Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show, CEO and co-founder of Fifth Season, Austin Webb. Fifth Season is a consumer tech company and indoor farming pioneer with Carnegie Mellon University roots that is creating a new era of fresh foods. Its commercial-scale indoor vertical farms use proprietary robotics, AI, and smart operations technology to grow leafy greens and herbs at affordable prices year-round. Today, Harry and Austin talk about the origin story of Fifth Season, the relationship he has with the city of Braddock and how Austin initially got involved in vertical farming. Austin expounds on the concepts of smart manufacturing and pest pressure and speaks to the learning curve he’s experienced as a first-time CEO. Finally, Austin speaks to the mission of Fifth Season and what excites him most about his future endeavors.
- 03:14 – Harry welcomes to the show Austin Webb, who trends he’s noticed post-pandemic, his relationship with Carnegie Mellon University and the origin story of Fifth Season
- 08:53 – Austin speaks to when he first got involved in vertical farming
- 11:50 – How Fifth Season is applying robotics to the vertical farming industry
- 16:27 – Austin reflects on some of the memorable challenges and obstacles Fifth Season overcame throughout its journey
- 20:18 – Austin talks about Fifth Season’s accomplishment of achieving a 100% Food Safety Audit ranking
- 25:32 – Austin explains what ‘pest pressure’ means
- 28:21 – Austin talks about the relationship Fifth Season has with the city of Braddock and the impact they have had on the community
- 34:44 – Austin speaks to the learning curve he’s experienced as a first-time CEO
- 37:41 – A tough question Austin has had to ask himself recently
- 38:07 – Harry thanks Austin for joining the show and let’s listeners know where they can learn more about Fifth Season and connect with Austin
“We wanted to create this whole new platform to really change the way we think about vertical farming, to therefore make it an economic reality today instead of just a pipe dream for the future.” (08:43) (Austin)
“We don’t really consider ourselves a vertical farming company. We’re a new food system pioneer that’s creating a whole new era of fresh foods and we started that journey with vertical farming.” (19:18) (Austin)
“The first Carnegie Library was in Braddock. So when you think of how we’re changing the way that we think about growing food and then creating this whole new consumer experience around changing the definition of what fresh food should taste like and making it fun again. And then creating this joy and delight around eating healthy because again you’re just creating this whole new category of fresh food and making it more ubiquitous and making it easier to eat healthier.” (29:37) (Austin)
“It [the CEO role] is just a very hard job. And, you just think about your team, your key responsibilities that are both internal and external, and you just have to learn to manage the time. And decision making has to be at the forefront because you don’t help your team if you’ve gotten yourself into a position of decision fatigue.” (35:51) (Austin)
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