You hear us talk about it every week on the show. Red Wing is far more than steel-toed boots. Their platforms offer oilfield operators and service companies a “one-stop-shop” for all of their oil and gas safety supply needs.
From boots to hardhats, safety glasses to flame resistant garments, Red Wing has you covered – socks to the top!
The Most Interesting Man in the World
No one is more qualified to communicate Red Wing’s story than Tito Warren, Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution, and Jim Bailey, Managing Director of the Americas for the company.
Jim hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and naturally speaks fluent Pittsburghese. He recently joined the company to help oil and gas operators and services companies in the Domestic and South American markets leverage Red Wing’s platforms for delivering high-quality head-to-toe PPE solutions when they need them the most — even if that’s the same day.
Something Red Wing has been doing in the international oilfield for 50 years.
Tito Warren has been with Red Wing for over a decade. An avid hunter with outsized passion and a strong entrepreneurial penchant, Tito has been cutting his teeth in international business, quite literally since he was cutting his teeth.
I caught up with Tito and Jim in the second floor of Red Wing’s booth at OTC.
#064.5: Oil and Gas Safety Supply with Red Wing
Subscribe, Rate, & Review
Connect with the Team
First Friday Q&A
The FFQA questions are rolling in. Leave yours in the comments below or click the orange “Send Voicemail” button on the right to submit yours.
We’re sitting at 87 as of this writing. Click here to help us crack 100!
Share the Show
Click any of the links below to share the show 🙂
Global Oil and Gas Network LinkedIn Group
Get Mark’s Monthly Events Email
Connect with Us
#064.5 Oil and Gas This Week Podcast: Oil and Gas Safety Supply with Red Wing
Transcripts Courtesy Of
James: I’m James Hahn II, and you’re listening to the Oil and Gas This Week Podcast, Brought To You By Red Wing. This is episode 64.5. .5 episodes are my chance to speak with entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders from inside and outside the industry. To hear their stories. What inspires their work. What culture drives their company. What innovations they’re bringing to the oil field.
Our guests today are the reason we have a podcast. Tito Warren, Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution at Red Wing, along with Jim Bailey, Managing Director of the Americas.
Jim hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and naturally speaks fluent Pittsburghese. He recently joined the company to help oil and gas operators and service companies in the domestic and South American markets leverage Red Wing’s platforms, delivering high quality head-to-toe oil and gas safety supply when you need them the most, even if it’s the same day – something Red Wing has been doing in the international oil field for over 50 years.
Tito Warren has been with Red Wing for over a decade. An avid hunter without outsize passion and a strong entrepreneurial penchant, Tito has been cutting his teeth in international business quite literally since he was cutting his teeth.
I caught up with Tito and Jim in the second floor of Red Wing’s booth at OTC.
Tito: I was born and raised in Peru. I’ve lived in South America, North America, Europe, and Africa over basically the last 34 years. I have had experience working in the mining industry in Africa and consumer products for market development really overseas based here in the United States, then I had the great opportunity to come and work for Red Wing shoe company in developing their international presence. That’s really what I’ve done over the last 14 years.
James: Your turn, Jim Bailey. You’re on the stand.
Jim: Oh, thank you. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 1980, I arrived in Houston. It’s 36 years later. Kind of hard to believe I’m still here. As far as the OTC show, it’s my seventh year – consecutive seventh year. The show is kind of interesting from my perspective this year, because I’ve never really dealt with people or individuals in South America. Red Wing has a very large presence in South America. It’s been a great opportunity for me to meet individuals, potential customers, some of our distributors that I’ll be dealing with over the next few years, and I look forward to the opportunity.
James: Jim is newer to the team, right?
Tito: That’s right. Jim just came on over the last four weeks. He is our new Americas general manager. He really covers everything we do from Alaska down to Tierra del Fuego and Chile. In North America, it’s really focused on the oil and gas distribution. Obviously, Red Wing has a huge retail presence here as well, but he’s really not involved in that. It’s really the business-to-business side of the oil and gas enterprise that we have here in the United States.
Then, obviously, building our distribution partners and our relationships with the end users throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
James: Give us a little bit of your background, Jim.
Jim: I went to school in Pennsylvania. When I came to Houston, I got a Masters in International Finance from the University of St Thomas. I worked for Chevron. I started several businesses. I spent 20-some years as a director with a local bank called Tradition Bank.
I had the opportunity in 2010 to engage with a company called Ringers Gloves. It provided the opportunity for me to learn a lot regarding the PPE industry.
In most of my dealings, it’s been related to oil and gas one way or another, even when I was associated with Tradition Bank, but over the last six years, working with Ringers Gloves and now working with Red Wing, it gives me the opportunity to use some of my expertise. It gives me the opportunity to use some of my financial skills and planning skills to truly provide what I think would be a great difference for the Americas.
We have a very unique opportunity. One thing that I’ve uncovered so far is that the majority of people really don’t understand the depth of products and services that Red Wing can offer. It’s my job and my responsibility to make sure that their message gets delivered.
James: I know one thing that’s really important to you, Tito, is team building – building a really strong team. What did you see in Jim that made you want to go pick him off from where he was?
Tito: There was two things that really struck me as “This is the guy that we need.”
One of them obviously was his presence in leadership. When I worked with the Ringers Glove company in a lot of our international dealings, Red Wing supports Ringer in a lot of our different hubs around the world. I had the opportunity to have a lot of business dealings with Jim. Just great leadership, great presence, great vision. Really able to tie those things together.
The other thing really was the PPE background. Really was able to focus on being that solution provider and have that mentality, which is really something that we drive throughout our entire organization: be that solution provider to our customer. We’re a business partner. We want to be a business partner. Jim really embraced that philosophy.
James: One of the things that anyone can notice about you as soon as you start talking to them is that you’re a truly passionate person. Is that part of your temperament? I know it’s part of mine. Or did you learn that somewhere along the way as well?
Tito: No. I think that that’s something that’s just embedded in me probably from my family – from my father, my mother – is that whatever you do, give it 150%. Be passionate every day about what you do. If you’re not engaged, and you’re not passionate about it, then find something that you are passionate about, because people feel that passion. People understand what you’re trying to do.
That passion resonates in my actions, in my activities, my leadership, throughout my team. I want all of my team to have that same passion.
James: What were your parents doing when you were growing up?
Tito: Oh, that’s a long story, but really, it was primarily focused in international business ranching. We were in the ranching business in South America, then when we came back to the United States, my father was involved in a lot of different real estate, ranching, and travel businesses.
I’ve really spent most of my life in the international marina since I could remember. That’s all I know.
James: Right. You grew up internationally.
James: Which is the opposite of every American.
Tito: Yes, it really is the opposite. That is so true.
James: We know nothing beyond our borders.
Tito: It’s funny, because I think I know more about the rest of the world than the country that I live in. That’s always something we joke around the house about. I can get lost in Minneapolis, but you can take me to Europe, Africa, South-east Asia, and I’m absolutely 100% comfortable.
James: No GPS needed.
Tito: No GPS needed.
James: But you have a very different story, though, Jim, because you said you went to St Thomas here. Where did you go undergrad? In Pittsburgh?
Jim: California. Pennsylvania. Small school. I actually went up there to play basketball.
James: Oh, you’re a baller?
Jim: Well, a little bit. I used to. That was a long time ago. But that was back in 1976.
James: Pistol Pete Maravich over here.
Jim: No, I could shoot, but I had the white man’s disease. I couldn’t jump. I played with some very good athletes. Two of them actually played professional basketball from the University of California PA.
My background is so much different than Tito’s background. He’s been all over the world. Very rarely did I ever leave Pennsylvania until I decided to come to Houston. I think the first time I ever got on an airplane was when we went to Daytona beach for spring break.
James: Typical up north vacation spot.
Jim: Yeah. You just don’t leave that often, right? My father worked for the Pittsburgh press. He was a union person. He never really made much money. He always provided well for his family, but we never had the excess funds to do any type of exotic travel or anything like that.
James: You could go to Kennywood.
Jim: We could. We went there many times. It was one of my favorite places to go. Yes.
James: Well, everybody that listens to the show knows that I’m a huge fan of a YouTube channel called Pittsburgh Dad. I try to be fluent in my Pittsburghese.
Tito: Oh, don’t talk to him about football.
Jim: Yeah. If you want to talk about football, we could spend about three or four hours there.
Tito: Big Steeler fan.
James: That’s another religion.
Jim: Well, from Pittsburgh, it absolutely is. I actually had a pretty good conversation with Mark and Ralph yesterday as we were throwing names around from the olden days. Basketball, football, from the 1970s and the 1980s. That was kind of enjoyable.
Tito: Down there.
Jim: Dahn there.
Tito: In the hause.
Jim: Yeah. Wish. Can we wish the car? “Uh, mom, it’s ‘wash’ the car.” Pittsburgh – it’s kind of interesting. Western Pennsylvania has its own language. There’s 125-150 words depending how deep you want to go that you’ll only find those words used within a 100-mile radius. It’s truly amazing.
The first time I took my wife up there after we got married, she did not understand. We went to the grocery store a couple times. I can remember the one time my mother said “Would you please go pick up some jumbo?”
Well, I know what jumbo was. We also call it bologna.
Tito: Did she go down Giant Eagle?
Jim: She did. She went to Giant – yeah, thank you. Boy, you’re actually doing very well.
We went, and I knew my wife was going to struggle. She had no idea what it was. We walked the entire supermarket, and I think it was Giant Eagle, to be honest with you. About 30 minutes later, she looked at me, she said “I am frustrated. The only thing I can figure out your mum wants – rubber bands.”
I said “Okay. You buy those.” I went ahead and bought the jumbo when she was walking around. She had no idea what it was. Absolutely.
James: For anybody that doesn’t know, the jumbo is…
Jim: It’s bologna. It’s a form of lunch meat. Not a very expensive form, but it’s a form of lunch meat.
James: It’s something you grow up on when dad works for the press, right?
James: All right. Thanks so much for going into all of that. I want to definitely move along into the area of what is unique and different about Red Wing. We talk about it every week on this show. This is our opportunity to really communicate that message in this interview, because I told you, I think on Monday, I happenstance ended up in conversation with a person who does procurement at a very large service company.
“Oh, yeah, we get all our boots from there.”
I said “No, they do PPE and oil and gas safety supply?”
Well, you’ve been doing this for a long time in this industry.
Tito: Yes. Yes, we have. It’s interesting, because the missions, as I categorize what we do whether it’s inside the United States or outside of the United States, our missions have been very different.
Outside of the United Stated, we’ve really been a much more head-to-toe solution provider. PPE provider. We have platforms that we’ve bought, built, developed over probably the last 50 years that have really provided much more than just footwear.
Here in the United States, the Red Wing shoe brand is so well known for the 500-some odd stores, the retail enterprise that we have that service the American worker in probably 11 or 12 different verticals, whereas outside of the United States, we’ve really focused on developing a platform of all kinds of solutions really geared for the oil and gas industry.
If you look at our platforms in Aberdeen, Scotland, or Stavanger, Norway, or Dubai, they have the full kit. We’ve been doing that really since the mid-60s.
James: Define that word, then, “platform” for me. What do you mean by “platform” for oil and gas safety supply?
Tito: When I talk about platform, it’s really the distribution and total service provider to an end user or a distributor. We have these hubs, we call them, and they have all the product, customer experience, customer service, full warehousing, delivery, kitting – however they need to be able to get the right product to the end user as quickly as possible for whatever application they need. Those hubs are completely self-sufficient in that matter.
James: Tying into the conversation around platforms, I want to be able to dig in a little bit as well into the head-to-toe solution, because it can be really easy for us to get caught up just like anybody else in America in boots and steel toes, which are amazing – not to take anything away from those – but can you talk a little bit more about that oil and gas safety supply head-to-toe solution and what you mean by that?
Tito: It’s interesting how you talk about in the United States how Red Wing shoes is such an iconic brand for footwear. So many people – specifically in the United States – don’t realize that we’ve actually been in the PPE industry for over 50 years. We have actually been manufacturing garments since 1965 and really supplying that to many of the oil and gas and users outside of the United States since then.
James: Are you talking in that case – natural oil companies and so forth and international drilling companies?
Tito: That’s right. We’ve been that head-to-toe solution provider as the oil and gas industries in the ’60s. Went outside and started drilling in all of these countries overseas. Then it was one of those opportunities where they said “Hey, you’re giving us all of the Red Wing products. Can you do this, and can you do that?”
We really go into providing that full head-to-toe solution. You could even make the case where we actually sold more PPE garments in the ’60s and ’70s than we did shoes internationally, which would be a shock, but it’s important that we revamped the program to really adapt to where the market was heading in protection for clothing over the last seven or eight years.
Now, we’ve brought that learning and that passion and vision for the head-to-toe solution provider outside of the United States. We’ve now migrated that back into the United States, and really, that’s part of Jim’s mission is to educate so many of the key end users here in the United States about – Red Wing makes a fantastic head-to-toe garment for environments that are from 40 below zero to 120 degrees.
We really focus on that thermal protection and all kinds of very unique ways to give them best in class products.
James: “Head-to-toe oil and gas safety supply solution” can sound kind of abstract. I can see it right in front of me right here, so I know exactly what you’re talking about, but Jim, can you talk us through practically what we mean for oil and gas safety supply? We’re talking hardhat…
Jim: Hardhat, safety glasses, garments, boots, gloves. Those would be the five major components. We offer all of them. We manufacture three of the five. I believe that’s correct.
Tito mentioned briefly the word “education”. It’s critical. Before we came up to visit with you, I had just had a conversation with a very good friend of mine that I’ve known for years. I haven’t seen him in – oh, 16, 17 months. He came be the booth to say hello. He’s with one of the largest companies in the world.
He looked at me and he said “Hmm. I didn’t know that Red Wing did garments.”
It’s a major opportunity. Part of my responsibility is to make sure that our customers throughout North America and South America understand that we have a platform that is truly head to toe. Yes, we make garments, and we believe that our garments are some of the best garments in the world just like the boots are. We’re going to use that to leverage opportunities and provide value to our customers.
James: I’ve heard in the conversations the word “kit” often used. Jim, can you talk me through what an oil and gas safety supply kit looks like?
Jim: If we’re talking as far as PPE, right?
Tito: A kit bag.
Jim: Yeah. A kit would be, for example, when someone’s going offshore, they will need to be offered it. They need a hardhat. They need safety glasses, the gloves, the garments, and the boots.
Red Wing is in a position to where we can support that kit. We have the ability to support that model anywhere in the world through the hubs that we have established over the last few years. These global companies that need to outfit their people – doesn’t matter if it’s in the middle of the evening, if there’s a rush, if there’s a disaster or whatever it is, Red Wing provides that platform to put product where it’s needed in a timely manner.
Tito: Just to supplement that a little bit, it is important to note that Red Wing has distribution partners in 110 countries. While we have these great operational bases in Dubai, Aberdeen, Stavanger, and here in Houston. We really use that or leverage the hub-and-spoke distribution approach so that even if somebody needs it tomorrow in a very remote location, chances are probably pretty good that we have a local partner. These partners are long-term partners that can deliver that solution or deliver that need straightaway. That’s really what we’ve built over the last 50-60 years.
Mark: Talk about easy, though. You got the kit, you open it up, and there’s everything that you need right there.
Jim: It’s there. It’s proper sized. They’re fitted for you. Absolutely.
Tito: Our facility in Aberdeen – standard business practice, they will order their kits in the morning for a team going offshore. We will transport that to the helipad and have all of that ready by 3: 00 in the afternoon. That’s with their names, their company logos, all sized, all fitted and ready to go.
James: That’s incredible. Mark and I just took a selfie on a helipad last week. I have to use the word “selfie” now. I still feel uncomfortable about it. Doing the offshore rig tour, of course, rocking my Red Wing bag everywhere I go. Just to imagine the complexity of the word that we live in in oil and gas and how you’ve managed to streamline all of that, it’s a lot more logistics than my brain is really capable of. I’m glad that people like y’all are out here to solve these problems.
Tito: We give it our best shot. Absolutely.
James: You said you have a finance background.
Jim: I do.
James: Coming in from the financial aspect, what are some of the dots that you’re connecting or possible holes in markets you’re seeing that need to be filled, not only in America, but around the world?
Jim: I’ll start with the value proposition. When I look at Red Wing and what Tito just said, to reiterate, there’s a platform that Red Wing offers that the majority of our competitors or maybe most of our competitors cannot offer today. It’s a scalable platform. When we look at value proposition, it’s about providing global logistics to companies that are in the oil and gas industry that are located in remote areas of this globe that are very difficult to get to. With the infrastructure and the support systems that Red Wing has put in place, we can service any place in the globe.
My goal in connecting the dots is that Houston is the energy hub of the world. A lot of the activity that we will actually generate from Houston we will connect the dots with other places in the world. It’s a great opportunity for us to expand our presence in South America. We will connect a lot of global opportunities with customers that we do business here locally and reaching into the Middle East, APAC, Russia, North Sea, wherever it may be.
At the end of the day, if you can deliver on the logistics, Red Wing has an unbelievable brand for product. It’s an iconic brand when it comes to shoe wear. We’re in the education process of making sure that everybody understands what this platform can do and actually what is involved in that platform as far as the typical products that we can offer.
When you add all that up together, I look at it as a comprehensive solution that provides Red Wing with the opportunity to save global customers a lot of money at the end of the day.
James: The savings comes, as far as I understand, from not having to source material from 50 different vendors, 100 different vendors. Is that the case?
Jim: That’s part of the equation, but Red Wing, because of its size, can be extremely competitive on price. We might actually be able to offer products that lower price, but it’s a comprehensive package. The thing that you have to take into consideration – in the oil and gas industry, when they need a product, they need the product. It can shut down a rig operation if they don’t have the proper PPE. That last – I used to refer to it and still do now – that last mile is so critical to make sure that when product is needed, it’s delivered on time. The platform today supports that.
James: Now, you just mentioned price. I’ve heard you say more than once that you’re not shy. Even downstairs, you were talking to I believe it was the Houston Chronicle that we’re not always the cheapest. I always liked that, because I never want my brand to be commoditized. I like working with brands who understand value over commoditization. Will you talk through that a little bit for us?
Tito: Absolutely. Red Wing is not a commodity product. You get what you pay for. I think that anybody working in hostile environments around the world would say “I can’t afford to have a product failure” because the cost of trying to get a new one or a replacement or the cost, as Jim was saying, in something stopping work is too great.
Really, what we try to do is focus on that value proposition of “We’re going to overbuild it”, because that’s really what’s demanded in the industry that we serve. They’ve got to have the best products, because there’s no tolerance for having it fail. Absolutely no tolerance.
It’s not a commodity. It’s sometimes not the cheapest, but you know what? I will put my brand on it, and that’s the best. It’s the best product out there. That’s what we’re very proud to serve with the platform of service that obviously goes with it.
I think that you can have the best products in the world, but if you don’t have the service to back it up, it’s marginalized. We really focus on that customer experience, that solution solved, being a business partner to that end user so we can really provide the whole value proposition to them in what they buy.
James: When I was walking in as you were wrapping up your interview with the Chronicle, I heard you mentioning about sourcing oil and gas safety supply material and goods and so forth from outside the US but having them shipped back to the US for quality control. Is that right?
Jim: That’s right. There’s a lot of things that we do in our supply chain where whether it’s footwear, workwear, other types of PPE, we’re really rigorous about the materials that we use. Just an example – in our footwear, some of our footwear, the upper part of the footwear is made offshore, but in order to really control that, we tan our own leather.
We will tan the leather in Red Wing, Minnesota, and we will send that offshore to convert that into a piece of a boot, and then we will bring those pieces back, and we will put those things together in one of our factories here in the United States.
James: I have a video of the tanning process from your site. It’s amazing. I just took a note here to put it in the show notes so that everybody can check that out if they want to.
When you look at the logistics of that, Jim, does that put you at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to pricing?
Jim: No. No. When you consider the brand and the reputation behind the brand, you have the ability to present product and solutions not based on price but it’s based on quality. As Tito was saying, when product is being provided in these hard environments, these individuals – they’re relying 100% that the product is going to work and work well. Pricing should really be one of the last issues.
My philosophy in doing business in this industry is that you should never really talk about price. There’s a cost, and there’s a price. It should be quality. How do I protect the end user at all costs? That’s what it’s all about.
If I can add, as far as the tannery, that blew me away. My comment would be, I’m surprised that the boots don’t cost $500-600. It’s the most amazing process that I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen boots made. I’ve seen gloves made. But the tannery process – it was overwhelming.
James: I forgot to tell y’all, my brother, Jesse, my youngest brother – we share the same birthday three years apart. He’s my twin somehow. He sent me a picture of his feet a few weeks ago. He said “Got me some Red Wings.” I’ve made at least one oil and gas safety supply sale for you.
Tito: Attaboy. I like that. Attaboy.
Jim: It starts with the first.
James: It starts with the first. Now, he’s chefing out in Denver. Maybe we can get the rest of the hippies out there.
Tito: Well, you know, it’s classic, because you hear the stories – and this is one of the great things that I experienced over my time with Red Wing was – anywhere in the world I went, people would – “So, who do you work for?”
“I work for Red Wing.”
Out comes a story about their first pair of Red Wing shoes. “Oh, my father wore Red Wing shoes.” “I’ve got this pair on for 12 years. Let me tell you the stories behind this pair of shoes.”
It becomes a very personal relationship. Their equipment has been through the grind with them, so it really becomes part of their personality. You get these guys that are – once they become a Red Wing guy or a Red Wing user – “Hey, man, that’s the only gear I use.”
They’ll look at others and say “Well, he’s not wearing Red Wing yet. He’s probably just not there yet.”
James: Can you think of one example or just anything off the top of your head? Some random jungle that you were in as the most interesting man in the world that you are?
Jim: One of the most random places that I’ve been?
James: Been and heard one of those Red Wing stories. Just the backstory on that – I’m from Lansing originally. I went to high school in East Jordan, Michigan, which is Northern Michigan. You listeners can’t see. It’s just above your pinky on your left hand. If you walk around here in Minnesota, everywhere in the world, almost, you’ll look down. It’ll say EJIW on the manhole covers and the sewer covers. That’s East Jordan Iron Works. That’s where I come from. It’s always funny to me the most random things I’ll run into.
Jim: The most random story I have is I actually brought the pair of boots back with me. I was in Siberia. We were out looking –
James: You got back from Siberia.
Jim: We actually made it back. I ran into a guy that had been over in Siberia for a few years working for one of the big multinationals. His boots had finally worn out. He’d had these boots for ten years. He was really upset about it, because he didn’t want to change. The leather part of the boot was still in pretty good shape.
I said “I’ll take those back to Red Wing. I’ll have them re-bottomed, and I’ll ship them back to you. It’ll probably take three to four months. I’ll do my best to get them to you. But once they send them, everything else is –”
James: All bets are off.
Jim: All bets are off. But he literally got those boots. One of those random things. Siberia. A guy – he doesn’t want to part with his boots. We take them all the way back to the US. We get them fixed. We send them back. But that’s part of that Red Wing philosophy of every customer is a customer for life. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they’re satisfied with everything that they use in our gear. That’s just mission critical.
James: Every client, every time. No exceptions, no excuses.
Jim: Absolutely. That’s exactly right.
James: From your background, how does your background weave into the culture of Red Wing? I know when I start working for a company, it either clicks or it doesn’t, and clearly, it has clicked for you. What are some of those more cultural things that are embedded in Red Wing that have really impressed you?
Jim: I think a lot of it has to do with the culture. When you think about Red Wing and the company that it is, the things that should come to mind – integrity, honesty, quality. They breathe it every single day, every individual. I don’t know if it’s drinking the Kool Aid or whatever it is, but there’s a common approach within Red Wing. We’re going to do things the right way. That’s the only way we’re going to do it. We’re going to take care of our people. We’re going to take care of our customers.
I guess a month ago, I spent a week up in Red Wing going through boot camp or whatever it was –
James: For everybody that doesn’t know, Red Wing is an actual place.
Jim: It is.
Tito: That’s right.
James: In Minnesota.
Jim: About one hour from Minneapolis. It’s a very nice drive. Sits on the Mississippi, I believe.
James: You were up there for a week?
Jim: I was up there for a week learning processes and systems. Every individual that I came in contact with – and I was in meetings every hour for four days – it’s like dealing with the identical person with a different task or different responsibility within Red Wing. Quality people. You just don’t find that in organizations today.
James: Yeah. It’s amazing. I think of the good to great and the whole idea of level-five leadership and legacy. Clearly, Red Wing isn’t like a C brand. Founded in 19 –
James: –05. I was going to say ’06. I was one year off on mine.
Jim: No, you’re good. 1905.
James: 1905. How many employees work for Red Wing today?
Jim: I’m thinking about 2,300 right now worldwide.
James: Worldwide. How is the platform coming along in Houston?
Jim: We built this facility about seven years ago. We’re actually spending the entire day tomorrow looking for a brand new, bigger facility, because we’ve outgrown what we have today. Again, to get ready.
I think this is a very important point from the perspective that we’re going to continue doing the best. I know the companies today are pulling back. I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow. But Red Wing is 115-116 year old company. We want to be ready for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years.
We’re taking steps tomorrow to get ready for when the industry turns around. Hopefully, that’s later this year or 2017, but whatever it is, we’re going to be ready. The team will be ready to respond to the needs of our key end users.
James: I love that approach, because Mark and I talk about it all the time in terms of you can’t be a slave to oil prices and live in the humdrum woe-is-me world of oh. My personal philosophy is that if you’re basing your life, your career, your happiness in a certain sense, on something you can’t control, and your business, essentially, on something you can’t control, which is oil prices, you’re just fundamentally doing it wrong.
Jim: Our president is a big proponent of that. He has said repeatedly – Mark Urdahl is the brand new president for us over the last few years, but has been with Red Wing for over ten years. He drives that philosophy of “Focus on what you can control”. Those are key things for all of us to take and be mindful of. As a private company, it’s really nice that we have that luxury to be able to say “We’re going to focus on the long-term future. We’re going to be mindful of the environment that we’re in, but we’re never going to cut bone or muscle that doesn’t allow us to be ready for tomorrow.” Always be ready.
James: I think y’all are probably ready for your next meeting, because I know that you’ve been very patient with me in meeting with me today and so forth. We’re going to have your contact information in the show notes. We’ll make sure to do that and get all of the videos that we talked about, especially Pittsburgh dad.
Jim: Absolutely. Please.
James: Especially Pittsburgh dad, and maybe an affiliate link to The Art of War. But thank you so much for sitting down. If people wanted to reach out to you and get to know more personally or just about the brand in general, where do you want to send them?
Tito: Well, I think the best place is redwingshoe.com. You’ll obviously see all of the videos that are there, the library that you can dig into. You can see all of our products there.
I really encourage people to look at the brand videos, because that saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”, well, I’m telling you, the videos are spectacular, and really gives you an idea of what we’re all about: the culture of Red Wing and why we’ve been around for more than a century. It’s really fun to watch.
James: Absolutely. Jim, how about you? Can we put your LinkedIn in the notes?
Jim: Sure, you can. Absolutely.
James: Fantastic. Well, thanks so much, gents. I will let you get to your next meeting.
Tito: James, it’s been a pleasure.
James: Thank you very much.
Jim: Thank you very much, James. Appreciate it.
James: Thanks for listening to this .5 episode of the Oil and Gas This Week Podcast, Brought To You By Red Wing. You can find the show notes for this episode which include links to everything we talked about and both Tito and Jim’s contact information at triberocket.com/twrw.
You can also leave any comments you have about this episode there. That’s triberocket.com/twrw. Join us again next week when we talk to Bill Clough, President and CEO at CUI Global, Inc. about how he turned a failing company with over $40 million in debt into a cash flow-positive $100 million company.
“As I was getting to retire and planning on using that $2 million as part of my retirement, he came to me in a panic explaining that the people we had invested in were great guys but had no idea how to run a business, and that if we didn’t get more involved, we could lose my money.” – Bill Clough
Until then, go find some grease, guys.