Doug Clark, the former SkyWest pilot sitting at ease across from me, explains how he changed his career trajectory.
"Pilots have a lot of days off, and I got bored."
He grins, "Of course, the only thing I knew about real estate back then, was that I flew over it."
A friend suggested that Doug meet Mike Baird, the Salt Lake City realtor who would later become Doug's partner on Spike TV's massively popular series Flip Men.
"I had very little money, at least none that I wanted to lose, but that first real estate auction blew my mind. So, I asked Mike if I could research some houses with him, and a month later, I bought my first investment. I was scared, but I turned it around and sold the place in three days."
Two years later, while flipping a multi-million dollar foreclosed property in Draper (that the evicted owners stripped to bare bones), a neighbor asked Doug if he and Mike ever considered doing a reality show. "Sure," Doug said, and before he could finish, the neighbor speed-dialed Danny Thompson in L.A. who flew out the next day to see if two Utah boys flipping houses was something he cared to produce.
"Danny did. He got all over the idea, and we immediately started shooting Foreclosure Boys, the precursor to Flip Men."
Clark and Baird have flipped over 1000 houses since 2008. They recently wrapped the 22nd episode of Flip Men, which concludes season 2. The show's conflict includes Doug and Mike frequently butting heads over the risk involved in potential properties and aesthetic vision, both privately and on camera. Some buys prove much more lucrative than others, and one episode, "The Bet", has Clark and Baird each buying a different property to see who fares better.
"Mike made more money straight up, but I got better return on my investment."
I ask if any of their ventures have ended tragically.
"We've lost money on a few. That's reality TV." Doug smiles in retrospect. "Season one, episode 11, I had a really bad feeling. But that's how it goes, and I've been lucky so far. My risks typically pay off."
I nod my head. "Yeah."
From my side of the table, it sure looks like they do.