President of PacMoore since 1990, Bill Moore is speaking to Bottom Line Faith about is persistence through hard trials.
Originally, an engineer for Procter and Gamble, Bill tells his story of Christ calling him into unknown territory and how giving it all to God allowed him to construct a business, of 350 diverse employees, that is foundationally strong in Christ.
Full Transcript:
Ray: Hello everybody. This is Ray Hilbert, co-host of the Bottom Line Faith podcast, and we are excited to bring you another edition of the podcast that takes a look inside of today’s top Christian business leaders. We want to lift the hood, if you will, and see how they think, see how they solve problems, how they live out their faith in the marketplace. And I am particularly excited about this edition of the Bottom Line Faith podcast. Our guest is Mr. Bill Moore, who is the president of PacMoore. Bill, welcome to the Bottom Line Faith podcast.
Bill: Thank you so much, Ray. Great to be here with you and I’m excited to spend the time together.
Ray: Well, I’m excited too. You and I have gotten to know each other over the last few months, had a time or two for a cup of coffee. And before we get into your story and your background, tell our guests a little bit about your company – what you do and how God’s using the business.
Bill: PacMoore is a contract manufacturing company. We’re based here in Indiana. We have a plant just south of Chicago, in Hammond, Indiana, and then we have a plant, also just southwest of Indianapolis, near Morrisville, and we’ve got about 350 employees. We run six days a week, we produce food ingredients for the food industry, and we have a wonderful place of great people with a great work ethic – it’s very diverse, and it’s a pretty dynamic place to be. We love to bring the Lord into that place and just love working there.
Ray: And you’ve been there since day one. You founded this company, right? So take us back. What caused you to start the business?
Bill: Yeah, that’s a long journey back, Ray. So what happened in the beginning was I was an engineer working at Procter & Gamble. I was a chemical engineer. I was designing disposable diapers – Pampers – and working on what’s still the state-of-the-art leg feature in a diaper today. My stepfather died, and it was very sudden, and my mom was left with a building that was filled with out-of-spec food ingredients my stepfather was warehousing, but he died a lot quicker than we had anticipated, and probably long before he anticipated. So that’s really what drew me into it.
I left Procter & Gamble to help my mom liquidate this building and the contents of that inventory that she had, and in the process of doing that, had to figure out where to sell all this stuff. And it got me into the food industry, so I figured out what to do with a lot of garbage and turn it into something. And God gave me the skill and ability to think through and find ways to put things into products that I’d never anticipated would be used for. So we put food ingredients into things like dynamite and roofing insulation and wallboard and that type of thing. So we got pretty creative with things that people used to eat that weren’t good for food anymore, just to sell it and make a living.
Ray: That’s incredible. We’ll jump back in just a couple of moments, back more into the business and how you make decisions and how your faith plays a role. But let’s go back and just take just a couple of minutes and share with us your personal testimony. How was it that you became a follower of Christ? What led to that? Just tell us a little bit of that story.
Bill: Yeah, thanks. I grew up in a home. My dad left when I was two years old, so our home was what I would call a broken home. But we grew up Catholic. My mom was Catholic and my grandma was Catholic, so we had a Catholic background. My mom remarried when I was 10 years old; step-father put me into a Catholic military academy in a high school in Aurora, Illinois, in a place called Marmion, and it was a great experience for me. But it didn’t ignite my heart. What really got me triggered was getting married and moving to the Chicago area, starting to go to church, and getting involved with other men. That was really the key.
I met some guys at a Protestant church that we were going to at the time, and these were men’s men, you know. Guys that played football and lifted weights and might cuss now and then and get a little mad at each other. And I liked that because the only guys I’d ever met that were Christians were Benedictine monks at high school and some kind of – I would say – sort of milk-soppy Christians in college that were these Campus Crusade guys that I just thought were the dweebiest guys on the planet, you know, and that just wasn’t my thing. I’m like, man, if that’s what Christianity is about, that is not my cup of tea. So when I started going to church again, I realized, you know, there’s some really good dudes out here that believe Christ is the real thing, and that had a big impact on my starting to follow Christ. My wife got pregnant, and we almost lost our first son while she was pregnant. She went into preterm labor at 23 weeks and it happened to be on my birthday that year. I went home that night, I got on my knees, and I just begged the Lord to not let that little boy die. And that’s when I came to Christ; it’s when I gave my life to Him.
Ray: So you were how old at the time?
Bill: I was 29 years old.
Ray: Oh, wow. That’s incredible. But what a great journey. As I was listening to you share that story, you know, that testimony of those Campus Crusade leaders, probably that’s exactly the testimony you’d want for your kids. Right?
Bill: Oh, absolutely.
Ray: I share with my kids all the time that I pray they don’t have my testimony, right? Yeah, that they would just have the most boring testimony in the history of the world. That is great. I appreciate you sharing a little bit of the background – not only spiritually, but kind of what led you into starting the company PacMoore. What year was that that you would say you formally started the business?
Bill: 1989. That was the beginning. it wasn’t incorporated as PacMoore until 1991. In 1990, we had a fire and took down a 250,000 square foot building.
Ray: Wow. That’s incredible. In fact, one of the first questions I wanted to ask you here was some of the darkest things you’ve been through in business ownership and leading a business. So you mentioned the fire. Would that be the darkest, or would there be other moments that you would share with us?
Bill: Yeah, I would say that was certainly one of the lowest points I’ve ever experienced in business. I’ve certainly had some dark ones – some really challenging times. But that was really rough. I was a pretty young guy at that point, and I didn’t have a lot of experience. I was a chemical engineer. I wasn’t a lawyer, a banker, a finance guy, a sales guy; I was just a young engineer finding my way. It was tough. It was really hard to have something and then have it gone in an evening, and then to have people trying to put you in jail for doing some things that they thought might be wrong or whatever.
None of it was true, but it was really hard. I mean, it was just incredibly challenging, but I could tell you about one of those guys at my church, that was becoming a really close friend. While that building was burning, I was standing there, just crying and looking at this, thinking that my life is absolutely over. This guy had never been to the plant, but he followed the smoke from Orland Park, Illinois, all the way out to this plant. And I was standing there and he came up from behind me, just gave me the biggest hug, and said, “Man, we got you!” Gosh, did that have a big impact on me! I just thought: God is in this, man. He is here, and even in this moment, I am not alone. It was just a powerful moment to say, you know what? This faith you have is real. Don’t let go now, right? It’s being tested by fire; don’t let go now.
So that was that was pretty dark. And we’ve had some other things like that, where we’ve had to lay off employees, and there are just difficult times when your sales drop and you have to regroup. Those are hard moments, having to turn down business because you don’t work on Sunday, and knowing that you’re going to walk away from some large contracts. Those are trial moments you always think about and think, wow, those were those were difficult, difficult decisions.
Ray: So yeah, well, let’s talk about that for a moment. Because that really is a big reason we do this Bottom Line Faith podcast. We want to be an encouragement to other Christians who are owning and running businesses or in high-capacity positions of leadership, right? Sometimes you make decisions because of your Christian faith. You mentioned, for example, not having production on Sundays. How has that proven for you to be the right thing? Or how has that proven to be a questioned thing in the marketplace? Do you have customers that get upset with you about that? Walk us through that because that’s a real indication of your commitment to your Christian faith.
Bill: That is. That one gets tested. If you think about most food processing plants in the United States, they run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The supply chain to those plants is usually a just-in-time type mindset. They want to minimize costs; they don’t want to tie up cash in inventory, so they want that inventory to be very closely connected to the production moment. They don’t want you to not work on Sunday, so when Mars Chocolate says, “We need our line running,” and you say “Okay, we’ll build inventory and we’ll put it in a warehouse for you,” that’s not typically received well. But on the other side of that, so many of those people that are of that type will often, in the meeting after they’ve just told you how disappointed they are, walk down the hall and say, “Off the record, I couldn’t be more proud to work with a guy like you, you know, because I trust you and I believe you’re always going to do the right thing for us. But if you if you ask somebody, I didn’t say that.”
Ray: Yeah, so you’ve given us a couple of real practical examples that have difficult decisions or scenarios that you’ve been through. You talked about the fire which nearly put you out of business very early on in the game. You talked about this decision to not produce on Sundays. Would you say either of those or perhaps something different? What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever made in business? How did your faith guide that decision?
Bill: Yeah, I would say the most difficult decisions I have to make on a regular basis are letting other Christian employees go. That is really, really hard. Somebody taught us early on as CEOs that the people that get you to a certain point in business are probably not the people that get you to the next step in business. And you just have to accept that, and it’s really hard to accept when you’ve poured into people. You’ve mentored them, you’ve loved them, you’ve cared about them, you’ve gotten to know your family, and they’re Christian! They’re a brother in Christ or a sister in Christ, and you’ve had to say, “Thank you for getting me to this place, but I gotta find somebody different because your skill set isn’t going to get us to the next level.”
I can’t tell you how hard that is. I had to do that last week. It’s really hard. It doesn’t get any easier. It just doesn’t. A lot of guys will say, “Why do you get so emotionally connected? Why do you put so much of your heart in? That’s what happens, you know, it’s hard to do that when you get connected.” And I say, “You know what, I got a season with people in my life and I’m not going to regret having to part ways. But I’m not going to back down from pouring into them and leave that untouched when I have a chance to maybe bring them closer to Christ or even to Christ by giving part of me to them. I’m not going to do that. It hurts, but it goes away. I’m hurt, but I’m not harmed. I’ll be okay.”
Ray: You know, Bill, I’ve been working with Christian business owners like yourself now going on 20 years, and I hear this a lot – and by the way, I don’t think we should ever get to the point where it doesn’t hurt; that makes us human and that makes us concerning and caring. However, I also have found this and I’ll be curious to hear your response to this. I think sometimes we forget that one of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh. God is the Provider, and I think what can happen sometimes as Christian business owners, we can forget that and we take on that responsibility like I’m their provider, you know, I’m gonna need to let them go, but how are they going to feed their family and those sorts of things. We have accountability, right?
We have stewardship, but ultimately, God is their provider, not us. I also have found that quite often after letting someone go, you run into them a period later, and they’re doing just great. It was a bump in the road for them, right? So have you kind of processed it that way? Talk to us about the mental side of letting those employees go.
Bill: Yeah, I think what has really helped me is seeing that people have gifts that God gave them. Sometimes I’m actually hurting that person when I put them in a role at some point that they don’t belong in, and they’re missing out on some blessings that they truly would be experiencing if they could be fully using the gifts and talents God gave them. And most of those opportunities, when we switch gears, leads that person to a place where they spend time going “well, how am I gifted? What should I be doing?” And then they get closer to that place where they’ve really been talented and gifted, and they end up finding much more happiness and joy in what they’re doing, and they could see God actively working in their life in a far greater way than when they were working with me.
Ray: If you’re listening to this Bottom Line Faith program right now and you’re a Christian who owns a business or leading a department or an organization, maybe you’re facing this right now, and you have a very tough decision in front of you that, for whatever reason, you need to let go of some people that you love – people you care for and respect. I really want to encourage you – and I know Bill’s in agreement with me; he’s nodding his head here in the studio. God’s got this, God’s not surprised by any of this, God will take care of them, God will take care of you, and the guilt factor comes from Satan himself.
No, we need to be good stewards in the marketplace, friends, but God’s gonna take care of them. You know, they didn’t get to where they are because of you, and they’re not going to fail because of you. God loves them big enough, and he’s bigger than this circumstance. We just want to offer that up as a word of encouragement to you today. So again, folks, this is Ray Hilbert co-host of the Bottom Line Faith podcast. Normally we would be joined in studio with Adam Ritz. Adam is away on a few days out of town, so I’m hosting the program today alone. We are speaking with Mr. Bill Moore, president of PacMoore, out of central Indiana, with a factory facility up in Hammond, Indiana, and also in Morrisville. Bill, I want to talk a little bit more now about some of the ways you practically live out your faith – best practices and things like that. How would you say that your company leverages resources to bless your employees and bless the community? What are you doing to give back?
Bill: That’s a great question. We give back in a few ways. First the employees. So you know the Acts 1:8 picture where Jesus said, “I want you to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and then out.” So that sort of concentric model, that’s really important to us. That’s a Christian model that we look at. So we view our employees as our Jerusalem, and so we have to minister to them first. That’s the first give-out. We give out to those employees in a significant way. First, we have seven chaplains. We have lots of classes, we have Bible studies, we have prayer time, praise and worship time, one-on-one mentoring. So we do a lot to really pour into those people and help transform their lives. That’s first, and then we want those people to reach out and then to help that community that they live in. We do a lot of work with the prison ministries in the communities that we’re in, so we probably have about 20% of our workforce that comes out of jail or prison.
Most of those are drug-related issues, and we give those people what’s probably their last chance in the workplace. So that’s probably one of our most significant ways that we reach into the community and help out, trying to help develop those people into great employees, which many of them are. I mean, I just can’t tell you how many of those employees are fabulous workers who have a real heart for the things you’re doing and understand that this is probably the end of the road for them. If they don’t get this right, their life may take a pretty hard spiral down. So that’s big. That’s really important to us. The other place that we really feel called to is to work in places outside of our immediate neighborhoods, so we’re in Africa right now. We’ve got a farm in Uganda, we’ve got a honey operation in Kenya, we’ve got some work in Nepal. We believe we’re called to create jobs – food processing jobs – we want to connect the African community to the global food market. You know, the global food industry has to double in size by 2050. We feel we have a responsibility to help with that. That’s the vision we’ve got. That’s the one we’re going to start chasing.
Ray: That’s incredible, and I hope you’re listening well, friends, because what Bill is talking about here is true ministry in the marketplace and life transformation for the Kingdom, and that’s incredible. But let’s talk a little bit about two or three best practices that you try to implement. You mentioned a moment ago about Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all ends of the earth, and I love that approach and the strategy. Your employees, your community, and the world. What are some other business practices that are biblically rooted, that you really have built the company on?
Bill: That’s a good question as well. You know, I think one of the most important things as a Christian in the business place is to is to always keep Matthew 28, the Great Commission, in the forefront of your mind. Wake up every morning and ask yourself, “Am I here to bring people to Christ? Or am I not? Is that really what I’m going to do, or am I not?” You know, Jesus said, “Store up your treasures in heaven, you know, not here on earth.” And so those treasures are those people, and if I’m going to work every day, and I’m just building great plants and creating a lot of wealth and creating jobs for people, what have I really done? We’ve got 40 hours to be with people every week. A pastor’s got 1 on a good day. There’s maybe 6 million people in church on Sundays. Most of those aren’t unbelievers. There’s over 200 million people in the workplace every day, and most of those are unbelievers – over 70%. Who’s got the greater chance of reaching the lost? We do and we should be. That’s the calling, you know.
So it’s really important for me to keep that. That’s a best practice. That has to be the foremost important to me, and then I mobilize the Christians that work for me. I want them to know that if you’re coming to me as a Christian, this is not a country club. This isn’t where we come hide, and we duck out from our work. This is where we come work. This is where we bring people to Christ. And I really push the Christians that work for us to reach the lost. Our plants are filled with people that don’t know the Lord, so that’s a big deal. One of the other key things is to make sure there’s people praying for us outside the company. So we have at least 50 people outside the company, they get a monthly letter that tells them how to pray for us. And the other thing that I think is critical is an intentionality in ministry.
So we have a very intentional plan. We have a roadmap that looks like a college curriculum with 100-, 200-, 300-, 400-level things that we do to reach people in the workplace, depending on where they are. Wherever they are spiritually, we’ve got something to try to reach them and help move them along that spiritual continuum. So we have an intentionality about that. I’ve got a full-time employee that’s the Global Director of Leadership. That’s all he does, is train and develop people and help them grow in their faith. We’ve got a full-time chaplain that does the same thing. So we’re really committed to that. We put money into that, and we have a plan.
Ray: That is incredible, and I love all of that. I will tell you that I think it’s the first business owner I’ve ever talked to that really had a prayer letter going out to people, covering their company in prayer, and I commend you for that. That’s a best practice takeaway for me, so thank you for that. That is incredible. Well, Bill, you’re a busy guy. You know, we’ve talked even off-air before about family and work and church and community and all the things that you’re involved with. How do you balance it all? Or how do you get it all done?
Bill: Everybody asked me that. That’s probably one of the most asked questions and I’ve always wondered why. Honestly, for me, at four o’clock, if I’m still working, I stop. That’s literally been since the day my kids were born. I said to myself, “At four o’clock, I’m going to go spend time with my sons.” And that was probably because I didn’t have a dad, you know, I didn’t grow up with a father, and I just didn’t want my boys to have that experience. Some people think I’m crazy, and they think the business could be a lot bigger and it probably could be, but my relationship with my sons and with my wife is really good, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
I think that’s a big part of it. And now there are days, you know, I’m traveling to Africa, and you certainly can’t leave at four and go home; it’s not going to happen. So you gotta work your tail off on those days, you know, and you put in long hours, but then you take days off to balance that out, you know, and so I think that’s really important. On the flip side of that, I think too many people are over-compensating for kids, to be honest with you. I think there’s too much of that going on with the baby and the kids, and the younger generation’s getting kind of emotionally wimpy, you know. They’re getting so soft that they can’t even handle it.
Ray: We call them snowflakes.
Bill: Yeah, snowflakes, great name for them, right? They’re really getting spongy. You know, it’s like, gosh, you’re so soft. You can handle anything, you can’t take any criticism, you can’t handle any emotional stress, you know, so I think that you can overdo that a bit sometimes, too. I would tell people to be cautious in that area. You know, let them toughen up a little bit. Don’t get your head bent out of shape so bad when somebody calls you a name. You’ll be okay; you’re not going to get hurt. So anyway, that’s how I balance it. I make an intentional effort to get up and leave.
Ray: That’s incredible. We have learned a lot already from you today on this edition of the Bottom Line Faith podcast. I’m your co-host, Ray Hilbert. We’re speaking with Bill Moore of PacMoore. Bill, I’d kind of like to turn our conversation reflectively. We’ve been talking about how you do things and try to live out your faith. But let’s kind of look back now just a little bit. What’s the biggest mistake you think you’ve ever made in your leadership and your business? Perhaps even in your family, it’s okay if you go there. But what’s the biggest mistake you think you’ve ever made, or the biggest failure you’ve ever experienced, and what did you learn from it?
Bill: I can picture my biggest mistakes like they were yesterday. I’ve spent a lot of time with John Townsend, and he’s taught me a lot about that internal judge. That’s a mean guy, let me tell you. The judge inside of you is the worst one. That judge inside of me, he’s brought a lot of memories of times I’ve spent with men that worked for me and I criticized them publicly in front of their peers. And I can just tell you, that’s a bad thing to do.
And I could picture every time I’ve done that, and how much I hurt that man, and if I could take that back – I could picture every one of those times that happened – if I could take that back, I would do it. Ephesians 4:29 makes it really clear, do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, only that which builds others up according to their needs. That’s what we’re supposed to do. You know, and privately, we help people grow, but we never need to use that kind of attack or criticism on people to help them grow, because it won’t, it doesn’t work.
Ray: Thank you for your transparency. That is incredible, and I suspect that many of our listeners have experienced that or have been through that or have done that themselves, so thank you for that. On a more positive note, what’s the best advice you were ever given? Who gave it to you and how did it continue to impact you today?
Bill: That’s a tough question. I’ve had so much good advice. I’ve had so many good Christian men in my life that have coached me and counseled me and pointed me in the right direction. You know, I would say John Townsend taught me so much about relationships, and I never understood it. I really didn’t, Ray. I didn’t understand the power of relationships and most of the brokenness in our life is relationships, and their words, their times or experiences, and I spend so much time now in my life making sure the relationships that are around me are life-giving relationships.
Because that’s where the Gospel gets transmitted; that’s how the transmission occurs. It doesn’t occur any other way. The pastor at the pulpit is a great guy, but his message doesn’t get moved from person to person until another person touches another person’s heart, so relationship is powerful. We have to be able to access the heart of another person and be vulnerable and open to gain access to that, and through those relationships, that’s where all the life transformation takes place.
Ray: Bill, that is incredible. You’re talking about the power of relationship, and we see that modeled incredibly so by Christ as he built into his core group, right? He really invested his life deeply into the lives of his disciples. I’d like to ask you this. We just talked about good advice that you’ve been given. What advice would you give to a listener of this program? A Christian who is trying to live out their faith in the marketplace, trying to be that worker/leader that God is calling them to be, encourage them right now. What advice would you give them?
Bill: Yeah, I think the most valuable thing that God ever put in my life was another person. Whether it was another guy, whether it was my wife, for me it was typically another man that came along that would walk with me. I would say, if you don’t have somebody in your life, whether it’s a guy or gal – and I recommend somebody of the same sex, honestly – just find a friend that can walk with you, especially somebody that may be ahead of you, somebody that’s spiritually stronger than you are, that are maybe having more success at work. They’re spiritually stronger than you and can guide you spiritually and help move you along. We have the hardest time reading Scripture on our own. It’s really hard.
The magic bullet at every church is to read, pray, read your Bible, pray, come to church, worship, serve in the community. It’s the same recipe every time. It doesn’t work by yourself. When you try to do that stuff by yourself, it has no impact on you. It’s really difficult. But when you have somebody with you that is walking with you that can help you and listen to you and talk to you and guide you and direct you and challenge you, it makes a huge, huge impact. If you’re doing this alone, that’s not how Jesus did it. It’s not. He told the disciples, “Go and make disciples; baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them all of my commandments. I will be with you to the very end of the age.” He didn’t say you’re going to be alone; he said, “I will be with you.” That’s what he meant. He wants us to do it with somebody else and he’s with us through another believer.
Ray: That’s incredible. Really, you’re talking about the power of community. You know the Scripture: whether it’s “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” or “if one can put 1000 to flight, then two can put 10,000.” We see this over and over again throughout Scripture. The power of “we’re in this togetherness,” and that’s maybe not great English, but it is so true.
Okay, so the last question is a very related question. Proverbs 4:23 tells us this, Bill. It says that “above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life.” And so it’s believed that those were among the last words that Solomon wrote before his passing from this earth. We can imagine these were maybe some of his deathbed words, if you will, right? So just imagine, you’re at the end of your life and you’ve got somebody who’s hanging on every word that you have to say, what would you say for them above all else … fill in the blank.
Bill: Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, and he’s not the one you’re pursuing, when you step into heaven, you’re going to know that you didn’t, and there won’t be another choice at that point. And Jesus always lead you to the right place. Always. He never abandoned you. He never does anything wrong for you. He always does what’s right. Romans 8:28: “All things for the good of those who love Him”. That’s what God does. And so you’ve got to find Jesus Christ, you have to do that.
And that happens through other people. You know, when God made marriage, he took the bone out of the man’s heart, the rib that covered his heart, and He made a woman out of that. She protects his heart; that’s what her purpose was. That’s what guards his heart: his wife, right? That’s a beautiful picture. That’s what people are there for. That’s what the relationships are about. People guard our hearts or they hurt our hearts, one or the other. Jesus said, “I’ll take care of that. I am love. I will make sure you’re loved. I’ll make sure you’re cared for. I’ll be there for you.” When you pursue Christ, he connects you with people. Don’t miss Jesus. Don’t miss him. You need him.
Ray: That is incredible “above all else” advice. Folks, this has been Ray Hilbert, your co-host of the Bottom Line Faith weekly podcast, brought to you by Truth At Work. Our guest has been Mr. Bill Moore, President of PacMoore. We are so grateful, Bill, for you taking the time to share your enthusiasm, your love for Christ, and your wisdom with our guests on Bottom Line Faith.
Bill: Thank you Ray. You’ve got a great ministry. You’re doing great things, and the marketplace needs you, so thanks for being there for us.