Agriculture: MATTHEW RYAN
CEO, SOLI ORGANIC INC., ROCKINGHAM COUNTY/ LOS ANGELES
After being named CEO of Shenandoah Growers Inc. in June 2021, Ryan — formerly chief marketing and strategy officer for Starbucks Corp. and head of brand and franchise management for The Walt Disney Co. — ushered in a rebrand: Soli Organic Inc.
“We simplified our name to tell people who and what we are,” Ryan said in a December 2021 interview with investment fund XPV Water Partners.
Founded in 1989, the Rockingham-based indoor farming company sells a variety of lettuces, herbs, purées and potted herbs at 20,000 retail stores nationwide. It operates several facilities across the country and boasts upward of 1,000 employees during peak season — 350 in Virginia alone.
Recent financing agreements with Decennial Group, Horizon Technology Finance and Bridge Bank, totaling $170 million, are aiding the company’s expansion. Soli broke ground last year on a new 100,000-square-foot facility in South Carolina and in February announced plans to build a 130,000-square-foot, soil-based, controlled environment agriculture farm in Washington state.
Ryan, a Harvard University graduate with a degree in history and literature, also sits on the board of Kaiser Permanente. He was the keynote speaker at the Indoor Ag-Con held in Las Vegas in March.