40 Under 40 The Class of 2012

Adam Ondrick: 37

President, Ondrick Natural Earth

Ondrick-AdamAdam Ondrick’s grandfather started the family of companies that bears the Ondrick name 75 years ago. That’s a long time — but not too old to grow and change.
Take Ondrick Natural Earth, which Adam founded six years ago. Where the original Ted Ondrick Co. grew over the years to be an industry leader in concrete, asphalt, and contaminated soil recycling — providing materials mainly to construction professionals — the new venture serves smaller contractors, architects, landscapers, and do-it-yourselfers.
Ted Ondrick Co. “does a lot of work outside the area, and we wanted to give our company a more local presence, so we came up with the idea of opening a landscape and mason-supply company,” he said.
The public has responded, as the new company has grown by about 25% per year and increased its initial staff of four to 10. It also survived significant early challenges, launching just as ominous economic signs were starting to gel into the Great Recession.
“It was a tough time to start a new company,” Ondrick said. “But we didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start Ondrick Natural Earth; the process of getting the company off the ground took years. It just so happened that the economy was slowing down by then, and we really got the business off under heavy fire. But surviving that has helped us run the business better, really putting the emphasis on the customer and not just the materials. Their needs are foremost.”
Ondrick says he likes working with his father (pictured) and brother, while also working for himself. “I enjoy being in charge of the creative end of the process; that really drives me.”
He also stays active outside of work with his church and groups ranging from the Springfield Rescue Mission to Friends of Chicopee Senior Citizens, as well as supplying the Pioneer Valley Christian School with landscaping materials and labor.
“Three things drive my life — my family, my faith, and my job,” he said. “I don’t think you can be a good business owner without giving back to the community; by giving back, you help provide a good place for your family to live.”
— Joseph Bednar