Tulsa Business Journal: Tell us a little bit about your business. When did/will you start it? Why? What is the overall mission of your business?
Green Growers LLC: Green Growers LLC initially began as a graduate class project in the Spring of 2009. Partners Jeff Lowenthal, Paul Buckner, Tim Neal and Mark Ingold began looking to create a business with “green technologies.”
Products that use biodegradable and environmentally friendly components are very important to us. The vision and mission are quite simple: It is the goal of Green Growers LLC to offer environmentally friendly products using biodegradable materials, enabling consumers to grow organic plants and vegetables in the comfort of their own living room or small scale exterior modular designs. We plan to kick off at the beginning of 2010.
TBJ: What is your background? What made you interested in starting this particular business?
GG: Jeff Lowenthal HAS 25 years of business ownership, including manufacturing and injection molding companies. His former company was the second U.S. organization to be ISO 14000 registered (envirnomental management).
Paul Buckner is an entrepreneur with an educational background that includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management and a Master of Business Administration from Northeastern State University. He has spent the last several years working with Non-profit organizations as a consultant, teaching and guiding community leaders through the steps necessary for success.
Mark Ingold is an entrepreneur with a strong background in business. His has a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship and a Master of Business Administration. He has owned and operated various businesses since 2001.
Tim Neal has experience in the management of both people and resources. For the past three years, as a Northeastern State University baseball coach, Tim has developed a great deal of experience in conflict resolution, making executive decisions and delegation of responsibilities. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Business Administration, and he’s working toward a Masters of Business Administration.
TBJ: How are you funding your business?
GG: Partner investments and outside funds (investors and loans).
TBJ: Where would you like to take your business in the next year?
GG: In full operation. The company plans to create approximately 15 to 30 jobs in the Tulsa area within the first year. These positions will vary within normal business operations, ranging from receiving and shipping and manufacturing jobs to consulting services. In years three to five, Green Growers Inc. hopes to employ upwards of 50 personnel.
TBJ: What do you hope to gain from participating in the Spirit Award?
GG: The key to any start-up business: Exposure.
TBJ: How important has the Spirit Award been in encouraging you to try to start a business?
GG: Just one step of many in a journey.