1988 Grad to Compete in Sixth Ironman Triathlon
Vince Brockman ’88 has found success in many facets. His hard work elevated him through the legal team at Borden, where he spent the first 15 years of his career. His leadership now has ascended him to the head of the legal department at Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Brockman admits that each position – just like any job – has come with a healthy serving of stress. “Finding a wholesome release for that stress is key for me,” he said. Brockman chose exercise, but he has taken his efforts to an entirely new level.
This month, Brockman will compete in his sixth Ironman Triathlon. An Ironman Triathlon, one of the most grueling challenges in the world, includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and ends with a marathon – 26.2 miles of running.
To date, Brockman has also completed more than 20 marathons.
“When I started working for Scotts, I was doing a lot of international travel and I started putting on weight,” he said. “In 2005, Scotts started a wellness program including building a medical facility and gym right across the street from our headquarters. I took advantage of the facilities and got back in shape. Staying fit takes the edge off and keeps me focused in the office.”
Brockman said he normally finds time to swim and run throughout the week and focuses on biking on the weekends.
Training for and completing an Ironman is a feat in itself, but doing so while operating a major in-house legal team and helping to raise three children makes the accomplishment even more impressive. Brockman and his wife, Mary, have three children, ages 11, 9, and 4. The two oldest have already begun to follow in their dad’s footsteps by competing in biathlons and triathlons.
Brockman started at Scotts in 2002. He was named chief ethics and compliance officer in 2004 and chief administrative officer in 2006. In February 2007, Brockman was promoted to senior vice president, and shortly thereafter was named interim general counsel.
The Scotts’ Board of Directors elected him as executive vice president & general counsel in January 2008.
“There is never a dull moment,” he said. “There is always something that is really exciting and fun going on here. It is a great business to be part of. I used the same products that our company sells now while helping my dad in the garden when I was a child.”
Just a few months after Brockman was named general counsel at Scotts, the company had a major, wild bird food recall. Not long after, the EPA began an investigation and there was another recall of Scotts’ products.
“These were extraordinarily challenging times. It was really trial by fire, but we managed to turn a corner and continued to work through those issues,” Brockman said about his first few months in the position.
Today, Brockman said he and his team have made their mark on the Scotts’ legal department, which includes about 20 attorneys and 11 support staff. Brockman said changes he has implemented have saved the company $6 million on a $20 million plus legal budget. He credits his strong relationship with Scotts’ CEO and the company’s board for his success to date.
“We’re committed to aggressively watching costs while providing more and better legal services,” he said.
Prior to joining Scotts, Brockman worked as assistant general counsel at Borden Foods Corporation in Columbus. He started with the Borden family of companies in his second year of law school at Ohio State.
“This was all about helping to pay for school as well as getting legal experience,” he said. Later in his second year, Brockman’s father passed away. He credits the part-time position for helping him get through the difficult time.
“The job kept me grounded and taught me a lot,” he said. “I had great mentors at Borden. When I graduated in 1988 there was a job waiting for me.”
Borden Foods was sold in 2001, and a short time later Brockman headed to Scotts.
Recently at Scotts, Brockman committed to helping The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law students and graduates by participating in the College’s new Short-term Assistance Registry (STAR). The program is designed to provide private-sector employers a pool of qualified second- and third-year students and graduates from the class of 2010 to hire for assistance with short-term projects.
“I would encourage other alumni to participate in the program,” he said. “I’m not doing this entirely because it makes me feel good. These are really strong, quality students and lawyers coming out of Ohio State and we can use their help. It offers us the ability to get qualified help quickly, without increasing our fixed costs, while providing great work experience.”