Episode 17 - Michael Vermillion - Only One Shot

Michael Vermillion (00:00):
Birthday of school or something. And I think her response was something like, how do you think it's going? You made me leave my best friends back in Florida. Even if you lose a million dollars in a bad bet. There's always next year kind of thing. Yeah. I think with, with kids, you've only got kind of one shot.

Young Han (00:22):
Hey guys, I'm young, a full-time dad and a full-time professional with the goal to become the best parent possible. The girl that show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents aspiring to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered perspectives for my guest. So join me as I research parent one interview at a time. Today's episode of the grilled ad show is sponsored by something I'm very passionate about coffee, blue Jean coffee brings sophisticated coffee brewing straight into your home. Delivering an elevated coffee experience all without having to make a trip to a cafe. They source their specialty beans directly from farmers all around the world and roast them in small batches. Just for your order. Are you ready to upgrade your home brewing experience? Blue Jean coffee is offering a special deal just for my listeners. Really good. Visit BlueJean coffee.com forg slash TGDS to get 10% off your first order of blue Jean coffee.

Young Han (01:31):
Michael. Thank you so much for joining me on my podcast today.

Michael Vermillion (01:35):
Great to join you and thanks for the invite.

Young Han (01:38):
I'm really excited to talk to you about my favorite thing, which is working and doing good work in the workplace and also being a good dad. So I know that you have quite a, quite a bit of experience doing both, and I'm looking forward to unpacking that with you, but before we get into that, let's tell the listeners, what do you do for a living?

Michael Vermillion (01:54):
Yeah, great Young. I work for a a market resource company called JD power and get to work with some of the world's top brand surround improving customer experience.

Young Han (02:07):
Yeah. I definitely know. I'm very familiar with JD powers. I mean, I feel like there's like a lot of people that use JD powers, ranking systems and surveys for their marketing and branding purposes. Right. Like I think we all know about like all these like big companies that put it on their television commercial and, and all their different marketing assets. So very, very cool. Yeah. what are some of the big projects that you're working on?

Michael Vermillion (02:32):
Well, it's all about bringing the voice of the customer back to the brands, make sure that they're getting that outside in view and perspective and it it's it, it really is encouraging working with some of the top brands about how focused they are on ensuring customers are getting a great experience. And so just enjoy working with them to figure out what it is customers are expecting and, and how they can actually deliver on that.

Young Han (03:02):
Pretty interesting job and company to work for. How how'd you even get how'd you even get there? Like, what was your, what was your professional journey like?

Michael Vermillion (03:09):
It's that, that's a long story and I'm not sure we have the, the full hour to cover that, but I would say, yeah, I'm off. In my career, I started off actually as a nuclear engineer and then went to business school and kind of on and off over the past 30 years I've been working either in management or as a consultant or advisor started my business career at Proctor and gamble, which was a great, oh wow. Considering I had zero business experience and then went on into consulting and have worked for for various companies in different industries. Since then.

Young Han (03:45):
That's amazing. Wait, so did you, did you actually get to use your nuclear science degree or did you just get the degree

Michael Vermillion (03:53):
I actually was on a nuclear powered submarine and my, one of my jobs there, it was to supervise the operations of the nuclear power plant. So got to take all that theory and put it into practice.

Young Han (04:06):
Holy smokes. This is amazing. how cool is that? That's so wild. Okay. So then, so then what do you have to do? Is there like special schooling to work on this? Like what do you have to do to become an a nuclear scientist?

Michael Vermillion (04:19):
So I was a McCain engineer undergrad, and then after graduation did a little bit of postgrad research and then went on to the, Navy's actually got a great program. It's six months of school where essentially you repeat college, you repeat four years of college in six months. And then it's six months of working at a a prototype. So this is actually, these are land-based nuclear reactors that students train on and they're real. And they, they make real steam and power real steam generators. Wow. Six months of that, where you get qualified and then four months of submarine school. And then after that report to the submarine and you start all over again, learning every single station and how to operate every pump and every valve and and it's another long period of qualification. And then finally, you're you get your license?

Young Han (05:15):
Wow. That's insane. Yeah, that actually doesn't sound as, as complicated as I was thinking, though, if that I don't mean a burst the bubble there, I was expecting it to be a lot more strenuous than that. It sounds like it was it sounds like it's a lot of layers and hoops, but is it that straightforward or?

Michael Vermillion (05:32):
Yeah, it's, it is a great training program. And, and I find my, I, when we're looking at training programs and kind of evaluating how effective they are, it guess kind of a good benchmark for what really good training looks like, cause they've actually been through it. So, yeah.

Young Han (05:49):
That's fantastic. So then what made the jump from from running a nuclear power plant to consulting? Yeah.

Michael Vermillion (05:59):

Young Han (05:59):
What a jump. I mean, you kind of just glossed over it, but that's, I gotta hear the middle ground though. Was it by any chance? Was it the kids?

Michael Vermillion (06:06):
Yeah, no, it after three and a half years on the same the, we were at sea for pretty much the entire time. And so that kind of ran its course. And I got out of the Navy went to Chicago booth for my MBA. And since I was an engineer of, you know, finance was actually kind of a natural transition for me and that's where I worked. Proctor and gamble. I worked in finances strategy and then went to New York to work for a financial consulting for a and then from there it's been a, a series of kind of executive positions with companies that are transforming themselves, I think is kind of the common theme over the past since P&G days. So that's probably the past 20 years or so.

Young Han (06:57):
Wow. That's awesome. So it's mostly that you went, you went to school, you got your master's degree and that kind of was the catalyst for the jump from nuclear engineering and operations to consulting.

Michael Vermillion (07:11):
Well, yeah, it is a good question because you know, why not stay in nuclear power and the, since three mile island back in 1979 or whatever that was, we have not built a nuclear power plant in the United States. And so there's a, a limited number. And so your career prospects are fairly limited at this point. Hopefully we'll get it figured out and nuclear power will make a comeback, but that's that's probably another podcast.

Young Han (07:38):
No, I know. I I'm like, I like don't wanna dive too deep into that cause I'm actually like, it has nothing to do with being a parent and a working parent at that, but like, I'm like dying of curiosity just at a high level. Can I ask what is your stance? So it sounds like you think that we should have more, right. We should have more nuclear power plans

Michael Vermillion (07:54):
Yeah, but do it in a safe way. So yeah, unfortunately with the you know, tragedy in Japan after the tidal wave, I think that set us back probably another 30, 40 years in terms of clear power making a comeback. But there are much newer designs in much safer ways to do it. 

Young Han (08:19):
I feel like when you look at it from a mathematical standpoint, when you read like the actual research around it, it seems like it's the most effective and efficient way to power the world. And we just need to be better about like managing its life cycle and, and its safety. But the reality of it, it has like a really weird, controversial branding to it. It's really interesting. Right. It's like very, very fired in, in, in bad connotations.

Michael Vermillion (08:46):
Yeah. There's a lot, there's a lot of baggage there, so that, so it will take some time for that to wear off for sure.

Young Han (08:51):
Let's let, let's get into the let's get into the kids. So tell me about your kids. How many do you have and who are they?

Michael Vermillion (08:57):
Oh, thanks young. So we have, we have, we have two children, Patrick, our son who's 28 and then Katie, our daughter who's 27. So have one year apart one year. Yeah. 18 months. So pretty close. We kind of got on that bandwagon and, and made it happen.

Young Han (09:19):
So, yeah. Was that intentional or was that like, cause I, I had that strategy. I wanted to have, 'em all like really grouped close together. Cause I'm like, if I'm gonna go through this, I'm gonna go through it all at once. Right? Yeah. Like, cause I've heard a bunch of parents say like you, you have to like keep in mind that you have to do the diaper phase again, if you too long. And so you have to go through this phase, but now if you group 'em together, you could just have it all done at once and then like the diapers are done and then this is done and then like, you know, that's done and like you kind of group 'em, but was that intentional? Was that accidental?

Michael Vermillion (09:47):
I, I think it's just kind of the way nature works in our case. So nice.

Young Han (09:52):
So I'm giving you a little too much credit there. There's no strategy behind that though. Not a lot of planning there. Yeah. Yeah. And so what do the kids think about what you do? Do they even know what you do?

Michael Vermillion (10:02):
Yeah, we talk about it. I mean, one of the things interesting things about working in market research and specifically around customer satisfaction and customer experience is that you get to hear everyone's stories and it always starts with their last trip the airline and the airport experience and the transportation experience and that's right. The hotel experience and then from there. So I spent a lot of time listening to to customer experience stories for sure.

Young Han (10:37):
And so they, they get it, they understand what it is you do, cuz like I, I feel like I, I, you know that I'm, I've started consulting, well, I guess you don't know that I started consulting last year, but I'm relatively new to consulting and I try to explain it to my family and it's really hard. And then so when my kids ask me what I do or like the neighbors, kids ask me what I do, it's like really hard. So like, it's hard for me to explain to an adult, but it's even harder for me to explain it to a four year old, you know,

Michael Vermillion (11:02):
It is. And you know, so, so my, you know, my kids at a point where they have their own, you know, they've graduated from college. They both have their master degrees at this point. Oh wow. And so they have their own they're on their own career tracks. So I think it's probably easier for them late now. Certainly much more easier than it was, you know, five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago.

Young Han (11:26):
For sure. So and so are you considered, are you like thinking that like it's a lot easier now, do you have any like Sage advice coming from a, from a, from a dad that's that has you know, two adult children

Michael Vermillion (11:36):
You know, it, it, some things changed dramatically in and some things never change. Right. so it's, I think it's just a different set of challenges. So, you know, today where we are our son has graduated with a master in fine arts. He's a playwright and wow course we get the yeah, so, and he he's, and he's done some great work and made some good progress, but unfortunately with COVID and the pandemic and the lockdowns that really has put the entire you theater community and and arts in general really kind of on its back. And so it's just kind of just now starting to, to come back a bit with Katie, she works for a large insurance company as a software developer. So that was, that was, oh, kidding.

Young Han (12:32):
Yeah. Your daughter is a software developer. Yes. That's awesome. That's so like, that's so rare. That's amazing.

Michael Vermillion (12:39):
Yeah. And there's kind of a little bit of a story there too, in terms of how she arrived at that. But she really likes it. She enjoyed her first. She graduated in 16, so she's in year what, four or five now really enjoyed her first couple of years as kind of an individual contributor because it's, you come in and put in your eight hours and you get your work done and you go home. But now she's been promoted a couple of times and starting to get into management and starting to feel that pain of of, of what it's like to she's no longer hourly she's now on salary. That's right. They do deliveries on Friday evenings. And so sometimes working till 10 or 11 o'clock at night on a Friday. Yeah. So starting to feel the pain of being in management. Yeah.

Young Han (13:27):
I love it. I love it. That's amazing. So what is the story, cuz that's actually really unique. Yeah. we definitely don't have enough women engineers and we definitely don't have enough women engineers in insurance. So like, like that's like a, that's like a unique on unique placement there.

Michael Vermillion (13:44):
Yeah. So, so Katie went to Boston college started off as a math major, made it through her first two years, I think. And then, and towards the end of her second year, she took a course called introduction to theoretical math. And it's just nothing. But Bruce saw kind of the writing in the wall of if you are a math major for your, and your junior year and senior year, this is what you're gonna be doing, like all the time. And so she called us and said, you know, I'm not sure I want to be a math major anymore. and had had a couple friends that were studying computer science BC at the time had kind of a smallish computer science department. And she decided to make the switch. So that was the end of her sophomore year. So she had a friend from high school who went, you know, went to university of Maryland who was a computer science major. And the previous summer she had attended this conference called women and computing. And so we talked to, to Katie about that and said, you know, even though you just changed your major probably would be a good idea for you to go to this conference. So you can kind of meet other college kids who are also computer science majors that also gives you a, of a feel for the industry and the companies and, and that kind of thing. So we we paid for her ticket. She stayed actually in a hotel with her from high school and they had the I think the CEO from Microsoft was the keynote speaker and it was a great experience for so she actually came back from that I think that, I think that was the year is because it was before her junior year. Yeah. So she went to some of the keynote speeches and that kind of thing, but then the rest of it's just like a giant trade show for recruiting women, software engineers. Oh, wow. Walking the hall and people, you know, copies were just grabbing her and like, come talk to us. So there was a, another insurance company that said, come talk to us and then she talked to them and like, we gotta meet this person. You have to meet that person. So she had those conversations and then kind of the end of the three or four conversations were like, you should come and do an internship with us. Yeah. So so she had three or four of those types of conversations just in her first conference. Wow. So one of the other insurance companies called her, I think, during the school year and said, Hey, look, we'd like to, to fly you to to Texas and essentially have a conversation with you about why you should intern with our insurance company. So so she did that and ended up interning there and then now, now she works there. Full-Time so kind of the story. So yeah, really, really, really interesting kind of, you know, life changing career changing experience for us and, and we really kind of encouraged that.

Young Han (17:04):
Yeah, like it's, it's actually fascinating to hear cuz that was what you said 2000, you said 16, right? That was

Michael Vermillion (17:11):
Yeah. So that probably happened in like 2014. About that time frame

Young Han (17:16):
14. Yeah. Yeah. It's, that's actually really crazy because even that early on these companies were so aggressive in, in their recruiting tactics. Cause like you literally just painted a picture that sounds very reticent to like, like, like recruiting, like athletes, you know, colleges, you know, like, yeah, let me fly you out here. Let me like sell you on this internship, you know, and like get you to get involved just to get to the end goal of getting them hired to the, to the company as a software developer.

Michael Vermillion (17:43):
I mean, yeah. It was a little crazy cause we were thinking Texas when our, our kids, we, we lived in New Jersey, outside of New York city when they were growing up. And then both our kids went to east coast cold. So Katie, you know, Katie went to call in Boston. So we're thinking she would end up in either in Boston or New York she also happens to be an ice skater, which is kind of another story and they have ice skating in Boston, in New York. They don't, they don't have ice skating in Texas. So that, so, so we kind of thought, you know, that wasn't gonna work, but in the end it it's worked out really well for her.

Young Han (18:19):
Awesome. Yeah. Yeah. It's a good segue actually, cuz I, I actually wanna know about your childhood, what was your childhood like? Speaking of like being from New York, how did you grow up?

Michael Vermillion (18:29):
Oh I, yeah, so I I'm from Columbus, Ohio, so I grew up in the Midwest.

Young Han (18:33):
Nice Midwest guy. That's awesome. Yeah.

Michael Vermillion (18:38):
Went to, you know, public schools you know, I would describe our family as blue collar, so we all, you know, worked for a living and you know, hourly wages, not salary, you know, that kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah. So, so I started, you know, working when I was 13 as a dishwasher in a restaurant and kind of continued that all the way through high school but my dad was a an engineer and so looking at colleges I just looked at engineer schools and had some great opportunities in the Midwest, but ended up going to the Naval academy and got my that's where I got my engineering degree.

Young Han (19:21):
Nice. So you, you grew up in an engineering family, so you just kind of follow the path.

Michael Vermillion (19:27):
Yeah, I like, so my, you know, my parents were divorced and some, so we visited my dad on we, you know, weekends, that kind of thing. So my, yeah, my dad was an engineer. My mom worked in in, in restaurants.

Young Han (19:39):
Got it. Yeah. So that's why you, so you did some restaurant work and you did the engineering path.

Michael Vermillion (19:44):
Yeah. And it kind of, it was a way for my mom to kind of keep an eye on me and, and then make, you know, 85 cents an hour on the, so that's awesome

Young Han (19:54):
I have a feeling you're not even joking right now.

Michael Vermillion (19:58):
That was like, yeah. That's that was my yeah. When I was 13 as a dishwasher, that was my starting way, GD 5 cents an hour.

Young Han (20:04):
Wow. And wow, that's amazing. that's incredible. And so and so how did you end up from there to the east coast? Did you, is that from the schooling and then what, what, yeah. What was the transitions?

Michael Vermillion (20:18):
Yeah, so, so I went to college in Annapolis and then we did our our, you know, five years of training and then, so, so the training was in Orlando and upstate New York and Graton new London, Connecticut. And then I ended up, my summary was actually in San Diego, signed up in, on the west coast.

Young Han (20:41):
Nice. Yeah. That's awesome. And so do you think that your your style of parenting is brought, brought in from your parents? Or do you feel like you're doing the opposite route or how, how, what are you, how are your parenting compared to your parents?

Michael Vermillion (20:55):
Yeah, that's a, that's a good question. I think a couple things one is, is it's always been kind of very collaborative, I think between my, you know, my wife and I in terms of our styles, we actually match pretty well. So, so there, haven't had a lot of, you know, battles over file or rules or, or, or whatever, you know, for the most part. I would say my, you know, my dad was pretty too wrecks. But, but you know, living with my mom who is, you know, single mom and working all the time probably, you know, less supervision and involvement. So I, I would say our, our style was different in that we were probably more involved. But you know, in this school and with ex extracurriculars you know, my wife, especially who actually kind of dropped out for a while and then went back to work actually in the school. So she could be, you know, within that education community and have the same calendars and, and that kind of thing. So that, that ended up working pretty working it pretty well for us.

Young Han (22:12):
That's awesome. Yeah. And, and so how do you how do you qualify a successful parenting?

Michael Vermillion (22:22):
It's so hard. You just laugh. Yeah. Yeah. I know. I, I, because we talked about this all the time, we've been really lucky. We didn't, we didn't have any major challenges. Our kids for the most part did really well in school without a lot of without, without too much pushing and supervision. I, I know there's so many parents out there who, and, and I, I used to see it all the time just, and people I know or work with where they've had really tough challenges, maybe not with all their children, but, but with lace in one or two. So we, we actually ended up having a, a pretty easy go of it. So we kind of kind ourselves lucky that way.

Young Han (23:15):
Yeah. That's wild. Yeah. How, how do you think you did that? You think it's just the way that you, that you raised them, or like, maybe it's your, maybe your, yeah. Like maybe it's something you did that you could teach me. Cause my kids are, my two girls are wild, man. They're, they're all over the place.

Michael Vermillion (23:32):
So maybe a couple things. One is even when my kids were, are small, we always kind of, we never like spoke down to them. We, we always kind of spoke to them kind of at, or above their level. I think that helps. We are also kind of looking ahead. And so like, one of the big challenges with kids is what do you do in the summertime and how do you kind of keep them you know, give them a break from school, but also kind of keep them engaged and, and challenged and, and that kind of thing. So probably my craziest summer idea that, and I don't know if I'd recommend this or not, but we, we essentially set a series of goals and milestones for the summer in terms of things to learn. And so I forget exactly everything on the list. My kids actually remember this so they could tell you. But one of the things we had Katie did was just write letters to her favorite, you know, stars and celebrities and that kind of thing. And think she was, you know, into ice skating at the time and says she write to some ice and, and then she actually got replies back, you know, signed photos and that kinda thing. So it was kind of fun. Another thing on the list was I wanted them to learn how to make sushi sushi. So we bought a sushi role making kit and bought the race and the seaweed and, and we had, I don't know, three or four other things kind of, you know, like that on the list. So it's kind of a fun summer that may have been too aggressive

Young Han (25:18):
I, I think that the other question I have is the inverse of that. Like, how do you, how do you qualify success in business?

Michael Vermillion (25:25):
What it is you want, you're trying to accomplish, you know, kind of combining that with, you know, providing for your family. So, so, so those two things, and I think it's kind of, it's a little, little bit different for everybody. Some people want to be, some people want to be an entrepreneur. Some people just want to make a lot of money. Some people want to do things that are interesting. And then you kind of combine that with your work life balanced challenges. And, and so I don't think there's a single answer for everybody. It, it really is. I think it's, you know, personal car that you have to, that you have to set for yourself.

Young Han (26:08):
Is that also the same for, for raising your kids?

Michael Vermillion (26:17):
Yeah. I think that raising your kids is probably more high stakes you know, in, in business there's a lot of ways to recover from mistakes.

Young Han (26:28):
Yeah, that's right. There's not much you can't fix that's right. Yeah.

Michael Vermillion (26:32):
Yeah. So even, yeah, even even if you lose a million dollars in a bad bet there's always next year kind of thing. I think with, with kids, you've only got kind of one shot and it, it really even, and when your kids are small, it, it time kind of slows down. And but what happens over time is the clock actually kind of speeds up and it kids kind of get closer and closer to you know, leaving the house. I, I remember, I think it was when Patrick, it was the night before we were gonna take Patrick off and drop him off at college for the first time. And I was thinking, I'm, I'm wondering if there's something that we forgot, like, like, is there something we forgot to teach him? You know, because you're, because at that point you kind of realize you know, he's gonna be gone and he's been, he's, he's essentially leaving the house with his set of experiences and everything that we, you know, taught him over the years. And it, it would be nice to kind of have a checklist for, you know, I know he can tie his shoes, but I'm not sure he knows how to use a can.

Young Han (27:47):
You know, that's awesome. So you're saying like, what, I mean, just to get really laser into that, what, at what point did this start speeding up? Just so I can mark it in my mind. What age did you think that that actually started happening?

Michael Vermillion (27:58):
It starts, it starts happening when they start to get more involved with their friends and their extracurricular activities. So I would say probably middle school is when things really start to, yeah. Yeah. It's awesome. Cause then you're so you're so busy running around. I mean, you're busy now, right. With the, the birthday parties and the dance lessons kinda thing. Right. But once, you know, once the, once they're, they start gravitating towards peers and their friends and their teams that's when, your role in the picture actually starts to diminish a little bit.

Young Han (28:35):
So did you have like any kind of struggles or workarounds for like when you had kids and you were building up your career? I mean, your, your, your I'm sure that you said you hopped around quite a bit, and I can't imagine like Proctor and gamble and all these other places being easy to manage your schedule with. Right. Like what was that like?

Michael Vermillion (28:53):
Yeah. I, looking back, I, I think our, one of our big challenges was we started off in, in Cincinnati. And that's where, you know, both, both Katie and pet were both born there. And you working at at P and G was really straightforward career path. It's a, from within company. And as long as you're doing well, you just keep getting promoted. And you'll be, you'll be in Cincinnati quite a bit. It's a bit like the military and that they would deploy you to the far east or Europe or something for that kind of broadening, but you always ended up back in, in Cincinnati. So we I'm from Ohio. We liked Cincinnati quite a bit. Like my wife really liked it. And then I I got a call from some university Chicago guys who had kind of a Highline consulting practice in New York, And that's something I wanted to, you know, take advantage of. And so we had a, had a little bit of a, a conflict with that conversation of do we pull up our Ohio roots and move to New Jersey of all places to, you know, work in Manhattan. And, and then the crazy thing about it is that since I'm from the Midwest, I ended up supporting all of our Midwest clients. So I, most of my time flying out of Newark airport, back to Michigan and Indiana and Ohio at which point my wife asked me. So explain to me again, why we moved

Young Han (30:28):
I'm assuming remote work wasn't as big of a thing back then as it is now, right? 

Michael Vermillion (30:32):
No, no. It was all actually, when I, when I started at P&G it was suit and tie and you had to wear a white white shirt, so no blue shirts were not acceptable. The one, the one thing we did get there was that when you were in your office at your desk, you were allowed to take your jacket off.

Young Han (30:54):
Wow. Yeah. Seeing all these different changes in business in the world, like it's gotta be really, really fun for you. Like, what do you think are some of the big ones that you're able to impart upon your kids kind of navigating the, their professional journey as they go through this?

Michael Vermillion (31:10):
Well, certainly I think technology has done a lot to advance business and career opportunities. And my, my kids have picked up on that. So, you know, so Katie's a developer Patrick actually made in playwriting and computer science so so he actually got a job as a developer right out oh, wow. Goal. And, but he's also written a play about artificial intelligence, so oh, wow.

Young Han (31:38):
Wow. So, yeah. Yeah. So you kind of have engineering in, in the family, like even, even your artist is actually also a software developer.

Michael Vermillion (31:48):
Yeah. Yeah. He, he, he doesn't wanna do that full time, but this yearly helps pay the bills in the meantime.

Young Han (31:55):
Wow. That's amazing.

Michael Vermillion (31:56):
He was able to sell that first big script, you know,

Young Han (31:59):
Yeah, that's right. That's really cool that he has that kind of polarity, cuz those are two very, very, extremely different things.

Michael Vermillion (32:05):
It is when you think about it. But I think there's room for creativity and business and I think that, you know, creative people can do very well if, if, if you apply it the right way.

Young Han (32:18):
Yeah. I completely agree with that. Yeah. And is, is arts and like I guess just arts, is that in your family or that come from your wife or did you ever dabble on that?

Michael Vermillion (32:30):
My wife's brother is a writer. That's about as much direct connection as we can put on it, but they were they both kind of born that way. I mean, Patrick started putting on puppet shows when he was like four years old or something. So he's, he's been a playwright from day one

Young Han (32:49):
oh wow. That's awesome. Yeah. Yeah. There's no camcorders back then. Or did you have any of that? I documented,

Michael Vermillion (32:56):
We, we, we do have some, we must have some that it's it's the little cassette tapes.

Young Han (33:05):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Michael Vermillion (33:06):
Yeah. But at some point I've gotta get those

Young Han (33:09):
Or at least get it to him to make him figure it out. Cause that'll be like great for him to like reference his part of his, like, I don't know, like his playwright pitch. Right? Like I've been doing this since I was four.

Michael Vermillion (33:18):
Yeah, I dunno if this makes me a bad parent or not, but I took him to his first improv show and, and, and I discovered improv in New York actually from some through my cousin in Ohio who came to visit us and said I've, I've heard great things about this thing called UCB, which is operate citizens 20, 26th street or something like that.

Young Han (33:43):
Yeah, I'm very familiar with that group.

Michael Vermillion (33:45):
Okay. Yeah. so I went to a show with them. That's kind of cool. It's like you go to this grocery store and then you go down into the basement and that's where the theater is. And it's like, it's like you're in somebody's, you know, basement. So's took, took Patrick and I don't know, I don't think we took a friend, just this Patrick when he, I think when he was 13 to his first improv show and he loved it and yeah. Went through a bunch of him after that. And he started taking his friends into New York and then he actually had a small team in high school. Yeah. And then when he went to college, he joined that team, his freshman year. So he was on that team for four years and their final year, they it turns out there's something called the, the, the college improv championship which consists of a series of you know, regional qualifiers, and then the top teams ended up in Chicago for the national championship. So kind of on a win their school enter for the first time ever. And they beat all the other New York schools. So they beat out NYU and the other New York schools went to the Mid-Atlantic championships, beat up everybody there. So they ended up at nationals in Chicago and there were a handful of colleges that had been doing this for years and had never won the national championship. And again, they were in the finals once again again, see Patrick's team and then Patrick's team won. They, they, they won the national championship their first year.

Young Han (35:18):
So, so Michael, you're the one who actually inspired that spark of our artistry and him by taking him to the, yeah, that's right.

Michael Vermillion (35:25):
Like I'll take, I'll take all the credit. 

Young Han (35:26):
Yeah. It's all coming out now. You know, you took him when you, when you was 13 and you kind of explored this new thing for him and, and he kind of just blossomed from there.

Michael Vermillion (35:35):
We did, we did the same thing with Katie. So, so Katie, I think my sister took Katie ice skating when she was six or something. And she liked it, started taking lessons and had kind of an individual career as a figure skater up until I don't know, 10 or something like that. And then at that point, she switched to a sport called synchronized ice skating, which is between 16 and 20 kids on the ice at one time. And they skate around at high speed and do all kinds of formation work and jumps. And it's a really kind of intricate sport. So she did that in high school and then the reason she wanted to go on Boston is because they've got ice skating there and synchronized ice skating teams. And, and she ended up being on kind of this all star college team in Boston. And they ended up winning the national championship at, at one point as well. 

Young Han (36:33):
So. Awesome. Yeah. So do you have any like Sage advice for people that are trying to grow their careers and also be good parents? It sounds like you were, you were able to do both based on the fact that you have two adult children that are making, you know, good money and they seem like they're, they have good heads on their shoulders and you're also navigating a very successful consulting career. And what's what, what's your secret?

Michael Vermillion (36:55):
I think, you know, I think the advice is that you, you, you always have to have kind of an over-rid decision role. So as you face conflicts and have to make choices you need, you know, what's the role that's gonna, that's essentially gonna be the thing that overrides everything else and, and in my mind, that's, I think that's gotta be your kids. So if it comes down to having to make some sort of a choice about your career that would really kind of, you know, set your kids back and like an example for us would be we moved. I think, you know, when, when the kids were younger we moved several times up until the maybe the second grade and we moved, I think this is the last time we really moved, moved from Florida back to New Jersey. And so I called my daughter from work and asked her how how it was going and like her first day of school or something. And, and I think her response was something like, yeah, how do you think it's going? You made me leave my best friends back in, in Florida. 

Young Han (38:01):
Oh my Gosh. So upset with you.

Michael Vermillion (38:02):
So we so at that point we made a decision. Okay, we're done. And I think probably first grade, second grade, that kind of timeframe. And then that gave the kids the chance to really kind of establish their community and network and with, within the school and we kind of stayed until they were both off in college and we had the chance to move back to California.

Young Han (38:27):
Nice. Yeah. So you started to make those kind of decisions and you just had like an override rule essentially. So when did you develop that override rule? I was it that moment when Katie said, Hey, like you moving us here and me losing my friends, that was the moment.

Michael Vermillion (38:42):
Yeah. Probably even before that, it, it, because early on and, and you guys may be at this point when, when the kids were babies, you're traveling with them to go see your parents for a Christmas or holidays or whatever mm-hmm <affirmative>. But I think we probably made this call probably when they were three or four years old. We're done travel, we're done making our kids flying on an airplane for Christmas. They're gonna wake up Christmas morning in their own home. And, and that was kind of the rule from that point forward and offered my parents the opportunity to come visit, but we weren't going to kind of ENK our kids you know, out of that experience. So we could go visit, you know, the grandparents.

Young Han (39:29):
Yeah. Wow. It was like a very early on decision. Yeah. And that decision was made because you wanted to create some roots or we wanted to give them some semblance of like,

Michael Vermillion (39:38):
I think that's right. Just, you know, it it's part, part of it is experience that you bring from your own, you know, childhood. But, but I'd say like, another thing that we did was we knew that once they got into the high school and, and with the sports teams and that, and that kind of thing, we were gonna start losing our summers. So we wanted to do some international travel with them. But you, you really kind of, kind of do that when they're too young because they won't remember or get the most out of it. Yeah. So kinda in the middle school years, we made a very conscious decision to, to take these kind of inter trips with them while we spend the time. So the first year we, we made it really simple, just went to London, stayed in one off and did everything cause that was kind of our home base. And we did the Harry Potter tour, nice and power of London and, and all the staff that, you know, you do in London. The second we went to PI and same thing just found one hotel, me that our base with the trains in PIs, you can take the commuter train out to the is it the, the, the move or?

Young Han (40:58):
Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

Michael Vermillion (40:59):
And then, and then, but then the train going the other way goes to what used to be called Paris on Disneyland. I, I don't know what it's called now, Euro Disney or so we got all that in and then the third summer of my son really wanted to go to Amsterdam. So I don't know why, but we flew into Amsterdam and then, and rented a, a station wagon nice. And and then drove up to see our relatives in Sweden. So we, we kind of got all that, you know, out of the way before, because the summer after that is when you know, football started and we started losing our summers and so forth. So, so that, so I think that would be another piece of advice would be kind of at those few years, between elementary and high school our kind of a, you know, special time it's really gonna be like, kind of the last few summers where you have like complete control. So,

Young Han (41:58):
Oh, that's really good advice. Yeah. So that kind was more directly into the, the next questions. But I was gonna literally say, what advice do you have for other parents and soon to be parents, but I'd say that that qualifies really good advice. That's very tactical advice, very very engineering of you. the timeline of the growth of kids and when to actually tactically strategically take your vacations and build that that the sense of a, a family and tradition. That's fantastic. Do you have any other advice that you give soon to be parents?

Michael Vermillion (42:28):
So back when, when my kids were smaller, there was or younger there were some books out about, you know, what your kids need to know, but, and I don't have these, they probably still have these. So, so what your first grader needs to know what your second grader needs to know that kinda thing. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I thought those, those books were, were kind of cool because they kind of stretch your thinking in terms of the different types of things your kids should be exposed to or types of experiences that they should have, or the types of things they should be reading.

Young Han (43:03):
So going back to the advice, so the, the kind of the know what stage your kid is at.

Michael Vermillion (43:08):
Yeah. So, so stretch your thinking a bit as an engineering major, I, I took maybe one English course and zero art history courses. So that, that kind of stuff was sent foreign to me.

Young Han (43:25):
But, but totally I can see that

Michael Vermillion (43:27):
Reading those kind of things. That that's, that's interesting. So, and then just encouraging your kids, you know, take them, I don't know what the equivalent today is of taking your kids to the library, but I know when I was growing up, I used to love going to the library. Yeah. It was like this place where they had all these books and all this potential, you know, knowledge. And I could, I could just spend hours just walking the stacks and pulling out books and reading and, and I'm, I'm, I'm not sure if we've lost a bit of that, you know, today with between the video games and the podcasts and, and so forth.

Young Han (44:07):
But any the podcast that we're on right now. Yeah, totally.

Michael Vermillion (44:12):
But any kind of experiences that stretch them a bit in terms of what, what they've been exposed to. And, and I suppose even like mini courses, my, my daughter actually for Christmas got me a subscription to masterclass.

Young Han (44:29):
Yeah. That's pretty fun.

Michael Vermillion (44:31):
Right to that or not, but I thought it would be, you get to pick like six experts and you could study all their videos, but you actually have access to everybody. That's right. Yeah. And so I, I, so I started off with, you know, Annie Leitz and spent a few weeks with her kind of sitting through her stuff, photography, but now I've switched over to Thomas Keller. at the French laundry nice who, and it truly is a masterclass on here's how you cook carrots and here's how he's actually got seven lessons on how to cook an egg.

Young Han (45:06):
It's yeah. It's a fun class. Yeah. It's masterclass is a great subscription. Yeah.

Michael Vermillion (45:11):
Yeah. So I love it. So, so that kind of thing, and actually a good friend of mine bought subscriptions for his kids, said, that's why I first learned about it. But, but any kind of experience or or, or, or kind of training, that's kind of outsource outside the norm that way kinda their boundaries. I, I would highly encourage it. And, and by the way, the international travel that we did really great. Cause when they got to college, they weren't afraid of it. So, so Patrick did a semester in London and actually joined an improv team in London while he was there. Awesome. Katie, Katie did a few weeks. She, she couldn't do study abroad during the school year because of skating. So she would go in the summer. So she did one summer in Dublin and then another another summer in Venice and had no qualms about flying over there and spending the summer there.

Young Han (46:14):
I truly feel like travel is like one of the great mind openers, right? Yeah. Cause it like gives you like perspective and like an understanding that the world is much bigger than you at the root cause. Right? Like, and it's just an incredible mind opening exercise and activity to do with, especially younger mind, because remember growing up and anytime I travel, even within the states actually, like, it didn't even have to be international just even going to like Montana. I'm like, wait, people live like this. And they think like this, this is awesome. You know, it's like so different than the way I live and think, you know, and like, and so I think it's really, really a good advice to try to figure out how you can squeeze and travel and just broaden your kids' horizons of like how the world works and, and, and how people live, you know?

Michael Vermillion (46:56):
Yeah. I think, I think another piece of it is you, you have to kind of, I mean, your kids are gonna have their own aptitudes and their own likes and dislikes and you didn't really wanna force anything. And so, yeah. So one of our conflicts was band. So, so ended all of elementary school everybody's in the band serving committee. Yeah. It's part of your education. you get an instrument and I think Katie was French horn. Patrick was on trombone and you, you will reach a point where you gotta make a call on whether they continue that or not. So Katie continued on into high school, Patrick put a hard stop down at, at middle school so that, so that we, we dropped the trombone, but we didn't we didn't force the issue that that was at some point start making their, and, and they have other interests and, and, and so that's something, something that you'll you'll need to, you know, think about and how, how do you, you know, how do you make those kind of decisions?

Young Han (48:02):
Yeah, no, that's really great advice. And I think it's about, like, what you're saying is like just expose them to a lot and like, just be there to offer those as opportunities, but not necessarily force those directions for them.

Michael Vermillion (48:12):
Yeah. I, I dunno if you watch the Olympics or not, but I noticed several of the athletes in the Olympics this summer were coached by their parents and oh, wow. Story. Like, like one of the swimmers, you know, the story was her appearance started her swimming at a young age and, and they, they were counting the number of laps she did per week. And it just kept multiplying by the thousands of laps, you know, each year. That was great. And, and I would say that as long as she was having fun and, and getting a lot of, out of it, you know, keep encouraging it. And essentially that feels like what it takes to get into the Olympics is starting at a young age with your heavy parent involvement and just, you know, parents pushing them the entire way. But yeah, I think there's also some trade offs there. So you have to be a little bit careful about making sure you're, you know, balancing that correctly.

Young Han (49:11):
Yeah. Yeah. Michael, let me let me switch gears here. Cause I I've been trying to be mindful of everyone's time that I interview and especially yours, cause I know how busy your calendars and I can actually hear your calendar notifications going off as well. So let me, let me, let me fire off my last couple of questions here and rapid fire. So that way we can get the, the same questions asked to everybody, cuz I like to ask the same, why ask four questions to every guest, at least even if the conversation goes free, will there's some symmetry to it. Sure. So I got one in which is the advice for other parents, but let me ask you this. Okay. What is the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself? Becoming a parent that

Michael Vermillion (49:45):
We're actually able to, to figure it out without a handbook. Nice.

Young Han (49:49):
That's awesome. yeah, that's a really good point. I feel exact same way. I'm like I was reading so much stuff before I had my kid and then it came so much more naturally than I thought it would. I just felt like it was the most unnatural thing for me to be

Michael Vermillion (50:02):
A dad when our son was born, you know, the next day they sent us some and I, I kept thinking to myself, like, you're letting us leave the hospital with this baby. Like we don't, we have no idea what we're doing.

Young Han (50:13):
That's right. Like IST there, like an instruction manual or like some sort of like certification to make sure I'm good with this. Yeah. And then what is your all time favorite business book? Oh

Michael Vermillion (50:26):
My all time. Favorite business book is the one I'm always reading currently. So the one I'm reading right now is a book called persuasion and it's yeah, I'm familiar with it. Yeah. Series of case studies and, and actual science behind why people commit to things and kind of the science by, behind that it's that kind of, thing's really interesting to me. Yeah.

Young Han (50:49):
And it's probably really, really timely and good for you, especially in the current role that you're at. Right. Cause I mean, you're kind of always persuading people, aren't you like, you're, you're kind of like a master persuader as a, a as a, as a consultant service provider like that. Right.

Michael Vermillion (51:04):
Well, you, you always wanna be empathetic and be yourself and the other people and,

Young Han (51:08):
And it really is. Yeah, absolutely. I think that there's a lot of mechanics to that stuff. That's really cool. Yeah. It makes me wanna brush up on it and read it again as well. I read it a couple years ago. It's a really good book though. Yeah. If you can go back and tell yourself one thing before having kids, what would it be?

Michael Vermillion (51:21):
Your kids are, were gonna remember a lot more than you think they do. So even now my kids were actually were in town for my birthday last week and weekend and we're kind of reflecting back on some things that happened kind of early in their childhood. And they were telling me this story and I'm like, you remember that?

Young Han (51:44):
Oh, wow. That's Awesome

Michael Vermillion (51:46):
So the kids, they were all study you and, and your actions and behaviors. And they will remember everything that you say. So

Young Han (51:56):
That's a really, interesting comment. Yeah.

Michael Vermillion (52:00):
They, you they may not seem like they're listening, but they are so

Young Han (52:05):
So you wanna yeah. And they remember it. Cause I know that they, they listen to everything. I, I didn't know that they remembered it. That's really good.

Michael Vermillion (52:12):
It's crazy. We, yeah, I was talking to my son last weekend about something that happened when he was five or six or something. And he, he, we actually took a vacation to Santa Barbara and we took him to a Pokemon movie and he could tell us everything that happened that day. I was like, I can't, that's amazing. I don't even remember that.

Young Han (52:33):
So i'm gonna, I'm gonna keep that in mind as I start to play with my kids today on, so Michael, just to, to bring us home, like when you're not being a super dad and a super professional, what do you do for fun, for yourself?

Michael Vermillion (52:45):
We we like wine so

Young Han (52:49):
Nice. Is that the secret to being a super Dad?

Michael Vermillion (52:51):
A super dad, that could be a secret to being a super dad.

Young Han (52:55):
There you go. Got it. Okay. Dually noted. I love it. Michael, thank you so much for taking the time outta your busy schedule, to meet with me and talk to me about about your parenting and, and, and your professional career here. I really appreciate it.

Michael Vermillion (53:06):
Thanks so much for having me young and, and, and great to talk to you about it. 

Young Han (53:11):
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the girl dad show, we really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review, rate and subscribe. We'll see you next time.

Leave a comment