David Weaver has amassed over 40 years of experience as an engineer and designer, having spent more than 20 years as an optical engineer at Eastman Kodak. As the president and CEO of Aphex BioCleanse Systems, Inc., he has also invented “the first non-alcohol, non-toxic and hydrogen-based hand sanitizer.” This hand sanitizer, called DermAphex, relies on a technology called “Hy-IQ,” which kills pathogens through the process called “Lysis.” As a result, the product is water-based and non-toxic sanitizer that kills germs instantly, and that continues to kill them for hours afterward.
At Aphex BioCleanse Systems, David Weaver leads a company that is “positioned to service hundreds of thousands of US and Canadian customers quickly and efficiently.” The company also has a European distribution partner, Aphex Europe, which has helped them establish an international presence to sell their American-made products. In the future, the company looks forward to expand into other markets. David himself possesses great business knowledge into other markets worldwide, including “Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore.”
David Weaver also heads a company that has a professed mission to “save lives, ease the burden of illness, increase workforce productivity, and in general, make the world a healthier and safer place, by providing the most effective and safest sanitizing solutions available.”
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
David Weaver: Our water-based hand sanitizer is the only one in the world that holds the ability to manage the hydrogen ion in a stable environment and is able to kill any and all pathogens that exist. Because we were able to find a way to get through the exoskeleton of bugs and agricultural pests, this includes agricultural pests, bees, ants and the notoriously hard to kill cockroaches.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
David Weaver: I highly recommend looking at your final end goal and spending time every day to make sure you are moving in the direction of that goal with each small step you put into place. Continue researching the things that interest you the most so that you can innovate past your obstacles and make sure you are taking the proper steps to achieve your goal. Knowing that you are moving in the right direction helps to prevent burnout.
For example, bringing the world a safer and more environmentally-friendly sanitization product line is our goal. To get there, we created our proprietary Hy-IQ®️ Water solution and have continued to adjust our formulas to bring new products to market. With each new product we research and create, we get a little closer to reaching our goal.
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?
David Weaver: Most notably, I would like to thank my partner David Olund. During his 40-year career in finance, he has consulted for multinational corporations, created financial products and helped take them to market and spent over a decade guiding OTC-traded pharmaceutical companies. We are grateful to have him leading the Aphex team’s financial strategy. He has brought us to an entirely new level through his ability to demonstrate Aphex’s differentiators to the market and bring in the capital needed to push us forward. Without him, I can say that we would not be where we are today.
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?
David Weaver: To start, a good company has a team with direction and a solid product or service that they want to bring to market. However, a great team shares a common goal, understands what it will take to achieve that goal, is willing to put in the hard work to get there together and is passionate about the need for their product or service in the world.
In our first year, we created our Hy-IQ®️ Water, which is the base of what sets our products apart from others on the market. What took us from good to great after creating this solution was our ability to work together in discovering the different ways we can bring our product to market to solve problems in countless industries. Additionally, expanding our marketing, sales, production, legal, etc. teams has allowed us to scale with little delay as we see an increase in demand.
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”?
David Weaver: It’s very likely that going through years of successful growth has probably made you a bit relaxed as things continue to grow on their own. This happened to me in the past when I saw extreme success in my first year selling digital cameras. However, what ended up happening is that I stopped pushing myself to innovate and grow. When your company stalls, it is time to take a step back and “restart the engines” by finding companies that you can work with to provide consumers with a mutually-beneficial product or service. For example, we can see this in many beer companies offering new hard seltzer products to consumers to meet shifting demand.
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?
David Weaver: I am lucky to say that as a sanitization company, Aphex has actually seen tremendous growth during this historically turbulent period. We have expanded our factory, increased production and automation and streamlined many processes. What I can say is this: always be prepared for the opportunities that may come your way. If we weren’t prepared, we would not have been able to scale our operations so quickly to meet market demand during this pandemic.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
David Weaver: Typically, when you look at your “why” and get really excited about what your company will or does have to offer the world, entrepreneurs forget about all of the “boring” but essential parts of the operation. Keeping track of when sales have led to conversions, invoices, manufacturing, and other key parts of the business can be more difficult and time-consuming than many anticipate. To help with this, we integrated an ERP software that gives us a daily update on all of these business-related tasks to help us stay on track and streamline our processes.
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?
David Weaver: In order to create a Wow! Customer Experience, you must anticipate what the consumer’s largest issue may be and how your product can not only solve it — but solve it in a way that pushes past their expectations. For example, our DermAphex foaming hand sanitizer was created to solve the consumers’ need for an on-the-go hand sanitizer that is alcohol-free. But what really tends to “wow” our customers is that it is water-based, has no smell, hydrates your hands rather than drying them out and is free of chemicals.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
David Weaver: Personally, I am not a social media person. However, as a brand, creating an online social media presence is now a key component of success. It is important to have a social media team who understands your brand, your products, your messaging and your mission. Once you have a trusted team, social media can really help build your reputation and consumer awareness of your brand. The benefits of social media for a brand far outweigh the risks.
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?
David Weaver: If you are joining the company or looking to bring someone on to the founding team, make sure you fully trust that person. Check their background and fully assess what they are hoping to gain from joining your company. This will help you find good people and business partners rather than those who may be out for only financial gain.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
David Weaver: If I could start any movement, it would be a safe and environmentally-friendly global sanitization movement where water-based, chemical-free products, like Aphex’s are, used in daily life. From fruits and vegetables to hands, floors, etc., environmentally-friendly sanitization products are the future because they are safe and provide one solution for all of your needs rather than five or six. Additionally, our water-based sanitization products could be of great use in countries with low levels of sanitization because they are chemical-free and cost-effective.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
David Weaver: You can keep with our latest updates by following Aphex’s social media accounts:
LinkedIn: Aphex BioCleanse Systems
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!