I live in California. Engineer. Your guest, John Summa, elicited no sympathy from me. Third-rate non-academic who tried to carve out a place for himself at a university with his 'hands-on' working experience: steel worker, oil worker? I think he claimed in the KPFK broadcasted interview near the end that he was a 'hedge fund manager'?... Give me a break.
It would help me understand your displeasure with the interview if I had a better sense of what exactly bothered you. All sorts of individuals who become academics start elsewhere (and for all sorts of reasons). Mostly, they end up better teachers because (1) their varied real world working experiences provide a valuable supplement to book learning in classrooms, and (2) their curiosity about the economics moving the employment situations they occupied drove them to learn along the way, to ask questions, and generally to accumulate effective ways to convey to students what can otherwise be a dry, abstract subject. Yes, you heard right; he added "hedge fund manager" toward the end to his earlier listed other jobs, often in manual labor occupations around the country.