Garrett Bain is a military veteran and president of EcoGen BioSciences. He is also the chief commercial officer at Kadenwood.
It was after college that Garrett Bain joined the Army, where he served with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Special Operations. He was deployed to Afghanistan.
When he returned home, Garrett Bain decided to try a new career path. He moved to the private sector, where he got involved with technology. For 10 years, he worked in “consumer goods distribution.”
Afteward, Garrett Bain transferred to a consulting role. In this role, he got introduced to the “hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) industry.” He was inspired by the “wellness and agricultural aspects of the business.”
In 2017, Garrett Bain entered the industry in earnest. He “joined a vertically-integrated industry pioneer and led sales and marketing through the ups and downs of the evolving market.”
In 2019, Garrett Bain “joined a fantastic team at Kadenwood.” The company acquired the EcoGen BioSciences.
His career in the hemp and CBD space, especially EcoGen BioSciences, has made Garrett Bain into an industry trailblazer. For one, he has led GenCanna “from the early stages to one of the largest players in the global market.”
Garrett Bain also helped the company earn “revenue growth of over $100m in three years.”
EcoGen has an incredibly versatile team that enables us to innovate rapidly in response to changing market conditions. Garrett Bain, EcoGen BioSciences
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Garrett Bain: EcoGen has an incredibly versatile team that enables us to innovate rapidly in response to changing market conditions.
The hemp-derived products market is evolving, and customer needs are changing daily.
Industry standards are inconsistent, and we have customers requesting many different specifications for a seemingly “standard” product.
We see this “problem” as an opportunity for innovation.
R&D, Fabrication, Facilities, Quality, and Production all collaborate to develop a product strategy that will provide the best customer experience in the industry.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Garrett Bain: Get to an organized fitness class in the morning! It’s painful, but you start the day with endorphins and a sense of accomplishment.
Organized group fitness pushes you harder, has a social aspect, and keeps you motivated! Health has a major impact on my mood and performance.
Go get it in!
Integrity is a virtue that is critically important and the fabric of our culture here at EcoGen.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Garrett Bain: I am grateful for my grandfather’s example and guidance over the years.
He was a family man, businessman and most importantly, a gentleman.
If I could distill his influence down to a single word it would be integrity. Integrity is a virtue that is critically important and the fabric of our culture here at EcoGen.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Garrett Bain: A good company meets stakeholder expectations from employees and board members to customers and investors.
Great companies define an industry or category through a sustained cycle of innovation, assessment and adjustment.
Markets move rapidly and great companies embrace this trend and develop a platform for learning and changing.
If the whole team is rowing, the ship will never be stagnant.
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Garrett Bain: Businesses are living organisms, they evolve and grow, and can balloon up or become stagnant based on internal and external variables and stimuli.
With this in mind, I think the most valuable parts of that “organism” is the collection of its parts — the people.
Your team is a reflection of your business, and they are the source of inertia, so trust them — and challenge them — to take further ownership of the collective goal, and encourage creative risk and new ideas within the frameworks you’ve already built.
If the whole team is rowing, the ship will never be stagnant.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Garrett Bain: Turn back the clock. Software integrations and strategic re-alignments don’t always solve what can sometimes be a simple problem — work harder.
Digital campaigns are valuable and drive leads and revenues, but nothing beats rolling up the sleeves and making phone calls and burning the midnight oil.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Garrett Bain: Empathy. Even in the most ideal business, there are varied levels of buy-in from person to person.
The CEO may eat, breath and sleep the company, but the third-year accounting manager may love the consistency of 9–5 and turning the phone off over the weekend.
Empathy brings the human element of the business together, and great leaders I’ve worked with tap into it to communicate tremendously and understand personalities and workflows to better develop strategies and forecasts.
If something wouldn’t be good enough for your or Grandma, why would it be for a customer? Garrett Bain
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Garrett Bain: This is kind of the Golden Rule here — treat others the way you want to be treated.
Your brand’s customer experience should be to a standard that you and your friends and family members would be happy to engage with.
If something wouldn’t be good enough for your or Grandma, why would it be for a customer?
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Garrett Bain: Chasing perfection. The “Fail, fail fast, fail faster” mentality is not just for garage start ups — it’s for all of us.
Iteration, adaptation and constant challenging of norms has been an important value for me and the teams I’ve succeeded with.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!