You may know him from the Health Warrior bars for sale in Lou’s, or by his title as former CEO of the chia seed bars health company. Shane Emmett, former CEO of Health Warrior, which was recently sold to Pepsi Co., joins the Robins School as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence during the daunting time of COVID-19.

“Times of struggle are traditionally when the very best companies are founded,” Emmett said.

He wants the Robins community to know that he remains accessible to students and alumni, particularly entrepreneurs, working to maintain their business models during this crisis.

“Right now, focus on the passion for what you are building, because if you go in to make money, it's more difficult in the hard times. There are always hard times. And even if it doesn't work, you will learn something profound,” Emmett said.

Health Warrior was acquired by Pepsi Co. in 2019, and has since continued to grow and flourish. Emmett hopes he can share his experience jumpstarting a business with 10,000 lbs. of chia seed in his condo hallway to a multimillion-dollar company.

“I want students in this critical time to know about less traveled career paths,” Emmett said. “They can take a simple idea and turn it into a valuable business. That is an awesome thing to do because the rewards aren't always what you assume. They can go from zero to one.” 

Emmett began his career as an attorney working for Governor Tim Kaine, Advising Governor Kaine on legal and policy issues including clemency petitions, capital punishment, statutory drafting, education, environmental, and administration issues.

“After an action-packed legal career, I thought the food industry would be easy. I was wrong! Most of the lessons I learned were very human ones: people, your team, and your customer tribe, matter above all else; modern cultural zeitgeists move fast, but great companies have perennial foundations; as the ancient Greeks taught, all wisdom comes from suffering, best to learn to enjoy it; and there is nothing more exhilarating than building something from nothing,” Emmett said.

He urges entrepreneurs to reach out in this time of crisis, as he believes it is when truly great companies are born.

“Take care of your health, your family, and your community, and be leaders. If you have an itch of a great business idea, know that the current chaos is reflective of the very best periods in American history to scratch it,” Emmett said.

You can reach Shane Emmett, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, at shane.emmett@richmond.edu. For more information about Spider Entrepreneurs, visit our Support Spider Businesses website, or click here for details about our Entrepreneurship Minor. View our site for resources for online learning during the COVID-19 crisis.