In today’s Intersections, Meghan Kelly sits down with Jason Luchterhand, an Audigy Group veteran who heads up our membership development efforts for Audigy Medical Group. Jason is an all around great guy, as you will hear in this interview — as well as a coffee snob, which you will also hear in this interview. Enjoy!
Read the transcript:
Hi, guys, today I’m here with Jason Luchterhand, who is a member of our membership development team. It’s kind of confusing thing member that many times, we use that word a ton here at Audigy. What’s your official title, Jason?
So my official title, technically speaking I’m the team lead now for the membership development team. So we essentially are contacting nonmembers and telling them more about what our company is, what we do, why we exist.
And I’m focusing on working with Audigy Medical, but I’ve been in various capacities over the years and working with Canadian independents and U.S. Independents as well on the private practice side.
OK. So you are kind of leading the charge when it comes to membership development?
I would like to think so. My title says I am, so I sure hope I am.
OK, yeah. I think that means that you are. I’ve worked with you long enough to know that you’re incredibly good at that line of work. Just having conversations, productive conversations, with prospects about what Audigy has to offer is something that you are incredibly good at.
Well, thank you. I appreciate you saying that.
So you have been with Audigy for how many years? I’m going to guess. Let me guess then you can tell me if I’m right. More than three.
You are correct. It is you, want to keep guessing or do you want me to tell you?
I was going to say, four?
So it’s a little more than four. August will be five years.
OK, wow. Yeah, I knew that it had been a while. And you’ve always been with membership development. Can you tell us a little bit about your history, your integration into the company, how you started. One of the things that I was pretty excited about when I knew that I had the opportunity to talk to you, was you have a really interesting way of landing Audigy. I think we kind of recruited you, and I would love for you to share that story about where we ran into you and convinced you that we wanted you to join our team.
Yeah it is a really interesting story. So I, prior to being part of Audigy I worked at a really high end hotel in downtown Portland. And my role at that time, I was the lead doorman for that hotel. So, checking people in, telling them about the landmarks of the city, I really enjoyed that role. It was about a year I was there, and the experience is to be able to learn more about the city beyond just being a resident of it. Going to really nice restaurants, learning more about places to go hiking, the wineries, the microbreweries, all the different wonderful things that Portland has.
Little did I know that some of the high end profile people coming through the hotel were the leadership team here at Audigy. So I was getting to know Brandon Dawson just as Brandon Dawson, a gentleman that came in to go to the steakhouse, or go to the rooftop bar. Mason Walker and his wife Ashley and all these people that, ironically enough, at the time I had no idea had any affiliation with this company. So two different friends of mine, both of which didn’t know each other, which I thought was kind of interesting, said, you need to check this Audigy company out. It’s full of young people, very, very dynamic, growth oriented. We know you’re at the hotel and you’re kind of in this position where you’re not really advancing anywhere.
So Meghan, you may not know this about my background, but I went to school at Willamette University and studied mathematics and economics.
No, I did not know that.
A lot of people that get to know me are shocked to hear that I’m a math nerd.
I wear it pretty well. I’m definitely a data geek.
But you’re so nice and personable.
Well I would like to think so, anyway. It definitely– I think you need that in this position, definitely.
But back to my point. I actually applied to Audigy after hearing from my two colleagues that said, you need to check this company out, and I applied to be a finance manager. And I sat in a room with Omar Romero, who’s still with the company, he’s in business development, and the H.R. Director at the time. And within first three minutes of the interview, I found out that this role is a senior finance manager role.
I have absolutely no experience and quite honestly, no reason to be applying for this job once I hear that. And Omar’s saying, you need five years experience doing this. And Omar has this very serious voice about him and he’s laying all these facts out about the role. And so about 10 minutes in I’m like, look I got 15 minutes. I can try to really twist arms and kind of BS my way through this, or I can be real. And so I kind of stopped the interview and I said look, I don’t think I’m your guy.
And I don’t say that in a bad way, I just say it because, you know, here’s a bit more about me. I love what the company stands for. If there is something else, please let me know. And so the conversation goes on and Omar asks, well, OK, so membership development this is what this role looks like. Why should we, at a medical management a company, hire a front doorman for that position? And that’s what I did. I was like, whoa, that is, that’s a question.
And I don’t even remember what I said in that moment, but Omar said it was one of the better interview responses he ever heard. Walk upstairs, meet this Mason character, I’m like, you know it’s funny, I know the name Mason Walker. Like this guy came in the hotel all the time with his wife, Ashley. There’s no way this is the same guy, there’s no way. And I get up to his office he turns around he says, Jay, what are you doing here? And I said, bingo! Got the job!
So it was pretty cool, and I let that be a lesson. And I tell a lot of young people about that story, because it really reinforces that whether you’re a janitor, whether you’re in fast food sales, just always bring your best self.
And it’s not always what, it can sometimes be who you know.
Yeah, exactly. Can you tell us a little bit more about the responsibilities of a front doorman, though? Because it does not sound to me like an incredibly easy job, but one, I’m really directionally challenged. So I can see myself causing a lot of problems just in that one specific area. Like if someone was like, where do you park around here? I would be like go two blocks this way and then– I don’t know. I’m just I’m not good at that type of thing. And you’d also have to, like you mentioned a little bit earlier, have a really good understanding of some tourist attractions, or just a really, really good overall understanding of why and where people would want to hang out.
So it does take all those things, like you mentioned, Meghan. Understanding, like you said, directions, landmarks.
I think the biggest thing that, I think the natural instincts that I have, I can look at somebody and not use judgement to cast an opinion on them, but really kind of review their gaits, how they talk, how they packed their luggage. Like what are those things that can kind of put clues in my back pocket to say, you know what? They are driving this certain car, they have these certain things. Here’s probably, if I had to guess three things they’d like, here’s the three I’m going to guess. And it just let me kind of quickly, what works well for this department and kind of reading people, again because you can’t see them when you’re talking to them on the phone sometimes. Tone, pace, trust, all those things. I was kind of pre-programming myself for a role like this where, it’s less transactional. It’s much more about, hey, let’s build a relationship. Let’s see if this is a good fit, and if it is a home run. If it’s not then no harm, no foul.
Yeah. So there’s definitely a correlation between being a doorman and being in membership development.
I must have put two and two together in my answer. But I think that was my line of thinking, is that even though you lose that face to face interaction, you’re basically taking all the information at your disposal, making quick connections, quick decisions and saying, you know what? You said these two things. This third thing way over here in a different category actually might fit in. And kind of throwing it out more as a suggestion rather than saying, you need this, or you have to do this. It’s like, hey, I heard you say this, does this other option sound like a good idea?
Sure. What’s the most interesting thing about being a doorman? Or something that we might not know? Tell me something that I would never know about that role.
Hm, never know. Well, something that I thought was kind of cool, that I don’t think a lot of people instantly associate with being a doorman, is you get the opportunity sometimes to meet childhood heroes. So I was a big basketball and soccer nut growing up. I played college hoops down at Willamette a little D3 ball there. And so NBA hoops, college hoops have always been in my blood. Absolutely love watching basketball, playing basketball any chance I get. So Nike happens to be in Portland, and you get quite a few big names. Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, people like LeBron James when they came into town when Cleveland played Portland, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul.
Do you get a heads up that these people are coming? Like is it like, there’s going to be some really important people here. Make sure you take extra– because I hate to admit this, but even though I recognize those names, if I were to see those people in person I would be like, I don’t know who they are. So do you get a heads up if there’s going to be some V.I.P.s and to make sure that you treat them a certain way?
You did, yeah. So you get basically their alias names to protect their identity. There’d always be people that find out they’re traveling.
This is exactly what I was looking for, alias names.
So they get, you know Mr. Smith or Mr. Roberts or whoever, is checking in at the hotel at this time. You open the door and you greet them in this manner. You make sure you escort them to the elevator. Sometimes you have to have a certain gift presented to them.
Like what? What would be a gift?
For some people it would be a welcome card with some instructions inside for the rest of the night, like their itinerary. For others who would be their reservations for a nice restaurant, or it could be a physical gift like a little mini pack of cigars for a gentleman, or a nice little welcome gift for a young lady. It could be any number of things. So, you know, pop stars, it humanizes them a lot, and you realize, you know, they’re just people, and they’re just trying to live their lives. So as a doorman you’re trying to make sure that they don’t get in the spotlight. Which is kind of interesting. It was a different take on all that. Like you wanted to swift them into the hotel and have them disappear, instead of like, hey, how are you? Let’s take a photo together, selfie! That’s not what you’re supposed to do, obviously. Cannot do that, because then you’d get in big trouble.
Understood. So can you act like you know who they are, or do you just call them by the alias and you’re like completely just treating them like they’re not?
You treat them like they’re not. They are whatever their alias name is and they’re just another person coming in.
That is interesting. I had an alias when I had a fake ID, when I was 19. And my alias was Tamara Dawn Morningstar Stevenson. Which was really complicated. Yeah, but everybody believed it. Nobody was like, that would just be a ridiculous name.
So your first name was..
Tamara. OK, I thought you said tomorrow, and I was in say, very interesting alias name. I like that.
Yeah, I didn’t choose it. It just came with the company.
I was really hoping it was going to be something like a one word, like McLovin, or some other type of alias.
OK, so we know that you were a math major, right?
OK, and then you became a doorman, and then you went into membership development. So did you decide you didn’t like math at some point? Or what happened from graduation where you– actually let’s go to school with you, for a little bit. You told us that you played basketball?
I did, yeah.
Talk to us little bit about that. So you went to school in Portland. Are you from Portland originally?
So I actually went to school in Salem, at Willamette University. So I am an Oregon boy, born and raised. So I grew up in southern Oregon in a little town called Wimer, which is actually between Medford and Grants Pass, right off of I-5, five to 10 miles off of I-5.
How far from Portland?
It’s about, if you’re flying on I-5 it’s about a four, a little less than a four hour drive. Wit traffic now it’s probably closer to 4 1/2- 5.
OK. So you grew up there, then went away to school in Salem.
Correct, yes. So I graduated high school at Rogue River High, which is right there next to where I grew up. Went to school at Willamette, played four years of basketball there.
Did you go on a scholarship?
So D3, you only go on an academic scholarship. So technically I went on a scholarship, but it was because of my brain not because of my athletics. As much as I’d like to say it was because of my athletics, not the case. But great school, great program, loved every minute of being there. And just like any kid, the two years you don’t know what the hell you’re going to do in school. You take a bunch of general courses and you get all of your electives out of the way, if you can. And I was always really good at math. I was in first grade. Like, every single math competition, in terms of like quick addition, subtraction, multiplication. I’m wired to be really good at that stuff. And as time went on, people knew me as, oh you know, math guy, this and that.
I’d help people with homework. I actually tutored in high school and college to help people with mathematics. And I think the key to that is, I actually thought I was going to go through school, get my undergraduate in math and then get my master’s in teaching. And I was going to be a math teacher and basketball coach. Like that was what I was going to do. And what was funny, as I got to my senior year and felt good about my path, I just really thought a lot about business, and I guess, just different types of opportunities where working at a company like Nike would be neat. I actually worked at Nike for two years prior to being in that doorman position. I was in a sports marketing role.
Looking at things like Nike, looking at other companies from a business perspective, because, unfortunately, Oregon has not the best benefits in the world for teachers and I didn’t want the finances to completely drive my decision. So I basically said, look, if I get to the end of the road, if I choose business first and then if it doesn’t work fall back on teaching, or choose teaching first and fall back on business, which would be the right path? And I think if you get out of business or, like, technology or anything, too long the learning curve is going to be so steep. And I feel like if, for some reason, things didn’t work out today, I could fall back into teaching and it’d be something I love to do.
So that actually plays into what I do here too, where you’re kind of opening people’s minds in a different way and teaching them new concepts. So it’s been cool to see how this role kind of fulfills a lot of little paths and a lot of little interests that I had growing up. And specifically math, I mean accounting, being an actuary, like all these, I just never saw myself being in a cube. And God bless the people that can do this, because we need them, but just being into programming, or mathematics, or formulas, like, I got to talk to people. It’s my M.O. It’s who I am. I have to be in a more interdepartmental kind of collaborative type of an environment.
Yeah, that makes sense. So you finished your mathematics degree and then you went straight to Nike?
So I actually took a couple years off. I kind of floated around and basically didn’t want to grow up for a little while.
Wait, wait, wait. You can’t just gloss over that. Like when you were just floating, what types of things were you doing that you’re willing to share?
Of course. I had really good friends that went to O.I.T down in Klamath Falls, a technical school down there. And it was actually a school that we played every year in basketball, and I knew some of the players. The coach, Danny Miles, at the time like broke every single record in Oregon basketball history. So I was like, eh, I’m not trying to grow up and establish a career. I moved down there, lived with them, did kind of part time work here and there in various capacities, played basketball and kind of was a unofficial assistant coach, kind of with the team. Which was really cool because it was an awesome program, top to bottom.
So yeah, I did that for just a year and then I moved to Portland, worked at a different hotel, then Nike, then the hotel I was at prior to Audigy. So kind of a disparate path, but always been looking for something a little bit more, you know, that true career fitting. And I’ve definitely found that here.
What’s your favorite thing about– so remind me again of your title.
So I’m the team lead for membership development.
Team lead for membership development. OK. What’s the most challenging thing about being a team lead for membership development?
You’ve been here at Audigy long enough to know that there is a never ending stockpile of relatively important things to do, and it’s keeping, I think with any of our roles, it’s keeping that focus on what’s that one thing today or this week that’s the most important thing that I have to, I have to put those blinders on and just totally focused on. Because I’ve always been, again, collaborative. I’ve always wanted to help people. I’ve always wanted to be a facilitator.
So sometimes I get pulled away to be involved in really fun team projects, or like really, things that are going to transform the department in a couple months. Which I think are, like I said, just as important. And zooming out and being like, no, that can wait a week. I need to do these three things this week, because it’s going to help me and the team And you know, the people I report to. It’s going to help all of us achieve a better result. I think that’s probably, I bet for 90% of people here. It’s like we’re young, we’re innovative, we’re scrappy. I mean we’re not technically a startup anymore, but we all kind of still act like it in a lot of ways, because we’ve built some really cool stuff here. And so we’re always, like, we’re never satisfied. Which can be to your detriment. If it’s like our 90% is better than everybody else’s 100%, we should maybe zoom out sometimes and be like, look, I got to do these things. Like, I love you to pieces, don’t bother me.
Sure, yeah. I get that. What’s the first thing that you do when you get to work every morning?
First thing I do is log in the computer, head straight to the, we just got kind of a new coffee setup on each floor.
Yeah, so like new coffee setup, like new coffee bin. So I am usually one of the first people here in the office.
What time is that?
Right around [6:15], [6:30] lot of times. Because a lot of people we call are on the east coast.
What time do you go to bed?
I try to be in bed by [10:00].
Yeah. On a good night, on a really good night if I can get a lot of the things done, I’d like to be in bed before 9, honestly. I can’t imagine the days back in college when you’d like stay up till past midnight, get five hours of sleep and you feel like a million bucks. It’s like, where the heck did that go? Like that wasn’t that long ago, at least I’d like to think so.
Yeah. So you’re in here at [6:15] and no wonder you want coffee.
Yes. So I want coffee but I also make it, there’s two different pots, I just make it for everybody else. There’s a lot of other people come around [6:45], 7 o’clock.
So you make coffee for everyone on the floor?
Make coffee for the second floor and kind of, I guess, read something on ink.com or go on to LinkedIn. Like I think you can’t just dive into your day, at least for me I’ve got to wake, I guess honestly, wake up the voice, wake up the mind a little bit. So I read some things online, and then figure out who I need to contact and build the list and dive in.
Gotcha. And what time do you go home in the evening?
Ideally, around [4:00]. Sometimes, depending on what we’re doing, a little earlier than [4:00], sometimes a little later than [4:00]. So I like getting there early, leaving early to beat traffic too is kind of nice.
That makes sense, because you recently bought a new home in Portland?
I did, yeah.
Tell us a little about that
Yeah, so my wife and I bought a home in North Portland. It’s right by Columbia Park, if you’re familiar with where University of Portland is, the Kenton district. And we bought our home in December 2014. So we got married in May of ’14, bought the home in December. And that was really, I mean the Portland market’s been exploding. For everybody listening, it’s like the place in America that it seems everybody in the world is moving to. There’s no supply. There’s 100% demand.
End of ’13, early ’14 is really where that started trending up, and so in 2014, when we were fiancees at the time, and we were getting ready to elope, we were saying, hey, we should really look at buying a house. This is the time because it’s only going to get worse from here. Like, best airport in America, Washington Post says Portland is the foodie capital of the nation. I had to read that article twice to say, is this Washington Post or is this like, Washing-Toe Post, like some fluke article. Because there’s San Francisco, there’s New York there’s, Seattle. How in the hell, excuse my language, did Portland win that?
But I mean, we have some incredible restaurants. So all this stuff, I’m like it’s only going to get worse. We’ve gotta buy a home this year. So we go around. We put on a bit on a house the day after it hit the market. So this is end of ’14, this is not now. End a ’14, put a bid in on a house, the next day we find out, OK you’re actually the final three of nine bids. And I was like, OK, the house just came on the market yesterday, OK. And they really liked your story, and our realtor was a close friend.
Did you write a letter?
Yes, we wrote a letter, we wrote a letter. We did everything that the realtor suggested. And he basically said, hey, I’m just being real with you guys. This is not about my incentives or initiatives, you’re going to have to at least go 15 grand higher than your bid, which was our max bid. I was like, oh man, OK. So we went in for that, we still got outbid by $24,000 cash, and this is at the end of 2014. So this is, I mean you hear the stories now it’s even more ludicrous. So we finally find the house. It’s over budget. I’m bitter because I’m the math guy. Lauren’s like, yay! We found the dream home! And I’m like awesome. I’m so excited we got this house. Like, I was going through the motions. I did love the house, but going over budget’s not fun when you’re an analyzer. It’s just not in your forte. And within a month I was jacked. I was so excited, because you saw everything around us exploding, even less supply. So thank goodness we got it when we did.
Oh yeah, sounds like it. So you’ll stay there for a while?
So we will hold on. Because, I mean, Zillow always shows you how much more your house is worth
And that’s satisfying, isn’t it? I love to look.
And you tap your fingers together. You’re like, oh yeah my house is going up! My house is going up! I was like, yeah, I sell it, and then what do I do?
Yeah, exactly. You can’t find something else.
I’d have to buy something else that just went up by a similar percentage. Unless, if you were moving to a different city. I think that’d be the only reason to think of selling in the next 6-12 months.
Oh yeah, absolutely. Like Nathan and I sold our house, maybe like 3 1/2 years ago. And we had lived in it for a long time. We bought the house and we were pretty young and we were just, I mean we loved it, but when you look at a house for a long time there’s things that you hate about it, too? Like there’s things that you’re like, all right. You know, when I’m finally ready to move out of the starter house, I’m going to make sure my house doesn’t have all these things that I hate about my current house. So we listed our house and the first people that came through it bought it, and we were like, those suckers. We can’t believe that anybody wants this. And then it was really stressful because we hadn’t put a ton of thought into where we were going to move afterwards. You know?
You didn’t think it’d be one and done.
No, we listed it on Super Bowl Sunday and these people came for 15 minutes. And then we got a phone call that they wanted to buy it and we were like why?
I hope you literally said, like laugh out loud, why?
Yeah, like what did they like?
I don’t know what you saw. Could you tell me what you saw? Because I haven’t been looking at that part of my house.
Did they see our neighbors? Anyway, it turned out to be this really wonderful thing. You know, they were people who had a lot more skills than we did when it came to renovations.
Right. Did you move to a different part of the same neighborhood, or did you move far?
No, we left that neighborhood and we moved to a neighborhood that was better schools for kids and less personality.
Little calmer neighborhood maybe.
Yeah, not quite so much riff-raff. Perfect day, Jason, like let’s say you woke up tomorrow and money was no object. You could just kind of do absolutely whatever you wanted with the next 24 hours, what would you do?
It’s funny, because I’ve listened to every one of these podcasts, and I thought I’d be so ready to answer this question. And then of course you get here and it’s like man, there’s so many little things you’d want in that day.
Well, let’s start by making it easy. So would you really wake up and be ready for work at [6:15]?
No. No, I would definitely sleep. I wouldn’t sleep in so late that I can do a lot in the day, so I would sleep until, let’s say, 8 o’clock. I’m a coffee snob, so there would be a pre-made, either a French press or a pour-over, like Ethiopian Sumatra, some cool kid coffee would be hot and steamy ready for me there on the kitchen counter.
Do you put cream in it?
No. That’s a cardinal sin. That’s a cardinal sin. Black coffee. It’s like wine, you can’t taste the different flavors. If you add cream and sugar you’re basically, you’re frowned upon in the coffee community. We’ll put it that way. You can ask Nathan Miller and a lot of the other coffee–
Well I am married to Nathan Miller, and he definitely puts cream in this coffee, with sugar.
Really? Interesting. I’m going to have a talk with him.
Or I will tell you what to say to him when you guys get home.
Yeah, OK, so you have this snobby coffee.
Snobby coffee, cool kid coffee, ready for me. I would be, probably, in a different destination. And I don’t think that matters as much, I love to travel. I’d wake up in Istanbul, or I’d wake up in Rome, or I’d wake up in a city in Thailand or Laos, or just somewhere that I’ve never been before and I’d be like, cool.
That would be confusing, though.
There would be this moment of, uh.
In this perfect day, I would already know where I was, and I would know roughly what my activities would be. So half of the day would be exploring, learning. Like when I travel I usually go for a run in the city to see the city and its inner workings. I wouldn’t have to go for a run, but maybe it would be Lauren and I going for a walk in the city.
So you wake up and you have the coffee, and then you and Lauren go for a walk.
Go for a walk, do an activity, a hike, go to a show, something during the day. And then it wouldn’t be a perfect day if there was an element of relaxation. So if you’re by a beach you lay out and you have a margarita and you’re reading a book and you’re just looking out on the blue ocean. Or you book a couples’ massage and you just kick it, hot stones. I don’t think the actual thing matters as much as it’d be, I wake up, coffee in hand ready to do part adventure and ready do part relaxation. And it’d be Lauren and I and maybe a couple of our friends, you know. It’d probably be Lauren and I and probably 6-8 friends.
OK, so it’s a party, kind of.
It’d be kind of a party, and then we could all disconnect and do our own thing for a little bit. But at the end of the day we’d come together, have dinner together, drink, laugh. I think you laugh every day, you smile every day, you connect with your friends, it’s a win.
Yeah. That sounds like a really good day. You were good at that.
Well thank you. I didn’t really, I kind of cheated though, I didn’t really directly answer it, I guess. I just put a lot of examples out there.
No, you directly answered it. I like the idea of just waking up in this place that you’ve never been before. I think that gives us a lot of insight into, like some people are like, I would just want to read a book and have that day to just totally decompress. And then you are like the exact opposite of that. You want to wake up in someplace you have absolutely never been before.
Yeah, I think the key, it would to be a place that I’ve never been before that I could explore, or I mean, heck if it’s a perfect day maybe I already know part of the language. And I could actually connect with the culture a little bit. That would be my, if money wasn’t an issue and you had this omniscient power to either know where you were or know all this, like that would be really interesting.
Yeah. Jason I learned so much about you talking to you today. Particularly interesting to know that there are code names, what did we call them? Aliases?
Yeah, that are associated with important people and that they extend down to the way that the doorman communicates with these guys.
The top secret doorman code of ethics. You know, if I told you those aliases I’d have to kill you. I’m teasing, of course.
I don’t want to take it that far. We learned a lot about your perfect day and how adventurous you are. That was insightful to me. Thank you so much for making the time to talk with us, and to let the rest of the team here at Audigy in Stratus and Audigy Medical learn a little bit more about you. You’re a pretty interesting guy.
Well, you’re welcome. I appreciate the compliments and I want to take a moment. I’ve listened to all of the different intersections, podcasts and a lot of things that you and Will are up to. So a big, big tip of the hat to you, and you rock each and every one of these. In terms of your moderation, your questions, it’s always very natural and very fun. I’m very thrilled to be picked to be part of it.
Thank you. I appreciate that.