This week on Bucket Talk, we meet HVAC technician and hobby woodworker Nate Adams, who you can find on Instagram as @builtby_n8. He’s been in the HVAC trade for 20 years, working on the sales side for the last 15 after starting his career with an apprenticeship. Since he’s no longer out and about working with his hands, he decided to get a woodworking shop going. To Nate, woodworking is not only a fun way to get his hands dirty, but it is a form of therapy and a time to relax. Listen in as Nate chats with our hosts about making his way from apprentice to sales, finding solace in the workshop and helping others learn their craft.
Eric Girouard 0:00
This is Bucket Talk weekly podcast for people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive, but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trade and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discussed what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:29
This is Jeremy and Eric here with Bucket Talk powered by BRUNT. This week, we have Nate Adams goes by the Instagram handle @builtby_n8. But before we jump in, Eric, what's been going on?
Eric Girouard 0:42
All right. All right. So we mentioned a little bit we were testing out the PBR circuit also known as the professional bull riding Association in two of our riders, Eli Fassbender and Cody teal had been tearing it up, Eli actually won the event the other day. And so Jeremy and I are starting to plan a trip out to Fort Worth, Texas for the professional bull riding World Championships in mid-May. So Jeremy, tell everyone a little bit about what we got going on.
Jeremy Perkins 1:09
We got two riders, both are very good contenders. It's the last week of the rodeo circuit, the PBR circuit there it's supposed to be a week long, like shindig crazy, I still haven't picked out an outfit yet, I'm not sure if I'm going full Western or full rodeo clown. But it could be something in the works there. But ya no, I mean, I've never really been to Texas. I've like flown through there. This is gonna be fun. It's gonna be interesting. We'll be we'll definitely be out of our element. Oh, yeah.
Eric Girouard 1:39
So it'll be a lot of fun we'll meet a lot of cool folks and see how this plays out for us if something we do long term. So super, super pumped. But let's dig in.
Jeremy Perkins 1:52
Today, we're here with Nate Adams. Nate goes by the Instagram handle built by underscore and eight Nate. Nate, welcome.
Nate Adams 1:59
Hey, thank you guys, I really appreciate you having me on.
Eric Girouard 2:02
Awesome, awesome wise. Likewise,
Jeremy Perkins 2:04
you have an interesting story, you are in the HVAC trade, and you're also in the maker space. So kind of want to get a little background on who you are, where you came from, and go back as far as you want.
Nate Adams 2:16
Cool. So I've been in the HVAC trade for about 20 years, I started in the field, not knowing anything, I went to apprenticeship school, kind of worked my way up. And then I've kind of through that time of taking advantage of opportunities that presented themselves and have kind of experienced all sides of the trades. I was on the wholesale side distribution side. And I've been in sales on the manufacturer side for about 15 years. So I worked directly for a controls company for 12. And then the last two years, I've been with what we call a manufacturer's rep group. If a company doesn't have a direct sales force, they hire somebody like us, and we represent their product in our territory. So I love it. It's been a great career path. For me. It's been an awesome experience for me and my family, being able to support my family and all of that good stuff. As far as the maker space. I grew up my dad was always tinkering and fixing stuff. My dad built the house He currently lives in. He's finished it when I was in kindergarten. It's it's not a huge house, but it's a two story brick house with a two car garage. And he never built a house before in his life. He's a telephone man. So that kind of tells you what I grew up with. So he was always built in fixing stuff. He was under the car. I was under the car with him if he was under the tractor. I was under the tractor with him. So that's kind of where I think my love of like tools and work on my hands came from
Eric Girouard 3:36
how did he build the house back then without YouTube?
Nate Adams 3:41
The original OGS eat guys that built houses were his friends. Oh, there you go. And he learned from them and read books. So the old fashioned way? Yeah, it's pretty impressive. He's built by underscore pops on social media. He doesn't post a ton but I wish he would I made him an account and send it to him. I'm like you need to start posting so then he started posting it's kind of cool. Awesome. Yeah, so that's where my love of all that stuff came from and being in sales now. I love what I do but I'm not out doing stuff with my hands anymore. So that's where my shop came from. When we bought this house I started setting up you know my shop and then that's kind of my like, I don't know you call it therapy you call it whatever you will. That's where I go to to to get that feeling of building making working with my hands fixing stuff anything around the house that needs to do and I try to do it if I can if not then I got a bunch of people that I know that in the different trades and construction so hire though man but um, yeah, that's kind of a
Jeremy Perkins 4:47
this is kind of an interesting question that that I asked a few people is what was the shift why the shift from service to where you are today more opportunity or was it you know, tired body How'd that work for you?
Nate Adams 5:01
You want the 100%? honest truth?
Jeremy Perkins 5:03
Nate Adams 5:04
I got a DUI and lost my license. Ah, man. Yeah. So it sounds bad. It was I was at one of the salesman for the AC company's housewarming party, we were shucking oysters and I had a few beers. I stopped drinking like two hours before I left thinking I was good, because I had to drive home about 30 minutes. And I, they popped like 15 people that night, same arresting officer. So whereas I wasn't drunk, I was technically over the legal limit. And that's just what it was. So I couldn't drive the company truck anymore. They let me go, the general manager got me a job at the wholesale side, just in the warehouse receiving and sweeping floors. And just to have a job till I got everything figured out. From there, I ended up working the way within three months into the purchasing department at that wholesaler, which they were a pretty big player in the space at that time. So I worked in the purchasing department for a couple years met guys that do my job now and make connections and then ended up transitioning into sales because of some of those connections I've made. So it's a terrible thing up front. But when you look at it, like the way I look at it as you can never give up, like whatever situation you've dealt with, whether it's pushed on you or you put yourself in it, you got to keep just plugging away and figure it out and do the best you can. Yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 6:25
when the world gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
Nate Adams 6:29
So it was sucky. Don't get me wrong, like losing your license and DUIs cost a ton of money. It was at a really, really bad time in my life that was like, like another, you know, scoop of poop on top of a poop sandwich at the time, but that's usually how it goes. I mean, I made it through it, I figured it out, turn a negative into a positive at some point, you know, I look back now actually had this conversation with an old friend that is in the business today in a meeting. But you know, if that DUI hadn't happened, I probably would still be in the field somewhere, either I don't know in sales or not for a contractor somewhere in which would be great. No problem at all. That I probably wouldn't be on this side of the business. And this is a good fit for me. So yeah, yeah. Sometimes several silver linings. Absolutely. Yep. Yep. Sweet.
Jeremy Perkins 7:17
So and clearly, you've never lost the love for working with your hands. So continuing on in the makerspace is what you'd like to do. So how'd you get your start there?
Nate Adams 7:26
So as far as like social media goes,
Jeremy Perkins 7:30
Yeah, see, for me, I never really had time outside of my job to have a hobby to work with my hands or what have
Eric Girouard 7:36
you that you mean me that? Yeah, that's
Jeremy Perkins 7:38
sledgehammers half ass. But I mean, being a maker and perfecting your skills takes a lot of time. I mean, I've seen some of the work that you've done, I've seen some of the work, other makers have done. And it's definitely time consuming. And you've honed in your skills, What gave you that jump to just, you know, start tinkering at home?
Nate Adams 7:59
Well as that desire to, like, work with my hands and fix stuff being in sales. I don't do that anymore. I've always kind of done that. But then once we had this house, I had the space to build a shop, I took over the two car garage and told my wife that the car was not parking in there anymore. So she was not cool with it at first. But once there was so many tools in there, she couldn't fit her car anymore. It just kind of was what it was at that point. So yeah, that was were just kind of fixing stuff, building stuff around the house. And then social media, I was following a bunch of woodworker and tool guys and like wanted to enter a giveaway. And you know, I had a private social media account for family and stuff. But you had to have an open account typically to enter these giveaways. So I created this page, you know, I built one eight page, and entered some giveaways and started posts and stuff. And it's kind of grew from there, as far as showing off stuff. So as far as the makerspace, I just enjoy what I do. It's my outlet, my stress relief, if you will. So my goal with the shop was to set it up so that I didn't have to spend an hour setting the shop up and then try to do a few minutes of work because that's all the time I had left. Because I got two kids and a job and a lot of you know other things that pull me in different directions. So I wanted my shop to be set up. So I could walk out, spend 30 minutes an hour, whatever time I have that day to work on it, set it down, walk away from it, and then come back, you know, without having to do a ton of setup. Yeah. So that's kind of been my goal. As far as the shop goes.
Jeremy Perkins 9:24
Sweet. So talk me through something that you're going through right now. Any cool projects you're building or anything that you want to build that you're looking at.
Nate Adams 9:31
So I've been with this company I'm currently with for the last two years. It has been like really busy. So I haven't actually had a ton of time in the shop for stuff, which has been unfortunate, but there's a lot of fun things I'm doing with the job job as well. So nothing currently. Oh, well.
Eric Girouard 9:47
Well, hold on. What about the trailer? Isn't that a mix of that's a job just
Nate Adams 9:51
saying. Job job. Yeah, but I post quite a bit on that because I'm all about tool storage and organization. So that's a lot of fun and people seem to like that. content. So it's kind of a little bit different than, you know, most other stuff that you see out there, especially like a trailer situation. So yeah, the trailer is a enclosed trailer out, we have rigged out with a live fire, Bosch heating and cooling unit and it so we can demo it. And then I've rigged it out with all the other tools and products that we represent a kind of like a rolling showroom, if you will. And so I use that for open houses, trainings, cold calls on customers, I pull up and open that thing up and people come out, you know, I've actually been able to get conversations with contractors that wouldn't let me through the front door, I just pull up in the front and open the thing up and start milling around in it. And they see it because it looks pretty cool. And then they come out, that's actually worked out pretty good. So that's kind of always a work in progress modifying as you go. But as far as a project, my daughter wants to redo her room. So we're getting rid of her bed. There's this company that kind of makes prefab pieces to make like different pieces of furniture. So they make pieces for a bed and then you add the wood. So the like the metal legs, and then you have wood. So I showed my daughter that she likes it. So we're going to do that, but then incorporate like, she's really into books. So we're going to incorporate like a headboard bookshelf kind of behind it. Make the headboard bookshelf and then you know, take the metal prefab legs that they make, and then you know, add the wood to the frame and, and all of that. So yeah, that'll be next.
Eric Girouard 11:21
And you're gonna do that and show it to her. Are you gonna guys gonna do that together?
Nate Adams 11:25
We're gonna do it together. Yeah,
Eric Girouard 11:28
so she's getting into it a little bit,
Nate Adams 11:29
then. Yeah, you know, I wish my kids were as intuitive as I was like with my dad, but they're not, you know, as much she'll go out there with me, she's turned a few pins on the lathe. And she really enjoyed that. And then she's all excited about this project. So I don't try to force it because I don't want them to hate it. I want them to, you know, at some point, maybe come back and have an interest because they had fun with something that we did together, you know, at some point?
Jeremy Perkins 11:54
Yeah, I mean, do you see your kids, you know, going forward, one of them being in the trades, or it's too early to tell?
Nate Adams 12:03
So my kids are 14 and 16. So my son, probably not, but he's the older one, he's probably going to be more into like coding or something in that aspect of things. That's just how his brain works. You can already kind of tell that my daughter, I'm not sure it's probably a little bit too early to tell she's really good. And she enjoys it a little bit more than him as far as like, you know, making and things like that.
Jeremy Perkins 12:26
Spending time with dad. Yeah,
Nate Adams 12:28
yeah, it's, it's fun. Again, I try not to force it. You know, if they're not into it, and I'm doing something, you know, and then have a balance with that. That's one reason why I haven't had as much time in the shop as I was, I was actually spending a little bit too much time out there late at night. And so I had to dial that back a little bit. Because just, you know, reflection looking at things. So it's just been a little too much time out there.
Jeremy Perkins 12:50
And I get it too. I mean, with a farm. It's 24/7. And, you know, my daughter, Lucy is like, Dad, I do not want to go shovel poop today.
Nate Adams 13:02
You know, who doesn't want to do that.
Jeremy Perkins 13:05
But they're they're troopers. So they get out there every once in a while. But you're right, you don't want to force it. You don't want to make it something that they don't want to do. I want to be able to hand it down to one of them or both of them later on in life. But you know, if they decide that I want to sell the thing and take your money and move somewhere else. And maybe, maybe that's what it'll end up being but I'll support him either way.
Nate Adams 13:25
Yeah, I mean, things change. As you grew up, too. I look back on things. And I wish I had done things differently, like spending, you know, as you get your teenager years, spending more time with my dad and doing stuff rather than run off and you know, goofing off with my friends. But that comes in time.
Jeremy Perkins 13:38
Yeah, that's always been one of the things in my life. I wish I got started in the trades a little bit earlier. But I guess I wound up in the trades, probably at the right time. Anyway. So yeah, you know, that was good for me. But you know, that's always been kind of our thesis here is to draw attention to the trades and say, Hey, there's other opportunities out there. Because I didn't hear about him. I never was given these opportunities. And, you know, my father worked for a prison. And you know, we never went out and tinkered with anything, it was just, you know, always going soccer, and this and that. And the other thing, so I wish, I wish I kind of had an entry into the Makerspace or something like that. And now that I'm in it, it's unbelievable. I love it.
Nate Adams 14:13
It's crazy, the talent that some of these people have out there and the stuff they're doing. And that's what I love about the social media aspect of it is there's so many people that I've met and things I've seen that I would have never seen or known about without social media, you know? So,
Jeremy Perkins 14:28
I mean, it's cool. It's cool just for like a basic homeowner to I mean, how many times have you seen somebody go down to Home Depot go, which drill should I get? It's amazing to see that, you know, you guys showing different tools and different way to use things and different projects and people can actually say, hey, you know what I can I could do that. And COVID actually brought light to a lot of that. I saw a lot of people trying to do some home projects, which I think was great. You know, our landscaper that I worked closely with he was saying You wouldn't believe how much playground sand Then rocks in this and like landscaping materials I was delivering during COVID. Because everybody was trying to do something.
Eric Girouard 15:07
That's cool. Oh, yeah. No, I opened it. I mean, it flooded. I mean, people were out of supply, Home Depot and Lowe's.
Jeremy Perkins 15:13
Yeah. So, no, no, that's, that's great. So is HVAC? Is that where you're gonna end up staying with? Or do you have bigger plans later on in life?
Nate Adams 15:24
I mean, I've got some things I'd like to do, but I really enjoy what I'm doing. You know what I mean, like, with the previous company, they were a really large company, I had the opportunity to maybe move up into management a couple times, or, you know, move to a different part of the country, and take a position with some, you know, plans if other things in the future and nothing wrong with that at all. It just, it wasn't what I wanted to do. You know, some people may say, oh, you should always be growing and this and that. And you should, if you enjoy what you do, you know, that's not a bad thing, either. So I really enjoy what I do, especially with this new company, I'm doing a lot different things, that trailer, you know, the owner of that company gives me free rein, you know, within reason, but free rein to kind of do things my way, my style, as long as it gets the job done. And so, I'm really enjoying that I've got a few ideas for some other things that would need to be supplement as I get older, I'll tell you from social media, I'm actually doing quite a bit of like video production for companies within my HVAC space, and then a few other ones. And I would have never thought of any of that right out social media No, cuz like your short video that you Derby just showed. My mind kind of like goes crazy with like, funny ideas like that for presenting a product because anybody can just open a box and talk about it. And I do that plenty. But if you can make it entertaining, you know, that's fun. So from that, I've learned the skill of videography and editing. A lot of folks on social media have helped me with that time lapse camera folks, Marie over there, man made and MA Lucas have helped me a ton with like, just I got questions, they'll call and like video chat and walk me through, like how to edit this or how to do that. But it's turned into a kind of a side gig. So I've been producing videos for companies and getting paid to do it. And I'm awesome. I'm really, really enjoying that whole process and the learning process of that. So who knows, that could be something that turns into something. Yeah. In the future. But right now I'm able to do it and incorporate it with what I'm doing. So for our company, we didn't really have any social media channels, or YouTube. So when I came on I, you know, was familiar with that. So I do the company social media, and I'm producing content for our YouTube page. So that's kind of like fold it in. That's part of it. That's fun as well.
Jeremy Perkins 17:49
Well, I know you're at a much higher level than I am. But it is interesting that these new platforms such as Tik Tok, or even Instagram reels are so it made it easier for people like myself to create content about Yeah, you know, when I was in the shop, I started videoing some of the jobs I was doing. And I would get feedback back and said, you know, that was awesome, you know, thanks for showing me this. And here I am thinking that it's commonplace, right? You know, if I know it, then everybody else knows it. Right? What Why am I so special? And then I, you know, come to find out it. It actually helped a few people. Absolutely. It was really cool. I mean, there was a Ford truck that I was working on. And obviously I'm mechanically inclined, because I'm a mechanic, but it was, it was a new project animal. It was a new, it was a new project to me, you know, all this information at your fingertips, I was able to go on YouTube. And some guy wore a GoPro for the entire job is an eight hour job. And there was a part in the job that that I was uncertain about. So I scrolled through this entire video until I got to that spot. And it showed him doing it. And I was like, Oh, so it's cool. I mean, I think that you know, this level of video producing and stuff like that is extremely helpful, even to professionals. I mean, you can sit there and read a manual all day long. But you know, for some of us who can't process it in the way that it was written, watching it, you're like, Oh, that makes sense. And then you do it.
Eric Girouard 19:10
I'll read good. I don't really think I get a new tool or something. I literally go to YouTube, type in the port number and find the unboxing video.
Nate Adams 19:17
No, I agree. I've done that with plenty of times looking up videos on how to do you know different tasks on the truck and things like that same way. That's why I told my dad I mean, my dad's a smart dude, not book smart, so much, but like just common sense life smart.
Eric Girouard 19:34
He's built the house from scratch, but never do it before.
Nate Adams 19:39
For sure. And so he does things all the time. Even now when I'm over there working with him. He does things and I watch him and he doesn't even think about what he's doing. It's just little tips and tricks and things he's learned over the years on how to work smarter and not lift something to hurt your back use leverage and like he's 75 he had a heart attack a couple years ago and he Just did a barn expansion like two bay barn expansion tied it into this old barn he built 40 years ago, that was all, you know, cricket and shifted and made it all look like men. And he did it by himself with his tractor, like lifting the beams up in the polls. Yeah. Like that was last year. I tell him all the time, I wish he would show more. Because every time he does people, he's like, Well, everybody knows that kind of like we just said, Jeremy, like, everybody knows that. Not everybody does. And you know, kind of taking that knowledge and sharing it, let other people see it, learn from it well, and
Jeremy Perkins 20:31
it's crazy, because it spans generations to that you got your entry level guys that, you know, you're teaching them a new thing. But you also have an older generation that the newer up and comers, you know, have, like I said, are easily able to, to scroll through YouTube or search something and find it relatively easy. That's somebody who may not be computer savvy. And it is amazing to be able to put something out there that is useful and helpful to people.
Nate Adams 20:57
Even to that point, I've shared little tips and tricks, stuff from pops or stuff that I learned on social media. A couple of times, I've had guys that I look up to like in that space that are like professional builders that build houses that this is what they do. And they're like, oh, man, I never thought about like they learn something from it right. From from me, I don't know anything. You know what I mean? That's why we share that stuff, you know, because it doesn't matter who you are, how skilled you are, you're always I think it's in my profile, I always put we're all always learning.
Jeremy Perkins 21:26
And I can't stress how amazing the group of people that is in the makerspace and how caring they are to share the message. Like, there's not many people out there that are as caring as that group of people. And they they're always, you know, willing to share, willing to show some Heck, some people are willing to drive down and do it with Yeah, and to no reward of their own other than to just continue helping. When I first got onto this group and started networking with some of these people. I'm amazed at how many people will take a chunk out of their day to sit down with you and help you out.
Nate Adams 22:01
Absolutely it that spoke to it earlier. It's happened with me more times than I can probably even count Lucas multiple times. He's an awesome, dude. He's a ton of stuff.
Jeremy Perkins 22:13
Well, that's great. So between the makerspace, which seems like that might be your outlet, but I won't say that is what do you do on your off time?
Nate Adams 22:21
So I'm playing a lot of golf lately. Go real early in the morning like daylight. So you get to see the sun come up. Like that's pretty cool. A little bit efficient with the kids. That's fun, picked up a couple of us jet skis last year that weren't running and got them running. So we've got one running. I haven't got the other one running.
Eric Girouard 22:41
Once for that now that we get one keep one running
Nate Adams 22:45
back. Yeah, exactly. Well, there are two different models, but
Jeremy Perkins 22:49
that'll make it more Yeah.
Nate Adams 22:52
But you know what, this kind of goes back to what we're talking to. It was a buddy, he got tired of messing with him, couldn't get them run and brought it home. I'm not a mechanic but just trying to dig in and figure stuff out, did some YouTube search and, and had the thing running in like changing oil plugs to give it a little tune up and had it running and was on the water like by that weekend. And it was a little rough, but it needed a little more fine tuning but got it going. So that's fun. I gotta get the other one going. So that and then just hanging with the kids. I mean, they're teenagers now so there's always something going on with them. So yeah, nothing too crazy, man. Just the shop stuff here. Little bit of golf. Yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 23:32
yeah, well, next time. I'll just drive you around on the golf course. I'm probably the world's worst golfer. So if you want to just sit in the golf cart.
Nate Adams 23:43
It's part well, look, you can drive the cart and drink beer and a good combo.
Jeremy Perkins 23:48
That is my that is my specialty. First deal. Well, this was awesome. This is kind of the end of the show and go and we take this time to allow people to find you on any social platforms or anything you want to plug. So where can people find you? And
Nate Adams 24:04
yeah, so all the social medias are built by Nate in a. And so YouTube is built on a I have Facebook. I don't really post a lot. They're mostly Instagram built by Nate on Tiktok as well.
Eric Girouard 24:16
Sweet. Sweet. Well, great to take the time to sit down and we had some fun and in Daytona Yeah. But it's always sit down and get a more personal understanding of the man behind the camera and then dive into a little bit deeper your day job so to speak. Yeah.
Nate Adams 24:35
Yeah, for sure. Well, I appreciate you guys having me. You know, always especially when we talk about tools and stuff. I'm always down for that. So yeah, I appreciate you guys having me on and thank you for Daytona man. That was a blast. I had a really good time down now.
Eric Girouard 24:52
We're excited for round two. So yeah, me too. A couple months away
Jeremy Perkins 25:00
We got to get that GoPro working yeah
Nate Adams 25:05
get a new one
As of now, Nate has been in the HVAC trade for 20 years. He got his start like many others in the trades, with an apprenticeship. Initially inspired by seeing his father build a house from scratch with his buddies in the days before YouTube, he knew that getting into the trades was what he wanted to do.
“My dad was always tinkering and fixing stuff. [He] built the house he currently lives in…[If] he was under the car, I was under the car with him. If he was under the tractor, I was under the tractor with him. So that's kind of where I think my love of tools and working with my hands came from.”
After an unfortunate setback, Nate found himself off of the hands-on side and on the side of the manufacturers — initially working in shipping and receiving, and eventually working his way up into a role in sales. When most folks would have thrown their hands up and quit, Nate pushed forward.
“The way I look at it is you can never give up, like whatever situation you've dealt with, whether it's pushed on you or you put yourself in it, you got to keep just plugging away and figure it out and do the best you can”
Since he’s no longer spending his days actually working hands-on with HVAC stuff, finding time to work with his hands is a void he has to fill; working with his hands is what he loves to do. This is where he found his passion for woodworking. Once he had his space built out, he started posting his work on social media and his Instagram took off from there. He wasn't woodworking just to be popular on social media — he was looking to find some zen in the craziness of life.
“I just enjoy what I do. It's my outlet, my stress relief, if you will. So my goal with the shop was to set it up so that I didn't have to spend an hour setting the shop up and then try to do a few minutes of work because that's all the time I had left. I got two kids and a job and a lot of other things that pull me in different directions. I wanted my shop to be set up so I could walk out, spend 30 minutes, set it down, walk away from it, and then come back, you know, without having to do a ton of setup.”
Now that he’s got social media worked out, he’s finding new ways to use his platform to help other makers, whether it is a video on tips and tricks or unboxing a new tool someone might be looking for. He’s got a pretty good setup in the HVAC space and wants to continue doing what he’s doing, both there and with his woodworking. From the sound of it, he has a handful of paths in front of him, all which lead to success.