Today I’m excited to be speaking with Greg Kozera. He is a leadership expert, a wonderful speaker, a leading authority on fracking, and the author of two books – Learned Leadership and Just The Fracks, Ma’am: The TRUTH about hydrofracking and the next great American boom.
Greg’s first book, Learned Leadership, emphasizes the idea that leaders are not born, they are made. In the book he shares powerful stories and identifies ten keys to awakening the leader inside of you. Just the Fracks, Ma’am attempts to demystify the very technical process of fracking for non-technical people.
“Leaders know where they’re going”
Greg believes that a strong, clear vision is a key component of strong leadership. Whether they’re CEO of Halliburton or captain of a high school soccer team, leaders are more effective when they communicate a strong vision with their team.
A clear vision can make the impossible possible. Greg brings this point home with an incredibly powerful story that starts at Halliburton and Dick Cheney then goes to the soccer state tournament to his wife’s car accident to Disney World. It really is amazing, and every step of the process was made possible by strong leaders with strong visions and the people that followed them.
“As leaders one of the things we have to do is develop our people.”
Strong leaders develop strong teams. One of the beautiful things about a strong vision is that it allows a team to more effectively work together. A soccer team can tie it up in the last second and a trauma victim can recover faster than anyone ever expected. True leaders develop their team, trust their team and don’t worry about losing their position.
“When you’re hustling, when you’re making things happen, luck will come your way.”
Greg really breaks down the fracking process and the history of fracking for the audience. It’s a message that may not resonate with all the ears in the audience, but he’s demonstrating strong leadership skills by providing the facts, the truth behind it, and showing the benefits.
“One of the keys to being a great leader is truth and integrity.”
I can’t thank Greg enough for taking time out of his day to talk with us. I’m always impressed with Greg’s knowledge, experience and his approach to the speaking business, as well as his approach to leadership. Be sure to pick up a copy of Learned Leadership or Just the Fracks, Ma’am if you want to learn even more about the concepts that we talked about today.
- Learn more about Greg: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
- Learned Leadership by Greg Kozera
- Just The Fracks, Ma’am: The TRUTH about hydrofracking and the next great American boom by Greg Kozera
Peter: Hey welcome back everybody. Great to have you today. I’ve got my guest Greg Kozera. Greg and I met through the National Speakers Association, the Ohio Chapter. I’ve got to know Greg a little bit over this past year or so. We were in a virtual mastermind group together, which was very successful and led to a lot of changes in my website, and I was really impressed with Greg’s knowledge, experience and his approach to the speaking business, as well as approach to leadership. So first and foremost, thank you Greg for taking time out of your busy day. I greatly appreciate you giving us this time to be a guest on my podcast. I’m so looking forward to this conversation
Greg: Peter, good to be on board with you today. Good stuff.
Peter: Greg is talking to us from Charleston, West Virginia. So Greg, before we get started, tell me audience a little bit about yourself.
Greg: Well I’m an engineer. I graduated from West Virginia way back in the seventies. I was in agricultural engineering and graduated in 2000 with a Masters in Environmental. I’ve been in the energy industry for 40-plus years. So I worked for a company called Halliburton [laughs]
Peter: I’ve heard of them [laughs]
Greg: I started out with those guys back in the seventies. I’d check into hotels, and you know they always had you put on your company and I’d write down Halliburton. Everybody would look at me and say, what do they do? You know, for 30 years nobody knew what a Halliburton was, and now all of a sudden Cheney shows up. But here’s what I can tell you about Cheney, and you know he’s a great leader. Now the poor guy – Halliburton does a lot of work on oil wells, they do cementing and hydraulic fracturing, fracking business – people talk about Cheney and fracking. The poor guy, he wouldn’t know a frack job if you drove up on it.
Greg: [laughs] Because I know this. I know this because I was a manager and the guy understood. They brought me more because of his international relationships but I could tell by the stuff came out of Houston that he had no clue how we generated income out here in the Northeast or other processes, so it’s pretty obvious he didn’t know that. Now from a leadership standpoint, though, I can still remember, back in the Cheney days, there were four key things. One, we were going to be number one or number two on our core businesses. [Two,] We were going to be a great place to work. [Three,] We were going to provide exceptional shareholder value, and the fourth one was something to do with safety. But think about that. That’s been – he was doing that in the 90’s, so that’s been 20 years
Greg: I could still remember those four things. So think about it, Peter, how many companies today – and I can tell you this, we work for ourselves 100%, Linda and I at Learned Leadership. We started that about four years ago, so I’ve been working for other folks, but in March we’re full-time. This is what I do. I speak. I do leadership training, motivational talks, team-building type stuff, and we do energy education. But what’s amazing is I can think about the companies I’ve been with, and I couldn’t tell you what the vision was. As a matter of fact I actually asked Lazar, the new CEO of Halliburton, 5000 salespeople this meeting, and at that point I kind of felt like I was bullet proof, so he asked for questions, and I’m first guy that holds up his hand.
Greg: I’m thinking, what they gonna do fire me, and I ask him, “Mr. Lazar, what’s our vision?” I remember I told you what Cheney’s vision was. We knew where we were going, and he went on, Peter, for about 15 minutes, and when he got done I still had no clue
Greg: [laughs] I had no idea, and I think if there’s a message that will help your listeners when it comes to leadership is leaders know where they’re going. I mean I’ll bet you right now that if I ask you what’s your vision for your business, where do you want to be at the end of the year, I’ll bet you could tell me.
Peter: I bet you I could too.
Greg: And think about how many companies couldn’t make that statement. As an employee, but particularly as a management employee, if I don’t know what the vision is I guarantee you my people don’t know what it is. I’m also high school soccer coach. We started teaching leadership way back in 1999 because we felt like we wanted seniors to be leaders, but what are they use? I mean do they just become leaders because they’re seniors? So we started teaching this stuff, and the first year it was amazing. Peter, we had one returning starter. We’re Charleston Catholic, a small high school in Charleston. Those days we had to play everybody: the biggest, the baddest, the best. We never won anything. Never won a section, I mean forget regions, and we got one returning starter. We’re rebuilding this team, and we’re talking about leadership, we’ve got these four seniors together to practice, and I tell them about vision. I said what’s your vision, what’s your dream, where do you want to be at the end of this season? And I’ll never forget – this kid’s a doctor in Charleston, South Carolina, now – and he says, coach, we want to play in the state championship. [laughs] And I looked at him and I’m thinking this is a joke, and I’m looking in his eyes and it’s not a joke. He’s dead serious. I was, Peter, this close to saying, you know, BJ that’s a great vision, but maybe we ought to aim a little lower.
Peter: Like, you know, a winning season, and you know we play some big schools, but I just said this: I said, okay, we got a lot of work to do, and he convinced me that we could actually do this. We convinced the seniors, and together we convince the team, and I’ll tell you how absolutely nutso it was. Again, he didn’t know this at the time, we had to play two schools that in 15 years we had never beat, and we had to go through them – one in section, one in the regionals get the state tournament. At the end of practice I get the boys together and we talk about what our goals for the next game, the next practice, and I would jump – you can probably picture this – I would jump up in the air, throw my hands and scream, what’s the dream? And the entire team would scream – not to win the state championship, it was to play for it. The short story is, against all odds, we beat those two schools. We beat one in the region championship, and we didn’t just beat them we beat them like a drug. We beat them 5-0, and it was the craziest thing. I’m watching this happen. I’m watching us totally dismantle a team we haven’t beat in 15 years and I’m thinking this is a dream, because you’re gonna wake up and realize that none of this has ever happened, and it was real, but the coolest thing was when that game was over our opponent literally, in place, sat down. It was in unison. The entire team just sat down on the field. It’s like they’re trying to figure out what the world just happened to us out here. The second team we played in the state semi-final and they were archrival. Picture this, in 15 years we haven’t beat them and we’re playing them twice a season, so there was like 30 games out there that we hadn’t won. We’re down to 2-0 at halftime and I remember my halftime talk. You talk about coming out fired up, but it was with about 18 minutes left we scored, and then with less than two minutes left BJ, the captain, scores again. We go into overtime, we had to play the whole overtime,and we fell behind again – and this kid’s a doctor now in the Charleston area – he scores literally with one second left in overtime to tie the game and send it to shoot up. So you talk about motivation.
Greg: Here’s the thing, in the shootout there’s a kid comes up to us, he’s a senior and he wants to be one of five shooters, and he scores the winning goal in the shootout to send us into the state tournament for the first time in the history of the school. But it gets better, Peter, because you know what? You and I know its speakers is you throw these seeds out there. Whether you’re doing this podcast or whether you’re speaking to an audience, you plant seeds and you never know where they’re going to grow or how they’re going to grow, and in 2012 my wife had a really serious car accident. It was right here – I actually live close to Charleston but my little town is called Pinch, West Virginia, so you can imagine it’s not very big. So I just got home from work, she was right behind me, I had the dog out. I get this phone call saying mr. your wife’s been a little accident here in downtown Pinch, you might want to come down here. This is her phone and, you know, she’s alright. I’m thinking okay, fender bender. I get down there and there’s a crowd gathering. The fire truck’s on its way and her car is flipped on its top in the middle of the road and she’s a diabetic, she passed out, and literally she tore everything up. All four sides and the top and she’s still in the car, and you talk about helpless. I mean there’s nothing I can do… and the paramedics were awesome, they got her out – but the long story short she broke her neck because of the force of the collision. Thank God for airbags, and she had a gash in her head. So here it is it, this was a Friday, and Sunday morning this team of doctors comes in. We talked about vision, how powerful that is. So they look over and she’s hurt, I mean she can barely talk and she’s got this gash and she can’t move anything, and as they’re starting to leave my wife whispers, “Doc,” and the head trauma surgeon goes over to her and he’s got to actually bend his head down over her mouth so she can you can hear or speak. She says, we have a trip to Disney World planned the middle of next month. Now is there any reason I can’t go?
Greg: Ha! Yeah I just lose it. He’s laughing, I’m laughing, then he says well you know you might be a little uncomfortable if you’re driving. So I got plane tickets. He said no problem, but here’s the rest of the story. I recognized one of those five, and as they’re leaving the room this young man says to me, “Do you remember me coach?” I said, “Nathan, I’ll never forget you.” The kid that scored the goal in the shootout that put us in the state championship game is now a doctor, I find that he’s a damn good doctor, well guess who’s more my wife’s doctor for five days? Nathan, and he had heard, he knew her vision, knew her dream, and I had to run an errand for the next day, and this was Sunday. You can imagine Sunday morning she’s laying there in bed, she can’t move, she got the gash on her head and she can barely speak. I’m back, it’s five o’clock Monday evening, when I get back she’s not in her bed, I’m like what’s going on? I’m worried and I walk and he’s got her in a walker going down the hall. Between Nathan and Linda, they pulled it off, and I have a picture of my wife in a wheelchair with our oldest granddaughter in front of the haunted mansion at Walt Disney World in Florida one month later. The power of a dream, and when you and I, and your listeners, sow seeds you don’t know where they’re going to grow, because Nathan understood this whole vision thing, and that’s probably part of the reason why was a Doctor. Incredibly and as it turns out his office now, he’s moved on and he’s actually a heart doctor, and he’s on the same floor that my wife’s working today and they literally are on the same floor in this medical building. So you talk about what’s the odds. I mean, I’m not that creative guy. I can’t make this stuff up.
Peter: Wow. That’s a story. I mean we went from Halliburton and Dick Cheney to soccer to your wife’s wreck to Disney World, but you kinda tied it all up in a nice little bow there at the end. I mean I have a lot of questions to ask you just from that story
Peter: But the one thing you were talking about, you could remember Cheney’s vision, but when the CEO was giving his vision he went on for like 15 minutes and you walked away and you had no idea.
Greg: No idea.
Peter: Which takes me right to Abraham Lincoln and to Gettysburg Address, because the guy who spoke before him was a former Secretary of State. He spoke for two hours. Nobody even knows his name, and his name is Everett something or other, but Lincoln spoke. Do you have idea of how many words were in the Gettysburg Address?
Greg: Not very many.
Peter: 272, he spoke for 10 minutes, and so to your point he was concise, he was brief, he was to the point. Everybody remembered it vs the other person.
Greg: And it was emotional. I mean that’s the thing. As leaders we have to touch the emotion. It has to mean something and, you know, I mean you and I can both remember. I can’t repeat the whole gettysburg address, but I got a pretty good idea. Four score and seven years ago dadadadada, but you know, I know the gist of it, and think about that. You’re right. I mean 200 some words over a 150 years ago and people still remember. How powerful is that? You’re right, that’s a leader.
Peter: I know you got a copy of my book and if you’re looking at my book I took the liberty and rewrote the Gettysburg address in corporate speak, which you might find extremely hilarious these days, but the other one that you mentioned that I want to touch on briefly was the guy who had the vision of making the state championship, and you’re cynical in your mind – are you kidding me kid? In the movie Remember The Titans, there’s this scene between the captain and the other football player, and they’re going at each other, and basically talks about, you know, leadership. It’s all about attitude. And in the movie the the captain’s attitude was not of leadership quality. That kind of started to change things in the movie, but basically makes me think that soccer guy. He had the attitude and he kept that attitude, and basically you said he convinced you. I mean that’s classic.
Greg: You know what’s so powerful, Peter, is that attitude. That’s why this whole vision thing is so critical for us as individuals, but even as his corporations, because it drove everything else. I mean think about it: Practice. If your dream is well we’re going to have 500 season and you know maybe win some games, maybe we will – how are you going to practice? Not very. I mean the intensity – I remember the drills that we went through the week before the state tournament. I mean, they were working hard. Who was leading the drills? BJ. And the other piece of that is you gotta believe in, and that was the trick. Because we can say State Championship game until the cows come home, as they say, but if I don’t believe it – and I’ll never forget, at my halftime time talk we’re down 2-0 and and we were talking about the head coach, I’m the assistant coach, talking about the things we had to do, those those things that had to change. I said, gentlemen, what’s the dream? They said state championship game. I said we have to win this tonight to get there. The one thing I remember saying is, if there’s anyone in this room that doesn’t believe we can still win this game and play in the state championship game, you need to stay here in the locker room, and I remember someone yelled something, and the whole team went out fired up, and boy you talk about their level of play in the second half to the first half. It was intense. And finally, and it’s strange how things happen when you’re hustling, when you’re making things happen, luck will come your way. Our first goal was this kid just took a weak shot at the goal, there wasn’t much to it, but the ball took a crazy hop away from their goalkeeper and score. Now all of a sudden it’s, you know, 18 minutes and we’re down one goal and nobody quit. They didn’t even think about it. Can you imagine? You’re down a goal, in overtime, there’s 30 seconds left in the game – and here’s the cool thing, our opponent was loaded with Seniors, we had like four and only one of them was a starter too, and they get their bags lined up. They’re ready to leave because they know that there’s no way in the world we’re going to come back and beat them in this overtime. I’ll never forget that. You know, their goalie kicks the ball away and ball keeper comes way of the goal, traps it, passes it to who? Nathan, who passes it to Stewart, who is the other striker, who passes it to BJ. Now here’s the rest of the story: BJ, senior captain, his dream, he’s got the ball. He’s probably ten yards away from the goal, there’s ten seconds left and they’re counting it down, and he doesn’t shoot. He passes the ball to the little Kenny Proops, and Kenny – he’s literally probably five foot tall, Peter, and he put it – Think about it, as leaders one of the things we have to do is develop our people. He had developed Kenny to the point – as a freshman he shouldn’t even be on the field, he’s not a starter, he was there because someone else got hurt – Kenny’s on the field, BJ passes him the ball and Kenny shoots and scores with one second left.
Greg: Think about that. His whole dream is state championship game and he doesn’t take the shot. He passes it to a freshmen that he trained that isn’t even a starter.
Greg: And that was something I didn’t even think about. I’ve been doing these talks, and it was like three years later and like, oh my god, how powerful is that? I mean think about how many businesses you talk to, how many people, their shortcomings as leaders is that they won’t trust their people. Think about it. I mean how many times do we not develop our people, or do we not trust them, and let’s face it if you develop your people – Here’s the difference that I see between leaders and managers. A manager is threatened by those underneath him or her because they might take their job. As a leader, if I’m a true leader, I want my people to be better than me. I want them to grow. I want them to be part of my team and I should never be threatened by those people, and BJ obviously wasn’t. He wasn’t worried anyone would take his job. He wanted to win. He wanted success.
Peter: There’s one piece in there that you haven’t said but you’ve alluded to it. In the end that leadership role when he passed the ball, he didn’t have a huge ego. He didn’t need to feed his ego by being the one that scored.
Greg: You know you’re right
Peter: We all have egos, but when leaders can swallow their ego and do what’s best for the team not what’s best for them, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts goes a long way in building leaders and also building the team, and also maintaining a team.
Greg: Absolutely. You know it’s interesting you brought that up, because our 2012 team – I mean we’ve won 5, 6 state championships in the last seven years. Now I mean that’s what those young men started way back then. I mean we’ve been to the state tournament eight years in a row, so our seniors this year are like, oh yeah, of course we’re going back to the tournament. We’re gonna win. I mean that’s their mentality. But our ‘12 team we had a kid, super young man, our captain. He was leading the state in scoring at two-thirds of the way through the season, Peter, and the last third of the season I’m noticing he’s not taking as often. He’s distributing the ball, and what was so cool in the state championship game a freshman scored three goals. Instead of Sam taking the glory he was developing his people, and at the end we’re up four nothing and Sam had to score, he finally scored the 5th goal, but you know by then the game’s out of reach and we already had it pretty well in hand. But the whole thing about the concept is here is this kid that can be the leading scorer in the state, and he doesn’t do it because it’s more important to develop those freshmen that are going to be in that game, and then they got what he wanted. He won the state championship we, we won it handily, but if he’d have been that ego guy that you’re talking about those freshmen wouldn’t have been ready to play when they were, and the first goal was scored from a freshman. Sam develop those players.
Peter: I’m going to ask you this question. This is is a wonderful story. Have you turned it into a keynote?
Greg: I’ve told pieces of it but not to this level.
Peter: You need to put that whole piece and develop it into a keynote, because it’s very, very powerful and relatable, because it’s soccer, and the things that you talked about here. I tell you what, it would make one hell of a keynote address.
Greg: Good point. I like that. I think if there’s anything that we can do to help our audiences, I think, is to help them understand that vision piece, because no matter what they’re doing it’s gonna help, so I thank you for that. That’s a good point because I’ve never put all those pieces together like we just did. I’ve done bits and pieces of it but not in one congruent story.
Peter: I would get post-it notes out. I will send you a copy of the audio before we even play it so you can go back and listen to it, and I would lay it out and post-it notes to develop the keynote because I think is very strong powerful message on leadership. I think you can actually blow audiences away. As you’re talking my other question was do you have this story in your book, and the name of your book again is?
Greg: The first book is Learned Leadership.
Peter: Learned Leadership, and that was published when?
Greg: It was in 2007 and that’s strictly leadership, and that’s really the book that we teach even our seniors. That’s really kind of like the Bible when it comes to leadership.
Peter: Okay so this story is not in in that book.
Greg: Actually it’s interesting. Both stories, I mean in the leadership book, the BJ story is.
Greg: That’s the lead story and a lot of what we talked about with BJ, and you know the whole ‘99 team. That stuff is in there. Now what’s interesting, the second book is called Just The Fracks, Ma’am
Peter: Did you say Just the Fracks?
Greg: Just The Fracks, Ma’Am, it’s the truth about fracking. You know, as a speaker, I couldn’t get away from the motivational piece because we talk about, yeah, there’s the science and the technology and what this means to Americans, and at the end of the day I want to talk about how important it is that we we can come together and do the right thing for this country, and so a lot of people, you know, they get a little jaded and they don’t believe in it. In that book, believe it or not, is the Nathan-Linda story. So I actually have that story written down in Just the Fracks. I had written Just the Frack so that the average American can read it and understand it. As a matter of fact, my editor is from New York City, I had to take the tech terms out. It’s written by an engineer but it doesn’t read like that. He wouldn’t let me do that. So this lady, when she got done with the book, I said what you think? She says when it was over I was in tears.
Greg: Then I remembered Linda’s story is in the very end, and so when she finished the book that was the closing story. I thought oh my god, I hadn’t thought about it that way, but yet those are there in there. But again, it’s not a complete piece because when I wrote the first book the second piece hadn’t happened yet. But good point.
Peter: So you’re a leading authority as relates to fracking?
Greg: I am.
Peter: Because I actually did hear you on 700 WLW probably about two months ago or so
Greg: Yeah, Cincinnati
Peter: Yeah, where they interviewed you as it relates to fracking, and can you give the audience just a 10,000 foot, I mean, I think just because of your diverse background, that you’re in the energy field and very and authority within that general, I think you know imparting some of that wisdom would be great to this audience.
Greg: Sure, and you know in the sense they’re tied together because one of the keys to being a great leader is truth and integrity. I mean at the end of the day, you know, I don’t know about you but I’ve been led, or I should say managed by people, that I couldn’t trust them. [laughs] I mean, you know, because I’ve watched what they did. I mean literally. I mean I watched one guy who had told this young engineer to do something and it backfired, and at this big meeting the VP had all these got folks together with one of my clients, and he’s chewing out this young engineer for what he did, and I’m looking at his manager because I know what happened. I’m looking at him thinking, surely you’re going to step up and say it wasn’t him, it was me. He never did that and I’m thinking, alright, what do I know now? If he tells me something it’s going down in writing. I’m going to make sure that someone’s heard it, because if it backfires I know this: he doesn’t have my back. I can’t trust him.
Greg: So leadership is all about trust and integrity. Whether we’re talking about local elections or presidential candidate, you’ve got to be able to trust that person. When they stand in front of you, whether it’s on TV or a meeting, and they say this is where we’re going, you gotta believe it. I mean whether it’s corporate or whatever. So getting back to this whole fracking thing. I’m an engineer. I understand the process. We’ve been doing this, Peter, in the United States for 60 plus years. That’s how long we’ve been fracking this country. We fracked over 2 million wells. Can you imagine we’ve done this process two million times and they’re still looking for the one well out of those two million that’s contaminated groundwater. I’m thinking how nutso is this. I mean really folks, and I actually stood in front of the EPA two weeks ago and said, look folks here’s what’s going on. It was their science board, there were a bunch of PhDs, but they didn’t understand that. I said here’s the truth. Here’s what’s going on. So why we studying this? I mean if we’re going to worry about something let’s worry about something that’s gonna happen. I mean let’s face it. The roads we travel on, I mean, unfortunately, highway fatalities are not uncommon. I mean my wife was almost a fatality. I mean if we use that same thought process there would be no airplanes and their damn sure wouldn’t be any cars. So that was the reason I had to write the whole book on fracking. So just so your audience understands what it is, it’s really simple, is the rock that we get our oil and gas out – and it’s rock, it’s not a cave. It’s inside the pores of a rock. If you pick up a rock or stone or whatever it’s actually in those pores and it won’t come out by itself. So what we do when they drill these wells, and the wells we’ve drilled to there’s seven, eight, nine thousand feet deep, and we have to frack, and all the frack is is pumping some water and sand, or sometimes just nitrogen gas and sand or nitrogen gas and nothing, to create a small crack. This crack would look like something you’d see maybe in your driveway. We’re talking about a crack that’s maybe a quarter of an inch, but that crack is like a superhighway because that crack allows the oil and gas to flow out of that rock to a wellbore pipe and come to the surface, and fuel our nation, and we’ve been doing this for 60 years and the only change that’s happened is we started to drill wells horizontal, which means you get down six, seven, eight thousand feet and then you can actually turn that pipe, that drill bit, and we can drill now horizontally, like your floor, two miles. Can you imagine a mile and a half deep and that’s like an underground pipeline two miles out, and the only thing is we can create that crack or that frack multiple times, like 50 times in that horizontal well, and that creates literally a world-class well, and the United States, in just the last seven, eight years, we are the leading oil producer. We’re either number one or number two depending on the month, but we’re one of the leading oil producers in the world and we’re the leading gas producer in the world. We are literally today, Peter, the energy gorilla of the planet. That’s why your listeners and down here in West Virginia we’re still paying 2.50 a gallon for gasoline. It was over four bucks a couple years ago. So that’s the reason why gasoline prices – I’ve done on that WLW, and I’ve done over 150 radio interviews. One of the first questions I get is because our gasoline is two dollars, does that have anything to do with fracking? Yeah, everything. I was on the station yesterday in Nashville and this guy, I could tell, even after I talked about what we’re doing environmentally, that we’re not creating a disaster, we’re actually – I mean I literally bill myself as environmentalist because what we’ve done, whether we’re talking about fracturing or whether it’s the way well sites are reclaimed as the result of this whole thing, is we’ve done more for the planet in the last seven or eight years than – you put all these environment groups quote-unquote together and look and see what they’ve done, and it doesn’t compute. It pails. Matter of fact I’ll tell you about that. When Just the Fracks came out I was doing a book signing in Charleston, little hole-in-the-wall bookstore Saturday morning. All my soccer players come up. What could go wrong, right? You know it’s cool. This guy shows up, he’s the head of the green party in West Virginia, he brings his entourage. He’s driven two hours to come to my signing. Like really, you’re kidding me. I mean, am I that important all of a sudden? We have this mini debate and finally I can tell the boys are saying oh come on, you know, let’s get this over with and we got other things to do, but I can also tell that they want tome… I mean I wasn’t prepared for it, so it kinda feels like I got sucker-punched. I could see the boys are all saying, come on coach you gotta get gotta hit him back. So finally we go through this stuff and he throws all this garbage out there and it’s half-truths, and I finally said, I’ll tell you something buddy, and I went through what we’ve done as an industry, the oil and gas industry in America. We’ve lowered co2 10% since 2000. We’ve lowered it. On the planet CO2 is up. It’s down in this country thanks to expanding use of natural gas. There’s industries coming back. Ohio and steel mills now that would have been built in China, India, but because of low fuel prices they came back to this country. We’re bringing the chemical industry back to operate under U.S. environmental law, and when these well sites are reclaimed – in Virginia, we’ve got an elk herd. I mean, we’re talking about a place that used to be a strip mine, it’s got active gas wells that have all been fracked. There’s elk herd, deer, wild turkey, and the rest of the story is they bring the Audubon people out to see the birds out there. Isn’t that crazy? People don’t want to talk about the oil and gas industry as being green, but the Audubon Society goes out to look at birds and I said, you know, isn’t amazing? You would never take the Audubon people to a windmill site, unless you want to show them dead birds. But the reality is wind and solar would cease to exist without oil and gas, because the hydrocarbons – even the electric cars need electricity. Electricity takes coal or natural gas, primarily, and there was this guy was on this show yesterday. He was saying we have to go to electric cars. I said that’s fine. Remember we need coal and we need natural gas for electricity. More importantly, those cars are have a lot of plastic because they have to be lightweight, and plastic comes from Petrochemicals, and petrochemicals come from oil and gas wells. Because we frack every well in this country, virtually. I mean there’s a few we don’t, but we’re talking about 99% of wells require fracking. It’s part of the process, and it only takes a day to do that, and so I said without fracking electric cars would cease to exist. You can’t have them without fracking, and so that’s the the message I want to get out. Look, this is an old process. I mean, it’s like any other industrial process. You gotta be smart, you gotta do it right, but we’re still looking for that first well that’s contaminated groundwater. I’m like, come on, but here’s what’s more important for our freedom. Our military runs on petroleum. You can’t fuel fighter jet on wind and you can’t fuel a tank with solar. It takes oil and gas, and can you only imagine. Putin fracks. All the OPEC countries frack. China fracks. So if we would ever do something really stupid like banning fracking it’s A) not gonna help our environment, it’s gonna hurt it, and B) our oil and gas industry is gone so now. Can you imagine what happened? Our president, whoever that’s going to be, has to call Vladimir Putin or the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and say, hey, we need a little more oil this month. Now the other thing that happens if you take our crude oil out of the market, and your listeners, you, and I can plan on paying five dollars plus for gasoline, and who does that hurt most? Matt Damon, Yoko Ono, they’re going to still fly their jets. They’re going to have money to do that – but the average American, that single mom that drives 60 miles to Charleston to go to work and that two dollars a gallon she was saving buys lots of really nice Christmas presents. Who’s really gonna get hurt by five dollar gasoline? What about those senior citizens that are fixed incomes? Food prices go up, everything goes up, so you know if people don’t understand the energy and where it comes from and how important our oil and gas is to our country. There’s some things we can do to help improve CO2, but we need to do it as a team. We need to have enough gumption and have some leaders that actually understand the truth and actually bring people together, because we can use our renewables in a smart way. We can make some really good things happen and make some good decisions, as long as you’re using truth and good science and not fear and height and then some crap I’m hearing, and that’s why I did the book. I’m an engineer. I didn’t want to go there, but nobody else is talking about this stuff, so that’s the rest of the story.
Peter: And that’s what leaders do. They take on tough topics, and as long as you bring in actual facts and the truth to get that message out. That’s another sign, in my mind, of a great leader, and that may not resonate with all the ears, but at least you’re providing the facts, the truth behind it, showing the benefits, and you know what? That’s that’s the big piece, and especially taking on topics that might be a little more controversial than others, and I admire you for doing that.
Peter: In this conversation that we’ve had we’ve gone from – well we started with Dick Cheney [laughs]
Peter: and we went we went to soccer, then we went to fracking, then we talked a little bit of politics. We almost have like a whole 360 here.
Greg: But you know I’ll tell you what’s really cool, because I did – I was asked by one of my clients to do a presentation. They needed someone to be on a frack panel at the Vermont School of Law. Can you imagine Vermont? Bernie Sanders. I mean it’s probably as liberal as you can get, but you know they set this thing up right and we really had a good discussion.
Peter: That’s key.
Greg: And it would happen to be the same day as my son was retired from the Navy so I couldn’t stay for the whole thing, and this lady – and you know you never know how everybody perceives everything but clearly they were not pro-frackers – but I got a voicemail I picked up the next morning and she said Mr. Kozera I am so glad that you were able to participate. We had never looked at fracking that way before, and probably what happened was no industry person would dare go up there because they think, you know, I know that’s gonna be like and they’re gonna… and I’m thinking, look, if somebody doesn’t have the guts to stand in front of an audience and tell the truth, and believe me I don’t know everything so I learned. I mean the beauty of what they did is they set up a panel where we all learned something. I learned some things that I needed to know, they learned some things that they needed to know, and I told the girl,I said can you imagine if we could do this in Washington, because everybody gains from this. If we could sit down now, we were the policymakers, and do something really good for this country because we’ve got everybody represented here and we’re all trying to come up with a good answer for everybody, and so we’re actually listening to each other. Think about that. When I listen to my wife I really learn something. [laughs]
Greg: It’s like, wow, what a novel that you actually listen. If we did that in Washington what they did in Vermont we can do some incredible things. We can have an environment here that’s better than what it is. We can do things for people around the world. Think about it. There’s kids in India, I heard an NPR report few weeks ago Peter, that half the kids in New Delhi have permanent lung damage because the air is so bad. Now if they were starving we’d be sending food over there.
Greg: But they’re just gonna die of, who knows, lung damage or whatever, COPD. We can fix that. We have the energy fix that. If we were able to work together and get the dialogue right and forget politics and agendas, let’s do something for the planet, let’s do something to help everybody, not just our people here but people around the world, that’s what I think leaders should be doing.
Peter: Great point. That is what leaders should be doing Before we begin to wrap up I just want to say that, as you’re describing this thing at the Vermont school I was really curious how that was going to turn out, and I tie this back into my book a little bit because you weren’t – you said, we were able to have a conversation. We were able to have a dialogue. We were able to debate, and the only way that you were able to do that is both sides had respect for the other party, and as you said both sides were listening. Where it all falls apart in leadership is when you don’t have respect for the person you’re dealing with. No matter if you’re if you’re in corporate America, you’re at a university, your head of this country or another country, once we lose that respect everything else falls apart.
Greg: You are absolutely spot-on. If anybody wants those books – Just the Fracks, Ma’am and Learned Leadership – they’re out there on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I got a website GregKozera.com where I do a blog. So they can find my blog, it’s on energy but it’s really mostly leadership stuff, but all they’re all online. Just the Fracks, Ma’am and Learned Leadership
Peter: And we will also have them in the show notes on the website, links to the books, and to his website as well. As we wrap up I like to do this so the audience to get to know maybe a little different side of you. You have not seen these questions. I call them 10 quick questions as a type of rapid-fire piece, so you ready for these ten really tough question?
Greg: Absolutely. Fired up.
Peter: First one: Skyline or White Castle?
Greg: White Castle.
Peter: Baseball or Soccer?
Greg: Soccer. Imagine that. [laughs]
Peter: [laughs] Go figure. What’s your favorite movie?
Greg: Ooo, that’s a tough one. Probably On the Start – no, no, Star Wars.
Peter: Star Wars.
Greg: and this last one – maybe this last one that just came out.
Peter: Wow, I have not I have not seen it yet. I guess I better go see that.
Greg: They did a really great job at tying everything in the past and the present. I mean they just did an awesome job, so I’ll go with the latest Star Wars movie.
Peter: Okay. What’s your favorite city to visit?
Greg: Right now probably Orlando because Disney World is down there. [laughs]
Peter: Yeah, okay. Who’s your most admired leader?
Greg: Wow. Going way back when I’d probably say Lincoln.
Greg: Probably in recent years I’d say Ronald Reagan.
Greg: But you know both, particularly Lincoln, had to deal with incredible amount of conflict. When you talk about the conflict any President has to deal with, and he handled it incredibly well. Reagan because he was really the leader. He was the guy that, I’ve heard it said, that he was like your dad, he was gonna turn the light out in the bedroom at night, but I mean when he stood up said this is what we’re going to do, I can believe it, even if I didn’t agree with him, I could believe it.
Peter: And you can trust him as well.
Greg: Exactly, that trust is so important. You’re right, Peter.
Peter: Five Guys hamburger or Long John Silver’s fish and chips?
Greg: That’s tough. I’ll go with the Five Guys.
Peter: Five Guys. Do you remember Long John Silvers?
Greg: Oh we’ve got one here in town.
Peter: Oh they’re still around?
Greg: Oh absolutely.
Peter: I haven’t seen you in a long time.
Greg: Oh, no. They’re good. That’s why I had to think about that one.
Peter: It was a little surprise to me that you had to think. I mean, I do remember the fish and chips were very, very good back in the day.
Greg: Arthur Treacher’s is gone, but long johns is still here.
Peter: Wow that’s cool.
Greg: Yeah we’ve got several of them in town.
Peter: Interesting. I don’t think there’s anything here in Columbus, but I’m actually gonna take a look after this id one.
Peter: Cheers or The Big Bang Theory?
Peter: Coke or Pepsi?
Peter: LeBron James or Michael Jordan?
Greg: I gotta go with the LeBron. That Cleveland championship was just, I mean, isn’t that what we’re talking about. The vision. I mean here’s a guy that has this vision and he’s got the guts to tell everybody I’m coming back to Cleveland and here’s what we’re going to do, and down three games to one he pulls it off. What a classic.
Peter: I mean you can’t write that story.
Greg: No you can’t. It is so powerful.
Peter: ESPN had a 30 for 30 out a few weeks ago called Believe Land, prior to the championship games, and it’s all about how Cleveland sports, and the rough and you know how they always fought, the drive, the fumble, and all of that. I watched it last night and they’ve already changed the ending to put in the championship.
Greg: [laughs] I love that. What a great, I mean, that’s something that, and really even for young people, what an example. I mean A) you never quit,but B) if you know what you want – I mean, you know, what a deal. I mean there’s leadership in so many different areas. And really, I mean we live in Worcester and I felt so bad for people in Cleveland for years, because they were so close
Greg: Or in some cases not even close at all. [laughs]
Peter: [laughs] Exactly.
Greg: I mean I was absolutely thrilled for them because, I mean, face it a lot of our NSA buddies are from up there in Cleveland. Like, for them this was one for the all-times.
Peter: Exactly. And the last question. I actually got two questions, but the last one: What’s your favorite restaurant? And it doesn’t have to be in Charleston, it can be anywhere.
Greg: You know I’ll tell you what. I like Polaris Grill. really like that place.
Peter: Okay. Actually it’s about three minutes from my house and we used to go all the time, but now we don’t venture too far, but my wife and her girlfriends go up there a lot.
Peter: And one last question that I do have is what’s the name of your dog?
Peter: Abby, and is Abby there with you isn’t she?
Greg: She sure is.
Peter: Okay. What kind of dog is Abby?
Greg: She’s a golden retriever.
Peter: A golden retriever. Can I see her?
Greg: Absolutely [moves webcam] Can you see her?
Peter: Oh yeah she’s just laying on the floor half asleep. I could hear panting at times in the background so I knew there was a dog.
Greg: She’s paranoid because like, we’ll leave town, and when I come back I can’t go anywhere. I mean I’ll be taking a shower and all of a sudden they’ll be this the door open up and I’m thinking it’s Linda and it’s like, no, it’s the dog. She just want to make sure she knows where we are.
Peter: Well Greg thank you so very much for giving me the time and I greatly appreciate it. I enjoyed this conversation on leadership and learning more about fracking, and tying it all together. I got to know you a little bit better. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the next NSA meeting, and once again thank you very much for your time.
Greg: Thank you, Peter. I had a ball
Peter: Great, and I guess we’ll see everybody on the next episode. Bye now!
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