David Klanecky Transcript

Clint Betts

Welcome to The CEO.com Show. My name is Clint Betts. On today's show, we talk to Cirba Solutions CEO and President David Klanecky. Fascinating character from the University of Nebraska. Grew up in Nebraska. He got an MBA at Arizona State. He spent some time in Spain as he was working through his career in his late 20s. This was a fascinating conversation about the future of electric vehicles, which is what they do. They do batteries. It's a battery company. It's the leading company in the battery recycling and battery materials industry, so they recycle the minerals and the materials that are best needed for batteries and keep that engine humming. They particularly focus on lithium-ion battery materials, I believe. So this was a great conversation. I really enjoyed talking to David and learning more about Cirba Solutions and how he thinks about leadership. I think you'll like it as well. So, without further ado, here is David Klanecky. David, thank you so much for coming on the show. Tell us about Cirba Solutions and how you became president and CEO of the company.

David Klanecky

Yeah, great. Thanks, Clint. Thanks for having me on board. I really appreciate it. It's great to have the opportunity to talk to you today a little bit about Cirba Solutions, a little bit by myself, and more about Cirba. Cirba Solutions is a company that's been around; it was founded in 1991, so it has over 30 years of experience in recycling and processing different battery materials, so all types of battery chemistries you can imagine. Back in the '90s, it was more things like lead and alkaline and nickel-based chemistries. And obviously, now with the growth of lithium-ion, whether it's on our personal devices that we all carry around every day or electric vehicles, we've got the opportunity now to be able to process lithium-ion batteries and recover those materials and make sure that they get reused over and over again. There are things like lithium and nickel and cobalt in those batteries, and we want to make sure that we've built that capability out to be able to process those materials and reuse them over and over again because these materials can be reused over and over again. So we've got a fully integrated company where we actually have the capability to go out and package batteries if they need to be packaged, to be able to transport them back to our facilities. We transport them logistically across North America and we have six operating facilities that process those materials today. And again, make sure that those critical metals and minerals get reused over and over again throughout the supply chain.

Clint Betts

How do you think about the revolution of electricity and batteries that it's going through, and you're kind of in the middle of it now? What does it feel like to be in this kind of like, all we talk about is like, "Hey, we're about to go electric on everything"? To be sitting in the middle of that industry and to be sitting in the middle of that revolution almost must be kind of fascinating.

David Klanecky

It is. It's extremely exciting for me, but it's also motivating for our company's employees. They realize that, like you said, we're in the middle of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is transforming the way people are moved and goods and services are moved around the country; this electrification movement that's going on only happens every 50 or plus years. So everybody in our company is extremely motivated about the impact that they're having. Where we fit in the whole supply chain or the whole value chain of this transformation that's occurring is in the recycling and recovery of materials. And I think Cirba Solutions has that opportunity to close that loop and make sure that those materials are reused over and over again. So, electric vehicles today, a lot of them have either hybrid electric vehicles or fully electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries in them. And lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, those materials that are allowing that battery to store energy and move the vehicle, those materials can be reused over and over again. So, the fact that we're in that recycle space, to your point, we really have the opportunity to make sure that this is a sustainable solution for the transportation industry and for consumers and that we reuse those materials over and over again. My famous phrase is that we want to prevent everything from going back into the landfill. There's been a lot of time, energy, and money spent digging these materials out of the ground, mining them out of the ground. Last thing we want to do is put them back in the ground in the landfill.

Clint Betts

Well, let's talk about the supply chain for a second because I'm actually interested in that. And obviously, there's a need for what you're doing because the materials that are used in these batteries are so rare. Is that right?

David Klanecky

That's correct, yeah.

Clint Betts

We don't have an infinite amount of these things.

David Klanecky

No, we don't. And that's the challenge with today. There's a lot of discussion around the supply of these materials and where does the supply come from? And if you look at North America, there are some operations in North America that are able to produce smaller amounts of lithium or even small amounts of things like nickel and cobalt, not so much. Graphite, things like that, not so much. So, those minerals are produced in other parts of the world, which creates its own supply chain challenges. And to your point, it's not that there's an infinite supply of these metals in the earth. So the last thing we want to do is spend all this energy, time, and money digging them out and not reuse them again because lithium, cobalt, and nickel don't evaporate. It doesn't get consumed where you can't reuse it again, and that's why we're developing these innovative processes to recover those metals. And when we look at North America, once those metals end up back in North America, we don't have a lot of lithium or nickel or cobalt, but they're being produced in other countries. They end up in North America because they're being used in an electric vehicle. We can take those materials and reuse them over and over again, and that just creates that sustainable supply chain. And really, at the end of the day, what I firmly believe is it will also drive down the cost of ownership and the cost of an electric vehicle for consumers like you and myself.

Clint Betts

What is that recovery process like? How do you get these already used, or however you would explain it, it's already been in some version of something? How do you get it, recover it, and reuse it?

David Klanecky

Yeah, so there are a couple of sources today. Some of it is from the manufacturing process. So, as a battery is produced, waste material is generated. Everything's not perfect in a cell manufacturing plant, for example. So we actually take some of that waste material, we call it manufacturing scrap, and we take that material as well, and we process that because it still has good metals in there, good minerals that we can recover. So that's one feedstock. And if you look at the lithium battery supply chain, for example, that's building out dramatically today. I think there's about, I can't remember the number exactly this year. There's going to be probably 100 to 120 gigawatt hours of capacity that's being kind of operationalized this year. By 2030, that number is like 950 gigawatt hours, so it's almost a factor of 10 increase. Well, those factories are going to be producing some level of waste material that we want to recover and make sure that material gets reused again. Then, to your point, there are end-of-life batteries, cell phones, laptops, and power tools. Everything now has a lithium-ion battery in it. We see a lot of different devices coming through our facility that has a lithium-ion battery in them, as well as very large format electric vehicle batteries. We basically have the logistics network and the supply chain to bring those materials into our facility. And we have a manufacturing process that really is agnostic to form and format. So I can run the same process to process a cell phone battery or an iPad battery, something like that, versus an electric vehicle battery. The process runs a little bit differently, but I run it through the same machinery because I'm really focused on extracting that critical metal out of that device. And we have a process. Some of it is a mechanical process where you're really shredding a battery. For lack of better terminology, you're shredding that battery up to be able to get access to those critical metals inside the battery itself. And then there's chemical processing, a number of chemical processing steps that we use that basically will extract those materials and then allow us to purify them again and recover them for reuse in a new battery.

Clint Betts

What do you think about Elon Musk's role in all of this? Is everything going electric? Obviously, Tesla is the most-produced electric car. How do you think about him because he's kind of in your industry?

David Klanecky

Yeah. Look, I mean, Elon is an extremely intelligent person and a visionary. I mean, I don't think many people can deny that he really helped jumpstart the electric vehicle transformation, especially in North America and probably globally to some extent. I know that the Chinese were working on things for a while, but Tesla really got the industry jumpstarted, and he's done some tremendous things for the industry, and so has Tesla. They've really challenged the industry on some of the normal practices of how to make a vehicle and how to make a battery, for example. They partnered with some battery manufacturers to help them improve their efficiency. So Tesla has been, and Elon has been fantastic, I would say, a kind of catalyst for the industry, and it's really also kind of forced other OEMs in the industry to embrace the electrification charge that's going on today. That has just enabled, if you look at the downstream effect and what that has enabled for the industry, whether it's, again, mining of materials, recovery of materials, thinking about being more sustainable. And look, I always step back and say like, "What are we really trying to accomplish here?" We're trying to reduce our carbon footprint; whether you believe in climate change or whatever, there is an issue. We've got some challenges. There are things that are happening globally that are hard to deny, and I think we can only get better if we reduce our carbon footprint. That's pretty scientifically proven. So I think he has really been a catalyst for that, and it's got a lot of people's attention and created a lot of jobs and a lot of revenue and profitability for a lot of companies.

Clint Betts

What does a typical day look like for you?

David Klanecky

Yeah, it's busy. I'll tell you. Typically, I wake up and do some form of exercise. Usually, it's running just to get my head clear, ready to go for the day, and get my energy level up. I spend time reading industry news and looking at some of the macroeconomic indicators that are out there just to understand the industry. We're in a battery recycling industry, which has a lot of metals and mining and things like that in it as well. So I'm constantly reading news about what's going on with some of our customers or even competitors, things like that. I have two teenage daughters, so I'm always making sure they're getting off to school and all that kind of fun stuff. But once my work starts, my work day really starts. It's really trying to stay focused on the key things that are, I say, moving the needle for our company. How are we making Cirba Solutions a better place to work? How are we attracting the best talent? Because you can't do anything without talent. And making sure that we're focused on developing our talent and retaining them. So a lot of my time is spent on people and ensuring that we have the right people in our organization and also that we're providing development opportunities for them so they want to stay working at Cirba Solutions for a really long time. So, I would say 50% of my day is thinking about what we are doing as an organization and building our culture. The other 50% are really some things around, we've got a big expansion project, what do I need to be doing to help accelerate that? What are some roadblocks that I can help move from my teams to be successful?

Clint Betts

Can you tell me a little bit more about how you decide to spend your time each day? Because as CEO, there are so many things that are being thrown at you, of course, and you've got to prioritize where you should be spending your time. So, how do you make those decisions?

David Klanecky

Yeah, it's tough. It really is a tough time because, again, in this role, you're always being looked to answer challenges or problems, or they want you to solve a problem typically, and it's one of the things that I've noticed as I've transitioned into a CEO role over the last few years is you have to pay attention really specifically with everybody that's talking to you because they've got a specific ask for the CEO or they want you to make a decision on certain things. And really, it's easy to get distracted because there's a lot of stuff going on. The one thing that I think that helps me the most, and I've reinforced this with my leadership team because it has to transmit down to the organization, is enabling my team to make decisions. Every decision had better not flow up to me because it's not my job as the CEO to make all the decisions for everyone. I think enabling your leadership team and enabling my leadership team to make decisions is what we call lean decision-making. If we have more than two meetings on a topic, we're wasting somebody's time. Let's use lean decision-making; let's make sure people are empowered to make those decisions and held accountable for making those decisions. That takes a little bit of the burden off me and hopefully off my leadership team as well. But in doing that, you kind of free your team to do their job, and that's the old cliche of not trying to micromanage. It's just allowing your leaders to do their job. And really, I always look at it; my role is to make sure that my team has the resources, whether it's capital or people, to do their job successfully because if they're successful, then usually I'm successful, right?

Clint Betts

Yeah. I get the sense that you have some structure to your meeting, so you're not wasting any time. What are meetings like?

David Klanecky

Yeah, they're very structured. There are some times where we get a little bit off-topic just because we've got a specific thing we've got to go through, but quite honestly, our meetings start every day. When we have a meeting, our leadership team starts with a safety minute because we really want to make sure that there's a culture of safety in our workplace because we deal with processing hazardous materials, and we have to be safe. So we make sure that that's reinforced as part of our culture. So we start each meeting with the safety minute, but we have a very specific agenda on things that we're going to cover and very specific outcomes that we're trying to achieve. And it's not just an update on what's going on and what activities people are working on. It's specifically, "Here's where I need help from my leadership team or my peers on solving a problem or here's going on that's going to impact the company." So we'd really specifically talk about things. And honestly, Clint, it's really focused on probably the top three parties in our company that are that critical for the year.

Clint Betts

What do you like to read?

David Klanecky

I like to read a lot of leadership books. I get teased a lot because I've got a stack of books in my office that kind of changes every couple of months, and it's kind of a combination of just different things that I pick up. There are a ton of leadership books out there, but there are a lot of things that I pick up, just really anecdotal things that I can read. Some of these books are 300 pages, I promise you, I probably don't read all 300 pages of them. I just skim through and find little tidbits there that I think are relevant. A lot of them are situational. I look at the evolution of our company and kind of where we're at in that journey of building our culture, building our leadership team, things like that, and what are things that we need to be kind of focused on. There are a lot of books, and Pulling Together is one of them that I read. One of my favorite books that kind of applies, I think, all the time is Great Leaders Make Sure Monday Mornings Don't Suck. I'm sure you've heard of that book.

Clint Betts

Yeah.

David Klanecky

It's a great book. It takes like 30 minutes to read, and I don't have any affiliation with the author, anything like that. It's just a really good book because there's some really basic principles in there as a leader that if you hold true to some of those things, your company's going to be in much better shape.

Clint Betts

Yeah, that is a great book. How do you define culture inside of your company?

David Klanecky

Yeah, culture, that's a great question. And culture is extremely important. We're a company that's rapidly growing, and the old cliche of culture eats strategy for lunch; I firmly believe that because I've seen that happen throughout my career and in other companies I've been to. You can have a great strategy, but if you don't have the right culture, you'll never be able to execute that strategy. And two, it can sometimes be toxic. When we define culture, we think about our core values, which are really important. We think about the people we hire and, how they collaborate, and how they work together. There's what you get done, but there's also how you do that. And if you leave a lot of bodies through the process of getting all the results done, that's really not a good environment. So we really like to focus on making sure that we hire people who want to be collaborative; they want to really work together, roll up their sleeves, and work together. It's not; I use the word servant leadership. I mean, I try to emulate that myself, as well as the leaders that I hire, have to kind of have that leadership style as well in place, and that really helps to foster the culture and the environment that we're trying to build here at Cirba Solutions.

Clint Betts

What are your company's values, and how did you come up with them?

David Klanecky

Yeah, that's a great question. And it's interesting because when you go through the exercise of building your core values for a company, I've done it a couple of times actually in the last company. I was in this company initially; it's like, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe we got to spend time on coming up with core values." And people, they get bored a little bit initially, because they don't really understand it, but every time I've done this, I look back one year later, two years later, three years later, it is so vital that you have a set of core values because that is what basically grounds you with what you're trying to do every single day. Our core values are collaborative, innovative, resilient, and inclusive. And when we looked at developing the core values, we wanted to have values that described not only the individuals in our company and how we wanted to operate but also how we wanted to interact with our customers, how we wanted to interact with the communities that we operate in, our shareholders, and how we wanted to be viewed. At the end of the day, we want to be viewed as collaborative and inclusive. We want to also be resilient. We kind of use the term scrappy, but scrappy didn't sound as good as resilient. So, we use the term resilient. And then innovative. We're in an industry that's growing right now, and we've got to continue to innovate in order to keep up with our customers and make sure as that industry grows that we're innovative as well with them to provide solutions that they need.

Clint Betts

When you think about work from home, hybrid, all in office, all at home, and obviously, your company's probably in some ways different to what a lot of leaders are coming through because you're producing these things and going through a lot of different things like that, but how have you managed that whole debate and what leaders are thinking about when it comes to everybody in the office, everybody work from home, or something in between?

David Klanecky

Yeah. And it's a challenge. I think companies still struggle with this today. I talked to a lot of different people who are in different industries that I'm in or who are also in the same industries. And when you're producing or making a product, obviously you have to be in the office. We have operators and people that are doing really important critical work for our company, and they've got to be at our sites operating equipment and making sure things are safe and stuff like that. So that's an easy one. You have to be in the office. I think when I look at the rest of our organization, and we have certain roles where we do have flexibility, some people are more efficient. It comes down to, I always like to say this conundrum has comes down to trust and it comes down to productivity. If you trust your employees, that they're going to do a good job no matter where they're sitting, you should have the trust for them to be productive in their job. We have different situations depending on where we're sitting. Some locations have office space with production facilities. We really want to try to have everybody in the office there because we really work collaboratively together. We also have just areas where we just have an office, and what I've tried to do in some of those spaces is provide people that flexibility of a hybrid moment where you have certain days of the week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, where everybody is really, it should be in the office unless they're traveling to visit a customer or something like that. But on Monday and Friday, give them the flexibility to work from home. They can work from the beach, from the mountains, or wherever they want to work; as long as they're logged in and they're doing their job, that's really all that matters. And I think if you hold people accountable, they will have clarity about what they're trying to do and the purpose of what they're doing behind. That trust is really absolutely critical to me. And that's part of our culture as well, that we're building that trust where people look, and they've got to be held accountable for doing their job. They can work from home, and if they're not getting their job done, that's the same thing. If they're in the office not getting their job done, there's a challenge that we've got to deal with there.

Clint Betts

How has artificial intelligence affected your company, and how are you thinking about it for the future?

David Klanecky

Yeah, that's a great question. It's an ever-evolving thing, and like I said, I've got two teenage daughters who're learning new things about AI in their school and education as well, and they learn both the good and the bad. The teachers tell them about the bad things to stay away from, and they talk about some of the good things that can increase their productivity in studying and different things like that. So I think as we look at it at Cirba Solutions and what we're doing, there are some tremendous opportunities for us to really enhance our productivity. And really, the process of efficiency is how we do things. There are lots of repetitive things that we do that obviously can be automated. We're even looking at how we actually process materials and how AI can help us there. We've got lots of batteries that come into our facility. Can we use machine learning and things like that to sort the batteries better? We also have these large format batteries from an electric vehicle come in, and we've got to take those large formats apart and take the modules out of there. So, can we use machine learning and AI to do automated disassembly of those battery packs? Because that allows us to be more efficient. We can take our people and put them on other tasks that are really hard to automate, for example, and we've got plenty of opportunities for people to do things like that. So, I think AI is going to be a game changer in our industry because we're rapidly evolving. The efficiency gains that we're getting today are pure brute force today. It's using the equipment better, but I think the really long-term sustainable efficiency gains that we'll see as a company are going to come through things from AI.

Clint Betts

How do you stay motivated? You seem like you've got tons of energy. And yeah, how do you maintain this?

David Klanecky

Yeah. Look, I'm from Nebraska. I'm a Midwest guy from Nebraska, I grew up on a farm. My parents instilled a lot of good values in me. I can't not credit them because they really taught me hard work pays off. And my dad was a pipe fitter for 42 years, and my mom was an assistant for 35 years, so they worked hard their whole life, and that's something that's always been instilled in me. And part of it is, quite honestly, I get up every day because I've got two daughters, and I want them to be proud of what their dad does and be proud of the impact that I'm having in the work that I do every single day. I've also got over 300 employees at Cirba Solutions who look for me and our leadership team to really help guide them in the right direction and make sure our company's successful. So, it's pretty easy to get motivated when you've got a group of people behind you who have a ton of energy and excitement or are super proud to be working for Cirba Solutions. Those things are really motivational for me, and there's always a fear of failure. You never want to fail, so that motivates you to keep going strong, identify ways to reinvent yourself and the team, and just stay motivated that way. So those are some of the things that really keep me motivated.

Clint Betts

If I understand it right, you've got a big expansion coming up within the company?

David Klanecky

Yeah, we do. We're in the midst of a large expansion in Lancaster, Ohio, right outside of Columbus. We're installing a bunch of new equipment there to really increase our production capability there, not only the volume of material that we can process through that facility by more than 400% from what it is today. So yeah, 400% more, but we're also expanding the capability of that facility to make sure that we can extract those metals more efficiently, more cost-effective, and more sustainably for the supply chain. It's about a $400 million expansion there, and we're going to create another 150 to 170 generational jobs for that community, which is really exciting for Lancaster, Ohio.

Clint Betts

That's incredible. Yeah, Ohio must be pleased. That's awesome. You have a sustainability thing that you're doing. Tell us about that.

David Klanecky

Yeah. So we just launched something called SustainABILITY 10,000, and it's really a community engagement program that we've kind of adopted across all of our sites that we operate in North America. It gives our employees the opportunity to really engage with the community, do community activities, whether it's education on batteries and education on recycling, participate in collection events where we want to make sure that people have outlets to bring their batteries to Cirba Solutions so they can be safely processed. And again, we can recover those metals to be reused in the supply chain. And also, just really a lot of it is education about our industry, and education about Cirba Solutions, and what we do. This industry is very new. The battery industry, and especially the lithium-ion battery industry, is very new, and people don't quite understand what we're doing and how we're recovering those materials. So we want to be able to get out and really log those hours with the community. Also, just be a good community sponsor and citizen and make sure that we're engaged with them; they know who Cirba Solutions is, and they want to maybe work for us someday. So we're actively growing the company. We've got to hire a lot of people at all of our sites to make sure that we've got a really sustainable future for the company, and it's a great opportunity for us to engage with the community by doing that.

Clint Betts

Who's a leader or an example of a leader that you admire and that you look up to?

David Klanecky

Yeah, that's a great question. I've been extremely fortunate throughout my career. I've worked with a lot of great people in the industry. I've worked with Dow Chemical for 20 years. I was at Albemarle for eight years. I was at Piedmont for about a year and now at Cirba for a little over two years. I got to pick two because there's two of them that they're very different, and they've been just super instrumental the last probably ten years of my career. One is Luke Kissam, former CEO of Albemarle. Luke is a phenomenal individual, just a great person. He's a servant leader as well. I really started to kind of develop some of those skills and leadership capabilities with Luke. I interviewed with Luke, and it was one of those days where you walk out of the room after you talk to somebody, and you say, "I got to work for that person." And I had spent 20 years at Dow Chemical having a phenomenal career there and working for a lot of good people, but Luke is just an inspirational leader and someone that really brought that to my attention about servant leadership. And then, quite honestly, Amy Schumacher, who is the CEO of the Heritage Group. She is a phenomenal leader, probably one of the best CEOs that I've ever worked with and talked with. Just a very purposeful leader. She's got a fourth-generation family-owned company that's been around for 93 years that she's now leading. So she's got the weight of the world on her shoulders to make sure that company is successful for another 90-plus years. And I just admire how she approaches her day. A lot of her daily lessons that I get are how she approaches her day, how she focuses her energy and her time, and how she really puts value in the people that the Heritage Group employs every day.

Clint Betts

What does servant leadership mean to you?

David Klanecky

Yeah. I think, in a nutshell, it means everything comes before you. You're only as good as the people around you and the team that you build around you. And if you do all that right, things work out for you as an individual, so you're servant to them as leaders. That's why I think I said earlier: for me, my job is just to make sure my team is successful. If they're successful, most likely, everything else is going to work out for all of us. So providing them the tools, being servant to that, making sure they have the tools and resources they need. That's how I define servant leadership, and I work on that every day. It's a journey. You have to make sure that you take the time to think about how you're enabling your team and how you're making sure they're successful in their journey as well.

Clint Betts

As CEO, you're kind of forced, particularly in today's day and age, to think about the macroeconomic environment, what's happening in the world, how is this going to affect us? In your industry, maybe in particular, you're looking at this type of stuff, what government policy might be around, electric cars, anything that takes the batteries that you're building. What do you think? How has 2024 gone so far, and how do you think we're shaping up for the rest of the year?

David Klanecky

Yeah, 2024 has been really good for us as a company. Again, this industry is growing very fast, and I think as you look at the geopolitical dynamics that are out there today, a lot of this comes down to especially the battery industry; we've learned lessons over time, whether it was through COVID and the chip crisis that we've had with vehicles and things like that. I think a lot of countries, not only in the United States but Europe as well, have learned that domesticating a supply chain is really important if you can. And if you look at the transportation sector and the energy storage sector, to some extent, the US has sent back and said, "Wait a minute. We've got to make sure that we've got a sustainable supply chain here to build out this industry." And for Cirba Solutions, that's really been a catalyst for us because the only way you stay sustainable is if you have a recycling economy behind that. So, for us in '24, there's been a lot of positive momentum in what we're doing. The story really resonates: keep everything out of landfills. The largest operating mine in the world today is driving around on the roads now. There's a lot of lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese driving around on the roads every day in these electric vehicles. So shame on us if we're not responsible enough to make sure that that material ends up back into a processing facility and Cirba Solutions. And then we're able to reuse that again and put a new battery on the road and a new car on the road for the next 10 to 12 years. So it's been a catalyst for us in '24. There are obviously a lot of geopolitical dynamics with China and other countries and things like that. There's a race out there for minerals. You see it every day. If you read the headlines about lithium, nickel, and cobalt, everybody is trying to access those materials globally, whether it's in Africa, Australia, or South America. So that's provided a catalyst for us, and I think it's going to be a continued dynamic out there that the geopolitics of that around domesticating supply chains is going to be there. That's going to serve as a catalyst for us as an industry and as a company to grow.

Clint Betts

Finally, we end every interview with the exact same question, and that's because, at CEO.com, we believe the chances one gives are just as important as the chances one takes. When you hear that, who gave you a chance to get you to where you are today?

David Klanecky

Yeah, I have to go back into my Dow career because a guy by the name of Ian Robson, I was working in Freeport, Texas, at Dow Chemical. I was about seven years into my career, and he said, "Hey, David, I've got an opportunity for you to go work as an expat in Spain. Would that be something you'd want to do?" And without hesitation, I said, "Absolutely, yes." And I didn't realize what that really meant other than, "Hey, I'm getting to go work in Spain." That sounded pretty cool when you're 28, 29 years old. It's a pretty cool opportunity. And I jumped at it and I didn't realize the profound impact that it was going to have in my career. Not only from just my journey as a leader and the opportunities that that provided me, but also just my journey of being exposed to things outside the United States. I spent the following ten years of my career outside the United States. I lived in Spain for a few years, I was in Switzerland for five years, and I actually got the opportunity to go work in China for a few years. So I spent nearly ten years outside of the United States working in different cultures, working with different people, and across the globe. And really, that opened my eyes up to the potential as a leader, the potential as an individual to understand different cultures and how people operate. I will say it has helped me every step of the way in my career since I came back from that experience. And Ian gave me that opportunity to be able to go see that internationally, and also really get into how do I really want to be a leader and what that means to me in terms of how I can impact other people in my career and how I can help other people be leaders as well going through their career.

Clint Betts

David, thank you so much for joining us. Seriously, that was fascinating. I could talk to you forever. Really appreciate it. Best of luck with Cirba Solutions, and I'm sure we'll catch you around down the road.

David Klanecky

Great, Clint. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate the opportunity. It's great to talk to you. These are fun questions. And yeah, it's really exciting for you and all the other interviews you get to do going forward.

Clint Betts

Yeah, thank you.

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