#61: Jeff Hackett – Lead Support Representative at Pederson’s
Jeff Hackett Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: All right, Pederson’s family, all you listeners out there, and watchers on YouTube, hi. I’ve got my good friend, I mean, he’s a little nervous, and that’s okay. But he is my friend and we’re just going to talk. And we kind of work together, too. So we’re going to talk about what that’s like and tell Jeff’s story a little bit, like how he came to Pederson’s, why he’s still here.
Jeff Hackett: It’s funny, Neil, I’m nervous doing this, but I’m not nervous in public. I’ll wear a bacon suit and I’ll sizzle on the ground. I’ll do anything for the company. But when it comes to this, one on one stuff.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, it is interesting. That’s kind of a cool thing to explore. Why do you think that is?
Jeff Hackett: I don’t know. I can’t put my- they say that public speaking is more feared than death. And I don’t understand it, but I guess I do because it’s just I’m nervous talking about myself and talking about-
Neil Dudley: Yeah, well, I think that is kind of a truth for everybody, me too. When you are put to the test of talking about yourself and owning your greatness and owning maybe some of the stuff you’re not good at and owning your embarrassment, all of those things, that is kind of nerve racking. It makes you think, uh-oh, will I be able to do that well? I mean, and I know this about you just from working with you, you want to do good. Like you want to do a good job. Like you want to come on this podcast and represent the company well. I think you probably even put the company in front of yourself. Like you want to be a good representative of Pederson’s.
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, I want to do whatever it takes, whatever’s needed to make the company advance and prosper. So, that’s my goal as an employee for Pederson’s, and I take it to heart.
Neil Dudley: I love that about you. That’s why I call you like our number one PNFer. I mean, you and Seekers are kind of battling that out. And probably mostly in my mind, just because y’all are out with the consumer more than anybody. Maybe Robin should be in this conversation too, especially with as much as y’all do in the direct consumer space for us.
Jeff Hackett: In the ecommerce world, she definitely gets a gold star for what she does. She does an amazing job for us. And, man, what a- I keep telling Chris, what a great hire. We hired her to do demos right before COVID. Then COVID slammed the door on all that and she took off in ecommerce and just did an amazing job. So kudos to Robin.
Neil Dudley: Sure. Which if you’re curious who that is, go back through the episodes, Robin’s been a guest on the podcast. You can go back and listen to her story a little bit. She likes to hike the Appalachian Trail. She’s related to Brittany who’s our VP of Sales. Turns out, and this has been a philosophy of me and I would even say Cody the whole way, ever since we started, and it’s kind of obvious. It’s just Cody started, hired me. Well, I was his friend, like best friend since kindergarten. Then we hire Britt because she’s kind of a friend of a friend and we kind of knew her. And then we bring our wives in. Then the next thing you know, Jeff meets my brother and then we hire him. Then he’s hiring a friend. Then we’re hiring Britt’s cousin. I mean, it’s just like-
Jeff Hackett: I remember calling Chris up. We’re at a sales meeting, my first sales meeting with the company, and they said we need somebody in Southern California, and I just kind of raised my hand and said, I know someone that would be really good. And that was Chris. And Chris has been with us for six, six plus years and doing a great job, loves it just like I do. And yeah, so its kind of a- it’s a family oriented business. I mean, we just, we all love each other. And it’s just we have the same values and it just all works. It works really well. Going back to that, so before I was hired, I came to San Antonio from Southern California, came out here, and I was on the computer nine to five, filling out resumes, doing the FBI background check at certain jobs. It was a job to look for a job. And then I just called you up, Neil, and I said, I know your brother, I met you once. Let’s see what you have to offer. And Hans and who was the other guy? Todd, yeah. They came to San Antonio with a little gift bag that had the plastic tongs and said, “You’re going to start doing demos.” I’m like okay. It’s how it all started. It was kind of cool.
Neil Dudley: I mean, it’s funny, that’s how it started. Somebody- you just reached out. I think any listeners that would like to work for Pederson’s, would like to work for some other company, even one of our competitors, if you’d like to, reach out, try. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? No, we’re not hiring right now. Sorry, we just don’t have a position. You’re no- that has been no real failure there. It was a try.
Jeff Hackett: And I must say, applying for other companies, big corporations, the process and the algorithms they look for with resumes, it’s kind of defeating. I mean, the old fashioned way, I think, honestly, is the best way to go is meet somebody in person, shake their hand, look them eye to eye, and get a feel for them that way, instead of looking at a resume and saying, okay, this person is qualified. But you never know. You never know until you meet somebody.
Neil Dudley: Well, and it does slow down our expansion with hiring. I mean, that does take more. It’s a little more of a- more of a is the wrong way to say it. It is a longer process to actually get face to face, to get a feel. I’m just kind of taking up for the other companies. I don’t even know why. But when you’re trying to add 100 employees around the nation, you’re just trying to put volume through the system. Which I guess that’s a good illustration of just Pederson’s doesn’t work that way. We kind of want this good consistent growth. We’ve been able to achieve good consistent growth. I mean, even right now, every employee we have is really stretched. I mean, doing a lot, taking on a lot, plates overflowing. And we’re kind of thinking, well, maybe we could add a person; we probably should add five people. But we just kind of do that slow because we really protect our culture, we really protect our team, we want the right fit. We’ve been there and not had those right fits, and that takes things off the rails, it takes a while to put it back together. All right, so what is your favorite thing? What is the thing you do? I’m going to ask these two questions. What’s your favorite thing, what’s your least favorite thing about your daily job duties?
Jeff Hackett: My favorite thing, I mean, several. I mean, I like the responsibility of the ecommerce world. I like that I have my hands in a lot of different facets of the company. It’s ecommerce. I have some accounts here that I work on, the sales. I like to talk to people. I also like to travel for the company and support Pederson’s and be a face of Pederson’s. I love that. I love all aspects of that. Some of it is trying. I mean, Amazon, the ecommerce world doesn’t sleep. It is 24/7. So, you might get a email at midnight to cancel an order from Amazon, and you have to act on it. So, it’s not- the time off, I guess, is the negative side of it. It never sleeps, so you’re always working or always looking on your phone, doing that kind of stuff. Other than that, just like I said, anything to do to help the company is what I’m all about. And the more on my plate to do that, I just thrive on it. I love doing it. So, I guess a negative thing would be the ecommerce world. And I think Robin can attest to this too. It never sleeps. People order stuff in the wee hours of the morning. And if they want to adjust it or cancel it, we have to respond. And so, it’s a 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year job.
Neil Dudley: We’ve got like two people, three, two and a half people, maybe, if you count Hector helping some, if he does.
Jeff Hackett: He does. He’s on the TDO, which is our communications to all of our customers, two days a week.
Neil Dudley: I mean, it’d almost be funny, just how many different softwares do you have to log in to do customer service for our ecommerce business? It’s a bunch.
Jeff Hackett: It never logs off. It’s always on my computer, Amazon, Walmart, our own PNF site.
Neil Dudley: Do you think it distracts you? Do you ever think, man, I don’t know if I can keep doing this job because it distracts me so much from my family?
Jeff Hackett: No and yes. But you have to- when I get something from the ecommerce world, I have to act on it. So, I put a big timeout with my daughter, and I just do my job and then come back to what we were doing. So, I think yes and no. I think the flexibility of this job is amazing. I’m a single dad, seven-year-old daughter. She’s amazing, by the way. But yeah, I get quality time with my daughter. I can always shut things down – not necessarily shut things down – pause it for a second to be able to be a father. I don’t think I could do that. At a nine to five job, I wouldn’t be here as much.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, it’s kind of a tradeoff ultimately.
Jeff Hackett: Big time. And I’ll tell you what, my biggest role in life is being the best dad I can be. So that’s my biggest role. Next is Pederson’s. That’s just how I look at things.
Neil Dudley: Well, what about tennis? You don’t put that in there anywhere?
Jeff Hackett: Tennis is an outlet. So that’s let’s go hit this ball. If you got any frustrations, you’re going to hit it harder. It’s a good outlet. It’s good team camaraderie. It’s good to be around friends. That’s my outlet. And it’s two to three days a week at best. I’ve been coming off some injuries, so I haven’t played all summer. But yeah, that’s merely an outlet. Now that outlet could be anything else besides tennis. It could be if I had the time, I’d go fishing. I’d do other things. But right now, it’s tennis and being around I call it adulting because you’re around other adults and just having fun and enjoying the physicality of tennis.
Neil Dudley: I mean, I think there’s probably a lot of listeners that live this same, the single parent truth. I mean, I just say hi five. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. And the fact that you work really hard to be really both parents for your daughter, and balancing all those things, and still also really highly valuing your role within our company. Some of that stuff just really illustrates what Pederson’s is. I mean, we are Jeff, we’re me, we’re all these other employees you’ve been able to hear from on this podcast, all playing lots of different roles. That is where your food comes from – this group of people, we do it.
Jeff Hackett: And I think the biggest thing that all of us have in us is we care about our customers. We just want to do the best we can. We want to make the best possible food and take care of our customers. If something goes wrong, it’s human. But we’re going to take care of you. That says a lot about us. We value everyone.
Neil Dudley: I mean, Jeff, he values the company so good. He’s kind of constantly paying attention for good guests too for the podcast. I mean, this podcast is kind of my baby. It’s this thing I think is super special. It’s a great way to really give people an inside look into this whole industry. Well, Jeff tossed me old Dennis Pridgen. So, I’m trying to think, if you haven’t listened– I’m thinking about the episode number, but I can’t think of it, but I’ll put a link to the Dennis Pridgen, but he’s just a really kind of inspiring guy that’s got a great journey, a great story of weight loss and nutrition. Jeff feeds me those kinds of people to interview to keep this thing really-
Jeff Hackett: And you guys, Dennis has a Facebook page, Get Lean Journey, and that’s how I was introduced to Dennis, and man, what a story. That guy is just inspiring. I just like that kind of stuff. He’s rough around the edges. We all are. And he just, man, just something about him inspired me. And I’m looking forward to meeting him at the Bacon Bash. So, it’s going to be fun to hang out with him.
Neil Dudley: It will be fun. And I mean, the truth is your story has those inspiring notes in it as well. I mean, just your reality, moving from California, San Antonio, going through all the drama that is becoming a single parent, well, being a parent, becoming a parent, then kind of becoming a single parent.
Jeff Hackett: It’s a selfless life, and that’s fine because I tell you what, when I was younger, I was living a selfish life. So I kind of did a 180 and now I have a lot of responsibilities at home. My dad, that was a tough one, my dad, he had Lewy Body and dementia and was living with me, and he ended up passing in December last year. That was a tough role. I mean, I’m telling you that was- he was my troubled toddler, if you want to say.
Neil Dudley: I mean, that dementia thing is really tough.
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, it was.
Neil Dudley: And as a child or even a sibling, I don’t know, anybody who loves somebody else and to see them kind of just not with it mentally when you totally knew them when they were and they were so capable and all those things. I had a grandmother that had Alzheimer’s or dementia, whatever you want to call it. And man, she was like a firecracker, working-ist gal I ever knew, and just kind of turned into a vegetable really.
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, pretty much. And I reflect back on that, I don’t want to see any pictures of him when he was sick. I just I see- I want to remember him as the healthy father, the go getter, the designer. He did a lot of things in his life. And he came from a poor background. He’s the American dream – poor background, no running water in his house growing up, an outhouse, potato farmer in Indiana. And he clawed his way through that and became a car designer. So it was kind of cool.
Neil Dudley: That is really cool. That’s really cool. And I think that’s where you get a lot of your resilience and ability, and you’re passing that along to your daughter. I mean, that’s all really a beautiful part of the story. All right, so let’s just talk about what is it like, paint the picture for everybody what it’s like going from a demo guy to kind of leader of a demo group to all of that stuff just totally turned off. Now you have to- we are kind of tasking you with okay, get in the comments on social media and this kind of stuff. What was that like?
Jeff Hackett: It was a big change. I mean, being out in the public and traveling a lot, getting out and spreading the Pederson’s love with samples and managing a team. And then COVID hit, and COVID changed everything. It’s just you have to be- you have to be malleable. You can’t just stay stagnant and say okay, what am I going to do now with this world with my job? I’m thankful, super thankful for Pederson’s to keep all of us on the team and change our roles, and you have to run with it. You can’t just sit there and say, oh, I miss my job. You just have to roll with the punches and move forward. So it’s changed a lot. I mean, I’m on the computer 24/7, give or take. But yeah, I do miss the interaction with folks.
Neil Dudley: Do you think there’s any better way to build a company then, let’s say a food company, a meat brand, a bacon product, then that in person let them try it interaction?
Jeff Hackett: And I think it’s a fine line, Neil. I mean, not to name any companies, but if you have one of the big companies out there making cheap sausage, yeah, I mean, you could build it, but you’re not selling quality stuff. So, for me personally, I couldn’t be a car dealer, a car salesman and sell a Yugo. I’d have to sell a Toyota or a quality brand. I couldn’t sell something I didn’t believe in myself. Does that make sense? I just couldn’t do it. My conscience will get to me. I can’t sell- I can’t promote a product that I won’t eat myself.
Neil Dudley: All right. Well, speaking of that, what is your favorite product?
Jeff Hackett: You know what it is.
Neil Dudley: I know, but the people listening don’t.
Jeff Hackett: If you haven’t tried it guys, the no sugar chorizo bricks, one pound bricks, is by far my favorite product – not by far, I like a lot of other products. But that’s my go to. I did my Whole30, first time doing Whole30, that was in 2015. My daughter Hazel was six months old. I was a single full-time dad. And so, I said, okay, let’s try this. I was a little overweight, probably a lot overweight if you ask the doctor. And I ate chorizo for a good month. I lost 30 pounds eating chorizo.
Neil Dudley: That’s right. It’s funny how some- you’ll find this thing that just plugs in. It’s like, man, I like that. It’s easy. I can eat it every meal. And you just run with it because it’s almost too hard to come up with something else.
Jeff Hackett: So I would cook that up. I’d do a double batch because I knew I was going to eat it throughout the week. I’d cook two pounds up and add some cauliflower, some peppers in there. And then I’d put that in a bowl and then I’d slice avocado every morning and put that on top and eat that like a dog. I was a dog during that whole month.
Neil Dudley: It sounds good right now. Like what you’re saying sounds good. I wish I had a bowl of that right now.
Jeff Hackett: I’d switch it up. I’d wrap a hardboiled egg with some no sugar bacon and make that like a little protein bomb. And I’d eat those as a snack. But yeah, that was an amazing experience. And my first Whole30, I felt good. I slept better. Losing 30 pounds in a month does a lot to your body. And yeah.
Neil Dudley: Let’s talk about that a little bit. Does Pederson’s- if you haven’t done a Whole30 and you’re on the team at Pederson’s, do you feel like you get a little pressure to do that?
Jeff Hackett: Maybe. I mean, maybe a little bit of pressure. Maybe it’s more encouragement. -everyone to try it and maybe its strong encouragement. But I think it makes you a better employee. After you try something like that, you can talk about it. It’s like going to a class or workshop and not knowing anything, and then you come out of the workshop, and you know how to make a birdhouse. So, I think honestly it’s a good thing, and it’s only promoting health.
Neil Dudley: I mean, it’s a challenge. It’s not a requirement to be an employee, but it is absolutely encouraged. I encourage it. I feel like if we service a group of people, whether it be a lifestyle, diet, some kind of auto immune issue that our products will help. I feel like I have to eat that way in order to really know what my customer, my friends that buy our products and vote with their dollars go through. So that’s one reason I feel pretty strongly that I have to do that. And then I kind of, I would say, pressure or heartily encourage everybody to do that. You might find out wow, I feel better, that was actually great for me. Or you might find out didn’t do much for me. Like I think Ben, he’s another one I’ve interviewed, he did the Whole30. He’s like cool, I learned a lot of stuff, but I’m not giving up pasta in my life. I like it too much. Okay, cool. But you have that experience now to lean on.
Jeff Hackett: And the thing about the Whole30 is it’s not just the diet itself, but you got to cut out the alcohol and got to cut out any tobacco products, if you have any of that kind of vice. May not be a vice, it might just be you’re a casual drinker. Well, you cut that out for a 30 day process. And take that out of the equation and see how it goes. I mean, every time I do a Whole30, I never really had a hard time with it. I guess week two is supposedly hard for some folks, but it really was a breeze actually, especially with my chorizo. It was a breeze.
Neil Dudley: There you go, everybody. And by the way, you can get that chorizo on our website, pedersonsfarms.com. And if you happen to go on there, leave a little note on your order, like “Hi, Jeff.” He’ll probably see it, and that would be really fun.
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, I mean, all of our bricks, our Italian sausage, our no sugar spicy breakfast sausage, our chorizo, I stock up my freezer all the time with those three products. They just are so- you can make a scramble with the spicy breakfast sausage. The Italian sausage is really good. It’s all good stuff. It just has more, I guess, more uses than all of the other products. I mean, the other products can be just as- the rope sausages are amazing too. I love those. So, actually, I’m going to cook one up when I’m done with this podcast.
Neil Dudley: Okay, see, this is why Jeff has to be a demo guy because everything he loves ultimately. Oh, yeah, I mean, I liked that too. Oh, the bacon’s good. Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah, of course. But I think you have a lot of experience with it. You’ve been out there. Here’s one thing I want everybody to hear. Jeff, how long have you been working with us? I don’t even know, a long time.
Jeff Hackett: The summer of 2015. So almost six and a half years.
Neil Dudley: Seven years. In that time, you have been in front of people showing our product, face to face, having them try it. And that, now, if it isn’t good, that can be really embarrassing, if they don’t have a good experience with your product. So for, I don’t know, it wasn’t every day of the seven years, but for a lot of your percentage of time with the company, you’ve been on the frontlines putting that food in people’s mouths and experiencing their reaction. And right now, you can tell through this conversation, he’s pretty much had a good experience with that every time.
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, I mean, that just- when you’re on the front lines like that, and you’re passing out demos that you truly like yourself, it comes across. I mean, and then you watch people’s expression, when they try a sample. And they sometimes turn around and say, “What was that?” They are just super excited about the products like you are. And I mean, I had some really amazing days at some of the HEB’s and Central Markets of the world, Whole Foods, very successful demos. It was fun.
Neil Dudley: What would ever be the barrier? So they taste it, wow, that’s good. I’ve had the experience of it being a little too spicy, and sometimes with sausage specifically, that would turn people away. What is the thing that would- so all of this sounds really, really great. Yay. Why aren’t we the biggest brand in the whole wide world? Because our stuff’s obviously the best.
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, it comes down to dollars. And I mean, we are a premium brand, we’re a little more expensive than- not a little more, sometimes a lot more, depending on the sausage company or the bacon company. It’s probably dollars. I mean, if you’re not- if you’re going to a store and you see a $3 pack of bacon, and ours is six bucks for maybe two ounces less or maybe the same weight, your wallet dictates a lot of your buying, unless you know what you’re doing. I mean, when I say that, if you know how bacon’s processed or the commodity pork industry, quality does matter. So basically when I’m doing a demo, I’m talking about our quality compared to anybody out there. I’d put us against anyone. We are all about quality and quality ingredients. We care what we put in our bodies. And the one thing that I used to pitch a lot, especially with folks that were on the fence, is you got to think of yourself like a sports car. What are you feeding the sports car? You’re feeding the high octane, the best products you can put in that in that sports car to fuel it. So if we all thought of ourselves as sports cars, and not Winnebago vans or whatever, you’re a sports car, put the best products in your body for optimal running.
Neil Dudley: Yeah, I mean, it is. I think that’s a great way to think of it. You said ingredients, that was huge. We eliminate ingredients. We try to eliminate ingredients instead of add ingredients. Some of the reactions you’ll get when you’re out there is like, wow, that reminds me of my childhood, or wow, that tastes really clean. Like how is that? Well, it’s because it is. It doesn’t have a lot of the- and I’m not really trying to say these ingredients are Satan or some terrible thing. They’ve been developed. They’ve been used. There has been a good reason to have them over the years. But I think we’re starting to get to a place in our lives, in our culture, in our country where we can move away from some of those things.
Jeff Hackett: I mean, and sadly, if you look at the American diet, I mean, sadly there’s a lot of obese people out there in this world, and if we can just work on diet, I think we can lay off some of the prescriptions that are out there. I mean, I think diet has a lot to do with our issues.
Neil Dudley: Yeah. How strict are you on your daughter? I mean, that’s interesting. How do you think about her diet?
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, I’m concerned about it. But the doctor- She’s very picky with what she eats. Probably her staple is a peanut butter sandwich. No jelly, just peanut butter and bread. That’s what I put in her lunch every morning. We put a fruit in there, we put a crunchy snack. If we have more snack bacon, she loves the snack bacon. Sorry guys.
Neil Dudley: We’ll just touch on this. We’ve already been doing this for 30 minutes. We’re trying to keep these conversations on the shorter side. As a dog owner, a dog lover, how do you reconcile eating meat and some of those things? Like how do you think about it? Does it occur to you? Or do you just say I like meat, so I eat meat?
Jeff Hackett: I like meat and I eat meat. Like right now I’m doing the carnivore diet and started two weeks ago, and I’ve lost 10 pounds by just eating-
Neil Dudley: No way. I didn’t even know about this. I knew you were going to do it. So what are you eating?
Jeff Hackett: Back to Dennis, he inspired me, watching him. And so, what I’m doing is I’m cooking steaks. I’m smoking them and then reverse searing them. I’ll cook like three steaks, and I’ll eat one and save the rest. But I try to not eat in the morning and have my MCT oil in my coffee, suppress my diet, my appetite. And yeah, it seems to be working.
Neil Dudley: Is it boring? Are you like, man, I’m just kind of bored with it?
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, it is a little boring. I mean, I need to find some other proteins. But back to the meat thing, we need the animal proteins. I mean, reflecting back in the day on diets from a century ago, a lot of animal fats, a lot of meat. I just think that the world’s gotten a little crazy. I stay away from soys. I stay away from other manufactured products that have too many ingredients in it. So it just seems to work for me.
Neil Dudley: Well, I mean, that’s cool. I mean, it was surprising to me you’re already, did you say two weeks in?
Jeff Hackett: Yeah, two weeks in.
Neil Dudley: Man, that’s great. 10 pounds down, feeling good. You’re looking good.
Jeff Hackett: And it all started with a doctor’s appointment. They said, “Oh, you’re a little overweight.” And I’m like, I know I am. I haven’t been playing tennis all summer because of my injuries. So anyways, I just- sometimes those doctor’s appointments are eye openings, and just say, hey, you need to work on this. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to try to stick with it and go from there.
Neil Dudley: Cool, man. Thanks for your time, Jeff. Thanks for everything you do for our company. And everybody, come back next time. You’ll hear some more from somebody else in this business that tells you all about not even just Pederson’s but this industry that just talks all about where your food comes from. And for everybody that has a barking dog, that’s okay. That’s no big deal. Everybody’s heard a barking dog. All right, peace.
What is it like working at Pederson’s? This week, Pederson’s Lead Support Representative Jeff Hackett joined Neil Dudley on the podcast. They discussed Jeff’s experience working at Pederson’s, how he joined the Pederson’s team, and his Whole30 experience!
Visit us online www.PedersonsFarms.com
(0:30) – Introducing Jeff & life working at Pederson’s
(8:02) – Jeff’s work, hobbies and life
(17:42) – Learning to navigate pandemic changes
(20:03) – Jeff’s favorite Pederson’s products
(22:03) – Do you feel pressured to do a Whole30 working for Pederson’s?
(25:58) – Talkin’ product!
(30:37) – Are you strict with your kid’s diets?
(31:08) – Does being a pet owner make you think about eating meat?
(33:31) – Wrap Up
The Pederson’s Farms Podcast is produced by Johnny Podcasts & Root and Roam.