Jon’s Audio Resume Vol. 7: Alaska

Welcome to Jon’s Audio Resume, the Jon of All Trades solo exploration of all the weird ass jobs I’ve had in my life. This series runs in chronological order and here is my seventh job.

Job: Alaska State Fair booth construction and staffer
Duration: One week in August 2003
Pay: $1,000
Did I get along with my boss? This job was ridiculously easy, and everyone was nice, so yeah.

Easiest job I ever had, and what a gift! I was 21 years old, and the oil and gas company my dad worked for sent me and my best friend Jamie to Wasilla to assemble and staff their Alaska State Fair booth. And they paid us $1,000 + per diem + all our travel expenses! For a week’s worth of work! Are you shitting me?!? I’m more than 14 years removed from this, and it still blows my mind.

Anyway, this episode has some decent insights into the actual work – which included learning about oil and gas extraction techniques, interfacing with a public worried about an industrial process, and attending a contentious community meeting – but more than that, it’s got some fun drinking stories! As you’d expect from a pair of 21 year-old college boy asswipes, we spent basically the entirety of our off-time drinking.

This job was the capstone of one of the greatest summers of my entire life, so getting to revisit it again for the first time in forever was a real treat for me. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did recording it.

You can download it on iTunes, stream it on Stitcher, or listen at the Jon of All Trades homepage.

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Ep. 146: Jack Ekstrom – Founder of PolicyWorks America, My Dad

Jack Ekstrom has had an extraordinarily impressive career working in public and government for the oil and natural gas industry. He retired in January of this year, and, like the relentless advocate with an inexhaustible work ethic he is, immediately founded PolicyWorks America. He also happens to be my dad.

This show is a real privilege to bring to you because I not only have nothing but the best things to say about this man as my father, but I’m an admirer of his professional career as well. It’s been an unusual road to navigate as I entered the professional world 11 years ago into the same milieu as him. By his own admission, he casts a long shadow, and he’s a fierce advocate for those he cares about.

So, I thought it only natural to ask him how he balanced his protectionist instincts as a father with the need to represent his company when it was odds with whoever I worked for and my desire to keep him at arm’s length as I tried to carve my own path. Not an easy balance, and not an easy question to answer, I’m sure.

But before we did this interview, I asked him if he had any requests about what we would and wouldn’t talk about, and all he said was, “It’s your show. Ask whatever you want.” It’s a testament to the strength of our bond that I’m able to ask him very pointed questions about his history, his reputation, and his approach to the world, and he answers me with candor and directness.

My dad is a remarkable man, and I’m so proud to bring this episode to you. I hope you enjoy the sneak peek into our relationship as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

You can listen to it at the Jon of All Trades homepage, download it on Apple Podcasts, or stream it on Stitcher.

Ep. 137: Dr. Patty Limerick – Colorado State Historian, Chair, Center for the American West

Dr. Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a Professor of History. Limerick has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts. In January 2016 she became the Colorado State Historian.

I’ve taken those sentences from her bio page on the website for The Center of the American West, and it only begins to scratch the surface of her accomplishments and who she is. I say “who she is” as if website text can fully encapsulate a person, but it’s what we’ve got, so let’s try to add a bit more color.

Patty is a genius. She’s humble. She’s curious. She’s articulate. She’s impossibly well-versed on a mind-bending array of subjects. She’s an absolute ray of sunshine. I had an absolute blast talking to her for an hour, and think you’ll enjoy it too, as we cover issues ranging from monument designation to oil and gas to why the demand for historians has never been higher to the effects of unintended consequences and a ton more. I literally could have sat there talking to Patty all day. Additionally, she insisted I call her “Patty” and not “Dr. Limerick” because she’s someone secure enough in herself not to need to be reminded of her stature constantly.

And make no mistake, Patty is considered to be one of the leading historians of the American West. She’s called upon to give speeches and provide insight on a staggering number of issues. So download this episode and enjoy listening to Patty and I engage on multiple topics of import. And be sure to stay up to date with the Center of the American West here.

This episode is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or at the Jon of All Trades homepage.

Ep. 87: Tim Wigley – President of the Western Energy Alliance

Tim Wigley is the President of the Western Energy Alliance, an oil and natural gas trade association focusing on federal legislative, regulatory, environmental, public lands and other policy issues. WEA represents the voice of the Western oil and natural gas industry in a variety of ways.

On this week’s show, Tim shares with us his insights from working his entire life in the world of public policy, campaigns, and natural resource advocacy. It’s a rare child who knows at six years-old he wants to be a lobbyist, yet that’s who Tim was, and it set the course for his life.

So, once you’re a lobbyist, what does that look like? How do you react when someone spits on you at a public meeting? What do you do when activists are sitting in trees throwing bottles of urine at members of Congress on a tour of a forest? What happens when it’s no longer enough to attack the industry you represent, but to start attacking you personally? We tackle all those questions and more in this week’s episode.

Additionally, we chat about the realities of oil and gas development in Colorado, how the low price of both commodities has affected his membership, how he navigates conflicts within his own membership, and the importance of oil and natural gas in our daily lives.

And if that’s not enough for you, we spend some time talking about his band Mud Puppy, why I immediately thought of Tim when Glenn Frey died, how Tim might fix the contentiousness and partisanship plaguing our entire government, and who Tim thinks will be the nominees for President. This is one of the more all-over-the-map episodes of the podcast of all-time, and you’ll enjoy skipping from topic to topic with us.

You can download the episode below, or get it on iTunes or Stitcher. Rate and review us while you’re there.

This episode is sponsored by 4, and is a production of Deft Communications.