Capital Region CATALYZE

Catalyze: Supplier Diversity

November 15, 2021 Greater Washington Partnership Season 1 Episode 6
Capital Region CATALYZE
Catalyze: Supplier Diversity
Show Notes Transcript

This episode features a discussion about Access to Capital across the region. Host JB Holston is joined by Robby Moser (CEO, Clark Construction Group), in conversation with Cheo Hurley (Founder, President and CEO, THG Companies, LLC.).

Hosted by JB Holston. Produced by Maribeth Romslo and Nina Sharma. Edited by Christian Rodriguez. Engineered by Micah Johnson. With support from Jenna Klym, Justin Matheson-Turner, and Christian Rodriguez.



Robby Moser is responsible for setting the strategic priorities for Clark Construction Group and its subsidiary and affiliate companies, which includes Guy F. Atkinson Construction, Shirley Contracting Company, S2N Technology Group, C3M Power Systems, Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, Clark Civil, Clark Concrete, and Coda. 

As chief executive officer, Robby provides executive direction for the company's national operations, which total $5 billion in revenue per year.

Throughout his tenure in the industry, Robby has led efforts to secure and build all manner of projects from professional sports venues to hospitals to transit infrastructure.

Under Robby’s leadership, Clark has partnered with clients to create monumental and critical assets – including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Fort Bliss Replacement Hospital, SR-91 Corridor Improvement, Salesforce Tower, CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel, and Chase Center.

Robby is passionate about providing a superior client experience where customers feel engaged, keeping the safety of craftworkers at the forefront of every project, ensuring that the quality of Clark products is unparalleled, creating opportunities for Clark team members to grow, and ensuring the Clark team has the resources necessary to execute brilliantly in all that they do.

Robby earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


Cheo D. Hurley currently serves as Founder, President, and CEO of THG Companies LLC. In this role, Mr. Hurley has grown a startup idea into a full-service construction subcontractor and building and real estate advisory/planning company completing over $10 million in projects in the Baltimore Metro Region.

Mr. Hurley has extensive expertise in urban planning, development, and construction that he gained through positions as Executive Director for Park Heights Renaissance Inc. (PHR); Real Estate Development and Leasing Manager for the Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership LLC (FC-NEBP); and as a Senior Associate with Deloitte Tax LP. In addition, Mr. Hurley served five years as member of the Baltimore Planning Commission.

 Mr. Hurley graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) in Finance from Howard University. He subsequently earned a Master of Public Administration degree from American University and a Master of Science in Real Estate from the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Hurley has served on numerous gubernatorial and mayoral transition teams for the state of Maryland and the City of Baltimore. A graduate of the Gilman School, Mr. Hurley is the past President of the school’s Alumni Board of Governors as well as a current member of the Gilman Board of Trustees. Mr. Hurley also serves on the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (B.E.S.T) board of trustees, and the board of WYPR Radio. In 2012 Mr. Hurley was honored by the Maryland Daily Record as a top 40 VIP under 40 and by the Baltimore Business Journal as a Rising Star under 40 years old a member in addition he was a member of the Greater Baltimore Committees (GBC) LEADership 2012 class.

Robby Moser  0:01  
The real companies that keep our country going on our economy going are on small business. So we got to make sure that we do our part. 

Cheo Hurley  0:07  
Part of what I've always wanted to do was take care of Baltimore and cities like Baltimore, I definitely try my best to help folks and help uplift my city. 

JB Holston  0:14  
Welcome to Capitol Region Catalyze a monthly podcast from the Greater Washington partnership featuring thought leaders who are shaping the future of our region in the country. I'm JB Holston, your host and the CEO of the Greater Washington partnership. Today I'm joined by Robby Moser, CEO of Clark Construction, a board member of the Greater Washington partnership and vice chair of our inclusive growth committee. Also joining me is Cheo Hurley, CEO of THG companies. Our podcast features conversations about inclusive growth within the capital region from Baltimore to Richmond. In this episode, we're going to explore small business support everything from supplier diversity and entrepreneurship to what it takes to build a truly inclusive economy. I'm looking forward to diving in but before we do, I'll have you each introduce yourselves. Robby, let's start with you. 

Robby Moser  0:59  
My name is Robby Moser. I'm the CEO of the Clark group, which includes Clark construction and Atkinson construction over infrastructure construction companies but also edge more development, our asset creation company and delighted to be here because I represent the 5000 Clark team members who are passionate about inclusive growth and building up capacity and capability of small businesses nationwide. And so I'm looking forward to the dialogue with Cheo and yourself and do a quick introduction for you. 

Cheo Hurley  1:28  
My name is Cheo Hurley, I'm founder and owner of THG companies. We are a division nine construction subcontracted we focus on interior work. We're based in Baltimore, Maryland, we do all that we can to try to give back to our community while still providing the best services to our clients, one of which is Clark construction. And so I thank you both for letting me be here today. 

JB Holston  1:48  
Thanks to you both for being here today. To start us off. I'm curious, how did you two first connect?

Cheo Hurley  1:54  
I was first introduced to car construction around 2012 2013. I started bidding jobs with Clark and I was awarded a project with Clark out in Lorton, Virginia and relatively decent sized project for my size company at the time, and got in a little bit of trouble on the job, had some estimating issues, some supply issues with materials etc. kind of found myself in a situation where I needed help from the folks at Clark to at least break even on the job that led to me being steered to the strategic partnership program that Clark has my team ended up winning the capstone project at the end. And I think it kind of alerted some of the higher ups at Clark about who I was and who my company is, it really helped me to grow my company and looking at much larger opportunities here in Baltimore. 

JB Holston  2:37  
Cheo, it sounds like Clark was a matchmaker, among other things for you, as you grew your company, Robby, tell us what you first remember about meeting Cheo. 

Robby Moser  2:45  
It's kind of fun to talk about this. And we're in the 15th year of that strategic partnership program. Essentially, it's a platform to develop small businesses and give them the tools that they need to both integrate and work with Clark, but also to be in business. And the side benefit is Cheo mentioned is the lifelong relationships and professional relationships that he was able to establish through it. And so I actually was at that capstone project and the graduation for his class back in 2013. And we take great pride in seeing our signs up here in Washington, DC and across the country. But we take even more pride in seeing companies grow and continue to expand their capabilities. And so I like talking about good stories right here Cheo's story, and I'm hoping participants who hear us feel this way as well. It's hard not to have goosebumps. It's hard not to see somebody that has gone through a difficult seasons. I mean, we met because he wasn't performing. Typically, relationships aren't forged, all with sugar, plums, and honey dripping from the trees. They're forged in the fire. And it's been great to watch him lead his organization, but it's been a blast to see him and his company succeed.

JB Holston  3:45  
 Thanks for that, Robby. There's an elephant in the room here. And that's the pandemic, which was particularly hard on diverse small businesses, Cheo if you look back on the last 18 months or so how were you able to navigate such an unprecedented moment, 

Cheo Hurley  3:58  
The pandemic has been a challenge for us all. Fortunately, I was able to continue to have my crews working throughout the pandemic, I would say 85% of the time 90% I was a beneficiary of both rounds of PPP, which has really helped my firm and helps us to continue to move forward. But it was very scary. And I have two employees catch COVID You know, the precautions you have to take the costs to go into your business to be able to take care of your employees and make sure they're safe and they get home to their families every day. It really took some time to really understand what to do how to do it. This is the first time any of us really have experienced this. And my key for my company, whether it's safety or just making sure we keep the lights on every day is to get my guys and young women home every day back to their family safely to make sure that they can take care of their families. And so it was scary. We just kept moving forward in our construction partners worked with us and our clients and they laid out protocols that helped us all move forward. But what we're seeing now was delays and materials because a lot of plants were closed because of the pandemic. You start seeing material prices rise, as you start seeing owner shelf projects, our industry is one that really heavily depends on the supply chain management. But it also depends on the economy. And so for me this year has been really eye opening as projects have been delayed because of what happened last year. 

JB Holston  5:15  
That's really helpful to understand. Robby, your workers have largely had to be physically at work through the pandemic remote works not been an option. Tell us how do you navigate Clark throughout the pandemic.

Robby Moser  5:26  
We were in Seattle, early March when the pandemic broke out in Seattle is the hotzone literally we were doing town halls across the country and offices, meeting with their teams, telling people to cover their mouth, and if they don't feel well to go home, but really just so ignorant to what this pandemic was going to be. And I distinctly remember landing in Washington, DC, early March when we truncated our trip and thought, we have over 35,000 people working on Clark jobs around the country. If 35,000 People don't get to go to work, and subsequently lose health insurance, we have a significant problem. As a country, we as a leadership team stepped back and said, we make certain we could keep construction safe, we decentralized people, we spread everyone out, we came up with the most innovative things, it was so refreshing to see the innovation as we all have from the adversity, I think CHEO does bring up a huge issue that our economy is facing at the DMV stretching from Baltimore to Richmond. And that is the price escalation. That is the supply chain, we still have 17 ships carrying materials sitting outside the Port of LA right now that's holding up progress on projects, we are seeing the factories that are still having a ripple effect, but not having crafts or technicians to be able to manufacture goods. So this is a real issue feels like we're in a maybe a calm before even a bigger storm. If interest rates or something like that were to change, we could see this changing in a meaningful way, which would have a direct impact on small businesses, but proud of where we came through COVID, and able to deploy our team to focus on what we do best, which is deliver assets and do it in a safe and thoughtful way bring our trade partners like THG, and many, many, many others along with us so that they can continue to make sure they can make that payroll right Cheo.

Cheo Hurley  7:07  
Every week, every week that payroll comes around. 

Robby Moser  7:10  
Yes, sir.

JB Holston  7:11  
Cheo let's turn a little bit to your background, you grew up in Baltimore, so in the past 20 years, you really seen Baltimore change. I'd love for you to talk more about that and also share how you came to create THG.

Cheo Hurley  7:22  
Yes, I grew up in Baltimore grew up in the 70s. And so my entire life was shaped by growing up in the city. You know, our family stressed education, both of my parents went to college, my grandmother actually had gone to college, which was rare for African American women. At the time, we had a strong keen interest in education. We felt that that was the way to move forward. And I was fortunate enough to be admitted to Gilman school in Baltimore to private boys Day School, northeast Baltimore, the model was mind body spirit, it was finally experienced to be an African American boy at the school growing up in the late 80s, early 90s. You had to remember that during that time, we were in the boom of the crack era in cities across our country, and Baltimore was not spared. So it was a very violent era in Baltimore, where they were about 300 murders a year 98% of them were African Americans killing African Americans. You know, I caught the bus, hour and a half each way, coming to a school where kids would be driving Jaguars to school, you're right in like, I'm standing at a bus stop and freezing cold. It shaped what I wanted to do. I was the kid in middle school who was reading Business Week and Fortune, I understood early that entrepreneurship would be the way but you just don't know how to get there necessarily right flash forward. I go to Howard University. And I will say that going to Howard absolutely changed my life. It opened my worldview. I was coming from Baltimore going to DC I was used to being in the city. But coming to Howard just introduced me to kids all over the country who went to, you know, public school, but one thing schools just like Gilman just like me, right? And they're coming for this experience at HBCU. Getting my first master's at American University, took a class there that dealt with smog, government develops properties and land and bridges and all these things. And I took interest in my professors like, hey, maybe you should be in real estate development. Think about that. I took a free internship with a development company and kind of the rest is history. And then the economy just tanked in 2008. One thing that I did see, while I was still working there was that all of the construction companies were still working. All their employees were still working, they were able to take care of their families. I took myself back to school again, I'm taking community college courses on construction and I started flipping houses learning and sitting on the Baltimore City Planning Commission doing all these things around the city with that vision that I wanted to own my company. And then I was fortunate enough to get a contract with Clark to do some flooring, then that turned everything into what it is now. And so we've grown from $100,000 contracts to doing four to $5 million a year. Working with the federal government now I have multiple employees.

JB Holston  9:51  
How do these personal experiences shape your views on being from Baltimore and taking care of people?

Cheo Hurley  9:56  
When we talk about Baltimore, part of what I've always wanted to do was take care of Baltimore, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But I definitely try my best to help folks and to help uplift my city. And that's why Clark's program is so important. Because when Clark helps me, right, I'm one business, but then I'm helping another 20,25 People that doesn't include subcontractors that might work for me or certain jobs, etc. So companies like Clark, our economic drivers, and they're so, so important. And programs like the SPP program with Clark is so important, because in my class, they were like, 30 people, right, that's 30 companies that could potentially do the same thing that I'm doing. And I'm looking forward to continue to work with Clark, and continue to help build Baltimore and cities like Baltimore, all throughout the country.

Robby Moser  10:37  
You know, JB, it's hard not to have goosebumps here into Cheo's story because every time he hits adversity, every time there's a macro event that occurs, he just responds and I liked how he cited the Gilman motto, but he lives this motto of serving others before himself. And you can see it as you get to know him to hear about his family, his interaction with his family, and how he serves them. But then what he does for his team, pretty impressive. So let's not mince words, here. He's a successful company, because he's a leader. And he has taken the opportunities and said, I want to be better. I want to serve others and has always done it from a position I like, which is done seem like he wants credit for he just wants to go make it happen. So congratulations, Jay, on what you've been able to accomplish in a short run. Thanks.

Cheo Hurley  11:18  
Thanks, Robby.

JB Holston  11:19  
Thanks for that amazing background. Let's talk about Clark's Strategic Partnership Program. Robby, how did it start? And how has it developed?

Robby Moser  11:27  
Hopefully, it's a framework for others to think about how they can provide a platform to grow small businesses. 15 years ago, we came together and said, the amount of work that's in the pipeline does not mere with the capacity that's in the current market of trade partners. And we saw the economic benefit both personally and professionally with small businesses that had grown into midsize businesses and felt that as a large corporate member of the Washington DC market, it was our corporate responsibility to ensure that we gave people the opportunity to grow their businesses. And so 15 years ago, we embarked on our first class and over 15 years, we've graduated over 1200 Different companies, we've awarded a billion dollars worth of contracts to those folks, we have watched companies go from $100,000 a year companies to 5, 10, $15 million $20 million year companies and see them be able to grow and grow both in responsibility and success, but more importantly, the lives that they've been able to impact in their local communities as well. It's about a 10 month Executive MBA style clash, we have external resources partner with Dartmouth University to come in and lead a class as well as different insurance companies, banks and others. We're pretty pleased now that it's a national platform, we believe that this is just the right thing to do to make sure that it's a priority. And you know, a little side note, JB, one thing I've enjoyed watching is our team's reaction to seeing the success of the small business. It's just natural, it's organic, and it's authentic. And when that happens, it has a sticky factor. And that's why this thing is last 15 years.

JB Holston  12:56  
That's a good opportunity to talk about a conversation that you and I have been having, which is how do we scale the supplier diversity commitments? You mentioned programs like your strategic partnership program? How do we scale those to not just other companies within industry, but other industries and across the region? What are your thoughts on that topic Robby?

Robby Moser  13:14  
I think in the short term awareness of what everyone is doing is ultra critical. And I think if you go to the GWP website, you'll see a list of what varying members of the partnership are doing. This is going to work, it's not going to be through a government mandate. It's going to be through businesses saying that this is a priority. And that's my opinion. Most recently, EY participated in a portion of our strategic partnership programs, what a win because they've got their program and it's my hope that graduates from our program could aspire and participate in the EY program, which may be propelled them into other industries. If we can have regionally convene the procurement officers so that everyone knows what each other is doing and start to share the CHEO stories and start to share what the capabilities of THG's are. I think that starts to break down barriers just as well, this isn't going to be a switch unfortunately. This is a lifetime in the making. But I'm hopeful that with some real deliberate thoughtful approaches. 2, 3, 4, 5 years from now we'll start to see the significant growth in small business. We all know 99% Of the companies in the United States are small businesses, the real companies that keep our country going on our economy going on small business, and it's time for us to make certain the work networking and pulling them together. But we got to make sure that we do our part. I think it's just ripe with opportunity.

JB Holston  14:24  
It certainly seems like it's a really unique moment in time. And Cheo, that's a good segway back to you. You take advantage of a couple of other programs. I know the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business program and the be local build College. Talk to us a little bit about those two, and then let's talk more about what else has helped along the way.

Cheo Hurley  14:41  
The reality is there is no straight path to success, and it is very much a windy road. But what I tell people is that you have to keep learning and keep pushing forward. So all these courses all these things have really helped me to expand my universe of knowledge to expand the base of people who I've met and to really just under understand how the industry works, and understand how to run a better business. But the reality is, it will take time to be successful. It takes time. I mean, I can't add up all the amount of hours I spent in classes and writing papers and doing capstone projects and learning from people. And these, these things are important. So I would tell people try to seek these courses out, but you also have to be ready to do them. And you have to drive to Bethesda every Wednesday for 10 months, right and do the work. That's how you're successful man. It sounds cliche, but it takes it takes time. And it takes takes effort and work and you got to want to do it.

Robby Moser  15:33  
Hey Cheo, I was just thinking, when we started this, we wanted instantaneous success. And so for us, it's only now 15 years later, we can go Yeah, we improved it a little, but we're still not where we want to be. It's amazing how long good things take.

Cheo Hurley  15:46  
Yeah, I agree. I don't care who you are, you're not going to be a multi million dollar company in the year, the growth needs to be steady and smart for whatever you do. And I'll tell you, us, you know, I don't sleep at night, I woke up at 2:30 this morning, right? Because you're worried. And I know, I know that people always say it's no good to worry. But you do because you care, right? And you care about your employees, care about your family, you care about yourself, you want to be successful, right? I want to be successful. amongst my peers, I want people to say, hey, Cheo did it. And I want that success. Because I know that if I'm successful, we'll have a platform, I can do the things I talked about doing I can come back to cities like Baltimore, I can hire folks, I can give people opportunity. But it does take time to get there

JB Holston  16:25  
Cheo let me ask you, if you think about points in time, when THG when you feel particularly stressed or threatened. And look, I've started a number of companies myself, and I tell you, it seems like it's all the time. But if you think about what got you through those, what are some of the things that you might point to?

Cheo Hurley  16:39  
I would tell people to always cultivate relationships, make real connection with people and be genuine. Now I've had mentors to actually help fund my company. But those relationships were built out over real friendship and real respect, it wasn't you become someone's friend, because you want something from them. You got to really cultivate these relationships, you have to do it if you want to be successful.

Robby Moser  16:58  
JB the one thing that I just want to highlight and just compliment a real quick, the vulnerability piece, I think a lot of entrepreneurs feel like they've got to carry the weight of the world. And just recognizing that you're not alone, the hope I feel is that you develop a network of people that you can rely on so that you're not alone. It is a lonely feeling to feel that you've got to make that payroll by yourself and nobody to advise you. You can have a formal board investors. But you got to have a network that you trust, and then recognize that network may change depending on seasons and economies and where you are as partnerships are pretty important. My father was career Navy moved all around, I went to three different high schools, I didn't know what it meant for anybody to know your name. And so as I attended university, I just found myself wanting to be a leader wanted to be involved in during that time. In early point in Virginia Tech, I realized I needed mentors and people that would pour into me, and I can look back over my career. And there has been someone for three years, five years, seven years that's poured into me. And that's why I keep harping on this, we've got to be vulnerable. But we got to be authentic and make certain that we have a group of people that we can be in relationship with. And if you step back and think about the GWP mission JB, it brings the power of the group who are all facing similar challenges, whether or not you're a small business or a big business, it's the same set of challenges. That's always been enlightening to me. And so I think having a network of people that you can rely on and rely on on family, friends and faith, I think are critical for me. And to me, that's what's always allowed me to have a beacon in the lighthouse to get through. It's great. 

JB Holston  18:22  
Well, Thank you for that. Cheo, let me turn back to you. Robby talked about leadership and how critical that is, think about the last year and a half and COVID. What did you learn about yourself as a leader from managing through the pandemic,

Cheo Hurley  18:34  
All the things that I've gone through in my life to this point have led me to be where we were last year, things were just so uncertain, I really found myself trying to put my arm around my people, like I wanted to allay any of their fears about what was going to happen with them being able to take care of their families. And so during that time, I really went into a work mode of trying to figure out every single way every program, I could get into every government dollar, I could get to be able to keep my company going. I just learned I was willing to sacrifice, sleep and my time or whatever to help other people. I also learned that you got to take a deep breath, you have to create kind of rituals for yourself every day. So whether it be go to the gym, meditate, pray, whatever you need to do, because during a pandemic, I mean, we were all home, right? We everybody was home working all kinds of crazy hours, binging Netflix, have the day work and half the day right. And for me, I realized I had to set a work schedule right working from home all the time can be really discombobulating. And so making sure I kept the same schedule as my guys in the field. Just maintaining that ritual constantly. You know, I wasn't perfect. That's the thing giving yourself some grace because you're not going to be perfect but for me that that was it learning that create these rituals for yourself and keep working to help others and that's kind of who I am. That's my mission.

JB Holston  19:51  
Robby, I'm gonna ask you the same question. What did you learn about yourself as a leader over the last 18 months?

Robby Moser  19:56  
I like to talk about myself. I talked about being vulnerable, and now I get to do on a podcast, I'm gonna step with a toe into the water here. You know, I think what I've learned about myself, the cool part about being a business is that you touch everything. With that comes great responsibility. But it's also an unbelievable fulfilling experience when you can organize people provide a vision and then go make things happen. And what I learned through all that is it's whether or not you're doing drywall work, putting flooring down, raising capital, and invest and have fun coming up with a technology solution all requires people and what I learned from it as I just love people, I missed people, my tank gets filled by being with people being a galvanized her and providing leadership for people when maybe they feel like they're in a rut, or they're on the treadmill, and they don't know where to go. I used to always think if somebody asked me, I like seeing our signs, I like seeing tower cranes. I like seeing the skyline change and being a part of that being a part of the projects where our community lives and works. And how awesome is that. But for me, what I learned about myself is my energy comes from being around people and being with people, people are at the epicenter of all that we do and who I am as a leader. That's why I'm here.

JB Holston  21:00  
I couldn't agree more. I've really missed people. I'm with you on that. I'm going to steer us into one of my favorite parts of the podcast, where you get to ask the other guy anything. Cheo let's start with you. What's your question for Robby?

Cheo Hurley  21:12  
This is a two part question. Did you ever expect to be in the position you're in now? And with that, at what point in your life or career make up your mind that I'm going to get there? And what were the steps for you to really get there?

Robby Moser  21:24  
I love that question. I think a little bit back on that background piece. I was around leadership my whole life at an early age. And for me, that never scared me, I had the benefit of being around the United States Navy, where there's a lot of leaders. When I showed up in college freshman year, I was an RA resident advisor in a dorm, I didn't know what I was doing. I like I like leading people I showed up to Clark, because I found a advertisement for on campus interviewing, I rip the little tag off for the number and I call the number for an on campus interview, Clark has given me a series of opportunities. Starting at the entry level, I started as a field engineer right down the street on a job laying out chalk lines. And with a plumb bob, in my hand, it has given me the opportunity to grab what's in front of me and lead people. And I think that's just so awesome about the real estate business. And the asset creation, business construction business is there's a lot of people who need to be led. And that's what you're doing day in and day out. And so for me, I didn't come here thinking I would be CEO that was not an objective of mine. But it validated who I was, and who I wanted to be being able to have the impact was a big deal for me. And I felt like, Okay, this is why I'm here, how long I'm here, I don't know, we're 116 years old. I'm the fifth CEO. And so my role is to leave the organization better than how I found it. Which is why I'm so passionate about this inclusive growth piece. Because I think if we really catalyze and drive the inclusive growth, through small business sky's the limit for our economy, and Clark will just happen to be a benefit from it. I really believe that I'm always amazed what you can get done if you don't want credit for it. I think if we all as big business come together to support small business, we can be in a place where we're all benefit.

JB Holston  22:58  
100% That's great. And Robbie, now's your chance to ask to any questions you'd like.

Robby Moser  23:03  
Cheo, if you were president, prime minister, King, pick your top spot for the day, how would you work to grow small business here in the United States.

Cheo Hurley  23:15  
Well first thing I would do is really understand small business, right and have people around me hire people around me for that day, and who really understood it. And I think that's the biggest issue in our country and around the world. The people who make decisions that affect small business, don't understand business, and they've never run a business. And so for me, that would be really the key to actually have people understand what business is, I think we've gotten a bad rap in America, in a lot of respects small businesses, large businesses, it is not bad for a person to want to help himself in his family, but also help his community through gaining wealth and growing something from an idea, right? It's not a bad thing. It can really actually help people. And I think that if our leaders really understood that how business works, I think the entire country would be a lot better off particularly for minority businesses. I mean, we have a tough time getting out the gate and maintain it for long periods of time. So small businesses, we need support, we need to be believed in exchange of commerce is what makes our world continue to move forward where innovation comes from, and we need to keep doing that.

Robby Moser  24:15  
It's a call to action for all of us and business. Really, I think it's a great point. Yeah, civilization was built based on that commerce. Absolutely. You're a part of that. Now.

JB Holston  24:24  
That's interesting. The Edelman every year publishes a Trust Barometer, where they talk about what institutions are the most trusted institutions in the country and business leaders now are the most trusted leaders in the country, though, we've got a reason for having to move forward on all these issues more than ever. There's a lot of lost trust and a lot of institutions so that business has been able to retain its trust and business leaders. Before I let you go. I'm going to ask you the last question, which is what did you learn from the other one today, Cheo?

Cheo Hurley  24:51  
One I've learned a lot more about leadership and about leaders at every level, Robby, people will consider you a big deal. And so and knowing that Robby's trajectory started as a field engineer, he worked his way up. And it just goes to show you that a person like Robby who's super successful. And still you got to the long route. He wasn't put in the microwave and pop to be CEO in 15 minutes. It takes time and you got to care about people and Robbie cares about people. Robby's a great guy he's so easy to talk to and cares about. And that really has shone through with everything that he's done. And I'm glad to know him and glad to be learning from him.

Robby Moser  25:24  
Yeah, thanks Cheo. I'm delighted to be your partner and your friend. I was just talking to a colleague of mine, how everything is interwoven. You're running a business, personal life and professional life is all woven together. And these partnerships are really important to me. I appreciate those comments, JB to your question, what I learned about Cheo is we can make a huge difference in society. If we come together, he wants to ascend and grow and build his company doing it with the core values that he learned as an early kid from a great family network. He took all those values and he's applying it to business, yes, so that he can have the means but then he can redeploy those means to his community to where he grew up. If we all started doing more of that we're gonna be a much better place when more business owners and leaders act each day like Joe. And I just want to say congratulations to him because he's taught me and reminded me today that we can all have a bigger impact in our societies. If we come together partner grinding when we need to grind and celebrating when we need to celebrate the pulling together to make certain that one plus one equals three, the cliche that we've all heard, we can make a lot of big things happen in our community. Such a Oh, again, thank you for your partnership, friendship. Thank you for what you're doing for your city.

JB Holston  26:35  
Thank you both such a terrific conversation. Some words I jotted down, we talked about community. You talked about faith, friends and family talked about self care and durability through adversity shared the collectively growing more great diverse businesses as fuel for our inclusive economy. I'm looking forward to working together to do all we can to accelerate that growth and many more conversations about this in the future. Robby and Cheo, thank you both for taking the time to share your values and stories with us today...Thank you for listening to Capital Region Catalyze. Be sure to check out our Fresh Take series where we talk one on one with thought leaders from across the capital region. And for more information on who we are follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn or visit Greater Washington Thanks for joining us.