Lawson Hembree believes his startup’s success is the result of three key factors.
His Agricultural Food Systems is the featured IA client in this week’s Arkansas Business (the first Monday of each month, AB profiles an IA client firm). AFS, a John Brown University startup and former Governor’s Cup winner, is developing a handheld device called the TenderID to gauge the tenderness of raw beef in processing plants, leading to tender, more juicy steaks on restaurant and dining room tables.
Consider this post, as Lawson observed, the director’s cut. In this post-report report, he talks about those three keys to success, the potential of his TenderID product and the quality of a JBU education.
INOV8: Tell us the secret to your success.
Lawson: Any success we have had up to this point is a result of three factors — the sovereign will of God, the encouragement of others and a driven management team. Whether we ultimately succeed or fail in our AFS endeavors, my co-founders and I recognize that it would all be a waste if we don’t glorify our Lord and Savior in the process.
As AFS has moved forward over the past year, we’ve been blessed to a lot of people in our corner that not only encourage us on a daily basis, but have also challenged us to push ourselves and think strategically as AFS seeks to transform the way that beef tenderness is assessed and communicated. The TenderID presents a number of potential benefits for all levels of the beef industry — altered compensation models for producers, branding opportunities for processors and more consistent products for consumers.
Finally, it has been great to be a part of a team like the AFS management team that performs at a high-level while cultivating friendship and a deeper respect for each other. Despite its smaller size, John Brown University’s College of Business is on par with some of the other top programs in Arkansas and many other states (as evidenced by the continued success of JBU teams in the Donald W. Reynolds Cup business plan competition). Our well-rounded education and experiences allow my co-founders and I to be versatile while always finding way to innovate with AFS.