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Listen to Episode 101

We’re back with the second episode in our special 3-part series on Year of The Dude (our 20th birthday), and this one is all about what makes The Dude unique from our clients to employees to our work and data. Hear thoughts (and even a song) from long-time Dude Solutions employees and clients.

SHOW NOTES: 

SHOW SCRIPT:

Brian  
Welcome to the Operate Intelligently Podcast, the podcast for all things operations.

Grace Flack  
I'm so excited to have you on the second episode for our three-part series for the Year of the Dude, which is our 20th birthday celebration, make sure that first you've listened to Episode 100. That's on the history of The Dude that really lays the foundation before this episode. So don't miss out on that, we've got another great episode. That's all about what makes The Dude unique. The people that work for the Dude, the clients that we serve the work that we do, I think you're really going to enjoy hearing again from longtime Dude's about what really makes Dude Solutions special in our services and our software in the culture. So let's dive in first and hear from Chief Revenue Officer Tom Knox.

Tom Knox  
We've always been very ethical, trustworthy at our root, and our core. I think we've always looked at our most valuable asset are the people that work at the Dude first and foremost, and a very close second is the client base that we serve. If we ever lose sight of any of those three things, I think we the culture would be dramatically different. And I think their fundamental.

Grace Flack  
Co-founder, Lee Prevost, expound on the foundation of these values and the company,

Lee  
This importance of people and culture. And this importance of an authentic user experience, great brands and great designs are only as good as the authentic, you know, user experience. And so, but that is tested every day, is that authentic. And so the importance of every touchpoint every person in the experience that, you know, the client has, it's important not just to the client, but it's important to every person,

Grace Flack  
Longtime employees, Sandy King talks about her initial impressions of our clients.

Sandy King  
You could just tell they were passionate about what they do, and they bring people that worked for them. And they were, you know, passionate about what they do. And they just love the Dude. And one reason why they love the Dude is because of the people, the products are good. But the people are great.

Grace Flack  
Here's Dude Evangelist Josh Peach on what makes The Dude different.

Josh Peach  
The people, it's 100% of the people, you know, it's our people that build the software, it's our people that that manage and maintain the software, it's our people that managed to maintain the client base, and make sure that the solutions are working properly. So the technology is fantastic. You know, we always say the technology would sell itself, it's the people behind it, that you know, we have to get awareness to our prospects, that when they become clients, we have to make sure that they're being will take care of that. That's really and people in their attitudes.

Grace Flack  
Longtime client, John Dufay shares his thoughts.

John Dufay  
Dude Solutions is so far ahead of the game and coming up with new innovative ideas. But I will tell you one thing, I do want to say the thing that's so important that separates the difference between Dude Solutions, and anybody else is really the people and customer service that you get is second to none. I remember telling Lee Provost and Scott years ago, the reason and this was probably back 10 years ago, at least. The reason we feel that way I like the Dude Solutions or School Dude back then was it about customer service, you can call them on the phone, you can talk to somebody and they listen, and they understand the product. They understand what you're trying to get done understand product and there's so many products out there on the thing. So you're always going to have somebody selling the same kind of product, possibly something that they say is this. And you know, the prices are always competitive. The difference is integrity, and customer service. That's the difference. And as long as the philosophy and everything is is about customer service and the people that you have here, it's second time that you you, it's beyond a measurement of saying these, there's no comparison. And that's why I think that's the difference.

Grace Flack  
We talked about the importance of customer service at the Dude a little bit in the first episode, but longtime employees Scott Carpenter expands on where the idea of legendary client support at Dude Solutions came from.

Scott Carpenter  
So I'd be remiss without mentioning my friend Joan. Joan is not here anymore. Unfortunately, she passed away. But I would tell you that part of the culture was when we started this business was you know, people call people customers. And you know, Joan will look at you and say, a customer, somebody at Walmart or Target that walks in and walks out. And you don't know if you're going to see him again, a client is a client for life. And you know, that's something that she really believed that every single person that we got as a client was her client for life. And that was the mentality of her and her team. And you know, there's a lot of people that talk about giving good service, and being a good service company. The Dude is a great service company, and always has been, but it started with Joan. And she really pushed that agenda and that culture.

Grace Flack  
Here's Joan Maddox explaining that ethos and an old company video.

Joan Maddox  
Legendary client service is, is really kind of simple. We keep our service promises, and we set high expectations, personal touches, we don't believe in automated answering systems. That's not something that we like I had on a personal level, we don't force that on our clients. So we have someone who physically answers the phone when friendly and polite and transfers it to the right person who's also friendly and polite. And we do our best to resolve the clients issue in a timely and efficient manner, while treating them as a person and not just another client or another number.

Grace Flack  
Here's David Marcus on the impact that The Dude's culture has on clients.

David Marcus
The culture that the Dude has, is something very unique. You don't find it in many companies, along with the customer service. Anytime I call it helpdesk, I get someone who's friendly, willing and wants to help me out. And it's just phenomenal. And if I don't get that person, then I get someone else is going to point me into the right direction. You guys are highly innovative, love seeing the changes, not to mention, and they're very reasonable products.

Grace Flack  
A very important aspect about the people of The Dude are the people we serve operations professionals who help manage and run education and government institutions, hospitals, senior living communities in manufacturing and membership-based organizations.

Josh Peach  
I say on LinkedIn, my LinkedIn posts all the time when I have something that's client-related, that we have the world's greatest clients, and I believe that they are the unsung heroes and organizations and operations throughout the country throughout the world that we have. And they're just most genuine, sincere, loyal, compassionate and caring people that I could interact with outside of my direct friends and family. And, you know, many of them are, you know, many of them feel like family and they're all friends. So that people's piece of it is also on the side of the client.

Grace Flack  
CEO Ed Roshitsh gives his take.

Ed Roshitsh  
Our clients are givers. They're wired to serve. These people are wired to serve their communities, serve their stakeholders

Grace Flack  
Long-time employee Carsie Denning talks about the bond that often forms between The Dude and clients.

Carsie Denning  
Our clients know that if we say that, we're going to do something that we do it, and that we will stick with them, and not leave them. And we'll work with them until we find them a solution. And they appreciate that. And I think they put a high value on the fact that they know that if they go with us that we're going to stand behind the product, and we're going to stand by them. And we want to make our clients heroes in every aspect.

Grace Flack  
One of the most unique parts about our annual operations conference Dude University is a special event where we get to appreciate our clients Lee talks more about it.

Lee  
And one of my favorite times of the year is the general session welcome. And as you know we have conference, and on the last evening of the last day, we have the general session, and we have the keynote, and it's kind of the energy of the conference. And one of the things that I love is the the way that our team comes together and welcomes our clients into that event, you know, our clients, we've had clients tell me that they feel so important and so honored by our team, when we we have this grand opening of the event and all of our employees stand there. And before we are seated we applaud our clients and kind of give them high fives as they come into the room. Often our clients are the ones that have to set up for those events and who are often you know, the ones of kind of behind the scenes that make events like that go. Instead, we honor them and applaud them, and they're so grateful for it. And they are worthy, you know, to have it and I think everybody feels great about it. And so that's that's one of my most fun, you know, memories is that, that general session open, I look forward to it every year.

Grace Flack  
Listen to Episode 96 on inside duty university to hear some of that clapping and cheering as well as learn more about the conference. Here's Monica Fernandez, a client who's been to do several times and talks a little bit about her impressions on working with the company. 

Monica Fernandez  
We have used these solutions exclusively for about five years. And I think it's the best thing ever.

Grace Flack  
Long-time employee Brian Bell adds more to why our clients are so special.

Brian Bell  
Every industry vertical market that we serve has just these incredible people. Some of them are characters just because they're their personality traits. Some of them are just amazing because of what they've been able to do lot of times with very little resources, or technology, but somehow always find a way to, to deliver at the end of the day and and change their environment, their you know, what they're doing to serve the people in their organizations the best way they can. And it's neat, that Dude can be part of that.

Grace Flack  
These clients are so incredible, in fact that some of them like Gary Musial write songs about being a Dude client, here's a snippet of his most recent one 

So how does a client go from using a product like software to writing songs about it? Josh Peach gives some insight.

Josh Peach  
And they know that we have that appreciation that respect for them that care. And they probably don't get it in a lot of other places they didn't that's commitment to a Gary Musial who does the songs, he's been doing songs for God, he's been doing forever. And I mean, he takes a lot of time doing that.

Grace Flack  
We even have a client with a past logo tattooed on his arm.

Josh Peach  
Before the tattoo he had, he had t-shirts made on his own dime. And he went and had t-shirts, these great red t-shirts with a Dude logo on it and said, if it's not in Dude it doesn't exist. And then on the back, it said, it will change your life. And that's what his staff wore every single day, when they walk the halls because they weren't allowed to get their staff to stop to do something unless they put it in the Dude. And that's when you go back to all of what we talked about, which is, you know, we're making a difference in people's lives. And when you do that, and you show it then that commitment to us that they have is tattoo worthy and song worthy.

Carsie Denning  
When my kids got married, I actually ended up inviting some clients to the wedding. So I do have a lot of great memories,

Grace Flack  
Dude Solutions, employee values are service, ingenuity, integrity, and together, Lee talks a little bit about how that shows up in the leadership.

Lee  
Another is the servant leadership, you know, this, this concept of, of not only the way that we lead within the organization, you know, but also the way that we lead our clients.

Sandy King  
One of the things that Kent Hudson has always said is, you know, we view our org chart is reversed, you know, I'm here to support you. And, you know, the people that are in the weeds every day are the ones that make this company work. And you know, in the day to day stuff, and, you know, I don't want us to ever lose, lose that thought or that, you know, picture of where it depends on where you sit on our org chart, because we're all in focused on one goal. Well, two goals, company to grow, and for our clients to be happy. And that's all so we all need to be working toward that regardless of where you sit on our org chart.

Josh Peach  
You know, as a dude, team member, the biggest thing is, you know, most people come to the Dude because they hear about our culture that hear about who we are, how awesome we are, all those things are really great. But the second that you step in and you were the Dude logo on your shirt, I wear them on my pants, it's on your business card. You know, as soon as you're part of the Dude family as an employee, you have to understand that you have a responsibility. And that responsibility is to carry the culture torch. And the culture torch doesn't come in the form of a coffee bar, or ping pong table or any of that comes in your heart. It comes in your mind, it comes in your soul, it comes in you. And we really try to do a great job of hiring people that are a cultural fit, not necessarily a similarity fit. So you don't need to be someone, we don't want everybody to fit in the same mold. We want people to have unique thoughts and ideas and how they are and what they are. But we want one thing is that they have that dynamic culture fit where it's you feel that you feel the way that all of us feel about our clients, you feel the way that we feel about each other, that we look out for one another, that we want to make a difference. And that feeling is like an aura that gets pushed out of energy that when you walk in, it's like, I'm part of the Dude. And this is really awesome. It's very rare that you find a company that's gone for the explosive growth that continues to grow, and to still have people smile on their face every single day and care about one another the way that the Dudes do.

Grace Flack  
Dude Solutions mission and vision are critical to the work they do. Our mission is we empower our clients and our employees to do the best work of their lives. Our vision is to do the incredible to transform the way we work to leave a legacy. Client Travis Tracy talks a little bit about how the culture of the Dude has rubbed off on their organization.

Travis  
And the Dude has fostered not just in its events, but in its operations, this client focused client first culture. And I think that's just incredible. And seeing that, as an organization, we're trying to model something similar because we have customers as well, students, teachers, the community. So it's a good thing example for us since good example, for all the clients.

Grace Flack  
Tom Knox has mission is at the top of his list for what sets the Dude apart.

Tom Knox  
I think, first and foremost, our mission about what we're all about. I think second is we've we've been very fortunate that we've been innovators, and we've not had to play catch up to other people and competitors, we've kind of been the creator of the space. And you kind of look at the next generation of where we're going with the data we sit on and the analytics that we can do, I think we have the opportunity to create another new space and be the innovators going forward.

Ed Roshitsh  
The mission orientation of the people inside the four walls, and a lot of people come to work, really equating whether they're clicking on a keyboard programming or, you know, taking invoices and you know, getting them paid or would have you but they're they're thinking about well, I'm helping schools keep kids warm, safe and dry, or patients safe in a hospital or senior living home. Or we're helping them it's sort of cool.

Grace Flack  
Here from client Braden Witt about the impact our work and asset management software has on his team.

Braden Witt  
So TheWorxHub is a really interesting tool, because it kind of takes all of your many layers of a hospital operation and kind of combined them into one really easy use feature that from your youngest 20 year old team member to your 65 year old never used an iPad team member can really grab ahold of technology and leverage the technology and the information that's generated from a building and apply it in a cost-effective way that really we've seen a huge increase to the services were able to provide through community through a safer, more streamlined operation.

Grace Flack  
In addition to work and asset, the Dude offer solutions for technology and IT energy management, event management, capital forecasting in community development. Here's Gresham Barlow School District on the impact that our energy management tools made.

Gresham Barlow School District  
At Gresham Barlow Schools our average school was 51 years old. The building I'm in today is it built 1914. And so energy usage for school facilities is about a third of our budget, it's it's paramount, it's to labor, it's the number one thing to track. So we use Energy Manager to track it here in our school district because it has a wide range of programs to be able to track electricity, natural gas, water, solid waste, as well as recycling efforts that we do, we save over a million dollars a year. And that equates to about 20 teaching positions. Because we want to put the money back in the classroom, we don't need to use it, you know, energy ways, it's better for the budget, but it's also better for the environment.

Grace Flack  
Longtime employee, pat buchanan talks about his passion for helping clients,

Pat Buchanan  
my favorite thing, for sure, would be just having clients contact me and deal with a challenge. Okay, I've got a, I've got this board report coming up, helped me get some data to get past this hurdle or, or help me script the story where I can tell it to get the most benefit. So it's really a lot of it's been just different ways that clients have challenges and, and trying to figure out how to solve those. So that's probably one of the big things that draws me to our clients is just dealing with challenges and seeing how we can help them get past a particular hurdle.

Grace Flack  
So what are some things about the dude that haven't changed in 20 years, Lee shares his thoughts.

Lee  
This concept of an overwhelming value proposition in, you know, in every one of our products, and just to simplify it, we charge $1, we're bringing in $20 in value, and we do it in a way where it either saves energy or reduces time, or it enables, you know, efficiencies or enables, you know better decision makers to make make capital allocations better.

Grace Flack  
Long-time employee, Jed DeGroote, expounds on that.

Jed DeGroote  
I think one thing is that it's, it's really cool to see that our core values and our philosophy hasn't really changed one bit. I mean, the stuff that Joan taught and Kent and Lee and Scott, Lynn taught we picked that up, and we may be modernized it a little bit of what we need to do for scale, but it hasn't changed. So that's, that's really cool too.

Pat Buchanan  
I'd say, we're still a high energy company, is another huge thing is whether you know right now sit with the with the legendary support team, they're real close to them. So just being able to still hear them interact day in day out with each other, how they hear how they're happy when they're able to solve a problem. So just hearing a lot of that high energy, you know, still work a lot with some of the sales teams, and just when they're able to get a solution for a client how happy they are.

Sandy King  
Things, that stay the same as, I think leadership that was in place when I came on board, and leadership today, even though we've had a change in people, they still seem to have the same vision for employees and the company moving forward. But more really, as far as the taking care of employees and the culture that they're trying to maintain, and all that kind of stuff.

Ed Roshitsh  
I think there's a number of things that I want to preserve with the culture, things that I have inherited and not created that Kent and Lee and some of the early guys like a Scott Carpenter or some of the others, fertilized. Through the years, I think that's the low company ego Kent just was not about talking about the company. And when you get to a certain size you do, but there's a risk there as well that you don't come across as you know, thumping your chest too hard. I think by and large, when people think about it, whether you're employees are clients of the dude, the integrity of the company, like we're not, there's no shenanigans going on here in any way, shape, or form. We really try to treat our clients right we really try to treat our employees right. Doesn't mean we won't make mistakes from time to time but they're not based on bad intent. The integrity intent is very good.

Grace Flack  
The company has made some recent strides and diversity and inclusion. And Jed talks about the foundation for that was laid early on.

Jed DeGroote  
I love a lot of the things that we're doing as far as promoting diversity in the workplace and everything. The Dude has a history of that, that sometimes I think we forget about a little bit. I mean, when I first started, two out of the five executive team members were women. Lynn Boswell and Joan, I've talked about Joan Maddux when my mentor my biggest influences in my life. But Lynn and Joan, were they were bedrocks of this, this business, extremely sharp women that did a lot to shape this business of where it is today.

Grace Flack  
That spirit carries on today with an executive team. That's more than half females, it talks about the overall impact and footprint of Dude Solutions.

Ed Roshitsh  
The Dude when you think about everybody goes to school. And we touched 32 million of the 50 million k-12 students. So then you say, look, we're in government. We're in nearly 3000 municipalities across the US and growing. And then you say, all right, nearly 40 million people are admitted to acute care hospitals, on a annual basis 1.5 million people living in senior living facilities. And then you say, and then you overlap that with, you know, we've got, you know, 1000ish manufacturing, I would say there are very few companies in the US let alone world that if you stack those Venn diagrams on top of each other, like you'd literally have to be like, in the middle of a field, you know, off the grid not to have been touched in some way shape or form by Dude Solutions, whether you know it or not.

Pat Buchanan  
The great thing about what we deliver is all of our software does a tremendous service to our clients. So we're just not another vendor. Another item out there is something software that we delivere definitely helps our clients achieve more and do more with what they have in the organization.

Lee  
I think a lot of the milestones that we enjoyed the most were things like the best places to work awards, things like when our clients won, you know, best, best in the state or, you know, director of the year, you know, that always really drove us.

Scott Carpenter  
it's really nice to be able to work at a place where you can see that you made a difference. And this the Dude is that place. You know, I've had people actually tell me, older people that were working in, they put our software in, and they were like, wow, I wish I had another 10 years, I wish we'd have had this 10 years ago, because, you know, it's so impactful. It's made my job so much easier. It's made me when I go in front of the board or my bosses to be able to articulate and be able to show what we're actually doing versus I think this needs to be fixed. I think this got done. Now they can actually go in and facilities becomes you know, we help them do these PowerPoints and we help them through Dude Intelligence, and we help them take graphs and all this stuff. And now they can go in there and put it up on the screen. And they look like the rock stars, you know, and everybody else is going "wow facilities, how are they doing all this?" You know, so that that's been very impactful to me as well.

Grace Flack  
Speaking of data, Dude Solutions has developed Dude Intelligence, an operational intelligence tool that take 19 years of operations data and translates them into visible, provable and actionable insights for clients.

Brian Bell  
We talked a lot about the value of the data that's coming out of our systems. And when you can take that up to the next level, and provide insight analytics into that next level, whether it's a state level of, you know, Department of Education, or maybe a hospital network. That's something that's unique, and you can only do at scale. And there aren't a lot of other competitors, maybe no other competitors that serve our markets with our types of solutions that can do that.

Scott Hair  
I think it's really just looking at the products and the innovation that we've been able to accomplish, you know, the changes that we've been able to make, Dude Intelligence, that was a huge milestone, and that's been a, that's been a want and a need and a desire of ours to be able to have. So seeing that come together. You know, several years ago, that was pretty exciting. Because we know that we have the infrastructure, we've got all the data. Now it's aggregating that data in a useful manner that our clients can then benefit from.

Grace Flack  
Client John Dufay talks a little bit more about the benefits they experience

John Dufay  
And making a better environment. And that's what really Dude Solutions does for us. Is it does all the data does all the things it does all the predicting, we can look at all that. But more than anything else, is it it makes us a much better operation than without it. I have to attribute our success is a lot of, has to do with the associates and it's not because it's the give us the tool to where we can some things that more than anything is we make a difference.

Grace Flack  
If the talk of data and what's next in operations, management and software piqued your interest and you're going to love Episode 102 that's all about the future of operations and the future of the Dude as well. So make sure you don't miss that next episode. And thank you again for joining us on this special series.

Brian  
Thank you for listening to the Operate Intelligently Podcast produced by Dude Solutions. You can reach us by emailing dspodcast@dudesolutions.com or check us out on the web at dudesolutions.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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