You might have received Public Goods products in a black box, but we don’t want you to feel like our company is one.
Our members and potential customers have a right to know more about our team, the people who are behind the vision and operation of Public Goods.
We realized that some faces and names on our Kickstarter page wasn’t enough information. To help you really get acquainted with our team, we decided to launch a series of employee Q&As.
The first to volunteer was Michael Ferchak, Public Goods Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer [COO]. His job, to put it simply, is to make sure we can get products to our customers (without any problems).
Public Goods: Tell us a bit about your background. What led you to Public Goods?
Michael Ferchak: The short answer is my close friendship with Morgan. But it’s been a long road.
I was born on the largest hippie commune in the country, The Farm. My parents were always very idealistic, raising me vegetarian and very close to nature. As a boy I spent most of my free time running around in the woods, turning over rocks, looking for snakes and salamanders.
When I was very young, my parents moved to Pennsylvania and joined the Quaker church in our town (coincidentally, Quakertown). So I grew up, also, with the Quaker values of silence and simplicity. My father had a background in alternative energy research and ended up with a nonprofit organization training missionaries in environmentally appropriate technology and sustainable development for third world countries.
I remember, when I was 12, learning how to install solar panels, build composting toilets and pico hydro electricity generators. I loved the idea of building things that were symbiotic with nature rather than harmful.
My career took me in other directions, though, and I ended up as a packaging engineer with a company that specialized in mass production of bottles and bottle caps. Although the company was successful, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything that would make a worthwhile impact on humanity. So when Morgan approached me with his idea for Public Goods, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to start making a real difference.
With my hippie, Quaker, eco-friendly upbringing, I feel very aligned with the mission of Public Goods: to make simple essentials that are healthy for our customers and healthy for our planet.
I see real potential, given the enormous reach of what we’re doing, to affect a huge number of lives. To help reduce plastic waste. To invigorate a revolution in sustainable packaging. To encourage simple lifestyles. And to start weaning our culture off of a misguided faith in consumerism.
Public Goods is a company that I will be able to look back on with pride.
PG: What does sustainability mean to you?
MF: Sustainability, at its core, is about the survival of our species on Earth. The two core components being our total population, and our symbiotic/parasitic relationship with the environment of the planet.
The fact is, not only are we quickly approaching what is considered to be the maximum carrying capacity of the planet — around 9-10 billion people — but we are also behaving in a way that is parasitic rather than symbiotic. Both of these issues will have to see massive changes, or we will be facing constant global catastrophes.
My personal belief is that the changes are going to have to be instituted or at least strongly encouraged/aided by our governments. But our governments will not act unless the majority of the population compels them to.
With this idea in mind, I believe achieving sustainability is, more than anything else, about creating awareness — then building consensus that government must be a primary driver of the solution.
I hope that Public Goods can be influential in this matter, possibly by creating a direct lobbying arm and by running campaigns to encourage individuals to urge action from their senators and congressmen.
PG: What’s always on your desk?
PG: What are you most excited to do at Public Goods?
MF: Create beautiful, reusable/refillable packaging products.
To learn about our Founder and CEO, Morgan Hirsh, read “Becoming a Ninja: The Founding Story of Public Goods.”
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