#8 Cleve Simpson – Owner of Cooltime Refrigeration
Cleve Simpson Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Pederson’s Natural Farms podcast. We’re so excited you’re here. We look forward to sharing all about this beautiful industry of better-for-you food, meat, protein. We call the podcast the Pederson Natural Farms Podcast Powered by Protein because we’re going to talk all things bacon, sausage, ham, consumers, customers, vendors that support our business, employees that make us what we are, and peers, people that are in the industry competing for your attention and your dollar. And we think that’s healthy and we’re proud of them, so we want to share about them as well. Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure you tune in, don’t tune out, and remember, grab life by the bacon.
All right, everybody.
Cleve Simpson: Good morning everybody.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, this is going to be fun. Hi, YouTube land. We got a bunch of cameras around here. I’ve got well, he’s a friend of mine, so it’s going to make this interview really easy for me, but he happens to be very important and integral to the business we do at Pederson Natural Farms. Cleve Simpson, Cool Rime Refrigeration, welcome to the show. Now, did I get that right? Is it refrigeration or refrigerate?
Cleve Simpson: Refrigeration.
Neil Dudley: Okay, perfect. We’re going to spend a lot of time- Oh, and we got another guy in the booth, Mr. Bert Walton. He’s our maintenance superintendent. He’s listening, and if I get way off track anywhere here, he’s going to help me reel it back in or get at least correct.
Bert Walton: I’ll do my best.
Neil Dudley: Perfect, good. Okay so, part of the goal of this podcast is to get what we know and the great people we work with day in and day out, out to our consumers, really peers in the industry, also vendors of the industry. So, Cleve and his company fit really well into that. So, they’re- I guess he’s a vendor to Pederson’s. Now, for those of you that don’t know about bacon making plants, it requires a lot of refrigeration. We got units all over this place keeping the rooms cold, keeping the processing areas cold so we’re putting out safe quality food. Cleve has been the guy doing that for us or helping us do that for a lot of years. Cleve, why don’t you tell everybody just quickly, because we don’t have a whole lot of time, who you are, where you came from, how you got into refrigeration, how many years you’ve been doing it, and why we think you’re so great.
Cleve Simpson: Appreciate that, Neil. I’ve been doing refrigeration for over 40 years. I started out just [inaudible 2:42], doing things, then got into the commercial end. We’ve been doing that for about 40 years now. We spend a lot of time trying to take care of our customers, not only just the refrigeration ends, but anything else that we need to do and try to make sure that it all fits and works into a program to where that they can keep their products at the temperatures they need and keep them operating at the same time. And we have to schedule a lot of stuff to work around their activities here in packaging and whatnot like that to keep everything up and going and on time.
Neil Dudley: Absolutely. And you do a great job of that. I mean, even for this podcast, you just showed up. I was like, hey, let’s do it today. And bam, Cleve’s there. And Bert, you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt you will, you’re like that with the refrigeration or your team is because I know we need that kind of help a lot. And when it happens, we don’t have the option to wait.
Cleve Simpson: That’s correct. Well, we got to get it cooled back down and going. We’ve got to do that. We keep a team of people together to where that parts, whatever it may be, there’s somebody on call to run and get parts, run them to the technicians or whatever we need to do. We got technicians that they drop what they’re doing and do it and go on.
Neil Dudley: See, there you go, that’s a true business owner, getting a phone call. Tell everybody how often that phone rings.
Cleve Simpson: It’s way more than you’d think. And it’s all hours of the day and night.
Neil Dudley: Okay so what is a hot button or topic in the industry of refrigeration that I’m going to have no clue about, but I think people listening are going to be interested in? Somebody, there’s a guy or gal listening that either owns a small plant, owns a huge plant, has needs that they just need that expertise. They need that insight. Do you have anything that’s percolating? I mean, I want to feed you one, but I also want to give you the chance to just tell me without me leading you.
Cleve Simpson: I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that.
Neil Dudley: Oh yeah. Well, how about your costs? What’s that like these days?
Cleve Simpson: Costs are going through the roof with the cost of parts and materials and even trying to get them right now. I spent a lot of time on the phone or on the computer searching for parts and trying to get things, if we can. And we don’t take no for an answer is the other thing that we don’t do because people like Pederson’s and others that we take care of, they don’t have the option. It’s got to roll, and we’ve got to find the parts or find the way to fix it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Neil Dudley: I’m just interested in that piece of the conversation because somebody else might be listening that eats our bacon and knows it costs more than the other guys, and that refrigeration is a piece of it, right? It’s not the whole story. But as we operate a plant, we own a plant, a lot of our competition don’t. They don’t own a plant. They are having somebody like us co-pack the product for them. So, I just want this picture to get more and more clear as this podcast goes on with how we are successful, how we are so great. It’s not me. It’s the million people behind the scenes that support us, build us up. I mean, Cleve specifically watches refrigeration. Now some plants, some companies have a team of refrigeration certified people on their staff, right? So, we don’t. Our staff, our refrigeration is Cleve. And I think it’s also cool you’ve got your son working in it now.
Cleve Simpson: Correct, correct. He’s been with us for a while.
Neil Dudley: So there’s a family business. That’s part of the Pederson story is family. Yeah, absolutely. Okay so, what happens, do you have to deal with any of the audits that we go through? Do you ever get a phone call and say, hmm, we got a drip here and the USDA guy’s mad about it and it’s because of refrigeration?
Cleve Simpson: Yes. And we take care of it swiftly.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s right. I think a lot of people don’t understand the role vendors play in us complying with the USDA’s requirements of a facility. I mean, it’s so awesome that USDA is watching so people can be very confident our food’s safe for them to consume, but behind that is a lot of people that keep that wheel turning and going forward.
Cleve Simpson: It takes a lot to make that wheel turn.
Neil Dudley: Okay so, you’ve invented some stuff for us or I at least I think you have partially. Where do you get that skill set? I mean, let’s talk about that a little bit. So I’m interested in telling your story a little bit, too. So, tell us the first little refrigeration thing you ever tinkered with and why?
Cleve Simpson: Oh gosh, that goes way back. First things were ice machines. And I was about 14, and the administrator of the school board came in and was talking about he needed somebody to fix an ice machine, and they didn’t have anybody to do it because we were pretty much in a rural area and there was not the access to that. And my dad turned and pointed at me, and they had to have somebody drive me out there because I didn’t even have a driver’s license to fix it. And that was it at 14 years old.
Neil Dudley: Now, did you just like tinkering with stuff or was your family in the ice business?
Cleve Simpson: My dad was a mechanical engineer and so I was- I grew up with dealing with things like that and stuff, and we just had to fix whatever it was that we had. We couldn’t afford or didn’t have the access to the people to do it a lot of times.
Neil Dudley: Absolutely. See, now that’s another piece I think I love to tell that story or give people- Okay, look, Pederson’s stuff costs more money. There’s a whole bunch of reasons there. But Cleve just said it out of his own mouth – he’s not wasteful with his time or equipment nor is Pederson’s. I mean, I think even Bert would agree with this. We spend a lot of time making sure we get the most years out of our units, we hold the right inventory, not too much, not too little. So, we’re trying to be good stewards of the dollar you spend with us to buy our bacon, and Cleve’s a piece of that. So, I just think it’s important, it’s good for you to understand that if you’re out there buying Pederson’s bacon, or even if you’re running a company that we compete with, hey, we’re serious about it.
Cleve Simpson: We watch every- we take care of our customers, as you know, like we have for Pederson’s for years, right at 20 years now that we’ve been doing this. We try to watch our customers’ money just as though it was ours and that’s the whole thing. And we counsel with them a lot of times on what we need to do and how we need to do it. It’s not just going in and fixing it like that. We try to work with them as well as- like we have for Pederson’s for years. We have helped them design the stuff and the equipment in the plant to meet their needs and how to progress and help them grow.
Neil Dudley: That’s another example of just being a resource for your customer. I mean, I know, I appreciate you for that. Some years ago, you and I were probably working a lot closer than we do now. Now I’m doing podcasts more and this kind of stuff on a different, I guess, just in a different vein of the business, and you’re keeping our refrigeration-
Cleve Simpson: Keeping it going.
Neil Dudley: Now, then the other fun thing about this is this month is Bacon Bash themed. And I hung this banner that’s behind us specifically and on purpose because if you look right there, it says “Cool Time Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.” So, you’ve been involved with us as a supporter of Bacon Bash. Maybe we’ll just tell everybody if you’re listening, come to Bacon Bash. It’s October 16th. It’s always the third Saturday. Now this is a 2017 banner, so hey, everybody that supported a Bacon Bash in 2017, you’re getting another call-out even that many years later. So we take your money. We’re raising money for type 1 diabetes and Niki Warms the Cold. And we want you to know about Bacon Bash. I think, Cleve, why don’t you give them some insight of what it’s like from your perspective.
Cleve Simpson: Bacon Bash is a really fun event and it’s for really good causes. They have a lot of good food and entertainment and everything, and everybody needs to come out and experience it at least once. But keep doing it too because it’s really good. It’s fun.
Neil Dudley: Or just send us money. We’ll take that too. We’re trying everything we can to support these charities. That’s really what it’s all about. Now, of course, we’re going to have fun. We say it’s bacon, beer, and bands, and that’s kind of just the real quick way of explaining a whole bunch of people getting together to do big things. We’ve gave over half a million dollars away to charity so far.
Cleve Simpson: That’s big.
Neil Dudley: So that’s pretty cool. You make that support or sponsorship, you spend part of the money you earn to support our charity, that’s another thing I appreciate about you. So, I just want to say thank you for that because you don’t have to do that and sometimes it’s hard to go find that extra money to send to those charities. But I think it tells everybody a little bit about what you’re all about and what your company is all about. Now, you got anything that you want to tell the world about Pederson’s that maybe they don’t know?
Cleve Simpson: They got the best bacon in the world.
Neil Dudley: Yes! See, I just set that up, I pitched that one up right in front of you, and bam, how run! Alright, Cleve, man, I really appreciate you coming and spending this time and giving me a chance to just put your story out, our story, really, it ultimately turned out to be, to anybody that happens to listen to the podcast so they can understand Pederson’s is great. I believe that. I think we do a lot of big things, but it’s not without the support of our vendors. That’s all I can tell you about it. Just good job. Appreciate you. Everybody, tell a friend if you liked this episode. If you’ve got any questions, hit us up. I guarantee you I know how to get ahold of Cleve and answer that for you if you’re curious about some refrigeration thing that we didn’t touch on. Bert, is there any kind of cool refrigeration insight from the booth that we haven’t touched on that is like a reality in your life?
Bert Walton: You touched on it briefly, but the most important aspect is that he is really more of a utility. When it comes to refrigeration, it’s not about, it’s less about comfort as it is about functionality. We couldn’t exist without refrigeration. It’s as much a utility as gas or electricity or water. Without him doing what he does, we can’t function as a plant.
Neil Dudley: There you go, folks.
Cleve Simpson: We appreciate that.
Neil Dudley: Yup. You bet. And you deliver on it. Like you said, you help us design it. You make sure- I know some of these blast freezers and chillers we have to have, they’re tough. They almost take engineering to get them to work right outside of installing the unit and the fan and all that kind of stuff. Awesome. Hey everybody, grab life by bacon.
Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this episode of the Pederson Natural Farms podcast. If you don’t mind, go hit that subscribe button and check us out at pedersonsfarms.com. Thanks for listening.
A vendor keeping Pederson’s COLD – Cleve Simpson and his team at Cooltime Refrigeration supports our plant, company, products, and brand by keeping our large number of freon cooling and freezing units operational. His experience, engineering, and customer support make him one of those vendors we most appreciate.
Fun fact: Cleve and Cooltime have been sponsors and attendees of Bacon Bash Texas for most of our events…we flat couldn’t do what we do without their loyal support!
(2:22) – Cleve and his career background in refrigeration
(4:27) – What’s the most frustrating thing in your industry right now?
(7:52) – Cleve’s Inventor mentality and Cooltime’s & Pederson’s commitment to quality
(11:11) Bacon Bash Texas!
(13:15) – Wrap Up
The Pederson’s Natural Farms podcast is produced by Straight Up Podcasts & Root and Roam.