As the Senior Vice President of Socati in Montana, Dr. Frances Gilman started out as a consulting microbiologist who excelled into a leadership role, which included the transitioning process after Socati acquired Blue Marble’s manufacturing facility in Missoula. After earning her doctorate in Microbiology, Dr. Gilman, also known as Franny, launched her career at Blue Marble Biomaterials — a company that manufactures sustainable and natural compounds used across multiple sectors, including cosmetics, food and fragrance.
During a recent interview, Dr. Frances Gilman spoke about her road to Blue Marble and Socati. Gilman previously researched microorganisms in soil while working at Greenland. Her work included research on how microorganism play a role in climate change. It was during her time at the University of Montana in Missoula as a graduate student that she started to explore career opportunities, and how she came to apply for and receive a position at Blue Marble. While her focus was on microbiology, the fact that Blue Marble focuses on sustainability is what led her into a corporate environment, despite previous plans to pursue an academia path.
Dr. Frances Gilman’s experience researching climate change helped her make the transition into a company, where her focus on the environment is immensely enjoyable. She has been excited about being a part of an organization that develops products with the potential to have a positive and lasting impact on the world. After the acquisition of the Missoula manufacturing facility, Gilman’s role changed because her focus was on establishing a team that is both functional and strong and has included work with the existing team at Blue Marble, retained during the acquisition. Gilman believes that the existing team, coupled with the expanded expertise, has positioned the company for great success.
Gilman is thrilled to have a chance to concentrate on the hemp industry, especially given that the prior focus was on multiple industries. She understands the benefits of directing a focus that enables more time to achieve strategic goals and strengthen the expertise that already exists in the area of hemp extraction. As it relates to research and development to create products that are of high quality, the team that has been developed operates in compliance with a Safe Quality Food (SQF) program and also has extensive knowledge of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). There is a keen understanding of the necessary systems required to ensure products are not only of high quality, but also uniform consistency and with high regard to safety.
With the combining of two entities, the company is now better able to develop broad spectrum ingredients and processes that meet the growing needs of consumers across all sorts of health and wellness issues and opportunities. The company is focused on developing products that will delight consumers and respond to evolving needs. The work that the Socati staff and teams perform in the company also helps to develop products that are sustainable because the Missoula manufacturing facility enjoys enhancements in that capability. There is a continual effort to make the necessary changes in processes so that they are consistently environmentally friendly. For instance, they are careful to minimize waste and use solvents that are bio-based, and to be mindful of research and innovations with all sorts of broad spectrum health and wellness products, including the cannabinoid class of diverse chemical compounds where ingredients from hemp-derived products like CBG, CBC, CBN are considered for inclusion where appropriate
Dr. Gilman believes the CBD industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, she believes there will be a permanent demand for such products, especially given the large demand for hemp extract and CBD for use as a water soluble ingredient, including THC-free and non-detectable THC She also believes there will be an expansion in how water soluble CBD, as well as THC-free and non-detectable THC, CBD and hemp is used in lotions and similar products. Gilman is eager to meet the needs of the market, while delivering products that are of high quality and consistency. She also believes that more women should enter the market to share their voices and expertise, as the market has been dominated by men historically. Gilman supports the cultivation of a supportive environment where everyone is welcome. There is plenty of room in the industry for everyone to contribute and succeed.