80 Years & Growing
This year we at Colin Campbell (Chemicals) [CCC] are celebrating its 80th anniversary. Still a wholly-owned and run Australian company, CCC is a leading supplier of innovative, reliable, high-quality and ‘niche’ crop protection products for the pre and post-harvest agricultural sector. It specialises in horticulture and recreational turf.
CCC was founded in 1940, in the early days of World War 2, by Colin Campbell Snr after he recognised a market opportunity for manufacturing chemicals. He established the company in Alexandria, a suburb of Sydney and two decades later passed the company down to his sons, Colin and Neil. It was during the 1960s that the brothers began increasing their presence in agricultural and turf chemicals.
CCC’s growth and product range has been made possible by long term supplier relationships, and by active and ongoing Research and Development (R&D). The result is the supply of innovative, speciality products which fulfil various needs in agriculture, including pre and post-harvest horticulture and turf as well as the introduction of novel products, such as Chlorothalanil Apple Wax and Microencapsulation formulations.
Well known for their reliability and flexibility – CCC can handle anything – small enough to be nimble and responsive, yet big enough to manage any size account. Having its own office and warehouse in Sydney, as well as stock locations in Brisbane and in regional sites across Australia, ensures CCC is able to respond efficiently to any customer request.
Customers remain with CCC for decades because they know the products work well and will be delivered quickly, and they trust the staff’s expertise. This stems from the fact that CCC employees remain with the company for a lifetime with many exceeding over 20 or 30 years during their lifetime.
Long-term customer, Graeme McNeil of G V Crop Protection, Shepparton VIC says “We’ve worked with CCC for over 25 years because their products are reliable and also the staff are good communicators and just a pleasure to work with.”
CCC sources the highest quality and most effective products due to their long-standing relationships (some stretching back almost 50 years) with reputable and trusted suppliers both locally and globally. CCC products come from the USA, Europe, Israel, South Korea and Japan.
Contributing to the high product quality is CCC’s progressive and rigorous R&D, either inhouse or via reputable organisations. CCC’s business plan was always to work with overseas companies that had viable and unique products but did not want to set up their own office in Australia – if not for CCC, these solutions may not have been developed and reached Australian shores. The products are always stringently evaluated (whether required by law or not) with numerous local trials, using overseas data and claims as a starting point to test the products. Nothing is introduced without the necessary efficient field and lab testing under Australian conditions.
In 1971 CCC was one of two companies given exclusive Australian rights to the new fungicide Chlorothalonil. CCC, marketed chlorothalanil under the trade name Daconil®, for use on turf and ornamentals. In 2003, the product name changed to Campbell Dacogreen® however the formulation has remained the same – it also continues to be sourced from its original supplier in Japan. Today this molecule is highly popular in Australia and CCC brands Dacogreen and Cheers are recognised as the highest-quality brands in the market.
Expanding the CCC brand
In 1971, Mr Nabih Zreikat, who played a pivotal role in growing the CCC product range and recognised the importance of building strong relationships with suppliers to achieve this, joined the company. Employed as the accountant, he was quickly required to fill multiple roles, like in many small businesses, and eventually made his way into sales and purchasing. (He later became one of the directors and worked in the company till the day he passed away in 2018, aged 82.)
In 1976, when more technical knowledge and R&D support were required, Mr Geoffrey Derrick (today one of the owners and directors), was hired as a technical agronomist because of his knowledge of all aspects of the business technical side as well as of chemicals and formulations. Over the years Geoff, has been instrumental in sourcing the company’s product range, including well-known brands such as Penncap-M®, Syllit®, Tops® and Tridim®.
Geoff and Nabih held a shared vision for CCC – extending it to an innovative product range. A pivotal moment was in 1978, when CCC was the first to develop and introduce apple and stone fruit waxes to Australia. These novel products became a standard in apple and stone fruit post-harvest treatments – consequently CCC was also involved in writing the standards of composition for apple wax, which are now governed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
CCC is now a leader in post-harvest treatments, and is soon to release ecoFog, a patented application system to apply treatments for long term pome fruit storage with minimal worker exposure.
Post-harvest as well as pre-harvest have become a CCC speciality as customers trust the brand knowing that between directors Geoff, Ramsay and Nadeem, together with their sales reps Roy and Ross, their cumulative knowledge and experience (over 170 years) is a considerable advantage in servicing customers’ needs. CCC also has long-standing support from the US and Europe in this field; as well as introducing field and lab testing for their customers to assist with quality control requirements
Bruno DiManno of Growers Supplies SA says “Dealing with CCC over the last 20 years has been very beneficial to our business. Their knowledge and support is first class and when you can deal directly with the business owners you know they genuinely care about the relationship.”
Moving towards sustainability
Geoff and Nabih recognised that, with technology changes there was an increasing demand from growers and consumers for more sustainable products with reduced toxicity.
One of the earliest examples of CCC’s path to these products was the introduction of technology known as Microencapsulation.
Microencapsulation, developed in the USA during the early 1980’s, was first brought to Australia by CCC. Microencapsulation formulations reduce the toxicity of products by encasing them in a microscopic polymer coating and as a result, products that were classified as schedule 7 poisons were able to be classified to a lower poison schedule (due to the reduced user toxicity). The technology has also been successful in providing longer residual control.
In 1986, the ownership structure changed as Colin and Neil Campbell who were looking to retire, entrusted Geoff and Nabih to continue their father’s legacy.
The legacy continues in CCC with Nabih’s sons, Ramsay and Nadeem, joining the business in 1996 and 1999 respectively. Nabih (until his passing), Geoff, Ramsay and Nadeem have overseen significant growth in sales and product range over the last 20 years.
So where to next for CCC?
Mr Geoffrey Derrick and Mr Ramsay Zreikat share the same vision: “ CCC will continue to innovate and provide the service to Australian growers and turf managers for another 80 plus years.”
- This article was written by Colin Campbell (Chemicals) and has appeared in Good Fruit & Vegetable and Rural Business publications recently in 2020