The title CEO conjures figures of corporate America: neck ties, skyscrapers with corner offices and vast distances between management and employees. While this is probably a fairly accurate description for many corporations, Extract Labs still has its start-up roots front and center. Drop in to our Boulder headquarters, and you are likely to find CEO Craig Henderson sweeping the floor, helping our shipping team fulfill orders, or raiding the Community Manager’s snack drawer. While many things at Extract Labs could be considered unconventional, this is especially true when it comes to Craig.
Craig spent most of his childhood on a Marine Corps base in 29 Palms, California. Immediately after finishing high school in Southern Indiana, Henderson entered into military service, serving as an infantryman and Team Leader with 1 Battalion 27th Infantry during Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2002 to 2006. Over the course of his military career, he was twice nominated for a Bronze Star and received an ARCOM with Valor award while serving in Iraq.
After retiring from the Army, Craig went back to school and earned a Master’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville, with a concentration in thermal sciences and renewable energy. From there, Craig went on to become Senior Sales Engineer for Apeks Supercritical – an Ohio-based CO2 extraction technology leader. There, he performed technical sales, and managed all training and service on Apeks’ extraction systems – both domestically and internationally. He also conducted hemp-related research and development, and taught classes specifically on advanced CO2 extraction and processing techniques.
In 2016 hemp production began ramping up in Colorado. Sensing there was a vacuum to fill, Craig decided to do what he could to help meet the demand. Like many a start-up, it all began in his garage as a side hustle and a distant dream: maybe hemp would someday turn into a niche industry. Craig bought a small rotovap and some basic processing equipment, and thus Extract Labs was born. Now an industry leader in the production of all things hemp, Craig hasn’t forgotten the days of shoveling snow into a bucket to keep the condenser coils of his rotovap cold. While some CEO’s barely manage a bird’s eye view of production, Craig still gets his hands dirty on a daily basis. Whether it’s frantically purging the break room fridge, refining distillation SOP’s, or lending his wit to writing social media captions, Craig is just as involved in the business now as he was in his garage on day one. A natural-born leader, Craig’s example inspires all of us to give 200% every day.
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How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
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