Marc Harrison: Hello, I'm Dr. Marc Harrison, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. Today I'm with Kody Merritt, a security officer who's joining remotely via telepresence from Logan Regional Hospital. Thanks for being here, Kody. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your role with Intermountain?
Kody Merritt: My name's Kody Merritt. I actually work part time in security here at the hospital in Logan, Logan Regional. My fulltime job is I'm an adult probation and parole officer for the state of Utah. So work in law enforcement. I've been doing that for 16 years. I enjoy it. I like being in the part of law enforcement where you have opportunities to make change and to help people move forward and progress in life really is the thing I like about it. I don't know that it'd be a good street cop. I'm not a good punisher in that regard.
Marc Harrison: Right.
Kody Merritt: I believe everybody has a chance to change and can change. I don't think because someone made a mistake in life, it makes them lesser than. I like to help them understand that they are able to do everything and anything they want to, just because they have a record doesn't mean they can't.
Marc Harrison: Boy, that is really inspiring. I love your optimistic approach to life. I mean it. Really, that faith in humanity is a good thing. Thank you for helping keep us safe in Intermountain as well. Much appreciated.
Kody Merritt: I love this job. Intermountain has always been great to me and the end of December was my 10 year mark with Intermountain. I love being here. We have a great team. Our security team up here is amazing. They're good dudes. We have good leadership.
Marc Harrison: That's really good to hear. Happy anniversary with your 10 year anniversary with Intermountain. Now I understand you've got a side gig and that you are a world arm wrestling champion. Is that true?
Kody Merritt: That is true. I've actually been arm wrestling for, off and on, for 24 years.
Marc Harrison: Wow. Well, usually when somebody competes at a really high level in a sport, there are life lessons to learn, because you don't end up where you are... It's not an accident. Right?
Kody Merritt: Nope.
Marc Harrison: I wonder if you might share some of what you've learned as you've taken this journey to be a world champion Kody?
Kody Merritt: Well, it's been a goal for the last 24 years. When I first started arm wrestling, I started training with a gentleman who is now renowned to be the greatest of all time in arm wrestling. The idea of waking up in the morning and thinking, “I am the best in the world at what I do. There's no one better than me.” Just that whole premise amazed me 20 plus years ago, and I made it a goal. It was… Sorry, I might get a little emotional about it because it was a big deal to me. When you get to stand on a podium representing your country and listen to the National Anthem being played, it's amazing. It's bigger than you.
Marc Harrison: What an honor. And the hours, and hours, and months, and years of hard work and probably pain and suffering as well. Right?
Kody Merritt: There's a lot of pain.
Marc Harrison: Yeah.
Kody Merritt: I've had multiple surgeries to make myself better again. But yes, you train hard, you work really hard, and you have to, because you know the guy that is going to be there is doing the exact same thing, if not more. You have to put in the time and the energy to make yourself the best you can be. I think that life is all about attitude and how you approach it, and the approach you have to life determines who you are. You get to make that choice no one else can for you. I believe that the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude about the problem.
Marc Harrison: I like that.
Kody Merritt: And how you look at things. Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill, just work hard.
Marc Harrison: Right. So talk a little bit about your drive for excellence in sport, and what that allows you to bring to your role in service to our patients and caregivers at Intermountain.
Kody Merritt: If you don't set goals in life, if you don't have somewhere you're going or something to attain... I look at it as like a hundred yard dash. If you and I were going to have a race and we'd line up at the starting line and the gun goes off and we're out, and I'm kicking your butt. But I decide to stop at 50 yards. I'm not going backwards, I just stop and just be happy where I'm at. What's going to happen in that race? That person, you're going to blow past me, you're going to win, so because I'm not progressing and moving forward, I'm actually losing. In life, I feel this exact same way. If you're not trying to be a better person each day, you're failing, you're losing that battle, that race.
Kody Merritt: I think that when we deal with our clients, as caregivers, I think that we have to be always trying to better ourselves. In doing so we help better their situation as well being here. I think that just shows you can walk into a room and you can tell who the positive person in that room is just by the presence they present.
Marc Harrison: Right absolutely.
Kody Merritt: I really think that patients or even visitors to the hospital can see and feel that when they deal with us as caregivers. I think that's very important that we are there to lend a helping hand whenever needed.
Marc Harrison: Kody, our family motto is “relentless forward progress,” and nothing good happens by accident. You don't succeed at things either personally, or professionally, or in sport without chiseling away at it. I just want to congratulate you. The number of adults who are willing to do the hard work to make themselves better people every day, it's not huge. I wish there were more, and none of us are perfect and there's always room for improvement, but that attitude that you have of “I'm going to keep making myself better because I can be of greater service to others” is really very admirable. I just want to say thank you very much for being an Intermountain caregiver.
Kody Merritt: Well thank you for allowing me to do it. I do love this job and I have zero complaints about what Intermountain has offered me.
Marc Harrison: Well that's good. Any questions you have for me, Kody?
Kody Merritt: Well I overheard you say something about heart transplant or something like that?
Marc Harrison: Oh, I had a bone marrow transplant. So about two months ago I had a bone marrow transplant at LDS Hospital for multiple myeloma, which is a blood cancer that got diagnosed over the summer. Let me just tell you, it's not like going to Club Med to go to the bone marrow transplant unit. It wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but boy are those folks amazing. Talk about caring, thoughtful professionals. I'm feeling real lucky right now. Feeling really good, although I've got a much more aerodynamic hairdo than I had before.
Kody Merritt: Well, it doesn't look bad, I'll tell you. I don't think I would look good with no hair, that's for sure.
Marc Harrison: My wife said the nicest thing to me. She said, I have a well-shaped head. That's like the best compliment that you probably get right, if you have no hair.
Kody Merritt: I do want to comment on your relentless, I love that word. Relentless-
Marc Harrison: Forward progress. RFP. Yeah, relentless forward progress.
Kody Merritt: It's easy to say you want to keep getting better, moving forward, but the word relentless makes that, is just you don't stop. You never quit. You never give up and you're always moving forward. I love that and I think I'm actually going to use that if you don't mind.
Marc Harrison: RFP baby. Yeah, there you go. Great to meet you Kody and thanks for your service. When's your next big competition?
Kody Merritt: I have a couple big matches. It was funny it didn't take but an hour after I won the world championship in November that I had people calling me for big matches with big people, big names. I've got three of them lined up for this coming year. The first of which is in May and it's against a guy that... See being the world champion is an amazing feat. You get to compete with the people that are there, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're the best in the world because some people might not have been able to go to that tournament.
Marc Harrison: Right.
Kody Merritt: There are people that I haven't beaten yet and some of those people are the ones that I get to arm wrestle this year. I'm very excited about that and it's nice when people call and say, "Hey, if I pay you to come over here, will you arm wrestle?" Well, sure, I would love that.
Marc Harrison: Yeah.
Kody Merritt: What have I got planned? I've got one in May, I've got two in May actually, and then one in August scheduled thus far.
Marc Harrison: Well, heal up soon and drop me a line when you get back, let me know how it goes. Okay?
Kody Merritt: Okay, perfect. Thank you so much.
Marc Harrison: Take care Kody. Thank you. Have a great day.
Kody Merritt: Alright, bye.
Marc Harrison: Thanks.