The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge

to cross and which to burn.

- David Russell



Chapter 8:

SVF Also A Cominco Dealer?

In 1975, I was still a Sherritt rep and involved with SVF. The Cominco dealership in Spruce Grove, owned by Bruce Fuhr, was for sale. How could I get Sherritt management to allow me to be involved in a competitor's dealership? Also, how could I get Cominco to allow a Sherritt rep to become a Cominco dealer? Ed Kowolanko was Cominco's dealer manager. I knew Ed personally, so I called him and asked if he would approve the sale to Jack Lathum and SVF. After a lengthy discussion, Ed said, "Well, part of Larry Laird is better than none at all. Now, what about Sherritt?"


After considerable discussion with my boss, George Gould, and upper management, they thought it wouldn't be that bad for a Sherritt rep to have access to the Cominco dealer programs. Mind you, there really were no secrets anyway-when we were trying to get Cominco dealers to come over to Sherritt, the differences in the programs were discussed. Jack Lathum was not working for Sherritt, so he was available. SVF bought two-thirds, and Jack bought the other third and became the manager of Crop Care Fertilizers in Spruce Grove. Jack was the most innovative person I have ever known. We shared the same radio frequency, and one day I could hear he was having some truck and pumping problems. I called to see if we could help. It was my policy to have an extra NH3 truck in case one went down. Jack declined. He said he had one truck that ran but had an NH3 pump that didn't and another truck that didn't run but had a working NH3 pump. The truck that was running was pulling around the one with the working NH3 pump. He assured me that he would fix both the first chance he got.

Another time, I heard him on the radio giving directions to his NH3 truck driver, and the direction for each turn was always to turn left. So I called again and offered help. Again, Jack declined, stating that he just had a problem with the steering on the truck and it would only turn left. Again, he assured me that it would be fixed that night. Jack was a knowledgeable, hard-working agronomist. When Roger and I saw how hard he and his wife Diane worked to make a go of that business, we felt he should own it. We offered to sell them our shares, and they accepted. SVF was always still available to help as required.