Ep. 107: Game Changing Construction Technology with Ryan Goodfellow of Rock Structures

Ryan Goodfellow, Rock StructuresAre your legacy operators hesitant to use machine control? Are you worried the barrier to entry is too high? Ryan Goodfellow, owner of Rock Structures Utility & Excavating, joins Host Missy Scherber to talk about what technology to take advantage of now to increase productivity for your business.  

They also cover:

    •        Mastering the groundwork to move from laborer to operator
    •        Building your clientele and repeat customers
    •        Persevering through times of economic turmoil
    •        Investing in your staff for improved performance and morale
    •        Planning your trip to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020
    •        And six things you didn’t know about Ryan from his first job to his gas station guilty pleasure!

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Show Transcript: 

Announcer:                      

Welcome to CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio. Highlighting the latest construction technology and trends to drive your business forward. Coming up in March of 2020, CONEXPO-CON/AGG is North America's largest construction trade show. We bring you expert advice from your favorite brands, startups, and industry peers. And for even more news, sign up for our weekly 365 E newsletter at CONEXPO-CON/AGG.com/subscribe. We've got another great guest on the show today, so let's dig in.

Missy Scherber:              

Hi everyone. Welcome to CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio. I'm your host Missy Scherber, and I'm thrilled to introduce a new segment on the podcast called contractor conversations. Every month I'll be talking to your favorite contractors around the country about their projects, workforce development, technology, and of course equipment. I hope these conversations give you the expertise and support that you need to thrive in the daily work that you do. For those of you that don't know me, I'm a contractor based in Minnesota, and I own a demolition and excavating company alongside my husband, Trevor.

Missy Scherber:              

I'm passionate about our industry and I want to recognize all the hard work that you do every day to build our world. I truly believe that CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the event where the construction community can come together and belong, and I sure hope you'll join me, and my guests at the show in Las Vegas in March of 2020. Now please stay connected with me on Instagram, where you can join the conversation and stay up to date on all the exciting things that are happening at the show that you won't want to miss. Now let's get started with today's episode. Well, Ryan, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

You bet. Thanks for the call. Looking forward to it.

Missy Scherber:              

Thanks for taking a true break offsite, hopping in the truck and having a conversation with us. We really appreciate it.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Well, it's not very often this gets to happen. So I guess will make it happen.

Missy Scherber:              

Will make a break happen. So, I know a majority of this audience knows you on social media as an excavation contractor that has been in business for over two decades in Northern Utah. But just in case we have any listeners that have not connected with you yet, which they should, tell us a little bit more about your business, your company, Rock Structures, and how you got into the construction business.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Well, just to kind of give you a little background, my dad has moved oversized loads and heavy equipment since before I was born. So yeah. So I've kind of been into it for a while. I used to go with my dad to go move tractors during the summer, and on the weekends I'd go to the yard where the... Where he used to be employed at. We would wash tractors on the weekend.

Missy Scherber:              

Awesome.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Sometimes after school. But that's kind of what got me into the whole thing. They wanted me to be of the family business, and be in the transportation business with my brother and my brother-in-law, and my dad. And I just, I didn't have any good feelings about it. So I decided to up and leave California and moved to Utah. So, that's kind of where I got my feet wet with the whole excavation thing. I came up here to Utah, and worked for an excavation company, figured out that I really liked it. So, that worked for [crosstalk 00:03:23].

Missy Scherber:              

Oh, awesome. So you kind of grew up around the transportation industry. You were around the equipment but hadn't really been around the excavation side of the business until you moved to Utah.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, exactly. I had been around the transportation stuff for a long time and I had gotten my feet wet and like a loader and a little bit in a dozer, but had never run an excavator. So when I moved to Utah back in '94, I went to work for an excavation company and realized how much I liked doing what I was doing and seeing the changes that we would make. And just being outside every day and have something new to do every day. Kind of a change of scenery, if you would for us every day.

Missy Scherber:              

From what you were used to and was it love at first sight when you hopped in the excavator?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Honestly I was a little intimidated by it because of all the things that it could do. Yeah,

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah, of course.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

But really after I kind of got the feel for it, I started liking it. And realizing that it's actually kind of a cool thing to run because you can do so many things with them.

Missy Scherber:              

Absolutely.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

But getting back to the business. I started Rock Structures back in March of '97, and just started out just with an excavator and me and one other guy. And then we grew at that year to a skid loader and an excavator. And then just kind of went from there. And the following year I ended up buying another excavator, and just kind of go on from there and just kind of building my clientele and my business and my customers. They had a lot of faith in me, especially being as young as I was. I came in and did him a good job. And was efficient and was quick and kind of watched out for their bottom line, and made sure that when I was done with the job, it was clean and it was done and done right.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

That's what helped me get the repeat business. So like I've got a customer, we do a lot of workforce still to this day and he's been with me. I've done his excavation work since, I think the first job I did for him was in October of 1997.

Missy Scherber:              

Oh wow. And you're still working with him today. That says so much about the quality of what you're doing. That's amazing.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Thanks. It says a lot about our relationship as well.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. That's awesome. So tell me about the transition, because from what I hear you saying, '94 you were working for an excavation company, just within a few years later, you were starting your own business. Tell me about that transition or that motivation or kind of what was going through your mind when you made that decision to start your own business. Start Rock Structures up.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Well, quite honestly, I took and was working for this guy, and doing him a good job, and I was young. And, we were just going to town and doing work, and I started out as a laborer, and I didn't know anything. And we had a lot of turnover in the company, and so I was always there to help the guys get their work done. And next thing I knew I was told, "Hey, you got to get in that excavator, and finish this job." And, it was interesting because the guys that I worked with, they actually, they would come to work late, and so I would get in the machine and I would grease it.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And that's kind of how I learned how the controls ran. But I would grease it and I would move it around or I would take it over to get started. If the guys didn't get there until 9:00 or 10 o'clock in the morning, I'd be like, you know what, I'm on the clock. So I might as well start doing [crosstalk 00:07:16].

Missy Scherber:              

Let's go.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. And so I kind of taught myself how to run the equipment. And I was... I watched the guys how they run it, and watched what they did. And so I kind of will keep the ball rolling or they'd take a long lunch, and I would get back from lunch and sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and I would start doing things. And eventually I was teaching myself how to do their job. And so that's how I kind of worked into the seat, more less was because I was presented the opportunity by these guys that were working, but not really coming to work, and doing their job. And so I was given that opportunity by them, which was kind of nice.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And then I would take into the work that needed to be done, and then eventually they would all quit or they would get fired. And, so I was the one who was right there to pick up the pieces. And, I guess it's all about timing really. They say that you're in the right place at the right time, you can get a lot of stuff done or lots of accomplish, or you could move up the ladder or whatever. That's kind of what happened with me. And so I went from being a laborer to lead operator in less than three years.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And he put a lot of faith in me, and quite honestly I kind of have a salesman type of personality. So a lot of the work that I was doing for him was actually work that I had got. Because I would stay late, being young and ambitious, I would stay late on a job, and I would be in a new subdivision. And people would come home from work at 4:00 or five o'clock and I was there until 6:00, 7:00, eight o'clock at night. And people would see that, and I would notice that they needed something done or they needed a rock wall done or they needed some dirt moved or whatever, their yard graded. So I would just go over and talk to them.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And that kind of started my whole entrepreneurship kind of a thing. And, I got to the point where I would keep myself busy working for him. And then because I was young, I didn't have a family, and I had a lot of spare time, so to speak. In the evenings, I would actually go over to his house, and I would sit there and do billing, and have dinner with him and his wife. And [crosstalk 00:09:56] a little.

Missy Scherber:              

I bet you learned so much there.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. I did learn a lot and they had, he had a couple of boys that now are involved in his business, and they were just little guys, and the one guy was running around in diapers and it was a good time for me because he kind of took me in, and taught me a lot of things, and he allowed me to learn a lot of things and so that's kind of how things started. And I started doing stuff for contractors. I get into a subdivision division, and I'd have a contractor, I'd call him and say, "Hey, you guys need some dirt. I got some dirt here." 16 hours just kind of blossomed into something to where really, when I started my business, I really, I had already had my own clientele built up.

Missy Scherber:              

Wow. That's awesome.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And I just told him, my customer that says, "Hey, if I start my own business, I don't want you to feel like you're obligated to go, to use me for your work, because I'm doing your work right now as this other company." And they said, "No, we use that other company because of you."

Missy Scherber:              

Oh no. So that was a sign right there.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. That was a big sign. A big push for me now. Okay, let's-

Missy Scherber:              

Let's do this.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

Let's maybe look into that. And then I took and went down and talked to the local caterpillar dealer here, and talked to them about things. And at the time they had a pretty good deal going for somebody like me. And so that's how I went ahead and started renting things, and I did a 315 hell, back in '97 was my very first machine or I did it on a 10 month RPO.

Missy Scherber:              

Wow. We love our 315. Good old trusty, huh.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Yeah, they're really good machine. And so I took him... That's the way I started and did 10 months rental at the end of 10 months, I said, you know what? I'm going to buy this thing and keep going. And so that's how we... That's how I started-

Missy Scherber:              

The business.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Starting the business. Yeah.

Missy Scherber:              

That's just so great. And I, you hit like some really important points here, and I'm sure you get this on social media and direct messages, operators that are, or laborers asking, how do we become an operator? And I love for you, the way you got your seat time was taking initiative and being on time and being early and just hopping in and learning. I mean, that's amazing. Being on time will pave the path to being an operator.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

It is so true. And this desire, and determination. Like a lot of times, I'll get guys who want to come work, and they'll come work and they'll pick up a show. It's almost like they've never touched a show on their lives before, but they wanted this kind of work, and it's like, hey, wait a minute, if you don't know how to work a show, well, you probably shouldn't be looking at this line of work for a career.

Missy Scherber:              

Great advice.

Ryan Goodfellow:                            

And, it's really, yeah, it's really funny. I even get guys that come to work that, they have this experience running a machine, but I put them on the ground, and they're anywhere from 19 to 25, and they had no idea how to do the ground game that is so valuable and so important in that line work.

Missy Scherber:              

Absolutely. Well, it's where you learned, and I love that you watched and took initiative and said, "I'm down in this ground, I'm doing something here with that desire," which is amazing.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. And I just, I tell guys all the time, "Hey, if you don't know how to do the groundwork, you really shouldn't be in a machine because if you can't do the groundwork, then you can't make it easy for the ground guys to do their job."

Missy Scherber:              

Oh, interesting.

Ryan Goodfellow:                             

And, they don't like that. They don't like to hear that.

Missy Scherber:              

Well, I love that you're shining a light on that subject because I think it's so often asked, at least to Trevor and I, and I'm sure to you that... I love that you're bringing value to the groundwork, and being the labor, and being a master of that to really get to the next step. So I appreciate that, and I just love that you really had the client, so that supported you just getting started on your own, with a great first machine. Now with that said, it sounds like you just had a great path to success, and that came with a lot of determination and just focus. Was there ever a time where you wanted to give up in business? Because you've been in business for over two decades, was there ever a time you wanted to give up, and what's kept you going if you've ever experienced that?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, there's been a lot of times where I want to give up...

Missy Scherber:              

Let's be real.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. There's days where, you're just like, man is this really worth it? Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?

Missy Scherber:              

Definitely.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

When you stop and think about, the satisfaction that you get out of making a customer happy, or your guys going out and doing a good job, and doing it within a certain time frame, and you getting phone calls or notes from your customers telling you how good of a job you guys did or, "hey, we really appreciate everything you guys have done," that's when it's great. But yeah, there's days where you just want to give up 100%. Back when the economy turned, and the whole nation was going through a downturn back in '08, '09, '10, I went from 43 employees, and I think we had 23 pieces of equipment, 13 work vehicle, and I think we had 11 crews going. And I went from all of that down to three guys, and three pieces of equipment run in, and it was all we could do to keep our head of float.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. But you kept going, which is amazing.

Ryan Goodfellow:                        

Yeah. And when you have 14 years of your name being out there, you tend to know who has your back and who doesn't have your back. So, I just made some phone calls and talked to some people and we were able to stay steady through that downturn. I think in 2009 I had five excavators go on up like seven, and we just kept rolling. And then 2010 I think I had two excavators go on but we stayed busy, and we did downsize, and we just stayed lean.

Missy Scherber:              

You down stride but kept going.

Ryan Goodfellow:                             

That was the only way we could take care of our customers, and do them a good job. But that was when I wanted to give up for sure.

Missy Scherber:              

Okay.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And then 2010 rolled around like, you know what? I don't have a choice, I got to make this work. I got all these customers, I got my family, I got my home, I got payment. I just got to stay on top of it, and just got to pull through this. But yeah, ever since then, there's been times where you still want to give up. A good employee leaves you, and you're like, dude are you kidding me? Now I got to go through this whole process again. Holy cow.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. That's a fun one.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

That's not the fun one.

Missy Scherber:              

I'm kidding. We're experiencing that right now and it's like, Oh boy! Okay, back to the drawing board. But I just, I love that you kept going and that you had motivation there, and I really like that you're inspired to keep going just for your customer, not just your family and your guys, but also your customer. I think that really says a lot about you as a business owner. So, let's transition into talking about business and industry outlook, and I really like to talk about this because I know we do have a lot of listeners out there that own their own businesses or are aspiring to do that. What would you say are the biggest challenges you're facing as a business owner right now? And how have they changed from 10 years ago?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                 

Honestly, 10 years ago you could find a good set of guys that wanted to work, and they wanted to do a good job. And nowadays, you hear that term millennial. Well, I personally think that it's just a word that is catchy and people like to say, because there's people from every different generation that is lazy, or that doesn't want to do their job.

Missy Scherber:              

That's 100% true.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

It's not just a millennial thing.

Missy Scherber:              

Right.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

It's across the board, and it comes in all generation no matter what it is. But, nowadays it is definitely harder to find good people that want to work, and they aren't afraid to pick up a shovel and actually work that shovel. But when you stop and think about it, yeah, these kids want to learn, and they want to know how to do this line of work. But really when it comes down to it, at least we're on that, and what I see is everybody wants to run a tractor, but nobody wants to do the work that is involved outside of the tractor. And so when you get that going, where you have somebody who knows how to run a tractor but they don't know how to do the groundwork, they're almost in a sense, not a valued employee because they can't do the entire job that you need to have them do.

Missy Scherber:              

Right. So you're saying they're a much more valuable staff member when they can do the groundwork and run the machine.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Oh yeah. When they can run the machine and do the groundwork that needs to be done, and they're not afraid to do it, yeah, that's where the big disconnect comes in. I think with kids nowadays, I'll get guys that are 19, 20, 21, 22, that know how to run a machine, but they don't know how to do the work that needs to be done, or they don't know how to run a crew. Like you give them two or three guys and they don't know what to do.

Missy Scherber:              

So that you're saying kind of workforce is been your biggest challenge? Kind of workforce development, which I think is a great word because you have to develop that workforce once you get them, that that has been your biggest challenge compared to 10 years ago.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

That's huge.

Missy Scherber:              

Okay. And sounds like a consistent piece of wisdom you're giving here is the groundwork. Find guys who are willing to do the groundwork that'll lead into the machine, that will help develop you as a member of the workforce, if you want to be in this industry which I think is great advice.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, thanks. That's what I think is if, I started out on the ground, and I learned a lot of things just by being on the ground, and seeing how things were done, and the operator telling me what to do, and I was totally good with that. Nowadays the kids... Nobody wants that delayed gratification. Right?

Missy Scherber:              

Right.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Everybody wants instant gratification, and people aren't willing to really work for what they get nowadays. That's the problem that, as a society as a whole I think has come up with, if you want something just go buy it, or if you want something, my parents to go buy it for me. Or I'll take out, I'll go sit on the couch and call it unemployment. That's definitely not the answer if you can't get any work five [inaudible 00:22:00].

Missy Scherber:              

Right. So running machines is not going to the drive through at McDonald's is what you're saying.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Don't go to McDonald's.

Missy Scherber:              

Don't go to McDonald's, drive through if you want to run a machine. So here, on a positive note, what do you see as the biggest growth opportunity for your business in the coming years?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Honestly, technology. Technology is going to be huge. It's already come a long way just in the last, three, four years. And now with some of these excavators being able to be semi-autonomous.

Missy Scherber:              

Yes.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I mean, that is huge. And that will continue to be a big thing for the industry. Then you've got these dozers out there, and you got these motor graders out there that are, they're run pretty much by the operator. You click a button and they go to automatic.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. Isn't that amazing?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

[inaudible 00:23:01] go forward and backwards.

Missy Scherber:              

Yup.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And that's impressive. Extremely impressive. And to get it so close to grade, that's pretty amazing. So for me, as far as growth opportunity goes, I think that the technology thing, I've already got a machine with 2D, and I've got another machine with 3D, and I think that, that's where it's going to go.

Missy Scherber:              

Yup.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And I think that tilt rotators, coming to the market, I think that's going to be something that a lot of people are going to be very, very, very interested in. And I think they're going to continue to grow here in North America. So between the two rotators and the technology, I think that's the biggest growth that you're going to see right there. And for us it's doesn't really mean less jobs, it just means more potential to be able to get more work done, whether it be on the same job site or at a different job site but that's where my growth is going to come in over the next few years. We're still going to be able to do the same amount of work. We're going to be able to do it faster and more efficiently. And we're going to be able to take care of our customers in more ways than we've been able to do in the past.

Missy Scherber:              

That's awesome. And I think, I love that you're really sharing that on social media. That you're not just saying technology, the tilt rotators are important, you're showing us how and why, which has been just phenomenal to watch you on Instagram do that. So thank you for educating us so well on social. Well with that being said, because you kind of led us right into the conversation that I knew we were going to have, is about technology, and I'm just curious and I know a lot of listeners are, what piece of equipment? And what piece of technology has been crucial for your business, which you just kind of hit on?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Honestly, I think the single most effective piece of technology that I have come across in the 22 years of being in business, is, quite honestly the Trimble earthworks, the machine guidance stuff. And not just the automatic stuff, but just mostly the guidance, and be able to have that guidance right there in your cab with you. I've dug basements and send stuff like that for years ever since I started this, before I started. And I had the mindset to where if it's six o'clock, and I can get the job done in another hour, and I got till seven but it's getting dark, I'm going to try and stay and get it done. But if it's getting dark, I have a hard time grading, seeing grade.

Missy Scherber:              

Great.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And one thing I noticed after I put my first Trimble system on, which is called the GCSFlex system, after I put that on, I was, one night I had to get a job done cause they had to do footings the next day. So I'm working away at it, and it gets dark on me, and I didn't realize it. But with having that display in the cab, and having it beep at me like the great rod is right in my cab with me, you got that laser cash, just go on and you can hear it beeping. And quite honestly, I will feel like I could do it blindfolded, because I have that buzzer beeping at me.

Missy Scherber:              

Yup. And kind of guiding you.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. And so at that moment I realized, you know what, this is going to change things tremendously, and you can get into this stuff the entry level cost pretty well, pretty reasonably. And I thought to myself, you know what, if I can dig a basement by myself, and I can have my, would be great checker, take the skid loader and go do a final grade or go do a concrete prep, then he's generating revenue, as well as myself. And then if he doesn't have a final grade to go do a concrete prep, go do that. If he can go help another crew to make them more efficient, is the better situation all around for everybody involved.

Missy Scherber:              

Absolutely.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

So for me, quite honestly that the Trimble machine guidance stuff, being able to have the laser right there in the machine, in the cab with you, whether it be GCSFlex, earthworks to the or earthworks treaty, that's been the biggest asset for me, that I've ever come across.

Missy Scherber:              

And I love that you're transitioning the conversation from is all this technology going to replace people? And you're saying, no, it's going to help people, and it's going to help the ground guys be able to go out and do more work, more efficient work. And I love that. So what about equipment? We got to know what piece of equipment has been crucial for your business.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

For us, it's an excavator.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah, of course.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

What we do day in and day out, with the type of work we do, digging a basement, running a sewer or water laundering lateral, going out into the street and catching off the main line and coming in, for us, we can't do without an excavator. An ex excavator and a skid loader are crucial for what we do. And a loader is very important as well.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah, definitely. I think we feel the same way with the line of work that we do. And there you are back with your excavator that you loved at the start of your career. That's great.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. It's kind of funny how things kind of come full circle.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. So it sounds like the biggest game changer you're foreseeing in the industry is technology. What advice would you give to other contractors when it, let's say it's their first go at it, and hopefully they're going to the show to experience it, but what advice would you give when it comes to investing in technology? What have you learned?

Ryan Goodfellow:                             

If it was me, I would invest in the earthworks platform, and quite honestly, you can get into the GCSFlex system for, I don't know, 12 to $15,000, but it's not as good and it doesn't have as many things offered as what the earthworks does. But to get into the earthworks, you're going to be 20 to 25, $28,000 is my guess, depending on where you're at. But when you stop and think about it, just that investment right there with the amount of production that it helps you with, you can pay for that system. Some guys will pay for it in a couple of months. Some guys will pay for it in a year.

Missy Scherber:              

Just with the increased productivity. Is what you're saying.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah.

Missy Scherber:              

Awesome. It's so great to hear it.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And to get that kind of production out of something that, that reasonably priced, that's just phenomenal.

Missy Scherber:              

Awesome. So that's why you'd recommend starting there with earthworks platform.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah.

Missy Scherber:              

When it comes to investing,

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And then, I guarantee that once you go to the 2D, you're going to want more. And, that's where the 3D comes into play. The 3D really enhances everything. When you're working on a hillside, on a sloping lot, like some of these hillsides we work on, they have 1518 feet of slope from front to back or from side to side. And when you're digging a basement, you have to keep yourself level. So when you go to dig yourself down or fill out there behind you, all of a sudden now you've covered your stakes, and you can't, you don't know where your stakes are anymore, or it takes a lot of effort to dig around your stakes and get yourself level. But with that, with the 3D, you more or less have the plan right in front of you on that nice big screen.

Missy Scherber:               

Which is so helpful, and really that's probably helpful from a customer service perspective as well, because you're just, you see everything you know, everything you're able to perform at peak capacity for your customers.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, Go right through and cut everything right to grade. And, you can know exactly where you're at on the screen because it shows your machine, it shows your house, and it even shows you where your bucket is at in relation to where the foundation walls at. So you don't have to worry about, Oh man, I'm not sure if that house was going to fit, so I'm going to move out, but I might have to move back in to redo it. So it's one of those things where it's more or less double checking you as you're going. And then we have a base in a rover, when you're done digging the basement, you can go back through there, and you can reset all those points for the footing guys, and you can charge your customers to do that with. So there's just a lot of things that the whole technology thing is coming into play that's really, really important for an excavator.

Missy Scherber:              

So I think I probably wanted tour the technology area with you at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. I love it.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I don't know everything about technology, but I do know some things about technology in relation to the excavator.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah, I think that's great.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And how it works.

Missy Scherber:              

So speaking of CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the show, it's coming up soon and you're like a veteran of the show. How long have you been attending?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Ever since I can remember.

Missy Scherber:              

Have you done the tally yet? How many shows you've been to?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

No, I think the first show I went to was 19, probably like 1988. Right? In there somewhere. 1990. I remember my dad, he was hauling equipment in to the show from the port, the port down in Long Beach where a lot of these guys would ship their equipment in overseas, and then he would go to the port because we were, he was based out of Southern California, he would go the port.

Missy Scherber:              

Oh, I see.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Yeah. Pick up the equipment, and he would bring it up. Well, my uncle, he has a rock crushing business that he started a long, long time ago. And so he would be selling crushers for these manufacturers where he would have to go to that, the CONEXPO [inaudible 00:33:55] as well. And so I'm pretty sure that I know that I was attending before I graduated high school, which was in '93, so I remember going to when I was maybe 14 or 15 years old.

Missy Scherber:              

Wow. And what was your memory at your very first show? Like do you remember, what was most exciting?

Ryan Goodfellow:                            

I was blown away by how big it was, how much time we could spend just running around as kids, checking out all the different equipment, and seeing all the different things that were offered, and just seeing just how big it was. As a little kid, you go walk up to the Caterpillar display, and you have a D11, it's there on display. You're like, "Wow, that thing is just huge.

Missy Scherber:              

Huge.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

And since, they started a mining expo, so that doesn't really ever make it to CONEXPO, but you still see a lot of the big things. And I think I remember a lot of the big cranes.

Missy Scherber:              

Yes.

Ryan Goodfellow:                            

It would be parked outside, on the outside lots and just how big some of those were.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. Trevor's very excited to see the cranes.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Yeah. Well just as a kid to see that stuff firsthand and not have to worry about being hurt, being around it, that was what was really cool to me. And ever since then, I've always wanted to go, and being as I lived so close, whether it be Southern California or Utah, I'm within seven hour drive of where I live out right now to go to Vegas.

Missy Scherber:              

That's great.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

And it's like a 40 minute flight, an hour long flight to go to Vegas. So it's very, very easy for me to go to Las Vegas'

Missy Scherber:              

To get over there. Yeah. And, aside from proximity, what's kept you going back? Because I mean over 20 years of attending you'd think, well, he's seen it all. What's keeping you coming back?

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

Well you always have new technology coming out. You always have a new excavator come out. You always have a new loader coming out, you want to see the latest and greatest stuff. The reason why I went in 2017 was because I wanted to find a bucket that would tilt. I have a 308 cat excavator, and I had a 60 inch bucket for it, that we absolutely love but it wouldn't tilt. So you had five feet of grading that if you weren't on the right angle, you weren't-

Missy Scherber:              

You couldn't do it.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Your grade was off. I went there to go find a tilt. Really what I wanted was a tilt hitch. So where it just tilt the quick connect, actually tilt. The bucket or whatever attachments there, and so I went there and found a couple of them and got some pricing and I thought, you know what, let me go look at the tilt rotators. So I went and looked at tilt rotators and start talking about that. I also wanted to go because the technology side. At the time, I had just barely got into the GCs flex system, and I was super impressed with it. And I thought, I want to go see what the latest and greatest is with Trimble.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

And, go see what Topcon has to offer to see kind of what's out there. And so I went, I checked out the Topcon stuff and I checked out the Trimble stuff, and that was when Trimble introduced the earthworks platform, and I was already pretty familiar with the GCSFlex and they started telling me what the earthworks could do over what the flex could do. And for me that was kind of a no brainer.

Missy Scherber:              

It was a game changer, wow.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. So between those two things, the tilting bucket, and the technology side of it, that was why I went, and probably wasn't a good thing that I went because I-

Missy Scherber:              

Spent a bunch of money.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I ended up spending a lot of money on stuff.

Missy Scherber:              

So, maybe I shouldn't bring Trevor along next year. Just kidding. So [crosstalk 00:38:07].

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

You really should, you guys need to invest in some more technology.

Missy Scherber:              

So what I'm thinking as I'm hearing you talk, what about for operators, because I know there's a huge operating community out there getting excited about the show. What would be valuable for them that they would really enjoy, maybe they're not specifically shopping, but what kind of value would they find out of attending the show?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

For me, an operator has a lot of say in what they like and what they don't like.

Missy Scherber:              

Definitely.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Because I have to help make their job easier, and they in return have to help to make their helpers job easier. And whatever I can do to help them be more efficient. So for them to go to the show, I think is super important because they can see what is coming down the pipeline, and what's new, and what's... What could maybe be more cost effective. As an owner, you walked around and you see all these different things, but you may not be looking at it from the same perspective as what your employee or your operators might be looking at.

Missy Scherber:              

And you bring your whole team to the show, and it sounds like that's why then, because they're able to give you insight.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. 2017, I actually brought some of my guys with me.

Missy Scherber:              

That's awesome.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

And we were there for all week, and I actually paid for them to be there. I paid them a 40 hour work week. And, we went and we enjoyed the show, and I wasn't with them the entire time, but, in the evening we would get together. And I remember one of my guys telling me, "Hey, did you see this?" And I said, "No." He brought out a brochure. And then he showed me what he was talking about, and I was like, "Wow, that's actually very interesting." And we ended up exploring it, and we ended up going through with any of it, but we got some ideas based off of what they saw, and what they thought was interesting.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

So yeah, there's, I think it's very important for the operators that go to it because it makes them feel like they're part of the team, and make them feel like they have some say in what you see and what you do. And, I personally think that it's a good thing for these companies out there. They're trying to grow their businesses, and if they really want to put some effort into their guys and they want their guys to be successful for them, I think a little bit of an investment in to taking them to something like this would mean a lot to the guys to do.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah, it would be. And I think that helps increase morale, and teamwork. But it gives them value. And I've told some of the operators who have reached out on Instagram, well, our company, the owners don't go. And I said, still go, bring back value, which only increases your value at the company you're at. So get out there no matter what.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, that's exactly right. They would be amazed if they really take the time to walk through it. It takes a good solid three days to see the entire show, but if they take the time to walk through and to see the show and to see all the different things, and not just go pay attention to the tractors, but go look at the pageants. Go look at the buckets, go look at the trucks, go look at the work trucks that are there. Look at the different technologies. Just kind of look at everything as a whole, and take it all in, and really think about how this would work with my part of the job or how... Maybe this will make my part of the job better or easier or quicker. When you take that back to the owner, and you really give them some good feedback, the owner looks at you as, okay, well, maybe this guy wants to be here. Maybe he is here for the company, he wants the better place to work and he ought to help us make, make us more efficient.

Missy Scherber:              

Definitely. So it's giving value to both the operator and the owner.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah. That's why I think that employees should go just almost as much as the ownership go.

Missy Scherber:              

Definitely. Well I'm-

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I'm definitely take some of my guys with me.

Missy Scherber:              

And we're going to try to take a few of our guys to it. We're really excited about, and we're trying to spread out the experience of guy we take, we want the seasoned veteran who's been around the block, but we want the new young guys that we have working really hard who might have their eye on different things. So my next question was what tips do you have for a first timer at the show? But it sounds like your best tip is you got to see everything. Two and a half million square feet.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, no, honestly, go there with an agenda. Go there with a little bit of an outline of what you want to see. If you want to see technology, you go there and see the technology side of it. I'm sure that Leica is going to be there. I'm sure that the Topcon would be there. Trimble will be there. You get some of these other guys that you want to go see, and maybe you want to go see some of the tractors and see what's new.

Missy Scherber:              

But have an agenda.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

Like a work truck. You want to go see what's new for work trucks, and just go with an agenda-

Missy Scherber:               

Awesome.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

And have a little bit of a list of things you want to see. And then go get those done, and then go enjoy the show and see what else is there to see. And there might be some things there that you maybe didn't realize were even available to you, but it's there at the show, and it's amazing what is there if you can think about it, it's, and what could maybe make your job easier. It's probably there at the show.

Missy Scherber:              

If you can dream it or think it. It's at CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

Pretty much.

Missy Scherber:              

Pretty much. That's so great. Well, I love that your recommendation is go with an agenda. And I think the other part of that should be just bring you around with us.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I'm happy to talk to people, to meet people.

Missy Scherber:              

Awesome.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

It's kind of funny because people don't want to approach you, but you know what, I'm just like every other person out there in this construction industry. Maybe I'm somebody who's important or popular on Instagram, but it doesn't make me any different than the next person out there. And, I'm no better than anybody else.

Missy Scherber:              

I love that. you'll be approachable.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I'm happy to talk to somebody, and spend 20 minutes, half hour with them, walk around with them, whatever.

Missy Scherber:              

That's awesome.

Ryan:                               

We have the same things in common. Jack, checkers, and dirt.

Missy Scherber:              

So let's do this.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, exactly. That's what makes our world go round.

Missy Scherber:              

Right. Well before we hit the fire around, I'd love to leave our audience with some wisdom from you because you've really been on every side of the industry. So one quick piece of advice for business owners, just in general, and one quick word of wisdom for operators. What would you leave them with?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I would say for business owner, don't be afraid doing best in a guy or guys who can really help your business to be better than it already is.

Missy Scherber:              

Okay. Invest in the good guys. Don't be afraid to do that. That's really good advice because sometimes you can be afraid of that, but someone that knows more than you at something would really be an asset, so that's good. What about for the operators out there?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Advice for operator. I would say learn as much as you can learn, and make sure that you implement what you're learning every day, and every day try and make yourself better. And one thing I was told by my former employer was always leave a job cleaner than the way you found it.

Missy Scherber:              

That's great.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

If you found it clean, leave it cleaner. When you leave a job, grade it out, grade it out, make it look nice. Don't just think, "Oh, you know what? It looks okay." It's going to get run over by a great all over forklift or whatever. And, that doesn't matter. It's all about your presence and the appearance and how you leave things. Take pride in what you do.

Missy Scherber:              

That's great advice. So to end our session here, our conversation here today, we have a rapid fire round. Just a few quick questions that are nice and fun. The last question's my favorite, but tell me quick, what was your very first job?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Very first job was working for my dad. Just doing odd jobs here and there.

Missy Scherber:              

The odd job.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

For the business he used to work for.

Missy Scherber:              

I love it. How about your first car?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

First car was a 1989 Ford Ranger.

Missy Scherber:              

Good one. If you weren't doing dirt work, what would you be doing?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

I'd be doing something with sales.

Missy Scherber:              

Something was sales or sleeping. Taking a nap.

Ryan Goodfellow:                            

No. I'm not a nap taker.

Missy Scherber:              

No, not like me. So you'd be in some sort of sales role, no matter what.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

Yeah, I'd do some sales. Yep.

Missy Scherber:              

That's great. Okay. Now, what song gets you pumped up when you hop in the excavator in the morning?

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

You know what, I like Foster The People Pumped up Kicks.

Missy Scherber:              

Okay. That's a good one.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

That's one of my favorite song.

Missy Scherber:              

And who is the person that you wish you could have dinner with? Any person in the world, past or present?

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

I don't know. I don't really get deep like that. Nobody really... I don't really look up to any celebrities... Nobody really floats my boat, kind of a thing. It just... I feel like we're all human beings.

Missy Scherber:              

Yeah. That's great.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

If there's any one more influential person than another, you hope that you can learn from them, but quite honestly, there's just not really any one person that I would really want to have dinner with that stands out in my mind, honestly.

Missy Scherber:              

Awesome. So everyone's invited to dinner. All the listeners.

Ryan Goodfellow:                            

Exactly.

Missy Scherber:              

We're all going to the same table at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. You already answered what your favorite piece of equipment was, and why. But here's my favorite question. What is your favorite gas station food? Because that's just part of our life. What's your go to gas station food and drink?

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Well, honestly, there's this place here in Utah called Maverick, and there's their gas station, convenience store, and they have this licorice, it is so damn good. It's called Wild Wallaby.

Missy Scherber:              

Okay. Wild wallaby.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

Yeah, it's like an Australian brand type of licorice, and it is so good. It's addicting. Like whenever I go into that store, I'd usually come out with a bag of [inaudible 00:49:30].

Missy Scherber:              

You load up.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

It's like... Yeah, it's not something you should eat in one day, let alone one sitting. But in about 20 minutes I've got it gone.

Missy Scherber:              

I love it. Well, I'll have to try that one when we're out in that area.

Ryan Goodfellow:                               

So that and a big jug of water. I'll bring you one of those packages of licorice.

Missy Scherber:              

Bring me some wild wallaby to the show, and then you'll know what that means. Well Ryan, I just wanted to say thank you so much first for all you contribute to the construction community online. I mean you really share so much. It's made your Instagram account, and your YouTube channel so unique that you're just a share of the knowledge you've learned. But I also appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule. I mean, you literally just hopped out of the machine to get on this call just to share your background and wisdom and advice on how to maximize our time at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. So thank you so much again, and we're really excited to see you and your team at the show.

Ryan Goodfellow:                              

You bet. Thanks for your time Missy Scherber. I appreciate being a-

Missy Scherber:              

Of course. We'll see you in Vegas.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Okay. Yes, you will, sounds good.

Missy Scherber:              

Wild Wallaby. Have a great day, Ryan.

Ryan Goodfellow:                                

Good, you too.

Missy Scherber:              

Bye-bye.

Announcer:                      

And that's going to wrap up this edition of CONEXPO-CON/AGG Radio. If you'd like to show and think other people should listen too, make sure to subscribe and maybe you leave a review on iTunes. We'll be back next time with another great guest. Until that time, be sure to visit CONEXPO-CON/AGG.com/subscribe to sign up for our weekly newsletter more than 30,000 other construction industry pros are already receiving news and insights to move their business forward.

 




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