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Willowood USA named one of fastest growing businesses

EMILY HOARD The News-Review

Jun 11, 2017

Since Willowood USA started in 2010 in Roseburg, it has been growing quickly to provide crop protection products to farmers across the United States.

After being in business for two years, a company can qualify for the Fastest Growing Private 100 Companies Award through the Portland Business Journal. Having won the recognition five years in a row, Willowood received the Lighthouse Award this year.

“My business has done really well and it just goes to show businesses can grow and flourish in Douglas County,” said Brian Heinze, president and CEO. Heinze was presented with the award at a jungle-themed celebration and reception in Portland Thursday evening.

Heinze co-founded the company with Vijay Mundhra of China, and started it in an office on a hill off of Garden Valley Boulevard. As the Roseburg location itself expanded into its neighboring office spaces, the company grew to include nine people in the Roseburg office, and seven region account managers across the U.S., including Heinze’s son Matthew Heinze, who covers the Western Region.

“A lot of people said it couldn’t be done, to continue to attract business and talent in a town the size of Roseburg, but we’ve done it with local people and we continue to grow year after year and we’ve been able to sustain that growth for five years,” Heinze said.

According to Heinze, there’s still room to grow. The crop protection products industry is worth $10 billion in the U.S., and if Willowood meets its goal of earning $100 million in revenue in 2018, it’ll represent one percent of the U.S. industry.

The post-patent crop protection company sells generic herbicides, fungicides and insecticides used in agriculture. Once a crop protection product has a patent for 17 years, the market for that product is opened up to generic versions. They are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Some of Willowood’s products serve to protect pistachios, grapes, oranges, corn, soybeans and grains.

“There’s such a need not only in the U.S. but around the world to feed a growing population so we have to be more efficient and grow more food on less land,” said Casey Daniel, national account manager based in Texas. “The products we provide help them do that.”

Daniel joined the company almost four years ago. He said the crop protection product industry is very competitive and it’s important Willowood continues to grow to reach its financial goals.

In 2010, Willowood USA earned $4.5 million in revenue, then grew to $12.8 million in 2011, $22.2 in 2012, $28 million in 2013 and $37.5 million in 2014. Willowood kept growing to earn $50 million in 2015 and $64 million in 2016. Heinze said the projected number for 2017 is up to $76 million in revenue, and the company is already sitting at $64 million as of June.

“A lot of people don’t even know we exist,” Heinze said.

Willowood proves to the EPA that its products are substantially similar to the branded market. The EPA evaluates how the products are manufactured, which is done in China and India. Once the products’ confidential statements of formula are approved, the recipes are sent to various locations across the U.S., where Willowood contracts manufacturers to create the products as close to the markets in each region.

As agricultural commodity prices have been low, Heinze said, farmers need to save money and can do so through protecting their crops with generic products. Heinze claimed the generic versions cost 15 to 20 percent less than name brand versions.

“Even if commodity prices rebound and farmers start making more money, they can see it works just as well as the big brands so they won’t switch,” he added.

Though Willowood’s products come from Asia and contracting manufacturers, Heinze said he believes in the Roseburg community. The business aspect comes out of the Roseburg office, so he said there’s a trickle down effect that benefits the local economy.

Willowood also supports local nonprofits Saving Grace, Casa de Belen, the Roseburg Rescue Mission and the VA.

“We believe in the community and hope to grow and flourish here for years to come,” Heinze said.

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