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Leadership and Giving Back with Ed Johnson
Episode 3029th March 2022 • Construction Disruption • Isaiah Industries
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Our guest Ed Johnson, CEO of Johnson Global Ventures, is an executive with experience in leadership, marketing, sales, and real estate. He’s spent time as a sales trainer, a marketing executive, and a leadership consultant for NBA and NFL teams. Now he runs his own business, Johnson Global Ventures, and his consulting business Bambootility Media. Ed was instrumental in popularizing bamboo as a construction material and agricultural product in North America and continues to spread the good word about bamboo today.

 

Visit jglobalventures.com, or reach out to Ed on LinkedIn for more information on Johnson Global Ventures and Bambootility.

 

Episodes are sponsored and produced by Isaiah industries, a manufacturer of specialty metal roofing systems and other building materials. Learn more at isaiahindustries.com



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp
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Transcripts

Ed Johnson:

:

These people, they need to do what they say they're going to do because people's lives are at stake when you erect a structure. Materials have to be proper. Your subs have to be right. The engineering's got to be right, the designs have to be right. So to me, it really all goes back to the consistency of someone's character and their leadership qualities.

Todd Miller:

:

Welcome to the Construction Disruption podcast, where we uncover the future of building and remodeling. I'm Todd Miller of Isaiah Industries, manufacturer of metal roofing systems and other building materials. And my co-host is Seth Heckaman, also of Isaiah Industries. Our goal here at Construction Disruption is to provide timely and forward-lookinginformation that is helpful to those who are serious about our construction industry and serious about their careers. As part of that, we always look at new innovations as well as trends in construction, building materials, the labor market, and leadership. If it's something that we believe will impact the future of building and remodeling, then we go out and find a leading expert on that topic, invite them in as our spotlighted guest to share. So today that guest is Ed Johnson of Johnson Global Ventures based in Windermere, Florida. Ed's 30-yearbusiness career has taken him into many industries across several countries. He is a leader, mentor, and entrepreneur involved in real estate, health care, and also various sustainability ventures. He's been director of the North View Acquisition Corporation, which is a publicly-tradedNasdaq company. And he is the former radio host for the Delta Business Journal. And now we're actually recording this. It won't air till after, but we're recording this interestingly during Black History Month. So I want to add that Ed has also been great inspiration for young African-Americans who aspire to build and achieve the American Dream. Ed is here today to provide us insight and trends and real estate and development, as well as just his unique perspective and advice on leadership. Ed, I know that you're busy this week attending the CPAC conference there in Orlando, so thank you so much for taking time, but welcome to Construction Disruption.

Ed Johnson:

:

Thank you very much, gentlemen. Todd and Seth, it's a pleasure and honor to be here.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, thanks so much. I look forward to our conversation. So you have had a long and successful history of business and also community development, economic development. I thought it was interesting that you also for several years were Sales Trainer or Senior Sales Trainer for Bristol Myers Squibb. Would love to hear, in your own words, a little bit about your background and where your career has taken you over the years.

Ed Johnson:

:

Yeah, I mean, you know, starting out and I think that as we get older, we realize what our real gifts and skills are. And while I started out early on in my career, in sales. I realized that my strong gifts were in communications and leadership. So but over time, you tend to earn positions of leadership as you get good at what you do, as you get, as you get mentored, et cetera. I feel very blessed to have had very clear parents to guide me and that were college-educated. And since you did mention, you know, Black History Month, I think is what's really important is that, you know, my parents met in college and you know, my on my maternal side, my grandmother actually, besides my mother, her three brothers, she put all four of those kids through college.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow.

Ed Johnson:

:

Which is really interesting. Yeah, and you're talking back in the 50s and 60s, right? So for African-Americans to have gone to college back then and to aspire to do what they've done, they're a big inspiration for me, of course, my parents instilled how important education was for success because they said, You know, if you want to play sports you, you got to get A's and B's. So I mean, it was just a non-issue, right? So leadership starts very early on. I think my career started very early with parents giving guidance and good strong teachers and coaches and things like that. So for me, regardless of what I've done in the business world, I've always wanted to give back. I sit on multiple boards in my community, for the county, for the city, nonprofit boards, and also some nonprofit organizations. So I think it's important to lead the way. And that's a little bit about me besides my professional career.

Todd Miller:

:

That's fantastic. Well, thank you too, for your service to the community as well, and I'm right there with you. I love that aspect of giving back, and we see that in so many leaders. I'm kind of curious. I know you live in Florida now. Where did you, did you grow up in Florida or?

Ed Johnson:

:

Yes, I did. I am a native Floridian. I spent the early part of my career in Florida with Bristol Myers Squibb and also the State of Florida economic development in a consulting role, which is also a sales role. I moved up to Chicago for 12 years and really took on a lot of big-cityissues, working with some of the world's largest companies like Accenture and Deloitte, and Abbott and companies like that. They were my clients and also working for another very large company. So, you know, when you learn how to learn the corporate way, but you have entrepreneurial skills, you have the best of both worlds. And after 12 years in Chicago, I was headhunted to be the CEO of the Delta Economic Development Commission. And so I did that and down in the Mississippi Delta and eventually came back to Florida to take care of an elderly father.

Todd Miller:

:

OK, very good. So at this point, your main business, I believe, is Johnson Global Ventures, which you started about four years ago. As I understand it, part of what you do is help analyze real estate projects and investment opportunities for your client's. [I'd] love, could you share some of the things that you have done through Johnson Global Ventures?

Ed Johnson:

:

Yes, and especially on the construction side, I've had the opportunity to work with some of the largest developers in the nation. And as my clients work side by side with them on projects in the state of Florida, but also looking at a construction from a big picture project, right? So there's a lot that goes into any construction project as a lot of your viewers know. From building materials, the cost of strategy, all the zoning issues, all the things that go into it. So I have to be on top of all of the issues that go on when you want to construct a project. What's very significant is even before the pandemic, we were beginning to see, you know, construction prices go up. And of course, when the pandemic hit, you know, we saw the lumber prices continue to skyrocket. I specifically had there was one project that was being done. One of my projects not too far from Disney, that in one month the price went up $300,000 because of construction prices. So for me, I mainly work with large projects, could be a hotel resort, could be multifamily development or single-familydevelopment or any kind of development that needs to be constructed by these investors. But having a bird's eye view, I think having worked for the state of Florida in economic development gives me a little bit of an inside track with the government officials. And when it comes down to zoning and planning and things like that, they don't, you know, I can talk to them and say, Look, I understand the zoning issues and that you get a friendlier face instead of someone that's trying to stop a developer. But construction is, as you know, is very besides expensive, it's also something that, it's something that the community has got to get behind right. Because if the community doesn't get behind your project, then it could be dead in the water.

Todd Miller:

:

So that's that idea, and I know you talk a lot about this, this idea of helping to develop and inspire a shared vision within an organization, I suppose that comes into play sometimes with real estate development and pursuing various opportunities. What does that look like in terms of good advice for folks who want to inspire that sort of shared vision?

Ed Johnson:

:

Well, and I think it's very important that your clientele work very hard to develop good relationships with the people that are in charge of planning, development, zoning, environmental issues, those types of things, you know, maybe, maybe 20, 30 years ago it was a little easier to some degree. But today, I think that if you as a construction manager, as a developer, if you cannot work in tandem and as a team, and people can't see that, then you're not inspiring a shared vision. I mean, you know, I think we all need development, right? We all need good development projects. That's I think that's the elephant in the room that I think every construction manager needs to be able to address to the government officials. Sometimes we see government officials as those people that are going to say no and oftentimes they do, but sometimes they don't understand what's really being done right. You have people that want to preserve the environment. They have people that don't really understand. I think so, if you don't inspire a shared vision, you won't have everyone on board. Stakeholders won't be on board. So that's why it's very important to be able to collaborate. I think that's really what inspiring your vision means.

Todd Miller:

:

I remember one of our previous guests here on construction disruption was Paula Parker from Massachusetts, and she talked about leading her community through the development and developing the vision and then the actual physical development of a beltway around their town. And it was very interesting as she delved into how she developed that kind of a vision and got other folks on board. So kind of switching away for a moment here from the real estate. I was really intrigued when I was listening to you talk about how you got involved in the commercial development of bamboo as a commodity. And I just think that's pretty fascinating. And because everyone once in a while I run into various bamboo construction products and I remember Seth and I were in Japan together several years ago and visited a bamboo forest, and that was pretty fascinating as well. But kind of curious, how did you come to be involved in promoting bamboo?

Ed Johnson:

:

Well, when I was CEO down in the delta for the Economic Development Commission, I did a fair amount of travel globally, and an American Way magazine actually had an article on bamboo being the next green gold and that it produces 10,000 products and things like that. This was 2008. So I think everyone in the construction industry remembers, 2008.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh yes, yes.

Ed Johnson:

:

Painfully. So, my job was tasked with creating jobs and in the poorest part of the poorest state in the nation was just very difficult. However, we were growing cotton, soybeans, rice, et cetera, in there in the region that everyone knows Mississippi is very good at doing. But, there was a problem, there's a problem with jobs, and I said, why don't we just grow bamboo? Of course, people thought I was absolutely nuts. So we got millions of acres. Why not grow bamboo and we can create these construction materials? Engineered bamboo, not the stuff we see on the Jackie Chan movies, right? So we want the planks. We want the stuff that builds trusses and trellises and wallboardsand things like that. And so I had my master's in business, but I got my second MBA, which is the master's in bamboo, which means. So I was up at night, late nights doing research. I have a certificate in marketing research, and so I was doing all this research. I was talking to people that knew more about bamboo than I did all over the world. And I came, you know, there were a lot of different materials, switchgrass and all these different materials that were used for different things. And it came back that bamboo was that one material that would continue to grow back when you chop it down. For the next 80 years, you chop down one bamboo stalk it's going to grow back. So I thought, well, it's totally sustainable, grows anywhere but the North and South Pole, why not grow it in Mississippi? So I got the farmers together with the industry and created the North American Bamboo Summit, and people came from around North and Central America. And for two days we had this bamboo summit at Mississippi State Research Center and all the smart people, scientists, and things like that. And of course, I think at that time I was probably called the Bamboo Heretic thinking that, you know, because I had all these farmers saying, you know, what are we going to do with our soybeansand rice? We know how much we can get for that, but what do we get for our bamboo? So now all of a sudden, I'm creating this whole new industry. And I got three heads and but I could see the vision. I said, You know, once you and listen, other people, I was only taking what was already done. People had already created these planks and ASTM, there was an ASTM standard for bamboo in construction for one type, one species of bamboo. So at that point, things began to lodge. I got this one guy that was on my board, that owns about five different businesses. He's a billionaire, and so we traveled out to the state of Washington and looked at the Bamboo Research Center, and he started growing on his farm. And next thing I know that I was in Europe, in Belgium, I never forget this. I was at a research center in Brussels, and this scientist says, Yeah, some guy over in the states did this bamboo summit, you know. I said, Will you look at that. Oh my god, I can't believe the internet is that powerful.

Todd Miller:

:

I am the bamboo guy.

Ed Johnson:

:

I could not believe it, right? So then I really began to say, you know, maybe we're making a little bit of progress. Of course, there was a big leap where I was to getting it into Home Depot right? Or Dixie Plywood some of the suppliers that are out there and distribution centers. So, so when you create an industry, I mean, there's a lot of uphill. You have an uphill battle and but now you find bamboo trellis and trusses and wallboards, and you can actually do 3D printing with bamboo materials and build structures and so, you know, our technology has evolved to the point to where it's widely accepted in the construction industry. The only issue was we had to get the price down right. And so I've got a big industrial client, actually, ironically, that in the logistics space is the number one global leader in this logistics product. And now they spec in my bamboo boards and in that construction industry. But to get the price down was the big issue, right? Because it was not basically the strength of one, let's say, bamboo construction materials like three to seven times stronger than wood. Right? So the customers wanted the same prices as wood or pine. And we're like, just not going to happen. You know, you can't, you know, you're looking at a totally different product that's going to last five, six, seven times longer than anything you've ever seen. It's not going to have termites, not gonna have a lot of issues like that. So I went through years of that. While I'm speaking at a lot, a lot of engagements about these issues and talking with engineers and things like that. So then of course, now you know, we have the pandemic and then the cost of pine goes way up and then it gets closer to that bamboo price. You have other producers besides China, now you've got Vietnam and you've got the Philippines and Central America. We finally are starting to see some bamboo manufacturing in other parts of the world besides all the way in China, which was my number one issue. My number one issue was to bring jobs back to America away from China. China had at that time in 2010, they had one million people working in the bamboo industry, and now they likely have close to three million people just devoted to just bamboo or more. But Vietnam has siphoned off a lot of their business. They're easier to work with that I found historically than working. I work with people in China for 10 years, probably almost every day. So but that's bamboo in a nutshell.

Todd Miller:

:

So is there bamboo being commercially grown in Mississippi at this point also?

Ed Johnson:

:

There's a little bit, but yes, there are some farms there in Mississippi now. We have two or three in Florida. You're going to see more and more. You're going to see some in Louisiana, you'll see some in Arizona and you'll see some in Oregon. At some point you're going to see bamboo production grown all over. Ironically in the 50s, I think, the U.S. Department of Energy encouraged farmers to grow bamboo as a biofuel source. And so, you know, I know we're talking construction right now, but because of the many uses now, if that had happened, we'd be talking right now. You know, this would be old hat. This wouldn't even be news, right? But the farmers thought, Well, you know, we don't know the material. We know if we grow 10,000 acres of rice, what we're going to get, that kind of thing. So it didn't take off back then, but now we're seeing a shift in that.

Todd Miller:

:

So I'm curious, what is the growth time I realize, you know, you cut it off and it grows back? But what is that growth time before harvest?

Ed Johnson:

:

OK. So with the fear of getting too technical here, I'll try to be somewhat easy with the growth because there's 1600 species of bamboo.

Todd Miller:

:

That's a polite way of saying that was a dumb question, Todd, but I'll do my best.

Ed Johnson:

:

No, no Seth got it right away. So, it's about 1600 different species of bamboo. And so the species that we're discussing for the Guadua is is the one that ASTM has said, you know, they approve it for construction because of how thick it is and how hard it is once it dries out. So Guadua is tropical, it's a native tropical bamboo. Now I've grown it in Central Florida. You can grow Guadua in other places, but it grows in hot tropical climates. So if you go to Central Florida and below, go down to South Florida, the Caribbean, southern India, really hot southern China, hot places. Guadua will grow great, it grows in Arizona. So as long as you water bamboo in the first six months, you don't have to water it again. You know, unlike cotton or trees or something like that. So you don't have to water it. You just plant bamboo. You don't need fertilizer. It'll just grow. And three, I would say Guadua, you can harvest it in about two years, two to three years, which is unlike a tree it's going to take 10 to 12 years, right?

Todd Miller:

:

Sure.

Ed Johnson:

:

Now, most of the bamboo that a lot of people are very familiar with. And if you look at HGTV and I talk about construction, remember Pam Anderson, you know, really made bamboo flooring popular, right? She goes on HGTV and everyone wants bamboo flooring. That species is called Moso or Phyllostachys bamboo. Phyllostachys is what it's called. Pubescens, that's Moso. Moso is what's so famous for bamboo flooring and some other bamboo products, but Moso is not as durable to hold up a wall, a building, a truss, a trellis. You want Guadua or a species called Bambusa balcooa, which is also a tropical bamboo that is very, like if you see my hand, from here to here, it's solid. And then in the center, it's solid and it's almost as hard as steel. I mean, it's unreal. So those are the species, and they grow in two to three years you can harvest. The other ones, Moso, it takes five to seven years for you to harvest it.

Todd Miller:

:

Okay, very interesting. Well, I remember again, going back to when we were in Japan, seeing scaffolding on buildings made out of bamboo and just how incredible that was and certainly showed me the strength of it. So kind of switching gears here a little bit and thinking about our audience, which typically is a lot of younger folks fairly new in their careers, in the construction or design industry. Any particular books or authors or anything that you think people should be paying attention to early on in their careers?

Ed Johnson:

:

I would say, and this is not necessarily geared toward one industry, but one of my favorite books by Kouzes and Posner is called the Leadership Challenge.

Todd Miller:

:

Yes.

Ed Johnson:

:

The Leadership Challenge, it's about three or four hundred pages, but you would not put it down. It's a great book. These gentlemen did about twenty, twenty-fiveyears of research on leadership; it's very practical hands-on. It's not a lot of theory. So if your audience is young folks in the audience, I highly recommend it. I actually used it when I taught a graduate course on leadership, when I lived in Chicago at Argosy University. So use that textbook and I used John Maxwell's book at the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

Todd Miller:

:

Sure.

Ed Johnson:

:

I mean Maxwell was a phenomenal writer, by the way, it's easy to understand his writings and when you read his writings on leadership, you go Oh, I should have thought about that. It's real simple. But those two books, I would say the Leadership Challenge and 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Maxwell. And hopefully, in two years or less, I'll have my leadership book out. I've just got some other ones in the hopper before then, so.

Todd Miller:

:

And I wanted to ask about that. I understand you do have a couple of books you're working on right now. Can you give us that any sort of a sneak preview of what the topics are going to be?

Ed Johnson:

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Well, I did. I did write a book or at least in the middle of writing a book on my time in the Mississippi Delta. And it certainly it won't be called leadership in the title, anything like that. But it's all about leadership and progress. And I think that's one book that is going to be coming out. And then I have another one. Totally different than your audience is probably thinking, but another one on sports leadership and all the work that I used to do when I lived in Chicago with the NBA and the NFL. And I know that's not construction, but you asked so yeah, those two books are coming out first.

Todd Miller:

:

Well that's pretty interesting. So you were working with some of the pro teams on leadership and inspiration and things.

Ed Johnson:

:

Yeah. Leadership issues in a big way. So yeah, that was a big part of my life for a while, but it all goes back to, you know, whatever you do if you want to be a leader and let's say in construction as a company, you think about some of the larger construction companies. Whenever I meet the GCs or I meet the CEOs, the founders of these companies, and how successful they've been, it really all boils down to leadership. You know, so you know, what construction company is better than the other one? If you think about the people that you've done work with and you consistently do work with, you say, Well, you know what? This guy's crews always show up on time. You know, they're always on or under budget. You know, they're, you know, they're on top of things. You know, they do what they say they're going to do. If there's a change, something coming up, you know, they let us know ahead of time or they're honest about it. I mean, all of those are good leadership qualities. Basically, you do what you say you're going to do and you're just real about things and you walk with integrity and you have some ethics. And so to me, that's what leadership is all about. And so in construction. How important is that right? That, you know, these people, they need to do what they say they're going to do because people's lives are at stake when you erect a structure. So materials have to be proper, your subs have to be right. The engineering's got to be right. The designs have to be right. And so to me, it really all goes back to the consistency of someone's character and their leadership qualities.

Todd Miller:

:

So it's an interesting environment out there in the world. I mean, here we are coming out of basically the shutdown of the world during COVID. And you know, we find ourselves in a pretty brisk economy. We find supply chain problems, we find inflation starting to kind of kick in now and see some wobbling in a few areas. But for your clients who are looking at strategies and investment opportunities, what are some of the pieces of advice you're giving them right now as far as things to be thinking about or keeping in mind?

Ed Johnson:

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Yeah, I mean, there it was complicated before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Todd Miller:

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Yes.

Ed Johnson:

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And now that that's going on, that that really somewhat complicates issues because we start looking at the inflation issues, which of course, fuel and oil is a major driver of inflation. Doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum that you're on, all you have to do is just go to a gas station and figure that one out.

Todd Miller:

:

Right.

Ed Johnson:

:

But there areso many products that are made some oil right, and a lot of us don't really think about that unless you're in construction or unless you're in certain professions. So plastics and all sorts of different things are made from oil. So we have this shift, of course, because of my background. I'm all about sustainability issues, no doubt about that. However, I'm also all about I don't think fossil fuels is a bad thing. I think that our technology today, we're very we're so much better at it, you know, knowing how to harvest oil right and make products out of it. But today, with what I advise my clients on, I mean, they're always looking for value in whatever they invest in, whatever they do. So if it's a construction project, you know, they now. So let's say now that they would pay, they have to pay less for land. They're going to construct the project, right? They can't. They know the building materials have gone up. Thirty-fiveto fifty-fivepercent. So where are they going to be able to make the project work? Everything has to pencil. And I think that's what's so important. I mean, if you know what I like in talking about you talking to you guys is that it's the bottom line is the bottom line. You know, if you're going to be doing a project, everything has to pencil right it. That means it has to net out. You have to be able to make money because most of the people in your audience and that you've worked with are there dot com, they're not dot orgs, right? They're not nonprofit organizations. They're trying to make a profit to take care of their families, to take care of their employees,and things like that. So when I work with my folks, I just have to work with them closely when it comes to the materials and material costs. But some of those costs are passed on to the consumer, right? We're seeing a big shift now into Single Family Build to Rent. There's a gentleman that I worked closely with and he was like a heretic three years ago doing Single Family Build to Rent communities and they were like, Are you crazy? And he's like, No, you know? And now, because the inventory of single-family homes is so low, all the rents have gone up for apartments, for homes. If you want to rent a home, I mean, rents have in some places doubled and tripled. So what do you do? We have a supply issue. We have a supply chain issue with building materials, we have supply chain issue with available homes and buildings,and things like that. We don't have enough office space and in certain parts in Florida, so I'm sure you experienced that as well. So right now, it's a matter of unfortunately, a lot of them are sitting on the sidelines, they're holding their cash and they're looking to see what's going to happen with the Fed, because even though some of my clients are very large companies they have Wall Street money, right? So some of them have to sit on the sidelines and see what the Fed's going to do about the inflation issue. The Fed's in a difficult position now with the European war, so they likely are going to hike rates, but they like they're not going to hike as aggressively. So what does that do for the US dollar? Well, if they hike rates, typically they're, you know, the real estate industry goes down, but we have a tightening in inventory, so we may not see inventory. I mean, we may not see real estate sales in commercial and residential go down in the next few months. We may see them remain steady until we have an excess or an excess of supply, which likely could take probably a good 18 to 24 months because we only have 30 days of inventory, I think nationwide of single-family homes. And then if we start looking at multi-family homes and things like that, it's a delicate balance right now. So a lot of my clients are on the sidelines and I, you know, would advise them to just watch, you know, don't stay on the sidelines too long. I mean, I advise them during the pandemic not to stay on the sidelines because most of their projects, construction projects take two years, two to three years. So I said, you know, don't sit, don't sit on the sidelines. And some of them, most of them stayed on the sidelines during the pandemic. Some of them did not. And then, as the pandemic started to ease up six, seven, eight nine months ago, they went to get back in the game and they missed some buying opportunities during the pandemic when prices were deflated a little bit. So my advice is right now, maybe stay on the sidelines a little bit, but not too long.

Todd Miller:

:

Very good and interesting. So I know something that's important to you personally and we touched on earlier is mentorship and building into younger folks. What are some of the ways that you have done that, or what are some of the ways you would suggest others do to get involved in that process of building into the next generation, if you will?

Ed Johnson:

:

Well, I think the first thing is that you have to model the way. I hate to sound like the Kouzes and Posner book, but that's really, you know, I mean, I love their five, you know, comments on leadership. You have to model it. I mean, you know, if if I don't walk the walk, you know, I'm just out for a walk, I'm not leading in one, right? They can't. If they don't see, they look at my success, I can show them what it's taken to get here. All the grinding it out. You know, you meet your talent with your effort and you can become successful if you don't give up. And so I have mentored kids and as an athletic coach, football, basketball coach, I've mentored them outside of sports. You know, just, you know, talking to their lives, listening to them, trying to inspire them to have goals. And I'm amazed. I mean, if you have kids, you understand, even talk to your own kids, sit down and you sit down and say, Well, let's talk about your goals and they look at you like a deer in the headlights, right? Initially, and they go, Oh, I guess I need to think about that. And unfortunately, there are a lot of kids today, especially the ones that I've sat down with. You sit down, you ask them about their goals and they're just stunned. But then once you start talking to them and listening to them, they're very appreciative because no one's really ever sat down and talked to them about these things. It doesn't matter if they're in a very wealthy area or in the inner city. I mean, I am amazed that the kids are pretty much the same, but it comes through lack of goals and it's like, you know, their parent, might own multiple businesses, but the kids never really sat down and thought about, you know? Now, thankfully, a lot of these kids, they do have some parents that have been successful and they have someone to model the way to success in their own home. And then there's some kids that have never, ever seen it. And that's where you have to just realize, OK, you know, I need to sit down and just, you know, listen to this person, take him to lunch. And I used to do a lot more consistency, like once a week, once a month, that kind of thing. You sit down like a Big Brother Big Sister situation. But I do see kids a lot. You know, the parents kind of love it. You know how it is, the parents love when you talk to their kids, you know, like, I love when other parents talk to my kids, you know? And so I do a lot of that on a weekly basis, and you turn around and the kids are like, you know, Oh my God, they're taller than you now, and they're grown. So I think that's very important. And you know, if you're not doing that in your business, you're just for yourself, you know, I think that you won't be as successful as you could be because, you know, you got to give back. That's just my thinking.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. And I liked what you said as far as kids, regardless of their background, tend to all be the same. I remember when I was a kid, I mainly cared about my hairstyle. God had a funny way of taking care of that one for me, didn't he? I'm curious, are there any trends, back to construction a little bit, any trends you're seeing out there in construction and development right now?

Ed Johnson:

:

Oh yeah, absolutely. Speed, you know, we're seeing whatever, whatever can be more efficient when it comes to speed and the cost issues. Now I'll start first on sustainability issues. I am seeing more sustainable materials being used where it's applicable that we do have because of some of the environmental certifications like LEED, Green Certification and things like that. I do find that a lot of construction managers and architects are starting to spec in more of the renewable materials where they can, right? They're looking for that even overseas, even in projects that I know in Qatar and Dubai, they're trying to do that right. So but when it comes down to over here, like I'm seeing projects that are... Whatever they can do to make it quicker with 3D materials, you know, some of themI'm trying to think of a term where the buildings fold up, you know, some of that, some of the micro...

Todd Miller:

:

Modular construction and things.

Ed Johnson:

:

Modular buildings, tilt-wallconstruction. That's a big deal these days. I'm amazed at how fast large distribution centers have gone up on the interstate.

Todd Miller:

:

Yes.

Ed Johnson:

:

How quickly. I mean, in the past it would take two or three years, you know? And I've seen them go up in six months. We're talking, you know, hundred thousand square foot, five hundred thousand square foot Amazon facility that went up in a matter of three or four months. And that's all because construction materials.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, a lot of it's about speed and reducing labor costs and getting that return on investment flowing. Well, this has been really neat. We're really are close to the end of our time, and I want to thank you again for joining us Ed, but before we close out, I have to invite you to be part of something that we do on every episode called Rapid Fire Questions. So this is seven questions. They may be serious. They may be silly. All you gotta do is give us your immediate quick response to answer them, and our audience needs to understand that Ed doesn't have a clue what I'm going to ask them. So are you up to the challenge of rapid-fire?

Ed Johnson:

:

I don't know if I have a choice.

Todd Miller:

:

That's probably true. Anyway, well, thank you. We'll, we'll alternate questions, make a little bit more fun, so I'll start out. First question. If you had the ability to invent anything from your wildest dreams, what would you invent? We had someone once we asked this, he said he would invent a self-unloadingtruck, which I thought was pretty cool. We need those. So what would you invent?

Ed Johnson:

:

Oh, my goodness. I guess it's getting a little noisy here now. Sorry about that.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, you're good.

Ed Johnson:

:

Yeah. So if I had the ability to invent something, what would it be? Probably air travel that could get us from one coast to the next in 30 minutes.

Todd Miller:

:

That'd be awesome. Like that?

Seth Heckaman:

:

Yeah, absolutely. So question number two, how long does it take you to get ready for your day in the mornings?

Ed Johnson:

:

Twenty minutes.

Todd Miller:

:

That's about mine also. Third question, what's the best age to be?

Ed Johnson:

:

40.

Todd Miller:

:

I like that.

Ed Johnson:

:

I don't think you know anything until you're 40.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Favorite place in the world you've ever been?

Ed Johnson:

:

Switzerland.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Interesting.

Ed Johnson:

:

Geneva, Switzerland.

Seth Heckaman:

:

What about it?

Ed Johnson:

:

The international feel, the flair. I mean, it used to be Belgium, but honestly, I think Switzerland is just, you know, so clean. Everything's clean. I mean, they have buildings and areas around Switzerland, castles and that's been there for like a thousand years and it's cleaner than many places in the U.S., you know, I just I'm stunned at how clean the place is and the people are very friendly. So yeah, definitely Switzerland.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Very cool.

Todd Miller:

:

I was just thinking my co-host is in trouble on that. We don't know anything until we're 40 thing. I was like.

Seth Heckaman:

:

I got a lot to learn over the next ten years.

Todd Miller:

:

We'll cut you some slack.

Ed Johnson:

:

Well, he looks 40 to me.

Todd Miller:

:

Good deal. OK, question number five. The worst advice anyone has ever given you?

Ed Johnson:

:

Oh my god. Not playing college basketball.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, so someone advised you not to. Did you follow their advice?

Ed Johnson:

:

I did. Should have never done it. That's why I had my daughter run Division One College track when she had the ability to do it, and she did.

Todd Miller:

:

Favorite dessert?

Ed Johnson:

:

Tiramisu.

Todd Miller:

:

OK, now I'm hungry. Final rapid-firequestion. What was your favorite game to play as a child?

Ed Johnson:

:

Wow. Monopoly.

Todd Miller:

:

That's cool. I had, our son loved Monopoly, I mean, we would play it multiple times a day. I was, I really didn't like the game when we started and certainly didn't like the game after that period.

Ed Johnson:

:

I mean, I was just amazed at how you could buy Park Place and buy all these places and make money. I mean, I had no idea. I guess I was a little capitalist back then and didn't know it.

Todd Miller:

:

I was going to say, Yeah, it's followed you through. That's kind of awesome.

Ed Johnson:

:

To me, it was just so much fun, you know, and I hear these people complaining. Monopoly's so long. We want Monopoly lite. What? You gotta enjoy the whole game, you know, come on.

Todd Miller:

:

Good stuff. Well, thank you so much. This has been a real pleasure and a privilege. Enjoyed chatting with you. Is there anything we haven't covered today? We've covered a lot of ground, but anything we haven't covered that you'd like to share with our audience?

Ed Johnson:

:

No, I just think that I'm glad that you're providing this, this interview. I just think that from the construction side, just be patient regardless of what's happening in the economy. You know, I heard a guy this morning, you know, states one of the quote-unquoteexperts say that, you know, the economy is still very strong, which it is. And that and then put things in perspective. One of the guys said that Russia's economy is about the same size as Florida, and that kind of puts it in perspective, right. So be encouraged, we're going to make it through this regardless of what happens over there and we'll keep the faith, keep going strong. You know, it's going to be OK in the next year or so we'll be good.

Todd Miller:

:

So I suppose a lot of the conversation at CPAC has kind of pivoted to be about Russia and Ukraine. Is that true?

Ed Johnson:

:

Yeah, absolutely. That'scome up and what's really come up a lot is leadership. Lack thereof and those that have it, you know, and so that and what's going on and this whole thing around why, you know, our current president didn't step in and that are they pushing us to try to go toward a green economy? But you know, we want to take this back and realize that, no, we're losing American jobs, you know, and without American jobs, you know, it's not a good thing. So leadership is a big deal right now. That's the topic of discussion here at CPAC. And you know, we think that America is strong, we're going to snap back,and are now our allies are beginning to understand just how valuable we are as an ally.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, good stuff. Well, thank you for what you're doing. And this has been a pleasure. If any of our audience members wanted to get in touch with you what's their best way to do that?

Ed Johnson:

:

You know, they can reach out, you know, via email or LinkedIn. My LinkedIn profile, they look up Ed Johnson, Johnson Global Ventures on LinkedIn they'll find me. Website actually is going to be going live. They're working on it now. So it should be live again in the next two or three days. And so they can look up Johnson Ventures sometime next week.

Todd Miller:

:

Fantastic. Well, by the time this is published, it'll be up there then. That's great.

Ed Johnson:

:

Yes.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, this is great. Thank you so much Ed, we've really enjoyed this.

Ed Johnson:

:

Thank you.

Ed Johnson:

:

Todd Miller: I want to thank our audience for tuning in to this episode of Construction Disruption with our special guest, Ed Johnson of Johnson Global Ventures. I've really found this to be quite informative and inspiring too. It's great to hear people living out their passions. We encourage our audience, please watch for future episodes of our podcast. We have lots more great guests on tap coming up in future weeks. Don't forget to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or YouTube. Until then, as we always say, change the world for someone. Make them smile, encourage them, bring them hope. Some of the most powerful things we can do to really change the world. God bless, take care. This is Isaiah Industries signing off until the next episode of Construction Disruption.

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