Closing the Gaps on the Edge with Scott D. Willis of DartPoints


The rising demand for streaming and two-way video companies, 5G and the way forward for IoT proceed to extend bandwidth wants, placing the strain on rising markets. In at the moment’s episode, Scott D. Willis, CEO of DartPoints, shares the methods liable for DartPoints’ explosive development. DartPoints goals to ship distinctive different options for sustainability of their dedication to innovation throughout the business. Tune in to this episode of 5G Expertise Speak as Scott and Carrie talk about the way forward for DartPoints’ development, firm tradition, management and hiring technique on this new world of labor.

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Closing the Gaps on the Edge with Scott D. Willis of DartPoints

I’m excited to have with me considered one of my particular pals, Scott Willis. He’s the CEO of DartPoints. We’ve got identified one another since I’ve been within the business.

It’s about 2016 or 2017.

You had been one of many first individuals I met.

It’s been a enjoyable journey.

Inform me just a little bit about your journey. How did you get to the seat that you just’re in now? I do know that you’ve got such a wealthy historical past and a lot expertise. Let’s hear all about it.

Firstly, thanks for having me. I’m all the time excited concerning the alternative to speak about DartPoints and share. You requested me concerning the journey. It’s the journey we’re on, which is what we’re however we’ll go into that just a little bit later. Most likely if you ask me that query, we most likely acquired to return to my early days once I got here out of college, as a result of it describes just a little bit about who I’m and the way I method. I’ve been so blessed to be a part of such a terrific business. This business has been great for me professionally, each in what I wished to realize in addition to in total satisfaction and contribution.

As you concentrate on all of the issues, expertise does an affect on society and affect on our lives, the standard of bettering on a regular basis lives, no matter what background or group you’re in. We acquired much more work to do in that to make that out there for everyone. I got here out of college and I acquired with my counselor. I wasn’t considered one of these people that had been pushed out of college. I knew what I need to do. I used to be an undergraduate.

I used to be popping out with a Finance diploma and I knew what was essential to me. It’s a number of the issues I’ve talked about. I wished to be in an business that may be explosive for my whole working profession and be capable of work with very proficient individuals. I wished an business the place I may have above expectations. That was essential to me financially. I wished to be a part of an business that may have an effect on society. These had been my parameters.

After I look again, I got here out within the mid-‘80s, it’s one when 4 industries popped up. One was the authorized occupation. If you concentrate on it for the reason that mid-‘80s, that may’ve been a beautiful selection. I didn’t have a whole lot of curiosity in going to regulation faculty. One other one was medical healthcare. If you concentrate on how that business has developed, that may’ve been a terrific option to be a part of that business for the reason that mid-‘80s.

The monetary sector was one which was pure. It’s my finance background and was an space I used to be snug in. This business then popped up with telecommunications. I’m like, “What’s that?” My roommate was a Pc Science main. He had a Tandy 64k that we performed video games on. I had a fundamental class in that I did some computing, after which we despatched throughout the varsity fax system. I walked throughout campus, picked it up, and turned it in to class. That was my view of telecommunication. I researched that and acquired began with Dash. I had a terrific ten years with Dash.

I’ve developed since then. I spent the primary half of my profession on the operator service supplier aspect. The again half has been on the wi-fi aspect. That’s the place I’ve been. I stepped out of my earlier position just a few years in the past once I was 57 so I’ve acquired much more highway behind me that’s in entrance of me. I started to soul-search for what I wished to do. I wished to be in part of the business that was going to be explosive by my working profession so long as I wished to work. I wished to do one thing just a little bit completely different than what I’d executed on the wi-fi aspect.

I wished to be a part of an business that was new to me the place I may be taught and develop. That’s the place edge information facilities popped out of that. I used to be lucky to get linked with Astra Capital. We’re non-public fairness backed they usually’re our proprietor. I acquired concerned with them in mid-‘19 and did just a little funding thesis work. We closed on our first platform firm proper when COVID kicked off in March 2020. We’ve been going ever since.

I’m thrilled to be a part of DartPoints and the journey we’re on. I’m excited concerning the information heart area. I confer with it as one of many three-legged stools of digital infrastructure, fiber, towers, and information facilities. You couldn’t go flawed in any of these three. They’re all going to be explosive for years to come back. We’re enthusiastic about what we’re attempting to create right here at DartPoint. It’s been a terrific and enjoyable journey and I’m enthusiastic about what we’ve nonetheless acquired to perform and what we’re attempting to do right here at DartPoints.

Sounds such as you’re getting began at 57.

Every single day once I get up, it has that feeling to it.

We’re wiser now.

We acquired just a little extra sense of what we’re attempting to do and achieve, which is what makes it extra enjoyable.

Inform me about DartPoints, the story behind it, and the place you are actually. I do know you’ve had explosive development. I additionally need to hear what’s behind that.

Lots of people that don’t come or don’t perceive the info heart area take a look at us as a single business. It’s not that. It’s much more complicated than that. It’s very verticalized. You’ve acquired hyper scalers, extra enterprise-centric, colocation, and cloud-managed service suppliers, which is wealthy. It’s the place we fall. At a easy degree, that’s what DartPoints is. We’re an owner-operator of colocation cloud and in just a little little bit of managed companies. That’s what our portfolio represents and that’s what our goal buyer base is that we’re going after. We’re completely different if Edge will get thrown round and Edge means a whole lot of issues to lots of people.

You recognize this. You run into this day-after-day. I have a tendency to make use of this analogy many instances and it’s comical as a result of others do the identical. In the event you line up 10 individuals, you’re going to get 12 to fifteen completely different definitions of Edge. In some ways, that’s thrilling as a result of there’s a possibility, however in different methods, it may be just a little bit complicated to the market. Whenever you describe DartPoints when say Edge, what do you imply? Right here’s our model and what we imply. We’re not attempting to do one thing fully distinctive because it pertains to Edge. We’re attempting to drive down a beforehand hate highway.

If you concentrate on our business, you would debate me possibly on time, however directionally, I’m proper. If you wish to return to the late-‘90s, that’s when the web hubs began. I confer with that as the primary ring of the digital freeway. That’s Northern Virginia, Chicago, New York, Dallas, LA, Northern Cal, and Seattle. Quick ahead 7, 8, or 9 years, no matter time, the following ring of the digital freeway was constructed out. That’s the place cities like Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Atlanta are. That bigger tier 2s and smaller tier 1s had been constructed out. From DartPoint’s perspective, all we’re trying to deploy is that third ring of the digital infrastructure freeway.

5TT Scott Willis | Closing The Gaps
Closing The Gaps: From DartPoint’s perspective, we’re all trying to deploy that third ring of the digital infrastructure freeway.


We’re concentrating on smaller tier 2s, bigger tier 3s, and in some circumstances, a minimum of initially, some bigger tier 4s. All we’re trying to do is allow the identical high quality of service, the identical capabilities, and the identical aggressive pricing that prospects in Chicago, Dallas, or New York obtain. We need to ship that in Greenville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, or Charleston, South Carolina, that are the markets that we’re concentrating on. That’s our definition of Edge.

As workloads are being pushed additional and additional out and far nearer to the top consumer, we need to allow the identical capabilities that you would be able to get in Dallas in a few of these smaller communities and ship it in a really aggressive manner. That’s how I attempt to simplify who DartPoints is, what our imaginative and prescient is, and what our definition of Edge is. Our definitive of Edge will evolve as workloads even push additional past that. Over time, we are going to migrate and push nearer and nearer to the Edge. For the foreseeable future, that’s how we take into consideration the Edge. That’s how we’re constructing, deploying, and leveraging M&A from a development perspective to understand the imaginative and prescient of what we’re attempting to do at DartPoints.

What are some developments that you just’re seeing within the information heart area? Possibly speak just a little bit about sustainability ideas that you just see on the market from the horizon.

Lots of the developments that we’re seeing in significantly pushed across the tailwinds of 5G and Edge Compute are leaning into the imaginative and prescient or the definition of what I described as Edge for DartPoints. That’s one, however clearly, we’ve acquired a whole lot of developments which might be going down in our business. One particularly that you just hit on is sustainability. It’s well-known that information heart suppliers are important customers of energy.

Sustainability needs to be an essential piece. Whether or not you’re a big hyperscaler, you’re drawing down a big quantity of energy, otherwise you’re on the different finish of the spectrum which is the place we play. You’re speaking megawatt or two megawatts and it’s not as intensified, but it surely’s nonetheless incumbent upon us to consider sustainability in how we take a look at expertise and the way we take a look at delivering completely different options. We’ve acquired a variety of alternatives as a knowledge heart supplier that we’re taking a look at. One of many issues that we rolled out earlier in 2022 is what we confer with it because the Liquid Edge℠ answer that we’ve deployed in 5 information facilities now. We’ll be eleven information facilities by the top of 2022.

It’s another expertise. It’s extra of an HPC-driven, Excessive-Efficiency Compute sort of use case, however it’s two-phase liquid immersion, so it seems at different makes use of to energy, particularly round HPC, the place there’s a whole lot of density, demand on cooling, and energy in a small footprint. That is a substitute for that the place you may get rid of that energy demand very a lot in an air-cooled surroundings and ship the identical functionality in another manner.

That’s one instance of how we’re taking a look at sustainability to be progressive inside our business. It’s incumbent upon us to ship what we consider are distinctive different options, however we need to do it in a manner the place we’re additionally good company residents of how we use expertise to search for different makes use of round sustainability. There are many developments. That’s an essential one. That’s on the forefront of what we’re doing. We’re excited to be one of many leaders and on the rising fringe of how we ship extra sustainable options, but nonetheless ship the capabilities and the options that the market’s demanding round compute processing and storage at a neighborhood degree.

5TT Scott Willis | Closing The Gaps
Closing The Gaps: It’s incumbent upon us to ship what we consider are distinctive different options. Nonetheless, we need to do it in a manner the place we’re additionally good company residents of how we use expertise to search for different makes use of round sustainability.


Scott, over the previous few years, I’m certain that your organization tradition at DartPoints has developed and it sounds prefer it’s nonetheless evolving proper now. Speak just a little bit about that evolution significantly because it pertains to the M&A as effectively.

This is likely one of the issues that I get enthusiastic about as a result of creating tradition is enjoyable. All through my profession, I’ve been concerned in massive companies and I’ve had some huge roles there. It’s tough to have an effect whereas in a smaller group, you may have that affect and you’ll create. You recognize that. You’ve developed a beautiful tradition inside your group that many can take a look at and attempt to attempt to repeat. That’s the enjoyable half. That’s the place we’re.

In a smaller group, you may have an effect, and you’ll create a beautiful tradition inside your group that may take a look at and tries to attempt to repeat.

The difficult half is as a result of M&A is such an essential piece of our development technique and it’ll proceed to be an essential piece of our development technique, a minimum of for the foreseeable future, if you carry corporations collectively and also you carry completely different cultures collectively, it’s a problem. It’s additionally one which’s enjoyable as a result of we will choose one of the best of breed in these corporations and we will select to implement how we need to evolve our tradition over time.

I shared with you earlier, we began out with the preliminary platform of DartPoints in March 2020. We acquired Metro Knowledge Facilities, MDC, in Columbus, Ohio in October of that very same yr then we closed on Immedion in the summertime of 2021. We’ve put collectively three. As I mentioned, we’ve acquired an energetic pipeline and I feel M&A will proceed. We’ve acquired three cultures of corporations that we’re coping with.

In some ways, it’s difficult as a result of the staff which were legacy staff and have been with these corporations for a very long time and there are specific issues that they like, you’ve acquired to carry them alongside. You’ve acquired to develop them and produce them into the method. We work onerous at DartPoints in doing that. We need to interact the staff as a result of finally, it’s going to be our tradition of DartPoints that we’re going to have. We’re nonetheless very a lot on the evolution curve of our tradition because it continues to develop as a result of we’ve acquired we’ve had a lot M&A exercise. It’s additionally a enjoyable a part of the method since you get to select one of the best of breeds and we spend a whole lot of time speaking about this.

As we work out whom we need to be and what sort of tradition we need to have, that is creating the chance to try this. It’s enjoyable to be a part of that course of and produce individuals from the group into that course of. On the finish of the day, it’s not Scott’s tradition or it’s not the management crew’s tradition. It’s our group, whom we need to be, and what we would like our tradition to symbolize. We’re having a whole lot of enjoyable in that course of proper now.

I used to be speaking to somebody about this precise subject. You mentioned it’s enjoyable. I mentioned the very same factor. Once more, Broadstaff is only some years previous, however I keep in mind in these first few years that it was a whole lot of enjoyable. All people who joined us then, we had been creating this collectively and it was a lot pleasure and vitality round that. There’s one thing particular to come back into a corporation at your house the place DartPoints is correct now and enter into the group, be part of that crew, and construct it collectively. Although there are challenges with the mixing right here and there, however you mentioned it a number of instances.

It’s enjoyable and it’s a superb time to enter. I’m curious, are you scuffling with hiring proper now? Are you dealing with any challenges? Possibly you’ve gotten particular methods which might be working for you in the case of hiring. At Broadstaff, we work with DartPoints and we love working with you. The candidates that now we have positioned there find it irresistible there. I’d like to get your suggestions as an skilled chief.

We’re no completely different from some other group. We battle to compete. We work onerous to retain our expertise and maintain individuals a part of the method. We’re all in an surroundings the place we’ve been experiencing some turnovers, however we put a whole lot of emphasis on the hiring course of. You’ve labored with us and also you’ve positioned some candidates with us, which we couldn’t be happier with.

There are a few issues. 1) Typically, you’re our dimension. Hiring is essential as a result of whether or not you’re hiring a frontline working degree individual, a mid-level supervisor, or a senior degree, they’re seen within the group. In our dimension, they have an effect. 2) Whenever you’re a corporation that’s our dimension, in lots of eventualities, you might be single-threaded with skillsets and competencies. Having the precise individual and skillset could be very essential. That’s essential. You need to just remember to herald as a result of if you happen to make a mistake otherwise you carry the flawed individual in, it’s impactful in a big manner versus a few of my earlier corporations like Ericsson or Nokia, a number of the larger ones. It doesn’t diminish that hires aren’t vital for these organizations as effectively. They’re amplified in a smaller group like DartPoints.

5TT Scott Willis | Closing The Gaps
Closing The Gaps: Whenever you’re a corporation that’s our dimension, in lots of eventualities, you might be single-threaded with skillsets and competencies. So, having the precise individual and ability set is essential.


After we decide now we have a necessity, it’s essential. We work onerous to leverage the group and the relationships that individuals have within the group, our networks, my networks, WHO, Astra, and our capital of their networks. You recognize this in addition to anyone in your online business. If you realize somebody and also you’ve acquired expertise with somebody and you realize their capabilities, that goes a great distance in including credibility to the hiring course of. We attempt to give attention to and leverage that. Generally that works and typically, you may’t get the precise candidate.

You talked about tradition. It’s discovering somebody whom we predict goes to be a superb match. It’s robust as a result of it’s discovering somebody who can be a superb slot in our tradition now, but in addition realizing the place we need to take and the way we need to evolve our tradition. Will this individual be a superb match as we’re trying to evolve? That’s an essential a part of what we do.

As a supervisor, I talked about my management crew on a regular basis. Generally, it’s straightforward handy that off or hand it over to you to do the entire course of. What we attempt to interact with the crew is to be very concerned as a result of on the finish of the day, the group, me, the management crew, and the managers which might be hiring personal that course of. They should be concerned in that decision-making course of.

Have interaction with the crew to be very concerned as a result of the group, the management crew, and the hiring managers personal that course of. They should be concerned in that decision-making course of.

There are numerous essential issues which might be on our plate every day, however getting the precise crew members, as we carry them into DartPoints, is essential, and it’s one of many greater priorities. You bought to take a position time into that and give attention to it. In the event you don’t, you shouldn’t be stunned that you just don’t get the top outcome you’re searching for. That’s how we method hiring and that’s how we give it some thought.

I’d find it irresistible that you just mentioned the leaders should be concerned. I do know that it’s essential to all leaders, particularly now greater than ever, however leaders are very busy they usually are inclined to typically not give suggestions, put it on the again burner, get too busy to reply, or take a look at the resumes. The way in which that expertise is flying off the cabinets is so essential. You’re proper. Your management is concerned and dedicated to the method. Speaking about management, I’ve identified you for a variety of years and I do know that you’re a great chief, I’d prefer to know just a little bit about who’s Scott Willis as a pacesetter and possibly a number of the ideas that information you.

I’ve a whole lot of enjoyable within the position I’ve. I take pleasure in what I do. My method to management is that it’s not Scott. It’s not me. It’s a collaborative crew surroundings that I attempt to create. On the finish of the day, do you must decide to maneuver ahead? You do. I work very onerous at instilling all the way in which down the group. I used to be within the Carolinas and we had been doing account critiques with the Southeast crew.

Whether or not I’m speaking to that go-to-market crew in that area and I’m attempting to instill possession, “That is your area. You personal it. You make the choice. You drive it.” That’s essential to me. It’s a collaborative method. That’s one. Two is communication is vastly essential to me. I work very onerous at speaking down within the group and I need communication to come back up. I might be stunned that and typically even to a fault on filtering right down to my leaders. If we’ve acquired a difficulty or a problem, I need it to be on the market. I need us to personal it as a crew and perceive it. If we’re not conscious of it, then there’s a danger that it might probably affect our group.

That’s been an enormous piece of mine. The opposite piece is that if you happen to relate again to our tradition, what’s huge to me is being purpose-driven. That, to me, is likely one of the most essential issues that I can instill in a corporation and I need all of us to be. I need us to all wake-up and have a function in what we’re doing. I need us to know what that function is and all collectively purchase into that. That’s an essential piece of management as you take a look at any particular person. It’s your group. Regardless of the function is. Are you purpose-driven in all the pieces that you just do?

At DartPoints, we’re purpose-driven and we’re passionate round delivering companies to our prospects. Our price proposition will not be solely geographical, the definition that I gave of Edge, but it surely’s additionally round customer support. At a neighborhood degree, we need to wrap our arms round our prospects and we need to ship best-in-class options. That’s purpose-driven. That’s a part of our tradition, and it’s what we’re attempting to instill up and up and down the group. You’ve identified me. I prefer to have enjoyable with the crew and our management crew.

I need us to develop, achieve success, and obtain our targets after we set out for any given yr. I additionally need us to acknowledge that if I exploit the phrase function, we’re there with a stability too. Folks have private lives, households, and private pursuits. In the event you can carry all that collectively and obtain collectively as a corporation what you got down to do, any chief in that group goes to be seen as a profitable chief. That’s what I attempt to work in the direction of.

Folks have private lives, household, and private pursuits. And if you happen to can carry all that collectively and obtain collectively as a corporation what you got down to do, any chief in that group can be seen as a profitable chief.

Scott, inform me about your imaginative and prescient for DartPoints.

It’s fairly easy. It’s what I acknowledged earlier. We need to ship world-class options into markets in a price-competitive manner that delivers the identical functionality in Greenville, South Carolina that you would be able to get in New York, Chicago, or LA. We need to be group agnostic by way of what our companies and our capabilities are. It’s onerous. We’re in an business that, on the finish of the day, is pushed by funding capital, and {dollars} are pushed by the place the massive populations stay. That’s why these main cities are the primary ones to obtain these applied sciences.

Our imaginative and prescient for DartPoints is to ship that very same functionality in a price-competitive method to enterprises, Okay-12, native authorities, and state governments. Decide the vertical that we’re going into. We need to ship these capabilities into these communities the place they stay and the place they make investments that we’re centered on deploying in. We need to do it in a manner that delivers and meets their expectations as in the event that they had been residing in Dallas, Chicago, New York, or LA. That’s an actual clear degree of what our imaginative and prescient is and what we’re attempting to perform at DartPoints.

I do know it’s difficult however one factor I really like that you just mentioned was that we wrap our arms round our prospects. Not solely that, Scott, however you’ve gotten a powerful focus, irrespective of how difficult it’s, for individuals in these areas which might be probably underserved or companies and enterprises in these areas which might be underserved. You’re climbing a mountain to be sure that they’re taken care of as effectively with that function in thoughts. I really like that.

It’s vital. As I mentioned, past geography, it’s our price proposition. If we’re in a cloud surroundings, we’re competing in opposition to an enormous public supplier of Amazon, they usually can take off and take their companies, Amazon, we need to wrap them domestically round our companies and attempt to maintain them in our cloud at a neighborhood degree. To me, that refers again to the aim of wrapping ourselves round our prospects and taking good care of their wants on a neighborhood degree. That’s what drives us in what we attempt to accomplish on a day-to-day foundation.

Regardless of the developments in expertise, that’s what we would like as people. We nonetheless need somebody who’s going to be there, who’s going to care, and who’s going to reply. We wish that high-touch connection. Scott, this has been implausible. Are you hiring? I do know you might be. The place can we be taught extra about your open jobs and DartPoints?

We’re hiring. You’re serving to us and dealing on just a few key hires, and that’s going to proceed. We’re rising and increasing. We want the precise individuals with the precise skillsets and mindset that works inside our tradition to assist us develop as we’re happening this journey. There are a selection of the way to achieve into DartPoints, however definitely In the event you hit our web site, all of the details about DartPoints, how you can entry or get into DartPoints, any white papers, and something about our areas, our information facilities is all there. If something that you’d initially must begin to perceive who DartPoints is, you may contact us and we are going to rapidly observe up and work with you. That’s a superb start line.

Scott, thanks a lot for becoming a member of me on the present. I may speak to you ceaselessly. I loved it. Thanks to your friendship, and thanks for all you’re doing within the business.

I take pleasure in it. I admire you having me. Thanks very a lot.

Take care.


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About Scott D. Willis

5TT Scott Willis | Closing The GapsScott D. Willis, a acknowledged chief within the telecommunications business with greater than 30 years of govt expertise is the President and CEO of DartPoints, a number one supplier of Edge Colocation Knowledge Facilities. Beforehand, he served because the President and CEO of Zinwave, a number one world supplier of in-building wi-fi options. After becoming a member of the corporate, he instantly made an affect by resetting Zinwave’s world technique and repositioning its built-in advertising and marketing efforts, priming the corporate for aggressive development. Underneath Scott’s route, Zinwave relocated its company headquarters to Dallas and established the corporate as the worldwide chief in distributed community options.

Scott’s strategic management helped solidify the corporate’s status as the one fiber infrastructure, future-ready, full-spectrum in-building DAS answer in not simply North America but in addition the remainder of the world. Throughout a time of change in spectrum and expertise, Scott efficiently lead the cost to innovate new merchandise and options and alter enterprise fashions, leading to an business transformation towards an economical answer to the indoor mobile protection drawback.

Over the course of his profession, Scott has served in senior management roles at revered wi-fi telecommunications expertise corporations together with Ericsson, Nokia, BellSouth and Dash. With a ardour for creating buyer relationships and a eager skill to guide world initiatives in finance, operations and enterprise improvement, Scott has the precise stability between technical experience, strategic imaginative and prescient and operational management that’s required to be a world chief within the business.

Earlier than Zinwave, Scott served as Government Vice President, Chief Gross sales and Advertising Government for Goodman Networks, a privately held chief within the design, engineering, deployment and integration of wi-fi communications networks. In his position, he was liable for all business technique, gross sales and advertising and marketing and lead the expansion of the group from $400 million yearly to $1.2 billion in income. Previous to Goodman, Scott was Government Vice President and Basic Supervisor at Ericsson, the place he oversaw greater than 6,500 personnel throughout the U.S. and Latin America and helped develop annual income from $5 million to greater than $3.5 billion in 5 years. Beforehand, Scott served as Vice President and Basic Supervisor at Nokia Networks, the place he grew the enterprise to $1.5 billion in income in lower than 3 years and established Nokia Networks as a market chief in North America.

Scott is energetic within the enterprise and civic group. He at the moment serves on the board of administrators of DartPoints and as an advisory board member for Aerwave and Parallel Infrastructure. Along with being a previous member of the board of administrators for Zinwave, he has additionally served as a previous board member of the Dallas Regional Chamber Board of Advisors, the Kansas Metropolis Space Growth Council, NextLevel Company, Somera Communications (advisory board member), Raleigh, NC Triangle United Means, The North Carolina Healthcare Data and Communications Alliance and as an advisory board member of the Telecommunications Business Affiliation (TIA).

Scott graduated from the College of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s diploma in finance and he acquired his Grasp of Enterprise Administration diploma from Wake Forest College. He has additionally acquired persevering with govt schooling certificates from the Stanford College Graduate College of Enterprise and Columbia College Graduate College of Enterprise.
Scott makes his dwelling in Dallas, the place he lives together with his spouse Kelley, and youngsters Savannah and Likelihood.


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