Dr. Robert Smith
Recently I was gathering photos for Facebook posts and decided
to jump on the "Throwback Thursday" band-wagon trending in social
media as of late. At first I thought I would upload pictures of
what our popular products looked like when they first came to
market, and ended up stumbling upon old photos of our company's
co-founder and creator of Tecnu Original (and many other products),
Dr. Robert Smith.
For a time, I felt sad that I never had the opportunity to meet
the amazing man that started it all. But, as my time at Tec passes,
I've come to realize that his legacy lives on and continues to
drive the heart of Tec Labs. It was Dr. Smith who inspired our
culture that fosters hard-working, cheerful, innovative employees
who continually seek more. To give more. To do more. To be more.
Unanimously, when asked about Dr. Smith, those that had the fortune
of knowing him always begin with a smile, followed by a fond memory
or story, and always finish with, "I wish you could have met him."
It's these stories that make me feel as if I did know Dr. Smith, or
"Doc" (as he is referred to by most), and working for Tec is
knowing a small piece of Dr. Smith's genius, generosity, and
compassion for others.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Dr. Smith and the Tec
Labs story, it all began with a product originally meant to remove
nuclear fall-out from the skin; although never officially tested
for its fall-out removal properties (thankfully!). Tecnu (meaning
"Technically New") Original, was initially sold in 5 gallon buckets
to folks with bomb shelters, should they ever need it during the
Cold War. One day, Dr. Smith's wife Evelyn discovered that Tecnu
had a very different purpose; it also removed urushiol
(rash-causing oil from poison oak and ivy). After their children
had suffered several bouts of poison oak rash from plants in their
backyard, she'd had enough, and decided to take matters into her
own hands, literally. Evelyn took to the back yard and pulled every
last poison oak plant out with her bare hands. That was it, her
children would not suffer anymore, even if it meant she would
likely develop a terrible rash as payment for her good deed.
Immediately upon completion of her task, she went inside and had
the idea to wash up with Tecnu. Surprisingly, the next day and the
days following, there were no signs of a rash; even though she had
experienced severe reactions before.
Word spread around the neighborhood about Tecnu's use for
removing urushiol oil from poison oak and ivy plants and demand for
Tecnu Original soared. Years later, Doc's son Steve (current CEO)
researched and discovered that poison oak rash was the number one
worker's comp claim during the summer months for local utility
companies. Soon after, Tec Labs was founded (initially, Tecnu
Enterprises) and began selling Tecnu Original as a solution to
decrease worker's comp claims. Now, Tecnu has become the trusted
name in poison oak and ivy, used by outdoor workers and enthusiasts
throughout the U.S.
As an employee of Tec Labs, each of us makes an unspoken promise
to carry on Doc's dream: to continue to create and innovate, to
whole-heartedly love what we do, and most importantly, to serve our
consumers with quality products so that they may continue to
adventure, and live life outdoors!
Here's to you Doc!