This is an excerpt from the upcoming Explorer Partnership issue that comes out at the beginning of February:
My route was West Palm Beach to Houston to San Juan. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, that’s akin to running from home base to center field to get to first base.
Don’t ask why I took this particular flight. I might have a bit of a masochistic tendency, when it comes to flying. I’ll take whatever route is available to get to my final destination.
But, that’s part of the whole adventure, right?!
Anyway… There’s a reason why I mentioned my route to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first leg of the flight, from West Palm Beach to Houston, was a totally normal crowd of passengers.
The second leg of the flight, from Houston to San Juan, was NOT your normal crowd of passengers. It was mostly bearded men, wearing boots and camouflage hats.
No, they weren’t soldiers. They were all linesmen and electrical contractors.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that 75% of my flight was full of these guys. (They were a pretty fun crowd on the plane too!)
Now, I always buy an economy class ticket when I travel. It’s the stingy-ness within me… and the obligation that I feel about searching for investment opportunities.
As all E/P members know. The cost of the E/P is NOT exactly a profitable venture. Instead, it pays for investment opportunities, off-sets the cost of trips, and allows E/P members to come to free dinners and receive perks. Because I invest alongside E/P members… I’m not really profiting unless E/P members are profiting.
Even though I always buy economy class tickets, I usually get upgraded because I fly so much. (See the part about my masochistic tendencies when it comes to flying.)
Guess who was sitting in business class next to me?
An electric power company executive. And the rest of business class was full of similar type upper management of other electric power companies.
How do I know this? Two reasons:
#1 I asked.
#2 They were all wearing something that had their power company emblem on it. Plus, most of them had hardhats attached to their carry-on luggage.
So, I started talking to the gentlemen next to me, who was the VP of a major power company in Texas.
Here is the (abbreviated) conversation:
Me: “So how did your company get the contract to go to Puerto Rico?”
Power executive: “Well the Army Corps of Engineers just finished getting their negotiations finished with subcontractors to repair the grid of Puerto Rico. We rarely ever work outside the state of Texas, but somehow our parent company won the bid to allow us to go to Puerto Rico.”
Me: “Oh. So, it was a bidding process? How many people do you have there? What about your equipment?”
P.E.: “Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what the bidding process entails, but I know that it’s taken A LOT longer than the process normally takes. We currently have about 500 people there, but should have over 1,000 in the next several days. And we have about 1,500 pieces of equipment that are already there – we shipped it out on barges last week.”
Me: “Wow! That’s a lot of people and equipment!”
P.E.: “Well, there is a lot of work to be done.”
Me: “You said it has taken a lot long than normal. Why is that?”
P.E.: “Well, that’s because PREPA has completely mismanaged the entire power grid – and that was before the hurricane hit. After the hurricane hit, there was no plan to repair anything. Most power companies have contingency plans for all kinds of disasters and mishaps, but that’s not the case with PREPA.
(PREPA is the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, and just a couple days ago, the governor of Puerto Rico announced plans to take PREPA private, which should be a good sign for the future.)
Me: “That’s pretty frustrating.”
P.E.: “Yeah. Imagine the people who have been living there for months without power. So… what are you doing there?”
Me: “We’re going to be looking at investment opportunities. There were already great opportunities before the hurricane hit, but now, honestly, it’s gotten even better from an investor’s standpoint.”
P.E.: “Well good luck. While you’re looking for investments, we’ll be fixing the infrastructure that will hopefully make your investments increase in value.”
We’re going to Puerto Rico in April, and you can join us if you’d like.
We’ll be checking out investment opportunities on the island, and because of the logistics, we have to limit attendance.
If you’d like to join us, please email email@example.com so we can put you on our waiting list. This is a first come, first serve trip.
We’re already more than 1/2 full, as many Explorer Partnership members signed up last week. (They get first access to all trips and dinners.)
I’ll have more about what’s going on here in Puerto Rico later this week… and some pictures to show you.