Magazine Store

November Edition 2020

An Interview with Harry Meng, Pathwater President of Sales: ‘Our Mission is to Shift Consumer Behavior from Single-Use Plastic towards a Better Option’


“Aluminum uses five times less energy to recycle than plastic and can be recycled over and over without losing quality.”

Plastic pollution is a global problem. The statistics are alarming – and emotive. The WWF reports that eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year and 90 percent of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.

However, it remains the modern world’s packaging material of choice. Roughly a third of the 350 Mt produced globally is used in packaging applications. But as public perception shifts and the issue gets pushed up the political agenda, the tide could be turning.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Pathwater —a company that is revolutionizing the beverage industry by offering sustainable alternatives to single-use bottled water.

The company was incorporated in 2015 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA

Harry Meng, Pathwater President of Sales, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. What motivated you to head the most difficult operational department of all?

I came to the States from China when I was 13 years old, didn’t speak a word of English. Communicating in English had always been a challenge, so I want to prove to myself that I can do anything that I put my mind to. The internal drive to be great at something that I am not ‘supposed to be good at’ fuels me daily to make extraordinary happen.

Q. In your opinion, what motivates salespeople the most?

The greatest reward for me is to fight for my sales team and help them achieve their goals, might that be monetary, work, or life related. If there is anything that I can do to help to better their lives, I am up for it.

Q. What is the important factor that contributes majorly to your success?

Determination! My business partners and I shared the same type of determination where failure is not an option, and we instill the same philosophy in the team to drive results.

Q. Do you feel that ads and assertive sales techniques are sustainable methods to reach the right audience?

Digital ads have become part of our daily lives and with the right monetary investment and great content, it will reach our end consumers. I believe being assertive is part of being determined, and if you are determined to do something you will find the right audience.

Q. With market research, companies sometimes find the results of a study difficult to believe, unclear or mixed. Tell us about your decision-making method?

My decision-making process is based on quantifiable data. As long as the ROI justifies the investment, with concrete data, then the decision is not hard to make.

Q. Due to regulatory constraints on marketing and traditional branding, retailers’ awareness levels among consumers may be predicated on their ability to responsibly scale. How do you help to improve brand recognition through sales?

In the CPG industry, brand recognition goes hand-in-hand with market share. The more places they see our product, the more improvement we make on brand recognition. The places like Safeway, Wegmans, Speedway, Buc-ee’s, etc. Shelf space and display pieces in large format grocery and c-stores also help drive the same initiative.

Q. How do you manage to create a purposeful and consistently executed sales process?

We have defined goals and expectations, as well as monthly and quarterly meetings to go over all sales activities to ensure we aren’t missing any big opportunities. The sales process is always consistently improving and I take feedback from the team to ensure that the sales process gets us to the results we want.

Q. What kind of training do you think is important for developing salespeople?

Pathwater is one of the fastest-growing bottled water brand year-to-year per IRI/Nielson Data. My philosophy is always to hire people who are better than you, so the people we bring on the team are already great at what they do. As Pathwater expands to an international scale, development into roles that require more responsibility and overall business P&L is essential for me. It is imperative for sales leaders who are looking to grow to understand and learn these.

Q. How practiced are you at analyzing data? And how has it helped you achieve success as a salesperson?

We purchase IRI/Nielson Data to showcase our company’s growth and market share, including how we are doing against the competition. This is key to our success and expansion going forward.

Harry Meng: An Optimistic Leader

Harry Meng serves as the President of Sales at Pathwater. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from George Washington University. Recently, he went on and got his MBA from UCLA ANDERSON.

Mr. Meng is an avid NBA fan and loves traveling.

“As Pathwater expands to an international scale, development into roles that require more responsibility and overall business P&L is essential for me. It is imperative for sales leaders who are looking to grow to understand and learn these.”