The Jackpine Story

why the tree?

the history:

What does the Minnesota landscape have to do with the Supply Chain business anyway?

Let’s back up a bit, to give you a full perspective.

The ancestry of Jackpine principal Charlie Zosel hails from North Central Minnesota, affectionately known as the ‘Land of Sky Blue Waters,’ where the rolling plains meet the piney woods, butting up against hundreds of clear blue lakes of all sizes, all brimming with game fish.

This is where the story of Jackpine begins. It’s all about family heritage, and a scraggly resilient little tree that has a uniquely impressive way of dominating the Minnesota landscape. 

The legend began in the Land of Sky Blue waters.

Charlie’s father Tom Zosel grew up in a small town named Wadena, MN just a stone’s throw from these beautiful lakes. He was the son of Hamm’s beer distributor and grandson of an entrepreneur farmer who cashed in his land to become a local hardware store owner bearing the family name.

After high school, Tom went to college, earning a degree in business and later going to work in the Ford Plant near the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN, working his way up the ranks as an industrial engineer. After a string of successful business initiatives with Ford in all areas of distribution, logistics and supply chain, Tom was not satisfied to sit still. An entrepreneurial engineer at heart, Tom was an astute problem-solver with a keen sense of logic that earned him bigger and more challenging projects with other companies. He later formed his own consulting company, Tom Zosel Associates which is now called TZA, where son Charlie would cut his teeth in the supply chain consulting business.

To be sure, Charlie was thoroughly inspired by Dad’s example, making a fresh start opening Jackpine in 2016 to build a company with a Lean attitude, able to execute a full slate of supply chain projects the right way, one at a time, building a solid methodology with the best people on board to do the work the right way.

Springfield, OR (1975) – groundbreaking of new Coast to Coast facility. From left, Tom Zosel, Roger Stangeland, President of Coast-to-Coast, Russell Lippit, GM West Coast C-to-C, and President of Construction Company (unknown).

What does the Jackpine tree symbolize?

The landscape of Minnesota’s central lakes region features thousands of Jack pine trees as far as the eye can see. It is one of the dominant species of the area. Having spent many summers there, it was an image Charlie just couldn’t shake. When it came time to name his new company, he didn’t want anything flashy or contrived, just something simple to reflect his philosophy, to help them stand out.

To Charlie, the Jack pine tree is a symbol of his family heritage of doing things right, along with some of the reasons why this resilient little tree dominates the landscape. There are many species that are more poetic and attractive, no doubt, but the Jack pine remains Charlie’s favorite.

Unique characteristics of the Jack pine tree.

  • The Species – The Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) is a coniferous tree native to North America, particularly found in the northern regions of the continent. Central Minnesota in particular.
  • Smart – The cones of the Jack pine are serotinous, meaning they remain closed until exposed to the high temperatures of a forest fire. This adaptation allows the seeds to be released and germinate in the newly cleared area, giving Jack pines a competitive advantage in post-fire environments.
  • Fast Growing – Jack Pines are generally considered fast-growing trees. They are well-adapted to harsh climates, and their growth rate can vary depending on factors such as soil quality, climate, and moisture levels.
  • Adaptable – Jack pines are often found in poor, sandy soils and are well-adapted to fire-prone ecosystems. They have a unique ecological role as a pioneer species, often being one of the first trees to colonize areas after a fire.
  • Helpful – The Jack pine ecosystem is important for various wildlife species. The open nature of Jack pine stands provides habitat for certain bird species, such as the Kirtland’s warbler, which nests almost exclusively in young Jack pine forests.
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