Dave is an Office Managing Partner & Drone Photographer & Scuba Diver
Dave Recchion is a risk management professional for LBA Haynes Strand. His journey in helping companies manage their risks has led him to some more risky passions with Drone Photography and Scuba Diving.
Dave and John talk about the connection of his hobbies and his job as an Office Managing Partner through risk assessment, how the firm encourages their employees to share their passions among one another, and how both an organization and an individual play important roles in encouraging an open work environment!
• Getting into drone photography
• How drones change the dynamic of photography
• Connections of risk assessment between his job and his hobbies
• Getting into scuba diving
• Putting up his gun range targets outside of his office
• Favorite places for scuba diving
• Other common discussion topics at work
• It’s the little things that matter
• Importance of governance and risk assessment in work and life
• Organizations set the tone
• How LBA Haynes Strand encourages work/life balance
• You’ll get greater value from your passions by sharing them with others
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Welcome to Episode 227 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their and, they’re an accountant and something, they’re a lawyer and something, you’re an architect and something. It’s those things that are above and beyond your technical skills that actually differentiate you at work and are probably really your true, true passions.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published in just a few weeks. It will be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s listening to this show and changing the cultures where they work because of it.
Please don’t forget to hit Subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest, Dave Recchion. He’s a Principal with LBA Haynes Strand in Greensboro, North Carolina, office. Now he’s with me here today.
Dave, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
David: Yeah, John, my pleasure. Thanks so much.
John: I’m excited to have you on, but you know the drill, right out of the gate, 17 rapid-fire questions.
David: Let’s go.
John: All right, you’re ready. Look at you. All right, here we go. We got an easy one, favorite color?
John: Nice. Okay, a least favorite color?
John: Maroon. Interesting. Is there a reason?
David: There’s a football team that I don’t like.
John: There you go. Okay, that makes sense. How about, you fly a lot, airplane seats, window or aisle?
David: Oh, definitely aisle.
John: Definitely aisle. There you go. How about a favorite actor or actress?
David: Favorite actor, Jon Voight.
John: Oh, solid answer. Yeah, really good. Yeah, he hasn’t been in a lot lately.
David: I don’t even know where that came from, but I used to like him.
John: Yeah, yeah, no, he’s really good. Do you prefer more suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt?
David: Definitely jeans and t-shirt.
John: Yeah, there you go. All right. How about pens or pencils?
John: Pens. No mistakes. Look at you, man.
David: That’s what the trash can is for.
John: Right. Perfect. And puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?
David: Definitely Sudoku.
John: Definitely. All right. And then when it comes to trilogy, Star Wars or Star Trek?
David: Star Trek. I know that’s going to kill a lot of people but yeah, I’m older so that’s my group.
John: Yeah, you got to go with it, man. Your computer, PC or Mac?
David: Definitely Mac.
John: Wow. Okay. All right.
David: All in on the Apple products.
John: Yeah, you’re one of the cool kids. I am not. So good for you, man. Favorite ice cream flavor?
David: Definitely going to be — actually, it’s not some ice cream, but it is a gelato.
John: Gelato, okay. And a flavor of gelato?
David: Yeah, I’m going with strawberry gelato.
John: Strawberry gelato. There you go. It’s healthier, right?
David: Yep, exactly.
John: Then you can eat twice as much.
David: I do when I’m in Italy.
John: Yeah, perfect. How about balance sheet or income statement?
David: Income statement.
John: Okay. All right. Do you have a favorite band or musician?
David: Well, I’m going to definitely have to think about that one because I don’t have one that comes off the top of my head. I like a lot of genres of music.
John: Okay. Yeah, no, fair enough. Fair enough. Yeah, you just turned it on and let’s listen.
John: That works for me, man. Prefer more hot or cold?
David: I prefer cold.
John: Prefer cold, okay. How about a favorite adult beverage?
David: I like a good cold beer.
John: There you go. Three more, favorite number?
David: Favorite number? It’s got to be seven.
John: And is there a reason?
David: It’s a perfect number. That’s why.
John: Yes, the most popular answer.
David: Is it really?
John: Yeah, totally, by far. I mean, it’s my favorite number and mostly from my sports days. Toilet paper, roll over or under.
David: Totally over. I trained my wife for a lot of years. It’s got to go over.
John: Right. And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
David: Ooh, favorite thing I own, I would definitely have to say it’s going to be one of my hobbies which is my drone.
John: Oh, wow, what kind of drone is it?
David: It’s called a Mavic Pro and just an outdoor photography kind of drone.
John: Oh, sweet. Yeah, that sounds big.
David: Yeah, it’s big.
John: That’s awesome, man. Well, we can jump right into that because I know that there’s quite a few passions that you have outside of work, which is awesome. But yeah, drones, how did you get started with that?
David: So it’s kind of cool. It’s a natural transition for me. I used to be really into photography, outdoor, nature photography. I would go for days at a time and go up to the mountains. Living in North Carolina, it’s easy to do. Go for a couple days and just take some outdoor scenic views. And then this whole drone camera technology came into play, and it’s so cool. It’s just a whole different view of photography now that I get to take from 200, 300 feet in the air.
John: And so did you jump in with this Mavic drone, or did you start with smaller ones?
David: I jumped right in. I’m 59 years old, so there’s no question progression at this stage in life. I’m just going in full speed.
John: Right. That’s great. That’s very cool. I mean, up in the mountains, I assume you get some pretty awesome pictures.
David: Yeah. We just recently traveled internationally and I wanted to take it with me, but the international laws are so quirky. It’s just there are so many of them right now that it’s kind of risky to do so I didn’t, but I take it where I know I can up into the mountains in North Carolina.
John: That’s cool. And do you have any cooler pictures that you’ve gotten where you’re like, “Wow, that was totally exactly what I’m doing this for”?
David: Well, I mean, it’s kind of cool. When you get to 100 feet, it’s one view and you get to 200 and then you get up to 400 feet and then it just changes the whole dynamics. And that’s kind of what I love about it is that instead of looking at a tree or an animal or something in the forest, you can see the entire forest and just gives you this 10,000-foot view, which is awesome.
John: That’s really interesting, especially when you’re able to take somewhat of a similar picture from different elevations.
David: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
John: And just to have them side by side and be like, “Oh, wow.” This was all the same time. It’s just from different points of view.
David: You stare at something for long enough, and you’re looking at it from eye level. And you can appreciate the beauty of it, but you don’t realize like there’s this entire different worldview of that same thing. It’s kind of that similarity that I have between that and scuba diving because it’s the same thing. It’s like a different world. You’ve been in the water all your life and beaches and oceans, and you start to dive and you realize, wow, it’s a whole new world down there. And that’s kind of what the drones di for me. It’s just given me this view that there’s a whole different world from up there.
John: Yeah, just going up where the scuba is obviously going down. I’m glad you figured that one out. All the listeners out there, look at me, hold on. I got to renew my Mensa membership right now. No, but it’s such a cool thing that you’re able to understand that and appreciate that as opposed to just taking the pictures and whatever. It’s actually using that perspective and then applying it to, I would imagine, everyday life.
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: Yeah, which I think we’ll get to in just a minute. But the scuba, were you doing that from when you were younger, or did you start that in your mid-50s as well, drone get a scuba mask for free type of thing?
David: As you’ll learn a little bit more, I kind of manage risks for business. So on the business side, I’m always kind of helping companies manage their risks. And on the outside, the things that I love doing, scuba diving, drones and shooting guns, they’re all high risk kind of activities. I started diving when I was 50. I got my license when I turned 50. So everything in my life has progressed from one thing to another, from nature photography to drones, from snorkeling into scuba diving, and from shooting a BB gun or whatever and just shooting real guns. Each of these things kind of I started later in life, and I’m not sure exactly why I never went through a challenge where I felt like I was questioning who I was. I always felt like I was solid and who I was didn’t go through midlife or anything. Just started picking up some really cool things that I became fascinated with, could afford to do it, and really have some fun with it.
John: That is interesting, the parallels between doing risk management for a career basically versus practicing that risk management skill, I guess, exercising that muscle outside of work.
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: That’s really fascinating. So the guns was something that you — shooting range type stuff is something that you got into later in life as well?
David: Yeah, just in the last couple years. I just felt like I wanted to certainly learn to protect myself more but not that I hang out in really bad areas or anything.
John: I would imagine some risk management when you’re out in nature and there’s bears.
David: Yeah, just making some smart business decisions that really kind of can protect you and protect your security and all of those things I think kind of is where I’ve transitioned to.
John: Yeah, yeah. No, I think that’s really interesting. Are these things that you talk about at work at all?
David: Yeah, actually, right outside of my office, I have my first targets that I shot. So people walk down to my office, and they get to see the quality of my clustering of shots.
John: That’s awesome.
David: Yeah, they’re actually very comfortable when they see it realize that I’d never hit right.
John: Right, exactly. It’s a clean piece of paper. That’s funny. The scuba, I imagine, you’ve done that all over the world. Do you have a favorite place that you’ve been or a couple?
David: Yeah, honestly, the Caribbean is just — there’s no place like it. I’ve done that in Hawaii and Florida and other parts of the world, but I’ve not done anything too dramatic to do major diving overseas. But I would say that Caribbean is absolutely the right place to go if you’re interested in scuba diving. It’s safe. The water is amazing. I highly encourage anybody who’s ever tried to snorkel to scuba dive because it’s life changing to be able to see the experience from looking down on it to looking straight at it.
John: Right. Yeah. And I’ve done scuba in Hawaii and Bermuda. I was able to go through a little bit of a shipwreck, and wow, crazy. I mean, just really cool.
David: That’s really cool stuff.
John: Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t deep. It’s Bermuda, so there’s a billion of them. But still, just to have that perspective, and it’s also the currents that are underwater. You wouldn’t really know that. You would think, oh, it’s just you’re hanging out. It’s like, no, you’re swimming. It’s hard. There’s some force going on there.
John: That’s really neat. And so before these activities, did you have something else that you’ve talked about in the office or a way to create connections with people?
David: Yeah. I used to play a good amount of golf. That’s probably been one of my top discussion points through the years.
John: And that’s something that’s pretty common, I would imagine.
David: Yeah, it is. Between that and kind of lake living. We have a lake house. Just being on the water and being around the water is what I talked about for years and years before I talked about going into it as far as I do.
John: But there was always something there. Would you say that any of these passions outside of work interests give you a skill that you bring to the office?
David: I would say absolutely. It’s part of my personality, and my learned experiences in business is the structure and the security around everything that I do. It’s just kind of really easy to jump into the water with something that helps you breathe and without the proper controls and processes and tools, you’re taking your life into your hands. I feel the same way about guns candidly and drones. I mean, you could really hurt somebody by flying it to high or into a crowded space or something like that.
John: So it’s almost like one strengthens the other and then vice versa.
David: Very much so. And I’ll tell you, in my experience, the whole idea of helping clients to manage risk, it’s generally not the big picture things that they need to fix. It’s these little things that really can make a big difference. And whether I’m talking about guns or drones or scuba diving, it’s the little things that really make a difference. It’s just making sure that you are taking those key precautions and putting those controls into place so that you can enjoy the experience to the greatest.
John: Yeah, no, I love that because it is. It’s all these little things that add up when you combine them. It’s not the one big thing that’s going to get you usually because that’s something you’ll see pretty easily.
David: And I tell clients all the time as I’m talking to them, I share with them that putting governance and risk management around something is kind of like the dotted lines and the guardrails of a road. Put the dotted lines down the middle so you know which lane to be in. And you put the guardrails so that you can’t go swerve too far off the road. Those things help you to go faster. They help you to improve your efficiency to actually enjoy the experience a lot more. And I feel that same way about scuba and guns and drones. It’s just making sure those controls are around you so that you can really be fulfilled by the experience.
John: No, that’s interesting, because then you’re not really thinking about — when the safety measures are put in place, you’re not thinking about them because you have that guardrails on the lane. You can just let it rip because you know that you’ll just ping off or whatever. You’ll just keep going. More times than not, you might not even come close to them. So how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create this culture where people are sharing their hobbies and passions and hanging up there targets after they go to the range and what have you? And how much is it on the individual to maybe create that small circle for themselves?
David: I think it’s really important that the tone is set from the top. That encourages people, that enables people to share their passions, and then the responsibility is up to the individual to be open enough, be willing enough to kind of share those experiences and those joys and those life experiences with others.
John: You know, I remember when I started back in the day, I was in PwC and Big Four, it wasn’t necessarily encouraged. It wasn’t discouraged, but it just wasn’t a thing. But I find that that it really matters what people’s passions are.
David: It does. I came from E&Y. I was a partner at E&Y before I started my own firm and then sold it to be LBA Haynes Strand. At E&Y, even when I was there, and that was not too long ago, that was in the last seven to 10 years, this was much more important and it was much more important to me and to my group of people that I work with, that they enjoyed and got the greatest joy out of their personal time. And that work-life balance started to become a pretty strong voice in business, and now I think it’s really hit its stride.
John: Right. Yeah, you get that greatest joy out of your personal time. And then if you’re able to talk about that joy when you’re at work, then work just becomes better.
David: It does.
John: And then if you’re able to use a skill maybe that you get from outside of work or a client that does something that is in the industry that you love to do or what have you, then magic happens.
David: No question about it. If anybody has ever talked to a client about something that’s of passion to both of you, it is a relationship key. It becomes a foundation for that business relationship.
John: Which is something that, unfortunately, they don’t always teach us in school or in CPE. It’s all technical skills. Technical skills are important, but computers are doing that too. Kind of like the one thing that computers can’t do is create that connection and that relationship. So that’s cool that you’re doing that. Are there things that you guys do at the firm there that encourage this?
David: Yeah. One of the things that we do is just our policy states that we have unlimited PTO time. So you don’t get two weeks of vacation or one week of vacation. You do your job and if you do it well and you talk to your boss about it and you want to go spend three weeks doing something, there’s a high likelihood that it would be approved to be able to do that regardless of how long you’ve been here. So I think encouraging people to take personal time is something that when you know you have three or four weeks of vacation time, it’s easy to plan around it. You know you’re not going to lose it. You’re going to use it. But that’s one of the challenges for us is that with unlimited PTO time, people don’t know where the wall is. So I encourage our folks all the time, just take the time, go enjoy, and we’ll document it, we’ll manage it the way it needs to be managed. But we definitely want to encourage people to get their balance outside of the office so that they’re much more productive and more valuable when they come back.
John: Right. And plus, you’re setting the tone at the top for the office as well, the partner group. You took five weeks off to travel and take some time away and refresh. You know how important that is for you, and so when they see that it’s like, oh, well, it’d be different if Dave was in the office 24/7 and always working, but you’re setting that example, which is really great.
David: Thank you. It is definitely a fine line. It’s a balance of encouraging and enabling people but also making sure that people aren’t taking advantage and one person is and one person isn’t. So it’s managing that execution of it is ultimately the kind of the challenge of it, but you got to encourage it.
John: Yeah, especially in a lot of the professional services world, a lot of these individuals are permission-based individuals. They’re writing for permission. They are not rule breakers. They’re not going to push the limits. They’re not going to find out where the wall is type of thing. They’re going to wait for you to tell them. So it does make it harder to manage, but I think in the long run, the net positive is much greater.
John: Very cool. So do you have any words of encouragement to people listening that maybe think that their hobby or passion has nothing to do with their career?
David: Yeah. The first thing I would say is if you have a passion, figure out a way to share that passion. And when you do that, you’ll appreciate everything else that you do. I would absolutely encourage people to take hold of something that’s really important to you. Do it and then share it. In sharing it, you’ll get greater value from it.
John: It almost fuels the fire sort of a thing. I think sometimes in our own heads, we think people are going to judge us or they don’t care or whatever, and we’re not in seventh grade anymore. Everyone’s going to think it’s cool no matter what it is.
David: John, that’s what I like about what you do because it’s not about me telling everybody what I do, which is really cool. What’s important as a leader is me asking people what gets I’m excited, what turns them on, what motivates them. So the more I can do what you’re doing and ask those questions, I’ll be a better leader.
John: That’s where it’s at. Maybe for you accounting lights you up, but —
David: It doesn’t.
John: — for a lot of people, it’s not. You just said, it doesn’t. So you know you’re good at it and it’s your job and clearly a very good career out of it, but there’s other things in your life as well. And the people that are working at the firm are the same way. I think that sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that. Get to the charge code and billable hours, billable hours, and it’s like, well, there’s life and what’s the output that I’m giving you?
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: So that’s cool and that relationship and that conversation that goes to that next level, all of a sudden, you’re actually really getting to know people and it’s fun, right?
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: I imagine there’s got to be, you know, sometimes we’re like, “Wait, what? You got to tell me more about that?” because every time I speak, I always have the audience do a little piece of that. There’s always at one table where they’re like, “What?” You can just hear them from the stage. I’m like, wait, I got to go find out. What’s going on? Somebody is a DJ or somebody, whatever, scuba dives and drones or whatever. That’s great, man. That’s really great.
So before we wrap this up, it’s only fair that I allow you to turn the table on me and rapid-fire question me.
David: Nice, nice.
John: So I’m buckled up here. I took all my risk management precautions and I am ready.
David: Okay. So my first most important question, I know you love ice cream, ice cream or gelato?
John: Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s tough. That’s actually a very hard one. I’ll go gelato only because it’s more unique, so you don’t get it as much. They are starting to have it in grocery stores, but it is still more of a unique thing. So I guess I’ll say gelato.
David: Cool. Favorite football team and division? Because I know you’re a big college football guy.
John: If it came to the pros, yeah, I don’t even know anymore. When I was a kid growing up, it was definitely the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Dorsett and Danny White and Roger Staubach before that, and Tom Landry was the coach, those teams. Pre-Jimmy Johnson was definitely my NFL team growing up. I guess now that I’m in Denver, I guess I’ve adopted the Broncos, but I’m not sure if they play sometimes. I guess, yeah, NFC East then, the division.
David: And how about college?
John: College, definitely Notre Dame for sure.
David: Well, sorry to hear that. I’m a pretty boilermaker guy, so I hate that.
John: No, it’s fine. You’ll get football soon, Dave. It’s going to come back. They’re good, man. They won their first game pretty big.
David: Yeah, yeah.
John: Yeah. Purdue is on their way back. They got a really good coach.
David: One last question for you, give me your favorite 30 seconds of sports history.
John: So in 2012, Notre Dame went undefeated, and I was at the game when Notre Dame played Stanford. There was the goal line stand at the end of the game with no time left, and Manti Te’o stuffed the linebacker at like the one-inch line, game over on a goal line stand was insane. Absolute insanity.
John: And I was there too. It was crazy. It was raining, and it was just nuts. And then it was a weird game but so crazy. I mean, just emotionally exhausting because I felt like I had played from cheering and all that for the whole fourth quarter, just it was nuts. What a classic sports game. It was super fun.
No, really good question, though, man. That made me dig deep.
David: Yeah, good.
John: Yeah, that was one — just me being there. I’ll never forget that. My best friend from high school and then after the game, we were able to get down on the field. So cool. Well, thanks, Dave. This was so much fun. Thanks for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
David: My pleasure. Absolutely, John. I appreciate your hosting that. I’m sincere about that. I appreciate what you’re doing is encouraging people to ask and seek out what’s important to other people. That’s a really big deal.
John: Well, thanks, David. That means a lot.
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