Join host and Partner of Confluence Financial Partners, Greg Weimer, and his guests, advertising industry veterans Bill Garrison, Partner at Garrison Hughes, and Dave Popelka, President at Garrison Hughes, as they explore the ever-changing landscape of the new normal. Hear their insights on the immediate and long-term impact of the pandemic on workplace culture and consumer behavior. Business owners, marketers, and savvy investors will all want to tune in for expert tips on how businesses and brands can adapt — and even grow — through turbulent times.

Podcast Transcript

“Imagine That” Confluence Financial Partners Podcast with Greg Weimer

TRANSCRIPT EPISODE 11: “Marketing in the Time of Coronavirus”

Greg:    90% of people want companies to do everything they can to protect the wellbeing and financial security of their employees and suppliers. Imagine that,

(Edelman, 2020 https://www.edelman.com/research/covid-19-brand-trust-report)

Hi, this is Greg Weimer, partner of Confluence Financial Partners. I have the privilege today to be here with Bill Garrison, partner of Garrison Hughes and Dave Popelka, we’re laughing, so I have to be careful not to call him Bob. I knew his dad before I knew Dave. Dave Popelka, president of Garrison Hughes. Welcome guys.

Bill:    Good to be here.

Dave:    Yeah. Good to be here.

Greg:    But I thought we’d talk a little bit about what it takes to be successful. The success of your firm has been remarkable. I’ve watched you grow. So, if I were a growing business, I’d want to, I’d want to hear about some of the key things that you did to allow that to happen.

It’s a new world, right? It’s a new world of communication. Like, I mean, a lot of industries are changing communication, and the way you reach out to clients is — it’s changed.

And I’d like to talk a little bit about that. And then the pandemic, like, what does, what has it meant to businesses? What do you have to do to be successful? Who’s leaning in? What’s changed. And then, Dave, something you mentioned to me last week is, I think he called it “consumer scarring.” So, because of the pandemic, there’s been changes. So, we’ll leave that, leave that as a little teaser on “consumer scarring.” What does that mean? What does the pandemic mean? What does it mean today, and what does it mean in the future?

First of all, Bill, you founded the organization in 2003. Why don’t you just give a brief overview, so people understand where you guys have come from and, and sort of where you are today?

Bill:    Sure. Well, Dave Hughes and I had worked together for many years. We were at big agencies like Ketchum Advertising and Mullen and some smaller agencies, more, more creative places like

Werner Chepelski. And we sort of grew up in the business. We met each other pretty much when we started our careers. And you know, we worked together. You work with a lot of different people, but Dave and I just seemed to hit it off in terms of knowing what each other’s strengths were. And so, we grew up in the business.

We sort of started to look at the business of advertising. And we saw how it was changing. And big agencies were getting splintered up, and bigger clients were looking for more collaboration, more creative partnerships.

So, we saw a need out there. And we saw a chance where we could start our own place. We never thought about doing that, right? It’s one of those things, some people just are wired to start their own business — we were very happy, we were growing, we were rising up, we had good titles, but we knew there, maybe, there was a better way to do this. And so, we took a chance. We left it all, just the two of us. We kept our relationships; we had our reputation, and that’s about all we knew. We knew that we could get the work.

Greg:    So, no frightening moments? You open the doors, you to walk in, you’re looking at the phone, it’s not ringing…

Bill:    We had seen a lot of peoples start their own agency and kind of flame out.

Greg:    Yeah.

Bill:    Cause, they said, “It’s us against the world. Big agencies suck, we’re the best. So, we’re going to show the world how to do it right.” And then in a year and a half, they were gone.

Greg:    Right.

Bill: So, we looked at that, and we said, why, why aren’t they surviving? Because it is hard to survive as a business and an advertising agency. And in a community like Pittsburgh, there’s relationships. And you don’t want to sort of burn these bridges.

Greg:    It’s everything. And by the way, to your credit on relationships. I don’t know if I’ve ever told, we work with Garrison Hughes at Confluence. So, you know, for the listeners, we work with Garrison Hughes. And the reason we called you guys originally was one of the firms who will remain.

Nameless, one of the firms that you mentioned, where you guys used to work, one of the former executives, as high as you can get, when I said to him, who should I call? He said, “Call Garrison Hughes.” So that’s an incredible relationship, right?

Bill:    Yeah. And we kept in touch—

Greg:    That was probably four or five years ago.

Bill:    Part of —it’s not like you follow your business plan exactly. But we had to write a business plan.

We didn’t know how to write a business plan.

Greg:    So, it was just the two of you.

Bill:    It was just the two of us. And we, we made a decision to do two things. One was, get a client and try to get a client kind of before we went out on our own. At least get some confirmation that we could have a client.

Dave:    And that’s a big mistake, a lot of people, you just open up and say, ‘okay, come to us.’ You need the client to get going. Right? I think that was smart.

Bill:    That’s exactly right. Yeah. You end up opening your door, and you say, okay, we do it better. We have — these people that started their own little shop. They had good reputations.

Greg:    Yeah.

 

 

Bill:    They had relationships, but they basically walked away and said, we’re going to go do new things.

Greg:    Build it, and they will come.

Bill:    Yeah. And we’re sitting in Egan Conference Room here at our agency, and that’s because Dave Egan was CMO at Reed Smith. We had worked for Dave. We had kept in touch with him. He was a, you know, we didn’t know about Reed Smith’s agency relationships.

Greg:    So, where’s our room? We’re a client. Where’s our room?

Dave:    Wait, we’re doing the build-out. We’re doing the build-out right now, Greg.

Bill:    Yeah. Thanks, Dave, for picking me up on that one. But, Dave said, if you guys go out on your own, yeah, I would, we’ll work with you.

Greg:    That’s awesome.

Bill:    And he, he was in the midst of severing, his relationship with a Washington DC firm. And so, we sorta went out going, okay, nice anchor client, but it’s not going to pay all the— it’s going to pay our bills. And then we can start, because we at least knew, we both had little kids. My daughter’s about the same age as the agency. So we were, we had little kids and we had bills to pay. We had all kinds of things that would scare you into not getting into business.

Greg:    Absolutely.

Bill:    And the second thing we did was, work with agencies. I think out of the top 25 agencies in Pittsburgh; we did business with 22 of them as a freelance.

Greg:    Okay.

Bill:    We were as the senior team, we had, we could jump ten steps ahead. If they need new business, they’re always looking for ideas to share with clients. And sometimes their own people are busy, and they just need some fresh ideas.

Greg:    Right.

Bill:    Dave and I had worked with big agencies. We worked on big clients. We could plug in, and I would say probably 30 to 40% of our business was with other ad agencies.

Greg:    Oh, really? That’s yeah. That’s interesting. So, Dave, how long have you been here?

Dave:    Almost six years. And we worked together. I knew Dave and Bill. I’ve known them 25 years. I worked with them at Ketchum. And I remember when you, when you went out on your own, as an industry, everyone kind of collectively said, ‘That’s going to work. That makes sense.’ And I was at Mullen at the time, and we had used you guys for some things and it just, they had such a good

 

 

 

Reputation. Everyone wanted to work with them. And it was, it was kind of just a, it was a really smart, I think, strategy in terms of getting going.

Bill:    Our theme line was “Big agency experience without the big agency bar tabs.”

Greg:    I got it. We’re like that. Yup. Same.

Bill:    And the cost was a factor for agencies. They knew they could get the kind of work that—

Greg:    Although you don’t, you don’t feel inexpensive.

Dave:    Did we mention the build-out on the conference room?

Bill:    Yeah, the Weimer Room.

Greg:    So, okay. So that’s, that’s a great foundation. So, the two of you starting entrepreneurial, as you know, it’s interesting. I don’t think that you’re entrepreneurs, you learn how to be entrepreneurial, which is a little bit different. I think we’re the same way. So today, how many associates?

Dave:    So, 83.

Greg:    So now we’re one of the fastest-growing companies in Pittsburgh, right?

Dave:    Right. Yeah. The Pittsburgh business times has a fast 50—

Greg:    Okay. So here’s the question. So why does that matter? Like, is it like, cause we’ve grown a lot also, and I think it’s: you either grow or you die. So why has that mattered?

Dave:    Momentum matters.

Greg:    For. Sure.

Dave:    And I think it matters internally and matters for clients. It generates energy, it generates ideas, and it builds on itself. And so, when you’re adding other services, and you’re trying to help clients and the momentum, it just kinda rolls, and it’s very, very important.

Greg:    Yeah. So, you know, so when we work with your firm, I can imagine, like, if — the two of you are great, but you know, Dave, you’ve been very helpful for the relationship, Shannon, you know, so, it’s a team. I don’t think you can attract and retain talented people unless you’re growing, and clients should demand that. Right? So, you have to have talented people. We’re both in the same type of industry in that; it’s — we don’t make widgets. Right. We have intellectual capital. So, for us to attract talent, we have to give them opportunity. To have opportunity, you have to give them growth. So, people have said to us like, why does growth matter? That’s why it matters.

So, what’s the number one thing that you would say helped you grow, the most important thing?

Bill:    I would say loyalty, the loyalty of the people that we brought in, and they were senior-level people. And we had worked with them before and they just, they brought real stability to just the agency and how we, they got to know clients. Obviously, I mean, loyalty helped us as a business, our work, I think, and the quality of our work always had to be at the highest level, because that was our reputation. And people came to expect a certain level of work from us. And so, we had to keep that up.

Greg:    But, but without the right people and those people being loyal, you can’t provide that right for your clients.

Bill:    Right. We have you know, Mike Giunta, who’s our chief creative officer. He was our first employee

— still here.

Greg:    Yep.

Bill:    Just the people, I think we gave them growth opportunities. We gave them a chance to, as we say, get closer to clients, you know, these are people that worked at bigger agencies. There are layers built-in at certain places where you’re not going to be that connected to a client that can work to a certain point, but we always encourage people to, you’re going to be in front of a client.

Greg:    Right?

Bill:    Your work, you have to speak to your work. You’re going to have to defend your work. You’re going to have to compromise with a client. You need to; you need to want that interaction. And we had people that they prided themselves on their work so much that they just didn’t want to hand it off.

And then somebody else run with it. So we gave them that opportunity. And clients came to, to expect that whoever they talked to knew what was going on, knew how to speak well about a project, or at least could get them to the right person so that “no layers” was another one of our mantras early on.

Dave:    Yeah. One of the things that struck me is that the, our old building, which I never worked, which across the way here, so the employees, literally used to take out the trash. Right. And that, you know, you’re starting, everyone’s pitching in. That mentality still exists. Whether that’s helping to stock the refrigerator, or do you need something, a client needs something, it’s that kind of humility in the idea that we’re going to run to problems, not from them and help each other. And that, that has been that’s permeated, I think, what we’re about. We still metaphorically take out the trash.

Greg:    Yeah. And that culture comes through in your work, right? So, it’s interesting how you’ll see some organizations; they treat their associates so poorly. And if you treat your associates poorly, I don’t how they expect then that associate to treat the client well. It’s just not logical. And in every industry, and some industries are worse than others. We don’t need to name the industry, but I think some are really bad. But it’s interesting that you’ll watch that. And then you’ll hear the associates have disdain for their company. “I don’t really like our company.” Well, it’s like, well, then how are you going to be happy answering the phone and taking care of that family on the other line?

Dave:    You can’t.

Greg:    You can’t. So, you know, it’s the relationships, people, loyalty, you know, turnover is a problem, right? So you can’t, so we pride ourselves on low turnover at the same time. You, you know, you just have to find the right, the right associates also. So yeah.

So, well, congratulations on your growth. That was, it’s been awesome. It’s been great to work with you guys, and it was; I’m looking at the two of you also. It’s also interesting how, and it’s one of the things we like about working with you guys; there’s succession built-in, right. I mean, Bill, you’re not that old, you’re going to be around a long time, but Dave, you’re president, you’re more and more active with us. We love the relationship. We have a relationship with both of you guys. We’re trying to do that also in succession planning, because, you know, we hope as our organization to have a relationship with you for 50 years.

So it may not be the exact same people in the room, but it would be people that were brought up in that culture. So, it’s good to watch you guys; it’s sort of reassuring to watch you guys really think about the succession of the business.

Bill:    We really appreciate that coming from a client.

Greg:    Yeah. We actually like Dave a little more.

Bill:    Yeah. That’s good. As it should be, but Dave heads our management team. Dave and I are still involved, and we love our client relationships. We’re involved in the work. We always want to be involved in the work. That is just what why you get in the business; you see something that you create.

Greg:    Yeah. Jim, and I will do the exact same thing. I think Jim and I will always be involved in the business. And I know I can speak for Jim on that. We’ve talked about it a lot. We’ll always be involved in the business, we’ll always be involved in working with clients, but there will be a moment. I don’t know when 10, 15, 20 years, where the day-to-day management of the business, shouldn’t be done with us. So, then we can actually spend more time, not less, with clients. So, I think we’ll be around forever, but our capacity will change in that, we’ll have other opportunities for young leaders to actually come in and run the firm.

Dave: And I think you’re in that you and Dave being so involved, still, in some way, not that it makes it easy, but it’s easier. And it goes to your comment before about strengths. And then, and I think some of the alleviating some time allows you to be more involved in work and clients, and that’s good.

Greg:    I haven’t seen any, like, I, Bill, I talked to you just as much as I always have. Now, Dave, I talk to you more. And so, for us, it’s been additive. It’s been absolutely additive.

Okay. So, congratulations, succession, it’s all good. The world’s changing. Talk about that. Like if, you know, we started with, you know, we used to write letters and communication— you guys are in the communication business and, you know, before— things have changed, we were, we were sort of talking before they started recording. I think, how you’ll hear associates say, well, “I talked to them,” and it’s like, “OK, could you define talk?”

Dave:    It was a bunch of emojis I sent them.

Greg:    Yeah. I sent them a bunch of emojis or OMG. Or I sent them an email. It’s like, okay, we didn’t talk, we didn’t talk.

So, just talk a little bit about how it’s changed in the industry, you know, wherever you want to go. Cause I think about, you guys probably used to be big TV, and I know we still do TV. You guys do TV, but there’s other things, right? I mean, your business, like ours, has changed dramatically. So, if you could just do like where it was, where it is, and where you think it’s going.

Dave:    Oh, I think in some ways, it’s more fun than ever. It’s more challenging, but here’s what hasn’t changed, though. It still is about ideas. It’s still about connections. It’s still about what is the Confluence story, and how do you tell that in a relevant and meaningful way? So that, that’s the part that, that is consistent. But I think obviously these conversations start with digital, right? It’s thinking digital-first that in terms of that’s where consumers are, especially during these COVID times. Digital people are on their tablets and smartphones and laptops more than before; we’re online more than before. And so, I think back in the day; maybe you would think TV would be the beginning of an idea. And now it’s, you were thinking digital, how does that work? How do you connect? And what that you can get more targeted and more specific. And obviously, it’s more measurable. So then we know clicks and all those types of things.

Greg:    Okay. So, give me this. I’ll give you a chance to do a plug, not including Confluence; what’s the best television spot you ever did?

Dave:    Well, I don’t know if it’s the best, but what comes to mind for me in terms of — was the James Conner work. Yeah. You know, I’m a Pitt guy and love James Conner. The UPMC Hillman and work for James Conner. And I always, people talked a lot about that spot. Right? The Fleury spot, people, talked a lot about—

Greg:    I’m stunned that you didn’t say Fleury right away. That’s the spot! Thinking about it. That is the that’s the spot. I was like waiting for you to say that, but it was yeah.

Bill:    Well, the Fleury spot was, by far, our most successful.

Greg:    What made that great?

Bill:    it was a combination of things. It was UPMC, the challenge to that spot was Marc Andre Fleury did not speak English very well. And so, it was very crucial that we develop a spot where he was the focus of the spot. But he didn’t say much.

Dave:    Now was the original script that had had him talking more?

Bill:    We had about ten different concepts with him saying something —

Greg:    It’s interesting because I just read that only 7% of communication is verbal. So, you said you, so thinking back to that spot, I feel like he said a bunch.

Bill:    Yeah. And,

Greg:    And he didn’t.

Bill:    We met his wife, you know, high school sweethearts, and she just starts talking right away and talking about their life together and how Mark Andre does this. And Mark Andre does that. And, and we’re going, you’re going to do all the talking. We’ll let him do all the funny stuff.

So, the concept became, she’s talking in normal tones, like Mark, Andre’s just a regular dad. And then he’s, the juxtaposition of all the hockey stuff and playing with the baby became him.

And he is a comical guy.

Greg:    Right.

 

 

Bill:    He’s a prankster.

Greg:    He was so authentic. His personality came through.

Bill:    And people, the response to that spot was amazing because people kind of thought he was a little standoffish because he probably didn’t interact that much. Probably worried about the communication barrier. They fell in love with him, just all over again, not just—

Dave:    It probably humanized him a little bit, right?

Bill:    Yeah. I mean, and he let us in his house, he was the most gracious host. We looked at all of his stuff. Funny story, in his basement, we’re down there, we had, you know, like the food service and where all the production people were in his basement. And we were shooting in his kitchen —

Greg:    We didn’t get any food for our commercial. But that’s fine.

Bill:    Oh, there you go.

Greg:    It’s okay.

Bill: I’m going to blame Vince. But we’re in his basement, and I’m looking around, and there’s all the toys, and there’s all this stuff and mixed in with his daughter’s baby dolls, and toys was his face mask from the Olympics.

Greg:    Oh, how cool.

Bill:    And then his Stanley Cup face mask. And, and he goes, my wife just made me put this stuff down here. Because she was getting sick of seeing it. Right? So, it’s like what we would put—

Greg:    Right.

Bill:    And he’s putting his Olympic mask with blocks and toys, and we’re going, he’s just a regular guy. And so it came across. Sometimes when the concept, the client trusts you, they don’t make you say, sometimes, there’s all the copy points, and they just say, we gotta, we gotta say this, this and this. They let the process work, humanize the story, and people fell in love with it.

Dave:    And like from a strategy standpoint, I mean, it really connected to Magee. It was a very entertaining spot and heartfelt and everything, but they saw their metrics, you know? I mean, it was a good, it was everything you want from a spot.

Bill:    Right.

Greg:    Right. So, it’s interesting. Now with going through the pandemic, you would think that organized businesses would be seeking more ways to connect with their clients. Right? I mean, whether it’s, I actually, I was golfing with someone over the weekend, and we were talking about clients and just in general, generic clients. And we’re spending a lot of time with clients, whether it’s golf, lunch, dinner, breakfast, whatever. We think it’s like, we like Zoom meetings because it replaces a telephone call. It does not replace human interactions.

So now we’re going to, you know, we’re going to have a great Zoom capabilities in all of our offices we’ve really upgraded all of it, so, it’s great stuff, but human interaction and human connection, I don’t really buy, everybody’s going to work from home, and people aren’t going to collaborate anymore. I can tell you it won’t be happening at Confluence.

We have made that decision where we’re going to continue to collaborate. We’re going to continue to see clients face to face. But it is interesting. So, over the weekend, we’re talking about clients in general. And I said that he said, “Clients? What’s that? I haven’t seen a client.” And he’s in our industry, not at our firm. He said, “I have not seen a client since March.” They’re forbidden to see a client. I’m thinking, wow, you haven’t seen any? Like, I get that you haven’t seen them all, but none?

So, and then when you think about ad spending, I, you know, here’s a statistic that is, that is fascinating. 69% of companies expect they will decrease the ad spend in 2020.*

*(Influencer Marketing Hub https://influencermarketinghub.com/coronavirus-marketing-ad-spend-report/)

Like I would think that if at least our philosophy is if you lean into this, and you spend more on technology on brand, on people, we just hired, I think three or four people in the last month. But if you lean into it, I would think businesses would benefit in the long haul. If you’re really long-term oriented, you’ll benefit from that. Are you seeing companies lean into it? What are you seeing? Are you seeing them pull back? We’re not going to pull back.

 

Bill:    Well, I think a lot of studies have shown that if that, if you go dark that you run a risk of just going completely dark, where you want to pull back and yes, there might be, you know, there are financial reasons to do that, but you risk your brand, and your message just being forgotten. And so, there’s a real risk depending on your business, depending on how much you value that, that brand awareness. I think it’s a—

Dave:    Yeah. I mean, I get it. And I think you’re framing it the right way. Is it an expense, or isn’t it an investment for people? And in terms of, from a marketing standpoint, and are you going, do you want to lean into this and really connect? We’ve talked, we were talking before, this is a shared experience. We are all going through this. And as a brand, or a corporation, or as an employer, you can help, be additive into someone’s life and be a part of that. And when you’re back on the other side, you probably will have increased loyalty, to your point.

Greg:    One hundred percent.

Dave:    And so, I think it’s now, you know, some businesses have obviously been devastated, and so maybe marketing isn’t an option at all.

Greg:    But it’s marketing, it’s people, it’s technology. It’s the whole, like, if you’re about maximizing your profits on a quarterly basis as I get it, you can’t do it. I would also argue you’re not going to be a long-term successful business. But if you’re about, I think this is a period of time that you can maybe attract great talent that wasn’t available a year ago, and you can attract great talent. You can, you know, make sure people know that you’re here to help them. And they’re hurting. Like people need to communicate whether it’s their financial, whether it’s their business, they need to communicate right now. So leaning into this as wildly important.

And, and I do think there’ll be a backlash from consumers. Another statistic, 71% of consumers said that if during this time, they perceive that a company is putting profit over people, they will lose trust in that company forever.*

(Edelman, 2020 https://www.edelman.com/research/covid-19-brand-trust-report)

Bill:    That’s a pretty big statement.

Greg:    I’m —the only thing that surprised me, I’m surprised there’s not more than 71%. Like you would think, it would be a bigger number than that. But it’s still big. It’s still big.

So anyhow, so you’re seeing people pull back a little bit, but, but is that true? Yeah.

Bill:    If they are out there with a message, that message is important. That statistic is about being sensitive to during a time like this; what are companies saying? What are their messages? Are they seeming to capitalize on it? Or are they saying something meaningful where they

Understand what’s going on? Are they helping? Are they doing things to help? Some of the companies that have transformed their production facilities to make masks and sanitizer showed innovation with compassion, and not just, ‘Hey, we’re going to continue business as usual here’ —

Dave:    Or jack up the prices or whatever.

Bill:    Right. People are very aware of that. So, I think the consumer, that’s saying the consumer is very aware of what they are consuming through television and digital—

Greg:    It’s a great time to just invest in relationships.

Bill:    Absolutely.

Greg:    Just like we’ve spent a lot of time together and we had a lot of conversations. This is, is this our third conversation this week? Right? I mean, it’s getting old actually. We’ve spent a lot of time together, but I think our relationship is probably better today than the beginning of the pandemic. Cause we’ve spent time together.

Dave:    And I think as a company we’ve tried to, you know, running towards clients and how can we help during this time and try to connect as much as possible. And I think that because it is a shared experience, we’re going through this together. For clients, and especially in the early time, I mean, literally, their business was changing every day.

Greg:    Right.

Dave:    And so, okay, how do we get out in front of that? How can we help you? Well, what is it that we can do to help you through this?

Greg:    You say shared experience. We were speaking earlier. So, you know, this was like one of those JFK shot, you know, space shuttle, September 11th, traumatic events. That’s lasting nine months, right? Like our granddaughter, who’s four. I saw her first day of school. My daughter-in-law, Nicolette, took a picture of her, and she’s there with her little friend, and they’re walking in, and they have masks on. And if you would’ve said that a year ago, you’d have thought, there’s no way.

Dave:    Right.

Greg:    But I saw going through that really has been, it’s been an amazing experience.

Dave:    It has been, I mean, it’s truly has, it’s cliche, but it’s a roller coaster. It’s an emotional roller coaster. It’s an economic roller coaster for people. And it’s, I think from a branding standpoint, an advertising standpoint, you can be the rock in some ways. I think you can. I mean, not to overvalue, advertising or marketing, but a company can help.

Greg:    Say we’re here. We’re here. We’re not going anywhere. We’re here to help. We’re not gonna go away. We’re here.

Dave:    Peloton. And I mean, you’d know the stock price better than me, but they just announced the other day that they’re doing a price cut because they think this is going to continue a long time and they want to maybe be a little more approachable. And I don’t know, and I don’t know how people react to that, but I think you may see more of that.

Greg:    Alright. So that’s the lead in consumer scarring, Mr. CMU, what is it?

Dave:    Well, there’s a professor at CMU, Laurence Ales, who had this concept of consumer scarring. And the idea that, that when major things happen in a generation, your behaviors change for that generation. And I think about my grandparents who lived through the depression, and they’d always have a closet full of canned goods, right? It changed their mindset. And so, I think as we, you know, it’s tough to get into the prediction business—

Greg:    Let’s do it.

Dave:    But to think about, what are the things, long-term, that at least in the rest of our careers or our lifetimes, will be different than they were before.

Greg:    Yeah. So let’s do it. What do you think will stay the same? What do you think will change?

Dave:    Well, here’s something that isn’t, I think the idea that coming to work sick, you know, playing hurt that whole, that’s probably done for the rest of our careers.

Greg:    Yeah.

Dave:    I think that idea of, Hey, why don’t you, you know, before it was a badge of honor to come in, your eyes were all glassy. I don’t think people want that at all. Even after the vaccine. That, that would be a guess.

Dave:    I think virtual meetings will not go away. I’m not saying they will completely replace the in-person or people are not going to go back to their offices, but the reliance and the ability to do it and maybe, not traveling as much for business, I think that’s, that’s going to be a reality.

Greg:    Yeah. In fact, we agree. So, in our new office, in the South Hills that we’re building, one whole wall will be a television, which is a bunch of television screens put together from what I understand. So, but it’ll be the entire wall. So, when we’re communicating with our offices and collaborating with all our offices, we want the quality to be wonderful. If we’re doing Zoom meetings with clients, we want the quality to be wonderful. So, we’ve just spent a meaningful amount of money on our business, making sure that when we do those Zoom meetings, that they’re actually high quality.

Dave:    Right.

Greg:    So, here’s, here’s something I think, never again — snow days.

Dave:    Interesting. No. Yeah. You just would flip the virtual switch and —

Greg:    Boom.

Dave:    Yeah.

Greg:    Sad! I love snow days. No more snow days.

Dave:    That’s interesting. Yeah.

Bill:    Well, there’s not going to be any more snow.

Greg:    God willing.

Dave:    But that’s a different podcast.

Dave:    Yeah. Yeah. Interesting.

Greg:    So, yeah, I do think though, people will say like, “Oh, we’re never going to again,” and things do— you know, I mean, Pittsburgh will be back. I mean, walking around Pittsburgh right now, because of people fear for their safety, from a lot of different aspects, but Pittsburgh will be back. And so, I think people, they tend to extrapolate out. It’s just not true. I mean, that no one’s going to — that office space is dead. I don’t know. I think people are going to come together. I couldn’t agree with you more, Dave. I don’t think we were going to — and they never should have — but they won’t, going forward, come to work sick. But Pittsburgh will be back. People will be collaborating again. The vaccine will come, and there will be better days ahead. But it will be interesting. I wonder how long it’ll take until people are comfortable in crowded places.

Dave:    Well, and I think that’s a great question, and I don’t know if it was McKinsey or one of the, they talked about that basically every business, in the short term, will be in the health business, be in the safety business. Because you evaluate, you’re going to go to a restaurant with your family. You’re evaluating, okay, what are their protocols? If that’s important to you, what are the protocols? And it’s an evaluation for decision making. And so, I think in the short run, that’s how we are thinking, well, you know, that, that retailer, they didn’t do X, Y, and Z. I’m not going there.

Greg:    Right.

Dave:    Or they went out of their way and did A, B, C, and that was a great experience.

Greg:    Right.

Dave:    So I think in the short run, we’re kind of all in the health business a little bit right now.

Greg:    Yeah. That’s fair.

Greg:    You’ve come a long way. You’ve come a long way. Well, congratulations guys. Great conversation; truly have enjoyed it. Appreciate the work that you do with us, and really appreciate the partnership and how you’re committed to being a state-of-the-art, wonderful firm, not only today but for the foreseeable future. Thanks.

Bill:    Likewise. Thank you.

Greg:    Appreciate it.

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