“So we started these intervention programs, and eventually we expanded into East Africa, we were in seven countries, reached about 45 million people of permanent sustainable programs to fortify food in parts of the country, just like we have food fortified here, so when you go buy a loaf of bread, it’s got iron and so forth in it. We wanted to bring those same opportunities to people in East Africa and Central America.” – David Dodson
David Dodson is a former U.S. Senate candidate and current Stanford University faculty member. In addition to managing a private equity fund, Dave co-founded Sanku and Project Healthy Children which has changed the lives of forty million people in east Africa through sustainable nutrition programs.
This podcast is a partnership between the Wyoming Humanities Council (www.thinkwy.org) and the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (www.jhcga.org). With the goal of educating and inspiring listeners, the series interviews global thought leaders on relevant issues impacting Wyoming and the world such as the future of energy, the impacts of climate change, trends in business and entrepreneurship, foreign policy, issues impacting global coal communities, and more. Each interview also illuminates each interviewee’s personal journey as part of their work and passion for what they do.
David Dodson (00:00):
So, we started these intervention programs and- and eventually, we expanded to East Africa. We were in, uh, seven countries, reached about 45 million people of permanent, uh, sustainable programs to fortify food in parts of the country, just like we have food fortified here. So when you go buy a loaf of bread, it's got iron and so forth in it. We wanted to bring those same opportunities to people in East Africa and Central America.
Emy diGrappa (00:26):
Hello, my name is Emy diGrappa. Each week, we bring you stories asking our guests the question, why. We learn about passion, purpose, and the human experience. Brought to you by Wyoming Humanities, with the generous support of the Wyoming Community Foundation, this is What's your Why?
Today, we are talking to Dave Dodson. He's a standard lecturer and former candidate for U.S. Senate. Welcome, David.
David Dodson (01:05):
Hi. Good to hear you.
Emy diGrappa (01:07):
I was reading in your bio that you run a private equity fund and that you co-founded a organization called Sanku and Project Healthy Children. Tell me about that.
David Dodson (01:17):
Yeah, but we first have to acknowledge that we just found out that you and I went to high school together-
Emy diGrappa (01:17):
David Dodson (01:21):
... 40 years ago (laughs). So that- that should've been my introduction is Dave Dodson, who I remember 40 years ago from high school.
Emy diGrappa (01:29):
Well, especially because he was the class president, pretty impressive.
David Dodson (01:32):
Yeah, yeah. Emy disclosed that she knew my old girlfriend from 40 years ago, so, anyway, that's the start of our podcast here.
Emy diGrappa (01:38):
David Dodson (01:39):
So, thanks for asking about Sanku. So, it started... the- the original name was Project Healthy Children, and then we, um, changed the name to Sanku. But it actually started in Honduras, even though it eventually moved to East Africa, and my then wife, I'm- I'm remarried, but my then wife, uh, Stephanie, and I were down there, visiting on another program, ano- nother nonprofit and hurricane Mitch hit, which was the worst hurricane or the second worst hurricane to hit Central America in 100 years. It was really a, uh, a horrible place to be at the time. And it had a- it had a really profound impact on us and we wanted to see how we could try to get back to Honduras and that community there.
And we had noticed, um, as a result of the work that we were already doing down there, that there were these, um, neural tube defects, which basically what happens when you don't get enough vitamin B, and it leads to things like cleft lips, cleft palates, and so forth, and- and also, a lot of neurological diseases. And you just need a little bit of folic acid or vitamin B when the woman is pregnant or the mom is pregnant in order to prevent it. So we started these intervention programs and eventually, we expanded to East Africa. We were in, uh, seven countries, reached about 45 million people of permanent, uh, sustainable programs to fortify food in parts of the country, just like we have food fortified here. So when you go buy a loaf of bread, it's got iron and so forth in it. We wanted to bring those same opportunities to people in East Africa and Central America.
But then, just to finish up, we were about done put... implementing those programs, which have saved the lives of, you know, countless people and also improved the lives of people, you know, micronutrient malnutrition is the leading cause of mental retardation, reading ca... leading cause of preventable blindness. I mean, a lot of bad things happen, and only cost a few cents a year in food fortification to prevent those things from happening while the woman is pregnant. But we discovered along the way that a lot of people, the most vulnerable populations, were not eating foods that were centrally processed. So they weren't getting captured in what we were doing. So, uh, because these are, uh, moms and dads that would go and they were subsistence farmers and they would go and they would farm and they would put the grain on the top of their head, the- their [inaudible 00:03:51] in a basket and take it to a mill, have it milled and then take it home and cook it, and there was no way to fortify it.
And so we invented, uh, a device that's the only... unfortunately, it's the only device available that fortifies food in these small mills. And we worked with Oracle Corporation and Stanford University, and so we have hundreds of these, uh, devices out throughout Africa, and we will soon have thousands of them out there. Um, and every night, they report back up to the cloud, we know how much was milled, uh, where it was milled, how many people are being affected by it. And so we're saving a lot of lives out there.
Emy diGrappa (04:24):
Congratulations. How can people, uh, learn more about that organization?
David Dodson (04:28):
Just sanku.org, S-A-N-K-U dot org. Of course, we're a nonprofit, but, uh, we have a sustainable business model and, uh, we reach people for now the cost of one penny per year transform someone's lives.
Emy diGrappa (04:45):
I- I love that. That's excellent. Thank you.
David Dodson (04:45):
Emy diGrappa (04:47):
Thank you for doing that. What is your background? What is your educational background, and- and kind of what would've led you down that- that journey to- to start that project?
David Dodson (04:56):
Boy. I mean, I don't know how... I don't think you can connect the dots because I- I went to school in California in Stanford and- and, uh, I got a degree in economics, and then I... after that, I was in the energy sector for a while, working, uh, for McKinsey & Company and other firms in the energy sector, and then went back to business school, got a business degree, and then was in business for myself. So I had this whole business track that was about building companies and creating jobs and making money for myself and others. But along the way, I was feeling like a- as all these gifts were being, you know, given me, and I, you know, I- I had a lot, I mean, I- I had a good place at the starting line of life because I had two good parents who took good care of me and they gave me good education and I was... grew up in a great community.
And I was looking around, I was saying, you know, you've worked hard but you also had a lot of things that were sort of set up for you at birth, so how can you try to give back? And so I think, you know, my education didn't really lead to my interest in giving back. I think it's more the success that I had made me look around and say, okay, you know, with that comes some responsibility and some obligation.
Emy diGrappa (06:01):
And so, a- at Stanford, you're, um, a lecturer on economics.
David Dodson (06:06):
Yeah. W... uh, at the business school.
Emy diGrappa (06:06):
David Dodson (06:08):
That's right. So not in the economics department, but at the business school.
Emy diGrappa (06:11):
And so, it's interesting how you became an entrepreneur.
David Dodson (06:17):
Uh, yeah. But not (laughs)- not interesting for me because I never imagined, uh, anything other than being in business for myself. It's almost embarrassing. I- I- I- I- I didn't really consider doing anything else. My dad was in the sugar beet business and he made, uh, farm equipment. And so, you know, I grew up walking around the factory floor and walking out in the sugar beet fields, and both my grandfathers were in business for themselves. And so it was just... I just never really considered any other career options. So I went to business school so I could learn how, like learn the skills so I could run a business.
Emy diGrappa (06:52):
Oh, okay. So that was already your passion and desire since you were really young.
David Dodson (06:57):
Emy diGrappa (06:58):
And you just knew that was something you were gonna do.
David Dodson (07:01):
Yeah. I- I... it seemed so boring. I mean, I got to business school, or I got to undergrad-
Emy diGrappa (07:05):
David Dodson (07:06):
... and I looked at all the different majors and I thought, oh, be an econ major 'cause that was the closest. They didn't have a business major, that was the closes thing I could think of. Although I did take a ton of classes in history and art history and so forth, but I never really thought about doing anything else. Um but I- I- I think that was what I was meant to do on my... on that side of my professional life, but I also feel that, uh, I was also meant to work on some of these projects to give back as well. Uh, and I- I kind of have to credit my mom for that, really. My mom as a school teacher, small town school teacher. She taught in Wellington, Colorado. Of course, you know where Wellington is, right?
Emy diGrappa (07:43):
David Dodson (07:43):
Uh, but very few people do. Uh, Wellington's big claim to fame, you might not know this, is- is that, uh, Supreme Court Justice White came from Wellington, Colorado, if you can believe that.
Emy diGrappa (07:53):
No. I didn't know that.
David Dodson (07:54):
No? And it shows that a good- good small town education, uh, can lead you to some pretty good places. But my mom was always focused on how do you give back and that, um, you know, there- there's a saying in Deuteronomy that we all have drunk for wells we didn't dig. And sometimes, we're surrounded by people who are successful and they feel like they did it all themselves and they were on the ladder for success, and I'm like, no, you were not on the ladder for success, you were on the escalator for success. I mean, you had... you definitely did some things on your own but you were- you were helped along the way. My mom really instilled that in both myself and my sister.
Emy diGrappa (08:28):
I think that is really, um, you have to just give her so much credit and- and recognition because that- that's a big deal-
David Dodson (08:37):
Emy diGrappa (08:38):
... that we teach our children to give back, that we teach them to give and not take.
David Dodson (08:42):
Emy diGrappa (08:43):
Well, I wanna ask you about your journey, first of all, how it was... you came to Wyoming and your journey to become a candidate, uh, and run for the U.S. Senate.
David Dodson (08:54):
Yeah. So, my journey to Wyoming is really straightforward. I- I grew up in Norther Colorado. I didn't grow up, uh, I mean, you and I went to school in... at Poudre High School, which was in Fort Collins, but that's not where I grew up. I grew up north of Fort Collins. Uh, Laporte, Colorado was the closest town I grew up in. So I was... but even, as you know, I mean, when you and I grew up, Fort Collins was the size of Gillette, Wyoming. So it was, you know, it's a bigger town now, but you and I grew up in a pretty small town. And I'd like that, and that was sort of in my blood.
And while I was in college, my stepsister went to UW, University of Wyoming, and then she met her love of her life and they were at the Triangle X Ranch up here and stayed here. And so then my mom, uh, who was remarried, came up here with her now hu... her then husband, who was their dad, she's actually my stepsister, and to make a long story short, all of a sudden, a ton of family were in Teton County. And so it just became obvious, given that I like small towns. I didn't actually like the way Fort Collins was going. It was kinda becoming a b- a b- a big strip... hole in my mind, and I love being in a small town and Jackson was... Jackson fit the bill, so that's how I got here.
The second question you asked, Emy, was how I ended up running for U.S. Senate. It really does go back to this whole kinda giving back and Sanku and Project Healthy Children, we- we have a, uh, a CEO now and it- it runs on its own and I'm on the board and so forth, but I was looking for ways to get back and just had become increasingly and deeply concerned about the direction of the country and where I can play some role in it. And then I looked at what was happening in the legislative branch in the Senate and the House, and I wasn't happy with basically the performance, if you will. And I thought, you know, it's time for some people who are not career politicians, who are not beholden to moneyed interest to raise their hand and say, you know, I'd like a shot, so that's why I ran for Senate.
I understood that running against John Barrasso, who was, at the time, the fourth ranked, uh, Republican in the Senate, was a real uphill battle, especially because I had no name recognition. I was kinda starting from nothing. But I didn't think that I should measure my, um, running for office based on whether I would win or not. I should base it on whether I should run or not. And I sometimes told people, I said, you know, it's a little bit like if you can picture World War II and the Normandy invasion and when the, uh, ramp comes down to the landing craft, you know, the first person off, you know, they might take the bullet, but that's one less bullet for the next person. So that's sort of the way I felt about it.
Emy diGrappa (11:22):
That is a really interesting and intriguing perspective to figure out that, hey, I'm not gonna win or I don't, you know, I know what I'm up against-
David Dodson (11:32):
Emy diGrappa (11:33):
... and... but just to still work and go forward. And what did you learn throughout your journey campaigning in Wyoming? What did you learn? What was memoral to... memorable to you?
David Dodson (11:44):
So you... the... you have to think about it, um, first with the backdrop that for seven months, my principal job was to talk to people and listen. And what a luxury it is just to sit back and listen and hear people's stories. And, you know, I felt like I- I knew a lot of statistics at the time and I had read a lot and so... but there's nothing that replaces just hearing somebody's personal story. I mean, I remember, uh, we were in Rock Springs, we, meaning my wife and- and myself, Wendy, and we were in Rock Springs and we were at the, um, Home and Garden Show.
And I was talking to this couple, maybe their early 20s, they weren't together, uh, they- they weren't a, uh, a romantic couple but they were... they happened to be at the Home and Garden Show together, they were talking about healthcare and he said, well, you know, um, insurance cost me about $7,000 a year and- and- and- and he said, here. And he holds out his- his- his fist in front of me. And he says, "Grab my wrist," and I grabbed his wrist. And he moved his hands around a little bit, and clearly, there's something seriously wrong with his wrist. And I said, "What happened?" And he said, "Well, I fell and I fell on my hands and I broke both my wrists. And so I went to the emergency room and they said, 'Well, it's not life threatening so there's nothing we can do for you.'"
So then he went to the doctor and the doctor told him he had no... the guy had no insurance. He's 22 years old, or whatever, and pay $7,000 in ins... out-of-pocket insurance, who has that kinda money? He says I don't- I don't- I don't have the money. And so he let his wrists just heal like that. Now can you [crosstalk 00:13:16]...
Emy diGrappa (13:17):
David Dodson (13:17):
This is the United States of America, this is Wyoming, and we have a 22-year-old... or- or, let's see, I think it was north of Worland, I can't... I'm trying to remember the town. Anyway, I was in this small little café and it was between breakfast and lunch so there was a little bit of a die down, so I walked back, you know, just stuck my head back in the kitchen and I was, of course, I was campaigning so I was trying to meet people and I- I- I walked back to this, uh, talked to this woman who was doing the dishes back there, and she was mid to late 50s.
Anyway, we're talking and she said, "Well, I don't have health insurance," well, you know, Emy, while we're talking about health insurance, she said, "I don't have health insurance," for exactly the same reason, she had a, uh, a young daughter or an older daughter and she said, "Well, as a result of that, she doesn't go to the dentist, she doesn't go to... for regular checkups. And, um, she's telling me the story, and then the piece that really stuck with me is I remember she looked up and looked out the window and she said, "You know, I think though, in a couple of months, I'll be able to get health insurance." So I'm thinking, well, maybe she's on Medicare, or I couldn't quite figure. So I said- I said, "Why is that?" And she said, "Well, in- in three months, that's my last trailer payment."
So, Emy, here's someone who, she's wo... oh, by the way, she worked seven... she works 72 hours a week. So here's someone who's working 72 hours a week in our state and she has to choose between her trailer payment and health insurance.
Emy diGrappa (14:42):
David Dodson (14:44):
Um, so- so those were- those were profound stories that will stay with me the rest of my life. But there are also fun things along the way. I remember, we had that... it was the, I think it was the 4th of July parade. There (laughs) were so many parades, I can't keep 'em straight, but it was- it was, uh, I think it was the 4th of July parade in Casper, and each time we did a parade, I mean, we'd never campaign before so, you know, we're learning along the way, so we're trying to really do our parades well as we're campaigning. So, my wife Wendy says, "I wanna have a balloon arch," you know, uh, over the pickup truck to really bring attention to our Dodson for Senate pickup truck. So she orders this balloon arch and she's all excited about it and we get there (laughs) and there's not balloon arch.
And my nephew, who actually, uh, lives here in- in Jackson, he had been in charge of it and he got this huge balloon arch which we had ordered and he puts it in the back of the pickup truck but he doesn't tie it down well, and so (laughs) by the time we got to the- by the time we got to the parade, every one of the balloons had popped. So we had some- some- some kind of... actually, my wife at the- at the moment was not too happy about it, but I thought it was kinda funny. So...
Emy diGrappa (15:47):
Oh, I'm sure you're laughing about it now though (laughs).
David Dodson (15:49):
Totally, we laugh about it (laughs). I mean, to- to think that you would get too exercised over a balloon arch is a bit much. But, um, oh, the camp... the- the days were so long and so hard and so tiring, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Emy diGrappa (16:04):
And you learned a lot.
David Dodson (16:05):
I- I learned about Wyoming, I learned about myself, uh, I learned, you know, my wife and I did it together and I learned about what an incredibly hard worker she is. Um, but also, she brought some things out, uh, about me that I didn't know. So I always thought of myself as an introvert. And a lot of CEOs and entrepreneurs are introverts. And, uh, so we'd go to a bar or a restaurant or where there were people or the Chugwater Chili, uh, cookout and- and, uh, uh, and she'd say, "You know, you gotta go out and meet people." And I was very reluctant to go up- up to people. But by the end of the campaign, um, I got over that.
And you know why I got over that, Emy, is because the stories that I would hear from people were so worth it and I got so interested and so intrigued, and a little bit more confident in myself going up to someone and saying, "Hi, I'm Dave Dodson, running for U.S. Senate," um, that I ended up... I don't think I'm... I think I'm still an introvert, but I just love... I realized how much I loved talking and meeting with people and hearing their stories. I would never have gone that if it weren't for Wendy, my wife, who, you know, she can- she can walk into a football stadium of strangers and by the time we're out, she knows everybody's name.
Emy diGrappa (17:19):
When you're in those situations, you dig deep inside of yourself and realize that you have what it takes, and every person does, but it's a matter of just really putting yourself on the line to figure that out.
David Dodson (17:34):
Emy diGrappa (17:34):
You know, to challenge yourself.
David Dodson (17:36):
Emy diGrappa (17:36):
Yeah. I was also very interested, you know, while you were on the campaign trail and- and then just thinking back about what you learned and what do you- what do you think are some, you know, struggles, uh, for Wyoming and- and maybe some... as an entrepreneur, some answers to maybe even the coal communities and what they can do and how we can transition? And what- what kind of new thoughts do you have about that?
David Dodson (18:04):
Well, interestingly enough, I- I come from a coal mining family. My grandfather and great uncle were both in the coal, uh, coal mining business in Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, and they coal... they mined, uh, anthracite coal, that was basically home heating coal. And the nation's energy appetite changed and all those coal mines went bankrupt. And so it was about 10 years ago, I decided to go back to all the mines that my grandfather, uh, had run to see what happened to those communities. And it was, uh, sad and devastating to see what had happened to these thriving coal communities. And then, fast forward 10 years later here, I'm running for Senate in the state that is the, you know, largest, uh, producer of coal in the nation.
And I looked at, you know, especially, you know, the communities around Campbell County, I mean, especially Gillette and also in, uh, Sweetwater County and Lincoln County and so forth, and, uh, I could see where we were headed. And since 2011, it's been so obvious what's gonna happen to these coal royalties and- and- and... which affects the state, but also, what's gonna happen to these communities. And I believe that when it comes to the energy sector, you know, I'm- I'm a- I'm a entrepreneur, free market person, et cetera, et cetera, but there's no- there's no question that as... from a- a standpoint of national policy, we do direct, uh, how our energy is consumed and- and- and where we get it from.
And our nation had this, you know, we- we moved to, uh, favoring [inaudible 00:19:36] for coal and- and so there was a whole shift of coal production from the middle of the country to Wyoming. And Wyoming benefited massively from that. But now we're moving in to a different direction, and the nation has forgotten about these coal communities that had been built up around these coal mines. Meanwhile, I think that, uh, the coal industry and Wyoming in particular has been massively misled. And we've been misled by our leaders because what our leaders said is, "Oh, don't worry. Everything is gonna be fine. Blame Obama, blame, you know, people who think that the climate is changing. All we need to do is elect different people and then coal will come back again," which was absurd, and it was never true, and it was deceiving.
And of course, we see it now. Uh, but since 2011, it's been perfectly clear that what was happening is that the price of natural gas and the availability through fracking was displacing coal and electricity production, no question about it. Had nothing to do with... I'm not saying that regulation doesn't have an impact on coal, but that's not the difference between whether it's gon... which direction it's gonna be.
And then the second thing, which people don't really focus on, is that when the energy grid was deregulated, what that meant is at the substation level, you can turn basically on and off, uh, electricity production, which is incredibly important to the economics of electric utilities. Well, the problem with the coal-fired plant is you have to heat it up and you have to cool it down. It takes- it takes a long time, basically a day, to- to fire up a coal plant or bring it back down again. Natural gas plant, you can turn it on and off with a flip of a switch, basically.
And so those two forces are what's killing coal, it's not regulation. So- so here's- here's the tragedy, we've known this forever and we've, uh, told our coal communities that the- that the, uh, that something else is going on. And meanwhile, all of those years have been wasted. And I think there were two very obvious opportunities. One is coal from the Powder River Basin in particular has some environmental characteristics that mean that if we were able to export it, uh, to Asia and displace Indonesian and Chinese coal, we will be improving the environment. And s- and so we've had this incredible environmental, uh, art case that we could make that we should be exporting our coal and instead, we've stuck our finger in the eye of the environmentalist and tried to force our coal through the state of Washington when in fact, we had this wonderful environmental case that could've been made.
The second where we've wasted money and time is in carbon capture technology. It could be that there is no way to capture the carbon output of a coal-fired plant and store it successfully, but there's a lot of technology that would suggest that we can. Meanwhile, if you compare it to wind and solar, what we said is we said, well, I don't- I don't know if wind and solar will be economical or not, I don't know if it's gonna work. But if it would, how wonderful it would be. So let's subsidize that and let's see if we can't give that a kickstart. We never did that for coal because the coal industry and our coal leaders had a completely different approach, which is, you know, poke- poke the, y- you know, poke the eye of the environmentalist and try to force coal o- o- onto America, and it clearly didn't work. So now, here we are. We've had five bankruptcies in about as many years here in Wyoming. So- so- so that's- that's the coal industry and the coal communities.
The second is our state. And, uh, not to get too sort of, you know, wonkish with statistics, but basically, we get between half a billion and three quarters of a billion dollars less in revenue than we did in the peak. And we are a small state, that is serious amount of money with crumbling in- infrastructure. And so what's our response been? Our response is don't tax me. So, how does that work? When your expenses are going up, when your infrastructure's falling apart, when you've lost pushing 3/4 of a billion dollars in revenue, and your only response is to, one, don't increase taxes. And by the way, government's inefficient. You're gonna find 3/4 of a billion dollars of replaced, uh, you know, royalty revenue with inefficiencies?
When I was on the campaign trail, you know, public... the state workers had not had a raise I- I think it was in six years, okay? School teachers were talking about how neglected their schools were. So now, what is the future of Wyoming? What we did is we could've taken that coal revenue and we could've invested. Instead, we consumed it. Now if that coal revenue was gonna come forever, we could say we'll- we'll just spend it. Why not? You know, we- we got lucky, okay? But it wasn't forever. And so we never invested in it, we just spent it. And how we spent it is we decided that we're not going to look for alternate, uh, um, industries, we're going to enjoy, you know, a low tax base, and- and we'll just let our kids figure it out for themselves. And that's basically what we've done.
And so as a state, we- we've been... we're extraordinarily good at this. We're extraordinarily good at- at growing things and digging things up and- and raising things. So we have, you know, cattle and we have coal and natural gas and we have, you know, sugar beets and, uh, other crops that we have in Wyoming, and what do we do with it? We give it to another state where all the value is created. So a steak that's sold in- in Tokyo for $100, uh, Wyoming beef, uh, producers get $2, everybody else gets $98. Uh, we are the, basically, the only domestic supplier of trona, which is in just about everything. What do we do? We dig trona up out of the southwest corner of our state and we give it to somebody else to turn it into soap and to turn it into different products and so forth, where all the value is created.
Um, I mean, I- I love the example of sheep in the state, and I know I've gotten a little bit beyond your question, Emy, but it... but sort of what do you do about it?
Emy diGrappa (25:23):
You're very passionate about it.
David Dodson (25:24):
Emy diGrappa (25:25):
I hear it.
David Dodson (25:25):
Um, so- so Wyoming produces really the finest wool in the country. Some people would say it's the finest wool in the world. People in New Zealand might have a little bit of arguments, but- but the point is it's extraordinarily good wool because of our climate, all right? What do we do? We take our sheep and we shear the wool off and we put it in a truck or put it on a train and we send it North Carolina, where they make beautiful suits, et cetera, et cetera, where all the value is created. Why aren't we doing that here? We have one Wyoming wool, we have one, uh, mill in Wyoming. We should be- we should be taking that wool and turning it in- into finished goods. We should be taking that trona and turning it into finished goods
Our steak. Everybody knows Omaha Steaks, right? People pay more for Omaha Steaks, probably taste exactly the same. Doesn't matter, it's a brand, people pay more for it. Our beef is raised out in, you know, [inaudible 00:26:20] land, exactly what, uh, you know, especially at the coast, exactly what they want. They want it... when they're having their hamburger or their steak, their image is that cow is out in the open range, you know, with a cowboy on a horse with a hat, that's- that's what they wanna be eating when they're in New York City. What do we do? We take all the... we take it all and we send to Greeley, Colorado to have it slaughtered, where all the value is created. Why aren't we doing that here?
So my point, Emy, is that while- while we were digging up coal and- and bringing in, you know, close to 3/4 of a billion dollars of- of- of royalty, the revenue comes in four streams, but the... but, you know, taken collectively, it's a lot of money. Instead of investing in these other industries that we had, we just sort of let the good times roll.
Emy diGrappa (27:02):
You know, I can- I can... in everything you- you're saying, and- and I- I love your ideas. Um, I hear your entrepreneur spirit and really how that really shines through in- in every way you've given, uh, answer on how we can build back our economy and- and own it, you know, not give it away, like you said. And I- I love that.
David Dodson (27:24):
Yeah. You know, yeah, yeah, it is- it is. We have to- we have to stop this sort of let's do PowerPoint presentations on diversifying the economy and endow and- and, you know, and all these initiatives. It is time to get s- stuff done because Wyoming is running out of time. Everybody knows that those coal revenues, coal royalties are going down. And natural gas revenues, they might come up a little bit for the state, but not by much. So that fuse is about to hit the bomb, and that bomb is not very far away, and we have squandered so many years.
And I- and I hope that, you know, our governor, Mark Gordon, I hope that he stands up for the state and says, "We have an emergency," and takes the political risks necessary to basically kinda bop us on the side of the head and say, "We're running out of time here, okay? We don't need any more consultants, we don't need any more PowerPoint presentation, it is time to create revenue and industries inside of our state.
Emy diGrappa (28:15):
Right. Get your hands dirty. Well, it's been great talking to you. Thank you so much. And, you know, just, you know, to keep that conversation going about your ideas, uh, and- and Wyoming and, you know, the changes, what is your... where can they get in touch with you? Where can they follow you? Where can they...
David Dodson (28:36):
Yeah. Uh, davedodson.com.
Emy diGrappa (28:38):
David Dodson (28:39):
And then, uh, I have a public Facebook page-
Emy diGrappa (28:41):
David Dodson (28:42):
... and then, uh, Twitter is, uh, davedodson307-
Emy diGrappa (28:45):
David Dodson (28:46):
... for our zip code, so davedodson307 on Twitter.
Emy diGrappa (28:49):
David Dodson (28:50):
And then my Facebook page, the public page. And then, uh, davedodson.com, and I try to, uh, I try to be as noisy as I can every day. (laughs).
Emy diGrappa (28:57):
Okay, good. Good. We like that. Thank you so much.
David Dodson (29:01):
Good to be here.
Emy diGrappa (29:10):
Thank you for joining us for this episode of What's Your Why, brought to you by Wyoming Humanities, with support from Wyoming Community Foundation, and generous supporters like you. To learn more, go to thinkwy.org, subscribe, and never miss a show.