Tim Byrne Podcasts

Episode 16 – The King Ron Rau
 TIm is coming to you one last time from the Gaylord Hotel in beautiful downtown Nashville.  The Gaylord is ...
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Tim continues his adventures a the PRSM conference in Nashville this week. This time he’s invited an old friend Boston Rob to join him. Oddly Rob is not from Boston originally but the nickname has stuck over the 15 years Tim has known him. His real name is Rob Atkocaitis. “I have a cream for that.” Tim says. Rob has had a bunch of jobs over the last 15 years but he now works with Ocean Air AC. They manufacture portable air conditioners and heaters. The business has changes a lot over the last decade. In the past manufacturers would sell through a stocking distributor but now the middle man has been cut out. Most manufacturers in the HVAC world sell direct to their customers now. Ocean Air manufacturer makes everything in the United States making them the kind of business Donald Trump says he wants to defend. Tariffs on foreign manufacturers would be a huge boon to their company. The HVAC market has been flooded with cheap products from Asia. They won’t last as long as Ocean Air units but they cost less up front. That’s hard to compete with. Rob says he is a big relationship sales guy. He’s travelling at least three days a week to keep up his relationships with all his clients. He’s been in the industry for so long he knows his stuff back and forth. Meeting new clients can be brutally hard and he says it keeps getting harder. It used to be much more relationship based. Nowadays it’s all about cutting costs as much as possible. Unlike most manufacturers Ocean Air actually follows up with clients after their units are installed. “What’s the most embarrassing things you’ve ever done in front of a client?” Tim asks. Rob recounts a story from early in his career. Still in his mid 20’s went on a long day of golding with a client. Needless to say the “golf game” was just code for a long day of drinking. After the game he was invited back to his client’s place for a nightcap. Being a young cub he was still unaware of the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Within minutes of arriving at the house Rob passed out. A team of paramedics arrived to cart him off to the hospital. The doctor took a battery of tests and asked how much he had to drink. Despite being 15 or 16 beers deep he didn’t even register as legally drunk. His client was so impressed he stayed with Rob for years. Contact Rob http://www.oceanaire-inc.com/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-atkocaitis-8671a7156/ 1-866-GET-AIRE
Episode 15 – Cold as Ice with Boston Rob
Tim continues his adventures a the PRSM conference in Nashville this week.  This time he’s invited an old friend Boston ...
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Episode 14 – The second coming of Big Chris
It's been a strange week in Nashville.  The PRSM conference is a lonely place for a Canadian boy like Tim ...
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Tim is in Nashville this week. He's there attending the PRSM conference. (That's the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association for the uninitiated.) The conference promised “The largest Multi-Site Retail & Restaurant FM Conference with best-in-class education sessions and networking events plus more than 300+ qualified exhibitors all under one roof!” But after the first full day Tim can't figure out why he is there at all. To get to the bottom of this he's convened a secret late night taping of the podcast with his trusty sidekicks Kat Byrne and Anthony Vinzi. The conversation begins with a diagnosis of all that's wrong with PRSM. For starters Tim and company feel being Canadian has put them at an extreme disadvantage. The conference is almost entirely geared to the American attendees. “We're like the orphaned child waiting for the scraps.” Tim says. The other issue is that there are way more vendors than retailers. The rare retailer that does show up is quickly swarmed by 20 vendors. Kat thinks there is a much different atmosphere compared to IFMA events. They have a strict no selling policy and the events are much more geared to meeting new people in the industry. “At PRSM it's more like vultures.” She says. Tim thinks the biggest issue is that the PRSM event is only once a year. It's hard to build a community when you only see each other every 12 months. Tim shares the story of the early days of BOMA twenty years ago. They focused around suppliers and get them to collaborate on issues they shared in common. They also met twice a month religiously. There was only a few dozen members in those early days but that has since grown to thousands. As the episode wraps up Kat is struggling to justify the $5000 annual fee to be a part of PRSM not to mention the $10 thousand expense of traveling to Nashville. Tim thinks that retailers should be given free memberships and the vendors should have to pay a little more. “PRSM is dying.” Tim says. Tim thinks they should take a step back. Meet every month. Get a drink somewhere and start slow. “Get together the people you should. Make it regular so everyone is friend and it will evolve on it's own.”
Episode 13 – Canada, what to do? Tim, Kat and Anthony in Nashville
Tim is in Nashville this week. He's there attending the PRSM conference. (That's the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association for ...
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Las Vegas. It's a storied city. The home of The Rat Pack, The Strip and The Bellagio. But when Tim's guest this week mentions that he recently returned from Las Vegas he focuses on something else entirely. “Do you have any stories about hookers and blow?” Tim asks Josh Stratton. Josh is a pretty reserved member of the Stadia and Byrne on Demand team and politely declines to fuel Tim's lascivious imagination. Instead he shares the story of his recent divorce tour of Las Vegas. He and a friend went out for dinner and drinks at The Golden Steer. The Steer became famous when it became a regular haunt for the Rat Pack. It was the only place on The Strop that would serve Sammy Davis Jr. back in the 50's. After staggering out of the place in the early morning hours Josh and his Buddy wandered back onto The Strip. It was at that moment when a group of parachuters dressed completely in black landed right in front of Josh and his buddy. It seems a group of intrepid base jumpers took advantage of quiet Vegas night to jump off the top of a construction crane. Tim is totally unimpressed by this incredible story. “I think you should have added some hookers, nudity and blow to that story.” He says. Tim had to beg Josh to do this interview. It seems that not only do Stadia's customers think this podcast is a terrible idea, so do most of the staff. It's just another example of the loony owner with another dog shit idea that is likely going to sink the entire company. Josh is used to this of course. He's been with the company for five years. Tim and Josh have known each other for longer than that, though. They first met through a mutual friend named Fraser who worked at an electronics store. Tim had done quite a bit of work for that store. But the owner was late paying the bill. Tim rolled up on his Harley, hopped off the bike, stormed into the store and politely told Fraser that if he didn't pay what was owed he was going to destroy every TV in the place. Without missing a beat Fraser cut him a check and the two became fast friends. It was at Fraser's wedding that Josh and Tim met each other. They were both getting trashed at the bar when Tim decided Josh would make a good addition to the company. Josh didn't know a fucking thing about door and glass when he first joined Stadia. Tim said not to worry about it and the he would learn on the fly. Josh did figure out the business eventually but only after more than a few mistakes. The most famous example was changing the giant windows at The TD Towers. It was a frozen January weekend and they had to swap out a 2 0 foot piece of glass using the remote controlled suction gear. The glass was out and set to be installed when the R/C unit stopped working. The glass sat hovering just a few inches off the ground for six hours as Josh desperately tried to figure out what was wrong. In the end the solution was the same as with every piece of electronic gear. Just restart the fucking thing. Sponsors http://stadia.ca/ http://www.byrneondemand.ca/
Episode 12 – Messed Up with Josh Stratton
Las Vegas.  It's a storied city.  The home of The Rat Pack, The Strip and The Bellagio.  But when Tim's ...
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Episode 11 – Engineering Gravity with Gord Bendus
Tim is especially excited for this week's guest. To be fair, he would have been excited to have any guest ...
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Episode 10 – Glass Canada Live!
Tim travels through the heart of darkness along the 401 and finds himself in London, Ontario this week. There he ...
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Episode 9 – Stuck Inside
Tim has undertaken this brave odyssey in the hopes of better illuminating why no women want to come on the ...
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Tim was just a young pup when he met this week's guest Bill Stallon. The BOMA lunch at the King Eddy was essential for hobnobbing back in the day. That's where a scrappy new entrant into the construction trade first encountered a well-seasoned, construction veteran named Bill Stallin. “I was 22 which means you were 42.” Tim tells Bill in this week's episode. Bill and Tim became fast friends. But Bill also became Tim's mentor, a fact that he still doesn't entirely understand. “Why'd you let me hang around all the time?” “Because I couldn't get rid of you!” Back then Tim had just struck out on his own and his day consisted of pounding on doors from 7 a.m. until noon, looking for new clients. Then he would find out where Bill was and the pair would commence drinking. The booze wasn't entirely social. They both used those lunches to harangue old clients or get to know the new ones. One of their regular meeting places was the Matisse Restaurant in the Marriott Hotel. Because it was near the subway there was an open invitation for clients to meet up at 4 p.m. every Thursday. It was a great way to stay in touch with clients but it was also really fun. “My bills for food and booze were 7 or 8 thousand a month back then,” Tim says. Business schmoozing is nothing like it used to be. When Tim gets a request for a bid from a company that he doesn't know he likes to call them up. He asks to take them to lunch and to fill our a credit application. Then they hang-up. Tim uses the last portion of his conversation with Bill to talk about one of their more memorable adventures together. Tim was given a last minute invitation to join Bill and a group of other industry friends for a ski trip to Beaver Valley. The night consisted of a giant steak dinner followed by a card game. The card game went on until 2 in the morning at which point Tim found himself $10 thousand up. This despite not knowing how to play cards. The group then retired to the hot tub. Because no one had swim trunks that meant everyone was naked. Not having anything to drink one of the hosts offered a full bottle of XO Cognac. It was 30 below that night so one has to imagine four pasty white construction guys bobbing naked in a steaming hot tub, toques on their heads while getting absolutely shit-faced on cognac. “My dad used to spill more than I drank,” Bill says in an attempt to explain what happened next. After drinking the entire bottle Bill was now soundly asleep, happily bobbing in the tub. Tim gently placed his knee under Bill's head to prevent him from drowning. They also used his exposed stomach and chest as cup holders. It's now 5 a.m. and Tim declares that it's time to get Bill out of the hot tub. What commences next is a heroic attempt to move the much larger Bill out of the Tim. After dragging Bill like a corpse across a frozen threshold they left him in the laundry room. (Covered up for modesty's sake) The rest of the group made breakfast and went skiing for the day. It was only after returning at 4 p.m. that Bill finally woke up. “That's my favourite Bill Stallin story.” Tim declares.
Episode 8 – Dead in the hot tub w/ Bill Stallon
Tim was just a young pup when he met this week's guest Bill Stallon. The BOMA lunch at the King ...
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Today Tim is joined by Dylan, Stadia's salesman extraordinaire. The pair are joined by their significant others at Tim's place in Barrie. Drinks are drunk and tales are spun. Dylan has been with the company for a little over two years but Tim waste's little time asking the important questions. “Who's your favourite customer?” He asks. Dylan is taken aback by that question so Tim pivots and asks instead what Dylan's favourite building is. It doesn't take Dylan long to answer First Canadian Place or the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Both offer great shopping and even better bathrooms – which are extremely important for a salesman on the go. “Top of the line washrooms,” Dylan says. Tim is immediately interested in this line of conversation having visited every public washroom in the GTA over the last 30 years. Tim excitedly describes Crown Property Management's bathrooms near the airport which have alcohol wipes that can be used to wipe down the seat prior to use. The pair then debate which building has the best washrooms in the downtown core. For the longest time Tim used Atrium on the Bay because for years the loading dock manager would let him use the second floor washrooms. (This was before the age of the security guard of course). “But seriously who is your favourite customer?” Tim asks again. Dylan stumbles again over that question so Tim asks instead who Dylan hates to work with. Being the professional that he is Dylan declines to name names – much to Tim's chagrin. But was willing to say that certain prestige properties in the downtown core that don't give vendors a fair shot. Being told that your quote is too expensive is not very helpful. Especially when the property manager won't tell you how much they'd like to spend. It becomes a ridiculous guessing game that no one can win. Except for the vendor the property manager always wanted to pick. “Before you even walk into the building they know who they are giving the work too,” Dylan says. “And they know how much they want to spend.”
Episode 7 – Cooking the brown carrot
In today's episode Tim is joined by Dylan, Stadia's salesman extraordinaire. The pair are accompanied by their significant others and ...
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In this edition of TBAL Tim welcomes the founder and managing director of Trust 1 Security in Toronto. Doug and Tim have been friends for many years which is evidenced by Doug being one of the few people left in T.O. willing to come on the podcast! Doug first moved to the city in 1986 and worked as a security guard and later founded a security company with his brother. Five years ago he founded Trust 1 which offers security cameras, card access and alarm monitoring services. Tim find that business painfully boring which he was quick to emphasize during his conversation with Doug. “That sounds wickedly boring,” he says to Doug. “It's not,” Doug replies. “It's technology and I love technology.” Unperturbed, Tim continues this line of offensive questioning. “But aren't you in an industry that's dying because of companies like Ring and Nest?” he asks. Doug calmly explains that there is a difference between a Mercedes and a Hyundai. If you manage the Eaton Centre and you install Ring as your security camera you're being grossly incompetent. There's a huge limitation to those entry-level systems. There's really impressive new technology in the security sector, Doug continues. There are systems that will alert a guard when someone walks into a section of the building that's been flagged. And there are also sophisticated facial recognition systems that will alert security guards when a banned person enters the building. The conversation quickly veers from professional concerns to (as is often the case) Tim talking about himself. “I think my reputation proceeds me,” Tim tells Doug. “I think people think I'm rough around the edges and eccentric and brutal.” Doug assures him that's not the case but points out that Tim has been incredibly visible in the industry for a very long time. Tim recounts the difficulties of booking guests for this podcast. Everyone at Stadia and Byrne on Demand hates the podcast, he says. But it's not just Tim's staff that think this show is a bad idea. Many of Tim's clients hate it too. Just the other days a major client threatened to pull all their business if Tim ever mentions his company again. What's even more disturbing to Tim is the fact that the CEO of that company has never met Tim. “You should go and meet with him,” Doug advises. “Tell them you are different for any number of reasons but you aren't a threat to him. The conversation suddenly snaps back to Doug's business when Tim asks him if he has ever lied to a client. “Never!” Doug replies. Tim is unconvinced but Doug goes on to explain that the only way to run a business is to speak truth to power. He means that you have to tell the client what they need to hear even if it's uncomfortable sometimes. Tim and Doug wrap up their lively chat with a conversation about clients. “Who do hate working for?” Tim asks. Doug deftly dodges the question but does answer the follow-up about which companies he loves working for. For the answer you'll have to listen to the end of the episode! Tim ends this episode by thanking Doug for taking a big risk by appearing on the most hated podcast in the industry. “Gretzky says you can't score if you don't take a shot,” Doug says.
Episode 6 – Secret Spies with Doug Macy
In this edition of TBAL Tim welcomes the founder and managing director of Trust 1 Security in Toronto. Doug and ...
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The road to Anthony Vinzi's appearance on this podcast was a long and arduous one. Tim and Anthony have known one another for over a decade. Their paths would occasionally cross on various construction projects. Anthony runs Promain Exterior Maintenance, a full service concrete and ashphalt company based in Woodbridge. But it was in 2010 when they really became friends. 2010 also happens to be the worst year of Tim's life. Though those two facts aren't related. Well, actually they kind of are. You see, Tim had a shit crazy year in 2010. His brother and he stopped talking to one another after many years of working together in the family business. But that's a topic for another podcast. Then in March of that year Tim was forced to admit to an affair. He was sued in April by one of the women for sexual harassment. Tim and his then wife broke up and he moved out of the house. Then in October Tim's 20 year old son Hilton was left in a coma after a skateboarding accident. He remained in St. Michael's hospital for 21 days before he succumbed to his injuries. Tim was a broken man as he recounts in the episode. “I was embarrassed. I was a mess. My heart was broken, my ego shattered and my reputation was in tatters,” he remembers. That's when Anthony enters the picture. Tim had hired Anthony to pave a driveway at one of his properties. Those plans were shelved after Hilton's accident. Tim basically stayed inside his house and didn't leave for days at a time. Getting out of bed was next to impossible. But once a week Tim would hear a light tap at the door. He almost never got up to see who it was. But eventually, he would open the door to find a large Tim Horton's coffee on the stoop. It was usually frozen solid by then and there was no sign of who has left it. This went on for several weeks. Then one morning Tim happened to up when the knock came. He opened the door to find Anthony's orange coat descending the stairs. “Hey!” Tim said. “Oh hey man,” Anthony answered. “I just wanted to make sure you were OK.” That began a years long friendship that culiminates in this week's episode.
Episode 5 – How to ruin your life in 3 easy steps with Anthony Vinzi
The road to Anthony Vinzi's appearance on this podcast was a long and arduous one. Tim and Anthony have known ...
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Saleem, Saleemo, Sal the Magician. He goes by many names but he is, perhaps, best known around the Stadia office for his catch phrase. “How are you today Saleem?” “Just Chickie Bamboo!” he replies. Chickie Bamboo. It's a puzzling turn of phrase but one that, despite it's intense silliness, has begun to catch on among Saleem's co-workers. He's been with the company for over ten years now. He started working with BOD not long after moving to Canada from his native Pakistan. Tim is eager to learn more about Saleem's time working at the company as our chief estimator. And they also discuss Saleem's experience as a new Canadian. Saleem was married in Pakistan just a year before boarding a plane to his home in Canada. He first worked for AOL but ten years ago he joined Byrne on Demand working as estimator. He later crossed the floor to do the same job for Stadia. Pakistan is, of course, a Muslim-majority country and Tim wasn't long into their conversation when he started asking Saleem about his religion. “Do you find this office to be culturally welcoming.” Tim asks. Saleem says it is. He points out that when he first started with the company he got the OK to pray alone in the company boardroom. He also leaves the office early on Friday's for the evening service. He says he was unsure about how his co-workers would react. That feeling of uneasiness didn't last long. Tim says Saleem has been his barometer to ensure that the company is as welcoming a place as possible. After Tim finishes badgering Saleem about his personal life the two begin an intense session of office gossip. (Though it's mostly Tim doing the gossiping.) “What's it like working for Mike Wickenden even though he's ten years younger than you?” Tim asks, desperately searching for any sign of envy or animosity from Saleem. Unfazed, Saleem causally replies that Mike is the more experienced of the two and he's happy to work for him. He quickly adds that they have great chemistry on the job. Tim presses on with his line of questioning - eager to reveal some underlying hatred between his Director of Operations and Chief Estimator. “Has Mike every yelled at you?” Tim asks. Saleem says no but does point out that he knows when to avoid Mike's grumpy moods. He quickly turns the tables on Tim and points out that in fact Tim has yelled at Saleem. Though Saleem charitably points out that Tim had the good taste to phone back a few minutes later and apologize for losing his temper. The majority of Canadians leave their job every three to five years. Saleem is an outlier having stayed with Stadia for a decade. Tim asks him why he decided to stay for so long. Saleem says the company's accommodating culture has been a big part of it. He adds that being a new Canadian with a wife who works full time while raising two young kids isn't easy. The stability of staying with one job has been a big part of his success. Tim and Saleem wrap up their conversation with a discussion about the frustrations of the job. Specifically the pair commiserate about the annoying habit of some contractors who ask for estimates knowing they will never give Stadia the job. “They're using us as a check price.” Tim says. “And I'm OK with that. Just be up front about it!” Saleem agrees and the pair finish their conversation with Tim asking to hear a joke. The result is not worth writing about but it does confirm that although Saleem is one of the nicest people at the company, he's definitely not the funniest.
Episode 4 – “Muslim, eh?” with Saleem
Saleem, Saleemo, Sal the Magician. He goes by many names but he is, perhaps, best known around the Stadia office ...
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Today on the show Tim invites his daughter to be the first ever interviewee on the podcast. Kat Byrne is the General Manager of Byrne on Demand – that's our general contracting business for those of you out of the loop. Kat started working for the company seven years years ago when she was just 18. Now at the ripe old age of 25 Kat has taken over the day-to-day management of the business. If you had asked Kat as a kid whether she would end up working for her Dad her reply would have been an emphatic “no!” The reasons for that are simple enough – especially if you know anything about the Byrne family history. “We don't speak to anyone in the family anymore.” She tells Tim in the interview. “If we mix family and business we are never going to talk.” Tim's brothers Mike and Kevin along with his brother-in-law all work for competing businesses in the door and glass industry. Tim feels they have all tailored their businesses in order to directly compete with Stadia and Byrne on Demand. “It's psychological warfare.” Tim says. Kat says that she rarely speaks with her uncles. They occasionally make awkward eye-contact at trade fairs but little else. That lack of contact doesn't bother her. “You don't get to pick your family.” She says. “If the relationship was supposed to stay together it would have stayed together.” The Byrne's have a long history in the glass and door business stretching back to the 1950's. Tim's Dad Ray Byrne owned Byrne Glass and before that RayWin. “He used to go bankrupt like I change my underwear.” Tim says. Kat says an average day at the office is always different. It's a noisy, busy place that you have to be a bit of a loud mouth to fit in. She says they try to be pleasant to one another - though screaming does occur from time to time. People tend to work better under pressure and in a competitive atmosphere according to Kat. Tim plans to record 26 interviews with various staff members over the next year. Since Kat is the very first of those interviews Tim asks her what she thinks they will say. Since they'll be answering the question in front of the owner she expects them to be very polite. “None of them are going to tell you the truth.” She says. That said Kat does think the company feels like a family and a second home to the vast majority of their employees. Kat left the company for about a year and likes the place a lot more the second time around. She thinks that's because she changed a lot in that year. She quickly raised through the ranks. She attributes that quick rise to the fact that she was “raised by wolf.” The fact that she is the owner's daughter is creates some odd situations. Most of the new staff have been hired and trained by Kat. But some of the staff have known her since she was a baby. Adding to the complications is the fact that being a women in this industry can be tough. “Job sites are sexist as shit.” Tim says. Kat's counterpart at Stadia is Michael Wickenden. Mike is the Director of Operations at Stadia while Kat does a similar job at Byrne on Demand. The companies are two separate entities but operate under the same roof so the two staffs interact a lot. Kat says bluntly that she found Mike very intimidating for many years. “Up until a year ago he scared the shit out of me.” She says. Mike is, by all accounts, a very quiet guy and that left Kat wondering whether he hated her or not. It took a while for her to figure out that they are on the same level and ventually came to view him as a partner. That's because she worked under Mike for several years it took a while to view him as an equal. Now they talk regularly though it's usually just one word at a time. Kat and Tim are preparing for the company's very first retirement party. Rod Murray has a long history with the Byrne family. He first worked for Tim's Dad in the 1980's. When Tim struck out on his own Rod was the first person he hired. For a time Rod's business card featured the initials OFW which stood for “Only Fucking Worker.” Kat's goal is to make sure that clients phone her before Tim. Tim's biggest pet peeve is learning that something is wrong from the client instead of the staff. The conversation wraps up with a maudlin discussion about how the podcast will be very valuable to Kat once Tim kicks the bucket. “Twenty years from now you'll be able to hear my voice. After all I could die at any second.” Tim says.
Episode 3 – “I could die at any second” with Kat Byrne
Today on the show Tim invites his daughter to be the first ever interviewee on the podcast. Kat Byrne is ...
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