If you’ve been in the horticultural and agricultural industries for any amount of time, you probably know about Pindstrup, the Denmark-based substrate producer. But you may not know about the people behind Pindstrup, the people who, after more than a century of success, keep the company running. Brands and companies are nothing without the people behind them. One person behind Pindstrup is Neil Watson, technical account manager for the Western United States.
As a technical account manager, Watson’s job entails “calling on clients [to service] their substrate needs,” as he puts it. Watson’s job is at the intersection of sales skills and technical knowledge. “You’re not just selling a product,” Watson explains. “You have to be knowledgeable about the product because you’re customizing recipes and formulations to where they’re being used.” A vegetable transplant grower has different needs from a tropical foliage grower, so Watson has to know those differences and give each grower what they need.
Watson compares his role to being a general practitioner. “I may not have a ton of depth as a doctor of a specific plant, but I have decades of general knowledge and, in some cases, firsthand growing experience of plants through school and, more importantly, through my career,” he elaborates. “You need a sales rep that can walk in the door and know the pros and cons of soils, know the options in soil or substrates, asking them [the grower] questions about what their challenges are, then designing something that’s going to best fit their model.”
But every employee is more than the role they perform. And although he stays busy with work, saying “there’s no slowdown in agriculture, it always just keeps moving,” Watson has plenty of ways to keep life interesting when he’s off the clock. In his spare time, Watson spends a lot of time outdoors, whether it’s tending to his garden or hiking around southern Utah, which he’s happy to call home. “The nice thing about where I live, it’s a slower pace of life,” he explains. “It’s very comfortable here. We’re in a city where it’s easy to get out and be amongst nature and relax.”
Both at work and at home, Watson is a caring person. “I truly care about everybody’s outcome and everybody’s success,” he says. “I want to be part of the positive journey … be a positive force.” The world always needs more positive forces and more people who genuinely care about others and about what they do. This attitude is no doubt part of what makes Watson such a valuable member of Pindstrup’s team.