It was in early 2018 when Kevin Quirk, coming off yet another round of trade shows and meetings on consumer-packaged goods, began to sense a profound shift in the industry. “Two things immediately stood out – organics and hemp. It was clear that these would both be game changers within the CPG industry for the next 25-30 years and that big foods were going to look a lot different in 10 years’ time.”
The realization could not have come at a more opportune time, as Georgia had just begun the legislative process to legalize hemp use and production in the state. Though Georgia was not the first to explore legalization, Quirk said, “I was grateful to be entering the market at the same time as Georgia. It gave me the opportunity to participate in the legislative and regulatory side of the hemp industry, to shape the process. It was a chance for our team to make sure things would be done right.”
Quirk’s drive to ‘doing things right’ has been the catalyst throughout his career in consumer-packaged goods (CPG). Quirk began his career at Anheuser-Busch, in Budweiser field sales and marketing. He eventually launched a consulting firm within the company. Next, he rose through marketing and operational roles at The Coca-Cola Company, building expertise that is vital to the emerging hemp industry today. He excelled in quality control and compliance with regulatory guidelines for CPG. After being a consultant for Coca-Cola for many years, Quirk’s passion for entrepreneurship led him to launch successful CPG companies including White Hat Brands, Harvest Soul Organic Juices. In 2019, he created Harvest Connect.
Harvest Connect was the culmination of his years of experience in navigating the intricacies of food quality assurance and FDA regulations for top brands as well as his understanding of laws and regulations in the CPG industry.
Building a Bright and Sustainable Future for Georgia
From seed to sale, Harvest Connect will bring the highest quality hemp seeds directly to Georgia farmers, helping to grow the local agricultural economy, whilst producing highly tested, premium CBD products to heal those in need. Quirk isn’t solely focused on the short-term goal of gaining a license to produce and sell hemp. His long-term and holistic vision positions the company to be the sustainable and positive change agent for all things cannabis in the state of Georgia.
Quirk is already exploring ways Harvest Connect could leverage biomass waste from their hemp extraction process to create alternate biodegradable materials. This could allow the company to have a zero-carbon footprint within three to eight years. Quirk explains, “Think about the six years that it takes for an oak tree to grow. When growing hemp, we can grow the same amount within six months and hemp is three times stronger than oak.”
While the supply chain industry still requires advances to begin turning hemp biomass into lumber, Quirk has set Harvest Connect up for success by keeping a tight grip on the company’s quality control and testing processes. When the time comes, they will be well-positioned to partner with any business looking to join their movement of using cannabis as a vehicle to improve the economic, environmental, physical and mental health of Georgia.