Business Leader: Innovation key to success for Sam as Limerick firm keeps Shine-ing

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Sam Shine who founded Samco back in 1997, does not feel like he is at work. ‘Every day is a schoolday’, he tells Business Leader

Sam Shine who founded Samco back in 1997, does not feel like he is at work. ‘Every day is a schoolday’, he tells Business Leader

Sam Shine heads up Samco, a unique agricultural company which is a major employer in Adare – with more growth imminent

Tell us a bit about Samco:

Samco is an award winning innovative agricultural company which I founded in 1997. It was initially established to design and manufacture the Samco three-in-one machine, an agricultural device which sews seed, sprays the soil with pre-emergence herbicide, then lays a thin layer of degradable film over the seed bed. This operation protects the young plants from late frost, increases the soil temperature and thereby maximises crop yield per hectare. Many crops are grown using the Samco system, such as forage maize, corn maize, maize grain, sunflowers, sorghum and soya. Samco offers advice through its educated and experienced agronomy staff, on the most suitable types of degradable film to be used for each crop, leading to higher and greater quality crop yields per acre for our growers.

What does your role entail?

Myself and my son Robert are directors within the company. Both of us work together on the film research and development. But we  would also look after different markets I’d look after Eastern Asia and France and Ireland whilst Robert looks after mainland Europe, Scandinavia, USA and Canada. We both manage staff and have involvement in the day to day running of the business.

Where were you born and raised?

I was raised on the family farm in Tuogh, Adare. Growing up on the family farm that consisted of a dairy herd and some pigs. This is where my love for agriculture began. My father Harold was a very innovative man and great a fixing and building things, I enjoyed the animals but my love was in machinery. I began SJS Contracting in 1980 I then got out of it fully when Samco began to take off in 1997. 

What is your educational background?

I didn’t like school and wasn’t very good at it. I attended Bandon Grammar in Cork for two years. I then attended Croom for one year and left after completing my Inter Cert. I came home at sixteen to run the farm with my father and I went on from there. Robert attended Villiers School in Limerick. He then went onto to study agricultural engineering in Tralee IT.

How did you get to where you are today?

Hard work, dedication and innovation, I have five children all working closely alongside me within the business. They each have their own roles and are able to work together, I enjoy having my family around. It has taken the business twenty years of innovation and engineering to get it to where is it today. I have always had great team working with me.

Why did you set up the company?

When we were contracting we found it was hard to preserve good quality silage to feed the dairy cows. We needed an energy rich crop to feed our cows so maize was a perfect option. It was nearly impossible to grow maize in Ireland. After some research and engineering we developed a machine and plastic film. Through innovation and some difficult years we got the business to where it is today. Both the machines and the film have dramatically change but the main concepts of the products are the same.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

Ten days ago we began film production with our new extruder from China in our new premise in Adare. It has been a plan to build a new factory for many years now so phase one has been completed and we are hopefully starting phase two within the next few months. Phase two will consist of new factory floor for manufacturing machines and also new office buildings with a research and development section. We also plan to enter new markets such as organic food production, exploring new crops under the Samco System and also growing in areas around the world where Samco currently does business. Samco are exporting over 80% of their products to over 24 countries globally. We have grown from 36 staff members to 44 over the past few months.

Who do you admire in business?

All entrepreneurs!

In business and life, are you guided by any particular motto?

Innovation is the key to success

Away from work, what are your pastimes and hobbies?

I enjoy Samco, every day is still a school day for me I never feel like I am at work.