We recently sat down with Steve Schram, president/CEO of AgriLabs, the parent company of ProLabs, about his company’s commitment to quality, his love of Iowa State and how to succeed in business.
Schram: We have developed the ProLabs line of products for pet owners who require high quality, science-based products.
Q: You started with AgriLabs in their sales and marketing department and worked your way up to president/CEO. What advice would you give to others who want to move up within their corporation?
Schram: Always excel in your current job. Learn from others in the company that have been successful. Build relationships and network with customers that have been successful running businesses. Find a mentor who will help you prepare for the next move in your career.
Expect to work hard and treat others with respect. Measure your success against the goals you set for yourself.
Try to keep balance in your work and personal life and remember that others who work for you need that, too.
Q: Growing up on a farm in Iowa, and being a pet owner yourself, how does that impact the pet products you produce?
Schram: By being a pet owner and understanding the animal science side of things, I am able to better understand the needs of our customers. We need to remember that pets are part of the family and take this into consideration when developing the convenience of products and how a customer will use them.
Q: Speaking of Iowa, you graduated from Iowa State, and are a diehard fan. Tell us about how you still support them.
Schram: My wife Rhonda and I both try to support both the academic and athletic programs at Iowa State. Being an Animal Science graduate, I support the animal science program at Iowa State and enable our staff to be available to assist in collaborations needed in student activities or through the veterinary college.
Regarding the athletic program, I am a proud Cyclone Club and alumni association member since 1983 and have had season football tickets for 30 years.
Q: ProLab’s products are rooted in scientific formulation. What type of development goes into them to ensure they are the best they can be?
Schram: ProLab’s products are developed against a high standard of quality, efficacy and pet owner satisfaction. Our products are made for engaged pet owners who want to make informed pet health care decisions on their own. We’ve been a champion of utilizing proven technologies from veterinary and human health arenas to introduce products that have a unique selling position for the retailer and deliver proven results for the pet owner.
Q: What’s your philosophy when it comes to running the company?
Schram: Our company has been in business for 29 years and I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead the company for 17 years. We have four principles of being on brand at AgriLabs that I expect our employees to live each day. The key principles are being responsive, proactive, positive and having team members with high personal standards.