Where It All Began - Time Flies!
Yesterday Russ sent me a video he made three years ago yesterday he posted to his Facebook page. He received the pop-up anniversary and decided to send it to me. I had never seen it so I am glad he did.
Backstory on the video - Viroment had recently been a part of a high-profile and successful foreign US Trade mission and showcasing USA projects to a foreign delegation of experts, university deans, and environmental professionals. Russ and Chris had what was perceived to be a few hog barns that had a problem with manure disposal and hunting for a solution. The Viroment technology would easily solve this problem, however, it would utilize our smallest unit at just 50% capacity. We were dealing with the largest government in the world and just to be polite Viroment told a very persistent Russ and Chris to "tag-along" with the delegation.
Now What? - The foreign delegation soon went back and the long process of the foreign partnership began. In the mean-time, it was just a short 6-hour drive to Nebraska so I figured I would make a few trips down there and get to know these guys and better understand what they were talking about and why they were so excited. I already knew they loved the system...but why or how would this even be adopted or implemented?
Let's Prove it! - Ultimately we brought our flatbed unit with a rollback tarp we use for showcasing up from the City of Houston wastewater treatment plant (where they are doing data dumps in coordination with Rice University) up to Nebraska to show off the technology and run some samples on hog manure. The showcasing went perfectly of course as we had started out processing hog processing sludge when we came up with the process so I knew it worked on this product already with ease. It was pretty cool. Stinky stuff goes in and out comes clean filtered water with no order with a resulting dry cake.
Next Steps - When we would finish up our discussion we typically would go to the local restaurant where a burger/fries are still $3.50. throw in a soda for a buck and you are under $5.00 for a served meal. We tossed around the idea of retrofitting existing barns and then he said something I will never forget! When we build these facilities for pork producers they will lease them for 12-15 years. I said wait, a minute...15 years?
From that point, we decided the blogger play was to build a facility and throw in the technology for free as the advantage while charging the pork producer tenant the same price.. The landlord is expected to take the manure anyway in this industry so we capture all of that benefit without even asking. The tenant is thrilled because the price is the same and the order is eliminated reducing stress on their animals resulting in faster weight gain and less death loss (which is already low). Let's go just a little bigger to ensure the numbers are more attractive on the real-estate side and let's start building. The tenant said sure - We like that and it makes sense....let's go!
So we did and here we are!
Back to Russ in the Video - Russ is an amazing partner and somehow has the ability to make everyone around him better. I mean a lot better. I had to share this video to let you see a side of him that the rest of us buy into every day. We are blessed to have him on the team and I ao so glad he "tagged along" so Viroment could stumble upon an opportunity to build as many $5M pre-leased facilities as we want for high-credit tenants while also creating jobs, food, and making a massive difference in the way we impact the water and air in our environment.
The excitement in the video is the same today as we are nearing closing in on the finish line for the first facility in the late spring!