Chem-Man celebrates 30 years!
I can’t believe it’s been thirty years since “Chem-Man” was born! The year 1992 seems like yesterday when my parents built me a tiny office in their department store where I wrote custom programs in the good ole days of ‘DOS.’ I had written hundreds of programs looking for that package that would take off. Little did I know when I was approached by a friend that ran a ground rig that I would be selling what became “Chem-Man” for 30 years and going.
After the program was built, around six aerial applicators purchased the program for their businesses in the surrounding area. This confirmed my decision to make “Chem-Man” (for chemical management) the package I was looking for.
I had a friend that was a graphic artist, and he helped me develop a manual. I had a cute little ag pilot as my logo, but it has been upgraded to a more modern look now (although I miss the cute man).
I hired “Lynn Hess Baum” to help me, and we had a lot of fun building the program. It seemed the requests never quit coming. Everyone in different areas had their own set of regulations and needs.
I advertised in the former “Ag Pilot” magazine and started getting calls right away. We started going to the southern conventions and then decided it was time to go to the nationals. I’ll never forget it. We had to ship our big bulky computer to Reno, and when we got there, the monitor was lying there cracked. With snow on the ground, we started walking down the road (about a mile) and found a Best Buy where we bought our first flat monitor. (This was when the price had finally dropped). We loaded it in a grocery cart, and back to the convention hall we went.
Lynn worked for me for about thirteen years and eventually married and moved off. In 2015 I decided to move the program to an online format. (I had hired someone to write an online medical program, and I felt like it was time for Chem-Man to move up).
I hired more online developers and a support team. We added mapping, GPS, inventory, applied log data, and the ability to log in from anywhere. I never realized how fast it would take off!
Our company has grown fast (now over 16 employees) and is still growing! Many people call us by word of mouth, but with the help of “Ag Air Update” and conventions and social media, most people know about us. We’re also getting calls from South America, Australia, Brazil, Libya, and even Ecuador!
One of the most incredible things in this industry is the wonderful people. My husband and I have traveled for many years to visit operations. Conventions are always so fun, and each area has its way of hosting. You never know if you’re going to see a crawfish race, participate in a barrel throwing contest or feel like a penguin when you’re trying to get to your motel!
I’ve genuinely built some great relationships in this industry that I feel are my best friends.
I’ve also tragically lost many friends in this industry and hope someday that this will change with the help of technology.
I’ve got so many customers that I started with retiring now. I’m even helping some of their grandkids! Oh well, retiring is not for me! I’m a people person, and I love working. I’ll be working as long as y’all can put up with me!
Y’all stay safe!