(In the words of Regina Farmer)
“So who is the Chem-Man?” This is a question that I’ve gotten a lot over the years. “Shouldn’t it be Chem-WO-man?” many say with a slight grin. I usually laugh it off and tell them that it really stands for “Chemical Managment Software”. That’s not a lie, but it’s not the whole story.
The story of “Chem-Man” is a little more complicated than that...
A programmer by trade but a businesswoman and marketing agent by heart, I was looking for a software package that I could resell. I had worked as a programmer for other people but wanted to make it on my own. I grew up in a family-owned retail store and so I wrote a complete book-keeping package including accounts receivable, payroll, accounts payable, payroll, checking and general ledger. These were the days of “DOS”, so I kept it simple and it worked well for them. I was working on software for an optometrist when Donnie and Sharon Forrester walked through my door. They needed a custom software package for their Agricultural Aviation Business and I wanted to write a specialty package to market, so it was a natural partnership. The program worked well for them and word got around. A local crop-duster, J.R. Cartillar dropped in and helped me enhance the software to work for more operators. Our area is a farming community and there were six local crop dusting businesses that eventually decided to use Chem-Man.
After seeing the difference that it made to their day-to-day operations, I decided that Chem-Man would be the package that I'd been looking for. A friend of mine, Tony McMickle, helped me create the graphics and build a manual to get me started. I also had hired a friend, Lynn Lace, who helped me work on building the software. We advertised in the "Ag Pilot" magazine and business started to pick up. We also decided to go to our first ag-pilot convention in Arkansas. I knew nothing about these conventions and just printed a dot matrix sign "Chem-Man" and displayed it on our booth along with my big bulky computer. I still laugh at my inexperience but it makes you realize how far you've come.
When I look back at those days, I think of all of the great experiences that I've had and all of the great people that I've met. Our company is growing and has sold many Chem-Man packages, Dos, Desktop and, now, Online.
John Farris joined me in 2014 as a business partner and the sky is the limit for Chem-Man! Our online software includes mapping, gps files, variable rating, inventory, loader reports, billing, commissions, reports, and many other features. We've got a staff of 15 and growing. It's very exciting times!
I saw Donnie the other day at a restaurant and took his pic. I told him how the company has grown and how he had helped me get started. He laughed and said "Ok, where are my royalty fees?" Gotta love him.