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  • hughjwade


A wise Environmental Geologist once said,



Tons of people have recognized that, to be successful, you must be different. It helps. Just mathematically. If a person is doing what everyone else is doing, it means that it’s a tough market. High demand, low supply, and tons of competition, much of it better than you. So, not-so-smart-people wisely try to pick out scenarios where there is a competitive advantage. It’s an effort to see opportunities where others don’t, paired with a willingness to stick one’s neck out on said opportunity, taking real risk when there is a lot of unknowns, because there is always a lot of unknowns. (That’s why they call it risk.) Trusting themselves when most others are turning up their noses. I try to do this. And I appreciate others that do the same. Especially successfully. That takes some doing, and it also means that there will be failure that must be endured, overcome, and learned from. 


I have a great friend named Scott Erdmann. His company is Tellus, Ltd., co-owned and managed by him and his wife Charlotte Kjerrulf. He’s funny, and fun to be around. An admirable, interesting human being. Also a character, like a lot of people I really like. In short, an original. It also happens that Scott is an ace environmental assessment and clean-up hired gun. A fixer, a fireman, a problem solver, a Point A to Point B guy, “how do we get this done in the most efficient way for my client” kind of dude. Runs lean and mean. Decades of experience. Handles some pretty big stuff for some pretty big names, as well as small operators who are wise to seek out and pay for his advice. Much of it remote, off the grid, way the heck out there in the lands where oil companies, mines, and the military have traipsed to take risk, fight battles, and chase the golden ring or highest priority, whatever the context might have been in the process of leaving a mess.   


Scott and I talk quite often, at least a couple of times a week. 


I’ve learned a lot by discussing how he does things. We share a common interest. We are both self-employed. So, I can relate to what he is saying, and it’s sharpened me as well, just in terms of mentality and how to assess things and what actions to take. The commonality: betting on securing real clients and real projects, and calling bullshit, diplomatically, on the vast majority of time-wasters and information suckers. And mitigating and differentiating and molding between the two. Because, sometimes, the entitled time-wasters and users can be good clients too, the table just has to be set properly, and the relationship managed.


Anyway, I talked to Scott last week. I’m under contract to buy an old gas station. Scott both ribs me and gives me great advice, and I understand that the risk is mine, all mine. Because most of our deals are shops and warehouses and small industrial/ automotive flex properties, contamination in various forms, usually petroleum contamination, is a relative constant. So, I actually like these types of properties, and I like learning more about different contamination scenarios. It fits into the mold of seeing what others can’t see, properly assessing risk, and seeing opportunity. 


One day, Scott proudly proclaimed, “I am looking for money, and it smells like diesel!” The next day, he told me he was driving down Spenard, and he saw flames shooting from manhole covers, and that he sure wouldn’t want to be buying a gas station or be an owner, as it was likely related to gas from leaking underground storage tanks in the ground water. He was joking.


Here’s to seeing what others overlook, taking risk, and having a sense of humor, which also means being humble enough to laugh at ourselves. 


Also, if you know someone who has a small business with a Spenard mentality, like a willingness to embrace a former Y & B Texaco at 3304 Spenard Road, just south of the former Fly-By-Night Club and now the Clear Water Church, and is looking for lease space, have them reach out to me at 907-230-1523. Thanks!



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