Larry Oglesby : Chief Operating Officer
Larry is a leading expert in driving operational efficiencies and higher production volumes. He’s worked in over 300 facilities, and has 30 years of experience in manufacturing and processing operations – keeping our own facility right on track.
What brought you to the hemp industry?
Last year the state of Georgia announced that they were going to issue 6 licenses for medical marijuana and that 20% of the award had to go to a diversity supplier. My business is a certified disabled-veteran-owned business, and one of our partners suggested that we investigate the possibilities. After a great deal of research of the marijuana industry, we ultimately decided that the hemp industry was a much better fit for us to pursue.
What’s your backstory? What did you do before this “green revolution” in GA?
Personally, I grew up in Georgia in a rural town outside Augusta called Hephzibah. In many ways, it reminds me of Ocilla where our factory is located. I have always loved the great state of Georgia, and after moving around the country and world for work, my family and I decided to settle down here.
Professionally, I have deep experience in operations. I spent about 15 years in some of the world’s best operating environments – supervising and operating a reactor for the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program, building jet engine components for Pratt & Whitney, and building millions of hand tools for Danaher’s Tool Group. Following that, the next 20 years were spent in some of the world’s best consulting organizations, such as McKinsey & Company and Accenture, prior to starting my own consulting business 3 years ago. During that time, I primarily focused on building production systems and transforming manufacturing facilities around the world.
How’d that prepare you for now?
I believe that seeing a wide variety of situations allows you to develop a strong pattern recognition that accelerates your company’s development. I have been fortunate in being able to experience most industries while doing work in 30+ countries and 300+ manufacturing facilities.
On the agricultural front, I have to go back a few generations. I recall growing up in Georgia and visiting my great grandfather who was a sharecropper. More vividly, I recall working a hoe up and down rows of corn on my grandparents’ farm. My dad and his brothers grew up picking cotton and harvesting tobacco. It has been a while but I am happy to get back to an industry that is connected to my grandparents and great grandparents.
How does your experience make SCA a strong player in the GA hemp market?
I have helped some of the most iconic names in the industrial universe transform their operations and architect their production systems. I’m enjoying being able to help SCA build an operating system from the ground up that will ensure that we compete with the best hemp businesses in the world when it comes to quality, delivery and costs.
How do you see the industry changing the most in the next year or two?
I think we will continue to see commoditization all along the hemp value chain. I think we will also see continued increases in regulation, which hopefully will sort out some of the lesser quality businesses. I think we are all still trying to learn what all the impacts from the Coronavirus will be across our economy. We will probably have a better picture of that in the next 3 to 6 months.
If someone had told you 5 years ago that you’d be growing cannabis, what would you have said?
There is not a chance that I would have believed that 5 years ago. I was completely unaware of the opportunities that existed in the industry. I had not done any research into the benefits of the products. I had not tied any of the industrial growth to the ability to benefit Georgia’s farmers. There is literally no reason I would have predicted that this is what I would be doing.
What’s your prediction for the future of hemp and cannabis products?
If I take a perspective that is 5 – 7 years down the road, I think a lot will change in our industry. I believe that we will see significant consolidation in the market, a scaling up of the average size of processors and farm acreage, and an increase in regulatory elements that will drive a more consistent product experience for the users. I believe our user base will become much more aware of the product and its benefits and will have higher expectations than they do now. As regulation increases, I believe you will continue to see an acceleration in CBD being added into different types of products by larger companies. Finally, I think that the legalization trends of marijuana will continue. At some point (maybe it takes 10 years) we will likely be similar to Canada where recreational use is legal across the nation. If that does occur, Second Century and others in the hemp industry will be perfectly positioned to benefit from that switch.