209 - TZL - John Wheaton

John Wheaton [18:31] We're in the low 20s right now. We've been as high as the mid-40s. and we've gone through quite a transition through COVID. But to answer your question, we're in the low 20s right now. We have a fairly large footprint and a bigger footprint than what our headcount would show but I've always said we've got a 2,500 square-foot ranch house on a 12,000 square-foot foundation.

Randy Wilburn [18:56] There's room for expansion there I'm sure. So tell me this, you brought up the pandemic. How much did your cadence change after March of 2020? Because I know a lot of firms were chugging along doing well and things were what they were and it just seems like we've had this great seminal moment for all of us, right, collectively. And there have been good times and there have been bad times experienced in this whole event that we call the pandemic. But how was that for you when March came around and everything kind of shut down? John Wheaton [19:35] Well, I have to think for a second to be as succinct as possible, which isn't my forte. People on my leadership team will tell you that. None of us really knew what to expect. We, certainly like many firms I'm guessing had a healthy backlog, but we really had no idea what to expect so we went remote. We weren't prepared to go 100 percent remote, but we quickly responded with our IT infrastructure. We went through at least two or three iterations of figuring out how we work remotely, and then in a hybrid environment. First, it seemed fine and we actually were chugging along in April through mid-May. No issues and then all of a sudden, we started to recognize some productivity losses and drop-offs. And then we wound up with an unprofitable quarter that manifested very quickly at the end of June, and we realized there were a lot of dissonances. We had to upgrade a lot of systems, which we did. That was amazing. We weren't even using Microsoft Teams. It was like, what do we use teams, or WebEx or zoom, or who uses what. Finally, it seems stupid now but was like, everybody's going to use MS teams. I can't imagine conducting meetings now without MS teams, it has been a very valuable tool. So the first step was figuring out communication, and upgrading infrastructure. We went through a lot of change and staff primarily in 2021. So I think people had time to assess, do I like this or not? Is this company doing okay or not? Is this a time to change or not? And I think a lot of people came to that decision. We were certainly heavily impacted by the great transition if you want to call it that. And so really for the last year, there's been a lot of changes. We were a company that had very little to no staff turnover whatsoever. But both through the pandemic and the options it presented to people, I think it empowered

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