Passion: To help producers make the best products by continuously bringing better QC solutions to the market.
As part of InnoVint’s new Real Talk series, Ashley Leonard, CEO, and Founder of InnoVint, recently chatted with Margit Svenningsen, Entrepreneur, and CEO of Admeo to understand her unique history from chemist to CEO and lessons learned along the way.
Margit got her start as a quality control chemist AG segment before spending the next plus 30 years (wow!) with leading laboratory equipment companies, first FOSS, then Anton Paar, and most recently her own company, Admeo. Needless to say, she understands what beverage producers need to run efficient, effective labs. Today, she’s leading one of the fastest-growing analytical solutions companies, changing the game for winery labs worldwide.
Real Talk Q&A
1. Take me on a quick tour through your history.
For the past 30 years, I have serviced industries around the world selling solutions for QC tasks, since 1998 in the USA and from 2004 solely focusing on the wine industry including other fermenting beverages such as cider and kombucha. I have at the same time followed my passion for hands-on work and wine by working with Calera Wine Company in Hollister from 2004 -2012 and thereby built a thorough understanding of wine making. This led to multiple wine applications and method developments for Anton Paar. When approached to represent BioSystems in the USA we formed Admeo, Inc. to expand the portfolio for the wine labs. Admeo is the one-stop shop for the wine labs with superior instruments and local stock of reagents and parts as well as application support and service.
2. What was the hardest decision you’ve had to make that had the best results for your career path?
Hard decisions are, in my mind, complex situations that have to be broken down into pros and cons and thereby see where the next step should lead. I would rather think about important steps I have taken: First would be to get my sales career going. I interviewed with Niels Foss, founder of Foss, back in 1990 and he set the bar high for taking your job seriously. A short stint in marketing there also brought perspective to approaching tasks. 1998 was the year we uprooted and moved our lives from Denmark to California. That was complexity 101. The decision was good. The US has been a great playground for testing all my thoughts and establishing a career.
I have offered solutions to all industries producing or dealing with homogeneous liquids, so lots of experience to grow from. If you ask me about the best decision, I will say getting involved with the wine industry. Never a dull moment always something to learn and through great and generous peers and friends always willing to discuss issues which almost always lead to new opportunities.
3. What’s been your favorite part about servicing wineries and winemakers?
People, no question. People together with the beauty of what (also cultivated) nature can provide when we act as stewards of the land. Following that the era we live in where sustainability is becoming the focus and (wishful thinking) the norm.
4. What’s been the most challenging part of servicing wineries and winemakers?
Funny enough, the most challenging part is also the most awesome; no one is alike! We are working with individuals who each have their own way to success. Though knowing the core of what QC entails, it’s about finding the common denominators we all need to address somehow, while at the same time also understanding the fact that one size does not fit all.
5. What is top of mind for you right now, running the business? Where is your focus?
Continuous improvements in all aspects. See the market needs and serve the industry with solutions that help make better products and work effectively.
6. Your analyzers service a few markets, not just wine but kombucha, cider, and beer. What are the most interesting trends you’re seeing right now across beverage alcohol?
Big picture, I think there is some focus on sustainability regarding packaging. Every time I lift a heavy-weight bottle, I am reminded how little we think about the carbon footprint. We have to come to our senses in many ways, and this is one easy one to make an impact.
Also, improving people’s benefits is a trend close to my heart and roots. People do the jobs, and we need to take care of people.
Trends in our niche (scientific tools) are Phenolics testing and CIE-Lab for color profiling. A very easy tool to map color for consistency or oxidation of products, for example.
7. What is your favorite beverage right now?
Water. Bar none. It always has been always will be. That said, without a doubt, wine is high on my list. Also well crafted distilled spirits and, after yard work, a good hefeweizen.
8. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs considering starting their own company that services the wine industry?
Set Goals. Simply know your client’s business. Identify the pain points and find solutions that add value to their business. Be prepared to work diligently towards your goals.