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Salt Lake 2002 Retrospective

Episode 35 - Steve Raquel

Digital media expert, adjunct professor and former Arch Deluxe expert Steve Raquel talks with Christian Napier about 9/11 in a hotel, the McRib and the coolest flight ever (recorded 27 May 2020).

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Christian Napier 0:10
Hello, everyone and welcome to another episode of the Salt Lake 2002 Retrospective podcast, the back of house to look at the planning and delivery of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter and Paralympic Winter Games as told by the very people who organize them. I'm Christian Napier and today, we are joined by Steve Raquel, who has graciously joined us for his second time, as the first time we had some technical issues. Steve, how are you?

Steve Raquel 0:34
I'm doing well this time. And last time.

Christian Napier 0:37
Well, I'm glad to hear that you were doing well before and you're also doing well now. And we were just talking a little bit before the podcast recording that you're actually waiting patiently or maybe not so patiently for SpaceX to launch some astronauts.

Steve Raquel 0:53
Absolutely. Just out of the corner my eye. So you know, brings me back to my my elementary school days watching the space shuttle come off.

Christian Napier 1:01
Absolutely. Absolutely. I am a bit of a space nerd. I love outer space. don't necessarily want to live there or go up there. But I'm glad to see that we're getting some some astronauts from American soil. Where are you joining us from today?

Steve Raquel 1:17
I am in the suburbs of Chicago and Naperville, Illinois. I've been here since 2000. Back right prior to leaving the Olympics, but I'm from the Illinois area.

Christian Napier 1:29
And what are you doing there?

Steve Raquel 1:31
You know what I do a couple things. I have my own digital social media agency. I've had it for 11 years. And actually for the last seven, almost seven now I've been an adjunct at the University of Illinois. So I teach digital advertising PR on the collegiate level.

Christian Napier 1:50
Well, that's fantastic. That's awesome. Well, I'm glad to have you on and thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule. I'm curious if the University of Illinois has made any announcements as to, as far as scheduling, whether they're going to have in person classes. Here in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah, I think it was yesterday or the day before, along with Westminster College announced that they are going to try to have in person classes during the fall semester,

Steve Raquel 2:16
You know, the decision will come June 15. At the end of the day, the President and the Chancellor have made it very clear they would love to have students on campus, that there's nothing like having the student experience on campus, both for the student and for the teachers. However, we have to follow the state regulations and where we are in our in our phase. We have a five phase system here in Illinois. But the hope is it'll we'll go back most likely will be kind of a hybrid of, of online teaching and in person teaching with a lot of restrictions. But my hope is, is to go back because I enjoy it. While I enjoy being home and teaching from afar, there's something to be said about that student experience on campus.

Christian Napier 3:08
Yeah, absolutely. My daughter is a student at the University of Utah and attending the last few weeks remotely online, through zoom and other methods was -- she did very, very well. But it was hard for her and she missed going to school and actually seeing classmates and professors in person. So she's very much looking forward to having some face to face interaction. Person to person, real interaction with professors and, and classmates. So yeah, I hope that they can, I hope this crisis abates, and we can responsibly and safely return to some sense of new normal, whatever that is

Steve Raquel 3:45
Absolutely. Same here.

Christian Napier 3:56
All right, well, let's talk about old normal. We're gonna go in the Wayback Machine to use some internet parlance there and look at what was going on in the mid to late 90s. So for you, Steve, what were you doing before you joined the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and how in the world did you find your way to Salt Lake City?

Christian Napier 4:20
Sure. You know, I was working in Chicago. Came straight out of school to work for an agency called Frankel. One of the accounts or the account, I worked on it for the for the five years I was there was McDonald's, and I was on new products. We worked on some great products like McPizza, McStuffins, Arch Deluxe, just a whole bunch of losers, but it was still kind of fun. And part of that was we were a promotional shop. And in 95 we were tasked as an agency to help develop the look of the Games for McDonald's in Atlanta. And so I was part of a team of about four in the agency, you know, partnering with other agencies. And we developed the look and feel of the Games. And we helped build out the, I believe it was 11 restaurants, and manage everything in Olympic Village. So it was a pretty big deal. And after that, I just continued to work on some of the sports activities as it relates to promotions, or the World Cup, we'd also done NBA. And in 97, once Salt Lake was identified as the host city in 2002, the USOC and OPUS. And SLOC basically needed people to come in and really manage all the Olympic sponsors who were going to sign up and would need help determining how to use their millions of dollars to maximize their Olympic sponsorship. And so they were looking for four people, they had about 850 - 900 applicants and I was lucky enough to be one of the four. And I first thought I was going to Salt Lake or I first thought I was going to Colorado Springs. But they redirected me and said, You know, we're going to just send you straight to Salt Lake and landed in 98. Right in the middle of The Last Dance experience with Michael Jordan and, and the Jazz and the finals. We actually moved in our apartment, and then somebody invited us over to watch the game, the flu game, and it was pretty magical. I was trying very, very hard to make friends. And it was hard to be that one when you're a Bulls fan coming in during the finals, but --

Christian Napier 6:54
Yeah, you are definitely -- yeah, you were definitely in hostile territory here. You mentioned The Last Dance. There was a documentary there on ESPN for the last dance and Michael Jordan, which was quite popular. But I couldn't bring myself to watch it because the memories were still too painful 20 years later.

Steve Raquel 7:12
Interesting. It wasn't painful. For me. It was quite nice. So we enjoyed it.

Christian Napier 7:18
I'm sure. I'm sure it was wonderful for you all that Jordan overcame the flu. And yeah, got away from with a push off of Bryon Russell but that's all behind us now. So you gave up the Arch Deluxe. And you came here to Salt Lake City. You were going to go to Colorado Springs, but they told you just keep on driving through. You end up here in Salt Lake. So what's your first impression when you arrived here? In the Wasatch Mountains, what do you what do you think?

Steve Raquel 7:47
You know, just breathtaking. It's just a beautiful place, a little bit of trepidation just because you're in a new place. And we didn't know you know, there's there stereotypical things that you would think of in terms of Salt Lake. But honestly, it was the most beautiful place to be in so close to the mountains. The people are wonderful. The area was great, the air was clean. There's just a completely different vibe altogether. And we just enjoyed it. So we we really put our outdoor hats on and tried to enjoy it as much as we could, because I know it was gonna get busy. And it did.

Christian Napier 8:35
You mentioned busy. So why don't you tell us a little bit more about your role?

Steve Raquel 8:39

Christian Napier 8:40
You're in the Salt Lake Organizing Committee? What you were responsible for?

Steve Raquel 8:43
Sure, you know, and so the way for those of you who do or don't know, the way that it works is when a host country has the Games, that Olympic Committee also partners with the local Organizing Committee, and usually has a marketing partnership. So they co-raise funds in order to cover both the marketing and the operations and just funding the Games. That was called OPUS. So looked at properties in the US. And it was a better name than what I think the initial name was, which was Salt Lake, what was it? Olympic properties? So SLOP? So it ended up being OPUS. So yeah, so we ended up being OPUS and part of our job was, there's a good portion of it to to raise, to go out and get the Olympic sponsors, both internet well, mostly national, and local, and then manage them. So you know, think of it in terms of somebody coming in and having dinner. Come in, you know, where do you want to sit, how big is your party? You go in there. And they're a local one, you know, you may be the waiter or waitress that gets to serve them amongst a number of different tables. So the four of us initially handled, you know, the first grouping of sponsors who jumped on board, which is, I would say about 12 to 15. But there were the big ones, the McDonald's, the Bank of America's of the world. Also the local ones, the Questar, the, you know, the KSL. So, the ones that we knew were kind of a lock in, that's who we served and we managed the relationship to make sure that they knew fully how to leverage their their investments.

Christian Napier 10:40
You know, Salt Lake City had some challenges right that it faced just around the time, I guess a little bit before the time that you came on board there was a leadership leadership change. Tom Welch departs Frank Joklik comes in and then you're not there too long and then the whole scandal erupts and Joklik is out and Mitt and Fraser come in. So what was it like from a sponsor perspective having to navigate those those testy waters?

Steve Raquel 11:08
You know, it was it was really difficult. It's fascinating, fascinating as well, because my co-office person, Susan and I were sitting there and just remember, one day someone said, you know, go over to the conference room, which was no more than 15 feet, 15 steps from our office. Walk in, and just probably within within a month, I guess, of us starting. We're looking up and we realize that there's a big scandal. And I think it was about 18 months, it was about 18 months that we did not raise one penny for the Olympic movement. And it was very, very difficult, you know, you, you go from a shining brand that everybody wants to be associated with, to one seemed like we were a pariah. Everything wrong with corporate greed and extremism, and you know, all these bad things, you know, these well known sponsors, were, they weren't necessarily saying no, but they were sitting on the sidelines going, we're not gonna pull the trigger yet. And at the same time, you know, it's kind of like, people want to be a party of winners, and we weren't winning a lot. And so part of it was redefining the brand and part of it was going out and, and going and talking to potential sponsors, and trying to pitch what the end of the tunnel look like, that was hard. You know, I was at pitches for Mettler Toledo, to Johnson and Johnson. To -- boy, there were a couple others. And I just remember, you know, going okay, guys, we got to give us our best pitch, you know, walking out there, knowing that they liked, they liked the brand as it was, but they didn't like the brand, currently. And everybody was kind of just waiting. And we knew at some point, hopefully the dam would break and people would start coming back. But we just weren't sure when it was. And money was being spent in this but the Olympics were still happening. So we all had, you know, these sales goals that we were trying to reach. And you got to keep in mind that that sales goal, initially favored Salt Lake, but at some point when Salt Lake's gas tank was full in terms of how much we needed to raise for them. That money switched to help fill up USOC. So there was a there's a dual need to make money. And it was there's a there's a balance between raising the money and spending the money and having enough time to prepare for the Games. So there are lots of different things going on. It wasn't there was ever a panic mode, but there was just this urgency to move on and I think Mitt was a really big piece about helping us move on and and finally letting the dam break and allowing sponsors to feel good about coming back.

Christian Napier 14:24
Well, you mentioned Mitt there. Why don't you tell us a little bit about how that changed up when when he arrived?

Steve Raquel 14:29
Yeah, you know, I normally -- when we were on, I believe was the old building on fourth. I believe that's the street. It's been a while. It wasn't it was probably a seven storey building the one that before we went to the Wells Fargo building. And I somehow remember getting to the office early. Early enough just to pull right in front, pulled up and I remember jumping up this couple of, pair of stairs and I reached out to open the door with my key card and all of a sudden behind me, somebody says, Hey, can you keep the door open? Sure. Hold open, just kind of left it up there. Hit the stair, the L. elevators are right there. Open the elevator elevator opens up immediately I come in, the other person comes in. And then I turn look at them. And all of a sudden he goes, Hi, I'm Mitt Romney. It's my first day. And I looked and I went, I know who you are. You know, everybody knows who you are. I'm like, congratulations, welcome. You know, we were actually on the same, on same floor. So I just said, You know what? My key card, we're on the same floor, same key card. Great, you know, so I let him off. And, you know, that was his first day, which was great. I can say I let Mitt Romney in on this first day of work.

Christian Napier 15:53
Yeah. Otherwise, he may have been stranded. I can imagine all of our listeners who were involved in security during the Games are just, you know, listening with horror. Oh, you let someone in just like this. Yeah, sure. Just come on in. You know, what's the point of having key cards if you're just gonna let people come in after you, you know, but yeah, it was Mitt. So I guess all is forgiven.

Steve Raquel 16:16
Yeah. And it worked out. So Mitt has been a -- he was, he was great. I mean, just, you could just see the change in the mood of everybody within probably that first month or month or two months. So it was, you know, you hate saying leadership change is a good thing. But in this situation, it was actually a really good thing.

Christian Napier 16:36
Let's talk about some of the people that you worked with there, Steve, to deliver what you needed to deliver, which is to bring all those revenues in for the Games.

Steve Raquel 16:43

Christian Napier 16:44
Who were some of the people that were just really fun or inspiring, that you learned a lot from, you know, who were some of those interesting people that you worked with?

Steve Raquel 16:52
Oh, gosh, you know,I will tell you there, there is a couple. You know, I loved my team, you know, we we covered a lot of different spaces. I mean, we were marketing, housing, legal. HR. I mean, we, because we dealt with the sponsors. The sponsors, you know, needed all these different things. So, our, our group, our marketing group, we were, we were, we're all in the same area. But you know, we're all enjoying, I mean, we're all young and single or newly married type of experiences. But it was just, it was a young, vibrant area. So you know, we we had different group leaders at the time. You know, the one that I think most people know is Mark Lewis. So Mark came on board, he was great. Susan Goldsmith, who I worked with Chris Coleman. Amy Silver, Jason Horn worked over, I think in merchandising. Vonda Andrews and Molly Mazzolini was, were our legal and marks people. And I, I have a great respect for those too. And that whole group, because I will tell you, the sponsors, if you've ever worked with sponsors, they want to get as close to that Olympic mark as close as possible. Almost, if they could hug it and incorporate it into their own logo, they would do it if they could, especially the top ones, TOP sponsors. So, you know, it was great. It was great, having not only the the people that you work with, but the clients that you had, I work with some great people like Dockery, Clark, Baker, Erica, and Terry over at Xerox, and there are a couple others. Haven with Coca Cola. So it's, it was great to have exposures to some of the best people in the business, both on the Olympic side and then on the marketing side with some more sponsors.

Christian Napier 19:12
Well, you've got to tell us the "my people" story, because Vonda Andrews has been bugging me about it.

Steve Raquel 19:17
Sure. Our boss at the time, John Krimpski. He was kind of an odd nut. And, you know, everybody would say he was kind of he was a weird guy. He was funny, though, he had his own kind of interesting sense of humor. And we had met at a team, as a team in one of the conference rooms, and it was a one of those long conference rooms that he would have, where, you know, there's probably five people one side, five people to the other, and then two at each end, or one at each end. And I happened to be at the end, and he just looks up at me one time and says, Steve, where are your people from? And I went Oh, okay. I mean, he would say these weird things that caught you off guard, and you always knew you. You had to answer him quickly. Or he could react. So I just said, Well, you know, I'm I grew up in Central Illinois, I have, you know, I've got three siblings like, blah, blah, blah, this that and I was kind of going through my background. Then he just kind of looks at me. He says, No, Steve, where are your people from? And I said, I looked at him again. I'm Filipino. And then all of a sudden, he just went on to another topic. And that was it. That's all I had to say. And it was a strange thing. And everybody just kind of looked at each other and looked at me. And it just became an inside joke. So anytime anybody in that room kind of speaks to each other, we -- and encourages each other, we just say, hey, you're my people. So, that's how it works. And it's quirky to this day, but that's kind of how you make the memory.

Christian Napier 21:01
All right, my people. That reminds me of the Ten Commandments, let my people go. Charlton Heston would say, Yeah, okay, well take us to Games time. Sure, you know, we had talked before, but I think it's important for people to understand that not everybody stays with the committee throughout the entire life of the committee, and people come and they go, but everybody who worked for the committee was important. So what was your experience working there, and then actually leaving and and contributing in a different capacity?

Steve Raquel 21:35
Yeah, you know, I had an opportunity to oversee McDonald's Olympic marketing in 2000. And so they wanted me initially to stay in Salt Lake. So I stayed in Salt Lake for about a year, you know, maintained my relationships, kind of dealt with all the owner operators in Salt Lake. But it was clear that I needed to be back in Oakbrook. So they moved me back in Oakbrook. But as you can imagine, I'm constantly back in Salt Lake. And I was there on September 11, of all days. It was, it was really weird. We were in Little America. So I believe that's the hotel downtown, the real nice. Yep. Right. And, and was woken up by my wife who said, hey, look, look at the TV. And we did and everybody kind of gathered in the, I think in one of the conference rooms, and could not believe what was going on. And interesting enough, but at the same time, in the same building, there was a conference on dealing with terrorism going on. So we were like, whoa, that's kind of strange. But I ended up getting in a car driving all night, going back home the next day. And, you know, it was kind of us rare time a surreal time. And then, by the time the Games came back, I was able to come back again. It was it was, it was great, but it's the same time eerie in that, you know, what was going to be a very celebrated exciting event, all of a sudden had this ominous feeling. And a level of security and, and inadequacy, that everybody was a little bit on edge, you know, just September 11. And then, you know, a couple months later, it's going to be in February, I believe the Olympic Games started. And I remember trying to get into opening ceremonies and just feeling kind of this sense of like foreboding, thank goodness, nothing really happened. But we just, you know, tried to make the best of it. But, you know, the Salt Lake did a great job of making sure everybody was felt secure and had all the security requirements that

Christian Napier 24:03
I have to go back to driving back from Salt Lake to Illinois. How did you make that happen? Did you rent a car? And did you just drive straight through? Did you did you make a stop? I mean, that that sounds, that sounds crazy.

Steve Raquel 24:17
Yeah, you know, I was actually going to stay. And, you know, I was -- we were in a four or five star hotel and we were safe. There is nothing going on. Like who wants to, wants to do anything in Salt Lake City. So you know, I was telling my wife, hey, I think I'm gonna stick it out here and she -- and then I just happened to tell her oh, and by the way there is a car come home, and somebody rented a car. And she just sternly said you need to be in that car. So I packed up and I got in the car. Somebody had rented it. And we drove straight. A bunch of the agency people, bunch of McDonald's people drove straight through the night and got in the next day. Interesting enough, there was another group from Utah, who were in New York. They had gotten the rental car, had driven the Chicago, but had to turn it in. And we were able to give them our car to return back to Salt Lake. So that all -- I mean, even though everything kind of went up in the air, it was nice to be able to kind of have that little network to be able to return the car back. But it was a crazy time it was, it was, as you can imagine. What is it about an 18 hour drive, just listening to the news every hour, and you know, the death counts and what's going on and not knowing anything? It was, it was quite an incredible time to be able to experience something like this.

Christian Napier 25:56
Yeah, that is really, really, really crazy. I'm just wondering if you thought to yourself, after you told your wife, oh, there happens to be a car coming back. And she says, oh, you need to get that you get in that car and you come back right away. You're thinking, uh, maybe I shouldn't have said that.

Steve Raquel 26:10
Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much, you know, and the rest of the guys got back probably, maybe four days later, four or five days later. So you know what, it's fine. It's, I'm glad to have been back with my my wife, my daughter. I think that at the end of the day, that was probably the more important thing to do. But at the time, it was like, Hey, you know what I lived you know, I have family in Salt Lake and friends in Salt Lake, it wasn't that I was leaving something where I wouldn't be taken care of. It was the mere fact that my wife wanted me home. And, you know, happy wife, happy life. So it's a quick decision.

Christian Napier 26:47
And if I recall correctly, you were here in Salt Lake during the Games, but you were working with McDonald's.

Steve Raquel 26:55
You know, I wasn't at that point. Unfortunately, after 9/11 they went through reductions. So I came to the Games just as a spectator like everybody else. But I did get to see everybody and participate and had a lot of fun.

Christian Napier 27:10
So I missed that. I knew that you were here. But I couldn't remember if you were here just on your own or if you were back with the arches, saving the McRib.

Steve Raquel 27:22
It's still out there. At least twice a year.

Christian Napier 27:24
It's my guilty pleasure. I must say.

Unknown Speaker 27:28
You're not alone. Trust me.

Christian Napier 27:31
That and the Sausage and Egg McMuffin, which is an absolute staple for me whenever I -- Well, I would say whenever I get on an airplane, but I haven't been doing that lately. So I have too many of those. Okay, so the Games end. What's next in Steve's life?

Steve Raquel 27:46
I started -- I continued to be a marketing. So actually, if you believe this, I, I jumped on with a private security firm. They -- most airports were made into a government control, put under control. So they had people who, you know, if you're an airline security person, you're usually a government employee. But they carved out a section for private security to just make sure that that door was open. I joined a firm that was granted one of those private licenses. And I worked at San Francisco of all companies. And our revenues when I started right before I came on was $10 million a year with the San Francisco private security when it went from 10 million to 100 and 30 million in six months. And we had to hire 300 people and we had to be up and running in about 90 no, about 60 days. Crazy. So you know, post 9/11 definitely some companies did not do well kind of like what we're going through today. But I became part of a very, very, very fast moving company. But after a while I really wanted to go back into traditional sports marketing. I worked with Allstate as a contractor in the sports marketing department. Helped with the Allstate Nets, Allstate 400, Allstate Sugar Bowl, you know, all these different quarry properties. Moved over to DDB Chicago working on State Farm, their sponsorships, and they had a lot of different sponsorships but also doing advertising and then actually moved off of there to work with an NFL agent and just decided to work with athletes directly. That's when I got, I got involved with a startup. We started to create in 2007 - 2008 a, a startup called Fan Fuego that we raised a couple million dollars to build out a Facebook for sports. Remember in 2007, Facebook was just starting to be open to non college students and so we felt like this was an opportunity to help monetize athletes through a platform. It didn't go well, as you can imagine, I'm not with it. But the concept back in 2009, when I started to really get into it, I just said, hey, I think this whole thing about social media is going to stay. So that's when I opened up my agency to really deal with social media and started with some of the athletes that were on that platform and said, you know, what, instead of creating my own platform, we're just going to use the platforms are out there and monetize those. And that's how I started. And then it just started kind of building and building from that point on. And then, in 2014, I was asked to start teaching. I started guest teaching a little bit, but then they formally asked me to start teaching. So I've been kind of doing both for the last seven years, which has been exciting for me. I get a little bit of both. And I get to hang out with students. And I get to practice what I preach, and vice versa, which has been wonderful.

Christian Napier 31:00
That's so cool. Now, when you look at your dual role there, both as the founder of your own company, and then also as an adjunct professor, are there lessons that you learned in Salt Lake that still apply today to the work that you do? Or the teachings that you impart with your students?

Steve Raquel 31:17
Well, one of the big things I think, is that Salt Lake, especially in marketing, gave me the playbook to 50 different marketers, in terms of how do they look at their brand? And how do they leverage that brand in using the Olympics? And so you would think, oh, you know, marketing cookie cutter? Well, there's some of the processes that are probably cookie cutter, but it was very fascinating to have access to some of the greatest marketing minds and look at their plans and how they used it. And so it afforded me this opportunity now to be able to look at, you know, what, I have a new client or when I'm teaching, I get to pull from that experience of saying, one program, 50 different ways to leverage it. And, and so for me as a teacher, as an adjunct, and not necessarily we call it traditional research academic, is, I bring a lot of different experiences to my students, which has been great. The other part, too, is just, you know, the, the concept of responsiveness, it's, you know, your clients need you and you are, especially in Salt Lake, is you're dealing with, you're dealing with the IOC, which is hours ahead of you, then you're dealing with clients on the East Coast and the West Coast. And, you know, they're getting -- the people on the East Coast are up early, and you need to respond to them. The ones on the West Coast are working late, so you still need a response. So responsiveness is really important and account service. And that just became one of my trademarks that I really have required my students to understand is, your clients really need you to respond quickly. And so I will respond quickly to you. And I expect, I want them to respond quickly to because it's important. And then lastly is the partnership. So you just can't do things on your own, by yourself. And so that's why I really enjoyed the the people I worked with, both on the SLOC side, the OPUS side, the USOC side, it literally does take a village. I mean, in this point, it was an Olympic Village. But all those people brought different strengths and different opportunities and perspectives and pulled off, you know, they continue to pull off every two to four years, right? Or three, to come talking about Tokyo. Some of the most amazing events, unexpected experiences anybody in the world has ever experienced.

Christian Napier 34:09
This has been a real joy for me, Steve, to connect with you and hear all of your stories. We've got a few assignments before we wrap things up. The one has to do with the song is there a particular song that you hear today that takes you right back to Salt Lake 2002?

Steve Raquel 34:24
Oh, yeah, it's -- Oh, goodness gracious. You're gonna have to do remember what it was?

Christian Napier 34:31
I don't remember.

Steve Raquel 34:34
Lose Yourself. I think it was the song that I recommended. That was around 2000, 2001 it was -- I use it when I run or when I was especially when I was training for the marathon. It it just was is a great song. And so that's that's the song I recommend.

Christian Napier 34:54
Oh, hold on a second training for the marathon?

Steve Raquel 34:57
Yeah, back in 2008. I trained for the The Chicago Marathon while I ran the Chicago Marathon,

Christian Napier 35:03
Holy cow, that's awesome. That's awesome.

Steve Raquel 35:06
I think you you overestimate, you know, if you if you want to say, Hey, Steve, did you complete it? I'd say yes. Outside of that don't ask about times and how it ended and all that fun stuff. I completed it.

Christian Napier 35:20
Completely. It's awesome. I wouldn't say that. But it's, you know, he did it in 12 hours. I wouldn't care. 12 hours would be awesome. Okay. Remind me of the artist that sings Lose Yourself.

Steve Raquel 35:34

Christian Napier 35:35
Eminem. Okay, that's right. Yeah. All right. We'll add Lose Yourself to the Spotify playlist. Okay, how about food? A particular restaurant you liked to go to?

Steve Raquel 35:44
You know what I'll give you two. One, which I don't think is there anymore. But I always had a laugh. Especially in, in very conservative Salt Lake downtown with Big Ass Coffee. With the donkey. That was right there. I always thought it was great hit. Good coffee. But I just thought man it is. You don't usually see that in a town like Salt Lake. So I love that. But the one I really recommend that we always go to is probably our favorite is Porcupine Grill. So that is on Fort Union, I believe on the Fort Union area, right at the base of what is it Big Cottonwood Canyon? So great little place. And I always loved going there. We'd always, always go visit. And I would recommend going there every time.

Christian Napier 36:31
All right, fantastic. We'll definitely add those to the map. Well, the coffee place is not there anymore, we'll put it on the list. I have a list of restaurants that are no longer there. But Porcupine Grill is definitely still around. So I'll put that on the map on the website. And my final question for you today, Steve, is there a particular moment of the Games, it could have been a competition you witnessed while you were there, or it could have been an experience that you had, while you were actually working for Salt Lake that just gives you all the good feels, you know, a real goosebump moment for you?

Steve Raquel 37:03
You know, I remember I gave you one example, the first time we went through this. And so I'm actually giving you a different example. Because as I thought about it, it was a really good day, there was actually a day I'll explain why. One of my clients that I had at that I manage had the opportunity to manage was Delta. And Tom -- can't remember Tom's last name. He unfortunately, he passed. But Tom was my sponsor, my my client, and they wrapped an Olympic 747 or 777, 747 with the Olympic colors. And I just remember helping him out with the launch. And everybody, they brought a bunch of school kids in and they flew the plane and they tipped the plane. It was great. But the crazy part is is that we ran a promotion, helped them run a promotion, where it was going to be a one way flight was going to be $20 and two cents to from one place to another. And one of the things we got to do that day is we flew that plane there, there was a group of us plus an Olympian that flew that plane from city to city. So we went from Salt Lake, to I think LA, to LA, I think Seattle to Houston to Atlanta, to I think we ended up in Boston. And then we were back by like eight o'clock that night. It was crazy. We did like I don't know how many thousands of miles. But we flew that plane all over the US and then came back at night. And it was great. It was absolutely fantastic. And, and, and having and hanging out with an Olympian on board. Totally memorable. Just a great time.

Christian Napier 38:56
Wow, that's awesome. Yeah, the only downside of that is you probably didn't earn frequent flyer miles.

Steve Raquel 39:00
We didn't. The Olympian was Nikki Stone. So just so you know, so she was great. And it was -- the only I think bad thing outside not getting a miles is that some people actually paid full price. And so when we had said, Hey, this is a promotion, you know, for those of you who are able to get this for $20 and two cents, you saw some faces that were, what do you mean, I paid $600 to be on this flight! So that wasn't very fun.

Christian Napier 39:29
Wow. Well, I think that's about the best way you can spend $20 and two cents.

Steve Raquel 39:35
Oh, absolutely.

Christian Napier 39:35
Go see pretty much the entire United States of America in a day on a plane.

Steve Raquel 39:39
And in first class, so that was even better for me. Oh, yeah.

Christian Napier 39:43
Yeah, that's awesome. All right. Well, Steve, that's a great story. Thank you very much for sharing that story. If people want to learn more about the work that you're doing with the media company or your professorship, or they want to just reconnect with you and share memories of Salt Lake 2002, what's the best way for them to do that?

Steve Raquel 39:58
Just go to my website, You can fill out the contact form. You can also just google me and find me on LinkedIn and connect with me there. I'd love to reconnect with people.

Christian Napier 40:13
All right, fantastic. Well, Steve, thank you. Thank you once again for joining us listeners, please like and subscribe to our podcasts and Steve once again. Thank you.

Steve Raquel 40:22
You're welcome. Thanks for having me on.

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