You’re in for a fun discussion! Roy Rucker Sr had a very successful 30-year career in the Army, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer 5. The entrepreneurial drive within him was unlocked after his first real estate deal and when he was nearing retirement, started a company, TRECIG, designed to serve the federal government. From there, he’s done a variety of things, from involvement with vegan brands to his ownership position with The Endorphin Factory in Grand Prairie, Roy has had a very interesting and already successful post-military career. You’ll love this conversation. I’ve already committed to having him back on at some point to discuss more about cybersecurity, more about his first real estate deal, and his military memorabilia company, so stay tuned for another visit with him at some point down the road.

Shout out to our episode sponsor, R.D. Adair Law, PLLC (https://adair.law).

#66: Demolition room, gov’t contracts, and cyber with Roy Rucker Sr.

January 21, 2021 • 56:46

Aaron Spatz, Host, America’s Entrepreneur
Roy Rucker Sr., CEO and Owner, TRECIG, LLC

Aaron  00:09
Good morning, DFW. This is The Dallas-Fort Worth Business Podcast. It is DFW Business Podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here this morning. I’m Aaron Spatz. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for joining. If there’s things that you love about the show, there’s things that you are just itching to hear more of, drop me a line at podcast@boldmedia.us. It really is a true pleasure, true delight to produce this for you. So we’re going to jump right into it this morning. We’ve got another outstanding, amazing guest. And I’m excited to introduce and bring onto the show Roy Rucker Sr. Roy comes to us from– he has a long history within the Army, but beyond that though, he’s an entrepreneur at heart, been doing a ton of stuff here in the metroplex, but also nationwide. So, Roy, I just want to thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Roy  00:59
Thank you, Aaron, for having me.

Aaron  01:01
Certainly, certainly. So take us a little bit about like you are – so one, I would like to lead off with this question. So are you a DFW native? And if not, where are you originally from?

Roy  01:14
No, I’m not a DFW native. I’m originally from a small town in Mississippi called Panther Burn.

Aaron  01:19
Okay. Yeah. Nice.

Roy  01:22
And retired here in Rockwall after 30 years of military service.

Aaron  01:28
Okay. All right. Well, again, thank you for your service. I really, really appreciate that. And Rockwall is a really, really beautiful community. You know, every once in a while, we’re about that way. Absolutely gorgeous. And you’re close enough to the craziness, but you’re far enough away to do your own thing, right?

Roy  01:46
Absolutely. That’s why we chose it.

Aaron  01:49
Yeah, for sure. For sure. So walk me through some of the stuff that you’re up to. You seem like a guy who’s got his hands in a lot of different things. So you’ve got TRECIG, you’ve got Endorphin Factory, you’ve got other things that you work on. So, you know, give us a little bit of a tour of what you’re doing.

Roy  02:06
Absolutely. So as you just mentioned TRECIG. TRECIG, LLC is The Rucker Equities Consulting Investment Group. So it’s a government services contracting company which I started because I did cybersecurity and IT for 30 years for the Army. And so the best thing to do post retirement was – well, actually, before I retired, I started the company. We utilize the skills that I had that the Army helped me to get.

And the other companies that I either own or co-own, you mentioned The Endorphin Factory. Well, The Endorphin Factory was pretty much a brand new startup that we got going back in January of last year but we went into official business in May of last year. And what it did was it hosts two demolition rooms, a number of axe throwing lanes and archery. And it’s the only facility of its kind with those three events in the United States. So I own it with my nephew, my military nephew, and you know, it’s kicking off there in Grand Prairie and business is starting to boom. The other thing that I’m a co-owner of, it’s a restaurant called ITSO Vegan. I’m a 20% owner. And that’s also in Grand Prairie. It’s the only vegan restaurant in Grand Prairie. And one of the top tier vegan restaurants in the DFW area as voted by the people in 2020. I also sponsor my six-year-old’s business portfolio. She is actually the owner or co-owner of the ITSO Vegan brand and The Endorphin Factory. So those two are hers.

Aaron  03:51

Roy  03:51
I own because I work for her. But I also own a military memorabilia company, it’s called OWOMB (the Original Warrant Officer Mafia Badge) because I was a Chief Warrant Officer 5.  So that company started in 2014 and most of the proceeds, if not all, go to giving back to The Rucker Foundation, which is a charitable nonprofit that we started a while back to give scholarships and nutritional guidelines and guidance to my hometown, the two counties in my hometown. And we just most recently had a Thanksgiving totes celebration for that area where we fed, I think, 125 families.

Aaron  04:40

Roy  04:40
And the plan this year is to feed both counties in its entirety.

Aaron  04:46
Oh, man.

Roy  04:46
For Thanksgiving holiday. We have another startup that’s about to kick off that actually belongs to my daughter again. It’s part of her Riley Rucker Investments portfolio and it’s a vegan ice cream and cookie shop. And last but not least, I just recently kicked off Tardigrade Communications, which is an advanced secure mobile production manufacturing facility in Mississippi that should really take off towards the end of the summer. And one of the primary things we’ll be manufacturing is one of the most secure cell phones in the world.

Aaron  05:27

Roy  05:27
And of course we have the normal investment stock market portfolio with a mix of commercial and private real estate. And that’s me in a nutshell.

Aaron  05:40
That’s you in a nutshell. Man, that is a lot. And so we’re going to unpack all that stuff. There’s a lot of stuff there. So, one, and this is just fascinating to me and this I feel like is just proof that the entrepreneurial bug has got to have been in there somewhere for a very long time and you’re finally just letting it out of the bag and just going crazy. You rattled off a lot of stuff there, so let’s do this one at a time. So starting with TRECIG. So for folks that are not familiar with the government contracting process and what all it takes to get, you know, obviously formed as a company, that’s one thing, but then going through the whole process of either going through the various certifications that you can do to get a special status for government contracts, or you’re just going in plain Jane and then also you’re maybe picking up contracts from other prime. So you are the expert on that, I’m not. I’m not going to pretend to know all that stuff. But walk us through how did you go about that process? And two, where did you learn about all that stuff so that you could get yourself situated and positioned in a spot where you could do business?

Roy  07:02
So I’ll start with answering that number two question first because this is the quick, easy answer. So I learned about all this stuff through watching and I’m a voracious reader. So anything that I have interest in and wanting to know, I read about it, I do my research. I’m an analyst by trait and by nature. And so digging into whatever I want to know and picking out those finer nuances of whatever it is and holding on to those and utilizing them and building strategies towards it, that’s me. And that’s how I kind of fed my business book, which started, of course, like you mentioned or guessed, it started a long time ago with my first residential property purchase. My first purchase was a tax repo property in Killeen, Texas when I was stationed at Fort Hood. It was a property valued at $144,000. And I got it at a tax auction for 3,700 bucks.

Aaron  08:10

Roy  08:10
Right. Held onto it, did the revamping of it, lived in it for a little bit, and it made some money off of it. So the book started then with real estate and it continued and grew. But as far as having the book towards large-scale companies like I do now, I gained more interest in that along the way but the military sparked. I’ve been in uniform as a chief technology officer and the responsible warrant officer for a four-star commanding general. Gave me purview insight into a lot of programs – building out multi-billion dollar programs – because I was responsible for area that covers from Alaska all the way down to New Zealand. And then the people that are, of course, in that area that were warrant officers, I was responsible for every last one of them. As a matter of fact, 3,437, I think.

But the bug continued as I went watched how programs were vetted, developed, how the government truly worked, not just from a uniform perspective but from a civilian perspective because I had to deal with mostly civilians. And I saw how easy it was in a sense. Because if you’ve been shot at or almost blown up in combat, little things like stressing over paperwork, or should I say, not stressing over paperwork, comes easy. You just do it. You don’t stress about it, just do it. And those are a couple of things that drove the book. And I figured out I’m a five-to-ten year guy. So I put something down, and I know five years from now, I already had the format built out to make it work year by year by year. And I follow those plans. And being the guy that has the military decision-making process right in my head that helps you in place risk mitigation and that type of stuff, formatting a five, ten-year plan came easy. So I essentially used all the tools that the Army and the government helped build into my life.

So that’s the answer to number two. Getting back to number one of how I formed the government services contracting company. First, you start with your basic LLC, right? And then you register for a CAGE code and a DUNS number with the intent of doing a specific job or selling a specific product to the US government. So I went into SAM’s and it’s a system for awards management and it allows you to put all of your particulars, your certifications that you, you get through the SBA, your Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, if you were at the disabled category where you can receive that certification. Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business, which quite weird here in the state of Texas, a lot of that is done through the Department of Transportation, which threw me for a loop, but research actually had me prepared in order to get that right for the first time. So the SBA, SAM’s the local PTAC at UT Arlington that the SBA put me in contact with actually helped me to formalize all the things that I needed to do to prepare for getting TRECIG off the ground.

Aaron  11:55

Roy  11:56
And I got it off the ground on January 18th, 2018, which I just hit my three-year mark a couple of days ago. And I officially retired from the Army in October of 2018, October 31st. So the company was up and running, but not doing official business because of the capacity that I was working with the government, I couldn’t just go out and start trying to pursue government contracts because I was still in the government wearing uniform.

Aaron  12:27
Right. Well, then take us through what was that like then getting your first government contract? What was that process? Again, there’s a lot of people that are intrigued by the government contract part. We know that there’s a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of red tape that you got to cut through in terms of one, just get into the starting line just like you described, right? You analyze the process, you did all the things right that you needed to do to get yourself ready to go. But then talk us through then how you actually, you know, what was that first contract award like for you?

Roy  13:00
That’s a great question. Well, my story is a tad bit different from what the normal person’s story would be. With me, I build a brand as a very, very well-known person in the military, in the Army. So I build a brand and I used to be a 265-pound, 250-pound natural bodybuilder for 16 years. So I was known by the nickname Big Ruck and that permeated and carried over into the professional side of the military where people knew Big Ruck, but they didn’t know my first name.

Aaron  13:37
That’s right.

Roy  13:37
They knew Keith Rucker but they didn’t know my first name. So that carried over with the excellence and stuff that I achieved in uniform. And that brand was solidified and built over a number of years. So when I retired, it was too easy and my phone was ringing off the hook saying, “Hey, we know you can do business now. We have this capability gap or we have this sub work if you want it. If you want to be a subcontractor to get you started under me, here you go.” So I didn’t have to do the proverbial negotiations per se or writing out proposals to become a subcontractor under a prime when I initially started.

My first sub contract was consulting – well, my first prime contract was a consulting contract and it was one of the companies that I had dealt with while I was in uniform. They called me up and said, “Hey, our CEO needs some guidance on how to effectively get into the military and we need some technical insight on how our product needs to be thoroughly developed to withstand the rigors of the inspections and everything else it has to go to become a viable product for the US government.”

And we pitched some really good numbers and went backwards and forth. And with me knowing your value, not just as an individual but as a company, kind of set the stage for my pricing model. And I presented that, stuck with it. Of course, they signed on. And that contract lasted for two years and it was a very lucrative contract because I had a mixture of monthly retainer for my company and a share of every contract that I helped them to win. I got a 5% share of that. So it was very lucrative. And the funny part is I no longer had the contract with that company but I still receive residuals from that first contract.

Aaron  15:43
Holy cow. Wow. That’s amazing. Well, I mean, you know, so you hit on a great point. So I don’t care where you are in your professional career, the things that you just talked about, Roy, is something worth noting, which was, you’d built a network, you’d built a brand during your career. So it doesn’t matter if you’re in uniform or out of uniform. For people that are listening, watching, it’s important to remember and understand, you are continuing – your reputation precedes you oftentimes, right?

Roy  16:15

Aaron  16:15
So your brand is always being built. It’s either a positive or a negative. It’s how are you pushing the needle, how are you affecting your perceived value from the viewpoint of someone else. And so what you were able to do, Roy, was, you had a lengthy career in the Army, you had a great reputation. People knew they could count on you. You did quality work. You were very, very well networked. And so people respected you. They liked you. There’s something about you that they wanted to be around and obviously you getting promoted helps as well. Certainly.

And so you have all these things working for you. So then by the time you’re ready to turn the lights on and start taking orders and start doing business, it was already there for you. It was just simply your network, people that you already knew. And so I think for a lot of people, when they’re starting businesses, I think it’s important to remember who do you already know. Chances are, you already know – there’s already people in your circle that can help guide you or that can help introduce you to somebody that could lead to a deal of some sort.

And so, yeah, really, I mean, it’s a phenomenal story. It’s a phenomenal case study for those that are completely foreign to government contract work and depending on your background and your skillset. And in your case, a ton of research, a ton of just reading, a ton of just understanding how it was, and boom, you know, you’re walking into opportunity after opportunity. So we might come back to that here in a bit, but I want to shift gears to some of the other stuff that you’re working on. So what really grabbed my attention was The Endorphin Factory. I’m just like, dude, this looks like a place that everybody could just go nuts at. And so walk me through the process that you went through to just creating that kind of business and then selecting the market for it.

Roy  18:23
Okay. So that business has a little twist to it. So my military nephew, and I use it, you know, he’s not my blood nephew but he’s my military nephew because I served with his parents and I watched him be born and grew up and all that good stuff. And he’s the same age as my 28-year-old son. So to me, he’s more of a son than a nephew.

Aaron  18:42
Got you.

Roy  18:43
But he’s a neuro guy, right? He played college football for Louisiana State and he has a degree in neurosciences. And he got some work in the medicinal marijuana industry which moved him to several places and he ended up in California helping them to scale their business. And I think he was a leader in quality assurance and control. And I think he had a little burnout moment, both he and his now fiancé were together. And he came up with this idea from having visited other places that might have just a demolition room or you go to another places just might have archery or this next place might have just axe throwing in some food or whatever. So he came up with this idea, this business plan, and he shot it to me to see what I thought about it and if I wanted to partner and finance it.

So we made a few tweaks here and there. I liked the idea. Initially I had no thought in going in that direction at all. But I looked at the idea, I did some analysis of my own for the area, which is Grand Prairie, and the overall market. And it was a success in my mind, though like any business, it takes a lot of hard work. And we went after it. And part of that process that makes things a little bit more challenging for me, I’m running other companies and I have to both not just assist but ensure that my nephew can develop his business brain and follow a certain track in order to be successful. So it involves both helping to run the business and being a primary mentor to him to guide him around pitfalls and over pitfalls.

So it’s a really good business. We have to stay within COVID guidelines so we can only operate at a certain percentage. Daily standardization. We’re not open on Monday. So Monday is a maintenance day and an inventory pickup and that type stuff. But staying within the COVID guidelines we thought initially would be a challenge, but it’s not. Because it’s an appointment-based facility, you have to have the appointment. And the only time a walk-in will be accepted is if we can fit you in and still keep you socially distanced.

Aaron  21:17
Got you.

Roy  21:18
And it’s been pretty successful. I mean, the revenue stream has been climbing month after month. It’s a predictable analysis. Because of course, again, I’m an analyst by nature and by trade. So discovering what your returns should be by month has been a very predictive science and things are looking up and looking pretty good. I’m actually looking at the next place to place The Endorphin Factory or the next few places and starting a franchise probably towards the end of the year or the first of next year.

Aaron  21:57
Wow. Well, that’s terrific. And so you already started to answer one of my questions I was going to have for you. And so I think this is a great question that we can address when we come back from break. So after the break, what I wanted to ask you was, if I read it right and if I remember what you said earlier on, you’d started this literally right in the middle of the pandemic. It was May. So when we get back, I’d love to hear more about what was that like. What was starting a business like in the middle of all these different restrictions? And you’re still dealing with them now but we’ve kind of begun to get accustomed to them. But what was it like in the middle of all that? So we’ll cover that here in just one moment.

So this show is made possible by our amazing sponsors. And so I’m incredibly, incredibly, incredibly grateful for the companies that we are able to partner with that sponsor this show. It’s a phenomenal journey that we’re on and we’re building something amazing here at The DFW Business Podcast. So I just want to shout out to our show sponsor today, R.D. Adair Law.

And so if you’re a business, I mean, every business needs a good attorney on standby, right? And so if your company needs solid legal help, I point you to Ryan with R.D. Adair. He and his firm may handle various business-related law matters. So whether it’s disputes, whether it’s litigations, whether you’re getting your stuff off the ground and you’re doing formations, or maybe you’re looking to buy, sell, whatever the case may be, doing any type of transactions and all the stuff in between, you’d be very well-served to reach out to him to see he and his firm, how they can best assist you with your business needs. They’re located in South Lake but they serve the entire metroplex. And they do phenomenal work. I’m incredibly, incredibly grateful for their sponsorship.

So, Roy, you know, we were just talking just a second ago. So you’d started The Endorphin Factory right in the middle of the pandemic. And so you’ve now adapted to what I call the new crazy. And so we’re adapting to these different guidelines. You have predictive revenue increase month over month, but talk me through, man, what the heck was it like getting this thing started in the middle of a crap storm?

Roy  24:19
Well, it was a stressful time because we thought we’d be able to kick off January, but of course, you know, COVID hit. And I was flying back in from Hawaii and my last trip and I got the notification that, hey, businesses were going to be shutting down and it was before we even got started. So shutting down before you get started is like, you know, wow, it’s a gut punch. So from that gut punch moment, I went into reactive mode. And the reactive mode was you got to have fail safes, you got to have a disaster recovery type of inclusions in your plan. So that if something like COVID happens, you can carry yourself for however long. And having the fiscal means to have the doors closed, continue to build out, and make the facility look great to make sure my nephew got paid so he could have a living over and his fiancé, that they got paid that they can afford to live because they left jobs to come in this venture. And so having the money’s in place to pay the rent, which wasn’t deferred, by the way. The landlord couldn’t care less.

Aaron  25:46
Yeah. So you guys are already locked into a deal.

Roy  25:50
Locked into the lease.

Aaron  25:52
Oh, man.

Roy  25:53
Locked into utilities. Locked into – you name it. There was very little advantage of a break given. It was still a new discovery what this COVID thing is and how long it’s going to last. Oh, it’s just the flu. Yeah, whatever. But when the governor came down with mandates and then the local government came down with mandates, from January to the last two days in May, we were closed fully. Getting the facility more beautified, building out the bar, building out lanes and all this other stuff, getting inventory stocked in preparation for when the go-time was.

And you know, back to the predictive analysis, watching how the government parlay their cause for getting things back in action, the Texas government was a little bit more aggressive, right? When Governor Abbott said, “Hey, you can open back up at 25%, but you have to have these mandates in place” and yada, yada, yada. Well, we already had those in place as a measure of being safe and keeping people safe.

So the last two days of May, we kicked off and the first guests in the facility were current business partners of mine and they came in, had a great time. We did some advertisement based off of that and got a little notoriety from that. And things started to scale up. So the last two days of May were pretty decent days and June came and I was still supporting the continuous other business out of my own coffers, my own physical coffers, which can be challenging sometimes, right? You’re running other businesses and you have to take care of this other business that you just invested into that you didn’t plan to put so much into, right? So we essentially did overall a 100K jumped over what should have been. And so it went from there, and every month, more and more people started doing direct advertisements around the local area.

Aaron  28:19

Roy  28:19
And started using those branding and marketing measures that I know I’m very familiar with and then my nephew, because he’s of the new era of young men and women who think different and using some of their social media savvy and of course I have my own because I run a cyber security and IT company. And then you’re right. There were important movements that hit during the pandemic and we utilize those to our advantage. And here we are today doing pretty decent numbers in the midst of a continuing pandemic.

Aaron  28:57
Yeah. Wow. No, I mean, it’s a phenomenal story. And I know that, you know, and I want to be sensitive and I want to be respectful to others that have really endured a very, very difficult time throughout COVID. Because there’s been some businesses that they’ve had to shut down, right? There’s been companies that have really suffered, but there’s been other companies that have absolutely just exploded with growth because of whatever their industry was. And so, you know, yours is a bit of kind of unique because you are dependent a hundred percent on people, on foot traffic. And so if you can’t have foot traffic, can’t have people through the door, the business isn’t making any kind of money. And so hearing a little about how you navigated those waters, and I mean, I cannot imagine what that felt like, man. You know, you signed the lease, you get locked into all these different things. And then bam, you know, everything is getting shut down and just the shock of all that stuff.

So kudos to you. I’m happy to hear that you’re still standing, but not just standing, but you guys are doing really well. And I’m excited to hear more about your growth and expansion plans and franchising. There’s obviously a lot of opportunity there and I can’t imagine the craziness that goes on where you’ve got all these different activities inside of one roof. And so for those that are – I think people may have heard of axe throwing but people may not be as familiar with demolition room. I’m familiar with it. But just share with the greater audience what that’s like, what that experience is like.

Roy  30:36
So as far as the demolition rooms, we have a robust inventory. And that inventory consists of stuff like your flat screen TVs, laptops, computers. Actually now for a big party, we have a split truck bed that we bring in. We have automobile doors. We have windshields. We have a very thick tempered pane glass. We have Bone China dishware that sometimes people are afraid to break. We have – you name it. If it can be destroyed and it’s glass or even metal, ceramic or whatever, we have a host of it for you to come in to relieve stress.

And part of that whole stress relief is the after effect. The after effect of the endorphins kicking in and you’re leaving happier than you did coming in because we watch every session and we talk to people. And part of my military background is being able to tell who you are and what you are and what you’re thinking and what’s primarily been on your mind without ever really talking to you much but watching your demeanor. And we use a measure of that or a lot of that to determine how someone is going to respond to a certain thing. So the rooms are set up real nicely. And people were shocked when he walked through the doors for the first time and they can hear whatever music they want to hear because we have a system that allow for whatever song to be played.

Aaron  32:16

Roy  32:16
And they get an area. You get your hard rock, you get your rap, you get whatever. And it’s loud enough for them to tone out anything else outside of the room. And we watch as they go through their processes and the process starts with sometimes people are timid. They didn’t want to break this thing because they’re scared. And that’s expensive Bone China, I don’t want to break that.

Aaron  32:39
Yeah. Like are you sure you’re not going to slip me a bill when I’m coming out of the room? $85,000.

Roy  32:48
So, you know, sometimes we open the door and say, “Hey, it’s yours, break it. You pay for it, break it.” Because what we want to see is of course the after effect. It’s not about money per se. We have to make a certain amount of revenue to stay functional, but it’s more about the experience. We don’t call people customers. We call them clients because it’s a client experience, which is way different than just being a customer. We care about our clients and we get referrals from counselors. We get referrals from all kinds of professionals sending their clients our way and sometimes even come with them.

So you can see the teenage release when they come in with stress about school, about the pandemic. We had two young ladies that came in last night who were very stressed out about ex-boyfriends. And I will tell you, my five-minute, five-to-ten minute talk with them beforehand and the stuff that they conveyed to me showed me that I needed to watch them for a little bit and I did and I watched them. And my nephew kind of got him through certain things in the room, placing certain things in a room, the light things. Because people like that light glass. So he put additional glass and some extra dishes in the room and I watched them go through their phases of just being angry at the boyfriend, shouting out the names and just going hard for about ten, 15 minutes. And then when he hit that wall where it was no more boyfriends, no more name calling, it was “Now let me have a little fun on my own. Let me get a little workout.”

And then as the timer went off, we let them stay in a little bit longer to get a little bit more. When they come out and you have to go do the after action review, the military AAR. And they started to talk more about, “Hey, what you said was going to happen, it happened. We’re not thinking about those guys anymore. As a matter of fact, we’re probably going to come back every week because this stuff is fun” and they’re hyped up. And the funny part is before they left, they made a commitment to schedule four axe throwing and archery today. And sure enough, I saw them put in forward about two something this morning. It popped up.

So that’s our demolition room and it was named the destruction room, but we had to change that name because some guy in Virginia actually own the rights to those words and our facility was outpacing his and I think he took that personal. So we had to stop using that name. But that’s the demolition. It’s one of the most sought-after events that we have in the building. Axe throwing is a close second. I think they jockey for first place quite often. And then archery is slowly catching up.

Aaron  35:53
Okay, man, you know, you hit on a lot of things there and I think it’s interesting because you actually addressed the question at some point when we’re talking about this. Because I was thinking like, man, I wonder if you already get counselors to refer people there and you already answered the question, that that absolutely happens. And so it’s really fascinating. And so that was really neat. Kind of experience that second hand as you’re describing it to me. So really, really cool. And I mean, once again, I’m excited to see where you expand, just starting there in Grand Prairie, but then where else you end up going. And obviously all the analysis that you got to do with that and selecting a good site and are you able to get the traffic and all those things. So let’s shift gears here real quick then. So let’s talk about your other ventures. So you talked about ITSO Vegan. So tell me a little bit about your vegan background, vegan journey when it comes to this.

Roy  36:58
So my health transition from a traditional eating lifestyle, you know, American eating lifestyle, plenty of beef and plenty of – well, I stopped eating pork over 20 years ago, but plenty of beef and other proteins, right? And just being a yum, yum, yum type guy. I was a professional bodybuilder. Like I said, natural bodybuilder for 16 years. I think I mentioned that. So eating high quantities of red meat just consumed my life. Had some accidents, some vehicular accidents oriented by a semi-truck at one point.

Aaron  37:39

Roy  37:39
And had to learn how to really balance my body and use my body the right way while I was still in the military. Both me and my wife were hit by a semi-truck. So life changed. I had to stop the competitive bodybuilding.

Aaron  37:56
Hey, just real quick out of that accident. Was she okay too?

Roy  37:59
She is. She’s okay. Right. We lived through it. It was terrific but we lived through it. And we still kind of have memories of it body wise. But I’ll explain that a little bit more. So the trip from that traditional American high red meat consumption lifestyle over to vegan was easy, actually. I of course do an analysis on what the vegan lifestyle was. I did two years as a vegan when I was bodybuilding. So I stayed lean, ripped, ready to go compete all the time. The only problem is I stayed cold all the time. Even in the summer, I stayed cold because I was doing it wrong, right? I was doing it wrong.

And so six years of testing and my final duty station in Hawaii, we finally made a commitment to just do it. I had PTSD, migraine headaches, plantar fasciitis, arthritis from my neck all the way down to my toes and these appendages as well, and a myriad of other problems that I was dealing with – borderline high blood pressure, high cholesterol, those types of things. Though I looked healthy outwardly, inwardly I was suffering. And so when I made the transition, get the checks done that you do with a doctor and the numbers started to change. And when I transitioned from the military, I had even more of an opportunity to focus on meal prep and those things and adding the right natural supplementation to my eating habit and getting it right.

So now I don’t have the migraine headaches anymore. I don’t have to get up in a dark and go in an even darker place in order to calm down for 30 or 40 minutes of meditation. I still meditate, but I don’t have to do it to calm my migraines. The blood pressure is normal. Cholesterol, I have the teenage level cholesterol. I’m just healthy. Arthritis subsided so I don’t have to worry about living around the house right now. Even my plantar fasciitis, the ligaments that support healthy arches in your feet, those kind of came back to almost normal. So I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t have to wear the arch supports and all that stuff anymore.

It’s just funny and unique how when you take your body back to what it was meant to be from a natural perspective, how your body responds and gives you back what you should have anyway. And growing up in small town Mississippi, we did a lot of eating from the garden to the table. It was a necessity. There was no genetically modified anything. We didn’t have to worry about the chemicals. We didn’t have to worry about eating chicken that was pumped up on steroids that only existed before it hit your table for three weeks. We didn’t have to worry about any of that stuff. So we went back to that. My wife and daughter are more pescatarians because they still eat some seafood. I found that with me, seafood escalated my mucus production, the body’s natural mucus production, and it took me an overdrive and that’s where I was experiencing the arthritic pain from. So when I stopped that and put some extra B12 and vitamin D in my life out in the sun, things changed.

So that was the thing that got me started with my vegan lifestyle. And as far as the vegan restaurant is concerned, ITSO Vegan, I was introduced to that restaurant, to that business, by my realtor. There was an opportunity. Well, I consulted to them for their first nine months of existence free of charge because I like to see businesses grow and it was my realtor asking me to do it. So did it. He’s a really good friend of mine, my Christian brother. And yeah, we did it, advised.

And in January of last year, there was an opportunity to come in as an investor, a partner. So I took advantage of the opportunity, came in as a partner, was a business director, a franchise director and the overall guiding force behind business. And it takes that. You have to have somebody who thoroughly understands business in order for a business to succeed. And that business was caught with a pandemic and had to shut down for a month and a half. But through predictive analysis and it’s in Grand Prairie also, with predictive analysis, I was able to take advantage of, again, certain movements that allowed the business to at one point triple in revenue.

Aaron  43:20

Roy  43:20
Yeah. We tripled the monthly revenue because we went from serving people inside of the restaurant to just bringing their food out to the vehicles. They get an order, we bring it out. Everything is safe. You’re gloved up, you’re masked up. And it gave people the confidence that they could still go out and get food in a safe and serene environment and be okay. So that carried over into the end of last year with the restaurant doing pretty good. It’s a business that I’m probably going to transition out of soon and there’s some other things going on so I won’t get into that, but I’m probably going to be transitioning out of that as soon. And looking at two other markets that I’m going to go into May ‘21.

Aaron  44:16
Wow, man. So, I mean, again, you’re a really busy guy. So you’ve got a lot of different things going on. So for those that are out there and they’re contemplating their entrepreneurial journey and they’re maybe towards the front end of their journey, what are some things that you would advise people to really take into consideration as they’re launching their business or as are just getting started? Say they’ve been in business for less than six months and they’re just trying to continue to get things moving and get things off the ground, what are some words of wisdom?

Roy  44:48
One word of wisdom is pivot. Being able to pivot. If you have your risk mitigations already in place, you see pitfalls that other businesses in the sector that you’re in that they go through, having a plan where you sit down and think out, think through that if this happens to me, this is what I need to do. And you take those proven matters that you researched or read somewhere else that worked for this company. You put them into a modeling process to see if they will work well for you. And if they do, then you put those in your store, in your memory bank, and have those ready to be utilized just in case that happens, right? So in that respect, being able to pivot. That’s advice number one I would give you. Advice number two I would give you in the arena that we’re in now with COVID is having a fiscal means to be able to stabilize and to stay at bare minimum and wait it out for at least six to 12 months if you’re able to.

Aaron  46:03
Get a safe.

Roy  46:04
Right. And the good thing about me being fiscally responsible for the number of years that I was in the military and investing in everything else, I haven’t had to take a loan from anywhere, any bank, to finance any venture that I had, which is a good thing. Self-financing is great because I wanted to get myself to a point where I could be functional and operational and be able to get a line of credit later on.

So that’s one thing I would most definitely tell any prospective business startup or someone that’s new into the startup, about six months or so. Make sure you’re keeping your books right. Make sure you’re not stealing from yourself. Just do things the right way. Because doing things the wrong way will come back to bite you. And I’ve seen it happen to friends of mine. And matter of fact, I’ve seen it happen to two partners of mine that doing things the wrong way could come back to really bite you in the end.

So to any prospective person starting a business or have already started and you’re in it in the middle of a pandemic that’s not over yet, seek guidance from people that have been successful, right? Talk to people. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Don’t be afraid to go to your local government to see what kind of programs and grants and whatever that they might have in place. Because your local Chamber of Commerce, your local city planners, they don’t want to see businesses close. They don’t want to see people struggling. So they can make you well aware of a lot of grants and other processes that are out there to help keep you afloat. So get out of the turtle shell and go out and visit. Call those people up. Those are some of the things, Aaron, that I would suggest that people do.

Aaron  48:03
Yeah. No, I mean, it’s solid. And to your last point about mentors, I think that cannot be overstated. What could take someone five years or ten years to learn, I’ve seen that get boiled down to hours because they have a mentor, they have somebody that they admire or someone that has been down the road, you know, gone years in front of them. It doesn’t have to be the same industry, but maybe it is. Maybe it’s the exact same thing that you’re trying to do. And so you’re able to learn from people.

So if there’s one thing I’ve learned here, and especially in the DFW area, the help is here, man. If there is any lack of anything in your life as it relates to business, the resources are here. You just have to find them, you have to ask for it. People aren’t just going to come knocking on your door saying, “Hey, how can I help you today?” I can’t help you unless I know what the problem is, right? You got to know what we’re dealing with.

So I mean, that and then obviously everything else that you shared. I mean, I think it’s solid. I think having the wherewithal to be able to pivot in the middle of a pandemic, one, it’s not only just good business savvy, but two, it was very necessary for a lot of businesses. Like there’s a ton of companies – and I’m sure you’ve seen this too, ton of companies that had never even considered curbside pickup or delivery or anything else like that. And then guess what? The ones that are continuing to run forward are the ones that adopted that early. And they were like, you know what, we’re going to stay open. We’ve got to stay open. How do we make this happen? And so having this “I’m going to figure it out mentality” and continue to drive on with that.

And so that’s just been some of my observations, but that I love that. I love your perspective. And you know, the last thing I was going to ask you is how do you discipline yourself in your time across all of the different things that you got going on? Because I imagine that in and of itself has got to be a challenge.

Roy  50:18
Ah, yes. So that’s a great question. And I have to take a deep breath because sometimes it’s rough, but I would tell you the thing that allows me to skip over the ebb and flow is, again, predictive analysis. You put things on the calendar and you stick to it. You hire people that can pick up some of the frustrations for you. Some of the things that come along with business, if you can outsource it and you pay the person that you’re outsourcing it to and you’re not really outsourcing then, you have that person in the house to pick up the slack. It helps because you have to trust people.

Case in point, in order for me to assist The Endorphin Factory with growth and mentoring my nephew to be the best CEO he can be, I had to physically be there. His fiancé is now pregnant. She couldn’t be in a facility helping because there’s a fear of catching COVID and potentially losing not only her but the baby as well. So she can’t be in that space. So I had to do some internal hires for some people to pick up some slack where I would normally be doing things. And I do half of the day here at my home, my home office, and then the rest of the day starting at 2:30 to 3 o’clock, I’m at The Endorphin Factory. Earpiece in, laptop on, doing work in between appointments and trying to close deals on my headphone.

So I wake up every morning with the intentions that I am going to do the repeatable processes over and over again because they work. The morning meditation, the morning workout because I’m just getting back into really good workouts. The morning workouts. And after workouts, either a morning tea or morning coffee to spike me a little bit, and then I’m off to work with TRECIG and monitoring the other stuff that I have going on – checking out orders for my military memorabilia company and checking out progress and preparations to talk with my CIO and president about things that are going to happen with TRECIG and any other companies.

But prepping for that, sticking to the appointments on the calendar. And if you’re not on the calendar, I’m sorry, I got to get you somewhere else on the day unless it’s a complete emergency. So sticking with that, not jumping a gun, adding people where they shouldn’t be added, adding time where it shouldn’t be added, it keeps me normal. Because I have to. I have a wife who did 27 years in the military. She’s a retired Chief Warrant Officer 4. She’s here homeschooling our daughter because we don’t want her in school. So she gave her life post-military to stay home and homeschool our daughter. So I have to make sure that I’m spending time, family time, valuable family time because that’s one of the reasons why I retired – to spend more time. So those are the things that are critically important – time management and sticking to that time management schematic at all costs, right? Because money sometimes – well, money’s never worth your health, right?

Aaron  53:51
It’s true.

Roy  53:51
Closing that deal is not worth losing a family or your life. So sticking with that model, which is slightly different than the military model sometimes because the military was probably number one. It was military over life, military over family at some points. And try kind of skipping that and allowing the brain to process something new and enjoying that newness of life. So that’s how I handle it and it’s not made up or anything like that. That’s really how I handle it.

Aaron  54:24
Wow. No, that’s terrific. And I appreciate you sharing that with me. And we’re already running out of time. Because I was wanting to cover a whole bunch of cybersecurity stuff. We’ll have to walk to do a part two, I think, is what’s going to happen. And we’ll have to set that up. But no, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having you here. I just want to thank you for being a part of the show. But you know, how can people get in touch with you? What’s the best way to follow what is it that you’re up to?

Roy  54:53
Well, I’m on all social media. And of course, Facebook, I’m Roy “Big Ruck” Rucker Sr. TRECIG, LLC is also on Facebook. TRECIG, LLC is on Twitter and Instagram. And of course, I’m on Twitter and Instagram as Roy Rucker Sr. So easy to follow but TRECIG will lead you to my other companies. The Endorphin Factory is on Instagram and on Facebook, Endorphin Factory USA or Endorphin Factory Headquarters USA was hacked by insider former employee. And we had to change up some things. But Endorphin Factory USA is out there. Shout out to ITSO Vegan. ITSO Vegan is out there. And Tardigrade Communications is still about to kick off. Riley Rucker Investments is Emily Hill so it’s not broadcasted. She just has an elite portfolio that I manage that she’s probably going to take advantage of when she’s 13. So everything is out there, just google.

Aaron  55:54
Yeah. For sure, for sure.

Roy  55:56
My email roy.rucker@trecig.com is the easiest way to get in touch with me for anything else. And oh, by the way, I’m looking for some potential partners to scale out The Endorphin Factory here in the next six, seven, eight months.

Aaron  56:16
Well, sounds like there’s a lot of opportunities there. And so for those watching, listening, then you definitely have some serious things to consider. And again, Roy, I just want to thank you. It’s been a sincere pleasure. It’s been a lot of fun.

Roy  56:32
Thank you, Aaron. It’s been my pleasure meeting you, man. And I enjoy what you’re doing.

Aaron  56:37

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