The CEO of PJC Organic celebrates her birthday today! So, we sat down with Pam Newcombe to hear more about her work and influence. View Pam’s full interview on Youtube.
Why are you passionate about organic turf care?
I didn’t realize, when we first bought a house and did the Scott’s Four Step like our neighbors, what we were actually doing to our soil and our water. We’re on well water, so what we put onto of our grass eventually makes it into what we drink. So, it was through getting educated ourselves once organic started to become popular. Then, we started to understand the harm se were doing to the soils.
The way things have been created to work is really beautiful. It’s really important for us to be good stewards with all the resources we’ve been given. How we treat the environment and how that then helps to support us as people is crucial. Because, people are really important to me and how we treat what we have been given is really important to me.
What sets PJC Organic apart?
PJC Organic doesn’t just sell product; we run a fertilization division. So, we understand the challenges that landscapers have. In addition, we really enjoy helping landscapers build their business—if they’re successful, we’ll be successful. We also really keep an eye to what products actually work, not just which products we can make a profit on. To us, product integrity and ease of use is really important. Lastly, we get product to customers in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way.
What was your first job and how did it prepare your for your work as CEO?
I was probably 12, and it was ironing someone’s baby clothes. I will say, when you are ironing 100% cotton you better have an eye for detail…and efficiency.
What has been foundational in the development of PJC Organic?
It’s the Parable of the Seed and the Sower. The parable talks about how seed got scattered—some fell on rocky places, some fell on hard places, and some fell on fertile soil. Sometimes the seed springs up quickly, withers and dies. Although, the seed that falls on the fertile soil produces the crop that continues to grow.
That’s been important from how to grow grass, as well as personally. It’s something that I encourage for all of our employees. It’s really important to take care of their body, mind and spirit. When we do that good things grow from our lives. Similarly, when we take care of the soil and get that in balance good things come out of the soil. This parable has guided me personally, as well as what we do when we develop our programs.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the diversity in my job. For instance, one day they may need help spreading fertilizer at a residential account, or scheduling a shipment or talking about new ideas or sales and marketing. In my role I get to have my finger in all the pots. I’m in the position that if there’s something we want to do, I say “let’s do it. I’m action oriented— I like to talk about it and then I like to do it.
What’s your favorite PJC product?
We bought the formulas for the Renaissance fertilizers and they are foundational to our business. Although, developing new products has been really fun. So, usually my favorite product is whatever is in development and what place that might fit in the program.
What do you like about running a family business?
While there are a lot of challenges, there is a lot of transparency. So, the way that we arrive at decisions might be unconventional, but there’s a lot of growth too. Because, we challenge each other with ideas, we challenge each other with personalities. Working in a family business is very real and I appreciate that.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your business?
There’s just so much that we want to do and so many ideas that we have. The biggest challenge is to not get distracted. To continue to build on the foundation and the core of what we know—to keep it simple and not make it more complicated than it needs to be. There’s always a new buzz out there and it can be easy to chase things and forget who you are.
Who’s your favorite PJC customer?
Well, you know who you are 😉 I really enjoy talking to customers. I think one of the challenges I face as we grow, is I don’t get to have the customer interactions as much as I used to. I will say, we have awesome customers. because they tend to have the same philosophies about caring for the environment and people—so there’s a lot fo synergy there.
What’s in the works with PJC?
As we enter the off season, we are always looking at our Healthy Turf Circle and evaluating the products that we have and where they fit and what might be missing. Over the Winter we have a soil conditioner we are working on developing.
Any final words?
To me it’s really important to find joy in the journey; be present in the day. Too often we get caught up in tomorrow and miss what’s right in front of us.