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Richard Connor: How a chance encounter turned into a podcast

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If you want to know what’s really going on in Fort Worth, you have to go to The Squire Shop right next to Hulen.

And you have to listen.

You will learn a lot. This is where our new weekly Fort Worth Business Press podcast, FORTitude, took root. The first, an interview with Mayor Betsy Price, is now available on the Business Press website.

But back to The Squire.

There will be buyers and there will be people sitting on the big leather couch watching the sport. There will certainly be some good gossip in the sports pit.

True wisdom will come from a man who can talk and listen. He is not afraid of his opinions, which are usually well shaped by a voracious appetite for news. He reads several newspapers and watches television.

It would be owner Steve Humble, who runs the men’s clothing store with his son Todd.

Humble has worked in the clothing industry in Fort Worth for decades, first at Henrys, then opening The Squire Shop after Henry’s bankruptcy. He’s tall and beefy and over 50, let’s say, but still cool enough to wear his hair in a short ponytail on occasion. Its impeccable taste is suitable for all ages.

Steve knows the past and present of Fort Worth who were and are the players. Lots of theories and ideas hang out there, hanging on joke hangers next to thoughts that are both deep and shallow, as if they are drifting among blazers, suits, shirts and ties.

It was in this climate of intellectual couture that I spotted Brinton Payne last spring.

Payne is an expert in numbers and data, among others, and has been involved in politics for many years, providing insight and analysis to officials and organizations. He worked for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for several years as well as for State Senators Kim Brimer and Jane Nelson. He helped found Mosaic Strategic Partners, then left to return to the company he already owned, Legintel, LLC.

That day at The Squire Shop, I asked him if Fort Worth and County Tarrant were ever going to switch Democratic.

Absolutely, he said. The change is already underway.

Then we went back to shopping.

He was right about the money. Joe Biden won the city and county in last fall’s presidential election.

Seeing this happen, I reached out to Payne to ask for his help in analyzing the demographic changes in Fort Worth. The more we talked, the more ideas and concepts emerged in relation to the media coverage.

One day he suggested that we stop talking to each other and bring these discussions about the future of Fort Worth to a larger audience. He agreed to interview the executives here and present the results in a podcast. He said he would take JW Wilson, his friend from their high school days in Trinity Valley. Just like that, an idea blossomed, and now Payne and Wilson are co-hosting FORTitude for the business press.

They make a great duo.

Wilson must have incompatible chromosomes. It breaks a number of stereotypes and molds. He wrote in football at TCU and now owns an art gallery, the William Campbell Gallery. He is a founding partner of ROXO energy. He also wrote his first book, Portraits of a soldier: the extraordinary life of Jon Lippens.

Payne says that more than J-Dubs’ competing interests, Wilson is known for his unwavering kindness, especially towards strangers. Brinton tells the story of rushing to a Little League game and seeing another baseball parent help a stuck motorist change a tire, possibly risking a late arrival for his son’s game.

As it turned out, roadside assistance was provided by his old friend Wilson.

Amid the turmoil caused by our devastating winter storm, Wilson found 800 gallons of fuel needed to heat the Union Gospel mission.

It’s just who he is, expecting nothing in return, Payne said.

They are both good and smart. They care about Fort Worth and want to talk to the folks at the podcast who can help us understand the changing demographics and makeup of Fort Worth’s business and build a roadmap for the future.

Don’t take my word for it. Launch their first podcast and listen to it from them, at fortworthbusiness.com/podcast.

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