Perpsective, Podcast

Journey With Me Through Cambodia

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[Left To Right] Jim Cavale, Lindsey Sillers (ITF Brentwood), Frank Adair (ITF Mountain Brook), Jessica Parks (ITF Corporate), Caleb Burchfield (ITF Vestavia), Wes & Anna Archer (ITF Belmont), Mark Whitehead (ITF 280) and Allen Rice (ITF Johns Creek).

I recently returned from a nine day Neverthirst trip to Cambodia, with an incredible team of coaches and athletes from multiple Iron Tribe markets.

For me, it was a chance to go to a new place I had never been, in a poverty-stricken nation that experiences life in a much different manner. It was also a chance for me to grow my faith, through a growing dependence on God in prayer, that is much harder to have here in America.

In the United Nations’ most recent Human Development rankings, Cambodia was 144th out of the 188 countries on the planet (U.S. was 8th).

When you go to a place like Cambodia, you immediately dismiss your desire for “wants” and you start to focus on simply meeting your “needs.” Our group agreed to take things a step further, by agreeing to a theme of “flexibility” for the entire trip, knowing that we weren’t there to be served, but to serve.

The team embraced this philosophy, as we prayed about it repetitively, talked about it in our devotionals each morning, and we ultimately maintained this attitude as a unit throughout our trip abroad in a new land.

Neverthirst did a phenomenal job of planning this trip; establishing context for our work in villages, as we visited the nearly 1,000-year-old Angkor Temples near Siem Reap, and the Killing Fields in capital city Phnom Penh, where the Pol Pot Regime killed more than two million Cambodians in a genocide from 1975 to 1979.

These experiences set the stage for what we saw in the villages we visited and lived in for several days of the trip. It helped us understand the history of the Buddhist religion in Cambodia and the effects of the Pol Pot Regime, which killed the majority of the nation’s educated people in an attempt to force the country to “start back at zero,” just less than 40 years ago.

To quote a book I’m reading right now about Cambodia [Cambodia’s Curse], “you stand in these villages and look around knowing that these villages look exactly the same today, as they did 350 years ago!”

Neverthirst has united with multiple partners in Cambodia, to bring villages clean water through three delivery mechanisms; water wells, biosand filters and rain tanks, depending on multiple factors which determine the best option.

The work we were a small part of, with Neverthirst’s partners for each of these three clean water delivery mechanisms, allowed us to truly connect what you and I get to do with our annual Workout For Water event each year, to the exact latitude and longitude it affects on the other side of the world. It was powerful.

And to actually have our hands touch each of these three clean water delivery mechanisms, by helping to build and install them in these villages – that was more than powerful. It could even be eternal.Because we got to share our faith with so many who have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ, let alone the Good News that He came to save everyone, including them.

We stayed in areas all over the country, including the Vietnam border, where of course, I had to watchApocalypse Now on my laptop before bed. The overall experience I had on this trip, is one I’ll never forget and surely try to repeat in Cambodia or another area of the world in 2017.

But when we debriefed as a team, we were asked to each answer two questions;

“What was your most impactful moment?”

My most impactful moment was when I was working with a group to install a biosand filter for a specific family in one of the villages we visited. While we were installing the filter, the family was living life as they normally would, by using the dirty pond behind their home [a tree house on stilts] for multiple purposes.

As we were putting the finishing touches on the biosand filter, a little boy who is maybe a couple years older than my son James (2), was just getting home from school and decided to go back to the pond with a pan, to get himself a drink of dirty brown water. After all, it was more than 100 degrees temperature at the time. He drank it right in front of me, instead of just waiting a few more minutes as we finished installing the filter that will now bring him and his family clean water for at least the next decade.

This really put things into perspective for me. There were many similar experiences on the trip, but I’ll never forget this one.

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My son James IV drinking from a water source at Spain Park [to the left], while this young boy in Cambodia, drinks from a pan he dipped in a brown pond [to the right].

“What are you going to do about it?”

For me, this is a twofold answer. I have been on the board of a ministry here in Birmingham, called The Aspire Movement (, for a couple years now, since we launched it at the end of 2014 – we pair adult men from the church, with fatherless children from Birmingham city schools, for a long-term mentorship commitment.

I mentor a young boy, Mekhi, who has become a big part of my family with my wife and three children. I’ve committed to mentor Mekhi through graduation from high school – he is in fourth grade. That’s how our program at Aspire works.

This trip fired me up for the work that is possible with initiatives like Aspire and other local ministries that give us a chance to make an impact here in America. If I go abroad on a trip like this one to Cambodia, for maybe 1-2 weeks a year, I’ve got to challenge myself on what I’m going to do to make an impact the other 50 or so weeks that remain each year.

However, the second part to my answer to this question “What are you going to do about it?”, is that I’m going to tell everyone I can about my trip and about the upcoming Workout For Water on May 14th at Oak Mountain State Park.

After seeing and humbly putting my hands in on the work that is being done, because of the dollars we raise each year at Workout For Water, the event means that much more to me. It is my hope, that reading about my trip, it means that much more to you! You have helped us do something that is truly changing the lives of people on the other side of the world right now and potentially, forever and ever in Heaven. Amen.

Set up your giving profile at, share it on your social media channels so that your friends can join in on the giving process, and of course, attend the event on May 14th.

Our goal is to raise $400,000 in Birmingham this year, with half of that coming from a matching fund of $200,000 that we have already privately raised. This means that every time you give, or you help somebody from your network give, your giving will be doubled instantly.

So get ready and mark your calendar for May 14th at Oak Mountain State Park, setup your giving profile at, and start spreading The Good News!

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The most refreshing water I’ve ever touched. This is a water pump provided by Charleston, SC’s Iron Tribe Mount Pleasant gym, owned by Corky Alexander.

You can listen to Jim’s entire journey through Cambodia with the Iron Tribe team and Neverthirst ministries, on the newest edition of the TribeCast podcast. Press Play Below.


A Message To All My Friends, Regardless Of Race, Religion Or Political Party

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You’ve undoubtedly heard phrases like “you are a product of your environment” OR “you are the result of the 4-5 people that you spend the most time with.” It’s true.

The fact is, we all live in a bubble. Some, much more than others.

I don’t write this in any way, to imply that I am above this problem or that I do not live in a bubble myself. Because I’m aware that I do. In fact, it is my assessment that you and I will always live in a bubble for as long as we are on this earth.

Especially as the wealthy Americans that we are, regardless of our class here in the United States.

However, I do want to state clearly, that I am advocating that we each work to expand our respective bubbles from today on, every single day, for the rest of our lives.  It is my goal to have the biggest damn bubble possible, before I leave this earth for a greater life!

Alright, so now that I’ve opened up with disclaimers [because I’m brain-washed by the media to be politically correct (PC) and tip-toe around offending anyone], here are more facts unfiltered by the PC media; I write them with zero apologies.

Our bubble is defined by our network – a [hopefully] growing sum, comprised by our family, our friends, our co-workers, our church, our fitness community, our volunteer group and those people involved with any other hobbies, activities or pastimes that we participate in on a regular basis.

It’s the people “we do life with.”

Despite the fact that, regardless of our human race, our DNA is 99.9% identical, we tend to do just about all of the activities above with “our objective own kind” aka those from our same human race or regional orientation – the people who talk, look and act the same as we do in most categories of life.

NOTE: It’s objective, because you cannot change your race or place of birth.

How blasphemous of us! Who are we to think that we are so different from those who aren’t the same human race as us, let alone from the same state in America, when God has designed us to be 99.9% identical when it comes our physical makeup?

Not to mention that He obviously had specific intentions in the .01% differences, which I interpret to be because he still wanted to make us all with some unique characteristics [blessings from Him] for some unique reason(s) that still pertain to his ultimate purpose [to bless others in His name for His glory].

But the facts are the facts. More than 87% of us here in “the land of the free,” choose to do things with people who are the same race, from the same place, who talk the same, with the same cultural tastes, etc.

Even though “our own objective kind” is really not our race, it is our humanity. Our human kind, should ultimately transcend race for us, and we should not be afraid to go outside of this boundary that we’ve imposed on ourselves.

Now, before I got any further, I want to provide clarity in stating that I do indeed understand that we are all from a specialized, niche culture within the general human race – that is, we are all from a different race(s). And that each of these niches have their subjective preference and appreciation for specific foods, music, dancing and so on.

This is called culture, and I have a passion for exactly as many cultures as I’ve been blessed to be exposed to, and I hope I’m exposed to more cultures throughout my remaining years here on earth.

It’s understandable that a childhood upbringing in a specific culture will create a unique perspective in each of us, with certain preferences and even biases. I wish we would stop tip-toeing around this fact and own it – we have natural prejudices.

However, the more we expand our bubble to more cultures, the more we dilute these prejudices and are inclined to be biased toward more things and closed to less. Why? Because we’ve related to more cultures!

I’m an Italian-American born in Upstate New York. Nobody has more appreciation for their culture or race than I do. I love the culinary, musical, passionate culture I come from. But despite “the box” many might presume I fit into as an Italian-American; I am not Catholic, I do not participate in mafia activities and I don’t play bocce ball [enough:)], even though many who know my culture, might assume these characteristics about me instantly.

There are things I’ve taken from my culture that I love (ie. our food, our slang, our passion, etc.), but as I referenced earlier, there are other characteristics that my race is known for, which I don’t identify with whatsoever. There are people who will assume that I am somebody in particular, without knowing me, just because of my culture. It can be good and it can be bad.

I could paint the same picture as a completely misunderstood Upstate New Yorker, living in the heart of The South, where people consistently think they know things about me or who I am, before they’ve gotten to know me, just because of where [they think they know] I am from.

Little do they know, I’m from a small town [Syracuse] with great fishing, deer hunting and other activities that happen to be very popular down south. Yet, many people hear me say New York, and they assume I am from Times Square or something!?!

When conversations like these arise, I explain these things patiently and then urge folks to “expand your bubble and take a trip to the northeast.” The northeast and its metro areas are not all concrete and buildings, even though we have do indeed have some beautiful structures in that region of the country.

This goes both ways, however. Although my business and my family are based in Birmingham, Alabama, I travel to cities and markets all over the U.S., and am even challenging myself to travel to countries around the world. No matter where I am, when I explain I’m from Birmingham, the reactions I get never cease to amaze me.

For instance, I was in Boston just yesterday, and I met a woman who happened to be from the same area of New York State as I am. She was shocked [almost appalled] that I would live in Alabama! Of course, I patiently explained how wonderful Birmingham is, and all of the revitalization and growth that is taking place here.

I am blessed to have the perspective of having lived or been to both places, which expands my bubble! Maybe through my story, I can expand her perspective as well.

Just like race and region can be phrased as “our own objective kind,” there is also “our own subjective kind,” which is many times an inherent result of the latter – meaning that “our own objective kind” can determine “our own subjective kind”.

These folks who believe the same as your religiously, have the same taste in fashion and interior design, are members of the same political party, live in the same type of home, attend the same school, enjoy the same type of music, make the same amount of money, etc.

Unfortunately, we tend to spend almost ALL of our time with folks who share these commonalities, which further cement these characteristics in ourselves and further separate us from anyone who is of an alternative characteristic!

Where do you stand when it comes to this?

Assess your personal network, made up of your family, friends, co-workers, church, and fitness community, and ask yourself “How many of the people I spend my time with are different than me objectively and/or subjectively?”

I recently read New Orleans Saints TE Benjamin Watson’s incredible book Under Our Skin and, although I consider myself a pretty diversified person with a decent-size bubble, I was challenged to expand it.

As an African-American male who has excelled in the National Football League for a decade, Watson has used his platform to be an advocate for his race, during the unfortunate racial conflicts that have taken place in Ferguson and other cities throughout our nation over the past few years. However, Watson is ultimately an advocate for the human race and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in this work.

He uses phenomenal anecdotes like this TED Talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (almost 10 million views), who talks about the “Danger of a Single Story.” Something we are all at risk of living out, if we don’t challenge ourselves to expand our respective bubble!

My favorite anecdote that Watson uses, is from the movie A Time To Kill, where he describes this scene below.

Watson challenges us to think about when we have taken our families and gone to “the other side of the tracks”, wherever that might be to us, to connect with those who might seem culturally different.

I feel like I’ve challenged myself on this for years, but lately I’ve gotten comfortable. I’m not saying I don’t love my network of fellow-Entrepreneurs, Dads, Republicans, Mentors, Christians, New Yorkers, Italians, African-Americans, Sports Fans, Rock ‘n Roll Lovers, Hip Hop Enthusiasts, etc… (the current circles I am already active within). I do love that I have a network of all these folks and more.

But my bubble can be bigger. I want to experience more cultures and mix them with the one that God’s already blessed me with.

I want to develop compassion for those who feel oppressed, by listening to their perspective instead of assuming I already know “what’s right.”

I would like to understand why others don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross and saved us, even though I’m convinced its the truth and will do whatever it takes for those to hear why I think that.

I am interested in new foods I’ve never tasted before.

I always like hearing new music. I love being in my car and going from Frank Sinatra, to George Michael, to Chris Stapelton, to ColdPlay, to Wu-Tang Clan.

Do we not realize that mixing all of the above is the hybrid that made America?

If we can each challenge ourselves once per week, once per month, or just once in general, to try to be the minority of a new crowd or small group of people that we would not normally associate ourselves with, I guarantee that we can improve the unity that is missing right now in America.

I happen to be blessed to be the President of a growing brand called Iron Tribe, where for 45 minutes each day in our fitness classes, your culture doesn’t mean a thing. We sweat through the grueling workouts together, routing each other on and thus, uniting closer together with new folks that aren’t a different culture but a part of the same one.

I’m also blessed to be a board member of The Aspire Movement, a mentoring ministry that connects two at-risk groups together in The Church, where we recruit adult men to become mentors to Fatherless Children, who need a positive male figure in their life.

These experiences have opened my eyes even more than moving to Alabama from New York, just 13 years ago. I’m convicted that I need to expand my bubble. This blog is a call to action for you to join me.

Let’s get this country back to the melting pot it once was. I guarantee that, if we did this, the hateful either/or society that media continues to cultivate today, will transcend into a society where right and wrong mean much less and compassion for our fellow man means much more.

Seven Takeaways

Seven Takeaways – January 2016


Benjamin Watson, the TE for the New Orleans Saints, turned a viral Facebook post about the Ferguson verdict, into a book called Under Our Skin. This book is so well-written, with such careful thought, perspective and weaving of the truth that lies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that I am going to buy lots of copies and start making sure every leader I know has one. Every American needs to read this book. I’ll be writing a separate blog to review this book, later this month.

You can learn more about the book and buy it here.

Gary Vaynerchuk talks here, about a social media automation app I personally use, called IFTTT (If That Then This), along with addressing his thoughts on owning a franchise business and even answers a question from Shark Tanks, Daymond John about his new book’s topic “The Power of Broke.” 

Then, in this other Gary V video, he addresses the app Snapchat and reminds us that he’s been saying its going to be a valuable tool for businesses back in 2013, as it now is becoming a reality here in 2016.

Nick Waterhouse has a song called “High Tiding” that actually played in the credits of a new show I’ve been checking out called Billions. The show is not for the faint of heart, but is backed by lots of research about the investment banking world, which I am oh-so-curious about. The song is a bluesy soft-rock rendition that’s a good one to put on repeat while working on an intense project at the office.

Speaking of Billions… Kevin Plank is betting $1B (yes, One Billion Dollars) on fitness and nutrition wearable tech and tech databases. Inc. Magazine wrote a great piece on this that I highly recommend everyone reads for, if nothing else, perspective on the fact that even if you’re a $4B company like Under Armour, you always have to look ahead to see what’s next and be ready to innovate faster than anyone can copy you. In this case, Under Armour still has a rabbit it is chasing called Nike who will do $30B in sales.

Afshin Ziafat of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas (a church plant of Matt Chandler’s Village Church in Dallas), delivered a sermon that everyone needs to listen to; at least I did.

Using Ephesians Ch. 2, which just so happens to be exactly the chapter I’m leading my Brook Hills Couples Small Group through right now, Afshin calls us to Remember the calling from Paul to Ephesus (and several other callings essentially from Christ through his disciples), to Love our fellow man unconditionally (especially those who are different or don’t love us because of race, religion, etc.), by Going with intent to the places locally and/or globally where they are. When you couple this message with the fact that Afshin is an Iranian guy who came here and came to Christ through an amazing story of God’s grace, and well, you will remember this message for quite some time – at least I know I will.


My TribeCast Interview w. A Real Iron Tribe Athlete Story – Anthony Jones

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Click HERE: Download TRIBECast On Apple iTunes!


Click HERE: Download TRIBECast On Stitcher!


THIS MONTH ON TRIBECast we’re introducing a new format moving forward in 2016, giving you a sneak peak at a brand new year long campaign you won’t want to miss out on, and interviewing an ITF Downtown NOLA athlete with a phenomenal story.

With this new format, we’ll begin releasing two episodes a month. The first episode of the month will be be an interview with an ITF athlete; someone who has an incredible success story and wants to share their success as a means to inspire, encourage, and motivate the ITF communities across the country. This is an opportunity to connect our 40+ locations and we’re excited to introduce this as a staple of the TribeCast brand.

Show notes:
  • New to the podcast: IronTribe Athlete stories.
  • The 2016 Athlete of the Year Campaign is about to go live! Once released on social media, submit your story for ITF Athlete of the Year 2016.
  • Today we have Anthony Jones from ITF Downtown Nola, talking about his journey to Iron Tribe Fitness.
  • He tells the amazing story of how ITF came to his aid after a car accident which led him to be a founding member athlete at the Downtown Nola gym.
  • Anthony transformed his life from never having worked out to a founding member athlete.
  • Anthony details how his work as a lab owner has showed him the invaluable impact ITF has had on his health and wellbeing.
  • Listen this week as Anthony inspires not just to go through the motions but to suck all of the life out of living.
  • Remember to tune in at the end of the month for Part 2 of our interview with Robb Wolf. For Part 1, click here!

Jim Speaking On Stage

About Jim Cavale:
As Iron Tribe’s President, Jim’s focus is scaling the Iron Tribe Fitness athlete experience throughout all of its gym markets, leading each of his department Vice Presidents and Franchisees to innovate new growth strategies and engage their respective teams to achieve the brand’s purpose of creating fitness communities that change lives!

Habits, Seven Takeaways

Weekly Seven – January 4th


Watch the CNN Films presentation of its #SteveJobsDoc. Here is an article to give you more perspective, but whether you are one of those people who has not read Jobs’ bio or you have, this documentary goes beyond anything I’ve seen in showing you real footage and interviews with everyone involved in the movement that has us using the devices we are using today.

WIIFM? The motivating knowledge of what it took to make the computer a personal computer, will inspire you in the industry you’re in, to think different and innovate more than you do today. I am convinced of this.

Watch the new season of The Profit on CNBC starting Tuesday, January 5th. This show features the genius, Marcus Lemonis, who visits businesses and for some, invests as a managing partner to fix their bottom line.

WIIFM? Watch real world examples of businesses in a plethora of different industries, get evaluated and [for some] transformed by three categories of initiatives that Lemonis ensures he focuses on; People, Process and Product. And yes, you can guarantee that nothing is more important than People.

Read an old blog of mine, which features a podcast interview on the topic of goal setting and productivity with Rory Vaden, best-selling author of Take The Stairs and his newest work Procrastinate On Purpose.

WIIFM? This is a great piece to listen to as you prepare your plan for 2016. You’ll learn tips you can apply to execute your goals and end the year ahead of where you are now!

Read this article from Bill Murphy, Jr., of Inc. Magazine, about an Uber driver who built a $2B company.

WIIFM? Doing research and asking questions is a must-do, for those who want to grow. This story shows the humility of a guy who has built something quite big, to become a part-time Uber driver for research, something I’ve already considered myself!

Read David Platt’s blog on Three Soul-Critical Reasons to Read the Bible, which the guys at Multiply shared this past weak from David’ blog.

WIIFM? More purpose for all of us when it comes to why we should take the time to read the word and know it for ourselves.

Listen to EntreLeadership’s 2015 Year-In-Review podcast.

Watch the NFL Playoffs starting Saturday, January 9th.

Habits, Seven Takeaways

Weekly Seven – 12.28.15

1. In my freshest blog, you can checkout my exclusive podcast interview with Robb Wolf, the thought leader behind the Paleolithic Nutrition revolution that has swept our nation over the past decade.

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)? You will be motivated by Robb’s story of becoming a nutritional evangelist, while learning more about the basis of his fitness and nutritional philosophies, so that you can apply them in your own life.

2. From scripture, listen to the Christmas Eve sermon from my pastor, Matt Mason, who delivered a brief yet extremely contextual sermon on the entire Old Testament prequel that set the stage for Jesus Christ to be born on this earth.

WIIFM? You’ll get incredible perspective to add to the gift we all received on Christmas and why it was necessary that God sent His son in the fashion He did.

3. Some chill music to tune into, with this track from SG Lewis.

WIIFM? Get yourself in the zone to conquer all, with SG’s amazing sound combined with his original voice.

4. Listen to my good friend and CEO of H.U.M.A.N. Healthy Markets, Sean Kelly, on his featured interview with Entrepreneur On Fire.

WIIFM? Sean’s story is one of immense inspiration and offers guidance to leaders looking to find their groove and grow their company or team to new heights. Sean will provide some great advice on how to start your day, manage your team and ultimately reach your max potential.

5. Read this article from FOX Baseball Analyst Ken Rosenthal, on why he is giving Hall of Fame votes to guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens this year, despite the fact that they used PEDs.

WIIFM? Insight on just how unsure we are on how level [or not] the playing field was in Major League Baseball in the late 90s and early 2000s.

6. Read The Big Short.

WIIFM? It will make the move even better. See it!

7. Watch “Chasing Tyson” on ESPN’s 30 For 30 Series.

WIIFM? Learn the true sports story of Evander Holyfield. A story of faith in God and perseverance over the American sports fan community, who never believed in his talent until a decade later when he finally gets his shot against the villain they loved, in Mike Tyson.


Podcast Interview w. The Godfather of Paleo, Robb Wolf

TribeCast Logo Image Robb Wolf

Click HERE: Download TRIBECast On Apple iTunes!


Click HERE: Download TRIBECast On Stitcher!

THIS MONTH ON TRIBECast we interview Robb Wolf, THE Godfather of the Paleo Diet. Jim digs into the events that led to Robb’s involvement in Health, Nutrition and Fitness; how it’s evolved since he first heard about the Paleo diet in 1998, and some first-hand accounts and thoughts on being a coach that delivers an experience based on education and accountability. From the episode:

“I ended up losing both of my parents to complications with Type 2 Diabetes… I couldn’t help my parents but I can help everyone else’s parents…”

“I like to call myself the Forrest Gump of fitness… finding myself at the ground floor of the paleo diet.”

“I really believe that primary care medicine comes out of a well-run gym. You get the opportunity to educate on sleep, food, exercise, community… Community is an absolutely, essential, non-negotiable element of human health.”

“99% of what we need (in health) can be provided in the context of the gym.”

About Robb Wolf

Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist is the New York Times Best Selling author of The Paleo Solution – The Original Human Diet. A student of Prof. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet, Robb has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world via his top ranked iTunes podcast, book and seminars. Robb has functioned as a review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, is co-founder of the nutrition and athletic training journal, The Performance Menu, co-owner of NorCal Strength & Conditioning, one of the Men’s Health “top 30 gyms in America” and he is a consultant for the Naval Special Warfare Resiliency program. He serves on the board of Directors/Advisors for: Specialty Health Inc, Paleo FX, and Paleo Magazine. Robb is a former California State Powerlifting Champion (565 lb. Squat, 345 lb. Bench, 565 lb. Dead Lift) and a 6-0 amateur kickboxer. He coaches athletes at the highest levels of competition and consults with Olympians and world champions in MMA, motocross, rowing and triathlon. Wolf has provided seminars in nutrition and strength & conditioning to a number of entities including NASA, Naval Special Warfare, the Canadian Light Infantry and the United States Marine Corps. Robb lives in Reno, Nevada with his wife Nicki and daughters Zoe and Sagan.