EECO Asks Why Podcast

055. Hero - Will Gibson, Associate Vice President at AECOM

December 13, 2020 Electrical Equipment Company Season 2
EECO Asks Why Podcast
055. Hero - Will Gibson, Associate Vice President at AECOM
Chapters
EECO Asks Why Podcast
055. Hero - Will Gibson, Associate Vice President at AECOM
Dec 13, 2020 Season 2
Electrical Equipment Company

In this episode our hero Will Gibson shares his journey thru engineering.  Will has a passion for learning and helping others.  His story started down an electrical path but he found his passion in civil engineering.  He speaks to how important it is to not put yourself in boxes in your career and to have the courage to try new things.  He's had wonderful mentors throughout his career and now searches for opportunities to help others grow. Will loves seeing large projects come to fruition and the joy end users experience when the systems operate as designed. 

Will is a family man and shares about his wonderful wife and two awesome children.  He loves being outdoors on his mountain bike and even though he had a recent accident still finds time whenever possible to go riding.  Living in Kentucky has opened up many opportunities for Will to do some exploring his other passion and that is finding rare bourbons.  Will really opens up on this episode and you'll quickly hear why he is one of our heroes.  

Guest: Will Gibson - Associate Vice President at AECOM
Host: Chris Grainger
Executive Producer: Adam Sheets

Resources:
The Bourbon Life Podcast

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode our hero Will Gibson shares his journey thru engineering.  Will has a passion for learning and helping others.  His story started down an electrical path but he found his passion in civil engineering.  He speaks to how important it is to not put yourself in boxes in your career and to have the courage to try new things.  He's had wonderful mentors throughout his career and now searches for opportunities to help others grow. Will loves seeing large projects come to fruition and the joy end users experience when the systems operate as designed. 

Will is a family man and shares about his wonderful wife and two awesome children.  He loves being outdoors on his mountain bike and even though he had a recent accident still finds time whenever possible to go riding.  Living in Kentucky has opened up many opportunities for Will to do some exploring his other passion and that is finding rare bourbons.  Will really opens up on this episode and you'll quickly hear why he is one of our heroes.  

Guest: Will Gibson - Associate Vice President at AECOM
Host: Chris Grainger
Executive Producer: Adam Sheets

Resources:
The Bourbon Life Podcast

Chris: 00:00

Welcome to EECO Asks Why. A podcast that dives into industrial manufacturing topics and spotlights to heroes to keep America running. I'm your host, Chris Grainger, and on this podcast, we do not cover the latest features and benefits on products that come to market. Instead, we focused on advice and insight from a top minds of industry because people and ideas will be how America remains number one in manufacturing in the world. 

Welcome to EECO Asks Why. Today we're having a fun hero conversation. I must tell you listeners, this is what I've been looking forward to. I got my buddy Will Gibson. He is the Associate Vice President at AECOM and he's an old friend from college. So I'm looking forward to this conversation. How are you doing, Will? 

Will: 00:46

Doing well. How are you doing Chris? 

Chris: 00:49

Man I'm doing good. I'm just reminiscing back to 2001, 2002, and I'm trying to stay focused, but I'm having a hard time, bro.

Will: 00:56

I feel like we should have a beer during this conversation. 

Chris: 01:00

Yeah, it would fit. But, we're going to try to keep this PG. We'll just go forward without the beverage, but maybe afterwards, we'll see if we can hook up and make that happen.

Will: 01:08

Sounds good. We'll do a Zoom call.

Chris: 01:10

That's it. That's it. So to get us started, man, we love to start these episodes by just sharing our personal journey with our listeners. So what can you tell us there? 

Will: 01:20

Yeah. So Chris, as you know, because you and I got to spend a lot of time together at ODU, my career journeys, it hasn't been completely normal. Even getting to ODU where you and I befriend that it was a little unusual. Was a good student for most of my life, but I'd say high school is one of those times where everybody has different journey. And I probably lost track of the ball a little bit more than others. And, didn't finish quite as strong as I should have. And didn't get into the college I wanted and, had to go to a college that accepted me, but not necessarily the place I wanted to go.

First semester college, I was not near mature enough for it. Didn't do well. Next thing you know, I decided to take a semester off, just work full time, scare my parents to death. But then, figured I should give this another shot. Always had thought in the back of my mind I get an engineering degree. 

Thought I'd do electrical engineering because when I was young, I liked to fool with stereos a lot. And so did a year of community college did pretty good applied to ODU. Got in, got there and was still a little nervous about the whole thing. I think my first semester at ODU, wasn't exactly what I would call smooth. If I have to be honest with you, I was probably on academic probation after that first semester. Which scared me a little bit, but, after that second semester, took a little bit lighter load, started making some decent grades, took my first engineering courses.

I think you even helped me with a little bit of my homework assignments and did all right and built from there. And each semester after that seemed to get better and better to the point where, I finished undergraduate studies in electrical engineering from ODU and finished Cum Laude. That was a very confidence building thing for me. A guy that had gone through a bunch of ups and downs to get there, definitely gave some assurance to my parents that I wasn't going to completely fail at life. 

So it was good at that point and got a job with an engineering firm that focused on water treatment plant design at all things. They hired me as an electrical engineer to work under their senior guy who was going to retire in a number of years.

I minored in mechanical engineering. They did a lot of water treatment design. They did, a lot of civil and process stuff. And when there wasn't enough electrical work to keep me busy, I asked them to let me try doing some of the hydraulics and the process design and think they were impressed that I was able to do some of that just based on one course in my undergrad, through that mechanical minor in fluids.

And that every year I was doing a little bit more and more on the civil process side to the point where about three or four years working for that first firm, I consider myself a civil engineer. Few years after that, I went to another firm working for their water group, got my PE in civil. Engineering water resources and moved up the ladder from project engineer to project manager to senior project manager now to this fancy title, the gave me Associate Vice President, which I don't fully understand what that entails. It's a recent title that gave me, I still do the same thing. I've managed large infrastructure projects and help AECOM build the business, but it's been a wild journey.

If you'd asked me, in high school, if I thought I'd ended up being a water engineer with the title, like associate vice president, I would have told you're crazy. 

Chris: 04:50

Right. Now you did go back, Will. Didn't you go and got your graduate as well? 

Will: 04:56

I did. When I got out and I started working for that firm, I saw how wide ranging the tasks and things you can get into in the engineering world were. And I felt like I needed to broaden some of my education a little bit outside of engineering, just to build a robust background. And, I went back to ODU part-time night school for a master's in engineering management. 

When people ask what that is, I think I usually tell them it's like an MBA taught by the engineering school. It's very mathematical base, but you do have accounting classes. You have personnel management classes to deal with the psychology of managing people. I had a class in engineering business class. It was a wide ranging masters, but it really helped me understand a lot more of how businesses are operated outside of just like the normal engineering tasks that we do.

Chris: 05:52

I'm hearing you, man. So did you do that one on campus or is that a, like a, the online class how'd you work that?

Will: 06:00

I did both, as ODU was really one of those pioneer colleges in the virtual world, they were doing it before it was really popular. I think a lot of that was, especially in the program I was in engineering management, because there was quite a few people from the Navy taking that master's. It was very popular for Navy personnel and a lot of times they were on ships and couldn't be on campus. So they were virtually doing a lot of these classes and having lived close to campus, I was generally in the class for most of that master's but they were recording those classes and broadcasting them to people that couldn't be there live. And some of it I did do virtually, so it was a mix for me, but yeah, they were doing that a lot of virtually way before us. Cool. 

Chris: 06:45

Yeah, man. I remember taking them and, they would do a roll call and it would be a ship that was, "yeah. We're here." Like the ship is there and I just thought that was so cool back then. And that was like you sitting, 20 years ago. 

Will: 06:57

That's exactly it. Yep. 

Chris: 06:59

So it was just this really cool little man. I'm proud of you. You did a great job. Your mom, Ms. Gibson. If you're listening to this, you can click on my link and my bio. Message me directly. I think we should talk offline a little bit about Will. His undergraduate years, but we'll save that for another day. Um, so, But that is out there if you want to talk to him, Mrs. Gibson. So anyway, man, you are you're out there. You're in a really cool field. A lot of things are changing. What are some of the challenges that you see in front of the industry that you're in, bud?

Will: 07:31

Yeah, it's a good question. It's almost too much to go through. We'd be on here for hours and I probably put you guys to sleep, there are a lot of, I'll try to limit it to the more exciting things that are happening and there's a lot of them.

And I want to say that there's so much that's going on in the water industry, and I think there's more positions than can be fulfilled. The supply and demand is off. So if there's any young listeners that are trying to decide what route to take in college, you may want to give the civil engineering route a shot because it's a good paying industry and there are positions to be filled, but yeah the challenges aside from meeting the employment demands.

So I think a lot of us, if we've watched the news or 60 minutes or something. Things of that sort. You probably seen something that's talked about the condition of the existing wastewater infrastructure in the United States. The American society of civil engineers, I think gives it a D. It really is because it's outdated.

It was built decades even centuries ago and it needs to be replaced. And for a long time, the necessary funding hasn't been there. So we're playing catch up in a lot of ways. Just upgrading what's there in addition to building out more to support a growing population. So that is one of the biggest challenges is funding and doing the work to replace infrastructure.

One of the other major ones and people are probably starting to understand this and see it a lot more is we've got some changing weather patterns. Climate change, and things like that are influencing the way weather occurs all throughout the country, different ways, depending on where you are.

But I think we're starting to see a lot more droughts. We're starting to see a lot more extreme weather events. Existing storm systems are designed for a 10 year storm or a 50 year storm. But now what was defined as a 10 year storm happens every year. So these things are changing and we're having to adapt and find innovative ways to catch the infrastructure up with what's happening. And, within the budgets we have. So that's a moving target. The weather is changing and we're having to adapt to that. 

And other than those two major things, I think the water industry, the technology is changing as well. The digital technology is coming into the industry, got a lot more high level sensory monitoring type equipment. We're able to pinpoint where leaks are in the water systems better. And municipalities are finding very innovative ways to become more efficient and give better condition assessment and start to focus their investments much better. I think before we were as advanced as we are in condition assessment and asset management, we used to just say, "when a pipe gets 40 years old, we need to replace it."

But nowadays we know that pipes can be 80 years old and they can be fine. But this one over here, that's sitting in some really corrosive soils that's 20 years old, it needs to be replaced. So technology and our understanding of condition assessment and asset management is game changing in our industry as well. That's a long-winded answer.

Chris: 10:36

I'm with you, man, but that was all good stuff. The first thing really jumped out there. Just walking through, you said employment. That existing infrastructure, the way that's working, the weather patterns and then the technology changing, which I love. That's the one that I'm passionate about, but I want to go to the first one, right?

As you said, employment demands. So is it the people are retiring that are there now and that's creating jobs and there's just not enough people coming in or is it just more jobs are being created and you have people that can fill them.

Will: 11:04

I think it's both, Chris. And I'm by no means an expert in this area. I can just tell you though, that when you go to AECOM employment site, for instance, you're going to see, especially water related, a lot of positions.

And I can tell you this from personal experience, because as my wife is finishing her training here and Louisville, and we don't know where we're headed. It all depends on where she finds some good opportunities. And so I'm always surfing AECOM site to see how many positions do they have open in certain cities?

Because that gives you a good indication of how strong the water market is there. And there are jobs everywhere. And when you look at the firms, our competitors, it's the same thing. So that tells you how strong the industry is. 

And I don't know where the fault is, but maybe civil engineering hasen't marketed itself as a whole to college graduates enough. I remember when you and I are in school, the digital revolution was happening. Phones were getting smarter and all this stuff was happening digitally. And electrical engineering to me just seemed like the place to go. I had that little side interest in stereos that put me there. It just seemed like it was going to be the industry that just was driving all the growth and what I didn't realize.

And once I got into the civil side of things is there's a lot of things taking place in our infrastructure. And maybe there was a lot of college kids, like me that didn't know the opportunities that would be in the civil sector that are now there. And there are just, we could see gaps. 

For me, I'm a 15 year guy. And for a lot of my projects, I need people with that five to 10 year experience to fill some of the tasks of my projects. And it is hard to find those people. It almost makes you think during that time period, there was a lack in civil engineering students. It's driven a lot of opportunities. There's a lot of hiring to be done, especially with the amount of investment that's going to have to go into you municipal improvements, especially like water wastewater, which was what I'm familiar with. There's obviously transportation, airports, all these other things. 

Chris: 13:14

And we did a lot with water wastewater at EECO. So if you got the people listening, Will, that may be considering a jump to this industry. What's some advice you'd give them to consider?

Will: 13:26

Don't be afraid to jump into something new. This is coming from a guy who graduated with an electrical engineering degree who was now a water engineer. Sometimes you don't always have to have what you think is the right backgrounds to get into it.

And there's a lot of ways to do with it aside from having a civil engineering degree, which was probably one of the ways that makes it the easiest. So don't be afraid to take a job that you may not feel you have the best background for. With the demand that we were seeing, you may be able to get in. The other thing is that you may not need to hop into an engineering position right away.

I know a lot of the folks, especially on the municipal side, jump in, it's like on the operations side. They're the guys in the field, maintaining the water systems. And then you get that kind of move into the area you want. And that's a very popular route to start on the operation side of things and be the guys in the field, maintaining the water and wastewater systems, and then find your way into the opportunities you want. 

Chris: 14:23

I can't help but think if you took that path, it gives you somewhat of a leg up because you have that operational experience. You know how the process works, you know what I'm saying? So it just seems like thats just a natural path there. 

Will: 14:36

Those guys school me all the time, Chris. I'll be in a meeting and those guys with that in field experience will say, "why don't we do this?" And you just look at them like, "man, why didn't I think of that?" And it's because I never had that in-field experience that they started with. And so yeah, they come with a very practical leg up on things and knowing how things are done in the field. 

Chris: 15:00

Wonderful. How about mentors, if you think back through your career, or if you let's just look at where you're at right now, do you have anyone who's really speaking into things that you're doing and also have you had a chance to mentor others?

Will: 15:13

I've been thinking about this. I would credit my dad with sparking my interest in engineering and to be honest, growing up younger years in elementary, middle school and high school, I don't think I took enough interest in what he was doing on a day to day. I knew he was a civil engineer, knew he worked in the water industry, but I think aside from that, I knew he made enough money to take care of a family. He worked the kind of hours where he could be home with us for dinner. And what he did was based on a strong background in math and science. It was those kinds of just core, simple things that made me think "all right. Engineering is probably something I should think about," especially because I wasn't too bad in grade school in math and science.

It was probably my stronger subjects if I had any. And I've mentioned it a couple times, I had a real strong interest weirdly into stereos. I was that guy when I was 16 that was installing all my friend's car stereos in their car, but once I started my career, you work under a variety of people. 

We'd be on here for an hour, just for me to talk about all of them, but there are two. If I had to nail it down, there's guy at the first firm I worked at by the name of Richard Brown and he was the best at it. As I've mentioned, I had electrical engineering backgrounds. I had maybe one or two classes that were of any benefit to the engineering I was doing for them, the process and the hydraulics.

So I had a lot of questions. I'd be tasked with trying to figure out the free chlorine demand based on hypochlorite solution provided to the water treatment plant. And that was so deep in the chemistry for me that I didn't know what to do. He was that kind of guy I could say, "Hey, I'm trying to compute this. I know this, I don't know this. And I don't understand this." And he would take the time to sit down with me, explain what I was actually trying to figure out. How to do it, guide me and push me in the right direction and really build my confidence. Because you know how it is. If you're not building your confidence and you're nervous all the time, you're probably not going to be happy.

And you might not make it that far because you're going to want to just find something else. And he did it. He built my confidence and allow me to really feel like I was moving in the right direction towards being a water engineer. And then when I went to AECOM, there was another guy by the name of Randy Ross.

This, he was the same kind of guy. He was fantastic at taking the time to really build your knowledge. His way of doing it, and I loved it, you go to him with the problem that you were having issues with. He would not give you the right answer. That was too easy. He asked you, what do you know? And then he asked you, what do you know about this? And he would keep guiding you till you were able to solve the problem on your own, and you would get to the right answer, but he never gave it to you.

He would just keep asking you questions and testing you and making sure you were thinking about the right things until you got there. And that's amazing. And then I've tried to emulate that with some of the folks that I work with now, some of the more junior staff, I try not to give them the right answer and just say, think about this and go down this path and see where that leads you.

And then we'll go from there and it works. You just give them the right tools and they come out with it. Unfortunately, Randy, he passed away a couple years ago. Didn't really get the chance to tell him how much his impact was on me and never know when those things get, are going to happen. And unfortunately, I never really got to thank him for it.

All he did for my career, but giving credit to him in a couple of presentations I've done within the water industry. He, the well-deserving guy. I know I'm not the only one that feels like that. Randy, if you hear this podcast, thanks man. You were awesome. 

Chris: 19:04

There you go, man. That was awesome. Definitely, I love they both approached and helped you in your development, man. So that's wonderful. And when you think about engineering, sometimes things come to mind, perceptions people have this view of the world of an engineer. And oftentimes they're wrong. So if you had a chance to debunk one of those myths about engineering. What would it be? 

Will: 19:27

Chris, as there is a lot of myths. I think the common one that's probably been debunked a million times is the engineers are just these nerdy people that walk around with a pocket protector. It's not like that. 

The one thing I would point out is, I do think a lot of people believe when they're doing all the engineering studies, especially like in college, that it is going to be really math and science focused for their years out of school.

And I think it's all of where you can take it. Where you want to take it. A lot of the people I work with, they technical. Their whole career. They become the technical experts. They become the smart guys that I go to. When I need to know about all the technologies to line and old pre-stressed concrete pipe. I go to that technical expert, the guy with 40 years experience the knows every type of liner out there that we can line that pipe with.

From my experience, the route that I've been somewhat heading into is where you start to step a little bit more away from the technical and you leave that to the really smart technical guys, but you go this sort of business development and marketing side.

What I do now is probably 70% managing projects where I rely on a lot of technical experts to guide us. And I have a lot of engineering staff to make the project move forward, but 30% of my time is marketing that work that we do and the capabilities that we have to obtain more work. A lot of the work we go after is qualification space. The client will put out a request for proposal, and we got to build a proposal and show we are the best when we'll be competing with 10, 15 other firms. And so it's competitive and you're building the business. You're trying to grow the amount of work you have and it's marketing and it requires you to be a bit extroverted, not so technical sometimes.

You're not going to perform calculations in front of the client, but you are going to market the technical work you're doing. It's a bit of a different route that you can start to take once you get into the engineering world. And I love it. I love the marketing getting in front of clients and really showing them what we do and trying to make the case that we can do that work really well and get that work from them. 

Chris: 21:39

Yeah, I'm with you there, man. That's the shift I've made myself just the whole messaging side. I personally enjoy that. And it sounds like you're getting 30% of your time is you're devoting to that, like you said. So man, last question for the business side then we'll get off and go down the personal trail. 

Will: 21:58

Sure

Chris: 21:58

When you're doing your work, man, and you're really enjoying what you're doing and you're crushing it. You're having a lot of fun. What are you doing in those moments? Where do you get the fulfillment at? 

Will: 22:09

Oh, that's a good question. The whole thing is fun and fulfilling. I told you, they gave me the title associate vice president, but really most of the time what I'm doing is managing a project, which you know, is managing people.

It's managing budgets, it's managing technical challenges. What really gets me excited. It's funny because I've got to bring it to the personal level too. I love seeing the construction. I'm fascinated by construction, even though those contractors are using the plans and specs that we develop, I'm just fascinated by how they build it.

And I love to go out there and see it built. What I do mostly is pipelines and pump stations and water treatment plants. And some people might think that's a little unusual that I want to go out there and see the excavators building this stuff, but I love it. And I love watching construction and some of the areas that aren't part of what I do, like buildings and airports and stuff, but I like seeing things constructed.

And the biggest fulfillment is when those things are done and you get to be part of the client starting his new pump station and seeing these pumps come online and everything working. It's amazing. My son, Noah, he's three and a half years old and he is just fascinated by construction. And I can tell you that he can name construction equipment better than probably a lot of adults. 

He knows an excavator from a front loader, from a grater. He knows them all. He's asking me something that I don't even know I'm having to bring out Google and say, I don't really know the technical name for that machine.

I think that part of it has been fascinating for me. I love seeing the construction and seeing things come online. It is very fulfilling to see a seven year project come to a close by something working the way it was intended to work. But the other thing that I'm starting to understand that is really fulfilling is going back to mentoring junior staff and seeing their careers blossom, and that is really starting to show itself.

The more I understand that I need to be a part of that. So many were for me.  I love challenging some of the staff that works for me and seeing them just kill it on the task that I give them. It's inspirational. It makes me want to just keep giving them more work, building their career, getting it so one day they're my boss that I'm reporting is reporting to them. 

Chris: 24:27

That's awesome, man. And it's awesome that you recognize. It's so cool that you recognize that's important. So many people when they get certain levels they forget that, "Hey, I need to be helping others too." 

Will: 24:37

Yep. And it's not intuitive. Sometimes you don't realize that you're at a position that you really need to start thinking about that. And luckily out for it in the last few years, under some guys that are really good at mentoring junior staff and have given me advice on how to better manage people because it's part of managing projects. Yeah. 

Chris: 24:56

That's very cool, man. And now you also mentioned in your answer about your son. So tell us a little bit about your family. 

Will: 25:03

Yeah, I've been married five years to a wonderful wife. Jen, she's amazing. She's in the last year of what seems like the most amount of training I have ever seen or a certain profession, but when it comes June of 2021 arrives, she is going to be a neonatologist.

And that's why I mentioned earlier that I don't know where we're going to be next July. Cause she's interviewing right now for neonatology positions all across the country. I look up to her. I thought what I did was pretty as engineering, school's not easy. You work a lot of hours and you put in a lot of hard work even after school.

And then I look at what she's doing and I'm just blown away. I've seen the 80 hour weeks during her residency and she's an inspiration to me. She has made me work harder at my career, just cause I'm like, man, she's doing all this. I got to step it up. So she driven me to do some things I didn't even anticipate doing. Enough of that. She's an inspiration. She's amazing. She's smartest person I know.

We had our first kid in 2017. That was Noah. We didn't know the sex. We wanted it to be a surprise. All of our friends were having boys and, being engineer and a doctor, we're pretty statistical base. We said, man, we've got to be having a girl because everybody we know is having boys.

Statistically, we got to balance this out. So we thought we were going to have a girl. I was so shocked when I saw Noah that instead of telling my wife, it's a boy, I said, it's a Noah. Cause we already had a name picked out for both sexes. So it was pretty funny. And then, we recently, welcomed Laila Sue into the world in June during this crazy year, she has been our beautiful highlight. 

Again, she was another one. We didn't know the sex and I thought we were probably going to have another boy. My wife thought we're going to have a girl turned out to be a girl. Totally excited. And we did have first and middle names for each sex. Unlike Noah, where we didn't have a middle name picked out. And we had a rush to figure one out before we could get out of the hospital. So we were better prepared this time for either sex. So yeah. Got those two that they keep us incredibly busy. 2020 has been interesting with the things that are going on, like the pandemic and having to have them at home for a bit more.

And myself working from home this year, that's been pretty chaotic, but we're starting to live with these new norms and we've got a family of four that were taking to some new location next July, or stay in here in Louisville. We don't know. I wish I knew, but it's going to be exciting. 

Chris: 27:34

Well you have a good crew to do it with man. And that's awesome. And thank you for sharing about your family. So how about hobbies? What do you enjoy to do now, man? 

Will: 27:42

My new hobby is well there's two, right? And neither one of them I think my wife is really, totally enthusiastic about I've become a bourbon hunter being in Kentucky. Bourbon is a popular thing here. I'm not gonna lie and I do enjoy a good bourbon. And the more you find out about bourbon, the more you understand it, there are some really good bourbons. And the better they are, the harder they are to find. And you really got to do your homework and research when they're coming out where they're going to be and time it. Get in the right groups to understand that and develop good relationships. And, yeah, that's a long winded way of saying come a bourbon Hunter. Got a collection right now with probably about a hundred bottles with, I'd say probably 30 of them will be in pretty good bourbons, pretty hard to find one.

The better hobby is from a wife's perspective and from a health perspective is biking. I got into bicycling before we moved to Louisville. I bought a nice road bike. I'm getting old, Chris. I'm 39. I used to do a lot of running to try to get my cardio in and stay in shape. I'll starting to have a lot of aches and pains with running.

I switched it to biking. Bought a road bike got really into it, moved here to Louisville and found out that everybody's into mountain biking here. So I bought a mountain bike. And I love, I love the road bike. I do. My normal ride is about 30 miles. Yeah. I go across the Ohio river into Indiana on my normal ride.

So I see two States. I see urban downtown Louisville. I go across this beautiful bridge, I go through along the river in Indiana and some rural and almost forest park areas. It's a beautiful ride. It takes me through a lot of landscapes. And then I do a mountain bike a couple of times a week where I hit some of the local parks that have great mountain bike trails.

I think it's a great hobby. I unfortunately broke my left clavicle this year mountain biking. While my wife was five months pregnant. So she hasn't been as hyped on my biking adventures, as you might imagine, but she tolerates it. And it's my way of getting my physical activity and I really enjoy it. So those are my two hobbies that I've really built upon in Kentucky.

Chris: 30:00

Hopefully

Will: 30:01

I'll probably carry with me. 

Chris: 30:02

Hopefully you didn't mix those two hobbies and that's how you broke that clavicle, then that didn't happen. 

Will: 30:07

No { Laughter}

Chris: 30:09

Just clarifying for our listeners. 

Will: 30:13

It's a good thing. If biking wasn't a hobby and in college that may have been an issue, but no breaking that clavicle was purely of me just not paying enough attention. And I become a bit more conservative in my bike ride ever since.

Chris: 30:26

I'm with you, man. Look, I want to do something we haven't done before working through for the hero episodes. I'm calling it the lightening round. And just going to ask you some random stuff, we'll just see how many of these we can get through. Okay. 

Will: 30:38

All right. 

Chris: 30:38

All right. So let's just do favorites. Favorite food? 

Will: 30:41

Oh gosh. Thai food. Stir fry.

Chris: 30:44

Okay. Thai food, stir fry. All right. How about favorite vacation you've had so far?

Will: 30:49

Favorite vacation, easy Spain. We did Barcelona, Saviah, and Grenada. It was the trip of my life. Did that with my wife. 

Chris: 30:59

That's awesome, man. That's awesome. How about pets? 

Will: 31:02

Oh man. My favorite dog in the world is a boxer. I've had three of them. I've been blessed to have three of them. None of them are with us anymore, but we do have a hundred pound cane Corso now. And now that we're getting older and I don't know if I have the energy for the boxers anymore. I think cane Corso is our new breed, my favorite is always been the boxer. 

Chris: 31:21

Okay. Now, if you had to take your wife out on a date, where are you going?

Will: 31:25

Here in Louisville, just knowing what we like around here. I think we'd do a day, a whole day date and we go do a good hike and the red river Gorge, and then hit one of the more scenic breweries after that for refreshments and then Butchertown grocery, our favorite restaurant in Louisville. 

Chris: 31:43

Nice. Last one. Favorite podcast. 

Will: 31:46

Favorite podcasts? Aside from my new favorite one, which is yours, I've listened to a couple of your episodes now, and they're great. One that I've been on for the last year, since I've been here in Louisville is the bourbon life. 

Chris: 32:00

Okay. 

Will: 32:01

I think we'll link that man in the show notes for the people that want to check it out, but it was a good answer because I was really testing you Will, and you pass the test. So 

Chris: 32:12

I want to see how you're going to do that, man. Hey, that was the first lightening round. I think he went good, bro. So the last question we call it EECO Asks Why. We love to wrap up with the why and it's all about passion and purpose. How would you answer that? What is your why?

Will: 32:26

That's a good one. Chris, that's a tough question. The best way I could say it is part of what my wife and I are asking ourselves, we live in a big, beautiful country, right? And there's a lot of different places you can go. And as we try to figure out where we're going to go, we've been asking ourselves, why?

And I think it comes down to what matters most to you and how are you going to get that? And I think right now, we value doing things with our kids, more than anything. And I think a big thing we like doing with our kids is being outdoors. One of the first gifts my brother gave me after we had Noah was a kid backpack. with one of those backpacks it's designed to put your toddler in starting at like 15 pounds and up to 40. 

I, as soon as Noah had enough neck strength to be sufficient in that backpack, I was taking them on hikes. My wife and I were both doing it. And, it's just. Seeing him at three and a half and knowing how much he loves to take hikes now with us, he's already done three and four mile hikes with us. And now we're getting to the point where we're Laila is about the right size to start putting her in the backpack. We really hold doing things outdoors with the family to a high degree of value. When I think about why, I love my career, don't get me wrong.

It means a lot to me. We need it to survive and she needs her career. But I think for us just being somewhere where we can do really fun things outdoors with our family brings us all the enjoyment is why we do what we do.

Chris: 34:02

Well man. You got a great family. You got great path, your own great path your wife's on. You got two wonderful kids. A wonderful future in front of you and we wish you nothing but the best. It's just been a ton of fun for everything you've shared for our listeners, Will. I had a blast catching up with you, man. So thank you so much for being here on EECO Asks Why. You're definitely one of our heroes, buddy.

Will: 34:24

Thanks so much for having me man. Excellent to catch up. I would never call myself a hero. I just feel like I'm a guy that works really hard and really tries to do his best in everything he does. There's a lot of heroes out there and I just feel like I'm a normal guy just doing what he does, trying to work hard.

I'm extremely humbled that you guys have me on, this has been really fun and really impressed with what you guys are doing. This is really cool. You guys are doing a really good thing here. It's great to get some real perspective from real people doing the real jobs out there. 

Chris: 34:54

No doubt, man. I mean, that's what it's all about. Thank you again, buddy. I've had a blast. 

Will: 35:00

Yeah. Thanks, Chris. Good to catch up with you guys. 

Chris: 35:03

Thank you for listening to EECO Asks Why. This show is supported ad free by Electrical Equipment Company. EECO is redefining the expectations of an electrical distributor by placing people and ideas before products. Please subscribe and share with your colleagues and friends. Also leave comments, feedback, and any new topic that you would like to hear. To learn more or to share your insights, visit EECOAsksWhy.com that's E E C O A S K S W H Y.com.