Begin the Podcast

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Ep. 3 - Podcast Notes

A Conversation with Andy Braner

Andy currently resides in Washington D.C. and has spent the last few years focused on helping people come together in business, education, and social work to achieve a common understanding of the human condition. He has spent time representing the United States overseeing foreign elections and continues to consult on international affairs. He has served in the following positions:

  • - Senior Congressional Fellow at Transatlantic Leadership Network
  • - United States House of Representatives – Fellow International Affairs
  • - John’s Hopkins Center Fellow for Transatlantic Relations

Sam and Andy go back 14+ years, as Sam worked as the Waterfront Coordinator and Programs Director for Andy who was the Executive Director of Kanakuck Colorado (which became Camp Kivu), in 2005-2007. In this episode, Andy and Sam look back on their time in youth ministry and connect the dots from #camplife to #govlife, as they now both work for and in Government -- Andy in Washington D.C. acting as a Special Advisor for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska. Sam, as the State Purchasing Director for the State of Oklahoma.

Camp Kivu

There is no other way to describe Vallecito Valley, you just have to see it. Camp Kivu was located 5 miles south of Vallecito Reservoir along the Los Pinos River which runs southeast into Bayfield, Colorado. North of camp was my favorite fly fishing excursion, Vallecito Creek, which runs up through a couple box canyons into the San Juan Mountains which run north and east of Durango, Colorado.

Gallery of Camp Photos
This is as incriminating as it can get... I'm linking to all three summer photo albums for you to peruse. I have great memories from my time in Colorado, summers of adventure and friendships smashed between the isolation found within academic study. I was Waterfront Coordinator the first couple summers, keeping campers safe while they enjoyed the frigid waters of Vallecito reservoir, and then later as the Director of Programs I ensured the campers were entertained throughout their day, no short order, when you're talking about 150 teenagers 1000 miles from home. The collaborative nature of our leadership team allowed us to build the experiences and facilitate the associated programs with a great sense of fun and purpose. I grew so much as a leader during this time, figuring out there are times to lead and times to follow. Understanding and seeing moments to step back and let others in the spotlight and moments to step up and engage the crowd.

Summer of 2005
Summer of 2006
Summer of 2007

Cornrows & a mullet
The time I went from cornrows to a mullet:

Andy Braner - An Egyptian Celebrity
One of my absolute favorite stories of Andy is how he became a social media celebrity in Egypt. Listen to the podcast to hear the story in all it's glory. And then come back here to see why these articles and posts are so dang funny.

Egyptian Lawmaker Who Called 2011 Revolution a CIA Plot Guides U.S. Election Observers

Members of U.S. delegation dance with voters in Menoufia

As Andy talks through this social media blunder, he says something that will stick with me for a while, it was ultimately naive of him to trust the festivities and join in the fun, because the perception of him dancing was used to twist the truth of the event. In Egypt the culture is such that you eat what you've been offered, drink what has been given and even dance when you've been invited to dance. So, his following of the norms was actually a good tactic for building trusting relationships, but not so much for validating votes.

Jordan B. Peterson
Andy brings up Jordan Peterson's dinner and conversation on Capitol Hill, as a good start on bridging the communication gap between polarized parties. Jordan Peterson has been a polarizing voice in his own right, as he has spoken out on lightening rod topics such as feminism, political correctness and the Bible.

Find Jordan Peterson via: Web | Twitter | Books | Podcast |

Security Plan for Religious Minorities
Andy brings up plan to create safe zones for religious minorities in Northern Iraq, under Representative Fortenberry.

More information on the plan can be found here via Representative Fortenberry's website.

And an op-ed in America Magazine: US needs to remain engaged in Iraq to help religious minorities.

RIP Josh & Randy
During the years after I worked at the camp we experienced two of our counselors die unexpected deaths, first Joshua Lantz in a freak canoe accident during the offseason, and then Randy Bister of cancer related to his time spent in a fishing boat on the Pacific. I wanted to mention these two because of their impact in my life. More than just counselors they were friends, co-conspirators, and brothers. I miss them immensely.

Joshua the bleeding heart, musician, artist and poet -- lost before his voice was heard.

Bister the outdoorsman, gearhead, fixer, 100-miles-an-hour ball of of energy -- gone before he was finished building.

Special Thanks
Vault 405 | Woodshed Coffee & Tea | Screaming Pods VO

Ep. 2

A Conversation with Todd Smith

Todd Smith, formerly the President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of SONIC Drive-in, currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and five kids. Todd is the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Cafe Rio and franchisee of 4 CoreLife Eateries across the Salt Lake Valley. Todd has over 13 years of restaurant experience, with executive experience at Yum! Brands, Wendy’s and Sonic Drive-in. Todd graduated from BYU and got his masters from Northwestern.

In this episode, Todd and I look back on our time at SONIC Drive-In, where Todd led the digital innovation vision as CMO and later President of SONIC. The focus in the first portion of the conversation is how as an executive Todd began the process of preparing room for digital innovation and then the conversation moves to when I joined the team and the work began in earnest to change, from the inside out, a legacy brand with digital aspirations. Pulling out lessons learned in the process of taking a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) from little to no digital footprint to an industry leader in digital experience with an omni-channel personalized order ahead experience (web, mobile, kiosks) across 80,000 POPS kiosks in 3,600 stores throughout the US.

Podcast Notes
Ep. 1

A Conversation with Ben Nockels

Ben Nockels, is the founder of Commonplace Books, Kitchen at Commonplace, and the Market at Commonplace. He is a father of three and dedicated to one-on-one conversations about life, art, books and food!

In our inaugural interview Sam sits down with Ben Nockels of Commonplace Books to discuss Commonplace's origin story and what's next for the brand in a fully packed 90 minute conversation.
Sam and Ben's friendship goes back 11 years, but this is actually one of the first times they have sat down to chat in a formal one-on-one conversation... which is astonishing fact given their long history. Many of their best conversations have come in snippets, hallway conversations and group meetings -- as they have had many intersecting projects and pursuits over the last decade.

Podcast Notes
Intro - Podcast Notes

An introduction to BEGIN the Podcast

Yes, I seriously did record this three times... I'm a writer, not a talker.
The best place to find my writings in an organized fashion is on Medium, I mainly publish essays or prose covering: digital innovation, creativity, culture, and theology.

Sam DuRegger: Website | Bio | Blog | Quotes

Follow me on Medium, Strava & Now.

Podcast Notes
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