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The People Behind ProGrowTech: Jin Jia Has Ambitious Ideas for LEDs — And the Drive to Make Them a Reality

It only takes a single conversation to recognize how passionate Jin Jia is about LED technology.

Jin is always willing to discuss even the most advanced aspects of LED, and the technology’s vast applications for growers across the globe. He’ll enthusiastically explain how an LED light chip works, or how LEDs are able to produce different light spectrums or advancements in wireless control. It’s obvious that Jin harbors a tireless curiosity and a determination to bring best-in-class solutions for any cultivator.

A Chance Encounter, Common Interests Fuel Fast Partnership 

Born in China, Jin now resides outside of Portland, Oregon, with his wife, two daughters and an energetic Shiba Inu named Blue.

Prior to serving as ProGrowTech’s Production Manager, Jin worked as a consultant for facilities to help growers discover the best LED light for their crops. That’s when he met Thos Gibson, ProGrowTech’s Vice President of Sales. The two immediately connected over a shared interest in LED technology. Jin’s personal priorities — usability, efficacy and affordability — aligned with ProGrowTech’s mission and, naturally, he joined the team in 2018.

In his current role, Jin strives to optimize value for customers from all cultivation backgrounds, while still utilizing superior materials: marrying affordability with superior functionality.

Jin oversees and researches the manufacturing side of the business, ensuring each aspect of the final lighting fixture is up to ProGrowTech’s stringent standard. Now, he’s an integral touchpoint for anything related to the construction of ProGrowTech’s lighting fixtures.

Digging into the Cannabis Industry

But how did Jin get to where he is today?

Jin’s foray into LEDs began by acting on his own curiosity. He saw that the cannabis industry was taking off — and wondered how his skills and expertise could contribute to the burgeoning market.

He got involved by literally and metaphorically getting his hands dirty. He relocated to Portland from New York City with his family and began growing cannabis himself. He then founded Columbia Biosciences, a cannabis producer, and began exploring different growing and lighting techniques to see what worked for his crop.

“The best way for me to get first-hand information was to jump in and start growing,” Jin says. “While I was growing and learning, I became intrigued by the technology of the LED. I looked into it more and started buying LED lights that were already on the market.”

As Jin became more familiar with the LEDs that were already available, he noticed that each company advertised different outcomes. Some prioritized increasing yield, others sought potency. It quickly became apparent that the industry lacked LED lights that touted efficacy — simply, delivering superior uniformity and intensity. He wondered that, if delivering the right uniformity and intensity, yields and potency would follow suit.

Trial-And-Error 

With ample experience in the automobile and tech industries, delving into the world of LED production seemed like a logical next step. That’s when Jin began constructing his own LED light prototypes, developing six with different spectrums to compare. Where some people might be hesitant, Jin dove right in.

It’s obvious Jin has an adventurous side to him, and this trait is exactly what caught ProGrowTech’s attention. Whether he’s partaking in his favorite hobby of ocean fishing or tinkering with the latest technologies, he isn’t the type of person to wait until the right tool makes itself available — Jin is willing to create it himself. His prototypes have even inspired some of ProGrowTech’s latest designs.

“When I was developing my prototypes, I was comparing the light side-by-side in one room under the same conditions with the same strain,” Jin explains. “I would compare the growth rate, internodal spacing and the various details that plants tell me. During the flowering stage, I would spend extra time on the smell, the structure and the color.”

More recently, Jin has been measuring cannabinoid composition and potency to further understand how LED lights affect this aspect of cannabis physiology.

A Future-Focused Vision for LEDs 

Jin envisions a future for LEDs that extends beyond the cannabis market. One day, he hopes to see this lighting technology help curb world hunger — LEDs used in indoor cultivations sites could eventually bring fresh produce to food deserts or expand our capabilities to feed a bigger population. 

“I’m most inspired by how mainstream LED lights are becoming,” Jin says. “As more growers accept them, they’re seeing results. They also save a ton of electricity and energy.”

An innovator at heart, Jin is always thinking of new ways to improve the usability and efficiency of LED lights. His most recent projects include developing state-of-the-art Bluetooth mesh so growers can seamlessly control their lighting fixtures through a straightforward smartphone app.

When Jin isn’t testing the boundaries of what LEDs can accomplish for indoor cultivators, he’s most likely hanging out with his family or fishing.