Speaker 2: This is [00:00:30] learning to dad. I am Tyler Ross and my guest today is brought us. I, along with his wife, Julian partner, Charles opened old bus had brewery in 2014 in Vint hill for Virginia, where he wants served on the economic development authority for the old army base. He's also a real estate investor among his projects include a massive renovation of a 60,000 square foot, former military building into office and retail use. In the late nineties, I was an owner of a company that participated in a three branch merger of century 21 real estate brokerage [00:01:00] offices that became a $500 million that's, half a billion dollar power brokerage in Northern Virginia. For which I served as the president, like is also the CEO of guru networks. He's an avid cyclist. He's a basis guitarist and vocalist in the band off star. And I'm told he wants eight, a golf ball sized chunk of wasabi for $50. And all of this, as far as I'm concerned as the tip of the iceberg, I've known you for maybe eight years. I can certainly one of my favorite [00:01:30] people, the Wiener in the background is Vixen Chihuahua, who you might hear jingling walking around and, uh, someone that I look up to generally and just have fun with is Ike brought us. Thank you for being here.
Speaker 3: Oh, what a fun introduction that is. And it just one correction. It was a hundred dollars. Oh, the wasabi. It was two guys, each of whom put up 50 bucks. So I wouldn't do it for 50, but a hundred. It was worth it.
Speaker 2: Uh, it seems to be a trend. Uh, your daughter, Kelly told me that you also know that them $50 to jump in.
Speaker 3: I did [00:02:00] do that. Yes, it was. It was a, um, my wife said it was a stupid idea. It was our backyard and it had rained and, and, and slushed and, and melted. So it was basically 32 and a half degree water that had little icebergs and things floating in. It was about a foot deep. And I told the kids, I would pay them each 50 bucks if they all went in. And, uh, Kelly was the first one in, and then, uh, Coleman and his friend Dan reluctantly went in, but yeah, they each got 50 bucks [00:02:30] and the lesson I wanted to teach them was no matter how scary something is, it's temporary and they could get it. I knew that nothing would kill them in that water. And, um, I was told later on that maybe something could have hypothermia, but they, uh, they, they survived and they grew and they learned how to push through their, their wall of fear and their wall of pain. And they loved it.
Speaker 2: That's a fantastic how old,
Speaker 3: Probably high school age, I think. Yeah. Old enough [00:03:00] to survive a few seconds in freezing water
Speaker 2: That opportunity been presented to you. Would you have held out for a hundred dollars?
Speaker 3: I think, you know, it all depends on your age, you know, and, and your, and your financial well, wherewithal, when I was in high school, 50 bucks would have been the world to me and I would have done it. I'm sure I probably could have been had for 10. So
Speaker 2: W w would you have found that you would have jumped in like Holly did or, or hesitated like Coleman?
Speaker 3: I probably was not as brave as Cali. She, [00:03:30] she is, uh, is the bravest person. I know she'll do anything. So yeah, I'm probably more like Goldman was,
Speaker 2: Yeah. It's. So in your professional life, you don't seem to be, you seem to be very, I'm not going to say risk adverse, what's the opposite of risk, adverse, willingness to put it up on the table. You know, the things that I talked about in the intro, can you kind of walk us through those kind of professional experiences, you know, building a brokerage, merging a brokerage, starting a brewery, you know, anything that kind of resonates, jumps [00:04:00] out to you?
Speaker 3: Yeah, boy, that's a wide open question. Yeah. Um,
Speaker 2: Yeah,
Speaker 3: I think that the way I look at risk is this, if the worst thing that can happen to me is I lose all of my money, but if I still have my health and my family and my friendships and my, my honor, you know, I feel good about who I am and how I contribute to society. I [00:04:30] haven't don't think I've lost that much. So I'm comfortable putting money at risk. That's not a big deal when it comes to, you know, I would not put my life at risk. I, I, the idea of jumping out of a plane, for instance, that's not me, you know, in terms of, of risking getting in front of a crowd to play music, what's the worst that can happen is I, I look like an idiot, no big deal. And in terms of starting a business to me, I don't see failure as an option. And as you know, I have, [00:05:00] I have certainly had my failures. You learn from those. And maybe the, the business failures cost you no more than a college education, but you get much more value than you got out of your college education. So, you know, some things cost money and you learn from them. And some things, it turns out you guessed, right. And, and they work out well and you're rewarded and those feel a little better. Um,
Speaker 2: And then you touched on so many things that I'm excited to expand on, but to stick with the idea of [00:05:30] a risk, of course, doing a little bit of research. Kelly asked me to tell you, or I told me to ask you about the whole Disney America idea and a winter that you couldn't afford to buy shoes.
Speaker 3: Yes, it's true. I mean, it sounds outlandish. And I, and looking back, it is, uh, it, I questioned whether or not how accurate that story is, but it is true that there was a winter. It was probably 1991 or 92 or 93 where Kelly was [00:06:00] a baby. And we had launched our real estate company. We expanded the real estate company and we expanded it the day that Saddam entered Kuwait. I believe that was August of 91. And that moment, our second office that we had just bought that day, sold no houses for the next two months. The first office we had had, which was already a very successful office. It lost 90% of its production for the next couple of months. [00:06:30] And so I got a very quick lesson in how, how reserves are important and how quickly the tide can turn on you over the course of that next year or two, the real estate recession kicked in full swing. Our bank called our note due, and we were suddenly fighting just to survive financially. And that went on for two or three years. And one of those, one of those winters, I remember carrying Cali down the sidewalk as [00:07:00] a two or three-year-old old or whatever she was. And it was winter, there was snow on the ground. And the reason I had to carry her is because she didn't have any shoes. And I look back and think that sounds crazy, but I, I think it's an accurate story. Wow. So, yeah. Uh,
Speaker 3: So when, uh, you know, when I, [00:07:30] I started off in the car business and I did six years working my way up from salesman to business manager and sales manager and general manager. And ultimately that was my stepfather's company. And working as the owner's kid, the challenge there was when I would go into a new store, I'd have to prove to the people there that I wasn't there because I was the owner's kid. I was there because I was good at what I did, and [00:08:00] I would turn this store into something good. And I got tired of proving myself over and over again. And I think to some extent, I questioned myself, you know, how much of the opportunities I was given was simply because I was the owner's kid versus I was good at what I did. And so I wanted to go break off on my own.
Speaker 3: And I think the greatest motivator I ever got in life was when I went in to tell my stepfather that I had decided [00:08:30] I wanted to leave his business and go out and do real estate. And he looked at me and he kind of chuckled. And he said, well, most people fail in real estate. And when you do, there will always be a job for you here. Wow. And I said, wow, if you don't think I'm going to succeed out there, then maybe you, you know, it just kind of, it shook me, it rattled me. And I walked out thinking I op failure in real estate is not an [00:09:00] option. I, it motivated me like nothing else. And, and maybe like the old Johnny Cash song, boy named Sue, you know, I, I knew that you'd get tougher die and maybe, maybe that's what he was doing for me.
Speaker 3: So I went out and, and worked a hundred hours a week until I got to the point where I was very successful as an agent. I tried to get into commercial real estate early on, but the two or three commercial brokers that I interviewed with wouldn't hire me because they said I [00:09:30] didn't have any experience. And so I sold houses. And in my first year, I think I sold 40 houses. Yeah. Wow. And that was the year that our son Coleman was born. And I did that in spite of taking off two months to be with Julie and our son in those first magical moments. And then after that experience, I switched over to Remax and hired. I hired an assistant and then had a small team and did all that. And back [00:10:00] when people weren't really doing that, right. And after three years, I just decided to parlay that into a real estate office.
Speaker 3: And it was 1990. And the market had started to turn south a bit. And there was a real estate office, an era office that was selling, they were closing their doors. I went to him and offered him five grand. And in return for that five grand, I bought all of their furniture, all their equipment and took over their lease. And it was, you know, I probably [00:10:30] got a hundred thousand dollars worth of stuff for five grand and often running. We were, and we developed our own logo, our own brand identity. And, uh, but within about six months, I realized that consumers still could not figure out who we were. We were, we seemed like a little, nothing to two folks. And so I bought a century 21 franchise on that office. And then very quickly became one of the top century, 21 offices in the mid Atlantic.
Speaker 3: [00:11:00] And, uh, and, and they started bringing me opportunities when, when, uh, century 21 would close down or was not succeeding, they'd come to me and say, this owner wants to sell. Would you be interested in taking it? And we, over time, this is a massive simplification of what really happened. But over time, we were able to grow that into a, you know, a 14 office operation, uh, with 400 people. And it took about a little more than a decade to really [00:11:30] hit our trajectory. You know, it's funny as an agent, I was making great money. And then when I started the business and suddenly I was, I didn't have time to sell houses anymore. I was too busy recruiting agents, training agents, managing the, the problems that were, that an office has. And it took me several years, probably five years to get back to the point where I was making as much money as I was as an agent.
Speaker 3: And it was during those early years with the office that, that Cali [00:12:00] experienced her, her no shoe or deal. And, um, uh, when, uh, when Julie and I first launched the office, things went very well and we needed more space. So we within a year, uh, took on some additional space. And that's when the market really tanked after that. But we were so cash strapped when we took on this new office that we couldn't finish building out the space. And so Coleman our son who was probably three at the time and Kelly, [00:12:30] who was a baby, we would bring them with us while we were in there, building it out ourselves. We were doing our own painting and trim and things like that. And, uh, and we would, we had one conference room that had no, we couldn't afford the furniture for it. So we brought in a little 12 inch TV that you could stick a tape in and put a beanbag chair on the floor. And we would put a tape, you know, kids tape in there. And Goldman Cali would watch the same stupid movie over and over and over while Julia and I were [00:13:00] painting the office and installing the furniture and things like that. So those early years it was, you know, a hundred hours a week or whatever it took to make it work.
Speaker 2: It was what was Julie doing at the time. And how did that, that going from, you know, really kicking blood as an agent and to being a broker and recruiting and put in the a hundred hour weeks, like, how does that affect your, how did that change your family dynamic from, you know, it's all good to, you know, strapped
Speaker 3: Great [00:13:30] question. And I think Julie's involvement was critical at every launch. And so we had multiple launches along the way, know the first launch when, when I became an agent, Julie became an agent at the same week and we both got licensed and started selling houses together, and simultaneously got married and pregnant. It all happened within, within three months, we were licensed, married and pregnant all within three months of one another. And [00:14:00] so she was there full tilt until Coleman was born and Coleman. But when he came along, I think Julie was showing houses at nine months pregnant. And thankfully he was a week late. And so once he was born, I don't think she did any more deals after that. So she was there for the launch, but then became a full-time mom. And, and then when we started the real estate company, she came in and worked to help me launch the real estate company.
Speaker 3: [00:14:30] We did that very much together. We were both there all the time. And I, it was probably about the time, you know, maybe a year into it. She backed off because two small kids is a lot of work. And so once we were up and running, she was a full-time mom. And, uh, and I was able because of her awesome ability, she was best. She is the best mom on this earth. And I think Coleman and Kelly would attest [00:15:00] to that. She made it easy for me to work crazy hours and, uh, and know that everything was good. Right.
Speaker 2: Uh, how would, what is her approach different than yours? When it comes to
Speaker 3: 180 degrees in
Speaker 2: Both parenting and professionally
Speaker 3: Parenting, we were, uh, we really supported each other, even though our styles are different. We were very much supportive of, of the other. So I think that, [00:15:30] you know, like any child, you, you, you benefit our kids certainly benefited from the fact that I was different than she, and she was different than I, but in terms of the entrepreneurial approach. Yeah. I was the one who always had the new, crazy idea. I wanted to go do something and take the risk. And she was always the one who said, but life is good. Why would we do that? And, uh, and I would say, cause I, cause it's interesting, it's fun [00:16:00] and maybe life could be better. And so usually she was initially, uh, reluctant a recalcitrant, uh, is that the right word she was, would would say no. And ultimately she would make me prove my model out.
Speaker 3: She would make me go through the hard steps, answer the hard questions to ensure that I had thought this through. And then once she knew that there was no way to stop [00:16:30] me from wanting to do this, she would become a supporter and she'd be in full tilt. So that was true. When we became real estate agents, she left what would have been a great career in the buying offices of the Hecht retail company. She had a degree from duke and, uh, and she was in, uh, in the management buying office in the junior manager program or management training program. And she left that to do the real estate thing. And then she reluctantly agreed to starting a real estate office. And [00:17:00] the years later, she reluctantly agreed to growing into multiple offices. And then years later, she reluctantly agreed to starting the software thing. And then years later, she reluctantly agreed to doing the brewery thing. So, and there are probably other things along the way, but once she agreed she was in full tilt.
Speaker 2: I wonder if she reluctantly agreed to marry you. I was told to ask about when you met at a car dealership, so you tell me a little bit about a boy that you met at a car.
Speaker 3: I was [00:17:30] the general sales manager of Brown's Arlington Honda, and it was the summer of 1985. And Julie came in to buy a car. And my job at that point was not to sell cars. My job was to manage the sales managers who managed the salespeople who sold the cars. And, but every once in awhile, a sales manager would get involved and take a, a Tio, a turnover. And as general sales manager, I didn't [00:18:00] take tos, but I saw her walk in the showroom and I paged the sales agent who, who, uh, the sales person who was working with her, his name was Paul Foley. And I said, Paul Foley, please call my extension. And he called me in. I said, Paul, I'd like to take a Tio on this customer. And he said, I totally understand. And so after he had shown her the car and she wasn't buying [00:18:30] that day, she was kind of just think about it.
Speaker 3: He brought her into my office and introduced her and we sat and chatted. And ostensibly, I was hoping to, you know, my job was to sell her a car, but I really fell in love, uh, that moment. And, um, and I think she did too. There was a spark, there was some magic. We both had other relationships, but we both felt like something much better. Uh, a higher potential was there. But [00:19:00] we, there was an adversarial relationship because we didn't have the car. She wanted, she placed an order and left me a deposit for a car that would be in sometime in the next month or two. And then Honda. Although they built her car, the truckers that deliver those cars, went on strike. And so weeks went by and her car didn't show up. And other dealers started telling her that they shouldn't trust me, that I would never sell [00:19:30] her a car as cheaply as I did.
Speaker 3: And I did. I broke all the rules. I wanted that deal so bad. I went way down to a very low, very low profit margin. And she, uh, believed the other dealers and was convinced that I had no intention of selling her that car. Even though I had every intention, I was just waiting for it to arrive. So she gave me an ultimatum one day and said, if that car is not there by Thursday, I want my money back. And I'm buying another car from a competitor down the street, [00:20:00] Thursday arrived, and the car was not there yet. Even though I had a, um, a bill of lading showing that the car was on its way, it was on a truck. Finally and cars were rolling out of Marysville, Ohio finally. And I called her. I said, the car is on its way. She said, well, if it's not there today, I'm buying this other car.
Speaker 3: She left. And she went over to our competitor bill page that evening bought another car. They haven't had in stock. [00:20:30] It was a much more expensive car and it wasn't as nice. And so she bought that car and drove it over. And as she arrived, the truck pulled up with her car on it. And so I said, I understand you already bought this other car and you're not changing your mind, but I want you to know that I was honest, here is the serial number to your car and there's your car on that truck? And she says, yeah, that's great. But it's too late. I want my money back. And I said, okay, [00:21:00] I get that. I went downstairs to the office, got a check and brought it up. And I said, I started writing the check and I realized I had some leverage. And so I said, I'll sign this check with your refund, if you promise to spend it on me for dinner tonight.
Speaker 3: And she said, sign the check and then we'll talk about it. So I realized I didn't have as much leverage as I thought I gave her the check. And she said, fair enough, where do you want to go to dinner? [00:21:30] And, uh, and I said, actually, if you'll go where I want to go, then I'll buy. And so we went to a little French restaurant called chalet de LA PEI. And, uh, it was just a few blocks from the dealership. And it was a place that I went a lot, so much so that I had an account there. And they knew me really well. And that really impressed her. And so I walked in, she spoke French and she enjoyed talking to the waiters and French, and I got escargo. And [00:22:00] I mean, it was just a lovely evening, but mostly I think we talked for three hours and, and realized at the end of that, that we had both found our perfect matches.
Speaker 3: At least I felt that way. And so that was on a Thursday evening and we agreed that we should do that again. The following Thursday, when she had an early evening and I could get off. And so we agreed next Thursday was going to be our next date. So she comes to the dealership, she walks into my office and I was so proud of, of what I [00:22:30] had done. I was so certain that I had met my future wife. So I had written on my calendar. I had chosen a date, the following June, June 18th. It was, and I wrote, closed the dealership Ike's wedding day. And, and so she walked in my office and I said, flip the calendar over to June 18th. And she did. And she saw it. She said, I, wedding day, what are you engaged? I said, well, no, [00:23:00] that's my wedding to you. And yeah, it scared her away for a while because I was so confident that we were right for each other. And she was so sure that that was ridiculous.
Speaker 2: We'll just show it to her right away.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I probably should have held back for a few more days, but it was perfect. I mean, it's been a, it was a match, a match made in heaven. We had both had multiple relationships and knew what we were looking for. And [00:23:30] I got exactly what I was looking for. I don't think she did get what she was looking for, but, uh, I'm, I'm happy with her decision.
Speaker 2: That is so cool. Um, my, when I met Sarah, our first date, I went home, wrote her a letter. And, uh, when we got engaged, she said, you know what we should do for our wedding day instead of giving each other gifts, we should give each other a letter. Ooh. And so four years later I pulled this letter out, handed [00:24:00] it to her and it was probably the coolest, one of the coolest things. One of the most romantic things I've ever done by accident.
Speaker 3: Did you give her the letter the first time when you met her, you held this letter in your hip pocket waiting for that moment.
Speaker 2: I had just finished our first date at the Virginian, pick your et cetera. And so on.
Speaker 3: I would have married you if they had done that for me. Oh, wow. That is so awesome. I
Speaker 2: Wrote a letter the first time we met. [00:24:30] Well, that's a really, that's a, that's really a lot of fun. She came around and you guys got married and shortly thereafter had kids, like, how did, uh, how did kids impact your life? Like, do you remember the way you felt when Julie said it's on?
Speaker 3: Oh yeah. I said, w awesome. I mean,
Speaker 2: Trying to have children.
Speaker 3: No, we weren't married yet. We, we were, we were dating, but we were very much [00:25:00] in love and she said, you know what, I'm pregnant. And, uh, I didn't hesitate. I said, that's awesome. Let's get married. And she said, perfect. Let's do it. Uh, cause I mean, we knew we were getting married. It's just the question of when it was, it was that good. And we, uh, it's funny. We, I think even at our first date, we talked about what the names of our children would be and Coleman's name was decided [00:25:30] on our first date. Yeah. Wow. And so it was never any question. It was just, you know, maybe her getting pregnant was the impetus we needed to get married. Otherwise, you know, maybe we wouldn't have maybe, maybe we would have coasted along happily dating for the rest of our lives because there's never a convenient time to have kids. And so, you know, sometimes you just, it's better when it's thrust on you,
Speaker 2: The what, what changed most by adding [00:26:00] a kid into the familial dynamic or your professional dynamic? Like, was it time or the, your world perspective or your relationship with your wife? Like what are the impacts that, you know, a new dad might not see coming that you would go, right?
Speaker 3: I would say it was all the above and money. Um, it was, you know, certainly time cause you don't want to miss those precious early years. And in fact, as life goes on, you realize all [00:26:30] of it is precious. You know? Uh, Coleman's now 31. And when he is home visiting, I don't want to go to work. I want to be there every second. Uh, when he was a baby, I didn't want to miss his first, anything. I didn't want to miss any of the interactions and with Kelly as well, you want to be there, you know, a, every kid is different. And so you want to experience the magic of this new child. And, but B you also want to make sure that, you [00:27:00] know, imprint and influence the outcome. Cause you, you know, you want your kid to be happy and successful and you want them, you know, you hope that you've improved on yourself. My father used to say, there's no sense in having a kid if he can't improve on yourself. And certainly I was very aware that there was plenty of room for improvement here, so, but
Speaker 2: He pointed himself,
Speaker 3: But there, [00:27:30] you know, you, in order to, to have that outcome be real, you got to invest time and, and you hope that what you're doing is investing time, ensuring that the mistakes you made or that your parents made or that your grandparents made, or somehow that you've learned about that you don't make the same mistakes and that you somehow help your kids figure out how to steer away from those mistakes as well. So yes, definitely time [00:28:00] was a biggie, you know, money. It costs a lot to have a kid, uh, not just what it takes to, you know, feed and clothe and house the, the child and educate child. But it's also the lost income that somebody is going to bear a for being there with the kid. And then the relationship with your spouse. Absolutely. There is no question about it that after Coleman was born, I became number two in our house, uh, in Julie's [00:28:30] mind after Coleman and after Kelly was born, I was number three and after Finley was born, I was number four. So, and, and that's okay because that's the way it goes, you know? And, and that's, that was part of the wonder and the beauty and that's why she's an awesome mom.
Speaker 2: Um, so with, with Coleman and Kelly out of the house now, do you feel like you're number one again?
Speaker 3: Um, no. Now we've, we've got this brewery and it's number one for sure. Uh, and, uh, [00:29:00] and we have Vixen and I think Vixen ranks higher than both the brewery and me and
Speaker 2: My dog is definitely ranked higher than me as are my kids.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. I, and I that's, that may be the hardest thing to get used to as a, as a spouse, as a husband is knowing that there's nothing you can do to be as adorable to your wife as those kids are. And so, uh, that's a tough one. And, uh, and then in terms of the, the fourth element, I think you mentioned was, was your, [00:29:30] uh, your professional, uh, status and yeah, because you have less time to, to invest in your business. To some extent you become a better time, you know, you know how precious time is. And especially as the kids got a little older, when Coleman was old enough to play sports, I wanted to be there and I wanted to volunteer as a coach. So I coached him in soccer. I coached him in softball or whatever that little T-ball was. Uh, I hated playing the game as a kid.
Speaker 3: I hated [00:30:00] baseball and I never had played soccer in my life, but the coach, the, the, the, the, when we signed him up, they said, if you want your son to play on a team, you'll have to be a coach because we don't have enough coaches. I said, okay, I'll learn. I can stay. I'm better than a three-year-old or four-year-old. I know I can do that. Uh, so I learned and became a licensed soccer coach, and I think I, I coached for five or six or seven seasons and ultimately was too good for me and got into better teams. Uh, but when he graduated [00:30:30] high school, I realized I had been to over 500 games in his career. And, and so, yeah, it was, I think having my own business afforded me the opportunity to be flexible. I feel bad for folks who are in jobs, where they can't take off to go see their son's soccer game or their daughter's a soccer game, or in Kelly's case, she got out of soccer pretty quickly and got into horses.
Speaker 3: [00:31:00] And, uh, and, oh, you'll spend four hours on a Saturday at a, at a horse show. So you can see 60 seconds of your child going across the job, but it was the most thrilling 60 seconds that you could ever imagine. And I think I watched Kelly get thrown into every kind of jump she got, she got thrown over and over and over and over. And every time I thought she was going to have had every bone in her body crushed, I watched her get dragged by horses [00:31:30] as her foot got caught in a stirrup at 20 miles an hour across the ring. I watched her go head first into jumps and, and every time she got back up, as she kept on going, and I thought, you know what? And to this day, I'm convinced that those experiences made her strong, made her tough, made her resilient, uh, just like soccer did for, for Coleman.
Speaker 3: And, uh, and then Finley had different set of challenges. She had illnesses that made her strong [00:32:00] and tough and resilient. And she used to like to say that, which does not kill us, makes us stronger. And it does. And so, you know, being there for your kids and helping them feel okay through those moments of grit and toughness and resilience, you know, just like when you have a little baby and that baby falls down, if you go, oh my gosh, are you okay? The baby's probably going to cry, but if you say, [00:32:30] how are you doing the baby's probably going to be okay. And so how you react to your kids experiences teaches them how to react. And, uh, and so I think that, that, uh, being there is so important and it's not only because it helps them grow, but selfishly it's the joy of living vicariously and of seeing your kids have such fun, uh, or go through miserable experiences, whatever it is [00:33:00] they're going through, but to watch those experiences is, is a powerful thing. And I'm so grateful to have been, uh, able to be there. And I, I do wish everybody could have the opportunity. I don't know how you do it unless you are entrepreneurial and you can do your own thing.
Speaker 2: So that, that kind of answers. My next question is like, do you, I'm going to ask you to answer it again. Do you have any advice for say a younger you or, or, uh, [00:33:30] uh, uh, to be a coming soon to be father, uh, to kind of prepare themselves to create that time, or, you know, you start practicing time management now, or do you find it, you know, we're all looking for fulfillment and spending time with our kids, is it? And, uh, nobody dies wishing that they had worked more. Um, so like, is there anything in particular, either something specific or just like a general philosophy?
Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, I think that the most important thing is having [00:34:00] kids when you can financially take care of those kids and where you are financially in a position where if you want to take time off, you can. And so, you know, I, you know, I, I've seen lots of whether it's single income, single parents or dual income families, where, where, because the jobs didn't pay enough or for whatever reason, both parents had to work all the time. And, uh, and they're not able to be there for their kids, you know, [00:34:30] and that's the reality for most people, most kids are raised in that environment. Most parents are in that reality. And so, I mean, the only way to avoid it is before you have a kid do what you can to set yourself up financially or professionally, so that you have some flexibility. And, uh, and that, and that you have the, the ability to, uh, withstand a surprise if your, if your child is [00:35:00] ill, uh, and I'll, and I'll give you a very real example.
Speaker 3: Our daughter Finley, who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 17 in her senior year, in high school, and who passed away six months later, the fact that we were able to drop everything and Julie was able to be in the hospital with her every day and around the clock, 24 hours a day, four from Christmas day. And, uh, until [00:35:30] June 2nd, when she passed away, so many families don't have that luxury. Uh, and, you know, we were blessed and grateful that, that, that, uh, that we were able to do that, and that we had the financial resources to be able to ensure that we had the best care to be able to ensure that, that, uh, we could take the time and do the things that would make her last months as special as we could make them. And, [00:36:00] uh, and so many folks, you know, it may not be as, as tragic as losing a child, but your child gets sick and they need you to stay home.
Speaker 3: Your child is in the hospital. Uh, and there are lots of folks whose children are, are for whatever reason. They're not, uh, they need extra attention. A lot of people have children who have some sort of learning disability or, or some other disability that requires full-time [00:36:30] parenting the rest of their lives. And you look at those folks and you think a, your heart goes out to them because you know that, uh, you know, how you would do the same thing in their position. You do whatever you have to do, but if you don't have the, the means, if you don't have some money set aside for the, the unexpected emergency, if you don't have the professional situation, to be able to have flexibility, you know, if your job, [00:37:00] if you're, if you're working for a job hourly or salary, whatever, ensuring that that job has the benefit package that gives you some certainly healthcare at a minimum, you've got to have good health insurance and some flexibility and something that, you know, the company you're working for has the compassion that if you need to be there for your kids, that you have the ability to do that, and it's not going to bankrupt you.
Speaker 3: Uh, I think those are critical elements. So, you know, you see, so often kids having [00:37:30] kids before they have a career before they have any bank account before they own a house. And it just makes it so much harder to get to a point of stability. Uh, and that's assuming their kids are healthy. You know, if you have something go wrong, all bets are off. So yeah, I'd say in terms of preparing for a parenthood, get to a point where, you know, you can handle it financially by your, by your house. So that, [00:38:00] uh, uh, yeah, and I could recommend a great agent here in Warrington, you know, but buy your first house, uh, and, and have a few months of, of cash cushion in the bank, make sure you've got great health insurance and then go for it. Uh, and, and not everybody's going to get to go to every soccer game. I was pretty lucky. Yeah. But you can certainly arrange things where you can, you can be there for the magical moments
Speaker 2: [00:38:30] And an additional to, uh, financial preparation for having a kid. If you don't mind talking about maybe giving advice to a parent who might be, you know, managing the experience of having a child that's ill and with, without upside, like, is there anything that you could share for a father or mother for that?
Speaker 3: Absolutely. I couldn't have told you this before we went through it, but somehow Julie knew when, when the diagnosis came in and we knew, I mean, there was a very small chance [00:39:00] that Finley might find a way through this cancer, but no one had ever survived calandria carcinoma before. And there was very little reason to think that she would, but somehow I held onto hope. And that was my optimism. Julie said to me, let's make sure that the, this experience is a beautiful end to a beautiful life. And so, [00:39:30] you know, I think what we learned is making every day matter, right? You've got, you've got time left. You've got whether it's days or weeks or months enjoy those days. So, uh, and Finley, thank God she was, she was so strong through this. She understood that completely. She did not dwell for a second on her diagnosis.
Speaker 3: She said, let's go out and smell [00:40:00] the roses. Even though she spent those last five months in a hospital, she would get up every day in the children's ward at Johns Hopkins. And even though she was weak and barely able to walk on some days, she would make the rounds and she'd go say hi to all the other little kids in the ward. And, uh, if there was a light on, in an empty room, she'd turned the light off. If there's anything she could do to set an example of how to be more environmentally friendly, [00:40:30] or to create a system that was more sustainable, she would do it. And I realized every little moment you're alive. You can make a difference in the lives of other people, and you can get some joy out of that moment. And so, yes, if people are out there and they're having, if their child has an illness, if their child has a terminal illness, knowing that that child is still alive today, and that child [00:41:00] needs your love and needs to share your joy so that they can be joyful.
Speaker 3: That is a powerful opportunity. You've got, you've got time left with them. And so we learned to, to get the joy out of every moment, I, we learned to get the joy out of every day and to not, not think about or worry about tomorrow, let's just, let's just focus on what we can get out of today. And Finley and Julie were much better at that than I was. [00:41:30] Uh, and, uh, and to this day, uh, you know, it's hard to, to think about, but I think you, you can, uh, take those moments of adversity and you can make something special out of them. So, yeah, to those parents who are enduring the, the, uh, the most awful thing a parent should ever have to endure, no, that there is, you can still get joy [00:42:00] out of the moment out of the moments you have. And, uh, and there was no reason to not smile and laugh and tell a joke and watch a silly movie and do silly things and have fun. You should, you should enjoy it as if you have another 50 years or a hundred years left, because none of us knows for sure whether we have tomorrow. We know we have right now. And so why not enjoy it? [00:42:30] Right.
Speaker 2: Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that.
Speaker 3: You're welcome. Thank you for asking. I, you know, people are sometimes afraid and I would tell everybody this, if you know, somebody whose child has died, don't be afraid to talk about it because, and maybe not everybody says way, but for me, it's a way to keep Finley alive in my heart. So that I, I love talking about her. I, I don't, I, I don't want to remember the bad [00:43:00] moments, but I want to remember the good moments. And so talking about them is the best way to do that. And, uh, and if, and if somehow it inspires somebody else to enjoy a moment, they might otherwise not have enjoyed or inspire somebody to go out and make good use of their remaining moments on the earth. Then, then that's good.
Speaker 2: And the bracelet on your wrist. You tell me about that a little bit. Tell us,
Speaker 3: Yes, [00:43:30] this is a, it says Finley's fight on one side. On the other side, it says Finley's green leap forward. When, uh, when she was diagnosed, uh, a good friend of hers had, uh, from her high school had also had cancer and had survived it. And she was talking to that friend and she said, you know, people are going to send you candy and stuffed animals and flowers and all of this stuff. And she said, you know, I don't want that stuff. [00:44:00] I want, I want people to do something positive for the world. And when you send flowers, you're cutting flowers and that's an environmental negative. Uh, and, uh, and they probably are traveling in a plane 1500 miles to get to me. So don't cut flowers and send them to me. Don't send me candy because sugar is what cancers thrive on. I'm not gonna eat any candy.
Speaker 3: I'm gonna give this thing the best chance I've got. And, uh, [00:44:30] and just, and don't send me stuff. I don't need stuff. So she said, instead, I'd like people to go out and plant a tree and, and maybe that'll make a teeny bit of difference for climate change just as is something people can do. And of course, she recognized that people felt the need to do something to sh to express their, their love for her and their sorrow for what she's going through, uh, their, their sympathy. [00:45:00] And so when she put that call out on Facebook, she said, please, don't send me stuff, please plant a tree and take a picture of it and post it. Yeah. And that's amazing. So people started doing that and we found that people loved the opportunity to do something meaningful. And so over the course of the next month or so, we started seeing people posting and planting trees all over the [00:45:30] country and places all around the world.
Speaker 3: And even people who didn't know family were doing this. And so she said, you know, what, what about those folks? And I think people even inquired, you know, w if I live in a condo, I don't have any place to plant a tree. She said, uh, let's let them donate to a fund. And, uh, and so we came up with this idea that by her 18th birthday, if we could raise $18,000, that was our goal, that we would be able to present this to Finley [00:46:00] and that she could choose some, some funds out there that, that do good work for, towards climate change. And she found two funds. And she did. She researched this and spent a lot of time researching which organizations did good work towards, uh, as it turns out, it wasn't just climate change. It was, it was, they're doing things that impact climate change and also impact the lives of people directly.
Speaker 3: Uh, and she found the Capon Institute [00:46:30] in West Virginia, and she found the green belt movement in Kenya, both of these organizations planted trees and did things to help kids in need or women in need in these areas. And by her 18th birthday, we had told her we hoped to raise $18,000. So she was planning on making some, some grants by it turns out that people donated $67,000 by her birthday. Wow. And so this green leap forward fund is the [00:47:00] residual of that effort. And to this day, it lives on and Finley knew it was going to live. She wanted it to live on. Uh, and so she appointed five people, uh, as an advisory board, one of our close friends was NASA, chief scientist, she's on the board. Uh, and, uh, her daughter was Findlay's best friend. And so, you know, Finley knew who she wanted to help direct us in the future when she was gone.
Speaker 3: And now the fund, every year we continue to do we have an annual 5k race. [00:47:30] We, we, uh, do a day of giving. Uh, and then we have a number of people who, uh, family and friends who, who give repetitively. And, uh, the fund now has $400,000. Uh, and it has, it is giving out $50,000 a year in grants to nonprofits who are doing things to make the world better. Uh, so we give money to the rainforest trust. This past year got 10,000 cool earth got 10,000. They both [00:48:00] do things in the tropics to, to protect rainforests. Finley's original grantees, uh, are a green, the green belt movement in Kenya and, um, and Cayman Institute in this past year, uh, that they, they, they continued, we'd give them $10,000 a year as well. The Cape and Institute was just awarded the very first Arbor day foundation award for trees being planted in headwaters and making an impact, cleaning water for streams downstream.
Speaker 3: [00:48:30] And we went to the award presentation and they said that Finley was the respiratory, their inspiration. Yes. They said Finley was their inspiration. And it was really a touching moment. We met their team and, uh, and you realize that these little things, no Finley didn't have a lot of time to do this, but she did what she could. And she knew that if people would give what they can and do what they can, it makes a difference. And we got to see it there. And with the green [00:49:00] belt movement, they called us this year, or sent us an email and said, we want to honor Finley by planting 18 trees in a hope park. Wow. So we're going to travel to travel to Kenya next year and celebrate the planting of these 18 trees. It's beautiful. So yeah, every day I wake up and put this on and I promised Finley that I would spend every moment I had and that I could, uh, fighting climate change. Yeah. And that's, so that's what that's about.
Speaker 2: [00:49:30] That's a wonderful, wonderful thing. I'm I'm, I wish I had gotten to meet her. Um, very much.
Speaker 3: She was a pretty special kid and, and I, uh, the Coleman and Kelly both know that Finley was our best kid, so there's no hiding it. You know, people say, which child do you like the best Findlay was it? And, uh, and Coleman and Cali acknowledged that for, for the right reasons she was, she was the most loved. And, um, yeah, [00:50:00] she was, she was pretty cool.
Speaker 2: The image I have is that picture of her leaping into the air, and it just speaks volumes about the energy that, that she has. And it's everlasting. It's really wonderful. Um, to ask you one more thing about that. Any, any parent grieving now who's lost a child. Uh, do you have any advice for them that, you know, Sikh, religion or a friend, or
Speaker 3: Because, yeah, I mean, there's, there's probably no one [00:50:30] answer to that, but all of those things can be helpful. We resisted when Finley passed away a group called life with cancer came to us and offered free counseling grief counseling. And we said, you know, I don't think we need that. We're okay. Uh, and then two years later, Julia was diagnosed with cancer and went through a year of, of, of treatment. And, and thankfully she appears to be good and healthy now, and life with cancer again, came to us and said, grief [00:51:00] counseling, because even though Julia is surviving, there's still grief. And, um, uh, and maybe you're not over the grief from Finley yet. And we said, you know, what, what have we got to is let's do it. And it has been a wonderful thing to just to sit down with a professional counselor and talk through what you're feeling and how these things that you've experienced, maybe impacting you and fixing is over there, just crying with,
Speaker 2: [00:51:30] Come here. Did you find as a male in this world that kind of defines man as being macho or unable or unwilling to share feelings, did you find that that was a barrier opening up to a counselor? Do you feel like you, you know, have anything that you would recommend to people who might be struggling with, you know, that's, that's for people that aren't strong that's for weak people?
Speaker 3: That's an interesting question. I, I'm not afflicted with that. Um, [00:52:00] as, as you can tell, I cry easily. I, um, I'm not afraid to, to share or express or, or show my feelings at all. And, uh, I think if anything, Julie May, may be stronger in that regard than I am. So I think that, yeah, for everyone, whether it's a grief counselor, you know, or whether it is religion, uh, and we are not religious folks, so that's not [00:52:30] an avenue we explored, but for some people that might be the best avenue. Uh, but yeah, if you can have somebody who is objective that you can speak with, if it's a professional counselor or a pastor or a friend it's helpful. In fact, we've been able to talk a number of friends who have experienced losses through cancer or otherwise, and you find many of them reaching out because they experienced it first and they want to help you through it.
Speaker 3: [00:53:00] And it's funny, we initially really didn't want that. We didn't want to be identified as the people who lost a daughter. That was not who we wanted to be. Julie does not want to be thought of as a cancer survivor herself. She, she will say today, she is a cancer survivor in that she survived the death of her daughter from cancer. But, and I'd say that that was certainly a much more traumatic experience for me as well. But [00:53:30] I think that now four and a half years later, we are able to talk about it more easily. Maybe, uh, I still cry. I promised Finley, you know, a couple of times she caught me crying and I promised her that I would always finish. I said, a, you can't stop me from crying. It's who I am. It's what I'm going to do. And I said, but I will promise you that I will always finish every cry with a smile.
Speaker 3: And so that's what I do. I, [00:54:00] I find those memories and I think about them. And I think about the good that Findlay's life has created for me and for others. She touched. Uh, and I, I use that to draw a smile somehow. And yeah, I think that for everybody who experiences grief, there is some opportunity for good to come out of it. And, but it may take a, it may have to dig deep to find it, and you may have to talk to a lot of people, but don't be afraid to talk [00:54:30] when you're ready and don't be afraid to open up and don't be afraid to, uh, let the tears fall because you know what, that's what happens. Uh, and then don't be afraid to be happy again. That's I think really important. Absolutely. The person you lost would want you to be happy and you owe it to them to do that. Amazing.
Speaker 2: Thank you. Thank you. And one of the most, one of the best things I've ever heard is finished every cry with a smile.
Speaker 3: That's wonderful. Got to do it. [00:55:00] I think I've heard Julie say before. The thing that saved her was having something that she could dig into and be committed to. And that was a brewery. We opened our brewery. I, we started brewing our first batch the week that Finley was diagnosed. And so there was no turning back. We had our life savings invested in this thing, and we had to keep it going. And after Finley died, uh, Julie came back to work and, uh, and she, you know, put her head [00:55:30] down and basically has worked 50, 60, 70, 80 hours a week every week from August of 2014 to today, just making sure that the brewery runs well. And we've split up the brewery into, into Charles's portion, which has production, my portion, which is distribution and Julie's, which is everything else, which is practically everything managing YouTube, including managing the two of us. You know, she runs the taproom. She does the branding, she [00:56:00] runs the office, she runs all the merchandise and the website and the social media and the advertising. That's all her thing. So yeah, she's, she has been able to really put her energy and her commitment into this brewery. And I think it's been a godsend. It, uh, and she'd be the first to tell you that,
Speaker 2: To jump into a little bit of a lightning round, it's not so much lightening on it, but just kind of quick questions for quick answers. So
Speaker 3: [00:56:30] What's an attribute of yours that as a father, you are proud to have and attribute, uh, honesty,
Speaker 2: Honestly, how's that suited you as a father and for the benefit of your kids,
Speaker 3: I've never kept anything from them, aside from maybe the truth about Santa and the Easter money when they were very little. But for instance, when Coleman and Cali were [00:57:00] probably two and five years old, and we, the, the economy was tanking and we were on the verge of losing our real estate company and Cali didn't have shoes. And our house was in foreclosure. I mean, w everything was falling apart. We would sit at the kitchen table and tell the kids exactly what was going on. And, uh, and, uh, and maybe it went on until Coleman was six or seven, and Cali was three or four or five. And, [00:57:30] uh, and it was a rough several years. And what I found was an us opening up, honestly, to the kids. We got better advice from them than we did from any adult, never occurred to me.
Speaker 3: It, it, it is mind boggling, how they have no preconditions. They have no jaundice views. They have no experiences that, that teach them to be, to be afraid of, of, of money. [00:58:00] And so they talk about it and, uh, and they can talk about it in very clear terms. Uh, and then we would go in and, and talk with our advisors, whether it's accountants or attorneys or other adults. And, uh, and you would realize, wow, that what Coleman Kelly said at dinner last night, was it a lot smarter? What these folks were telling me today? So, you know, it's honesty about money. I would say, you know, if you want your kids to be financially smart, [00:58:30] start when they're two and help them understand your money, don't be afraid to tell them whether you're broke or whether you're a billionaire, help your kids with complete honesty know and understand everything that's going on. Don't be afraid to share the truth with them. Um, whether it's honesty about past experiences. I never hid the fact from my kids that I dropped out of college or that I smoked pot or that I, [00:59:00] you know, had other relationships prior to their mother. Uh, I think honesty was, you know, they, they knew that if, if they ask me a question, they get the truth and they knew, and to this day they know that they know that I've never been dishonest with them. So I think that's a pretty, pretty nice.
Speaker 2: So what are three things, two or three things that you think would make up a super dad? Whoo. [00:59:30] You can use honesty. Okay.
Speaker 3: Yeah. Honesty for sure. Boundless energy, unconditional love. And you hear that term used a lot, but I think it is vital. You know, if your child is struggling, don't be critical. Be loving if your child has done something wrong, don't judge them.
Speaker 2: So you said boundless energy from where do you derive your boundless energy?
Speaker 3: [01:00:00] Well, I don't feel like I haven't, um, I feel like it's required and it's, uh, it's, it's a, it's a thing that would be, uh, it would be a great attribute for a parent, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I, I feel like I had it. I think, you know, you get energy, you get physical energy from making sure that you sleep right. Eat right exercise. Right. And I have by no means been good at those things. But I do try, I make an effort, uh, about [01:00:30] all of them all the time. You, you also get it though from doing things that you're passionate about and, and that you care about. And so if you are in a career that you don't like, it's going to drag you down. You'll never have energy at home. If when you go to work, it drains you. Yeah.
Speaker 3: If you are doing things you love, you'll never feel like you're working and [01:01:00] you'll be willing to do them all day long. And you just feel like you've got energy to spare, uh, because so much of our energy is psychological. And so I think being honest with yourself and your partner and your kids about what you like and what you don't like and what you're good at and what you're not good at. And making sure that you, you spend your time and energy doing things you love will create energy for you, uh, [01:01:30] that you'll have energy to spare.
Speaker 2: Uh, if you were going to write a book about your life as a parent, what would be the title of some of the chapters?
Speaker 3: Hmm. I think the topics we just touched on would be critical themes in terms of honesty and unconditional love. I think I'd probably have to put in there chapters on grief, [01:02:00] chapters on supporting your kids' dreams and certainly a chapter on, on being a good spouse. Being a good parent is secondary to being a good spouse. If you, you and your wife don't support one another. And uh, in, in your marriage and in your parenting styles, it will show through and your kids will suffer [01:02:30] from it. So I think that might be a big chapter because you know, when you get into a marriage, you don't get everything you want out of the deal. It's a partnership. And therefore you have to make some compromises and you have to do things that are not natural to you. Uh, and you have to do, uh, you have to think of someone else before you think of yourself.
Speaker 3: So all those attributes in parenting are, are even more important in, [01:03:00] in, in marriage. And I'll add one more thing, uh, to a question earlier, when is an observation that, uh, Julie and I had, and, and with shared with others along the way that as we hired people in the, in the real estate company, we started to notice something. And that is those people who had then parents were better managers [01:03:30] than those who were not, who had not been there. And that maybe is not a universally perfect statement, but you could notice they had more patients, they had more tolerance, they were less judgmental. They were more able to, uh, mentor people. And we noticed enough of these to say, it's a thing. Yeah. Parents are leaders, parents are leaders and they're empathetic. And they are, [01:04:00] they that you, you get wisdom out of this parenting thing. And that wisdom applies to every other thing you do in life.
Speaker 2: Is there a TV dad that you like or might find yourself, uh, comparable to that your kids might compare you to,
Speaker 3: Can't say bill Cosby anymore. Um,
Speaker 2: Yeah. On the show you can send that.
Speaker 3: I, I, it's a great question. I don't think I watched enough [01:04:30] TV too, and I don't have a good enough recall of the things I did watch. Maybe, maybe I'm so old now that I can't remember those things, Steve Martin, I think did parenthood, didn't he or fatherhood or one of those movies that no, this wasn't one.
Speaker 3: I remember a line from that movie where, which I don't remember the line. I remember the topic of the line was something like your life. You can choose [01:05:00] to be take the Ferris wheel or, or the merry-go-round and, or no, the rollercoaster or the merry-go-round. And, uh, and it was essentially saying life with me was the rollercoaster. And, and as a father, I just remember mostly as a spouse with Julie, she, she got the rollercoaster, uh, as opposed to the merry-go-round and spoke, gosh, uh, dad's in film or [01:05:30] television shows, I'm going to have to pass on that one. I just don't have good enough recall.
Speaker 2: So
Speaker 3: How about this Brady bunch? He did a good job, uh, all seem to anyhow. Okay.
Speaker 2: Uh, if you had the capacity to give a physical gift to all fathers, what gift might you give them
Speaker 3: A physical gift, a dog. [01:06:00] Uh, now let's see a physical gift. I mean, the things I would give them would be time and money. Um, I can't think of a, uh, sorry. I have I'm at a loss. I can't think I'm not a material person. So I can't think of a material thing that, that matters to me, or that has made a difference in parenthood, but [01:06:30] maybe a nice piece of property so that your kids a good neighborhood. That would be it. I think that's great. A good neighborhood. So your kids can grow up with other kids that are also in loving households.
Speaker 2: Wonderful. So Tim Ferris, who hosts a podcast, often asks who's guests. Uh, what message would you put on a billboard? So I'm going to assume, I'm going to ask you the same question, but all the time, 95 or a bunch of dads in their cars [01:07:00] driving, what would you put on that billboard, that message, that piece of advice go home. I love it. I love it. I think that's perfect. I think it's time for us to go home. Beautiful. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.
Speaker 3: What a hoot. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you. And I wish you luck in, uh, in kicking this thing off. Thank you. Cheers.