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Darrell Jobe, the founder and CEO of Vericool. Photo credit: Mason Kharufa.
Darrell Jobe, the founder and CEO of Vericool. Photo credit: Mason Kharufa.

Vericool is fighting for the planet and against recidivism

The eco-friendly company gives other previously incarcerated people, like its founder & CEO Darrell Jobe, a second chance.

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Vericool’s Vericooler is one of the first biodegradable coolers on the market. The road founder, Darrell Jobe, went down to end up at this achievement was anything but easy. At 13 years old, he was homeless, had dropped out of school, and was in a gang. 

“The world’s not peaches and cream. It’s not going to always hand you sunshine and rainbows. And when it hits you, you need to accept it and hit it right back,” said Jobe.

He spent almost three years in prison for auto theft and possession of a stolen handgun. Jobe was released at 25 and then started working at a plastics company.

During this time, he was mentored by a retiree named Gary Lantz and taught thermodynamics — the study of the relationship between heat, work, temperature, and energy. 

Jobe founded Vericool in 2015. Despite having no formal education after eighth grade, he holds 17 U.S. patents and five international patents for his biodegradable coolers. 

To fight prison recidivism, Vericool employs numerous previously incarcerated people. They make up 25% of the Vericool staff. 

“There’s great minds in our communities sitting there in a jail cell thinking that the world is over and you’re not going anywhere with your life. And that the system is set up to just continually house you in this environment. It’s wrong,” Jobe told Forbes. He added, “We need to rehabilitate prisoners. If someone has an opportunity, that’s their fuel, that’s their fire, that’s what pushes them to continue to move forward.” 

In the interview, Jobe explained that Vericool doesn’t take state or federal subsidies for hiring former prisoners because he doesn’t want his employees to think that’s the only reason why they were hired, and wants them to know that they’re valued. In addition to this, he gives them a 20% stock-option plan. 

His employees are grateful for the second chance. 

“To have a dream or a future, you know what I mean, it gives me something to wake up to and feel like I’m a part of something. And something positive, doing something greater in the world. A second chance for people like me,” Zachary Williams, a production operator, told Forbes. 

Vericool sells a range of cooler products. They have the Vericooler for your beach day drinks and the VC Plus for food delivery and pharmaceuticals like the COVID-19 vaccine, and many more. 

The team is also working on coming out with VCIII, which is designed for food and wine as well as healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

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