In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Robert “Bobby” Mason, CEO and President of SPOC Automation about “Innovation and the Power of their LIFT-UP Culture make SPOC a Industry Success”. Get the answers to your “LIFT-UP” questions along with Bobby's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!
You can find out more about Bobby and the wonderful team at SPOC Automation by the links below. Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2020. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!
BOBBY'S CONTACT INFORMATION:
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-l-mason-9122817/
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/spoc-automation/
Company Website: https://spocautomation.com/
Get Your FREE Lift-Up PDF Book: https://industrialtalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/lift-up-book-digital.pdf
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Industrial Marketing Solutions: https://industrialtalk.com/industrial-marketing/
Industrial Academy: https://industrialtalk.com/industrial-academy/
Industrial Dojo: https://industrialtalk.com/industrial_dojo/
Safety With Purpose Podcast: https://safetywithpurpose.com/
YOUR INDUSTRIAL DIGITAL TOOLBOX:
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Automation, lift, core values, SPOC, bobby, people, culture, podcast, industry, industrial, individual, customers, company, worked, innovate, coin, hired, oil, world, focus
Scott MacKenzie, Bobby Mason
Scott MacKenzie 00:04
Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's All right, welcome to the industrial talk podcast app. So loot otter once again that you joined the number one it does real related podcast in the universe, the galaxy, all around the world right here. We celebrate you, the industrial and manufacturing professionals, the people that get it done, you are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly. And boy, do you innovate. And thank you very much for what you do. You make my life better, and you're making the lives around the world better. That's why this is important that we celebrate you each and every day on this particular podcast. All right, we got Bobby Mason, he's in the hot seat. He's in the industrial Takashi. He is the CEO president of spark SPOC Automation, Inc. And we're going to be talking a lot about, you're saying Scott is going to be talking about Automation? No, that's just part of it. We're gonna be talking about culture. We're going to be talking about how he leads his team at SPOC. Let's get going. great conversation. I love it. I love it. And yeah, absolutely. He's about Automation. He's about innovation. He's about everything that you can imagine that's associated with his business, and how to create a business of resiliency. That's what they do at it, SPOC Automation. But he does it through an amazing leadership technique called lifting up, lifting up. And he really focuses in on the people, his people, and not just people, people all over the community. The customer, how do you lift up your customer? How do you look to people? How do you lift up your customer? How do you lift up the industry? And then of course, it looked up the country is just a natural progression. And everything that they do at SPOC Automation sort of runs around and overlays with that lift up culture? Yeah, yeah, he's a rock star. Yeah, he's amazing. Yeah, he's on this particular podcast. And it's an absolute honor to have him here. Now, before we really get going. Again, I want to be able to just share with you some of the things that we are doing here on the industrial talk, podcast, one, we're all about creating, you know, a collaborative, that's what this is about. We celebrate all the people but it's in a world of collaboration. We believe here in industrial talk, you're going to have to collaborate, you're going to have to innovate. That's what you know, Robert, Bobby, by the way, just FYI, if you go out to the stat card on LinkedIn, it's Robert L. Mason. But it's really Bobby. Right, because he just got right to the chase. We go to the same Barber, by the way. And anyway, we start talking about collaboration. We talked about innovation and the necessity to be innovative, and find people that are innovative. We talked about education. And and this is what this industrial talk platform is all about. And we're talking about a place to go, that you can collaborate, go out there, I've got these individuals, these leaders in industry, these leaders in manufacturing, and you could reach out to them each and every day. And they are bold, they are brave, they dare greatly and boy, they change in the world. And that's what the industrial talk, podcast is all about. We want you to collaborate, we want you to innovate, we want you to educate, we want you to be tenacious and make it happen. We want you to do it with a sense of speed and purpose. Because we need you to be successful in the future, right? We need you to be resilient in your business, because we don't know what the future is going to hold. But I'm just telling you right now, there are people there are companies that want to work with you to collaborate, innovate, and definitely educate. And they're all tenacious, and they want to do with a sense of speed and purpose. Yeah, I'm saying that you need to go out to industrial talk.com find out more or just got reach out to me and I'll talk to you more about it. All right, onto the hot seat that does Real Talk kotze Bobby Mason. And if you once again, go out to his amazing stat card out there on LinkedIn, you're going to see Robert L Mason, whatever, just put SPOC SP OC not the other SPOC, Automation, and you're going to get loaded down with a number of great. I mean, there's activities great. He's a leader he is and we're gonna be talking about that lift up culture and what they do at SPOC Automation to keep productive happy engaged individuals that are just dedicated to the purpose of what SPOC brings to the table. All right. Thank you very much. Here is well, Bobby, right. I'm looking at a stack card, and so on to say, Robert. But here's Bobby enjoy of the conversation. All right, Bobby, welcome to the industrial talk podcast, absolute honor that you have found time in your busy schedule to talk to the listeners of industrial talk. How
Bobby Mason 05:26
are you doing there, Bobby? I'm doing great. And Scott, thank you so much. This is great honor to be on your show.
Scott MacKenzie 05:33
Thank you, it is an honor. It's the number one industrial manufacturing podcast in the universe. I have nothing to back that up. And I think I'm overselling it. But I'm gonna continue to say it as you
Bobby Mason 05:43
Scott MacKenzie 05:46
All right, Bobby. Now you're you're the CEO, president of I want to say SPOC, but is that what that is? Correct? SPOC? nation. Okay, got it. Now we're going to talk a little bit about your lift up culture. But before we get going on that one, because that's gonna be a great topic listeners out there, it's gonna be a great topic. Give us a little 411 on who Bobby is, and why you're such an incredible professional, you know, your history?
Bobby Mason 06:12
Well, you know, I have been in the electrical distribution and Automation business, the majority of my life, my, my father was an entrepreneur. I'm a second generation entrepreneur. And it's why all entrepreneurs have
Scott MacKenzie 06:26
no hair. It just is what it is. It's, it's a fact of life.
Bobby Mason 06:31
I actually thought it was because it made me more aerodynamic.
Scott MacKenzie 06:34
It does, however, does a good side of it, did you? I'm sorry. But
Bobby Mason 06:40
oh, you're fine. He actually sold that business to a national chain. And we had a difference of philosophy and culture, quite frankly. And so I left with a handful of individuals, we had already come up with some software solutions for the oil and gas industry around controlling rod pumps, which is that one you always see on the news story going up and down that reciprocating pump. Yeah. And, and doing it in a fashion that had never been done before controlling it. And so we we started this company up almost 20 years ago. And we have just been incredibly blessed with a great team that that is just totally focused on helping people. And you know, I actually, I equate Automation to being like a fine dining experience. And you look at me, I like to.
Scott MacKenzie 07:44
Yeah, I'm all with you. But I've never heard that in a sentence before. But
Bobby Mason 07:48
we're let me expand. And the reason I equate it to a fine dining experience, is when you go to a restaurant, way before you ever begin to eat that meal, that chef has gone out, and he's procured the best components he can possibly find, you know, farm to table fresh meats and fruits and vegetables, whatever it is. And he's put a lot of preparation and a lot of care into that. And he can bring that to the table. But if you don't have great service, with that fine meal, it's just a meal. But when you have great service along with excellent products, then it becomes an experience. And so that is that's exactly what we do. We try to provide us an experience
Scott MacKenzie 08:43
seeing it and I would imagine that you get a little pushback, because there's some, quote, negativity that's associated with Automation, you're trying to get rid of my job. And I don't think that that's going to be that's the case. And I think that that's the story that needs to be pulled within Automation.
Bobby Mason 09:00
Absolutely. What we want to do is come up beside you and help you give you better information allow you to focus on areas that are problems mechanically, because we're doing the electrical controls. And, and we actually are an aide and what we have found, and especially in the oil and gas industry, where traditionally it's this is a way my grandfather did it, and my dad did it. And this is where we're going to do it. That mindset is shifting, thank goodness. But but the guys have learned that we're there to help.
Scott MacKenzie 09:37
I think just let me let me just sort of lay it out there and I think pre virus, a pandemic pre whatever two finger death punch. The the focus was a little bit different. Everything was sort of swimming, we were working we were doing and we had these strategic plans to in two, five, whatever years we're going to be able to do XYZ and and that is with any digitization IoT. industry for Dotto, whatever it might be as well as Automation. I think everything was like, Okay, that's good COVID hits, boom, all bets are off the table, we need to do something else, we need to figure out how to be more resilient, more efficient, more this and save money and do whatever it takes. I think it's just really, you know, push the envelope on why these are important strategic directions for companies and Automation. And the innovation behind Automation is key.
Bobby Mason 10:31
Absolutely, we focus primarily on land based and and traditionally, they have been behind in Automation. Yeah, and the only way for them to survive and actually thrive on the other side, is to start automating these processes and and, and having their stuff more efficient, and save 25% on their electrical consumption and lower that lifting costs.
Scott MacKenzie 10:55
Yeah, it's it's been a, it's, from my perspective, a real Renaissance and a focus into solutions that are truly innovative. And I think companies that are focused on resiliency, because we don't know if it's going to happen again, right? We don't know if that genie is already out of the bottle, and somebody is going to say, adds another pandemic, whatever it might be, at least your business is going to survive the next one if it ever happens, Lord willing, knits not so it is what it is. All right. Now, we can talk about Automation all day, I get one point of clarification, what a SPOC mean,
Bobby Mason 11:31
is actually an acronym and it stands for sensor less pump off control. And where that resides is
Scott MacKenzie 11:37
we're I understand why it's an acronym. domain.
Bobby Mason 11:43
It is. We were drives experts, variable frequency drives. We've we've deployed over 70,000 into the oil and gas fields across the world. And and what we did is that reciprocating beam pump application, yeah, we have some software that we developed that allowed us to do that without dynamic braking resistors. And it's a long story, but we can do pump off control using the motor itself.
Scott MacKenzie 12:12
Very good. Very good. I don't see that's innovation. That's that's in. And I like how it does. Yeah, I mean, you change the market, in a sense, and you're going to continue to change the market, because that's how you think. And when we start talking about thinking, one of the points I'd love to be able to expand upon. And we've talked about, we've talked about a lot of stuff on the industrial talk podcast, but I'm intrigued by your lift up culture. And I gotta ask you the question, what is that
Bobby Mason 12:41
lift up culture, that is something that I am super passionate about. Because it's about my people. And my team. When we started this company, it was a result of leaving a poor culture to develop one. And so lift up in in its shortest form is just this, we try to as a company, lift up the individual, give them an opportunity, so that they can thrive and improve and grow within our company, we give the we want to lift up each other. Because if you look to the left and the right of you that person is depending on you to do a great job. We try to lift up our customers by giving them innovation, by lowering their lifting costs by helping them with all of their rotating equipment, pumps and compressors, and all those controls. And we try to lift up our industry, because our industry needs people that are out there. They're experts, let's face it, the oil and gas industry is full of wonderful people. But there are a lot of plumbers and not a lot of guys in like in the electrical side, especially in the Automation side, right.
Scott MacKenzie 13:53
Bobby Mason 13:54
then ultimately, our ultimate goal that everyone here has bought into is that we believe in our heart of hearts that we are ultimately trying to lift up our country. Because if we can do things to help our country be energy independent, then we are going to be a stronger nation. And so that's really what that lift up cultures base foundation is all about
Scott MacKenzie 14:17
no sudden we just have to wrap up the podcast because I don't know where else to go with this. I do know Don't worry, I added Alright, listen, as we talk a little bit about a lift up cultures. We're talking about the impact of lift up culture with people, the customers, the industry, which is happens to be oil and gas and it could be anything in the country. And what I like about it, Bobby is the fact that it's truly other focuses truly service focus. It's like, it's not about me, it's about you. It's about your success. It's about your health, we need to help. And I think in this in this world, from my perspective of how I've constantly tried to hammer on we need to collaborate, we need to innovate, we need to educate with a sense of speed and purpose, especially now. That lift up culture fits right in there. And it goes from all the way from that The people in the front line all the way to the country, and I like it, I like it a lot. Well done on that one. Okay, give me an example of what that looks like. You know,
Bobby Mason 15:07
that looks like a lot of things we have. We've got a lot of awards, and all kinds of accolades, and those, and those are great, and we appreciate all of that. But really, at the end of the day, our products, the way we view everyone is everyone in this company is an innovator. So not only are our products innovative, but every process that we do is needs to be innovated and we're constantly looking for a better way. A good example, would be, we actually have a have a product out in the oil gas fields, that we have a extended warranty called drab shield. And because of our culture, because we care, because we put great components in all those things, we can warranty, a drive, a variable frequency drive package, for six out to 10 years, even against a lightning strike. It's unheard of, it's literally unheard of. But it is a way that we can because we've done a lot of engineering have 10s of thousands of units out in the field, we know what it takes. So it's a way that we can lift up our customers, if they have that act of God. And lightning were to hit that drive, and they had bought our extended warranty package with the draft. We replace it. Now. Where else in the world can be the company that looks out for you like that.
Scott MacKenzie 16:39
And what's interesting, I would imagine if this thought came to mind, and a lot of the a lot of these units are probably out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, and and it's not like, Hey, I'm going to run to the Walmart, grab a loaf of bread. And then by the way, I'm going to change that thing that's right next to the Walmart, it's easy peasy. Just gonna do it, it doesn't happen that way, I guess
Bobby Mason 17:00
happens to be three hours on a dirt road off the closest highway.
Scott MacKenzie 17:04
That's exactly right. And you got to sit there and then it's, you know, 150 degrees out there. And you're like, Ah, it's got to have a smile on your face. And that's what's got it. And if you're truly a lift up culture, and you're talking about energy independence, got to have that smile on the face and get on out there. That's a great example I like it.
Bobby Mason 17:23
It is. And another way we do you know, we have we have five core values that we we live by. And it's committed, caring, passionate, solution focused, and gratifying. And so what we do is we keep that in front of everybody every day. And it's it's plastered all over everything that we do. There's visual reminders, they're verbal. And that's just part of the culture of who we are. It's actually kind of interesting how we came up with those. I hired a consultant because I was a naysayer, so to speak. Early own right. And I hired a consultant to come in and help us. And he convinced me through reading some several papers that the Harvard Business Review had had put on culture, your own core values, mission, purpose, all those things. But I was just not passionate about it. Because I had seen in my career, so many individuals that come in, and they hand you this piece of paper, and they tell you this is our core values. This is our mission statement. But they no more lived it out than the man on the moon. Oh, yeah. And I've always been that guy that if I tell you it's going to rain, you better take your umbrella to work because I'm not gonna lie to you. And don't ask me if you don't want to know what my opinion is, right? So I hired him. He came in we went, we talked ahead of time. And he said, You know, it usually takes people a year, maybe two years to flesh it out, blah, blah, blah. And, and I said, No, we know who we are. We've always known who we are. We just had not documented it. And he said, You and every other customer that I've ever client I've ever worked with said same thing. So we went through this exercise and in 45 minutes, we had our core values nailed. Now we took another six, six or eight months to flesh out the wording behind it
Scott MacKenzie 19:23
right. But then
Bobby Mason 19:24
I got a little paranoid. So I hired a second consultant to come in to validate it and to validate that I was not just blowing smoke and and that one came in and they actually sat with all of our people. They did the job with them. They literally for two weeks, sat out there and worked in production. They worked in shipping. They worked in engineering. They sat side by side. I came back they gave me this thick 50 something page report and he said Bobby, I know you're going to read this and think this is kind of a Kiss, kiss up type repent, right. But you got something really, really special here with your culture. He said, you know, the thing you want to do is you've got a couple of gaps that you need to address. And one of them is that these men and women put together the true Craftsman there. There are occasions, so to speak, in what they build, take a lot of pride in it, and they do a great job. But they don't have closure. And that's, that's interesting. What do you mean by closure? He said, Well, they put their blood sweat and tears into making this product phenomenal for you. And it looks great. But then it gets on a truck and it shipped out west to an oilfield. And they don't ever get the feedback from the customer. Right? Did it do its job? Did it help you? Did it benefit you? Were these things? what you expected? What could you know that type stuff that the sales and myself management team, we go see customers, so we get that information. So I took it upon myself. We hired a video crew to come in. And we did a bunch of interviews, unbeknownst to all these employees, and they didn't know what I was doing. And and then we went out and we spent a week out in West Texas filming customers to get their feedback, right. And then at the end of our year, when we do our lift up awards, and give out our award ceremony. I ran this video that was a kind of a ying and yang of field and I and a company perspective, right? And I had grown men who are pretty burly tough
Scott MacKenzie 21:46
guys in tear gas baby.
Bobby Mason 21:50
And they were literally in tears. Yeah, it was turned out to be such a powerful video. We we held on to it for about a year and a half. Before we actually put it out on the website, just because so many customers that had seen it said you have got to share that because it tells your story.
Scott MacKenzie 22:08
Love it. Okay, let me ask you this question. So that's all great. That's all wonderful. That's all spectacular. How did you deploy it? How did you? And I'm sure it's a journey and then and then if you hire individuals, new people, right? How do you get them inculcated into your spectacular culture?
Bobby Mason 22:27
That is a that's a great question. That's
Scott MacKenzie 22:29
why I make the big bucks here. If you're looking at me on the video, I'm shaking No. But if you want to donate Go right ahead. I'm all into that, too.
Bobby Mason 22:40
We documented that journey. And a lot of the things that I've said to you this morning talking about the fact that that you know what those core values are, we actually hire my core values. I literally will ask you to define your definition of what those core values are to you. And there are no wrong answers. It's just a way for us to see we're
Scott MacKenzie 23:01
thinking imagine, yeah, ask me and I'll say, I like cars. That's a wrong answer, Scott, that's not in line with what I've that's a wrong answer. I can't imagine you coming out and say anybody.
Bobby Mason 23:15
But what I have found is that by doing that, they know where we stand, right? And if we aren't aligned early, we're never going to be aligned. And so I would rather help you be successful. somewhere else, right? It's doing you a favor, it's doing me a favor, so that we don't make a mistake. But we have, we actually have a book that we a little booklet that we put together. It's called a guide to greatness, and it's around the lift up. And then
Scott MacKenzie 23:47
like that, we forget everything on the podcast, I need those values, the five points that you put out, and then I need that booklet. And I need a lot of things. But I just wanted to plant that seed in your head because I need it. Absolutely. And I will maybe I'll just send you my resume because I like what you're doing.
Bobby Mason 24:07
I will also try to make that available on our website, Elijah. Bach. automotion calm. Yeah. But what what we do is what we do also is we've got a lot of ex military guys, and my CFO, Doug Markham, great individual, retired from the Navy. And he when he retired, he had given me one of his military coins, and had his name on it and the emblem and rank all those good things. And I loved that idea of some of something that is a value, but not monetary value.
Scott MacKenzie 24:47
That's just for the listeners out there. If you're out on the video, you and if you're not out on the video, he's lifting up a coin that they offer and it's there it is man. Committed lift. Anyway, it looks like Cool, go ahead.
Bobby Mason 25:01
Well, these coins, we have one made ups custom for every one of the core values. And then we put together a program where your peers, all the people around you can nominate you, if they catch you in the act of living out our core values, and they have to tell why. And then that gets submitted in weekly. And in my management meeting, so every good act is recognized by management. Now, not all of them qualify for a coin, because these are highly coveted prizes. And then
Scott MacKenzie 25:37
you got to make it worth Oh, to get it. I mean, it just can't just hand them out, like like pennies, I mean, absent all of a sudden, the value just begins to plummet, right. And
Bobby Mason 25:47
Ford team loves them, they display them with pride. And at the end of the year, we have a gold coin, which is the lift up coin. And that actually represents the one individual in the entire company, who represented us and our core values better than anyone else. If we sent that individual to Mars, and they couldn't speak Martian. That individual would know what SPOC Automation stood for. And, and he gets a he or she gets a monetary prize on top of that, but really, that coin, and that recognition is worth a lot more than than the monetary.
Scott MacKenzie 26:27
So this is interesting. So I see the value, I see the benefit. I see all of that. And that's all great at SPOC Automation. Now. One final question is does it positively impact your bottom line? I mean, if I'm a company, and I'm sitting here going, and this is all fantastic, as wonderful, but man, it's gonna come on, does it really help?
Bobby Mason 26:49
Absolutely. That is, I have, I have the numbers to prove it. You know, we've we've been fortunate enough to be one of Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in America three times in the last decade. You know, here's a little proof there, during this pandemic slash oil and gas war. We took a double doozy Yeah, in our industry. And yet, because of that, that culture because of that innovative spirit, my team, not me, not my marketing firm, my team came up with an idea to do something called two minute drives, because we have lift up, which is an internal program, yeah. And then we have build up where we're trying to build up our industry. And so what they do is they've been making videos, our sales, our service, our engineers, even our production people, and they're giving away our knowledge, the other people would charge you for this, but they're giving away knowledge to help the industry to educate them, to tell them how to or why you should consider these things to make you profitable. As a result, we have outperformed the market 30 35% on our web traffic on our own right, we're thriving in an environment that is not friendly.
Scott MacKenzie 28:18
It's challenging last for doggone Sure. And I love the fact that you are offering this content, this information, these little tidbits of success to an industry that needs it. And and, and it's not a slam on the oil and gas. So without gas, people don't take this as a slam. However, we are very reluctant sometimes to change and to, you know, be innovative. And now here's a great opportunity. We always talk about the challenges of COVID, that one side and it did this, that and the other thing and it's all negative. But I'm telling you right now, there's a positive element to it, whether we like it or not, there's a positive element. And that is people and companies like yours, where you're saying, Okay, I've got to adapt, I've got to change, I've got to innovate, I've got to be able to get my message out. And I've got to do it with a desire to help people succeed. Because if they don't succeed, I don't succeed. So I better help them succeed. And if they succeed, I succeed it all works. And and to be able to have that other focus and I love. I love that transition and love the where that is going there. Bobby, I love what you do. It's the only thing that says mister should have been a K. That would have been cool. SPOC. Then you'd have you know, SPOC years.
Bobby Mason 29:33
It's hard spell control with a K.
Scott MacKenzie 29:36
You could have been sort of on the edge and say control. This is control with a gay I'm changing the spelling. Anyway. All right, Bobby, how do people get ahold of you?
Bobby Mason 29:45
They can reach me at our website. Bach Automation. Next, SP OC Automation, no dots or dashes.com. And I'm also on LinkedIn, and Robert Mason. So please reach out If I can be of any assistance on this topic on Automation on home anything I'm I'm here to serve, that's what I might do.
Scott MacKenzie 30:09
That's right. And when you go out to his staff card on LinkedIn, he's got a beautiful head of hair, which is not there and but is a handsome gent. Those definitely. So yeah, reach out to him you listeners out there, Bobby absolute honor having you on the industrial talk podcast thank you very much my friend.
Bobby Mason 30:26
Honor is truly mine and thank you Scott for what you do. It's a service.
Scott MacKenzie 30:32
Alright listeners, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. So don't go away. We will be right back. You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network. All right, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. We're gonna wrap it up. Bobby Mason is the man. He is the President and CEO at SPOC Automation. That's SPO C, go to a stat card LinkedIn, type in Robert L. Mason goes by Bobby, you'll find him reach out to him. They're doing innovative solutions at that organization. And I'm telling you right now, I'm inspired. I'm inspired by lift up. I'm inspired by what Bobby is doing. His team at SPOC fantastic stuff. All right. I'm going to challenge you. I'm going to challenge you right now before we just roll out of here. Find people that are bold, find people that are brave, find people that are innovative. And I'm telling you your world is going to change. Reach out to Bobby Kennedy right now. He's bold, brave and daring, greatly. Big time right there. And your world is going to change. All right. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. We're gonna have another great interview right around the corner so you better stay tuned and join us for the next one.