Vericool of Livermore, was named as the 7th District’s Small Business of the Year by Senator Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa.

Vericool’s founder, Darrell Jobe, has one of the most unique stories among California’s entrepreneurs.

Started in 2015, the company delivers sustainable coolers that protect products, people and the planet. Made from renewable and post-consumer materials and compostable insulation that meets high standards, Vericoolers are the safest replacements for traditional Styrofoam.

Raised in Richmond, CA, Jobe dropped out of school in the 8th grade, joined a gang and was incarcerated at age 14 for stealing cars and later for possession of a stolen handgun. He promised to turn his life around. Though he found challenges in finding the right job, he found one in the packaging industry, and eventually created Vericool.

In building the company, he has given second chances to other former convicts, stating that a quarter of the company’s 45 employees have served time.

“This is really a great product that does its part in protecting California’s environment,” Glazer said. “And Darrell Jobe has shown that people who have had a tough upbringing can succeed with innovative ideas, perseverance and a buy-in to the American Dream."