Whether he fully realized it at the time or not, Adam Cohen’s move to Mill Valley in 2019 seems almost preordained to inspire him to create something big and bold in our town. And lucky for us, he’s got a breadth and depth of experience that he’s putting to work as we speak.
Cohen, born in Boston, Mass., and raised in Encinitas in San Diego, went into the Naval Academy at 18 years old, became a Naval officer, served on Navy warships and deployed overseas four times, finding himself in places like the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.
Along the way, Cohen found himself on humanitarian missions amidst the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, providing medical support in rural areas of Southeast Asia and then spent a year living in Singapore working on international affairs between Southeast Asia and the United States. Cohen then moved back to Washington, D.C. to work on
“It’s been quite a ride,” he says with a laugh, noting that he’d moved 15 to 20 times in about an eight-year span.
Cohen has maintained that sense of adventure and engagement through all of it, bringing it first to San Francisco in 2017 and then to Tam Junction two years later.
Cohen took a product marketing role at Parsable first, and later served as a business operations manager at PayPal after a nearly three-year run.
With some extra time on his hands, Cohen did what he does best: he immersed himself in his newest neighborhood, chatting up the owners of businesses he loved and highlighting them on his Tam Glad website and blog. In doing so, Cohen focused on the wonders of the 94941’s funkiest commercial district, radiating his “head over heels” feelings toward his neighborhood and churning out stories about the likes of Early Bird Tacos, Susie Turner’s Green Door Design, the multi-faceted Xtracycle and much more.
“When you’re in the Navy, you kind of gain and lose your community very quickly,” Cohen says. “So when I moved here, and I had some free time, there was this insatiable appetite to find community instead of sitting around. “I just decided, these are the people I’m going to meet – and I’ll unpack their stories.
In recent months, Cohen has had a new itch to scratch: turning his love for the bounty of Tam Junction, Mill Valley and Marin County into a business that seeks to connect the dots in a tangible way. “Through telling stories of these passionate people whose businesses reflect who they are, I got thinking, why aren’t more people coming here?” He’s answering that question head on with Tam Glad Wellness and Adventure Co., which seeks to professionalize relationships between major tech companies and the incredible gem that is the 94941. He doesn’t see it as some pie in the sky idea. As we alluded to above, Cohen has planned massive large scale naval exercises. More recently, he’s planned company off-sites for certain startups and public companies.
“My whole value proposition is to go out and grab these folks and yank them across the bridge and introduce them to Marin County businesses and services in local destinations they would never get exposed to otherwise,” he says.
He’s already making headway on that front, curating a list of Marin-based wellness and adventure businesses just 10- to 30-minutes north of San Francisco that “are equipped to bring these groups here and provide these unique rare experiences in a majestic place that you’d have to fly your team to Hawaii to get something like this,” Cohen says. “The proximity and accessibility of Marin County – it’s game over. You don’t have to make any more decisions after that.”
Cohen envisions one-day group outings that offer end-to-end services, helping teams achieve their business goals. He also believes that collaboration in the open-ended remote and hybrid environments will suffer without these sorts of local getaways.
“They’re hungry for this type of service,” he says, pointing to a broad range of activities, from events like mindfulness, yoga, surfing, kayaking, hiking, sailing, and mountain biking,” Cohen says. “My entire network is all these big tech companies. Businesses have already told me they want to have more corporate business groups come to us.”
Nicki Clark is the purveyor of one of those adventures. Her Marin Outdoor Adventure outfit offers surf lessons and nature hikes that cater to all levels at either Stinson Beach or Bolinas, depending on the surfer’s level and the current surf conditions. Clark started the company eight years ago and has continued to evolve it.
“Adam has an amazing, bigger perspective on this, particularly with his connections and his experience organizing big events,” Clark says. “My expertise is doing what I do. That’s where I can work my magic. Organizing buses and planning logistics and being the travel agent of the experience – that’s a huge bonus for us to lean on.”
Cohen plans to lean heavily on the abundance of food and beverage purveyors within our community to bolster those experiences. Among those he’s leaning on for that deliciousness is his friend and Mill Valley neighbor Meg Edwards, founder of Westshore Wine Co., an emerging brand in the canned wine industry.
“As his vision has evolved, it’s really intriguing,” says Edwards, who has connected Cohen with some HR professionals and executive assistants at places like Google from her days in corporate sales in San Francisco. “We have such a hidden gem that a lot of people don’t know about – I’m really excited to see where this goes.”