Topic: The journalism world is full of quick content. Quick to read, quick to create. But 526 Media focuses on American bedrock infrastructure industries and the quality of their content reflects the quality of their readers: strong, hardworking, and honest.
Guest: Patrick Adams – President of Deck Specialist
Company Phone Number: (714) 486-2735
Company Website: www.deck-specialist.com
3 Points for Success – Patrick Adams
- Discover your “mission” and live it
- Find something to serve and do it passionately
- The only easy day was yesterday – work harder than everyone and never stop!
James [00:00:00] So good to have you with us for another episode of Carrie bro’s prose. I’m James Carrie without brother Morris today. Fear not. He’ll be back during our next podcast. But we’ve got a guy who’s going to fill Morris Carey’s big shoes and you may not be familiar with the parent company that’s 526 Media Group. They are the publishers of several brands that you may be familiar with one of which is Deck Specialist magazine. The print version the digital version. He is Patrick Adams the president of 526 media. Patrick welcome to CareyBrosPros.
Patrick [00:00:42] Thanks for having me. James I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this.
James [00:00:46] Well you are a pro and we were really thrilled to be a part of your presentation last year at the Remodeling Show and Deck Expo. I think that you offered attendees some really great tips from among folks that you know in the industry. Brother Morris and me included tips they can use to help them grow their businesses. And just in general have a more enjoyable experience in the business climate and provide a better installed product for their clients. So we were pleased to be a part of that and we’re delighted to have you as part of the pro podcast because we know you have some terrific information that you’re going to be sharing with our pro audience.
Patrick [00:01:26] Well yeah I mean that was an exciting time at Deck Expo last year we’re excited about this year coming up. But you know we’re certainly blessed in our profession to be exposed to you know countless great people in the industry which I would put you and your brother at the top of that list and just the ability to be exposed to all these different levels and types of expertise and to be able to know who the right people to bring together in a forum like that and expose and share that expertise to a greater audience.
Patrick [00:01:56] I know the organizers of that about Deck Expo said that your event was actually the best attended and the most talked about after the fact.
James [00:02:05] Wow wow.
Patrick [00:02:06] So it’s it’s not a surprise for me. But you know well done.
James [00:02:11] You know Patrick just as an aside I said to Morris that you had extended an invitation to us to again participate at the Remodeling Show and Deck Expo this year. And he said gosh you know we’re so busy with remodeling projects and we’re drawing and we’re producing and you know just a lot going on. And he said where is it this year and I said it’s in St. Louis. He said Oh you mean home of the ribs. [laughs] He said I’m in. So I want to say this I want to digress for a moment.
James [00:02:46] We have a pro following and certainly that’s who this podcast is directed at but I also want to say that our pros are family people and that you are really a family man. You’re a father of two a husband to one and a friend to a handful and a passionate executive in that order and one of the things that has always impressed me about you is you know your basics. You have a compass and you understand essentially that no one can really be a total success a total success. One element of which is business unless they have their priorities straight. And I always love seeing the photographs of you and your wife and your children in your magazines or online. And to know that this is a huge priority.
Patrick [00:03:37] Well I appreciate that there’s no greater compliment that somebody could pay me than that. And you know I think it’s interesting in our travels. You know I don’t know if we do get wiser with age or if we just start losing brain cells and we’re convinced that we’re wiser but success is an interesting thing isn’t it? And what we consider success when we’re younger versus hopefully you know the things that we measure success by when we’re we’re a little bit older and wiser hopefully change. And I am certainly blessed to be called successful only because I am all four those things that you talk about I’m lucky enough to be a friend to a few great people. My best friend is my wife and we’ve been together 26 years. I’ve got two, rowdy, monstrous, healthy, little children who keep me on my toes. And we do have a very special successful business.
James [00:04:33] How old are the kids?
Patrick [00:04:34] Yep 8 and 2. Going on God knows what.
James [00:04:37] Yeah that’s right.
Patrick [00:04:41] Humbling and unbelievable. Okay.
James [00:04:43] All right. Now that we got the important part out of the way. Share with our pro audience a little bit about 526 and the publications. And one of them has been around over a century.
Patrick [00:04:55] Yeah it’s true. So we’re a media company that focuses on what we call American bedrock infrastructure industries. And that’s a long way of saying that in our hearts we believe in running a values based business. And there’s been a lot of people that have used that to describe a lot of things that they do good and bad. But basically the audiences that we choose to serve are hard working blue collar sweat and dirt. You know get up at 3:00 in the morning kind of guys and whether those our nation’s military or first responders or whether it’s public utilities and infrastructure or whether it’s building and construction you know if you strip away what those people do for a living whether it’s swinging a hammer or it’s you know carrying a rifle off to war to protect our values and our freedom you know those people demographically are all kind of the same people they all love this country. They all believe in hard work. They all believe in doing a good job. They believe in their families and in faith and just you know trying to be the best that they can. Those are who we call our heroes. Those are the audience that we are proud to serve. So I kind of you know both of us laugh a lot when we bump into each other about history and you know we both look at each other and can’t believe sometimes what we see in the mirror maybe because you know in our hearts and minds we’re certainly a lot younger than what the driver’s license says.
James [00:06:30] [laughs]
Patrick [00:06:32] Quick little history lesson right. So as you mentioned you know some of our publications go back 100 years and media publications were all developed to inform and educate and connect audiences and certainly the world has changed but it’s almost surprising how quickly it has changed. So just quick poll just off the top of your head how long do you think the Internet’s been around?
James [00:06:57] How long do I think the Internet’s been around? The Internet going around. I’ll tell you how long it’s been around it’s been or you know you’re gonna to go No no I’m not going to google it I’m going to say 1995 and this is to drag your body. It’s twenty four years now.
Patrick [00:07:12] You’re spot on. OK. So then moving forward in the quick timeline broadband Internet only came around in about 2001. So before that it was the dial up. You know you’ve got mail. And then after that YouTube came around in 2005. So now you know to me this feels like recent history and smartphones. It’s hard to believe this but have only been around since 2012.
James [00:07:41] Yeah.
Patrick [00:07:41] When you think about how quickly the information landscape has changed how we access our information the news that we get and how that influences what we do, what our clients do, how this whole audience behaves has gone through really a transformational shift just in really the past decade but what hasn’t really caught up is because it’s cheap and it’s easy for anybody to publish anything in the digital realm.
James [00:08:12] Right.
Patrick [00:08:12] There isn’t that check and balance in that filter of legitimacy anymore. So now it’s just everything everywhere. And so you know you hear about you know buzzwords like fake news or you know whatever you want to call it but the reality really is is that while you know habits have shifted to looking online for a lot more things. The big question now is what can be trusted what’s credible what’s coming from credible sources and most importantly within our business and our lives. And this is kind of where we focus is business to business publications you know used to be called journals.
James [00:08:56] Right.
Patrick [00:08:56] As they were that important and if you think about some industries like science and medicine and engineering they still are. And in fact you know if they develop the cure to cancer it won’t be recognized as the cure to cancer until it is published in the American Medical Journal. And it’s only once that journal publishes those findings that the worldwide medical community will accept it as valid. That’s how much credibility that journal has. So I don’t want to say that we are like that but what we do is we provide a massive audience of hard working professionals with the news and the information and the trends that they need to be able to make good business decisions and to be educated on the latest and the greatest products and techniques and codes and all the different things that are impacting their business. And that’s what we do as a business and we do it through print publications and websites and. Newsletters and digital devices and social media. Everything under the sun. But the biggest thing is you know over a century of expertise and credibility in serving these audiences. And that’s what really sets us apart.
James [00:10:13] I just can’t wait until the hundredth birthday party in 2022 without mark the one hundredth anniversary of the launch of Merchant Magazine.
Patrick [00:10:23] That’s right yeah. That is our oldest publication and it’s hard to believe that it’s right around the corner. But yeah I like a lot of our publications as a very very devoted following and we’re proud that many you know call several of our publications of the bible of their industry.
James [00:10:39] Patrick share some of the other publications that our audience can look for.
Patrick [00:10:45] Deck Specialists to your audiences is absolutely the most targeted and that is one of our newer publications and that isn’t one that we acquired as a company. It is one that we actually researched and developed on our own. Over the course of two and a half years it goes out to an audience of about 150000 of the nation’s top builders and contractors who at least a good portion of their business is focused on decking and outdoor living type projects.
James [00:11:16] You know it just occurred to me as you said that it just occurred to me we’ve been missing the boat. We should put something in that phenomenal publication. By the way I’ve noticed that there are a couple of bright coloured bib overall clad brothers that have a featured column in Deck Specialist. But it occurred to me what we should do is promote the CareyBrosPros podcast among pros so that they can draw upon the information as a resource to improve their business. What’s the matter withme?!.
Patrick [00:11:48] Well we would absolutely be honored to do that. I do have to say we have the luxury and privilege of being very selective of who we work with. So you know we we believe that if we are promoting somebody whether it’s a product or service. That you know we’re vouching for them. You know we’re sharing our credibility with this company so we do go through a pretty big vetting process. I am proud to say you. You would make the cut absolutely.
James [00:12:15] Yeah. Thank you. That’s you singular not you plural.
Patrick [00:12:20] Your brother as well.
James [00:12:22] OK. Exactly. We’ve got Deck Specialist. We’ve got Merchant Magazine.
Patrick [00:12:27] Yeah we’ve got Building Products Digest
James [00:12:29] Yeah the building products digest.
Patrick [00:12:31] Yeah we’ve got buildingpipeandproducts.com. We’ve got deck-specialist.com. And then we went out about half a dozen e-newsletters that go out all different segments of the building and construction audience as well. And then we’ve got you know kind of sub slivers of the building and construction market that move in to more design and architecture more right handle. You know in design side of the business. So kitchens and bathrooms and fixtures and things like that.
James [00:13:06] I want to invite you listening to visit Patrick’s Web site it’s 526MediaGroup.com to learn more about the American bedrock infrastructure industries and what he’s doing. Okay. We could spend days together Patrick you know that. But I want to talk a little bit about something that you’re passionate about and that is and I will get this. Hey you say work smarter not harder. And I think you’ve got to be one of the hardest working guys in building industry journalism. But it doesn’t hurt to work smart as well so why don’t you take us through the points painting with a broad brush and if you will allow it. We will certainly publish these points as part of the show notes associated with your podcast.
Patrick [00:13:58] Yeah. Happy to. So you know I mean I think that this is something again with age and wisdom hopefully comes you know working a little bit smarter towards things fighting the fires that need to be fought. But I think it’s very very hard in the rat race of business to be able to take a step back and you know see your business landscape a 30000 foot view right. Because you know every time you pause and take a step back. More work piles up. So I think that it’s a lot of our are just propensity to just keep charging ahead and believe you know the harder you charge. Eventually you’ll catch up. Eventually you’ll get ahead of it and you know you’ll be able to have that balance of things that you’re looking for and you know we both know in reality logically that’s not going to happen. Know one at one of the biggest things I’ve had to do as a business and in a lot of the builders and. Characters that we talked to during our travels is you know they’ve had to invest in systems they’ve had to invest in in key staff that they can really trust that really understand their mission and their vision. And the same level of quality and credibility that they have built their business around. And it is only through that that they have been able to kind of gain clarity on their business to see a broader vision of opportunities. Now in the short term has that cost them. Absolutely. I mean because you know at the end of the day there’s only so many dollars. And you know our our natural instinct is just keep working harder longer make more money and at some point it’s all gonna work out. But you and I both know you know whether it’s Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or it’s James Carey. You know none of these things happen without a great team and great systems and great procedure and great strategy quite frankly. You know it’s just a reminder of what everybody’s already heard a million times.
James [00:16:07] Yes.
Patrick [00:16:08] But you know whether it’s the good times or the bad times it isn’t all on your shoulders. And in fact you know the best businesses and the best leaders put it all on the shoulders of their great teams. And it is only through that that you’re going to be able to to scale while maintaining your quality and everything that you built the business on. Otherwise you know everything is going to be just a slow chain of very small compromises to your values. And before you know it you’re gonna find yourself you know down a road of looking at your business looking at the quality of your work looking at the margins looking you know your customer feedback and referrals and none of that being anything that you started your business founded on you know because at some point something’s gotta break something’s gotta give in order to keep up with the rat race. So I just encourage everybody to take that step back and focus on quality over quantity.
James [00:17:08] You know that says an awful lot quality instead of quantity. You know we’re under such pressure to produce and because the pent up demand in the economy is pumping and we tend to buy nature spread ourselves thin. And when you do that sometimes you lose a little bit of your quality vision that really is what made you so I think that I think you’re right you need to step back a little bit take a breath. I can remember doing fewer jobs and making a better bottom line than doing a lot of jobs and having the bottom line diminish reaching what the National Association of the modeling industry classifies as Never Never Land or something like that. You know where you can’t go back. It’s the point of no return. That’s where you cross the line and you just you know markups change and you have people between you when you’re in the field and you’re doing things yourself. They’re layers of management that you don’t need there things that you can see maybe you’re doing your own sales maybe you’re doing your own estimating maybe you’re doing to some extent your own production or quality control as you grow you can’t do it all you can’t wear all those hats. You have to engage people and the human resources grow the payroll grows. The pricing goes up you gotta get the volume up in order to justify all of that but you can’t lose quality.
Patrick [00:18:37] Yeah absolutely. I mean the plan I think that temptation is always to grow you know it feels like it’s in the American DNA to go out there and conquer yet again to grow to build an empire. And I don’t want to say that I don’t share in that. Absolutely. But you know there’s no way to forecast all of the hidden costs associated with growth and some of them are hard costs certainly like increased labor and overhead and you know insurance and everything that goes along with it. But a lot of our soft costs that really don’t have a line on that spreadsheet and you don’t discover until after the fact that you know maybe even the best crew only does it 90 percent as good as you. And maybe the customers are only 90 percent as happy as they would’ve been if you would have done it. And and you know with each one of these and everybody knows the chaos of the work site of you know building a quote that’s accurate a timeline that’s accurate adhering to all those things you know delivering on a client you know imaginary vision of what they see in their head but can’t articulate to you and then you know at the end of the year you know just remember too that how long are you doing this. You know just remember that while the market is great right now and there’s all this pent up demand and you just can’t say you know hire enough people it seems like there’s a labor shortage there. You know compound our challenges but remember you know you could have another 10 15 20 30 years before you’re in a position to retire. I promise you there’s going to be another economic downturn or two or three.
James [00:20:25] Yeah I just I just finished a book that was an autobiography that was written by Alex Spanos which has been sitting on my bookshelf for about I don’t know 15 years 17 years. Autographed to my wife and me by Alex largest apartment builder in the country at one time Greek immigrant born and raised in Stockton. And he says you know essentially like what you say family first don’t forget your basics make sure that you re-evaluate things from time to time in your business to make sure that you’re staying up with trends without sacrificing any of the fundamentals that made you successful. It was a wonderful wonderful read. I recommend it.
James [00:21:11] Sharing the Wealth My Way by Alex Spanos who by the way lived his dream to become the owner of the San Diego Chargers.
James [00:21:21] All right Patrick you are probably well aware being an avid listener the CareyBrosPros podcast that we’d like to ask our guests to share what we call three points for success and you know they don’t have to do with any particular aspect could be a technique it can be a business tool. It can be a best practice. It can be anything that you want to share that you believe will make for a better business experience.
Patrick [00:21:54] So for me thing that has guided my life is service. You know anytime you hear the word service you know you’re usually thinking about military or first responders or service to God but you know it’s interesting the commonality of the word and how it’s attached to the most important things in life.
Patrick [00:22:15] So my first point is discover what your mission is in life and live it no matter what it is. And it could be to make a ton of money. It could be to design the most beautiful house that’s ever been built or it could just be you know on your death bed to have the people that you love say well done whatever that mission is you know make it important and and live it every single day every single day you wake up in the morning or remind yourself of it. And every single night that you go to bed think about it and ask yourself how you measure up towards your pursuit of it.
James [00:22:53] Wow that’s when you want to take a big breath on and sigh. Very good. Next.
Patrick [00:22:58] Second point is is along those same lines is finding something bigger than yourself to serve and do it passionately. I believe the I’ve just seen that life is fragile and life is short and you know there’s there’s never been anybody who said boy I wish I would have worked more in life. So you know find something that is important to you beyond work and and serve it passionately.
James [00:23:29] I’m loving that one a lot. That will that will make you richer man.
Patrick [00:23:34] And it will make you more successful. All those words like rich and success and all of them you know I think they’re personal to everybody. Everybody’s definition of it’s you know I know plenty of people would look at my life and say boy you’re poor. Those are the people that I lost and feel sorry for. And then my third point is kind of a mantra from our nation’s special forces that I just kind of hold dear to my heart which is the only easy day was yesterday. And there’s been a lot of times where that is a good reminder and is totally true because you know sometimes your hardest day by the time you get to tomorrow you’re going to look back on today and boy that was easy by comparison to today. But I’ve always found that you know if you just keep your head down and you work harder than everybody else and you’re willing to do the things that nobody else is willing to do it provides a lot of so-called lucky shortcuts towards success.
James [00:24:34] Oh boy love him. He is Patrick Adams. He’s our friend. He is really tuned in to how to be successful and enjoy life at the same time which is an amazing balancing act. He also happens to be the president of 526 Media Group. You can check him out and all of his publications digital and. In print if you like the tactile thing like so many do it’s 526 Media Group. Dot com. And check out a terrific publication with regard to building and decking in specific it is Dec hyphen specialist dot com. Thanks a million Patrick. Always nice to have you on board.
Patrick [00:25:19] It was an honor and a privilege. Thank you sir.
James [00:25:22] All right see you in St. Louis and those ribs Morris is looking forward to it right.
Patrick [00:25:28] Take care.
James [00:25:29] And remember you’ll find our guest information as well as additional podcast videos and articles at our Web site. It’s Kerry bro’s prose dot dot.com.