OMAHA, NEBRASKA, US — New branding introduced in November by Scoular could be characterized as a mile-marker along the company’s journey to move in new directions while also building on its heritage of success, said Paul T. Maass, chief executive officer.
With a blue and gold logo and a new “Let’s get growing” tagline, Maass said the rebranding initiative sends important signals both to the marketplace Scoular serves and to the company’s workforce. As the company over the past four years has devoted considerable resources toward recruiting new talent, pursuing new business opportunities and investing in existing operations, Maass said it became clear that investing in and refreshing the brand was overdue. The initiative took a little more than a year.
“We’re trying to find a right balance of embracing our history of success while also being really excited about our future and where we’re going,” Maass said in a Dec. 15 interview. “Ultimately that’s what we’re trying to highlight with the rebranding. There is positive energy in our organization. I believe it comes across that if you’re spending the time and the effort and the resources to update your brand, then they know that we’re committed to the long-term success of the company.”
If a rebranding could be characterized principally as a symbolic move, Scoular has announced numerous substantive and even literal moves. In November, the company said it was planning to move from its downtown headquarters to a building 10 miles away in western Omaha.
“As much as we loved our building, we outgrew it, and we needed space to facilitate our growth,” Maass said. “Even more important for me is strategically our commitment to evolve our culture and how important that is to our long-term success. We want to operate in a building where there is a lot more of an open, naturally collaborative environment. In the current Scoular building we occupy space on five different floors. It’s really cut up in many ways. The new space will help us from a collaboration and cultural perspective with the organization, and I think it will help us to attract talent, too.”
While somewhat guarded about the future in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Maass said Scoular has “tremendous momentum.”
“I’m a little cautious because so many companies are struggling with the backdrop of COVID, but the initiatives we are driving forward are working,” he said. “There is really positive energy in the organization, an attitude of ‘Let’s grow this company right.’ It’s a lot more fun to be in a dynamic growing company pursuing exciting innovative things, creating innovative solutions for customers than maintaining status quo.”
Petsource by Scoular stood out among other initiatives highlighted by Maass. First announced in March 2019, Petsource, an independently-operated subsidiary of Scoular, is a manufacturer of freeze-dried pet food ingredients. Petsource by Scoular has begun to produce and supply high-protein ingredients to pet food manufacturers.
“We’ve supplied ingredients to the pet food industry for decades,” he said. “Our customers were asking for a solution around a freeze-dried protein ingredient. There wasn’t capacity in the market, and we sized it up and decided to step up, and, in my opinion, do it right. The facility in Seward, Neb., has just begun shipments. So we’re through the build phase, and we’re starting to execute with customers. That’s an exciting time for our team there.”
He credited the Petsource team, led by Amy Patterson, vice president and general manager, as doing “a phenomenal job” having been able to complete the project on time and on budget amid the pandemic and now to begin servicing customers.
A series of high-level hires as well as internal promotions since he joined the company in August 2016 is central to Maass’ optimism.
“I have spent a lot of time on talent — more than I would’ve anticipated,” he said. “What goes with that is we have in my view leadership bandwidth to execute a really aggressive growth strategy. I’ve got confidence in our team to do it and our organization to execute. Look, we have a long history of success. So that’s awesome. But we also have an opportunity to be more aggressive on the growth, and we are. Petsource is an example of it.”
An example he cited of tapping into existing resources to help lead the company in new directions is a facility under construction in Jerome, Idaho, US, to produce barley protein concentrate for use in aquaculture feed and pet food. The building will operate near an existing Scoular feed ingredient facility in Jerome and is expected to open in the summer of 2021. With the company’s strong decades-long presence in the fish meal and fish oil markets, Maass said the new Jerome facility — targeted toward aquaculture and pet food — is a sector where Scoular “has the right to win.” He said fish meal supplies have not kept pace with aquaculture industry growth in recent years.
“We’ve got a pretty good sized presence in Jerome with a shuttle unloader and dairy feed distribution that’s been there for a long time,” he said. “We’re leveraging a really strong Scoular team in the region and then combining that with a different part of the company that is deeply indexed in aquaculture and listening to what needs to happen there.”
He described barley protein concentrate as an innovative and promising solution for customers.
As a final example of change fueled by Scoular, Maass cited the launch earlier this year of Roger LLC, an independent technology company that helps digitize paperwork and offers other services for shippers and carriers in the truck freight sector. The business concept was developed at Scoular under Jeff Schreiner, who was chief information officer at Scoular and, with the spinoff, now is the CEO at Roger.
Maass said it was an accomplishment for Scoular to have identified the technology that would benefit the company and then realize “The real answer is do this for the industry and not just try to solve it for ourselves.”
He credited Schreiner with the vision, tied to Scoular’s strategic pillar of leveraging technology investments for competitive advantage. He also expressed pride that the vision was validated by major industry companies that decided to invest alongside with Scoular in the business — The Andersons, Inc., Cargill, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., and Koch Fertilizer — and a leading agricultural technology company, Bushel.
”They now own the company along with us,” Maass said. “It’s a total separate entity that was started here. Jeff gets a lot of credit for that. You know we’re pretty small players compared to a couple of those folks, and I’m excited to see Roger on its own and the impact that it can potentially make in our industry.”