In today’s truly riveting episode of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Podcast, Taylor White engages in a captivating conversation with Denis Cashman, Co-Owner of Stone etc. Ltd., uncovering a multifaceted journey that resonates with themes of entrepreneurship, masonry, team dynamics, and personal transformation. Denis's narrative unfolds like a compelling novel, tracing his path from humble beginnings to co-owning a thriving business, accentuating the importance of specialization within their company structure. The discussion expands to the intricate process of assembling the right team, where Denis shares recruitment insights and the significance of trusting employees who have a history with the company. Additionally, the conversation underscores the value of creating a conducive learning environment for apprentices and junior team members, shaping the future of the industry. However, this podcast transcends the boundaries of a typical business dialogue. In a deeply personal and inspiring segment, Denis courageously shares his battle with addiction, a journey that served as a pivotal turning point in his life. He narrates his triumphant story of recovery, emphasizing the significance of seeking support and refocusing on personal growth. The remarkable transformation continues as Denis's newfound dedication to fitness and triathlons emerges as a powerful force, not just in enhancing his physical health but also fortifying his mental well-being. The pillars of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are explored as indispensable elements in Denis's voyage towards recovery, leading to the rejuvenation of his relationships, particularly with his wife. This episode stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the pursuit of self-discovery, and the quest for a more fulfilling and meaningful life within the construction industry.
- Entrepreneurship and masonry
- Starting from the ground up
- Building a strong team
- Pushing boundaries
- Journey of self-discovery
- Addiction and mental health in construction
- Understanding alcoholism
- The power of spirituality, honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness
- The impact of Denis’ transformation on his personal and professional lives
Taylor White: Welcome back, everybody, to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Podcast. I am your host, as always, Taylor White. This show is brought to you by our good friends over at Komatsu. Always unreal machinery, unreal people for helping us out with the podcast here today. I have somebody that I'm really looking forward to chatting with. So, when I first was in business, the first thing I ever started doing was selling topsoil. And one of my first clients, if not the first client, was a guy named Denis Cashman, who owned a company called Stone etc. And he's here in Ottawa as well. He's got a lot going on, a lot of cool things. He started a business. So, Denis, I'm super pumped to have you on the podcast today here, man.
Denis Cashman: Taylor, this is a great opportunity to be here. I'm looking forward to our time together.
Taylor White: Yeah, man. When was the last time? Because I think I was talking to you and you have a partner, right? Ray?
Denis Cashman: Yeah.
Taylor White: Nice. Yeah. So then he kind of looks after, I guess, the landscaping side of it, and you're more the masonry side of it?
Denis Cashman: Yeah. We've structured our business into two divisions, really, where we share some employees, we share the universal goal of providing a good product for our clients. But also having two owners that each specialize in their own fields. And so, by doing that, we can give our clients what they need in kind of one big package, almost. Instead of having to do this guy for that guy and this guy for that guy. I'm sure you see it all the time. If you can shop with one person, it's way better.
Taylor White: 100%. You're dead on with that. I never actually had the chance to ask you, how did you guys start your business? Where did that kind of stem from? What were you doing before Stone, etc.?
Denis Cashman: Bit of history on me. So, I've been in the masonry industry, I started when I was 17. I'll be 33 in a month, so, about 16 years somewhere around there. And yeah, I got a co-op right out of high school with this company. I did my co-op stint. It was winter masonry. It sucked. But somehow, I fell in love with the trade. And you know what? They offered me a full
time gig, and so I put 10 years there. And so, I worked my way up from a laborer to journeyman, to a foreman, and that's where I met Ray. So, he was at the same company for eight years, and kind of similar story to him. He started off on the interlock crew, and he worked his way up to the point where he was running a crew as well. We'd never really worked together, but we partied together a lot at the shop. So, that's where our relationship kind of linked up, and we just both got to a point where we started doing side jobs together. He helped me, I helped him, and then it clicked. And so, in April 2018, we made the jump and started Stone etc.
Taylor White: No way. Was that the first year that I started? 2018, was that when I first brought soil to you guys? Was that your first year in business? You were doing that place here in Carp?
Denis Cashman: Yeah. Big place in the double lot there in Carp. Ray and the guys are actually there right now doing a bunch of re-sweeping and re-sanding the whole property so that the client can seal it now that all the efflorescence has worked its way out of the product. So, they've been there for about a week on their hands and knees just scraping and pressure washing.
Taylor White: That's unbelievable. It's interesting.
Denis Cashman: All the fill. You guys got around that corner and yeah, you spent a lot of time there.
Taylor White: Yeah, we for sure did. And, like I said, you were the first client we ever had. It was interesting when you mentioned about co-op. You had co-op during high school or just out of it?
Denis Cashman: So, my last semester of grade 12 was a full day co-op.
Taylor White: Okay. That, to me, is really cool. So, right now, we have two co-op students working with us right now, and that work through West Carlton. And I think that that's a super important course to be able to do. It gives them the opportunity to understand, is this something that I want to go into? Is this not something that I wanted to go into? Figure out whether they like it or they don't like it.
Denis Cashman: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I kind of had the same feeling going into it. I always wanted to do interlock, and I had no idea what masonry was, but it being wintertime, those were my options. So, the goal actually was, work with the Masons for a couple of months, and when May comes around, get with the Interlock crew. And you know what? Trying the trade, I fell in love with it, and that's where my career and my life took me. So, it was a great opportunity to get in there. And the great group of guys that trained me, I still have a good relationship with all the brothers, and they even paid me for my co-op. So, it was awesome.
Taylor White: I think that that's really important. I was talking about both students that we have. And I think that it gives them the opportunity to be able to figure out, is this something that we like doing, or is this something that we don't like doing? And obviously, in your position, it worked out very well because now you're running your own business, and you and Ray are both business partners in this and making it happen.
Denis Cashman: Yeah, absolutely. The partnership so far has been awesome. That eight years prior to that really helps you get to know a guy, especially working for someone else.
Taylor White: 100%. Yeah. That's a good point. So, Ray, so, how did you guys kind of come about finding each other and finding the team that you have now and other guys? And do you find it difficult to find the guys, especially doing masonry? I mean, you do masonry. I'm sure you struggle trying to find people to do it because, like you said, doing masonry in the wintertime generally isn't the best thing.
Denis Cashman: Yeah, we're definitely a special breed. So, connecting with Ray, I mean, just through working and after hours at the shop with the other company. We got to click. And then when we first went out on our own, one of the employees from that other company ended up following us. And so we were a three man crew at the start, and we did that for one year. He went on to other things in his life, and so, since then, we’ve kind of gone through a sea of people, just trying to recruit through Indeed and other job hosting formats. But we ended up seeing a turnaround from some of the other employees from that original company who had gone on to do their own thing. They went different career paths, and they ended up reaching back out to us two, three years after us being in business, saying, “Hey, are you guys hiring?”. And we were in a position where we could expand and we could bring them in. So, not only did it benefit us because we knew who we were getting, and we knew their work experience. We knew what they were like. We knew what to expect. We knew what we could work with. But they also knew us on more of a one-on-one level as well. Because there's two sides to the coin. You got the employer who's looking for the best employee, but you've also got that employee who there's tons of people looking for workers right now.
We've actually been super blessed on the masonry side. I’ve had one of the guys who I actually trained seven, eight years ago, he went and did his own thing for a bit, and now he's been with me three years, full time. He's on the job site right now by himself. And I can trust that what's being done is going to be done right. And then I have an apprentice right now, too. Once again, Algonquin College reached out to me and they said, “Hey, we got this program, we got these apprentices, and do you have room for some?” And it's like, “Absolutely.” And I took two on. One of them didn't really last. He didn't enjoy the trade. But this other guy, he's going on two years with us now, and he's going in October to do his level 2. So having that opportunity with the college has been very helpful. Of course, I could always expand, and I’ve tried to, but the pool of guys is so limited in this. We’re happy with the three man crew that we are. We have a really good dynamic and we get jobs. I don't have to go looking for too much work. I work for five, six builders within Ottawa, good builders, and they don't go shopping around either. So that relationship I have with them, it's amazing.
Taylor White: Yeah, that's exactly it. And I say the same thing as well, too. When people talk about, “Are you guys busy?” And we have a set number of custom home builders that we work for, and we've built relationships with them just like you're talking about over the years, so that we know that if they're doing a home, we're going to be doing the work. And they know that the work that we're going to provide for them is good work because we treat them fair and we give them a really good product. But it's interesting, like when you mentioned the apprentice guys. So for us, retaining employees is super hard. I mean, this year we're 23, 24 people out there, and we try to do certain stuff like KWC Camp Days and Barbecues, Canada Day stuff. And I genuinely love doing that stuff because I love having a good time with everybody on the team. But when you have an apprentice come from college so that he doesn't completely just dislike the industry, do you try to do anything extra to be like, “Okay, yeah, this day might be like this, but also this is the reward”, you know what I mean?
Denis Cashman: Yeah, I can relate that to my own experience and not so much from a– Well, there's a financial component to it, of course.
Taylor White: 100%.
Denis Cashman: When you're getting into masonry, and this might be somewhat specific to other industries as well, but I’ll use masonry as an example. The guys who are in school who just spent 12-16 weeks at this training program, they got to play with mortar. They got to touch bricks, they had a trowel in their hand. And then they come out to the real world, and reality hits in, and you're going to set up a scaffold, you're going to make cement, you're going to load brick, and that's the end of it. And so where my company is structured and the work that we do, I like to put in the extra effort of giving these new people the opportunity to get me set up, get my lead hand set up and then kind of drill into them that if you do this, the opportunity is there for you to go over there in the corner and actually pick up a trowel and build something on this home. And I feel like that's an opportunity that not a lot of people get. You have to be in a pretty niche company, in a pretty niche area for that to happen. Otherwise, you can get stuck in this slump where you're a laborer for five years, seven years, eight years, and you wanted to be a mason. And so I've given this new guy this opportunity, and he's jumped on it, and he's super eager to learn the trade, learn about different products, and actually become a mason rather than just have this job he doesn't look forward to waking up and going to every day. Because he never knows what I'm going to throw him on. And it might be, “Hey, get in those rafters.” But he's laying block. So it's better than making mud and just being on the ground.
Taylor White: Yeah. 100%. It's interesting. Because you're starting at the bottom of the totem pole, I guess, sort of say, and you're doing all that kind of work and not necessarily being the artist that's painting this word painting, but you're painting your mural on the wall. You're laying the bricks. You're doing it. But it's kind of like in construction, when you start on the shovel, hand shovel, and you work your way up to an excavator, you got to show initiative and wanting to be there, and you got to love what you do, essentially. Because if you don't love it and see the long game in it, then you won't kind of succeed on it.
Denis Cashman: That's exactly it. And I was put in that position where I showed interest and people trusted me, so that's how I moved up so fast in my career. And I try to do the same thing with these guys because the other thing is, and you know this, time is money. And training guys cost a lot of time and a lot of money. So if I'm putting all this time in and someone's just here just for a paycheck, it's not going to work. I want to see progress. I want to maybe be at a point where these people could run a crew and there's expansion because then it gives me the opportunity to trust lead hand A and lead hand B. And then find people for under them. That's how I see growth within my company. And it all starts with being able to, one, produce, but two, trust. Whenever there's problems, I make sure people are around because that troubleshooting, six eyes are better than just mine. And it's sometimes hard to swallow that pride, but sometimes my ideas aren't the greatest, and it takes the other two guys with less experience than me to tell me that. So we learn a lot from each other.
Taylor White: So masonry is one of those things where it's a physically demanding work, and obviously, up until recently I remember Denis. I actually explained it to my wife because when I was like, “I want to get Denis on the podcast and for everyone listening.” I saw you. I think we're on Snapchat together, and I'd see your Snapchat stories, and you'd be snowmobiling or doing something, and then all of a sudden, I feel like it kind of just went quiet for a bit. And then up until recently, for everyone listening, I saw Denis on Facebook, and he did a freaking triathlon. And, I mean, your job is obviously very physically demanding, but when I saw that , I'm like, okay. You went from doing one thing, and now you're doing completely the other thing, and to also manage and do that within owning a business, to me, that's super impressive. What was the reasoning behind, I guess, kind of like getting into Triathlons and you're signed up for a bunch more races and stuff now? Share it if you want to and if you can share that kind of side of your life because I know that we were talking a little bit over text, and if that's something that you want to share, I would love to hear that.
Denis Cashman: Absolutely. Thanks for asking. I did my first triathlon in, I think it was August, as the Canadian, hosted by Somersault down at Mooney's Bay and it was an awesome experience. June or July of this year, I tried to do some open water swimming, and I made it 50, 70 meters and had to turn around. And what a wake-up call, because to me, I'm looking at it like you said, always lifting stuff and climbing stuff. And I'd done those Spartan races before in my past years and years and years ago, and it's just get in the water, and I hit a wall. So it made me realize that there's so much more to learn in life and with my body, that it pushed me to want to progress.
And so the journey prior to that, when was it? Probably around 2018, I would say, is when I started to get into a lot of the power sports toys and stuff like that. And with that kind of lifestyle came a lot of drinking and partying and hanging out with people, and it's just one thing led to another, and I had found I had kind of lost control of my life and wasn't necessarily happy anymore. And so in March of 2022, I got pulled over and I got a DUI, and I was out of town working. And so it was a huge wake-up call for me that I got to do something with my life. I got to change something. And prior to that, there had been many, many other experiences where I was lucky to make it home. I had been pulled over for impaired driving, 2019, Blue in the warning range, which is a minor license suspension and a slap on the wrist. And the best my thinking could do with that, to resolve that issue, was to switch to nonalcoholic beers while driving. That's where this brain took me as the solution. And that only lasted a few months, obviously, because I was back to where I was, if not worse. And it finally caught up to me again in March of 2022.
So I took the bulk of that year, found a really good support group, and I was able to look at my life and identify my problems. And I was able to recover from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body where my relationship was going down the shitter. And I was, was I giving it my all at work? I don't know. I still had a job, I still had things lined up, but I was going home and just doing the same thing over and over again. Just drinking. I was stuck in this loop. And so when I met these people and when I recovered, I met this new friend of mine, and she found out I did those Spartan runs in 2014 and 2015. And that was kind of before I really started drinking heavily. And so she invited me with one of her friends to Wolf Trail in Gatineau Park. And so we went on a hike, and it's like, man, this is a lot of fun. So then two days later, she invited me out for a mobility class. And what a wake-up call that was contorting my body into ways I didn't think it could move, and watching other people do it with such ease. And from there, it kind of just streamlined into I thought I was in shape. I thought I was doing good.
And you might hear me say it a couple of times today, it's like, there's so much more to learn and there's so much more room to grow that I started going to this gym. It's place in Kanata Lakes, Positive Movement Fitness. It's an amazing little spot. The owner, Dusty, I see him three times a week now. And we do small group fitness twice a week and personal training once a week. And so that's geared me up to get into this lifestyle of I want to be better not only physically, but mentally. With my training partner, we go on runs two or three times a week now. She's signed up for almost every race that I'm signed up for. I think we got 10 or 11 of them on the board next year. A combination of triathlons and triathlons, marathons, obstacle course races, you name it. It all incorporates all these different aspects of the body that are just so amazing and you really get to see where you can push yourself.
Taylor White: First of all, thank you for sharing that, dude, that is unreal. I definitely know that there's people listening and even it gets my brain going as well, because in this industry, in construction, it is so self-wrapped around, and I'm sure there's other industries like it, but I can speak just from construction. So many things revolve around alcohol and you do have those conversations with yourself sometimes. Maybe some people don't do that, “Okay, maybe this is becoming a little too much, maybe I'm doing too much.” So it's kind of, I guess, a really good thing that you got to the point where you're like, “Okay, this is the point where I'm going to change.” And the fact that you pushed that into like, “Okay, now I want to see how far I can push myself. I want to see how far I can push my mind and my body.” And like you were talking about, you mentioned you're never done learning. That is super admirable that you're dedicated to just learning, which I think is very key and important when you do say that. Because, like you said, it was your 30th birthday, and here you are, you're 30 years old in a month, and you're not done learning, and yet you're opening this next new big chapter of your life, which is super important. And hearing your story motivates me to even push myself even further. And the physical and the mental, how do you push yourself mentally? How are you pushing yourself out of that and staying and doing this routine kind of keeping you in the mindset of, like, “I'm not going back to what I was doing then. This is me now and this is the path that I'm on.”
Denis Cashman: That’s a very good question. Because you hear all the time with people with addiction problems and who are in recovery and their good for a little bit, and then they might
relapse and that relapse might be their last. And not in a sense that they’ll quit again, in a sense that they could die. When I was nearing the end of my drinking, thoughts of suicide were very very high on my list. It’s not something I am proud of but it's something that I need to talk about. Because when driving into oncoming traffic seems like the best way out, something needs to change. The best way I can describe it is to fight that physical and that mental. My best thinking got me to where I was, and that got me to the lowest spot I’ve ever been in my life. However, I needed to get there. I needed to find the bottom to have hope. I needed to have some sort of hopelessness to see hope in others, to see hope in something else and to see hope in life.
And so today, I ground my life, all my thinking into, I’ll call it the spirit of the universe. I don’t drive the bus anymore, and I let the things around me, things I can’t control, which is not very much in life. I don’t have much control over anything that goes on around me. But today I have the ability to step back and I have the ability to control how am I going to react. And I’ve been super blessed with the ability to do that. And that doesn't come from me, that comes from lots of meditation, lots of praying, and just getting out of myself and interacting with other people who are like minded. Who have gone through similar experiences that I have.
I now have kind of this two-part recovery that I live today, maybe three-part. I’ve got a fellowship, I’ve got a network of people that I can call at any time of the night or day. And if there’s anything going on, I can talk to them about it. That’s something I never did. Men don’t like to talk about their emotions, and it’s something that needs to be done for me, anyway. And I’ve got those people in my life, but I’ve also got this power inside of me that’s with me all the time that I can also rely on where I’m not the one driving the bus anymore. I’m not the be-all and end-all anymore. I used to think that way. So with the combination of those two things, I’m able to reevaluate what my life looks like today and where I want to take it.
And I look at my recovery and there are three essentials to my recovery. There’s honesty, there’s open-mindedness, and there’s willingness. And without those three things, I could’ve never changed. And with those three things, I’ve been able to adapt to this new lifestyle, these new ideas, these new motives, and now I wake up and love and tolerance is my code. I want to put more into this stream of life today than I take from it. And it never used to be that way before. I was a very selfish individual, what can I do, where can I excel, what can I do to get me on top? That was me running the show. Plain and simple.
And it got me drunk, it got me in trouble, it was slowly destroying the relationship I had with my wife who I’ve been with for 14 and a half years. She see me not drink, be at what I call my best, and then just slowly rocket down. And now we’re onto a point where it’s almost like I’m dating her again because I care about stuff that I do with her. We went apple-picking a few weeks ago. We spend time together. We go for walks, we cook together. And you can probably count in one hand the amount of times I did that in the last five years before I sobered up. It’s sad to say, but like I said, these things had to happen for me to realize what truly matters in my life and what matters in my life today. I’m super fortunate that she stuck around. She’s a stronger woman than me. It’s incredible.
Taylor White: Good for her.
Denis Cashman: I love her to death.
Taylor White: I mean, I appreciate all the honesty and openness and I think it's because you realize the severity and obviously, you do understand that there are other guys out there, people that are going through this. But one thing that you mentioned that I think is really important is that you mentioned in the construction industry you have depression and suicide. And actually, the statistics of last year in construction, the amount of people that died by suicide versus died by a construction site accident, it's like 2000 people in a construction accident, 5000 suicide. But yet what we focus on—and hey, I'm guilty of it—is like because we need to comply with MOL, so we're going to talk about safety today. And what we're not doing is having an open dialogue and an open conversation about mental health, which again is kind of taboo in our industry or as men, you don't want to tell your buddies like, “Hey, I'm not feeling it today.” You know what I mean? And another aspect to it is like nobody wants to be that dude when everyone else is cracking a cold one to be like, “Nah, not me, guys.” Because it's hard to say no. And I'm sure that that's even when I'm saying something, you're probably like, “Well dude, then those aren't your friends.” But yeah, there's just so many thoughts that run through your head when you're talking. But I got to say it's so admirable, dude, the way that you're talking and thinking, what got you into thinking like this? And you're saying you're doing meditation and all this stuff, it's very impressive the way you're thinking and that your brain is working now, like driving the bus and everything is just super interesting.
Denis Cashman: Yeah, thank you. I've been super blessed to have, I'll call them mentors, spiritual mentors around me. Because when I first sobered up and that took a lot. Step one is admitting you have a problem with any substance, and for me it was alcohol. And so when I look at alcohol and I look at what it is to be alcoholic, it has two parts to it. It has a physical part and it has a mental part. And the simplest way it can be put is I'm an abnormal drinker and I can't drink like a normal person. And the normal person is someone who can get home from work, have a half a glass of wine, make supper, maybe finish that glass, watch TV, and go to bed. That's not me. As soon as I crack that first beer, there's something in my body that something happens and I just want more and I want more and I want more and I don't stop until it's either all gone or I'm passed out. And when I am stopped, it is incredibly difficult for me to stay stopped because I'm always looking for that next drink because I'm irritable, I'm discontent, and I'm restless. So I'm looking for that sense of ease and comfort that comes with that drink. And you get some people say, “Well, I like the taste.” Well, I like the taste of Pepsi, but I don't grab a twelve pack of Pepsi and just chug the whole thing down. It's something more than the taste.
Taylor White: That's very true.
Denis Cashman: It does something to me. I'm looking for oblivion. When I look at that, and I've got that mental problem. Well, the real problem with an alcoholic is that it centers in the mind rather than the body. Because I have a body that doesn't allow me to drink safely, but I have a mind that tells me I can. So for me to recover, I've got to fix what's up here, not with the body
that I can't change. And so through understanding that and believing it today, this is where that connection with those spiritual mentors and that connection with a power greater than myself have been those two key elements in being able to live a life today where I can see the joy and the happiness in almost everything I do. Because, yeah, there's still bad days but I don't react like that anymore. I've been given the gift of being able to step back and look at a problem and deal with it. Not necessarily how I want to deal with it, but how it should be dealt with. And putting that to words and actually living it are two different things. But it's one of those things where it's hard at first. And absolutely, you're talking about people around you and cracking beers and this and this. I had to disconnect myself with so many people at the start for that first year because temptation was always there. And so it took some time. There were sacrifices that I did have to make. But with that, I've been able to build this spiritual barrier, this insurance, that as long as I keep doing the next right thing, I'm that much further away from picking up another drink. Because I truly believe today that if I pick up just one drink, it very well could be my last.
And again, not because I'll quit, again because I may end up with 9,10, 11, 12 and then drive home and end up in a ditch in a telephone pole. And that's just not how I want to live today.
Taylor White: Yeah. The one thing that stood out that I want to ask you on is when you say there's a power greater than myself. If you don't want to talk about your religious views or anything like that, that's fine. But is that God or is that something?
Denis Cashman: Yeah, I'll sometimes refer to it as God, but it's a God of my own understanding. So when we talk about religious views, I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a religious man. I did go to Catholic high school, but my father, if I had to describe him, would probably be atheist. And my mother was a Scientologist for a while, and now I don't know what she is. So I had a very confusing upbringing. And you know what? To each his own, right? So for me to seek this power, this spirit, given the person that I was today, I still look at as, this is insane, what's going on? But at the end of the day, bottom line, I was powerless over alcohol, therefore I needed a power. And before that power was me. And so today, that power isn't me. And I see it in the coincidences that happen in my life. And I'll say the coincidences with the capital C. Because there are so many events that happen where it's like, how did that happen? Why did this, this, this and this happen, which led me to be here, which led me to meet this person, which led me to say that. And I look at all these things going on in my life and it's way bigger than me. And there has to be something else out there. What that is, I don't know. But I know that today I'm joyful, I'm peaceful, I have serenity in my life. And before it was chaos, it was darkness, and I was in charge.
And so when I look at those two things, I'm on this journey now to keep understanding and keep growing within this spirituality. And I can only do that with those three elements. That open mindedness, that willingness, and from there, every day, something new can happen. Anything can happen. The fact that I woke up one day and said, “I need help” if I had to foreshadow that five years ago, if you asked me, where would you see yourself in five years? I definitely wouldn't say on a podcast sober, talking about recovery. These are just the little miracles in my life that I look forward to today. And so that's how I view this power that's greater than me. It's not necessarily this being of a man that I get on my hands and knees and I worship, but it's so much
more than that. It's the people around me, the birds, the animals, and just the way I choose to react to it now because I have that choice today. And so I'm on this everlasting journey now to just keep growing this connection with this power, and it keeps life very exciting.
Taylor White: I bet. Have you noticed something? First of all, that was beautiful. I'm going to be sitting in bed tonight, just sitting there thinking about the way that you're talking is mind blowing. I am very impressed, my friend. So whenever you decide to get sober and now you're doing all these positive changes, you're working out mentally and physically, you're learning and you're getting better. And have you noticed a correlation between is business better or is it better being at work? What's the relationship now with your business, your career, and then your personal life? Because were the two kind of blurred before, or is it now two separate things? And are they affected better in a positive way or not now?
Denis Cashman: Yeah, so definitely in a positive way. So in the 16 years I've been in this industry, I was, we'll say, working six and a half days a week for the first 14 years of it. Alcoholic workaholic, a lot of them, they come hand in hand. And so recovery has allowed me to want to live life and appreciate life so much more. I can count on one hand the amount of weekends I've worked this year. And for the people that know me, that's incredible.
Taylor White: You were always working weekends. Your stories were just always you working on the weekends all the time.
Denis Cashman: You know what? Learning to say no. There's tons of work out there. I could still be working seven days a week right now, but I've learned to be okay with the fact that work is going to take place between Monday and Friday, and it's still going to be there on Monday.
And whether I work on Saturday and Sunday, destroy my body, destroy my relationship, it's not going to make a difference. I'm just making other people happy and putting more money in the bank and giving more money to the government, and it's just for what? I have a roof over my head. My bills are paid, my employees have their paychecks every two weeks. I can do pretty much whatever I want comfortably. I live a pretty simple lifestyle. So I don't need much. It's opened up this world of there's so much more to life. And I can actually say yes to all these new friends I have now to going out and running 30K, 40K on a Saturday and then going and sitting in a hot tub or doing cold plunges or doing some yoga. I never thought I'd be one of those people who dreaded Mondays, but I've turned into that guy now because Sunday comes and it's like, “Oh, man, it's already Monday again.” And, yeah, you know what? Business is good. I've got work Monday to Friday all the time. What more could you ask for, really?
Taylor White: Has it changed your leadership role at your company? A lot of entrepreneurs kind of they drive their businesses and their strength from being good leaders. And if you're bringing on some new people or even the people that you're working with, has it changed your relationships or your style of being an owner of the business?
Denis Cashman: Yeah, I definitely think it has. I used to definitely put a lot of stress on making sure jobs were finished within a certain time. Because we had to be here for Monday, or I told so
and so we'd be here. And so there'd always be this push where it's like, “We got to get this done, we got to get this done. Who wants to work the weekend?” And whether it was forced or not, I don't know. But even working through lunches and the guys watching me do that, and it's like, “Oh, where's he getting ahead? He's just in this never-ending cycle of you're always going to be behind.” But I couldn't get that through this thick skull. And so now I get to have that
one-on-one time with the guys on lunch as well. We're more relaxed if somebody's got a funny YouTube video that they saw, we're not waiting till break, we're just, “Hey, check this out.” And it's just super low-key, super relaxed. My stuff's priced so that I don't have to hit every single dollar for every single minute, otherwise people are starving.
Taylor White: That's fair.
Denis Cashman: And I love the way that is now because I like the idea of coming to work in a relaxed environment, and I want the guys to feel the same way. Or to feel like if they want to take two days off for something or if they want– I mean, me and my lead hand, we're going swimming two days a week now, in the mornings. So Tuesdays and Thursdays, we're usually not getting a site till 8:30, 9:00. And that's okay. I've built that into the schedule, you know, life is awesome.
Taylor White: Oh, you give me goosebumps. That is awesome. I really respect that, Denis. That is unbelievable. That is awesome. The fact that you're making the time to actually go and do that and saying like, “Hey, this is my life, and I'm doing this, and I'm building it into my work, and I don't care that I'm not there at 6:30 A.M. right now, because I need to go and do this for my mind and my body.” Is there any advice that you would give to anybody, I guess, listening that might be in the kind of same, I don't know what you would refer to that time period, I don't want to say slump or what. I don't want to label it as something, but somebody that needs advice to kind of get out and start this journey that you kind of took yourself on this new chapter of life?
Denis Cashman: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the biggest thing – Well, two things, I guess. One, if you want to put my name and my phone number in the comments section, if anybody has any questions, they can absolutely feel free to call me or reach out or send me a text or whatever, and I'll get back to them. I live my life today trying to help others, and so if I can do that for someone who has any sort of question regarding their workaholism or their alcoholism or problem drinking or anything like that, by all means, please reach out. The other thing is, is alcohol a problem in your life? I don't know. Only you can tell me that. Only you can tell yourself that. But what I can say is if you want to test yourself, try and do some controlled drinking. Try to go to the bar or at home and just have two. And if you can do that consistently, you probably don't have a problem with alcohol. But if you can only do it for a week, for a month, for six weeks, and then all of a sudden, you're back to just pint after pint after pint, then you probably have a problem with alcohol. And if you want to change, if you have that willingness, if you have that honesty, if you have that open-mindedness to new ideas, there is a place for you. There are support groups out there that are out to help people like I was.
But I can't stress those three things enough because I'm not the same person today that I was 570 days ago, however long it was. I'm just not. All my motives, all my old ideas, they were cast to one side, and a new set of motives and ideas now dominate my life. And I can only speak for myself, but I'm much happier with the man I am today. And so it all started with admitting I had a problem and asking for help, and that it was one of the hardest things I had to do. But to surrender, for me, meant the ability to grow and succeed.
Taylor White: I'm happy you're talking to the man that you are today, Denis. Thank you for sharing your story and everything. Man, that is unbelievable. I think a lot of people can pull a lot of value out of just hearing you speak and talk and yeah, I will do that. I'll put your information down below, and if anybody needs to reach out, then by all means, do that. Yeah. Denis, thank you very much for coming on the podcast today, dude. I appreciate it. I know that you got training at 4:00, so let's hopefully get you to do that.
Denis Cashman: Absolutely, man. Thank you.
Taylor White: Okay. Thanks, Denis. Everybody, thank you for listening to the podcast brought to you by our good friends over at Komatsu. We'll catch you guys on the next one. Take care. Thanks, Denis.
Denis Cashman: Thank you.