Tom Pape and Scott Harer, Vice Presidents of Columbia Seeds
What you do:
We focus our resources on marketing and brand development of varieties, while facilitating the flow of seed from the producer to the marketplace.
We both grew up on the family farm and have over twenty years of experience in the turf/grass seed industry. (Previously, Pape served as President of Lely Pacific Inc., a farm and turf equipment manufacturer. In 1992, he joined Seed Research of Oregon as Vice President and General Manager. Harer began his career with Olds Seed Company in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1994 he moved to Oregon and worked as National Sales Manager at Seed Research of Oregon.)
What do you love about what you do?
We love building relationships with various stakeholders in the turf grass industry and bringing a truly “green” product to market. We have been fortunate to visit many beautiful places where our product is used from Pebble Beach Golf Links to Augusta National Golf Club.
What do you want people to know about Columbia Seeds?
Columbia Seeds is a lean organization. From the point an order is received it is processed quickly and efficiently, ensuring accurate and timely delivery. This efficiency allows us to meet the needs of any customer regardless of size.
What makes Columbia Seeds unique or special?
Columbia Seeds’ “Value Direct Link.” It facilitates the flow of seed directly from the producer to the marketplace. It exists through a close association with top quality Pacific Northwest growers and multi-channel distribution systems. We offer our customers a stable seed source, efficient processing/packaging and timely delivery. The “Value Direct Link” results in extremely low overhead, providing competitive prices in today’s market.
What’s the biggest challenge in what you do?
Our biggest challenge is educating our customers about the complexities of the grass seed supply chain and convincing them that we’re not too small to handle their business needs. Essentially, trying to get our customers to understand what it takes to develop, produce and deliver a high quality value-added product. Unlike many seed companies, we are located in a small business complex and we do not have a warehouse on site. This doesn’t make us any less efficient. Our relationship with top quality growers allows us to make an order of any size in a matter of minutes. Our growers value efficiency just as we do, because they understand the competitive advantage it gives us.
5 Fun Facts about you:
1. Pape and Harer are huge sports fans, from football, to NASCAR, to soccer. In the office lobby, the TV is almost always on sports. If you want to work at Columbia Seeds, you better be a sports fan.
2. Columbia Seeds is dedicated to giving back to their community. They work
closely with several non-profit organizations. In particular, they work
closely with organizations dedicated to helping low income school-aged
3. We also have a Columbia Seeds golf team that plays at the Golf Club
of Oregon located in Albany.
4. We support and sponsor a number of youth sports teams.
5. Harer has accumulated numerous frequent flyer miles on his global travels.
Any shameless plugs to share?
We partner with Doerfler Farms. Doerfler Farms is one of the largest turf grass production operations in the state.