow: Yeah, I forget about that.



00:58:20.960 --> 00:58:25.140

Eddie Russnow: That she's got control over that stuff



00:58:26.330 --> 00:58:28.320

Eddie Russnow: right? Still, almost there.



00:58:33.350 --> 00:58:37.080

Eddie Russnow: Yeah. give me one quick second.



00:58:38.710 --> 00:58:43.090

Kristina Rocci: Nothing like a good edit, keeps me on my toes.



00:58:43.100 --> 00:58:52.750

Eddie Russnow: No, but this is this is important, because this was at it was a really good. It was a really good Read it was. and it's from like I said. It's from the



00:58:54.930 --> 00:58:56.270

Eddie Russnow: this might be it.



00:58:58.870 --> 00:58:59.490




00:58:59.990 --> 00:59:04.770

Eddie Russnow: it's from Harvard Harvard Business Review.



00:59:13.000 --> 00:59:13.810

Eddie Russnow: Alright.



00:59:13.870 --> 00:59:14.450




00:59:20.080 --> 00:59:22.060

Eddie Russnow: I apologize. I can't.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: That's don't worry about it.



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Eddie Russnow: Can't find. Oh, this was an April. Wait.



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Eddie Russnow: i'm going to text it to you just in case you ever want to add it to the.



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Eddie Russnow: to to the notes on the podcast. How about that?



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Perfect?



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Eddie Russnow: All right.



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Kristina Rocci: I'm gonna we? We'll find that book, and I we can throw it in Christina when when he, when he texted to us. I have it. I have it sitting on my desk in New Jersey.



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Eddie Russnow: actually was looking at it the other day for reference, but I just



01:00:00.720 --> 01:00:02.140

Eddie Russnow: forgot about the name.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: All good. Any rest. Now, I just want to say thank you for joining us on the family business show. This has been a fabulous conversation, such exciting times for you and the family.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: you know a purchase of another business, your son in the business, your father in law, still in the business. It's rare that you have those opportunities. They they come few and far between for the families that I talk to, usually 2 generations in the business at a time.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: rarely 3. So again thank you for your time and for joining us on the show today.



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Eddie Russnow: Michael. Thank you as well, and Christina thanks for putting it together, really really appreciate it. And



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Eddie Russnow: you know, as far as the the 3 generations being there at the same time, we we recognize that we're blessed from that standpoint.



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Eddie Russnow: and that you've got to embrace these things when they're there.



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Eddie Russnow: It really really is important.



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Michael Palumbos ChFC, CBEC: Thank you, everybody, for listening to the show. This is been Eddie Rus. Now, from Mac Products. My name is Michael Columbus, from family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York. And you've been listening to the family business show. Have a great day, Everybody.



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Eddie Russnow: Thanks, Michael.

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