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Live with John T. "Phone Guy" & Adrian H. "Bozeman Vibes"

PJ: Have either of you experienced trying to show someone a new hire to pin-up cores and they’re like, “We're not getting it?” Have you been successful?

John: That's not an option.

Adrian: I think trying to teach or to have taught somebody the way that I was taught and the way you write down your stack is different than the way I was taught at ALOA. Some of the classes where the way that it is stacked in the chamber and I write it the other way -

John: - I write it the other way too. My bottom pins are directly under.

Adrian: Yeah, so it's upside down, but it's the way I read it. It’s like reading left to right, if I was to have written it down. And so, trying to explain that to people who are new or maybe have it in a certain way would be difficult to unlearn that. But if it works for you, by all means, there's no way I'm going to get in and say we have to do it this way as long as the key works.

John: Everyone of my employees does it differently. I've had employees that write the one to make it 17 or to 16. I've had the ones who write to 23 at the top, you know, each person writes them differently. Like I said, Adria and I, neither of us write them. So, unless I'm pinning multiples, then I'll write it down.

Adrian: Yeah, and I think products too for me. I'm sure this is true for you as well, John, but when we change something like in a dormitory. When I rekey a room, I'm not dumping the whole thing out. I'm not starting fresh, I take a recycled one, and probably at the most, dumped three chambers and pin it back up because we're picking out of the available biddings that we have, which means that it's then going to work with the building master, so on and so forth. And the math that we use to derive that out of the list to make it as simple as possible is where you learn a lot about bidding list and how keys work. So yeah, I very rarely do pin from the start.

John: We always do, but we don't keep on old cores come back get scrapped. Unless, it's like a brand-new core. We almost always start with a new core.

PJ: Very interesting. Yeah. It's great talking to both of you two. It's like talking to someone who programs keys to cars all day or whatever their main specialty is, a lot of times some of our knowledge in a different area is about as deep as a puddle. And in this case, it's very deep and very extensive as understanding those big systems.  Like Adrian said, “Be able to go to a place. Take out a core, and understand what's going on in the system, only to knock out three or so of the chambers.” That's mastery of the of that business. It's really neat.

Adrian: So, a lot of organization, if there's one thing that gets me really turned up, it's when things are in disarray. And there's absolutely no reason for it to be that way because we have it laid out for the next 25 years. This is the way it's going to work. And as long as you keep your record straight, you can walk up to the door, you can take the information off of the computer or out of the notebooks, and solve a problem. When somebody does something, like takes a door off and moves it and puts it somewhere else, and you go, “I don't know why this customer's complaint is my key quit working all of a sudden.” That's unusual; it just doesn't happen. “Oh, somebody moved a door and they literally take it off the hinges and put it somewhere else.”

John: Carpet. When people put carpet in. They lay carpet in office. The door that was there is no longer there. They took the doors off, put the doors back on.

Adrian: John, did you pin a best cylinder?

John: Yeah.

Adrian: I chose to go with a Medeco instead of the best because I end up doing what you were doing with my knockout tool is pushing the pins down in there for some reason. So, I thought it would make me fast.

John: Well, after I've watched the video, I realized that I'm glad I picked the best because you're looking in the background, it looks like I do nothing but Medeco with a large stack of cores. Sitting there was kind of add for them.

Adrian: It's interesting though, how the different manufacturers have these nuances. Whether it's a conventional cylinder or small format, large format, the nuances of what the different things you have to do to make it work when you spend that much time in it. I made a very direct decision to choose that cylinder because of that reason.

John: I have a Medeco ejector sitting right there too. You have to put in the bottom because the sidebar. I mean, the extra locking mechanism holds itstraight for you.

PJ: So, what I'm hearing in hindsight, I should have gone to and ordered a couple SFIC course and send them to you guys.

John: I think we both have enough stock. You probably could have picked any keyway and I know we can handle it. I'm sure.

Adrian: I was really hoping that there weren’t going to be a whole bunch of number four pins in there.

John: So, I noticed no sevens in the control and I was like, “Oh, cool.” Nine is in the control. And I'm like, “Oh man, this guy just made it too easy for us.” Then, he makes parities and we picked up fours in the build-up pins.

PJ: So, you're saying I softball you a little bit?

John: We thought you did, and then we thought you were an evil genius. You know that there was no nines in the control, so there would be no four driver pins.

Adrian: And that's the other thing too, not having a master key in there just to change a control. Threw me for a little bit of a loop to because it's very rare that I do shorter math. Usually, it's much longer and especially if we never do this. We never cross key. But when we do cross key, and you're stacking stuff into in a chamber.

John: But you did end up with one four in your thing.

PJ: Yeah, that's good. I've had a blast talking about this. It's fun. I mean, you guys are experts in that. And it was fun to watch you sit there and pin so quick. A lot of the comments. Pinning under four minutes. That's fast. It seemed like it was just another day. You're sitting there pinning up core. But I want to transition a little bit over to ALOA. And, you know, I hear you guys have a little bit of Alpha to leak to us.

John: We do. The 2023 convention will be in Orlando. 2024 is -

Adrian: - We will be going back to Las Vegas, Nevada.

PJ: Wonderful. I think, great news for everybody. Talk me through how that vote went down. Was it a landslide? Or was there a second place that was coming close? How much can you tell us?

John: One proposal actually goes before the board because it’s a contract. All expenditures over $10,000 have to go before the board. So, they get presented with the final contract. We did have other proposals that came in, and some of them were absolutely insane. $260 For our room, and I can look up the other city, but it was like, “wow, I don't think I’d spent $24 in that city for a room.” But some of the stuff was insane that way. But then, the vote goes through and all directors get a word in on it.

PJ: Okay, and I'm curious for both of you. If ALOA was about John or about Adrian, where are you setting up the show at?

John: Vegas as always. Vegas is Vegas. So, we’ll always be in Vegas every two to three years regardless.

Adrian: Yeah. If I have my choice, Vegas is easy to get to and it's the closest easy place to get to out West. It's a big draw. Right? We have good shows there. But, I'm not afraid. I've said this before in board meetings that somewhere like Salt Lake Denver. Something that's just different. It's just not Vegas, right? Heck, even Seattle. But that's the thing about these choices as a board, as an organization, there's a lot that goes into these decisions. It's not just, “Oh, well, that's a cool city.” Like John was saying, we looked in other places, and we get proposals from different areas and if the money's not right, if it's just too expensive, it doesn't make any sense.

John: I actually have the list here. I just pulled it up. The other cities, we do what they call a proposal, we send it out asking cities. We give them our dates, our basic room format, and then they come back with bids. So, Indianapolis wants $239 a room night. We had Union Station in St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Harrah's Atlantic City, that'd be convenient for me but they want $200 a night for hotel, the Peppermill and Reno, Silver legacy and Reno, and then Southpoint. And I can announce we have an $80 a night bill for the midweek. It goes up a little bit on the weekend. Our members love that place. Every possible food groups. You can eat on the cheap, you can get to the strip. $80 is phenomenal for a room.

PJ: It really is. I'm going down to apex SEMA here in a couple of weeks. And it crossed my mind to stay at Southpoint, but, you know, it’d be easier to stay without the Uber to the show. Very interesting. I like it being in Vegas. I mean, I'm kind of one of those people. I like direct flights. Where I go depends on where I get a direct flight to because I find myself staying overnight in cities that I was not planning on.

John:   And this is all part of due diligence. You know, there's a lot of coordination. This has been going on since we left Vegas. So, it's negotiations; it's getting other proposals. The board instructed my committee to search for tier two cities this time, which is the one you can't fly in direct. Reno's a tier two city. I can fly from Philly to Dallas, and then go to Reno, but people that are booking from Reno can't go directly to Reno from Dallas. That's just weird. So, we look at all the look at all those things. And like I said, room nights are very important to our members.

PJ: Yes, yeah. You know, we had four hotel rooms this last time. I mean, it adds up to when you're staying there for about a four, five, or six days. And, you know, I don't think anyone necessarily minds a decent room for a lower price, right?

John: It's got to count airfare. It's got to count all these things in. It is a member service.

PJ: Yeah. Speaking of, I don't think I brought either of you on to debrief ALOA down in Vegas this last year. I mean, were both of you happy with the turnout and the attendance in the classes and all of that, or were you hoping for more.

John: We had some really good numbers. We're still looking at the financials of it. Our food and beverage were higher. So, when we're going back, our food and beverage will not be as high for the next trip. But yeah, numbers were great. Classes were well attended. We do a whole post mortem. You know, Adrian can tell you the finances show up on our mailboxes, whether we want them or not. The comments, the projections, and all that.

Adrian: Yeah. I thought it was a great show. I talked to as many members as I could. While taking class, I took a full slate of classes while I was there. And then, as a board member and as a director, just going around and trying to meet people in my area, or that came from my region and ask them how things are going and what we can do to help them get to the regional areas. I think that's important too, although it puts annual show, but we're branching out and pushing into these local regional shows. You know, trying to get folks to get active in their areas with other associations or with your local locksmith. I mean, that's it. I was still studying for a safe tech certification, and I've been taking the class online. That's something ALOA is doing right now and that's really helpful. I mean, sitting in a classroom virtually, with somebody from Alaska and somebody down in Florida. So, getting active in your in your region, and get in contact with folks like ourselves to pull those resources to get people education or testing is what we're hearing a lot as well. One of the things that come out from the pandemic is us utilizing this platform right here and touching folks where they are.

John: Well, Adrian, I have proctored your PRP in the past. And that's intense when you're testing. There is thought; there's a lot of concentration going on. There's like a heat wave that comes out of your section of the room. There's that much energy being burned. You know?

Adrian: Testing. Testing. That's right.

John: I don't know if that would be as fun watching over to computer. I don't know.

Adrian: We'll have to ask Don tomorrow night. I've got three hours of zoom test.

PJ:  Well, hey, I appreciate both of you guys. And thanks for being volunteers ALOA and all the stuff that you do to promote the further men of the industry. And I want to send both of you a present. So, I'm going to need two things from you. After this, if you can email me what address you want me to send them to and what size of T-shirt you wear. So, I have something special that will be headed your way soon.

John: I can't wait.

Adrian: Fruit snacks.

PJ:  Yes. Yeah. With fruit snacks.

Adrian: That's awesome. Thank you, PJ. What, thank you for everything you do for our industry and putting it out there and encouraging others to learn and do their best. And yeah, this was a ton of fun are really.

John: Did you think that we might say no, PJ, when you asked us at ALOA?

PJ: I didn't know if you'd say yes or no. I mean, I do ask people to do some things. I didn't really know.

Adrian: Because it was a Tuesday night deal and you were asking questions. If you were in the locksmith Olympics, what would you what would you meddle in and people were saying all kinds of different things and I said small format pending contest. And you said, “Hey, let's get you and Truempy. Let's have a showdown.”

PJ: It's fun. One of the things I enjoy about the battle we did, and so many other stuffs we do. It's like, sometimes we want to take everything so seriously.

John: It was a one second conversation between Adrian and I on the show floor.

PJ: I was a little surprised how easy. But I'm like, “Wow, that's awesome. You know, let's do it.”

Adrian: Well, then you read through the comments and that's the thing, like people that aren't comfortable with this or don't do it very often are curious, or people that have done it quite a bit give their two cents. There are 1000 things you can learn from watching somebody else do something. And I'm very willing to put myself out there and have somebody say, “Well, that was weird. Why'd you do it that way?”

John: I love the fact that you and I both did our course for the thing and totally different methods. Totally separate. That was not planned to do it that way and it shows. I have a hard time understanding why more locksmiths are not doing SFIC. It's an ideal product, no matter what. You can provide a single key; you never have to fear of rekeying a panic exit device again.

Adrian: You can’t get it to go back in.

John: If you can’t go back, just change a couple of pins and conventional cylinder, instead of walking up, pulling it out and pumping in a new one. Going from conventional, patented, restricted, I mean, it's all there. It all fits the same size.

PJ: It is true and also the underrated part of the SFIC is the fact that when you get out of the standard rekey stuff and onto like SFIC, there's more money. It's not as price sensitive as a standard Schlage key and knob cylinder rekey. I'm sure if either of you have to take off a lock for some reason when you're rekeying, and it probably feels like a ton of extra work. You're like, “Why are we doing this?”

John: We never have to take it off to re-pin it. Never.

Adrian: When we're Master ring cylinders.

John: Master ring! I just taught a class in that.

Adrian: Mastering cylinders. We have a whole building of these and we allow an hour and a half to do it. And we rekey them every day. So yeah, I love small forms.

John: Plus and minus pens.

PJ: Wow. Well, great, guys. I appreciate you guys coming on hanging out. We definitely need to do this again as time goes on. And both you have good evening and make sure you sent me your sizes and addresses. Thank you, guys, for coming on. And I guess I'll see you in our email soon.



"Thought I'd share my latest van, all done by myself, a constant work in progress. " - Dynamic Locksmiths

Thanks so much for sending in these great pics! This van is really kitted out with all the goods, including cold beverages! So awesome to see how everyone gets the job done. Love the logo, love the inside layout. Very well done. And it's very impressive that you did all that work yourself.


"I about fell over when this big box showed up from CLK! Thank you soooo much for the prizes!! I LOVE the #lockboss shirt! The Cylinder accessories kit was needed! and I will put the signal blocking bags to use for sure! Thanks for being you and being such a help to me on this Locksmith journey. (Just about to start year two!)" - Gerald S.

Thanks so much, Gerald, for sending in this pic; we're so happy you like your prizes and that you'll make good use of them! Awesome work for keeping at it and going on year two.






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