[Please ignore any typos. This is a direct transcription for your benefit.]
Pete: Our next guest is Alex Stuckey. A lot of people in Jacksonville, business folks know who Alex is. Alex was once voted, the CEO of the year for Jacksonville Business Journal. What I want to tell you about Alex is I know his journey firsthand. Okay. Alex is someone that was successful early in his career after graduating college, he was a banker and he was a successful banker making a lot of money as a banker, as a young person, but it wasn’t his ultimate goal. Alex’s is an entrepreneur. He had to take a serious step backwards to take a step forward and for those of you that listened to the show regularly, we a lot of times use the analogy that your career is, is like climbing a rock wall, and I thank Lori Day for sharing that with us, and you know, sometimes you’re climbing up, up, up to reach the top, but then all of a sudden you have to climb back down a little bit and even to the side, you take a few steps backwards in order to move up the ladder again or climb up that rock wall again. Well, Alex has done just that. Before we get into your work story, Alex, tell us a little bit about, you know, maybe your childhood and kind of what made your gears turn this way.
How did your childhood shape your career path?
Alex: Well, Pete, as we’ve discussed many times, I grew up on a farm about an hour and a half west of here in Lake City. We call it the “Big City.” And so I grew up on a thoroughbred racehorse farm.
Pete: Isn’t that over by Live Oak, the Big City, Live Oak.
Alex: Yeah, the other big city. So I grew up over there on a thoroughbred farm and we did the typical. We broke and raised and trained racehorses we cut hay and had 60 acres of Hay.
Pete: And so yeah, a lot of work, working hard on the farm. What were some of the things you did?
Alex: Well, all the glory stuff like mucking stalls, washing pack, and cleaning horses…
Pete: But it’s hard work and you know, your Dad, what did your dad do? And he was an entrepreneur, right?
Alex: Sure. My Dad and his dad before him were horse trainers, so they always had their own business. They operated to the training of racehorses for their whole life. So, they were always entrepreneurs and never had a job. And other than that, I mean obviously that’s a hard work and hard job, but there are no breaks, right? Horses don’t go on vacation, they have to eat every day, they have to train every day so there’s no breaks. And you know, so it kind of what leaned on me was my dad saying, you know, you need to go work for a big company because they have pensions and they have 401k’s and you get vacation time and these are the kinds of things that he saw from his friends that worked regular, we’ll call it “regular jobs.” And so he kind of pushed me that way and I can tell you that that’s how I ended up at the bank when I graduated, instead of training racehorses.
Why did you decide to have a career shift?
Pete: So, you’re at the bank earning a good income and then slam you go to eat and catch up sandwiches for a while. What’s that all about? Walk me through that.
Alex: Yeah. So, I can tell you it was the most impactful thing that ever happened in my career was my mentor at the bank. He had been CEO of the bank in Lake City and he had been with Barnett for 45 years and they terminated him after 45-year career and I didn’t want to be a part of that. I didn’t want to be with a company where you’re there, you’d give your life, blood for a long period of time and then you’re gone. And so I said, you know what, I’m going to live and die by my own sword. And so, I left and went and started Firefighters Equipment Co.
Pete: And you know, without getting into too many specifics, the journey, you know, you don’t just walk out and say, okay, I’m going to run a fire extinguisher and firefighting equipment type of thing. It’s a journey. Like if I’m going to be an electrician, I have to be a journeyman for a while. Okay. Before I become a master electrician and passed my tests, you had to go out and be a career journeyman; stepping off a pretty healthy salary for a relatively young man to basically nothing.
“You can’t have a comeback unless you have a setback.”
Alex: Oh yeah, it was. That was a difficult time financially obviously. And for your pride too. I mean, you can’t have a comeback unless you have a setback. And sometimes these setbacks, you have to personally create them yourself. You have to say, I am going to take this step back, intentionally, so that I can have a comeback and nobody comes back and thinks the ties, the win, right. You just don’t. Other than Bobby Bowden, my favorite story of Bobby Bowden. And you know, I just thought about it. Yeah. So, Florida v. Florida State game and it’s the greatest win ever Bobby claims in his career and it was a tie, they were down four touchdowns. They come back in the fourth quarter and he had an opportunity there at the goal line to go for it and win, with the two-point conversion or kick the field goal and tie and he chose to tie. But nobody does that. Right? We want to come back to win, right? So, so that’s the thing, when you make that personal choice to make a, make a step back, it’s not to come back to be even, it’s to come back and be way ahead. And so yeah, I made that choice. And one of the embarrassing moments, I guess it wasn’t embarrassing, one of the moments in time that make you really test your mettle was I was walking through and then the Barnett Bank and I was servicing the fire extinguishers and I was a one-person company, an old employer in the big fancy building with the fancy offices and somebody goes, “Stuckey, Stuckey is at you?” And I’m scuttling off, right? Trying to get, trying to get around the corner. And I turned around and it’s Mike and a friend of mine from college and since then at the bank and I turned around and I say, “Yeah, it’s me.” And I come back and I’m wearing the uniform with my name on it and I go sit down at his desk and he’s wearing suit and tie it all back. And he says, “I thought you were gonna, start Your own company and own a business?” And I’m like, “and this is what it looks like.” [Laughs]
How does “working hard” affect your dreams and goals?
Pete: This is an entrepreneur for you. You built it into something special. You built it very big. I know you actually sold it. It was a very good event for you and your family and everything. It’s a fantastic story. Let me ask you this, here’s the big question. Are you a hard worker?
Alex: Pete, you don’t get to where you got and you don’t get where you got without being a hard worker. Hard work is where it’s at. I listened to your doctor a little earlier today and I can tell you that that struck home with me when he talked about, you know, Thursday night when everybody else was partying at the university, he was working. And that strikes a chord because you know, what hard work as a child, hard work as an adult, you know, it is about hard work. You know? I love your theme about the Hustle and the reason why is because people talk about dreams and they talk about goals, but in real life, those are free; Dreams and goals are free. The hustle, that’s sold separately. You’ve got to bust it every day.
“Dreams and goals are free. The hustle that sold separately.”
Working Hard vs. Working Hard consistently
Pete: You know, I think about that a lot because we all want, we all want, right? And you can put “x” at the end. We all want “x”, we want bigger, we want more, we want a promotion, we want an increase in pay, we want a better title, or we all want, we have workforce wants, but it’s the space in between the want in the goal. When you think about your desired performance, when I think about employees, the desired performance I want out of my employees and the actual performance I get, there’s a gap in there and I always look how do I fill in the gaps and when I look like a hard worker, it’s one thing to work really, really hard but not have a goal or a destination in mind. You just spinning your wheel, you that journal or the hamster on the wheel, moving around, but hard work towards a goal gets you there every time and you’re right. You would not be where you’re at now if you didn’t have all that hard work. But once you get it, once you get big, have a level of success, do you let your foot off the gas?
Alex: If you want to go flat or down, right? If you’re not growing, you’re sinking. And so, you know, it was one of them, one of the really neat experiences I had was when we made the top 50 fastest growing and we made it every year, 10 years in a row and it just had incredible success. And, you know, it was everybody around you doing the work, right, including yourself. But one of the things they asked was, how do you know when you put in enough time for the day, right? How do you know? Right. Because some people work eight hours, 10 hours, some people work crazy hours. And I said, you know, here’s how I tell when I close up at the end of the night and I think I’m done for the day. I drive by my competitors and if they’re there, I haven’t done enough work today, I go back to work.
Pete: Boy, that drives it home, right there. You have to do more than your competitors in order to win I think is the point I’m trying to make. And uh, that, that drives it home and you know, I know as a leader, okay. To me being consistent and you know, some people say you have to lead by example, right? I take that to heart. I always set the pace. You know that a lot of the folks that work alongside me and have for many years, I don’t ask them to do anything that, that I can’t or won’t do on a consistent basis and consistency is important from a leader. I had a boss one time and I’ll tell you this, Alex, if he walked in the room with a newspaper under his arm, I didn’t know if he was going to read it to me or hit me over the head with it. It just depends on what happened last night or what was going on in his personal life. The consistency wasn’t there and he certainly didn’t set the example. I want to work for somebody that can do what I do as good or better than me and I don’t care if he did it 20 years ago, 20 minutes ago. I want him to show me that he or she can still do it and do it well. What do you think of that?
Alex: I think that’s exactly right. I think that is spot on because I wouldn’t do a job — I wouldn’t ask a person to do a job that, that I wasn’t willing, able and capable of doing myself, and that was one of the things that our customers would always ask us. They would say, “oh, well, you clean our hoods. You know, you’re already in here doing the hoods and doing the fire system and you’re already up there monkeying around. Can you go ahead and clean them too?” And I’d say no. And they said, “well, why not?” I said, “because I don’t want to that work.” And if I’m not going to do that work, I’m not going to ask another person to do that work either.
Scribe Solutions: What is a “Scribe?”
Pete: Great, great. That’s a great point. Let’s talk about right now, one of the companies that that are under your charge is the Chief Administrative Officer of GEE Group is Scribed Solutions based right here in Jacksonville. Tell me a little bit about that company.
Alex: Sure. That’s an awesome company. It provides scribes which are basically assistant to the doctors and in the world of medicine today. And your doctor earlier when I had a conversation about it and one of the things he said was really interesting and he said, “I want to be a doctor. All my friends that are doctors, they want to provide good medicine to patients.” That’s what they love. But a part of this new medical field is you have to fill out massive amounts of paperwork forms and they call it “EMR: electronic medical records,” and you’d think, “oh, it’s electronic. So it’s simple and it’s going to be easy,” but it’s not. They have to go in and have to fill out this massive amount of data. Every single patient over and over and over again. And there are some solutions out there such as a Dragon, which is the little microphone.
Pete: Oh I have seen the dragon software. You talk into it and it transcribes things. But I have that and you should see some of the “Mumbo jumbo.” And I had to set my words, my voice to it. So it recognized my personal voice. And you know, even though you know I kind of have a nasally Bostonian type accent, it’s supposed to adjust to it, but it still has mumbo jumbo. Not only do I have to talk into it, then I have to proofread it for a bunch of time.
Alex: Right, and that’s the same thing in the medical field. And can you imagine when you have all these massive words that they have to use, describing diseases and ailments and medicines that are going on, how many mistakes are going to be made? So there’s a lot of time and effort in fixing that. So, a Scribe stands in the room with the doctor and allows the doctor to do their job, have patient interaction, be right there, eyeball to eyeball, talking with the patient and giving that personal care. And at the same time, the scribe is taking all the information and all the data down and writing it up and putting it into the proper forms on the EMR. And so, it’s a great opportunity, but you know what? What’s even better? It not that it just fills out the forms, but now you have a personal assistant that gets the radiology reports, make sure that you’re seeing the patient that you left about 15 minutes ago that needs to be reseen, again. There’s a lot of other things that a Scribe does that really assist the doctor and allows them to do what Mark said earlier…
Qualities of a Scribe
Pete: What do you look for in a scribe? Or what’s your candidate pool for folks that want to be scribes?
Alex: So obviously with Scribe Solutions, we want to differentiate ourselves and so to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, we want to put a better product on the field and to do that, what we do is we look for people that want to be the next physician, the next doctor, the next nurse, the next pharmacist, the next, the next medical provider. Even if it’s going to be in administration and run in the hospital, that’s what we look for.
Pete: It almost like they’ll get the exposure that they need. They get to see the people that they want to be perhaps, or they’re picking up things. Maybe they decide this isn’t the career path they want to go in, but they’re talking the language day in and day out. Are these college students that might be in a medical field? I don’t know.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. A 95 percent of all of ours are college students and so the reason why you picked up on it, and that’s perfect. Not only do we find those folks that are looking at that as their career and that’s where they think they’re gonna be, and that’s really. And it does vet some out, right? They go through it and they say, “oh, this is not for me.” But then the ones that really are committed, you end up with exactly what you had here earlier. Somebody that wants to be in medicine and so they are going to work on Christmas. They’re going to work on New Years. All the holidays are going to get covered by scribes. And that’s what allows us to put a totally different product on the field than everybody else because of the commitment level to be there, all the time.
Pete: Fantastic. I had no idea. I didn’t even know this was a physician. Let me ask you this. Now. Who’s your target is, is it going right to doctors at doctor’s office? Is it emergency physician services or who were the folks that we can direct to your website?
Alex: Sure, so the primary thing that we look for it, and it’s only because you know a little, little greedy here, is that we want the most you can get.
Alex: So when you look in an emergency department, there’s a lot of doctors there, there’s a lot of hours there, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So that’s our primary would be an emergency department. Secondary and tertiary would be large clinics, right. We do a lot of clinics like orthopedic clinics, cardiovascular clinics, these are the types of places where you have 20, 30, 40 doctors, but again with those you’re only putting in about 12 hours a day. So we liked the high volume of the emergency department, but a large clinic is also a big target.
Pete: Are you equipped to 20, 30, 40, 50? I don’t know what your, your scalability is.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. So we have a lot of large clinics all over the southeast and we have a large emergency department over the southeast as well. So we’re equipped to if you came in today and said I’ve got 70 physicians and we would like to put a program in place. What we would do is we would give you two options, right? The try before you buy, where we come out and do a trial and, and send out some, some scribes and, and you do the trial and see if you like it. And if that works out, great. Then, we start filling your shifts up by the doctor. And then we also have a program that we rolled out last year which is you own your own Scribe program. We hire them, train them, put them in place, vet them, and then, and then you did your program, you own it and then you just call us back when you need fills.
Contact Scribe Solutions
Pete: So that’s fantastic. You’re flexible, it sounds like a great service you’re providing. If I’m one of these entities that want to get ahold of you if they potentially want to be a scribe, how do I reach Scribe Solutions here in Jacksonville? Is there a website or is there a phone number they can reach.
Alex: Absolutely. So they would reach out to Jamie. Jamie runs the scribes solutions business. And her number’s area code 904-512-7505. Again, that’s 512-7507. five. And you can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alright. And let me ask you one final question here. Okay. How will the Jaguars going to do this year?
Pete: Oh my goodness. I hope they take it home next year. And if you’re going to catch a redfish in the intercoastal I asked Dr. Anderson this earlier and he gave us a whole doggone update. I’m asking you mud-minnows or shrimp. That’s all I’m asking. I don’t need the topwater and a “full captain Anderson” report. Mud-Minnows or shrimp and why.
Alex: Marker 32. [Laughs]
Pete: Love it. All right. That’s all the time. We have with you today, thank you so much, Alex Stuckey from Scribes Solutions and I appreciate your sharing with us your personal journey. Thank you, Alex. thank you.
If you are interested in learning more about Scribe Solutions, click here for more information.