The Importance of Listening to Clients and Creating Repeatable Processes, with Ryan Hawley | Financial & Tax Series

How can a niche consultancy navigate the complex world of international workers’ compensation and case management?

In this episode, Ryan Hawley, CEO of Odin Industries, shares his journey of building a boutique consultancy specializing in managing medical care and claims for civilian contractors and multinational corporations operating in challenging environments around the globe. With a background in nursing and air ambulance transport, Ryan brings a unique perspective on the intricacies of international workers’ compensation and the importance of adaptability in a rapidly changing industry.

Ryan discusses the challenges of providing medical case management and claims settlement services in underserved areas, from developing relationships with healthcare providers to ensuring secure and compliant payment processes. He also shares insights into the evolving landscape of Defense Base Act claims and the strategies Odin Industries employs to investigate potential fraud and mitigate risk for their clients.

Throughout the conversation, Ryan emphasizes the importance of listening to clients, solving complex problems, and creating repeatable processes to deliver consistent results. He also delves into Odin Industries’ expansion into domestic workers’ compensation case management and the company’s long-term growth strategy.

Ryan opens up about the challenges he faced when starting Odin Industries during the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of adaptability in finding the right market fit. He also shares his passion for advocating for small businesses through his involvement with the Small Business Association Leadership Council for Economic Development and his commitment to promoting inclusivity and safety in public schools and libraries through his role on the board of Defense of Democracy.


Mentors that Inspired Ryan:

  • His former manager at the ICU in Niagara Falls,  inspired him to start his own company and pursue entrepreneurship 


  • The business partner who encouraged him to start Going Home Medical and re-enter the world of medical transport and international workers’ compensation




Welcome to another edition of inspired stories where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges they’re facing.

Anthony Codispoti (15:29.478)
Welcome to another edition of the Inspired Stories podcast, where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes and be inspired by how they’ve overcome adversity. My name is Anthony Codaspote, and today’s guest is Ryan Howley, CEO of Odin Industries, a boutique consultancy specializing in international workers’ compensation and case management. He’s a member of the Small Business Association Leadership Council for Economic Development.

which is the nation’s first small business advocacy organization that interacts directly with different government agencies on behalf of small businesses. He’s also a member of the board of directors of Defense of Democracy, an organization that educates the public about the value of inclusivity and the importance of emotional and physical safety for all individuals in public schools and libraries. We’re also going to talk about why he’s been to over 120 countries.

But before we get into the good stuff, today’s episode is brought to you by my company, Adback Benefits Agency, where we offer very specific and unique employee benefits that are both great for your team and fiscally optimized for your bottom line. One recent client was able to add over $900 per employee per year to their bottom line by implementing one of our proprietary programs. Results vary for each company and some organizations may not be eligible.

To find out if your company qualifies, contact us today at Add Back Benefits Agency. Now, back to our guest today, the CEO of Odin Industries, Ryan. Thanks so much for making the time to share your story today.

Ryan Hawley (17:14.556)
No problem at all. Thanks for having me.

Anthony Codispoti (17:16.261)
Yeah, so we were starting to get into this a little bit in the pre -interview offline and I had to interrupt and pause because we were really going far down a rabbit hole and I wanted to make sure we left time to get into all of this stuff here with the audience. So take just a few moments and explain in your own words what does Odin Industries do? Because you’re in a unique space.

Ryan Hawley (17:40.892)
We’re in a very unique space. So Odin Industries considers itself to be one of the experts within the Foreign Voluntary and Defense Base Act insurance markets.

acting on behalf of insurance and assistance firms, providing their medical case management all over the globe and helping to settle and manage claims that are related to either civilian contractors working ancillary to the military or for multinational corporations in the US that utilize foreign voluntary insurance. So we manage medical care, we provide payment services globally for our clients,

A lot of our clients are insurance companies that are paying settlements in the say Uganda or Rwanda or things of that nature. We’ll do sanctions check to make sure that the claimant receiving the money isn’t on any lists. Provide proper documentation to make sure that the…

wires will be accepted by the banks and do test wires to make sure that the bank account is going to the correct person before they send a settlement over. So say the settlements for $50 ,000 or something, we’ll test that bank account and confirm that with the claimant doing a small, say $1 test wire before they send their money. So we work with a number of insurance companies and structured benefits companies to provide that service.

We have a proprietary network globally of physicians in various specialties for medical legal opinions. On any given day, we could be providing medical care in India and getting reports done in South Africa and gathering medical records and I don’t know, the Ukraine.

Anthony Codispoti (19:34.243)
So let me see if I understand this. So as a US company, I have to send my employees overseas somewhere to work for extended periods of time, right? And while my employees are over there, they’re going to need medical care, right? But rather than sort of go through the traditional medical care system in whatever country that they’ve been placed in, they’re contracting with you to help find

medical care for them that is also somehow connected to their health insurance back home.

Ryan Hawley (20:10.46)
So at the point of injury, we can facilitate getting them care globally. That’s the first step is, you know, when injury occurs to get their emergency care done. We also do employer side workers compensation, Defense Base Act claims, where you have a contractor that’s been working overseas, say they were working in Afghanistan as a food service worker.

They’ve now returned home to their home country, are involved in litigation with their employer over claims of post -traumatic stress and an ortho injury related to being near ordnance.

We will get doctors to perform independent medical examinations, judging if those injuries are valid, seeing if those injuries were in fact caused by their work, whether there’s any evidence of malingering or things of that nature, what a reasonable treatment plan looks like, what sort of timeframe that would be, and making a determination if the person is ever gonna get back to full function.

if they’re going to suffer from a permanent partial disability or whether they’re going to be permanently disabled where they can’t return to work. So we only do that employer side. So we’re working with the employer’s insurance company or the…

Anthony Codispoti (21:35.458)
So your client is the employer or the employer’s insurance company? The employer. Could be either.

Ryan Hawley (21:40.732)
Could be either. Could be either. We’re just never claimants. We’re never claimants side. All of our resources are employer side. We don’t work with any claimant law firms or directly with any claimants. But our investigation are always employer side. So it could be a self -insured company that is working overseas or it could be somebody that’s working with a major insurer like…

Arch or Crawford and Company or some of the specific risk providers that deal in the Defense Base Act or foreign voluntary space.

Anthony Codispoti (22:17.283)
So for somebody who’s outside of the world that you’re living in, this is a little confusing to me because, you know, my insurance, I’ve got a network of providers that I’m allowed to go see, and if I go outside of that network, I’m going to pay a lot more. Clearly, if somebody is going overseas, they’re going outside of sort of the traditional network of providers. So, you know, if I’m placed in Uganda and I need to go in for,

you know, a checkup, or I’ve got an eye infection, or I’ve got, you know, a sore throat or something, are you getting involved in sort of that, you know, routine sort of healthcare maintenance, or are you only getting involved in sort of like the bigger cases where there’s like an injury or something like that?

Ryan Hawley (23:03.548)
We do both that, you know, we deal with high net worth individuals that will contact us before going on, say as a Safari, that will sort of map out where they’re going and map out the medical facilities that they should use if they become ill or injured during their trip. If it’s an injury.

that a company is managing employees somewhere, we can provide guarantee of payment on their behalf that we’re sending this employee to the urgent care or to the emergency, that we have contracted relationships with the hospitals, that we will guarantee payment so they can send the employee to get that medical care. The vast majority of what we’re doing is managing medical care within litigated situations.

So the employee is filed something that would be similar here within the U .S. to workers compensation. They’ve had a workplace injury, they’ve contacted an attorney and said, you know, this is all my employer’s fault. And the vast majority of what we do is manage care, either long term to manage that disability of the claimant, which is a lot of what we do, managing their doctor’s appointments, finding appropriate specialists to help them heal and get back to work.

Anthony Codispoti (24:20.673)
It’s like a concierge service in a way.

Ryan Hawley (24:20.86)
The other, the concierge for one side and then the other side is we’re providing medical experts to give medical legal opinions for the employer to make informed decisions on whether they should settle the claim, whether they should fight it, whether they’re responsible for this injury or whether there’s some questions. We also do a lot of things such as fraud investigation or things of that nature.

Anthony Codispoti (24:51.105)
And so how would a fraud investigation work? You’ve got.

Ryan Hawley (24:54.332)
We partner with one of the largest security firms in the world. So if we’re looking at a claim where the information’s not making sense or the diagnosis isn’t making sense, the treatment claim, we can then go with the insurer and say, we’ve got some concerns that there’s some medical fraud going here. We can do stationary observation.

camera on a lamppost kind of thing. We can have an agent perform surveillance and follow them around for a few days. We can do some pretty high tech document research that we have tools that we can pull the layers of a PDF to see if it’s been edited or changed in any thing. That’s a…

I believe it’s called Third Eye, the tool they use for that. So we can validate IDs, we can validate medical records. We have a lot of tools at our disposal, but if we don’t think claims on the up and up that we can investigate that pretty thoroughly after.

Anthony Codispoti (25:57.28)
camera and a lamp post. I mean, you guys are doing some James Bond type stuff, huh?

Ryan Hawley (26:02.652)
My partners on the security space, there’s not much they don’t do. They’re a massive, massive corporation. I think 20 some odd billion a year in revenue that they probably have tools that James Bond doesn’t have.

Anthony Codispoti (26:20.032)
That’s fun. Now in the pre -interview, you started to mention something about, and I don’t know if this is still what you do or if this is kind of how you started in the space, but going into some of these hostile areas, some of these unsettled areas and having to retrieve medical records. Is this part of ongoing what you do? Or is it?

Ryan Hawley (26:41.34)
Sure, that basically we have to manage care wherever the claimant is. So the commonality with Defense Base Act claims at least are multinational companies generally pull from areas that have lower wages. So you saw a huge uptick in Peru probably 10 years ago. You saw a huge uptick within Uganda.

The Balkans has been another area that they’ve pulled a lot from near Macedonia. Bringing employees to work on these contracts as food service workers or construction workers or concrete layers, that anywhere there’s a military presence, there’s also a huge presence of contractors that are coming in to help service.

Anthony Codispoti (27:13.823)
When you say pull a lot from, what do you mean by that?

Ryan Hawley (27:33.532)
these areas. So they’ll get employees from nations that are relatively low wage compared to American workers to fill these positions. If they get heard or if they have some sort of psychiatric issue related to being in the war zone, the company has to manage them under the legislation wherever they return to. So they left Afghanistan back in Kosovo.

The company until that claim is settled needs to manage their care, so provide medical care for them and do any medical legal opinions literally anywhere in the globe. That you have Nepal, you have the Philippines, you have all these areas that there’s a high concentration of workers that have gone over to work. What we find in the space is, especially with the Defense Base Act,

Anthony Codispoti (28:17.407)
Ryan Hawley (28:31.484)
is once there’s an area of concentration where employees are being pulled from, an American lawyer will go over and hang up a shingle and say, if you’ve ever been hurt at work, you know, pop by here and we’ll sue your employer for you. So you’ll see sort of an area of hiring. And then within a couple of years, you’ll start to see sort of a center of litigation coming out of that area. Cause an American firm has gone over and started to recruit.

So weary sort of.

Anthony Codispoti (29:02.75)
So is the, sorry to interrupt, Brian, is the legislation that sort of dictates what the process looks like, is this USA legislation or is this an international, it’s USA legislation?

Ryan Hawley (29:11.068)
It’s US legislation. For all intents and purposes gives a foreign national working for a US company similar workers compensation rights to that of an American worker here. So there’s.

Anthony Codispoti (29:28.894)

Ryan Hawley (29:30.364)
There’s some nuances to it, but it’s in layman’s terms, somebody that’s not living in my world. It’s close to the workers’ compensation system here.

Anthony Codispoti (29:41.182)
You’re just doing it on an international scale. So you’re having to help that Peruvian get help while they’re hurt in Uganda, as well as continuing to get them help until the case is closed when they move back to Peru.

Ryan Hawley (29:44.028)

Ryan Hawley (29:56.764)
We’re the pointy end of the sphere for the insurance and assistance companies and the law firms managing these cases. The insurance companies essentially are sales machines. They want to sell more insurance. That’s what they’re designed to do. The assistance company manage the care on behalf of the insurance companies. We act as their vendor or resource that’s boots on the ground where these claims are.

And the law firms, they rely on us to get the expert opinions, et cetera, for their ability to litigate these cases. They’re focused on the legal aspects. They’re using us as the provider of information to help them navigate these legal cases.

Anthony Codispoti (30:43.39)
So the pointy end of the spear, the boots on the ground, this means, but paint a little bit more of a picture. What more physically are you doing there? Pointy end of the spear makes me think like there’s some aggression, but I’m not sure if that’s the right picture.

Ryan Hawley (30:47.836)
That’s us.

Ryan Hawley (31:00.028)
So we’re –

Ryan Hawley (31:04.636)
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,

Ryan Hawley (31:25.884)
meet acclaimants at a physician’s office to help pay for their claim that we’ve got probably a thousand field agents globally that we can call on a case by case basis to help us.

Anthony Codispoti (31:40.03)
Okay, got it. You are the boots on the ground. That helps to cement the picture in my head a little bit more. And so, are there a couple of fun stories you can share with us? I mean, you’re going to these crazy places, you’re talking about cameras and lamp posts, like some of the clandestine stuff I think would be fun to hear about.

Ryan Hawley (31:59.644)
Sure, as far as interesting stories with regards to fraud, we were managing one claim in Africa that things just weren’t making sense. That reading the medical notes, that the treatment didn’t seem appropriate, the injuries seemed kind of off. So we looked into it. The first place we would look would be to go to the provider.

get some additional medical records to review to see if we could make what we have make sense. If there’s something that we’re missing or something that we don’t have in our file. So I sent somebody to the facility and there was no facility. It was a field that there was no hospital. Looking at the documents, all of the medical reports have been faked. All of the x -ray reports have been faked. None of it was real. It had been…

Anthony Codispoti (32:49.566)
How can you tell that an x -ray has been faked?

Ryan Hawley (32:52.956)
that we didn’t have physical x -rays, we had the documents that it was fake because the hospital didn’t exist. The doctor didn’t exist. It was an empty field. The address had no…

Anthony Codispoti (33:05.118)
You didn’t have to look any further. Once you got there, there’s no facility. The whole thing’s a ruse.

Ryan Hawley (33:09.692)
Then we started to go through the documents and all of the documents were typed on the same computer that despite being named for different physicians and things, they were all typed on the same computer and we were able to show this was one person that came up with a story and put a remarkable amount of work into trying to make that story valid.

As far as, you know, globe trotting and all over these countries, prior to starting this company, I spent most of my twenties in the, in the back of an airplane doing air ambulance transports all over the globe. That’s, you know, I would be on call for a couple of weeks at a time during those 14 days. I might be in five or six different countries. That’s it’s,

Anthony Codispoti (33:59.644)
And what does air ambulance transport work?

Ryan Hawley (34:03.292)
So if somebody’s got travel insurance or their employer, if they’re overseas on a vacation or on a business trip and become ill or become injured and aren’t able to be transported on a commercial aircraft home, then you need to hire a private jet to basically be an ICU in the sky to get this person home. You can rack up tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands.

in charges if you’re in a foreign country receiving medical care so it’s usually financially beneficial to bring this person back to their home country where they’re being treated under that country’s insurance or if it’s here in America being treated by their Cigna or United Health or what have you.

So at the time the aircraft of choice for air ambulance was a Lear 35. So flies for about four and a half, four and three quarters hours at a time. So to get overseas, I would usually leave from Toronto, go from there to just outside of Newfoundland, go from there to Iceland and then.

Anthony Codispoti (35:13.403)
Sounds like an incredibly inefficient process.

Ryan Hawley (35:16.796)
It was, but it allowed me to see a lot of the world in that space and it was a pretty interesting way to spend your 20s. You know, at my age now with kids and responsibilities like that, I don’t know that I’d want to do it now, but prior to having children, it was a pretty cool way to spend your youth.

Anthony Codispoti (35:39.867)
And so you’re classically trained as a registered nurse. And so this is what led to this ambulance transport work. And is this ambulance transport work then what led to you eventually sort of falling into or discovering this whole new world of international workers’ comp case management?

Ryan Hawley (36:00.092)
Prior to Odin Industries, I started a company called Going Home Medical, and that was strictly focused on medical transport at the time. I became a manager, I think 2012, I started managing the ICU in Niagara Falls. Very quickly realized that hospital middle management just wasn’t the hamster wheel that I wanted to be on.

five days a week, these sort of structured hours. My entire day was this meeting to this meeting, this meeting, so we could have another meeting about having a meeting next month. It was driving me crazy. And there was another manager that was at Niagara that used to work for one of the transport companies that I did. We were out having beers and talking about the glory days of getting to see the world on somebody else’s dime and how fun it was.

And he said, well, you know, we should start a company like that someday. How about tomorrow? You know, registered a business, we made up a logo, came up with a business plan and launched. And, you know, I think you and I had the story before we got on air that initially we had focused on the Snowbird market, focused on sort of Canadians that were down in Florida or in Arizona. And it just, it wasn’t a revenue model that was sustainable.

Anthony Codispoti (37:20.186)
A lot of competition.

Ryan Hawley (37:20.484)
So a lot of competition, chase yourself to the bottom revenue model. It was like a competition to see who could charge less. It just didn’t make any sense. So we started servicing dangerous areas. We started servicing Western Africa, predominantly Afghanistan, and then Iraq at that time.

Anthony Codispoti (37:38.267)
And how do you promote yourself? How does somebody get to know that you’re even an option for this?

Ryan Hawley (37:43.484)
We had a lot of existing relationships with assistance firms from being on the planes, that you’re dealing with the case managers at that time. So we kind of had a foot in the door to maybe not get to the decision maker, but get to somebody that could get us to the decision maker. And then the, you know, servicing Afghanistan and doing a really good job of it, our clients became our best referral source that.

when other assistance companies would meet them at conferences or something of that nature and say, you know, we’re having a lot of problem getting these contractors out of Afghanistan. And they’d go, you know, call Ryan, he’ll be able to sort you out. So we were actually getting a lot of referrals from clients, talking to other similar companies saying, you know, these guys do a really good job. You should talk to them.

Anthony Codispoti (38:34.81)
And so you guys have the pilot, you have the nurse or the medical staff that is on the plane, you’re leasing the plane. Is that my sort of putting the?

Ryan Hawley (38:45.244)
We would do commercial transports on regular aircraft, your Delta, American Airlines, that we would provide nurses and physicians. And then rather than get into owning and operating jets and taking on all of that responsibility, we got an insurance policy that would allow us to act as a broker and develop a proprietary network globally of accredited providers.

either through NAMTA or URAMI or CAMPS, the three sort of big accreditation agencies within air ambulance. And we built a network that we could call on them, get pricing at a preferred rate, but not have to manage the aircraft or take on those costs that our insurance would allow us to act as a broker. And…

Anthony Codispoti (39:33.817)
So what does that mean? Because you also mentioned that you were booking people on like Delta flights. So am I sitting in a coach seat with my broken leg propped up or?

Ryan Hawley (39:39.836)
So Delta Flux would be our own staff.

Ryan Hawley (39:47.068)
Generally, medical transports were always done in business class. So you would have either a nurse or a physician in business class. You try and do routes that have as few stops as possible. If you can get a direct flight, do the direct flight. If not, try and only get one stop over. Some of the airlines like Leftanza.

actually have stretchers built into their planes and sort of hidden away areas. Other times you would be in like a regular business class seat. The nurses or physicians would provide whatever medications that they needed, help get them in and out of the wheelchair. We would, if they needed to be brought by an ambulance airside, we would facilitate getting those staff being allowed to go airside.

getting allowed into the various countries with work permits. There was a lot of logistical support that needed to be done over and above just the medical staff.

Anthony Codispoti (40:47.16)
Got it. Okay, so I had it envisioned and I think now incorrectly that I was on some sort of a cargo plane.

in the back and it’s just, you know, big wide open space, but what you’re describing is I’m well enough that I can sit in a business class seat for the transport. I’ve got a nurse there who’s with me that’s able to assist me. And then when you talk about being a broker, you’re talking about being a broker for airline tickets. Is that right?

Ryan Hawley (41:15.772)
No, no, no, for the brokering part would be for air ambulances. So those would be private jets that had medical staff.

Anthony Codispoti (41:22.008)
Okay, so we’ve got two different scenarios. There’s one where I’m well enough to sit in a Delta business class seat and there’s another one where it’s a dedicated type of plane and air ambulance. Okay.

Ryan Hawley (41:32.476)
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So that we would act as sort of the go between for both that if they were on a commercial aircraft, we had our own staff that we would book the airline tickets to go get them, sit beside them and get them there. If they needed an air ambulance, we had providers all over the world that we could get competitive quotes from say three or four different providers to do that transport on our behalf.

Anthony Codispoti (42:00.152)
Got it. And you mentioned that a lot of your clients came from word of mouth, which says a lot about the quality of your service, right? What is it that you guys are doing differently than the providers that other people are really struggling and moving from to you guys?

Ryan Hawley (42:08.06)
Mm -hmm.

Ryan Hawley (42:17.276)
I think we look for the difficult stuff that where we, where we’ve sort of differentiated ourselves from the competition is we actively look to solve hard problems that, you know, getting somebody out of South Florida is not that complicated a thing.

getting reliable resources in Uganda and developing relationships with medical facilities in generally under service areas is not the easiest thing to do. And also the other thing that we did that seems very simple, but a lot of our competition, I guess, doesn’t do is we listen to our clients. That’s where the payment services came in.

that you had these major issues of insurance companies in good faith trying to pay claims into areas and we’re having people getting robbed for their settlement funds. You know, somebody had found out that they were getting settled with the insurance company and the bank account that the claimant’s settlement was going to was going to somebody that was robbing them.

Anthony Codispoti (43:23.224)

Ryan Hawley (43:38.3)
that it was a problem that they wanted to solve and it was like okay well a test wire should be able to solve that so you incur the cost for a wire and you send a dollar or two dollars in a transaction and then follow up with the claimant did you get that money yes we got that money okay so before you send the fifteen thousand dollar check we’ve done a test run

We’ve also made sure that there’s not any sanctions issues, there’s not any trouble, which helps mitigate risk for the insurance companies that has become, I don’t know, we’re probably doing 10 to 15 a day, call it, I don’t know, 20 ,000 a month in gross revenue to solve a problem that was quite easy. Like we had.

Anthony Codispoti (44:31.351)
Send it to and we’ve all done this when connecting to a new bank account or a new service they send a small test transaction and they ask you to verify the amounts so that they can make.

Ryan Hawley (44:41.916)
Exactly. We took something that’s done at a grand scale with opening a PayPal account or something of that nature, made it specific for payment of insurance claims, and solved what was a fairly major problem for…

people that are operating in the Balkans are operating in Nepal of just verifying that before we send $150 ,000 medical settlement, that it’s going to the right person and that we’re not breaking any international banking laws by sending that.

Anthony Codispoti (45:15.031)
The sanctions piece would be if somebody is on a list of criminals or we’re not allowed to send money to North Koreans or Iranians or something like that.

Ryan Hawley (45:25.244)
Exactly. So we use a software that goes, I think, 200 databases. So it covers American, Canadian, Australian, British law that we can identify if there’s issues that could get our insurance companies into trouble. Some of the clients we’re working for are not American -based companies, they’re British -based companies. So we want to check against…

whatever database to make sure they’re not getting in trouble with who their government says you can’t do business with. That we’re acting as a risk mitigator for the insurance companies so they can operate knowing that, you know, they’re not breaking any rules. And international banking, it can be fairly complicated. That, you know, the people that are on sanctions that we all know their name, that’s pretty simple. You know, don’t wire Vladimir Putin.

But say the Balkans, for example, you had a pretty nasty war in the Balkans that there was a lot of war crimes trials against. Those are names you might not recognize that you’re gonna wanna check and make sure that you’re not gonna get a slap on the wrist if the federal government sees you’re sending the money.

Anthony Codispoti (46:44.694)
Did you have to get some sort of special security clearance to get access to these databases?

Ryan Hawley (46:50.3)
we have security cleanances, but not for that specifically. It’s a proprietary software that checks existing databases for that. Then we came up with a step -by -step sort of reproducible McDonald’s model.

of what documentation a claimant would need to take to their bank to make sure a wire is going to go through. That wires are funny things with banks, that they’re very highly regulated, banks will hold money if it’s unclear what that wire is for. So we came up with descriptor.

vernacular that is acceptable to the banks. We do a letter for each of the claims that we send out saying what the money’s for, who’s it coming from, this is its purpose, it can be presented at the banks. And then we’ve maintained a database of SWIF codes all across the world that if we don’t have

full banking information that we can probably figure it out on the law firm’s behalf of, okay, they do business with this bank, this is their standard, this is the number that we’re going to get. Solves a lot of problems for the law firms and the insurance companies. And it is something that I can take to my staff with the McDonald’s manual of every time do it like this, document it like this, and we’re not gonna ever run into problems.

Anthony Codispoti (48:19.605)
There’s a lot of attention to detail in building these repeatable and reliable processes. You guys run into a new problem, you step back and you say, okay, this is a hard problem, what can we do to solve it? What is the value add that we can provide for the customer here to make their life easier? And then you create the process and then…

Ryan Hawley (48:27.068)

Ryan Hawley (48:34.46)
Mm -hmm.

Anthony Codispoti (48:44.853)
like you’re calling it the McDonald’s manual. It’s just the standard operating procedure that gets repeated time and time again.

Ryan Hawley (48:51.74)
That’s it.

Anthony Codispoti (48:52.917)
So Ryan, who is your ideal client? Who listening to this might want to hire you?

Ryan Hawley (49:01.724)
Our ideal clients are law firms that are dealing in international employment spaces that law firms for independent medical examinations or directing care, I would say are about half of our revenue. Case management firms or assistance firms that deal in these type of cases are another great client for us.

and then any smaller insurance that are dealing in sort of unique risk that we are fairly rapidly expanding our domestic workers’ compensation, nurse case management for managing workers’ compensation here, that, you know, that’s probably our biggest focused area within this space. And then the other…

client that we spend a lot of time trying to establish relationships is the government. That there’s a lot of occupational health, workers’ compensation stuff related to federal contracts. That’s another area of growth that we’ve spent a significant amount of time tailoring Odin services around that.

Anthony Codispoti (50:14.932)
Now, I’m curious why the decision to focus on domestic workers’ comp case management. You guys are the ones that do the hard stuff. Do you find that there’s sort of a race to the bottom in pricing and the domestic case management, because it’s a little bit more accessible?

Ryan Hawley (50:31.516)
No domestic case management in a number of markets is regulated at what it’s compensated at and it’s sort of an inverse of say a Medicaid that if you look at the California market that all of the injuries that occur within California need an impairment rating.

That impairment rating is adjusted every say five or six years of what the cost of that is. And it’s always adjusted up that basically the physicians that are doing that will come to an agreement of what a reasonable raises. It’s reproducible in the sense that they’re enshrined in the California constitution that this needs to occur.

It’s not an area that there’s massive, massive competition. There’s competition for sure, but there’s tens of companies, not hundreds of companies that are doing this. It’s also an area that there’s a barrier of entry. You need to understand how these systems work. Joe Blow off the street can’t start a company doing what we’re doing with our expertise.

Anthony Codispoti (51:29.171)

It’s accessible to you.

Ryan Hawley (51:47.228)
that that sort of barrier to entry is attractive to us as reason for the focus for it. We’re looking to scale the business probably to the point that, you know, in 10 years we would be looking to be knowing what private equity needs to do an acquisition. You’re going to want an 8 to 10 million evaluation minimum.

for it to be worth their time. The small niche that we’ve become very, very good at, it’s going to be very, very difficult for us to get to that multiple without including other streams of revenue such as the domestic.

Anthony Codispoti (52:31.795)
That makes sense. And how many folks do you currently employ?

Ryan Hawley (52:35.74)
So there’s six of us currently that are within sort of W2 status. And then it would be 900 to 1 ,000 field agents that act as contractors on a case -by -case basis. So our network’s very broad, our actual tangible employees. It’s a very small group of us. All are within the medical space. All of us have some letters at the end of our name.

All of us have experience within workers compensation, domestically or internationally. And we meet at least once a week, sometimes twice a week, looking at how we can do things better. That we keep regular communication with our clients. Are we meeting your expectations? If not, where do we need to improve?

And if it’s a new market or a new area, we spend a lot of time making sure that the resources we’re using there are good resources. That I’ve never found email vetting or things of that nature to be particularly effective in this space. A lot of the time, if you’re entering a new market, it means getting on an airplane and seeing who your vendors on the ground are going to be.

seeing their offices and knowing that they’re going to be able to do what you’re telling their clients they’re going to do for you.

Anthony Codispoti (54:00.689)
Yeah, I can get the sense of a real dedication to the process of continuous improvement. Ryan, let’s shift gears for a second because I’m kind of curious to hear more about your involvement with the Small Business Association Leadership Council for Economic Development. First, explain what that is and then explain why you got involved with it.

Ryan Hawley (54:07.548)

Ryan Hawley (54:25.148)
So the NSBA is the oldest advocacy group in the nation for small businesses. They have a number of different sort of.

levels that they interact with government, be it at a local, all the way up to a federal level. The leadership councils, there’s one dedicated to health policy, there’s one dedicated to economic development. They will pick issues that benefit small businesses and act in both a lobbying capacity,

to help make it more of an even playing field for small businesses compared to larger counterparts. They have a lobbyist on staff. They will also look at existing policies and help challenge them. That the Corporate Transparency Act.

is the latest thing that they actually have sued the federal government and had it declared as unconstitutional. The government’s in the process of appealing that right now, but members of the NSBA right now are excluded from having to participate in that. Through the appeals process, just members of our group.

are able to use the…

Anthony Codispoti (55:57.617)
What is the Corporate Transparency Act? What is it trying to do?

Ryan Hawley (56:01.628)
Basically any business, whether you know you’ve got a restaurant where you’re pouring coffee or anything that there’s, I believe it’s a 108 page document that you’re going to need to read of what information you’re going to need to provide to the federal government by I believe July 1st of this year to ensure that you’re compliant. It’s cumbersome. It’s very big brother and it’s.

right up and it doesn’t do anything to prevent money laundering at a small business level. It just provides barrier to entry from small businesses to be able to conduct business without sort of federal government involvement. It’s a legislation that was not well crafted and certainly wasn’t crafted with the interests of most Americans.

that the organization itself, you can go to the nsba .biz and go to their issues tab and it will show what the various issues that we’re fighting for and advocating for are on any given year.

that the leadership council level, those issues are voted on and addressed of what we’re going to focus our efforts on from an advocacy standpoint. September 18th and 19th, we will be doing a congressional breakfast and then each of the people that are attending will be meeting with their congressmen and their respective senators over whichever issues they want to bring forward.

So I’ll be meeting with Marco Rubio and Rick Scott at the Senate level. And then I have a meeting with Jared Makowicz. And then I believe on the 19th, we’ll be touring the White House and going to the Small Business Council that will be held in the halls of Congress. So we’ll be delegates at that meeting.

Anthony Codispoti (58:08.496)
What compelled you to want to get involved with this?

Ryan Hawley (58:13.02)
I think as a small business owner, America’s not set up for us to succeed compared to our monolithic, huge corporation counterparts. That the vast majority of the middle class comes from small business.

that I want an organization that’s going to help even that playing field and help provide opportunities for small businesses to become bigger companies. That the easiest way to impact change is to help direct that change and to have an organization that’s already within the halls of Congress.

that already has existing relationships to help lobby on small businesses behalf. I couldn’t think of a better organization to put my money towards and my time towards to help do something that’s very dear to my heart.

Anthony Codispoti (59:09.871)
What are some of the other things that you haven’t already mentioned that are maybe in the works that you’re particularly excited about?

Ryan Hawley (59:18.044)
Within the NSBA, working with a number of people within the leadership council right now to put forward a package for making it easier for small businesses to do business with the federal government. Streamlining that process for small businesses to be able to interact and be competitive on federal contracts.

compared to huge organizations, a lot of the time it almost feels like the proposals are written for. So we’re coming together with proposals to help the existing carve out process for small businesses be better. And we’re getting decent feedback from the government. We’ve got an engaged group within NSBA that all have a history of dealing with the government that…

talk collectively about what problems that we faced, what we think would be a better solution, and coming up with what I think is going to be a pretty good document to be able to present.

that particularly is what I’m going to be meeting with with my Florida based lawmakers is that specifically of what lawmakers that are meant to be working on our behalf. This is something from a small businesses owner perspective that we would like you to be the champion of.

Anthony Codispoti (01:00:42.862)
Tell me about your involvement with the Defense of Democracy.

Ryan Hawley (01:00:48.348)
So, Defense of Democracy is a 501c3 based in New York that sort of addressed the growing hostilities within public schools and libraries. There’s a lot of identity politics, book bans, things of that nature that just didn’t sit well with me. I’m a father of three small kids. I’ve got a nine -year -old and two six -year -old boys.

And if I’m not happy with something that’s going on in their school, I want to be the first to, I guess, protest against that and the first to sort of stand in the front line and go, well, what’s going on is not right. And my child’s education shouldn’t be your political platform. That looked into sort of organizations that were combating.

that and found defense of democracy. There’s a lot of organizations that do a lot of things politically. All they focus on is making public schools and libraries inclusive for everyone and looking at the education system and going to school board meetings shouldn’t be battlegrounds. This shouldn’t be where we’re fighting our culture wars.

and went from being a member and going to the Tuesday night meeting and learning about what the organization did and you know they found out about my business background and went you know would you consider being on our board and it went from you know Tuesday night meeting to looking at financial reports and understanding how they could better fundraise you know how to allocate their money and help direct what they’re going to do from a

organizational policy perspective to focus their efforts and make sure that it’s effective. So it’s, I believe, the first of the first of three three -year terms that I could maximum serve within the bylaws of the board. But we’ve got a very

Ryan Hawley (01:03:04.188)
interesting group. There’s lawyers, there’s business people, there’s school teachers. We’ve got a wide variety of opinions within the board and I think we’ve got a pretty good structure to have robust discussions about what the organization can do, how we should do it, and some differing opinions on…

what our best courses of action for, which is good. If it was a monolithic and everybody agreed all of the time, I don’t think that’s a very effective board. That’s just a rubber stamp for something. We have a board that we can have robust discussions and understand different perspectives within the organization, and I think it’s great.

Anthony Codispoti (01:03:49.325)
So what would be the ideal desired outcome? Is it some new legislation that gets passed? Is it some legislation that gets rolled back? Is it something else entirely?

Ryan Hawley (01:04:01.788)
Right now the fights mostly at a local level. So, you know, at a federal level, I would love to see the Title IX protections standardized. I don’t know that that’s realistic in our current political climate. It’s…

The things you’re seeing of the fights and the nastiness within school board meetings is truly astounding to me. School board meetings should not be newsworthy events. And across the country, you’re seeing some nasty things, you’re frankly seeing some nasty things from all political spectrums that I would like to see.

you know, at a federal level that every American of whatever color, race, creed, sexual orientation, that everyone is treated with the same human rights and that we stop villainizing any group within America. That it.

Anthony Codispoti (01:05:11.436)
And so how do you think you can affect that sort of change even at a local level? You said that’s sort of what the focus is now.

Ryan Hawley (01:05:18.588)
So we’re looking at where we could be most effective. And I think one of the ways we can be most effective is to help provide people with information on what these policies are being crafted from, what sort of the tactics are.

that they have information that if they want to consider running for a school board themselves, that they can understand from a messaging standpoint, from an informational standpoint, what sort of the alternative to the current situation is. We’re also looking at getting a 501 -4 -C3.

developed that would, you know, we would actually be able to put money behind candidates or things of that nature. Then the 501c3, it’s nonpartisan in its nature. The doors are open to anybody that wants to have the conversation and it’s, you know, under the guise of a non -profit by its nature, it has to be nonpartisan.

with the sort of lobbying group, we can be a little more directed in our political action to deal with specific things. You know, we do a lot of fundraising efforts that they do something called a readout, which is a banned book reading festival. We just finished a film festival. I guess it was about a month now.

that we showed a film called 1946, the mistranslation that shaped a culture that sort of looked at the nexus between the word homosexual and the Bible when it first appeared out of any of the translations and the sort of fallout after that. Prior to the movie, I had no idea, but its first appearance in the Bible in any language was in 1946. It was trans.

Anthony Codispoti (01:07:23.722)
That’s interesting.

Ryan Hawley (01:07:25.98)
It was a fascinating documentary. You know, I got to learn something. It’s not a community that I’m part of, but it’s a community that’s had a lot of, we’ll say nastiness thrown at it in the current climate, especially within school boards. And it was a movie that made you think. I don’t know that it provided any particular answers.

but it would provide hours and hours of questions and discussions for people to explore their own beliefs and misconceptions of how religion relates to us from educational capacity or from…

It was a very cool fundraiser for us that Odin was one of the corporate sponsors for that. We did some press releases for it and like anything I’m involved with, Defense of Democracy, I kind of jumped in with both feet and doing everything I can to help the organization.

Anthony Codispoti (01:08:22.346)
Thank you.

Anthony Codispoti (01:08:37.29)
Little sidebar, where does the name Odin Industries come from? Is this a…

Ryan Hawley (01:08:41.276)
My son’s middle name is Odin.

Anthony Codispoti (01:08:44.298)
And why did you name him Odin? Why is his middle name Odin? Just a name that you liked?

Ryan Hawley (01:08:49.403)
Yeah, the sort of tie -in with Norse mythology, you know, Thor’s dad that my daughter’s name is Brooklyn. New York was kind of my happy place when I needed to get away from life in Toronto. I would go hang out with friends in Brooklyn. So I’m, my first child was named Brooklyn sort of after that. And my son’s first name is Marcus, but his middle name is Odin.

Anthony Codispoti (01:08:55.69)

Ryan Hawley (01:09:19.452)
My wife chose Marcus and I got to pick the middle name on that child and it was Odin and the business was born.

Anthony Codispoti (01:09:28.106)
That’s cool. And so Odin Industries has got some good momentum going now. You guys have some good sort of mid to long term plans in terms of growth. I’m gonna guess though, if you’re like every other business owner I’ve ever met, that things weren’t always smooth along the way. How about maybe exploring a particular challenge that you had to overcome along this path? Maybe it was professional or personal.

Ryan Hawley (01:09:52.924)
Sure. So it was sort of born out of a challenge. I think I had said that, you know, I had left the previous company that I had founded in the middle of the pandemic where a huge portion of the country was locked in their house or unemployed or in cars, in food bank lines waiting to get food. And that’s when I decided to quit my job. And, you know.

Initially, we had gone into a space to help some of these businesses that were struggling within the pandemic and helping them change their sales. A lot of my expertise was around what Odin does now. And at the time, for non -compete reasons, I couldn’t do that. So it was sort of initially a struggle to understand what it is that Odin actually was going to do.

And navigating that took some time. Finding Odin’s space in the world took some time to build that. And it initially had a focus after the pandemic sort of opened up, wasn’t sustainable.

And as I said, kind of got pulled into this mafia world of, you know, that they wouldn’t let me out of the International Workers’ Comp. My phone’s ringing and my phone’s ringing going, you know, can you help us in this area or, you know, that doctor that you had in Nepal, can you get us in contact with them?

or things of that nature and sort of getting pulled back into that world and having to look at lessons that were learned with the previous company, where to focus our efforts, where the easiest path to scaling revenue was, what geographic locations to focus the efforts on and to build a system.

Ryan Hawley (01:12:03.932)
that was meeting the needs of our clients from four or five years prior that might not be their needs now. That the world has changed in grand terms and the world has changed within this business. That we’ve left Afghanistan, so there’s new areas that you’re seeing some claims in, but a lot of these claims are legacy claims. That there was a lot of…

questions about the validity of claims, hence establishing the relationship with the security company. That, you know, medical management wasn’t the primary need in some of these cases. Some of these cases, it was an investigation of, you know, whether these claims were legitimate. It’s a skill set that I possessed, so I needed to go out and find a partner that could help us in those regards and a partner that we could…

help them service their clients and we could help them in areas that they’re not experts in. That security is a very sort of pinpoint group of knowledge and medical sort of a very pinpoint group of knowledge. That there’s a lot of crossover in those areas, but there’s not much crossover of staff. Security companies for the most part are not security medical companies and vice versa.

We were fortunate that I had relationships with this large firm that over the past four years have, we’re now tied to several different business offerings together that there’s a sort of mutual symbiosis that.

we can do very specific things for them that they can now go out to their client with their large sales staff and say we can do A, B and C that we couldn’t do before. And we can go from our side and offer security services that we wouldn’t have had any access to prior.

Anthony Codispoti (01:14:02.887)
So you left a difficult job in the midst of the pandemic. You’re gonna go start your own company. You had sort of one idea on what this new company was going to do, the services it was gonna provide. And you were finding this isn’t really, feels like we’re swimming upstream. This is not going as well as we thought it would.

Ryan Hawley (01:14:25.244)
Initially, we had some very good uptake that if there’s anything I can do well, it’s sell. And we came out with a pitch to help these businesses that were struggling through the pandemic. Then things started to open up and they started to go back to their conventional ways of doing business or they were struggling so much they didn’t have the money to pay for someone.

that it was an idea that had a market. A lot of that market didn’t have the funds to pay for it. There was very few business owners that we would talk to that weren’t interested. There were lots that were very, very interested in it, but they were struggling to pay the rent on their offices or pay the mortgages on their house.

finding the money to pay for a consultant to help this situation would have made their financial situations worse. But it was a difficult time. So I don’t know that there wasn’t a market. There certainly was. But the timing was off. We were hit towards small business and small business got hurt the worst.

Anthony Codispoti (01:15:30.119)
The timing was off. Giving everything that was happening. Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (01:15:40.775)
And so how long was this sort of murky, unknown period for you until you finally sort of, as I’m hearing it anyways, you listen to what the universe was telling you and it’s like, hey, you know what your specialty is already because everybody keeps calling you from your previous life and you made the Godfather reference. Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in. What was that sort of transition period like?

Ryan Hawley (01:16:00.828)
Mm -hmm.

Ryan Hawley (01:16:09.756)
say 12 to 18 months. You know, we tried to fit the square peg into the round hole for about 12 months. Had some contracts that were keeping the lights on, but didn’t really see a path to scalability that, you know, we were doing well enough to earn a living from it.

but there wasn’t really a way for us to look at it and to scale it. 12 to 18 months, it went, if I go back to my old life of solving this one very specific problem, there’s a clear path to scalability that we can look at, that we had a business plan that we could operate.

personnel in say five or six different countries on a single day. We charge a market rate that’s, we’re well compensated for what we do. And selling time for money is a hard exchange unless you’re selling somebody else’s time for money.

Anthony Codispoti (01:17:16.615)

Ryan Hawley (01:17:17.148)
So if we have our field agents, four or five people working on the same day that are earning these hourly rates, that’s something that, you know, exponentially we can continue to grow. We’re also a business that doesn’t have a lot of overhead expenses. That a lot of what we do is based on knowledge and emails and reviewing of medical records and using our medical knowledge.

There’s no real heavy equipment. There’s no crazy apps or anything that we need. We just have to utilize the specific knowledge that we have so we can keep our overhead costs quite low. It also allows us to look at what I think is probably the biggest financial opportunity for people right now is the amount of boomers that are retiring.

with perfectly functioning businesses that for whatever reason, you know, they don’t have kids to pass it off to, but for whatever reason, you can look at the various business listing sites and find extremely profitable businesses within your niche that for whatever reason haven’t sold. And small business administration loans, you only need 10 % down.

that if you’re looking to expand a business, you find whatever niche you’re very good at, search it, you can find a business doing two, three million in revenue a year. And, you know, say it’s at a million for a purchase price. You can come up with a hundred thousand dollars. You can bolt on, you know, another three million in revenue to your business. And there’s more businesses for sale now than there are buyers. And.

The smaller, you know, three to 500 ,000 a year generating, you know, EBITDA businesses, they’re too small for private equity. You know, $500 ,000 to bolt on to a business owner, that’s a lot of free cash, but it’s not big enough for private equity to be interested in it. So you have these businesses that are throwing three to 600 ,000 a year in profit off.

Ryan Hawley (01:19:35.612)
that there’s not really a market, that there’s not really people that are out buying them unless it’s somebody like myself to go out, go through the due diligence of looking at their financials and go, I see how you fit. And we spend probably three to four hours a week looking at businesses that we can do as bolt -ons.

Anthony Codispoti (01:19:58.725)
Very interesting, smart path to choose. Ryan, before we wrap up today, I want to make sure that everybody knows the best way to get in touch with you. What would that be?

Ryan Hawley (01:20:08.764)
So our business website is odinindustriesllc .com. That anybody personally can reach out to me at ryan at odinindustriesllc .com. That will get directly to me. And you can find us on the usual socials, Instagram, Facebook, things as Odin Industries.

I look forward to talking to anybody that’s seeing the show today and would be interested in our services.

Anthony Codispoti (01:20:39.397)
That’s terrific. Ryan, I want to be the first one to thank you for spending the time to share your story with everyone today.

Ryan Hawley (01:20:45.98)
Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.

Anthony Codispoti (01:20:48.388)
Folks, that’s a wrap on another episode of the Inspired Stories Podcast. Thanks for learning with us today.