DiversityEquity and InclusionI AM CEO PODCASTInformation

IAM1913 – CEO Helps Companies Enter the Medical Cannabis Market

Podcast Interview with Dr. Jon Thompson

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode, the guest speaker is Dr. Jon Thompson, the Founder, and CEO of extraktLAB.

Here are the key points from the episode:

Background: Dr. Jon Thompson is a separation scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, with a Chemistry PhD from the University of Minnesota. Beyond his work on classified projects with NASA, he has great experience in assisting companies in entering the medical cannabis market.

ExtraktLAB: This company aids its customers in achieving success in the realm of pharmaceutical-grade botanical extraction and refinement. They focus on helping clients navigate the steadily growing medical cannabis industry.

CEO Hack: Dr. Jon Thompson recommends waking up early as a means of staying productive and focused.

CEO Nugget: Dr. Thompson advises entrepreneurs to carefully consider their personal character and the character of potential business partners to ensure alignment and positive business relationships.

CEO Defined: According to Dr. Thompson, being a CEO involves responsibility, leadership, and caring for the people around you.

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Dr. Jon Thompson Teaser 00:00

Be careful who you hire and be careful who your business partners are. Okay, so if you look at the end of the day, if you have a business, you got to really make sure that your business partners are aligned with your values.

And where you see the company going, if they're not, they're going to make your life a living nightmare.

Intro 00:19

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of.

This is the IAMCEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:46

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, or what I like to call CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focused on innovation, disruption, women, entrepreneurship, DEI, gig economy, remote economy, even the cannabis industry. Think about these industries and these disruptive technologies that really sometimes aren't as disruptive but there are people that are just paying attention to what the market needs, and they're providing that. So really think about the things that are quote and quote outside of the norm, but really help entrepreneurship to grow and fully develop.

I think it's an extremely exciting time when you're talking about any type of innovation or disruption, because I think that there are so many opportunities and needs that aren't felt that are starting to be filled by different groups, different organizations, or even different industries. So what I want you to do is sit back and enjoy this special episode of the IAMCEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Dr. Jonathan Thompson of extraktLAB. Dr. John, it's great to have you on the show.

Dr. Jon Thompson 02:10

Oh, thanks. Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:12

Yeah. Super excited to have you on as well. Before we jumped into the interview, I want to read a little bit more about Dr. Jon, so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Dr. Jon, is the founder and CEO of extraktLAB, a separation scientist, inventor and entrepreneur. He received his Doctorate of Chemistry Degree in 2001 from the University of Minnesota, and has since worked on everything from secret projects with NASA to helping companies enter the medical cannabis market.

His company helps people find success in the business of pharmaceutical grade, botanical extraction and refinement. Dr. Jon guides his businesses through ESG, which is environmental, social, and governance policies, and believes we all deserve a sustainable future. Dr. Jon, love everything you're doing.

We had lots of great laughs before I hit record. Are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?

Dr. Jon Thompson 02:58

I'm ready. It's going to be a good time.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:00

Yes, absolutely. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit. I know I touched on it a little bit. I wanted to hear a little bit more on what I like to call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with all awesome work you're doing.

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Dr. Jon Thompson 03:11

Yeah, basically our business what we do and what we've really accomplished in extraktLAB is we put people into the process processing business. So we help people take their biomass and bring it all the way into medical products. We do that around the world. Do that basically in Canada, in Europe, South and Central America, and also in Africa and Far East, Middle East. We're pretty much have a global footprint. We focus strictly on the medical side of it, the science side of it, if you will that makes us have less of a market presence in the U. S. markets.

But we know that as the U. S. starts to grow up into being more scientific in the way they do things, our company is gonna really be propelled into the number one spot. So we're really focused on what they call G. M. P. Solutions. That's really what we do. We've had a great time building that company.

Gresham Harkless 04:00

You touched on a little bit, but I wanted to drill down a little bit more. Could you take us to a little bit more on how that process works? Like, how do you work with your clients? How do you serve them?

Dr. Jon Thompson 04:08

Okay. Yeah, no problem. Typically we get clients inquiries from all over the world all night long. I have my noted notifications. There's a little thing on there, So I'm going crazy because all night long, it's been ding, ding, ding, from a new lead coming in. It's pretty cool. But I've talked now to people all over the world and typically what we do is, they'll look at it from a medical standpoint. We would like to create a product. We're going after this particular indication or this type particular disease or whatever, and we need help getting up and running. Sometimes they don't know what they don't know. First of all, is this business right for me? There's a lot of people I just talk right out of the business.

It's you don't have have the money, you don't have the license, you don't have the technical basis, but I know someone over here that can help you. So I put them together and the other thing for the people who do have the requirements, in other words, say, here's what we're going to do here. We have the money. We have the license. We have all the know how and everything. We're going to go and we got the business plan for it. We typically help them with their layout of their building. We give them all the equipment. We help them do all the cost calculations. We help them do their business plan.

Actually, from the standpoint of the pro formas, we do all of that also for them. And then we commission everything, get it all into their facility. We do facility designs, we commission everything, meaning we're getting them up and running. So, really, what we're helping them do is reduce risk. So, investment risk, like okay, I'm going to put 10 million into a facility. Okay, if I have people who haven't really done this before, it's a high-risk venture. They hire a company like mine, all that risks goes to zero. We've done it so many times before. And you can actually come to our facility in Wisconsin and see an operating facility. Anytime you just come in, knock on the door. We'll let you in. In fact, I'll probably give you a tour myself. So you can come and see what you're going to buy.

A lot of it is try before you buy. So the risk really goes out of it. We're also helping our customers traverse all the compliancy issues. There's a lot of them and not only from the standpoint of a medical product, but also from the standpoint of local codes associated with how you would go about processing. So over the years, we've kind of got to have that, oh, we're going to have that. So we come up with these large requirements documents. We make drawings for people, designs, and then we really shepherd them through a process where they're not compliant when we start with them. They don't have any clue and we actually see them. They'll develop into a compliant organization. It's really cool. And we do that over the process of 3 months to 6 months to a year, depending on how fast they're moving and what jurisdiction they're in.

So we help them traverse the compliancy question mark. And then we also reduce the business risk. We also have a tremendous amount of value and use that we give to our clients. So, when they institute our solutions they're going to have the most environmentally small footprint of anybody out there. We always encourage them to use that in their branding because people care about that. And if you're going to, you're going to try to save the planet by making plants and bringing them out and selling natural solutions to people who would rather have a natural drug rather than a pharmaceutical drug. A lot of times you want to make sure that you have everything put together. Okay, so we really help them figure out all of those items.

Gresham Harkless 07:26

What would you consider to be what I like to call your secret sauce? This could be for yourself personally, the business combination of both. What do you feel sets your part?

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Dr. Jon Thompson 07:33

Oh, it's easy. It's easy. Blood, sweat and tears. Hey, you got to donate. Okay. Seriously if you're not that guy, you're not going to make it in the startup world. If you're not that guy, you're not a startup CEO. So really it may be that as you grow up, obviously you need to run your business from a process standpoint. You're going to layer in strategy as you go along. You're going to have to grow up, but you still need the core team of someone who's going to push things along. We've all seen it. Large companies or whatever they're, they lose their ability to innovate or they lose their ability to be the inventive cutting on the event of cutting edge or they lose that ability and that's because they've lost the people who are giving blood.

In other words, this is my life work and I really like that. And this is what's going to happen, we're going to build it up and it's going to be really big. So, the culture that you need to foster within your company would be one that rewards the people who are doing that kind of work? Why are they there? Are they there because of the 20% raise that they're going to get? Are they there for the end goal? Yeah, probably they're there, but for that, they're also there independent of any of that thing because they believe that their mind, It's their mindset. It's the company values. So once you get a bunch of those people that all think the same, they become a culture and this is how we operate. That is really the secret sauce. That's the secret sauce. So getting the right people that are all aligned with your values.

Now your values can change from company to company, like one of our core values is we deliver the wow. Pretty simple, right? Okay. If you're not delivering the wow, you're not fitting in. Okay. That's okay. Maybe your job is not to deliver the wow, but we want people to deliver the wow. We also deliver the next. Okay, what does that mean? We have to innovate to deliver the next thing for our customer. Those are the types of things. If you're not involved in that, if you don't embody those, it's not that you don't fit, but maybe you go to corporate America where they don't, they're not really worried about that, right? Maybe they're more interested in maintaining something, you want to build the next, right? Build the next. I think that's our core value. So it's the builder mentality, right? Oh, we're building something. We're going somewhere. So getting that, getting those people who are all willing to give the blood, sweat and tears.

If you have those people on the bus, you can really do a very, very good startup. That includes your financial people by the way not just your entrepreneurs, but the financial people, the financial people always want to say to the entrepreneur, where's your skin in the game? My answer to that is, are you kidding me? We're spending our entire lives just up every early, up late at night, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We're not sitting here just taking a check from you. Okay, we're going forward. We're moving somewhere. In three years, we're going to be a 120 million company with us with a 40% bottom line.

Would you believe it? 40%. Okay. How are you going to get there? Okay, that's the vision that you need to have. And people, there's movers and shakers and then there's just people who want to ride along. Those are the guys you gotta not have around. Otherwise they're going to ruin your company.

Gresham Harkless 10:46

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Dr. Jon Thompson 10:56

Getting up early and doing some exercise. I think that's a big thing, and it just helps everything, and I think I've been doing that now for many, many, many years. I've had my sense where I stopped doing it to get too busy. But that's something that I think is really extremely important to be effective.

Gresham Harkless 11:13

What would you consider to be what I like to call a CEO nugget, which is a little bit more of a word of wisdom, a piece of advice. It might be something you touched on, you could tell a client this, or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Dr. Jon Thompson 11:25

Be careful who you hire and be careful who your business partners are. Okay, so if you look at the end of the day, if you have a business, you got to really make sure that your business partners are aligned with your values and where you see the company going. If they're not, they're going to make your life a living nightmare.

They may even make it a legal nightmare in fact. Or they may continuously hamstring your company for the rest of your time. So make sure that you pick your partners. Don't be so, cavalier.

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Gresham Harkless 11:55

Absolutely appreciate that. So I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So, Dr Jon, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Dr. Jon Thompson 12:07

I guess it means a couple of things. First of all, responsibility and leadership, obviously responsibility because you are responsible for not only the well-being of the people that work with you and your partners and, all the employees and everything. You're responsible for that. So it's a huge responsibility. Two, I think that if you see the CEO position is merely a financial position, I think that does not do it justice. So, it's much more than that. It's learning and caring for those who are around you and helping them all going together, creating a future almost together.

So that's what a CEO means to me and, the leadership there, you don't always get it right. You might make a wrong move, and it might cost you either financially or maybe even people in your company that, Oh, what an idiot, he made the wrong financial decision, you made the wrong move there and now we're paying for it. Yep. We're probably all paying for it together. No, that happens. You can understand who your friends are in those instances, right? Don't run your business with hubris. That's the other thing, so, just be very humble about it. If as much as you can listen to people around you get, and those two things are really what I really think of it as a CEO.

Gresham Harkless 13:20

Awesome. Awesome. So I love those two things. The responsibility and that leadership and leadership is not perfect. I think understanding as well. So we will make mistakes, but making sure that you have the leadership to sometimes stand up and say you made the mistake. But on an even deeper level, continue to lead even when things don't go according to plan is absolutely huge.

So Dr. Jon, I truly appreciate that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get ahold of you, find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

Dr. Jon Thompson 13:49

Oh yeah, okay, no problem. Look, if you are all thinking about getting into the wonderful world of hemp and hemp-based products or botanical, or even this healthy living category that everybody's talking about, that particular category is growing 20% compounded growth rate. It's got billions and billions of dollars left to harvest. There's this whole old saying where it goes, all boats are rising with the tide. That's true. Get out your surfboard. You'll find it out because there are a lot of really great opportunities here. What's awesome about it is that it's restricted enough now where there's a lot of opportunities for small business to get involved.

So tremendous proliferation of small business. So just some advice for young, aspiring entrepreneurs, there's a lot of ways you can get into the business, and when you do, we can help you work on that. We can help you raise money, actually, even help you with your business plan, get it going and look at those markets that are really growing and have a long runway of growth. Those are the ones that you really want to be looking at. So people can get in touch with us by going to extraktlab.com. There's a resources page slash resources on there.

I tell you, there's a tremendous amount of industry education. We have many courses that are free. We have podcasts. We have calculators. We have downloadable guides. We have all of those things that are available. We know we're number one in education in this industry. No question about it. Of all the vendors that are out there, We are number one. So, yeah, look us up on Instagram. I'm on LinkedIn pretty active on there. So, happy to always talk, and you got some ideas for a podcast and stuff shooting my way.

Gresham Harkless 15:30

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Dr. Jon, truly appreciate you for sharing your expertise, your zone of genius and all the awesome things that you all are doing. Of course, taking some time with us today. We will have the links and information in the show notes, but like I said, and I'll reiterate it again, a lot of times to see further, you have to stand on the shoulders of giants.

So thank you for being a giant and providing so much information and knowledge as you did today, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 15:51

Thank you for listening to the IAMCEO Podcast powered by CB Nation in Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. IAMCEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Get your driven CEO gear at ceogear.co.

This has been the IAMCEO podcast with Gresham Harless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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