Dec. 20, 2022

#255: Greg "Gordo" Gordon - Founder/CEO of Gordon Highlander - A Leader On a Mission To Build Something Different

Greg Gordon has a rich history in construction as a third-generation builder with over 25 years of industry experience. He started his career in shell construction and eventually transitioned to commercial interiors before founding Gordon Highlander in 2007.


Under Greg’s leadership Gordon Highlander has experienced tremendous growth and received numerous awards as a result. But Greg’s true passion is for people and the relationships developed with both his team and clients. With a servant leadership approach to business, he has built a team of leaders who take ownership and pride in their work. It’s a reflect the organization’s mission of “building a legacy of helping others reach their God-given potential”. Greg attributes Gordon Highlander’s success to this culture model.


On this episode Chris and Greg Discuss:

  • a look into the commercial construction industry from 2007-Present
  • what it's like to build for Amazon and how they built a prototype in 6 weeks
  • how Greg views leadership and building a world-class culture
  • leadership above and beyond "HR"


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(3:22) - Gordo’s experience as 3rd generation in the Construction industry

(5:12) - What does Gordon Highlander do?

(7:57) - What is a “Gordon Highlander”?

(10:03) - How has Industrial Finish-out evolved since ’07?

(15:10) - At what point in development does GH get involved?

(18:18) - What does a perfect project look like to you?

(19:44) - How do you budget a project in this market?

(23:45) - Are there any permanent changes to the industry since 2020?

(28:00) - What do people need to unlearn?

(31:42) - What are you seeing in Industrial innovation?

(36:47) - Developing the GH/Amazon relationship

(46:25) - How do you think about the final days of a project?

(47:15) - What are you seeing in the market?

(51:40) - What’s different in building office within industrial and office in a place like Old-Parkland?

(54:52) - How do you think about change orders?

(56:35) - The headlines vs. reality pertaining to Amazon slowing down development

(58:24) - How do you think about legacy, servant leadership and culture?

(1:06:51) - Teaching culture at Gordon Highlander

(1:11:36) - Advice for young people

(1:12:49) - Friendship, business

(1:18:00) - Pain distorts your memory

(1:19:51) - Treating your employees like people




I don't want to play dumb but I don't totally understand what pencils down means. I hate that phrase. All I know is that everyone says it and I just think to myself just a bunch of followers following follow. Hey guys, welcome back to the Fort podcast. My name is Chris Powers and I want to thank you for joining me today. This show is an open-ended discussion and journey covering real estate business entrepreneurship and investing. I would love to hear from you by tweeting me. At Fort Worth Chris on Twitter, and if you have enjoyed this show, I would be super grateful. If you would follow us on Apple podcast, Spotify or whatever platform you listen to. And if on Apple, it would mean a lot, if you leave a rating and review, last but not least, you can find all these episodes on YouTube. Thank you so much. Again, for joining me and enjoy the show, and this episode is brought to you by Fork Capital at their core Fork. Capital is a privately owned real estate investment firm, but beyond that they are committed to technology and a world-class culture, which leads to a very forward-thinking mentality. Do you want to stay in the know on all things for Capital? Be sure to follow for Capital and Linkedin and sign up for the quarterly newsletter on For capitals quarterly newsletter subscribers are the first to receive business and real estate inside snooze videos. Podcasts free resources and more. For anyone that tried buying a car over the last couple of years, it was not an easy thing to do. I just got a car and had one of the best experiences I have ever had with Frank Cadillac here in Fort Worth Texas, when you think a Fort Worth businesses, it's hard to not think of Frank Cadillac. Well, that's because they have been around for 87 years and with history like that, they know a thing or two about how to treat their clients like no dealer, markups over MSRP. So the price on the sticker is the price you pay. So when you're in the market for a new vehicle check them out. New inventory is arriving daily from the XT 4 5 & 6 to the CT four and five black wings with cp0 rates. There is always something in store at FK That's FK Frank Cadillac community-driven locally, different since 1935, All right, today's special for two reasons. One, I have got Greg who goes by Gordo Gordon, so we will be calling him Gordo for the day. But today is also my four year anniversary of this podcast. For years ago, I released the same first episode, and we now you will be episode 255. We have done 255 of these over four years. So, we're going to have an awesome conversation today. Greg poop already made a mistake Gordo, is somebody that I have been weak clap and celebrate the four years. Yeah, the clap everyone I am grateful for that. Thank you, Gordo's somebody that I have actually admired from afar. We have been in the same industry for a while, and we have spoken at events together, and we have gotten to know each other a little, I know we're going to get to know each other better today but your somebody that I really have admired for leadership culture, just the business that you built. And I think that will resonate in today's episode. So, thank you for joining me today. Thank you, mutual respect there. I love it. Okay, let us just start off with how you got in this industry, your third generation in the construction industry. How did you get so lucky to be Third Generation in the construction industry? It's a I am addicted to pain and Chaos. It's a genetic disorder. Actually a great question. There's always a story behind most of my answers. My dad worked for his father. ER, on the east coast, and they had a design build construction company. My dad wanted to be an architect and help that business. And so after I was born, I was four years old, my dad went back to architecture school which is you know anything about being an architect is no joke, let alone being a father for, and so I joke and tell everyone I have been on the board since I was four years old, my dad at the time. It was all hand drawings and I would help him finish his project by drawn in the lines. And the drawings down in the basement family, businesses are messy. And my dad got an opportunity to relocate us from Baltimore. Maryland in 1982 to go work for want to tremble, Crows, original partners. And so my dad thought he was going to be an architect and the ended up being a developer. I thought I was going to be a musician and I ended up in construction and my dad is Been there along the way, just encouraging me and believing in me, which I think is really very powerful. And although I am not a developer, I did end up in the business and so that's why I say I am the third generation Builder, got it. Let us explain a little bit about what y'all do today at Gordon Highlander. Yeah, so we started the business in the industrial Market space doing finish out 10 shall work. And at the time, You know, my thesis was the waves were good in there, weren't a whole lot of surfers out there and the just fascinating what's happened in that market space, in the last 16 years. And what I learned in saw was a bunch of Lifestyle businesses out there, owner-operators 5, to 10 employees. Really one person, making good income. And as the Started to change, we were aggressive in trying to offer a mid-market solution, and so we grew our business and Industrial growth at the same time. So we're the beneficiary of the marketplace changing around us as we build our identity and brand and Industrial. Some of our Legacy clients grow Holdings as one of them said, hey, you know, we need you to do a finish out over here at Old Parkland, and so we Went next into the double class, a corporate Interiors Marketplace and then as our Roots got deeper, people would leave one firm, and they'd go to another. So, Neil Richards was a group that started doing medical office. I mean medical. Excuse me. Hospital development. So we got into medical office. And so up till about three years ago, we really just grew in all the vertical. Is relative to the least finish out. And then in 2020, we were doing a huge job at DFW airport for Amazon and it was a 95 million dollar 1 million square foot finish out, that was four times, the value of the tilt wall and I told my team at the time that I thought that was going to change everything. And so about a month later Amazon called and said, we'd like, for you to get into the build suit business with us. And so that was the next logical step for us. So we started a tilt wall and shell construction, side of our business, three years ago. And then last year, we expanded into both Austin and Houston and really just trying to take the Legacy client expansion method, you know, hey we're over here now so if you know is we can help you in Austin or Houston so it's been our trajectory okay? We're going to talk a lot about the business, but We do that, we have to your company's called Gordon Highlanders. And I think the audience needs to understand what is a Gordon Highlander. Who are all these folks that are doing, all this amazing construction work, what is a Gordon Highlander another wonderful story, you know, it's fascinating. Now, I kind of reflect back and just I just feel like I am lucky when a business owner goes to start their business there just so much of the learning curve in terms of how to name it and what the logo is and what are the colors, and what's the story? And how is that all we had together? Well, the Gordon Highlanders are regimen and the Scottish Army that were formed in the late 1700s, and I was born into a family of historians. My dad actually was a history major before he went to work. The family business in my grandmother worked at the Maryland historical society, and she had it's amazing. There's all these wonderful tools out there now. But the tools haven't done anymore for us or any less than what she had done, you know, in the 60s and 70s, researching our family. And so, as a little kid, I knew I had there been this connection to this Army in my family, and I was disillusioned. I thought that someday I could Go show up in Scotland and somehow I would be received and I did and all this crazy stuff what happened? And so we took the family name and put it on the business, but we did it with that military pedigree the Highlanders Winston Churchill said were the greatest regiment that there ever was. They're like the Special Forces to the British Army and it and if you're looking for them today when you see the queen or the king, the Highlanders are the ones that have scored. Then that are in the full regalia. They're in there killed, or they're playing, they're back B. I love it. All right now jumping back, we're going to start with. I want to work up to what we just talked about with Amazon, doing a 95 million dollar interior finish out which I think you said was three times that of the tilt wall, was it four times or times? But I wanted then start back in 2007 you gave a talk that I was listening to maybe it was a business event or something. Let us just spend some time on like, how has industrial finish out evolved in the last 16 years, where did we start in 2007? And then when you said, there's now a turning point in this industry, like how we got to today and what you have seen along. The way. Funny little story.

Chris Powers





I will never forget, I was a superintendent on the job and this is like mid 2000's, and we were doing the color selections. We had a carpet book in. It was already built for us. So the asset management group had three carpet colors, it was blue tan, and gray and small Metal Fab shop. And the guy had a dog that he had in the office, and we went to do the carpet color selections, and he called his dog in, pulled some fur off of it, and he laid it down on top of the carpet. And he goes it's the tan one right there.

Chris Powers


It's not.



Like memorialized this part of the industrial story that I think is important because in 2007, everyone kind of had an attitude about, you know, the office shouldn't be any more than 10% of the total amount of square footage. Most of the users were in the distribution business. Manufacturing was a little more rare, e-commerce didn't exist, and there were just old noisy life. Lights in the warehouse. And so it's been, it's been wonderful to see how that's evolved and changed and it's funny how much the followers resist the change, you know, like we're never going to go to these tube fluorescent bulb lights and I don't know if you remember but the tube lights didn't even last that long. I mean we went straight to LEDs and then what automatic There's no light switches. I just remember like, figuring out how to appropriately switch. The warehouse lights was just like, such a big deal. If you screwed that up really, really aggravated the end-user and all that stuff. Just the automation. I think, along the way to just this is just my thesis businesses started, to want to kind of smush everyone together. They didn't like their office headquarter in the central business. Eric and their warehouse and Manufacturing, you know, out in an industrial park. And so, when I really started to pick up on, this is when we started doing what I am calling double Class A office finish outs in warehouses, they were pushing it all together. Yep. And that was just the CEO deciding. We're all going to work together. We're not going to have an ivory Tower and in something else and I think that was good economics behind it to you know, like hey this is five bucks, a foot red, that's 35 bucks. It, when did that start? That started in the teen say? Yeah, I think that started kind of 13. 14, 15? Okay, okay. So they're coming at you, and that level. So how much did office expand? Wasn't still 10%, or did it now go to 20 or 30? And what else changed about the building besides just the really nice finish outs? Yeah, so the office The footage grew. Okay, kind of the company functions. Grew then within that office footprint. So we started building really, really sophisticated break rooms that could double down for all hands on deck meetings. We started putting cafes that were automated in these break rooms in out. I would tell you now looking back I think that's when the employer grew and sophistication We will tip to attracting talent and making sure that the people were important to the business. And I think that's also when the employee started to become more aware how important they were to the business. And so up to that point, it was rare for us to are conditional Warehouse when we'd get the change order to air-condition the warehouse, it was like a big win for us because it was big dollars in three trades. Got up and I go like guys, this is this scale like we can we don't have to micromanage all this information and this is three million dollars worth of work. Yep. And now I think an air-conditioned Warehouse is kind of the norm, for at least the big, the big deals that we see ya. Okay. Before we get to, where we are with Amazon today, I think, well, I think it's important to when we're thinking about these big projects When do you need to be involved? So I haven't developed warehouses, we just by existing warehouses but in a prior life we did build a lot and I want to spend a little time on the worst deals we ever did. In the most pain was when we had an architect, who designed something without in a silo without any peas and contractors involved, and the set of plans was kind of passed around, nobody really took accountability for what was there and then you start building and that's when you start realizing where all the errors are. So I want to spend some time. I am going if I am a client, and I am thinking about doing something, whether it's a finish out, or just ground up, when should I be thinking about talking to you? And who should you be talking to while we're doing what, we will call pre-development pre-construction work? I think over the last really the last three years. Since the pandemic we have talked a lot, we have encouraged the marketplace a lot in this way. Like the sooner, the better And I do believe that the market is listening, there's just, it's been tough on construction cost is been a big problem. And then time has been a big problem which those are the two basic fundamentals of our business. It's been hard times, I am really having to encourage my team because they're exhausted because they're used to being able to give their word and hit the target and now things are just still bumpy and all over the place. And so the more collaboration that you can have, the more people that you can have listening to the end user or the developer. The more questions you can be asking and trying to penetrate those unsaid things that often times. I think they really show up when things happen in silos. Yep. So an architect heard, this, someone wasn't asking enough questions and it makes it over here and you're like, dude, why do they have so many questions and those questions in that confusion in the slow nature. Or that I think is where mistake come from and where cost escalation come from. So do you like to work? Do you like to be in the initial meetings with the architects? In the MEP is from like day one. We start planning, and I am, so I got all kinds of issues man I got adult ADD so bad like we both do I love my broker friends. I mean I am nothing without those guys. Yeah I am saying with the Architects but if in a perfect world you asked me I would want to lead it off. Okay, I go like let us describe a perfectly broke. I will play broker out. I will play architect. I am not gonna pass anyone over. Yeah. But you know there's just so many things that we I think is the contractor kind of inherit. Yep. That get real sticky with the end user and I go like if we were helping make the process more pure than it should just become more repeatable for all the other people in the constellation. Okay, well, let us just talk a little bit about the Perfect project. A lot of people listen to this, our developers, their tenants, their businesses, describe to somebody, that's maybe thinking that has a project in the next couple of years is like, if from your world, the perfect project would be, what would be the sequence of calls that person should make they'd call you first? Maybe, and then what would happen after that we would interview Architects. Okay? Start with the design professionals. Okay. We would make strong recommendations based on their use and their goals. On whom we have seen, do it successfully. Think a lot of people understand different asset types which is only a small part of it. I think there's no substitute for experience and haven't been there for a long time. Who's selecting the MEP is the architect or y'all? So, if, if it's a really complicated manufacturing deal. Yeah. You kind of want an MEP engineer in there. Yeah, you can do it in collaboration with the sub and so there's just different cases that require different solutions. Yep. Most of the things that we do, we prefer to do through the design-build method, where we're working with an architect, and then we're allowing our subs to come up with engineering solutions that they will guarantee and stamp and that will go in for your permit.

Chris Powers





2020, rattled, the world. It turned it upside down and I can't tell you how much respect. I have not only for you, but for the Auction industry. It has been wild. It's been wild. I want to spend a little time on like, what the, what has happened over the last few years, as a contractor, even from like, let us just start with, how do you budget something right now as a contractor? How is the market shifted and what are your customers expecting? And how are y'all doing it in a way? That's obviously profitable for your business. And everybody creates a win because when a lot of people talk about budgeting right now, Some people would say you just throw something against the wall and hope it sticks by the end of the project. But in a world of such uncertainty, how should how do y'all think about it? And how our clients thinking about it when it's tough to nail down a number as things? Move pretty rapidly right now? Yeah, it's fascinating man, you know so many different twists in the path from What I feel like is when the pandemic hit to where we are now. Hmm, I would tell you that. I believe it's getting better. Good. We saw the worst of it in the middle of 21. Oh yeah, that's when Roofing kind of flew out the window. Concrete started, go nuts and just escalation just going through the roof and thankfully we're not there. Some of the things that we try to do creatively just getting outside the box during that time was, you know, let us get our subs to open up a little bit more and show us what they have assumed for labor and soft cost and profit. And let us Whittle down the variable part of their proposal to the actual materials that are volatile. And that way we don't feel like it's an Arbitrage, and we're having to trust people when we don't really Understand we can't see up, so we tried to do that for a while. It was really hard at first. If you were going into a job with someone that was just used to kind of pushing it down on the contractor, it was a lot of friction. Yep. We at the beginning of 22. We did 50 million dollars worth of work in the first quarter and I made zero and that was after making a massive amount of decisions to do the right things for our clients in all kinds of places where once it finally came through. My business at the end. It was basically worth nothing. Okay so you just said, two things, you said there was more transparency with the subs. So the next question is, is that here to stay? Or is everybody going to as things normalize again? Are we going to is the transparency maybe going to fold up again. I think we can if predictability sets back in then we can kind of start to trust a little bit more, and we don't have to go measure at the next level if you're like me you like to wake up and get your daily dose of reading for me. A lot of that has to do with commercial real estate because of the industry that we're in it for Capital. And the news is important. But if you're a busy real estate, professional like me, you don't have time to skim through the dozens of dry and add filled media, Outlets each day. That's why I read cre daily. A free email newsletter that cuts through the Clutter and delivers concise, witty commentary on the latest trends and transactions in commercial real estate. I discovered cre daily a few months ago and it's an email, I actually look forward to getting each morning. If you're a real estate professional, you owe it to yourself to try it out and stay out. On top of what's happening in the industry. In only 5 minutes to give their free daily newsletter. Try visit cre that's cre. are there any other kind of structural changes that you can think of that's like forever going forward? Construction will be done (differently) than it was pre cobit, or we kind of went through the chaos and things will kind of work back to the mean of how they had always been done or whether that's the g c, sub relationship, how projects are Done. Is there anything that you think is just different going forward? I believe that it's absolutely permanently change, okay, and that the people that are going to really struggle or the ones that can unlearn what they thought. Okay. That unlearning is like one of the most powerful things that you can do to keep growing. And yeah I mean I have it's fascinating like the client the end user in the employee population is more sophisticated now than Never and, you know, people the marketplace, just thought that the old-school guys, the guys, my dad's generation. They just can't believe that rents more than three dollars a foot. And I am talking to the young high horse, power Brokers, and they're making renewals or ten and twelve dollars a foot, and people question the fundamentals, And I think that's good. I was real confused about the forward sale. I didn't understand how that was good fundamentals. And people were just saying, you know, Gordo get some land under contract and build it so it will take you out on the Ford, like it's no big deal. That's when, you know, we're getting close to the top but I do think that I do think then. Look, I am way out of my Lane here. This is way more your world than mine. But I am an employer and I go like, I am not gonna say no one will set a higher standard for my people that I will. And If I got to pay an extra two bucks, a foot to get them what they need. We're going to do it and it's going to have a Roi that's going to be hard to measure. You can't the hearts and minds of people are what where the motivation and power is. And I think employers or a waking up to that, there's something phenomenal about the pandemic where the marketplace stopped and kind of the employees, had to go under water for a little bit and when they pop back out they just started going, dude, I am not going To go do that anymore. Yeah, I am not going to work for nothing. Yeah. You know I am going to seek out people that are run their business like you know a home. Yep. And I think that's going to allow for continued. Rent growth. I totally agree. I mean, you talk about that $12 foot number and some of that is what people are willing to pay for, and we're going to get there in a second with Amazon, but Some of it is the amount of production that these facilities can now, like, how much work you can get out of a facility. Now, I was at the YPO Global conference a few months ago. And somebody gave this presentation on basically, how is companies like Amazon and some of these really great companies continue to automate inside the factory because what we know now is they're getting done in a million square feet, what used to take them three million square feet or 2 million. They just made a case that you could see $50 industrial rents by the early 2030s because a how much these buildings are going to produce. And so again that sounds crazy as we sit here at 10 and 12. But when you think of the any real estate asset class, where the tenants are pumping billions of dollars into Innovations of how do we get every last Square, centimeter this Factory productive. It's not like you can really do that in multifamily where it's like a five. A Hundred square foot one-bedrooms of 500 square foot one bedroom. I guess if you're trying to shove more people into square feet but that doesn't work for living. So it's gonna be really interesting as we talk about that rent number and where this, and we're all this could go now to digress. Just a second. You said, if people can't unlearn a few things they're going to be a little bit in trouble. If you had to think of maybe one to three things that should be unlearned if you haven't unlearned them yet. Unlearn them now. Is there anything that comes to mind?

Chris Powers


Wow, that's great.



Question. That's why I do this just to pump out. Good questions, Gordo. And I can tell you, I had a massive amount of fear going into the pandemic. My worst month of my business career was March, late, March and early April. I would we joke about it. Johnny, just got to see me, come in here and sulk and lick my wounds and cry about what I thought was about to happen. It was brutal. Pain, it makes people do the stupidest s***. Yeah. And that's also where you learn though. I know that's kind of my point. I think fear the gift of fear is wisdom. And I just go.

Chris Powers


Like I.



Want to learn how to be more trusting and not let fear run the show. That's something I am actively personally. Trying to unlearn. Yeah, it's weird. It's I didn't know where we're going to go today, you know, it's like I got all my little, my books in the things. I am studying. The places that I am going that I am thirsty and seeking, you know, and This idea about a kingdom, Christ talks about a kingdom, right? I go. What is that? What is the kingdom? Thy kingdom come. And all I have learned how to do so far in a non-judgmental way, is listened to my inner dialogue, in the lies in the fear that I told myself. Yeah, I just try to catch it and just ask the Lord to remove it. That's the enemy. He wants to confuse you. That's progress for me. Yeah, because I wasn't even aware enough to catch it and release. It had to go straight into my fear about this, or I need to go fix this. This or this needs to be more perfect. And I was just trying so hard with good intention, but really motivating out of a massive amount of fear during that time and I think we're better off. I think the whole world is a better place because of it, I think we have learned a lot and it was tough. But yeah, I just want to, I want to change my mindset and be open to when I am growing and the chaos of it and not fight it so much. I am with you. I mean, one of my mentors tells me all the time, like when you're scared and you're confused, the devil is doing his job. He's the prince of confusion. Jesus, is the Prince of Peace.

Chris Powers





So, wherever State you're in, you kind of know where you're leaning right now and it's 100% of the time, all the time. When I am scared and confused, somebody's gotten ahold of me. And that ain't good. And that's where you make stupid decisions or short-term decisions rather than lifelong decisions and build a kingdom. Yeah. Can't build a kingdom thinking in the moment. Yeah, I know. It's Brick by Brick day by day. I love that. Yeah. Speaking of Kingdoms Amazon's built, not so bad of one. If anybody's heard about them, and we can, we can we do have to speak to Amazon specific. But there's a lot of tenants that are starting to Amazon, maybe sets the bar of, and again, I know to the extent that you can talk. What are you seeing now? Now, the industrial world is just changed. Considerably your building now. Yeah, you walk into an Amazon facility. It's a damn miracle. You walked into a 2007 Warehouse, it was a box, like you said, with some being flickering light. Yeah. And bunch of forklift. Sounds. What, what is the, what is the box of the future looking, like, what are people asking and how are these jobs getting to where Interiors? Four times what the shell costs? Yeah, one of the efficiencies that you kind of alluded to earlier, it's just, you know, the deal we did, they added three million square. Or feet of usable square footage inside the million square foot building. So when you're a that again they added three million square feet of usable square footage. Inside the building, how the hell do you do that? So we built structural mezzanines for the robotic field, and they put tracking in was four stories tall that had fours, okay? And so how taught what's the clear height on a building like that? That one was 40. Okay. Are we still going to be going up? Is 40 the top? Are you? Thinking, I don't know if the math is on all that we go into 60, or when does this stop? I don't know. It will be interesting to see. I do think that it's getting taller and taller. That's what we know. Yep, it's getting more automated. And just kind of what I like to do is just kind of regardless of its Amazon or anyone that's going into you Commerce kind of go back to the consumer. That's where I have the best relationship with Amazon. I seriously, is your front doorstep look like mine. Yeah. Just a pure metal boxes and I don't know the day. Like we adopted to homeless families and something didn't show up and it was kind of like this. We had to go to the store to go by little toy cars for this track that we bought and it was like a real inconvenience. We had done a lot of preparation with ordering and it comes with such certainty that our life is disrupted. Now by like, a couple hours. I have a beautiful home, I live in East Dallas and I took a stab at doing residential construction, that remodel my own house was built in He ate. And it's a it's beautiful but it will be the one and only house that I ever do. I love commercial? Yeah. It's very different, and we have all these amazing light fixtures in my house. This is the little e-commerce story that I love to tell ya. One of my least favorite things in the world to do is to go take a light bulb to Home Depot and like stared all these boxes and try to like retrain, my brain to see and read where I need to find this Candela. You know, antique Globe looking, you know. And, so I literally have a small inventory in my garage of every light bulb that I own, and they're all on subscribe and save and I don't ever have to do anything again. In terms of ordering a light bulb for my house, I just go replace them and I have five kids, and so I don't even replace them anymore. I get the five kids to do it, but my point there is We're never going back. Yeah, and so the e-commerce in the consumer Market I believe what happened. Our business turn, the pandemic is a demonstrated, how solid that was whatever, socio-economic group, or gender or race? You are in you converted during the pandemic to e-commerce. Yeah. And I just think we're at the beginning stages of that being a global phenomenon. That's going to go for a really long time. We're doing Nikes facility, we love these big complicated e-commerce jobs, we're really good at that. We have been tracking with Amazon since the beginning. You know, those guys are great to work with if the audience is trying to figure out if I have an inside track on that, you know, like they don't understand how Bezos really runs business. Everything is designed to go fast because there's just an arm's length the decisions from everyone else. Yeah. And it's just fascinating. But we have a great relationship with them but I don't call one person. I don't have like some inside track, right? I never know when they're going to call, but when they do, they get my full attention, and we just go kill it for me. Yeah, that's why did they want you to then go into? Why did they care that? You not only did Interiors but did the whole ground up? What was the reasoning there? Are besides, obviously, they loved working with you. I think you asked this question earlier. I will try to dovetail them together, but did you say when do you actually go get into the weeds of your business? Well, five years ago now, so you do that still? Oh yeah, I love it. I love it. I love to build things. Yeah, I really do. I think I am building a business now, that's about building into people. So that's just like a force multiplier on the word build. Oh yeah. I was an excellent project manager. I think that's in the root system of Gordon Highlander that pursuit of excellence. And so Amazon, showed up for the first time five years ago in our relationship. And I know because my wife was pregnant with our fifth child are only Singleton. I have two sets of twins. I have that. I have that note. Oh my gosh. I know I have identical twin boys that are R17 fraternal twin boys that are nine. Oh my God, five-year old little girl. I don't know if we get to put a picture on the podcast, but I will send you one for. Will put a picture on the podcast. Yeah. Birdie, and I eat breakfast. That's awesome. Julie was pregnant with birdie and Amazon came to a Deal's. A spec office that we were doing in South Dallas. The million square feet. Geez, in the Amazon came took the spec office that we were building. And in six weeks, we did a finish out for Amazon. And so that's fast. That's a million square feet and six weeks. Oh my God. Yeah and One of the greatest stories, they're young, man, leader Gordon Highlander now, D cash, was my project manager and I showed up to the job trailer and got the download on scope of work. Deke put his hands up, and he says, how are we going to do this? And I said, okay, here's the deal. You ever put your hands up on me again, you're fired. Call your wife. You're not going home tonight. He looked at me. Like, what the hell we went to Office Depot, and we want butcher paper, and we rolled it out and covered the entire inside of the trailer. And I broke the job down into the 16 trade divisions. We went through the critical path in the scope of work for each one. We realized we didn't have a big enough concrete. Tractor and a big enough electrician. And so we went and got to concrete Subs to electricians. And I was on that job for six weeks while my wife was in the last trimester of her pregnancy. And I said, babe, do you want a house in the Pacific Northwest someday? She's like, what are you saying? I go. Well, it's not this job so much as it is this opportunity. Yeah. And that's the really cool part. I was in Fellowship on Saturday, and they were talking about time. And in, we were talking about Kronos, which is kind of chronological time and then Kyra's, which is spiritual opportunity, that's like when time becomes vertical and I go like, I don't know how to prove it, it's an experience, but as a business leader, there's been either jobs or times with people. And just situations that are in the story that you're going to try to narrate for your employees about where you guys finish this year. Yeah, it's the storytelling is the language of the heart. That's what ultimately connects people its stories and so that story I knew was going to be really important. It's still a big part of my story with d cash, it's the first Amazon job that we ever did. And that was a prototype that they hadn't built yet. So not only, did they not know me. They didn't know how to build their own prototype. And so, we demonstrated and worked with them on how to do it. And, and they just got this idea about us, then they would give us their prototypes, and we'd help them figure out their business. And so that just built a massive amount of trust and confidence. And so the mill, the million-square-foot deal. That we did at DFW, that was another prototype for soft lines, which is women's clothing and it's been a wonderful relationship, everyone knows Amazon. And they know that we have been successful, and they like to kind of connect our success to Amazon, but this year Amazon represents less than 5% of the body of work that Gordon Highlander would do.

Chris Powers





Okay, we can't gloss over. You just said you go Home Depot, you get a bunch of what you, what kind of paper is? It butcher Bay butcher paper? That's? Is that the kind of waxy paper? Well, no. It's just like, it's like paper and roll. Okay, we get a, we get a bunch of butcher paper. We pull an all-nighter and then you said, I think you broke the project into 16 components does every project. Well let me start there does every project have 16 components or just this one did know every Project, when you work with an architect has their CSI code, okay? And those are your, those are the ways that you break up the mechanical from the electrical to the plumbing to the drywall to the Millwork. So you break it up into your 16 components and then you said it was your job that night to figure out the critical path to get all of these done. Can you just go a little deeper into like what happened that night? That's probably like a, that will become a legendary story for your company. If it's not already like what happened? What happened is through rigorous planning in a massive amount of critical thinking and Analysis, we identified our problems. Got it, to get it done. And I think the biggest mistake Take a contractor could ever make, is to think that there isn't one in a job. The biggest mistakes we made as a developer, but we at one point when we were doing more residential under own contractor in, this was probably this is 100% on my shoulders, everybody wants to see sticks and dirt, start flying. If there's any wisdom I ever learned and if I probably have a lot more to learn as like the more time you can spend in pre-con and pre Dev, figuring out your problems. One, the project of go faster with fewer headaches and everything else, but thinking about, I think the best contractors and developers I have ever met, spend the time upfront before they ever see a piece of dirt move. And the worst ones are just wanting to see dirt move and then the deal with all the headaches after. Yeah, that's unbelievable. We call it the launch. You, okay? And it's because a rocket Burns 90% of its fuel just getting off the ground and so that's the imagery behind it. Mmm. So it's not finished strong. It's start strong. Yeah. Finish. Well yeah, I mean that's our slogan Finish. Well, we didn't like finish strong because I think it implies that you didn't start strong and all the magic I think in That careful preparation. There's a lot of little anecdotal things every day. If pre-construction saves you 10 days, it Construction, But there is an impulsive, a tea that people have or the marketplace has the biggest mistakes I have ever had. When people push me to start too soon. Let us take a quick break to highlight this episode sponsor, Juniper square. If you aren't familiar with juniper Square, it's an easy-to-use all-in-one investment management software designed specifically for Real Estate owners. We have been using it at Fort capital for several years now, and it is completely revamped. The experience, we are able to provide add our investors through reporting management and efficiency. Here's Brandon, said lost managing director at Juniper Square. Explaining more about their platform. When we started to look under the hood of these real estate investment managers that were telling us about their problems. One of the things that we identified was that kind of the operating system of record for managing a lot of the most important information was still spreadsheets. They have never been designed to be a system of record, right? And when we, when we started looking at kind of Why Real Estate reporting was the way that it was, What we found is that spreadsheet for being used as a system reference record. And the problem that created was, it makes it really hard to take this information. Get the information out of spreadsheets and get it into the hands of the people who need it. The most which are your investors. You can check out episode 37 to listen to my full conversation with Brandon, or visit, see Juniper for more information that's seee Juniper And now back to the show, Finishing. Well, if anybody's ever built anything at all, it's usually like punch list and those final days. Yeah, that are the most brutal. How do you think about punch list in those final days? Because I think again another separator between great contractors and good contractors, is those last few days of getting the little things done. I know we have talked about running the hurdles and everyone thinks the CEO in the final is the last hurdle now, it's The eighth, there are two more. What are the other to is finishing the punch list K? And then the last one is just the total management. The contractual obligations. Yeah. The liens. Final payment. Yeah, and tighten it all the way off. So, where do we stand in the market today? From a like, what are you seeing now? Just purely? Like it's 2022. Our friend Jerome. All up at the FED said to hell with cheap, 0% interest rates where we're going back to the old days. Things are obviously little. I would I guess we called chaotic depending on what asset class and Market you're in. But like what are you seeing now from a contractor standpoint? As we sit today on December 15th, today Gordon Highlander has a 325 million dollar backlog. That will get it fully executed. And in 2023, let us go baby and that's you know, that's like 35% more than will do this year. Yep, our big industrial jobs are all Bill to suits and therefore end users. I am really, really excited about that. I think that's a combination of all of our skill sets in one package, built a suit and user isn't focused on interest rates as much. Because they're not exiting, and they don't worry about a cap rate. You know, I have heard and I don't I mean I am I don't want to play dumb but I don't totally understand what pencils down means hate that phrase. All I know is that everyone says it and I just think to myself just a bunch of followers following followers. Yeah, there's going to be good fundamentals that come back into this business because of the Slowdown, and I am excited about that. Things weren't making sense. There's just a massive amount of in migration and demand. And, so I am worried that if pencil stay down too long in absorption keeps going, we're going to have another little problem, but I see us uniquely positioned to be able to solve that through build a suit activity. Yep. I think the modern workplace is changed and there's a lot of old obsolete Office Buildings out there. If they're floor Plate, serve the right size, they're ripe for conversion to multi specifically in Dallas. I would love to see density increase with multifamily in the CBD and for us to have those things that other major cities have all that cultural richness and the walkability in downtown. So I think we actually have a chance. Pulling that off now which I am excited about office. Developers are going to keep building really cool Office Buildings. Yeah, they're going to have to if they're going to work and I think big corporate headquarters relocations are going to look for real modern office space. Yep. Their end user requirements in their employee base want Wellness. They, they want natural light. They want to be outside. They want all these things. And so developers in the past, kind of built things that work for Or them, and they kind of force the office Market to fit into their box. And, you know, there's a curl Holdings is building a mass Timber building in Frisco. That's going to be out of this world. Cool that's all. There's just going to be great development and then also too. I just still think there's just so much money that the money's going to have to go to work, right? So people are just going to have to figure out how to get used to a different. French bread? Yeah, 2020. And 2021. I mean I am not saying that they probably shouldn't. If you're upset that we're off the highs of 20 21, then I don't think you fully understand economics. I mean that was just straight up into the air. I mean it was just bananas. I think we will look 2021 was the wildest, damn year, it was fun. Yeah, I mean there was there's money on everywhere but it was like all things gravity sets in, and we must come back down to earth and like you said, I think it's going to wash out a lot of the, the posers or the fakers that probably shouldn't have been in the industry is that they just easily got in and it creates strength and durability for the folks that are in it for the long term and truly know what they're doing credits going to be a big deal. Yeah. And so people that just were leaving of their ski tips too much. Just those are the fundamentals. I think that maybe we're a little out of whack. You said, you do you know really nice office in industrial buildings? But you have also, you mentioned old Parkland. You have mentioned some class double, a corporate Interior. Is there anything different that happens between building a really nice office in an industrial building versus a really nice office in an old Parkland — you know, how you get into the property and all the security and everything? Like, what's different about the actual build-outs themselves? We're doing the Neiman's headquarters right now, okay? And The level of design in just the sheer Beauty in what we're going to build for them is just way different. Yeah, there's different economics to it, you know, and industrial space that this hasn't changed at all. Your kind of count, how many times that fork truck goes in and out of that truck, the Amazon job. They said, you know, we, we make like, Like seven hundred fifty thousand dollars a day out of this facility. So when you're thinking about, how to speed the project up, keep that in the back, your mind, I go. First thing I go like, let us rip the roof off, and they go why I go. Well, the slowest thing I have to do is to meet the energy code requirements. The roof doesn't meet it, and we got to go stick pin, insulation, underneath the bottom side of the deck and I can rip it off and put it on new. And then it doesn't slow any of the production down on the inside. How much is that? Three million bucks. So, you know, three million bucks is just four days of production for them. How much time does it save us? It saves us for weeks, do it so, little bit different. Yeah, even Marcus. It's more Museum grade. It's like it's about the experience of the office space. Yep. It's the light fixtures and the design and all the things that go into what I think is trying to create this, this magic in the human connection, and they experienced that the person has in that office on a deal like that. Or y'all do the interior design at your firm or do you partner with an amazing interior designer? And how do you all work together? When you're building that detailed and intricate of the space? That one's an easy one for me when I am talking about wanting to play architect and broker and everything. I just I am so deeply rooted. My Origins myogi is in Industrial. So for the audience you know I am not talking about Neiman Marcus as headquarters. Yeah I mean the design professionals are magicians. Yeah, it's really in their hands, they're the ones and then the real Beauty and it is that collaboration between the end user and the architect and how they get that Vision out, oftentimes the end user. Doesn't have the vocabulary or the muscle memory to think and work the way they architect does. Yeah, so really good Architects. I think are great at pulling that out. And when you're designing a space, like that, First your budget, you're coming up with an estimate, your given it to them. I am not saying these companies have endless budgets. How do you think about change orders along the way? Because I have to imagine in something like that. When a change order happens at that level of detail, it's not just a hundred bucks here. There's big. How do you kind of set the tone before the project starts of how something like that actually works? Because that's where a lot of the pain happens is like you said it would cost this. It's like, well yeah, but we didn't we weren't going to put the gold toilet in the women's.

Chris Powers





You really try hard to just only put high-level budgets together through the design process. And then you work that design process Us together collaboratively to a point. Yeah, we're, you know, most of the decisions have been worked out. Yeah. And then after that, it's typically owner or architect LED. It's not because we forgot something. Yep. So there's more of a memorialization. Yeah. On some of these super fast moving industrial deals. I mean you just got to go. Yeah. Any, it's not worth it to like you just said to wait of even days weeks. Everything is costing. You 750,000. Dave, if your Amazon. Yeah. Oh, what it would like be like to be Amazon. Yeah, you think differently I do? Well, you would, if you were like Amazon. I mean, so it's a dish, the vision. And foresight just the way. It's changed our world. It's just, it's amazing. Well, you Maybe you have an opinion on this. You don't the big headlines of 2022 were you know, Amazon's not building as much but then I you know it did. I think those are more headlines because then you go to some of these conferences I have been to is like no they net absorbed an additional 15 million, they grew 15 million square feet this year, but then you hear they, you know, decommitted from projects here and there I guess from your perspective and I know you'd the markets that you're in, did you have any of the impact of Amazon slowing down, or was that more of a headline narrative than reality? We had one deal that was just kind of it felt like it was stacked like a house of cards. Yeah, that deal didn't move. And I couldn't figure out whether it was Amazon or not and then you didn't know if it was them. Yeah, I didn't know I knew it was there but I didn't know if it was the situational pressure that they were dealing with or the fact that you know the guy putting the deal together. Just thought he was going to get rich. Yeah. You know, when the news broke, it was funny, you know? Like we were like, we were kind of bummed out, you know, and then the next week they called and said, will you go National with us? You know, I am like, wait a minute, that's a different signal and well, you know, the world is full of lies. You can't listen to really what the world says. Oh, kid in, in, and it wasn't as bad as everyone, feared? Yeah, we started helping them under, right? And look at how to make their buildings safer, we help them. Through some budgeting around building safe rooms and, and they kept us busy in different ways, and we're still moving forward with certain product, type finish out. Yeah. All right, we're going to spend the last leg of this awesome conversation on just leadership culture. Kind of all the really good stuff. And so maybe we could just start with how you think about. Not only your legacy there and how you thought about servant leadership, but how that's kind of starting to permeate the organization because when I started the conversation from afar, the thing that I think about when I think about y'all, I actually think about Charles a contractor S. I think about y'all's culture a lot of first. Its it, just it exuded. It outshined you which is a great thing. So like have you thought about all this, it does, it doesn't happen by accident. No, just, just personal kind of my personal Kairos moments. I was lucky enough to go to a Jesuit High School in Dallas, okay? In there's something really powerful about the nation Doctrine in Jesuit. Demonstrated away. We had a motto, it was to be a man for others. And so, how was he young man? And I was imprinted with this idea of service. And so I am grateful for that. I think that's like deeply embedded in my heart. Wow. The older I get the more grateful. I have you know, how was just an idiot, but he gave me a foundation, you know? Yeah. And then I failed at my first marriage and it wasn't until I really started to get hungry and ask the big questions about life and My purpose and wanted to explore my faith. A little more than I felt like the Catholic Church allowed. It's not that they did or didn't it just was mine relationship with it? Yeah that I had my conversion in, so I just remember Jill showed up in my life and I didn't think I deserve. You know, and I was in counseling preparing to get married and the counselor head hashed. Have you reconciled your first marriage? To this day, that's still high conflict relationship. And I knew there was now a that would be able to do it and I thought it's my job and I just didn't understand how reconciliation work. And it's so basic, I tried to orchestrate my own reconciliation, my little joke about it as that I tried to use a Q-tip to clean my own ass up. Now, that's ugly imagery. That's how dumb I am. Yeah. And then and Reconciliation, while you're on that. There's a lot to go in. There is forgiveness. In a lot of ways is setting a prisoner free and realizing that the person you set free is yourself. Yeah, or resenting. Resentment is a poison that you drink that. You think hurt. Someone else that I hurt you, right. And then I go like, where does forgiveness really come from?

Chris Powers


And that was the act of surrendering and asking the Lord to be my king. I knew I couldn't pull it off. There were.



Awful things that I had done. There were not forgivable. Yeah, they wouldn't have been by her and I don't blame her, you know, but that's when the Lord got me. Boom. And so that was in the first year of Gordon Highlander. I started my divorce. I had a guy died on the job. When a client pushed me to get started, before I should have, I went through a high conflict divorce, my Uncle Twins, were 18 months old and that was the Inside Out work the and it was 07 heading in 2008, right? I finalized my divorce in August of 08 with a payout on a marriage that only lasted 18 months and the economy flew off a cliff.

Chris Powers





You know what, I would tell my team at the time is that I didn't know how to prove it but that God wanted to use Gordon Highlander. We had chank sin, our armor that made us undeniably authentic. Yeah. But they were the very change that people spend their whole career trying to avoid and for whatever reason. They all happened at first that the first just start just I am like Magneto, you know, I can attract precious gems and pitchforks and hatchets all the same time and so that's that, that is the undeniable part of my story that then I tried to kind of carefully weave into the organization, I feel like I am a student of human behavior, and I am hungry to learn and unlearn, and We were cruising along, I really, they're still at the beginning. There was still so much my ego all over the place. I can see it more clearly. Now I had a lot of resistance or kind of revulsion to things and then I used my sense of humor to make fun of them. Like, we're not going to have values where I go buy a poster from Michael's that says courage and it's a wave crashing on. Rocks. We're just not even going to write it down because we're going to live it out. Yeah. And so that little messy origin and that the people that were with me then are still at Gordon Highlander and I will tell you that the adopt ership that it's this, this cultural phenomenon, that is such a blessing in a privilege to be a part of is way bigger than me. It's I believe that companies.

Chris Powers


Have a soul. It's an.



It's an organization of people. It's organic. It has a soul. And what is competing with the soul? And what I have learned is the ego. He goes full of attachments and repulsions. And that's how you know, it's there. Yeah. And so, in like 2016, I started to realize Why wouldn't we write this?

Chris Powers





And so amazing partner showed up around that time and Mark Hernandez, would 22 Brands is who we have been working with since then. And he and I were more like Brothers now than anything. And we just love, I think, ideating over all this and figuring out the authentic ways to put it in the This, but we did a, we did a workshop then, and, and that's when we go to fight our mission statement. And so that's a big part of being a Gordon, Highlander to build a legacy, helping others reach their god-given potential. And I teach cultural training class to every single employee that gets hired a Gordon Island, really the very first thing that they do. So what is that? Look, like that's me, talking about the rich story of my family and the imagery and what it means, symbolism, the colors, The Tartan, you know, the red stack, it is me confessing my faith and asking for permission to be able to talk openly about it. I am not asking anyone to change. It's foolish for me to think that they could with me. You know, I think the only thing that I am responsible to do is to share my testimony and be unashamed about it. Yeah, and so we talked about archetypes, The principal archetype of Gordon Highlander is to be a servant. That's the business that were in. And so then we talk about Legacy, we deconstruct the whole mission statement for everyone. I told my dad about my mission statement he said it doesn't say anything about construction and I go Dad it says to build. And I do this little exercise that I hope helps everyone memorize it. I wanted it to be easy to memorize, and then we built it in a way that we can deconstruct it. So to build what a legacy and then I ask everyone, what do you think a legacy?

Chris Powers





And so for me, I just talked about eternity, the pursuit of Excellence is always just out of my reach I can't stop reaching for it in a my little dyslexic way. That's how I know it's there. The legacy of what helping others, you know, that's our Jesuit story to be a man for others, right? And then helping others do what reach their god-given potential and that's what I had to tell everyone. If I am not careful, what I let my self-worth, run the show, I care about how hard I work and what other people think of me. And I forget that I am made in God's image and I have been valuable to him and I tell every single employee that they're invaluable that the world says they're replaceable, but not to me. That is unbelievable.

Chris Powers





And I am assuming that this had to Even this class that you teach it didn't start that way. Did you design this on your own? Oh, no. Somebody help you create this. Well, and if I come to work for you, how long is this a full day? How to because they leave there, and then they start it at Gordon and that obviously continues on, how does it continue on after that first meeting with you, which I mean, you just knocked my damn socks off. I am trying to catch my breath right now. Mandy Pearcy is the second employee Gordon Highlander, and she's the vice president of culture and talent. We have a lot of people that are in overhead positions that are dedicated to the organization outside of being a contractor. We have a person that's dedicated to all of our subcontractors. So that they know that we believe that they're invaluable to. And that's the spirit in which we're trying to lead ourselves in the entire organization. It's also a great filter for business development in the sales team. Its Hardware. We love to win. Yeah. But at what cost, you know, the greatest relationships that we have or the people that see the value in us too. How mmm? And I am assuming you just answered the question. But if I am somebody young about to get in this industry and obviously some of the wisdom you learn in life, you gotta learn from the pain and growing older and seeing a lot of things and maybe it starts out with what you said about Jesuit. But there's a lot of people that are going to be graduating from college or just a lot of young people in the industry. They're getting in. You know what do you tell.

Chris Powers





There's a, there's a great saying when the student is ready, the teacher will come and the hardest. The most Brave is places a person can go is on the inside. And I don't know, I just like my 17 year old boys. I am like, boys, you have a judgment bias. You don't even understand yet. It happened so fast, you're just unaware of it but just least encouraging them to consider. You know, what is a bias. What are those things shape the way you think? And there's just, I will tell you one of the greatest stories. My best friend in life, is the co o Grilli and of your company. We met in fourth grade. Okay, okay. Yeah, he was the, we were, co-captains of the wrestling team at Jesuit. I was the student body president. He was the vice president. Okay, the world says, you can't work with your friends but I go, why not? Yeah. Friendship is built on the greatest tenants in relationships and like, oh, that's what we want to have a garden. I later my other super good friend, from high school, one of the smartest kids, I know he said the chief strategy officer my best friend, Brad. He left after five years and thought he could take what we were doing and take it into the marketplace and go lead it for himself and it didn't work out. I was unaware of this, we were having lunch, two years after the fact. He looked at me, and he said I made a mistake. And I asked him if he had cheated on his wife, I didn't understand. He said though, I made a professional mistake and that has been I got weird. I am like hold shift and people were hurt when he left. Yeah. And I knew I needed to be really careful and explain. What pain does to people's memory. Yep. Brad leaving hurt. That hurt, but Brad, did not hurt us in a conscious way. There's a real difference, he loves us and it's painful, and I am thankful that I had the foresight to do that, because he told me that day, I figured it out, I go what? And he said, I don't care what we do. I just want to do it together. Mmm, so that is a rich moment in our story that you can't make. A cup. That's a part of the deep stitching in our fabric. Yep. We are on a pilgrimage together to a place that will never get to owner. Yeah, the desire that we have for permanency is the very thing that life never provides. There's a certain loneliness to life and when you can do it with other people that you want to do it with, that's the real magic. So, he came back, he came back, how did we have to talk about? So he left, then he realized he made a mistake. How long after that lunch until you all, were back in the saddle together and how did you handle it? Did you first think? Well, let me make sure this is going to work. Like, how does somebody come back especially into a place of?

Chris Powers


Leadership? A lot of the.



Things that Brad and I wrestled over and it funny story, we would do it. Very, we had gotten used to fighting with each other, and we didn't care what anyone else thought. And so I will never forget one time. Richie said when y'all do that s***, it reminds me of when my parents used to fight when I was a kid, you know, like Mom and Dad are fighting again. The very things that he was challenging me on, were the things that we actually had to put in our business after he left. Yep. And then, we grew like a weed. And so, It wasn't easy. Some people wanted to withhold the right, buy into it until they saw what they felt like were some of the changes that they wanted to see. It's helpful. I think it what I have always felt like it's been very helpful and such a huge privilege. I don't have any partners, and so I get to make the decisions but have always been so careful with that. Yeah, I have no, I tell everyone, I am not afraid to make the decision but a lot of times I don't have to because I figured out either how to hold the tension long enough so that we know as a group, or we do it in a collaborative way. And so it was going in socializing some of that with the key people and then Convincing them, that this could be a real powerful part of our story. And then ultimately, I think one of the greatest gifts that you can give someone as a leader is teaching others, how to put themselves in other people's shoes. Mmm. And I just said, with all due respect, if you hit made the same mistake, how would you want me to receive you? It wasn't until people could make it personal that they understood how important it.

Chris Powers


Was. That's Grace. Yeah.



You said pain does something to people's memory. I felt that. Because I tend to distort my memory of things when things have been traumatic. What do you mean by that, that you could also kind of use that comment that we made around resentment for that too? It's somehow there is a bondage that we have with our pain, and if we're not careful, we become history onic, and we tell ourselves the same thing over and over again for so long that it becomes a life of its own that we can't.

Chris Powers


Really cope with. Yeah. Yep.



And it's okay for things to be painful. But people want to take painful moments and make it someone else's fault. The hardest part of the Inside Out work that we have to do is when we sit in our own s*** and realize what our partner it was. Well that's what you said. The bravest thing you can do is go on go to the inside.

Chris Powers


And we.



All get to that point in our journey at different times. But it typically has come just like humans are good at after a disaster of some type. Yeah, I am just such a dummy. I am like, dude, just like, oh my god, there I go. Again. If people listening to this news, some of the just bombs I have put myself through just stupid things that Maybe one day, I will share them, but it, you typically hear you go to the inside when things are in free fall. Because that's really the only place left to go. You have already reached for everything on Earth and then it didn't work. I would like to tell a sad story, if it's okay. I think that as I have learned you don't get to pick and choose really? Yeah. And if you try to live with your hands open, God does put other people's pain in your path. And so we had a superintendent, commit suicide Thanksgiving week. Eek in three weeks prior to that, he took a mental health day. I heard about it, second hand and I decided to move in. It was concerning and His name is Gerald Gardner. His daughter. Getting married a It's super painful. He had failed at marriage and was in an unhealthy relationship. He had a heart like a lion and I believe had some codependency issues were. He was trying to make an unhappy person. Happy thought he could.

Chris Powers


Fix it and.



That changed, and he didn't have the tools to manage the pain. He became manic about how he was wrong. And we moved in we tried to help, we got him in the counseling, and we invested a lot in terms of people knowing what was going on and trying to love on him and tell him, you know, failure is an event. It's not a person and just equip him with the tools to deal with his own inner dialogue, and I am not a hater but I hate suicide. Yeah. I just No, Jared didn't have the tools to deal with his thoughts. Yes, pain. And it became too real. And somehow, he convinced.

Chris Powers


Himself and to be better, he was gone. God.



As an employer. And I think this is, I think this is a good way to bring this all back. Some people would tell you like, are you Crossing an HR boundary? When you go help a person and put them in counseling, or when you start treating people like people and like family or just like people instead of robots or numbers on a spreadsheet. How do you think about? Where the company and I think I know your aunt's what your answer is going to be but like what do you tell other business owners and leaders that are on the fence of? Again, the world tells you all the wrong things? The world would say you can't reach out like that. You got to call your HR director and make sure at all is going to check out. When in the end of the day, all we are is people that are showing up at work, but we tended to make it feel like work has to be this totally different way in which we live our lives because there's all these legal ramifications. Like how have you? I don't even know what I am asking. Like how have you taken that? Boundary down and said to hell with that? Like I am going to it's all one thing. And we're going to the same way. I am at home is the same way. I am going to lead at work and if you don't like it, Come at me. I mean, have you thought through that? Because you are a unique leader in today's world. I think about just, you know, the way the world lies about HR and needing to be this thing of compliancy, you know, I don't know. No one shows up to inspect my HR. But I have this idea like I play the court of law. In my mind, I go like what's the right thing for Jared? And you know what if I make a mistake trying to do the right thing and I let love be the currency that I am dealing with when I am dealing with my people. Then I am willing to take those mistakes. There's risk in everything that we do. I am a contractor. I take a mask of massive amount of risk every day. If I, if I focus on the risk, then I miss I think the real opportunity to serve and, Yeah. I mean I would listen to this. I was in Seattle at the University of Washington with my identical twins on a college tour when I found out that Jared took his.

Chris Powers


Life And I just kept thinking about all my people, how should they hear that this has happened? And I just new right away. It's not an email, and so we pause what we're doing and I have a FaceTime call with all 110 employees, and we can mourn and weep together.



It was a sad.

Chris Powers





I can feel the gravity of the situation. In the weirdest way, it's one of the greatest privileges of being a leader. The shepherd goes after the lost sheep. And I have to work hard on being a good lamp. And that's what we're trying to teach. That's part of what's in the fabric at Gordon Highlander. We're trying to activate the inside out job, that a leader has to do. This has been one of the best if there was ever going to be a four-year anniversary episode. This was, this was the one. This has been absolutely incredible. Well, thank you, man. We had to reschedule this a lot. And that funny, glad we did God. Dan's little bit on it, right? You wanted this to be an anniversary special? This was unbelievable. Well, thank you so much. Thanks for coming out today. I am encouraged by what you're I am very encouraged by what you're doing. I have actually had some work to do now, so, do I? Yeah. So thanks again, man. Thank you. Everyone, it's Chris here again. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. If you enjoyed the show, please follow the show on Apple Spotify or subscribe on YouTube. Thanks again, and I will see you on the next episode. Chris Powers is the founder and chairman of for Capital LP, all opinions from Chris and guests of the fort podcast are solely their own, and do not reflect the opinions of for Capital LP. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for Real Estate or investment decisions. The fort with Chris Powers is produced by straight up on casts. The fort with Chris Powers is produced by straight up podcasts.