Sandy Paige – Managing Teams for Scale – Ep.156

My guest on this episode is Sandy Paige. Sandy has been an operator several times over his career, including being a general manager at a Maine paper mill, a director of The Jackson Laboratory, and others which gave him a wide range of experience to use in growing the company he acquired as a searcher, Explora BioLabs.

He’s also an outlier in being one of, if not the, oldest searchers. But his results speak for themselves: Sandy grew Explora BioLabs over the course of 4 years starting in May 2018 to sell for $295 million in April 2022.

Sandy and I talk about the importance of communication as a CEO and his philosophy behind it, how he sought and hired managers who could grow with the company, early career CEO mistakes to avoid, communicating with your board, and his priorities and focus in the CEO role.

Listen weekly and follow the show on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherBreaker, and TuneIn


Check out this podcast for a deeper dive into Sandy’s background

The Jackson Laboratory 

Explora BioLabs

Sandy on LinkedIn


(2:58) – Can you give us your background and career to this point?

(6:36) – How did the paper mill experience influence your management style?

(10:45) – What were some of the characteristics of bosses you worked for that you tried to emulate?

(12:43) – Are there skills that helped you refine your best qualities as a manager?

(15:30) – What do you look for when hiring?

(18:54) – What do you think early career CEOs often miss in management hires?

(21:56) – Are there questions or techniques you use to inform you the hire is a hard worker?

(24:14) – What started to happen after those hires?  

(27:41) – As your company grew, how did your team structures have to change?   

(33:45) – How do you position a company so that it increases enterprise value?

(35:39) – What made it so different for you?

(37:52) – Did you find it challenging to run the business while going through diligence?

(40:08) – What was your set of responsibilities and priorities as a CEO?

(42:03) – What kind of communication cadence did you have with your board?

(45:08) – How do you ask good questions to your board?

(46:34) – Is there any advice you often give to early career CEOs?

(48:21) – What strongly held belief have you changed your mind on?

(49:48) – What’s the best business you’ve ever seen? 

Think Like an Owner Sponsors:

Live Oak Bank — Live Oak Bank is a seasoned SMB lender providing SBA and conventional financing for search funds, independent sponsors, private equity firms, and individuals looking to acquire lower middle-market companies. Live Oak has closed billions of dollars in SBA financing and is actively looking to help more small company investors across the country. If you are in the process of acquiring a company or thinking about starting a search, contact Lisa Forrest or Heather Endresen directly to start a conversation or go to

Hood & Strong, LLP — Hood & Strong is a CPA firm with a long history of working with search funds and private equity firms on diligence, assurance, tax services, and more. Hood & Strong is highly skilled in working with search funds, providing quality of earnings and due diligence services during the search, along with assurance and tax services post-acquisition. They offer a unique way to approach acquisition diligence and manage costs effectively. To learn more about how Hood & Strong can help your search, acquisition, and beyond, please email one of their partners Jerry Zhou at [email protected] 

Oberle Risk Strategies– Oberle is the leading specialty insurance brokerage catering to search funds and the broader ETA community, providing complimentary due diligence assessments of the target company’s commercial insurance and employee benefits programs. Over the past decade, August Felker and his team have engaged with hundreds of searchers to provide due diligence and ultimately place the most competitive insurance program at closing. Given August’s experience as a searcher himself, he and his team understand all that goes into buying a business and pride themselves on making the insurance portion of closing seamless and hassle-free.

If you are under LOI, please reach out to August to learn more about how Oberle can help with insurance due diligence at Or reach out to August directly at [email protected].

Oakbourne Advisors– Oakbourne is an independent retirement plan consulting firm that helps small companies design and implement great retirement plans for their teams.  Whether you already have a 401(k) in place or are looking to start one for your team, please reach out to learn more about how Oakbourne can set your people up for success in retirement at

Interested in sponsoring?


Join small company investors, search funds, private equity firms, business owners, and entrepreneurs in reading the Think Like an Owner newsletter and other project updates.

Share This