Troy Swope

by Troy Swope

What most notably stands out about your leadership style or what is an example of leadership success you can share with our readers?

Footprint is a purpose-driven company. As a CEO who is also a co-founder, I make sure the original mission for Footprint — to create a healthier planet — is core to the conversations I have all day long. 

I believe 100% in servant leadership, and I’m responsible for painting a picture of the future and then bringing in the best talent to bring it to life. My goal is to lead from the perspective of the customer and to make sure we’re all obsessed with customer success. 

Every Saturday, I have a Healthy Choice Power Bowl from Conagra — to see what our customers’ customers are experiencing. Today, millions of these plant-based fiber bowls are in supermarkets and we got there by having early customers who were partners in our journey, and by not being afraid to fail, learn and iterate. 

I started my career at Intel, which really helped give me a reference at the beginning for what scaling looks like and how to prioritize when it seems like everything is urgent. I constantly remind people of our bigger mission, I dive into the details when needed and, at the same time, try to get out of the way when I need to.

What impact has COVID-19 or the disruptions of the past 18 months had on you as a leader?

As a business leader responding to disruptions over the past year and a half, you immediately go from a vision of the future and massive impact the business will have on the planet to focusing on survival. Making sure your team members are safe is priority one and then you can turn your focus on the mission, the survival of the business and how you can help your customer. 

The dynamic environment that is COVID has taught me patience, excessive continuity planning and creating as much operational flexibility as possible. I will likely be far more cautious in the future. 

What do you feel we can be doing as a business community to empower economic growth here?

Arizona is having a lot of success already. A limiter to growth will be the availability of labor. If we want sustained growth long term, we will need to embrace immigration — more H1B visas to bring in engineers and scientists and a much stronger labor relationship with Mexico. In addition, businesses have historically not selected Arizona because of education funding, so continued investment in education is a must. With all the technology companies in the Valley, why can’t we lead the country in math and science education, in grades 9–12? 

We need to set the vision and ask Arizona companies to help create it. I guarantee they would not only provide money, they would provide time. 

What is new and notable for your company’s near future that will impact our economy?

We’re focused on creating a healthier planet and today we’re inventing, designing and manufacturing plant-based materials that replace single-use plastics — with an aspiration to completely transform supermarkets and rid them of plastic. That is a giant market opportunity. You can see our solutions at Fry’s, Trader Joe’s and Walmart with brands like Beyond Meat sausages, Healthy Choice Power Bowls, General Mills Annies mac & cheese and Sambazon Acai bowls — and more are coming all the time. 

Through our work at Footprint Center, we are able to put our plant-based technology in the hands of a million fans per year who pass through the doors, educating them about steps they can take at home to reduce waste, recycle and even compost. 

We also want to encourage private- and public-sector companies to increase confidence that waste will actually be recycled, and more of it can be picked up and composted. 

More broadly, with increased investor focus on environment, social and governance topics as key success metrics, we believe sustainability needs to be factored into the business approach throughout the Valley, that it will attract other like-minded companies, and that it ultimately makes good business sense. 

We’re proud that we’re helping so many big retailers, food and consumer packaged goods companies reach their sustainability goals today by choosing plant-based materials and reducing their carbon dioxide emissions.

Name of Leader: Troy Swope
Position of Leader: Co-Founder & CEO
Company Name: Footprint
No. of Years with Company: 7
Main Local Office Address: 250 E. Germann Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85297
Phone: (480) 209-1064
Number of offices in Greater Phoenix: 1
Year Established Locally: 2014
City Nationally Headquartered: Gilbert, AZ

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