UV50 Fastest-Growing Companies: No. 14 Intermountain Nutrition

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GROWTH PLAYERS: For Ryan Gledhill, employees are the MVPs. “Invest in people. You can’t do this yourself, and you shouldn’t want to, either,” he says. “Many entrepreneurs make that mistake. I know, because I was one of them. But you need the right people, on the right bus, in the right seats. Trust your people. Let them take ownership. Properly incentivize them.” (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UVBizQ)

Nutrition facts never looked so good. Since 2013, Intermountain Nutrition has become the premier manufacturer for nutrition and dietary supplements. Led by founder Ryan Gledhill, the company has moved five times in five years, did $18 million in revenue in 2017, and has brought integrity and transparency to the manufacturing industry. They also package 150,000 pounds of product per day; 450,000 bottles, jars and tubs per day; and 25 million pills and tablets per day. Where there’s a pill there’s a way.

I owned a retail brand of sports nutrition products I was working to get off the ground. I had a contract manufacturer out in Georgia, and it wasn’t going well. They would be weeks late on orders. Classic case of over-promise, under-deliver.

Then there was the time I actually tested the product I was supposedly getting. That was the last straw with me.

I got in a car and drove down to L.A., purchased some machinery, and drove back. I set up a very small clean room and a very small lab and started servicing our own sports nutrition line. I already had a manufacturing background, so it came pretty naturally to me.

We did that for about a month. I was in a marketing group, and I told them about the problems I had with the manufacturer and that we decided to bring it in house. They listened, but no one really said anything.

After that meeting ended, pretty much everyone from the group contacted me individually to complain about their manufacturing problems. Oh, and could they run their products through our lab as well?

That opened my eyes. Clearly there was a void in the marketplace for a good contract manufacturer. So I sold off my retail brand and set out to fill that void.

We are completely transparent with clients. We have a good and fluid communication with them and a quick turnaround time. Plus, we put in the product what we say we’re going to put in the product. Can you imagine?

We’re proud of our facility. We focus on doing things correctly. In fact, the FDA showed up back in December for a surprise inspection, and they said it was one of the best facilities with the best paperwork they’ve ever seen. They give companies a 483 form, which lists suggestions on how to improve your processes and things they’d like to see changed. They didn’t want us to change a thing.

[pullquote]“We put in the product what we say we’re going to put in the product. Can you imagine?” — Ryan Gledhill, founder of Intermountain Nutrition[/pullquote]

We’ve moved five times in five years. This is our fifth building, and we built it on 45 acres here in Payson so that when we grow, we won’t have to go anywhere.

Growth is a beast. And growing pains are a real thing. The hours are endless, the challenges are hard, and it’s a constant reevaluation of goals.

I’ll tell you. Running a 20-person operation is very different than running a 200-person one. We are constantly changing our processes and actively working to improve our efficiency. It’s important to identify what processes no longer work — and then quit doing them. There’s nothing more damaging than doing something a certain way simply because you’ve always done it that way. Work smarter.

Personnel is another crucial area. It’s difficult to go from a company where you know everyone’s name to a company where you don’t. I don’t love that part of it. I like to have relationships with employees. But I recognize that intense growth is going to prohibit that. Once we got to 80 or 90 employees, I knew we needed an HR director who could make sure employees don’t get overlooked.

A culture will be created whether you do it intentionally or not. We have tried to intentionally develop a culture of openness and transparency. We want it to be positive and upbeat. With how quickly we are growing, stress is a given. But attitude is a huge factor in how you come out at the end of those challenges.   

Payson has been fantastic. We love this city. They happily welcomed us and are excited to have us here. It’s a great feeling. We put a sign up and had an open house last July. We had hundreds of people show up. That support is incredibly cool.

We’ll keep growing, expanding and building on our land. The industry is growing 8 percent year-over-year, while year-over-year growth for us is 80-plus percent. So not only are we growing within the industry, we’re also gaining the market share. And we’ve only scratched the surface of our potential.

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