Franciscan University of Steubenville alumnus and businessman Justin Schneir spoke Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Gentile Gallery about his journey in business and founding of Tractor Beverage.
At Franciscan, Schneir was a mental health major and member of Knights of the Holy Queen Household. Upon graduating, he entered the business world and worked in commercial insurance.
“My first business was commercial insurance, that’s where I was able to build the foundation of the entrepreneur I wanted to become,” said Schneir.
After 10 years, moving up from an employee to partner in the company, Schneir sold the insurance business. He then started Tractor Beverage Company, the new organic soft drink brand featured in Antonian Hall.
Schneir said, “My passion was to eliminate the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in farming.”
His goal with Tractor Beverage was to create a demand for organic food by providing an organically sourced food and beverage company. Tractor Beverage has partnered with restaurants such as Chipotle to provide organic drink options to consumers.
“The idea is you got to give the farmers solutions, you can’t expect them to farm organically, but not give them any solutions,” said Schneir.
Schneir also has other goals for Tractor Beverage.
“We have a strategy we put together to eliminate single use plastic in the food and beverage industry by 2024,” he said.
Tractor Beverage plans to reach this goal by forming a coalition of food and beverage companies, Chipotle included, committed to abandoning the use of single use plastic.
“So, if I am back here in four years from now and I haven’t ended single use plastic in food and beverage, you can tell me, “Hey, Justin, you failed,’” said Schneir.
Schneir took questions at the end of his presentation. He concluded the night by naming his favorite Tractor Beverage drink.
Schneir said, “I personally love the stone fruit. So, if you’re up at the caf, try the stone fruit.”
Schneir and his wife also comprise the folk duo Hope and Justin, which gave a crowded concert at Leonardo’s Coffeehouse Friday at 7 p.m.