Episode 30


Here at Higher Yields Consulting, we talk a lot about what we do for our clients, what’s going on in the cannabis industry, and how you can stabilize, grow, and scale your cannabusiness – but we don’t talk much about ourselves and why we do what we do! Today, we’re giving you a peek behind the scenes to get to know the origins of HYC and the expertise our team members bring to the table. 


John Valdez, Jesse Larson, Anthony Adkins, Marissa Cortes, Adam Kulbach


Adam Kulbach  00:27

Hello and welcome to the higher enlightenment podcast brought to you by higher yields cannabis consulting your seed to sale cannabis business solutions experts. My name is Adam are the creative team here at higher yields consulting. And for the first time today we’re going to talk about ourselves inside H yc. Why have an inside look with our panel of experts from higher yields consulting. Today’s panel is John Valadez, Jesse Larson, Marisa Cortez and Anthony Atkins. So we’ll start by having them introduce themselves. Let’s start with you, John.


John Valdez  01:08

My name is John Valdez. I’m the president of higher yields, camps consulting and also run the real estate division and acquisition. My background is I’ve been in real estate for about 30 years, sort of when I was 18 and continue to in residential and commercial real estate. I have a design build background I’ve built to actually the second or third license holder in Colorado had built their dispensary out for them. So I’ve been in the cannabis industry on the design build side for quite some way back. And then I’ve been in the real estate side of it for seven years now in the cannabis sector. I’ve been part of purchasing cultivations dispensaries, attraction labs, distribution centers, been involved in that heavily for about seven years, and I’ve been with HVAC for about seven years also.


Adam Kulbach  02:02

Well, thank you, John. How about you, Jesse?


Jesse Larson  02:07

Yeah, my name is Jesse Larsen. I’m the director of the design build and systems implementation department here at higher yields. I got out of the Army in 2014, and started building electronic cigarette retail facilities and warehouse facilities. Before moving up to Denver and entering cannabis in 2015, started out in security and eventually found my way to higher yields. And the design build department since then, been able to consult and design on over 3 million square feet of retail cultivation, production and extraction facilities throughout the US and internationally. Along with higher yields consulting, I sit on the board of directors for a nonprofit called Project Return to Work, which helps disabled veterans get into longer lasting and better rewarding careers. Mainly helping helping them get into cannabis industry and all different sets and services. Yeah, it’s something that I really take joy in and something that can can really benefit the industry as a whole.


Adam Kulbach  03:23

Well, thank you. How about you, Marissa?


Marissa Cortes  03:27

Hello, my name is Marissa Cortez, and I’m the director of compliance at higher yields consulting. I’ve been with higher yields for three years now this month, and I’ve been in the cannabis industry for the better part of a decade now. I’ve worked mainly in compliance and inventory tracking, and all of that fun stuff all across the supply chain. So I did start in cultivation, quickly moved to retail, and then ultimately ended up at a fairly large manufacturing chain in Colorado. And from there, from being an operator, I moved to th YC because of my passion for compliance, which I know how I know how fun that sounds, it it’s, it is something that I definitely get made fun of. But I love it. I love the ever changing nature of it. So what I do for higher yield is really stay on top of compliance stay on top of the different states, you know, who is upcoming for new licensing, what sort of regulatory changes are taking place in these different states in different countries across the world? And then I do oversee quite a few of our projects as well that we have in the pipeline and HVAC.


Adam Kulbach  04:29

Well, thank you. How about you, Anthony?


Anthony Adkins  04:33

Yeah, I’m Anthony agcas, director of business development and marketing with higher yields. My background is pretty deep into again, 30 plus years of business development, strategic partnership, and an overall you know, partnership development, you know, globally my opportunity to get into the kind of consulting and really began with launching the console I think arm of one of the largest telecom companies in the world, and really got to see it from, you know, what we do, how we do it and the services we provide the value we bring in, you know, cutting through, you know, cutting through the chaos and the noise of what consulting is or is not. And, you know, now with higher yields, bringing that expertise, from a global scale on a global level, you know, into this organization and into the industry. You know, I’m, I’m all about connecting individuals who are either looking to get into the industry, looking to scale in the industry, or even looking to get out of the industry in such a way that we’re providing the right resources at the right time. And at the right degree in the right levels of of, you know, collaboration from that standpoint. So really connecting the market to HVAC and connecting HVAC to the market.


Adam Kulbach  05:58

Okay, and on to the first and obvious question, what exactly is HyC?


Marissa Cortes  06:05

So hmic is a learning organization. We are constantly trying not only to educate ourselves, amongst each other, our colleagues, but the industry as a whole, really the world as a whole to try to continue to break the stigma that cannabis holds. Beyond that, I know that’s very high level beyond that we do provide professional support to all types of unique journeys in the cannabis industry. I mean, no project for H yc is too big or too small. And I think that’s what makes us h yc.


Adam Kulbach  06:41

So how did H YC get it start


John Valdez  06:45

HRC started with our founder, Cory. He was in cultivation and owned a dispensary. And he saw there are so many issues and problems with that, that side of the industry, and there had to be a better way. So he created a consulting company, I believe it was 10 years, nine to 10 years ago.


Marissa Cortes  07:03

Yeah, he just saw so many of the pitfalls, that he was going through, you know, friends going through different people within his network that he was like, you know, what, I can help these people, I’ve went through this, I’ve overcome it, I can now mitigate this. So that’s really like John said, how it got its start. And from there over the last seven or so years, it’s just evolved so much, you know, from the seed of that idea, to truly helping our clients not only just in Colorado, where we are based, but all over the world at this point. It’s pretty amazing how, how far it’s come and the different facets the company has taken on, as it’s evolved over the last almost decade. So why


Adam Kulbach  07:45

do you guys do what you do?


Jesse Larson  07:47

You know, for for myself, personally, getting out of the military in 2014. I faced what a lot of other veterans face when getting out and not really having a direction or, or knowing what I should do with my newfound freedom. With the current happenings around the world, there’s a, there’s a lot of other guys and gals getting out of the military that really, really are going to be facing the same thing. And something that I found extremely rewarding in this is that one, it’s a it’s a new industry, it’s evolving. And that’s something that you get to be on the ground floor of and you get to directly affect and influence change within the industry to fit the current need of people within the industry and the people who utilize this industry. It’s it’s something that I think is extremely special at this point because as well, it’s we’re so small but growing at the same time that that change is very fastly felt and recognized throughout the cannabis industry. And so anything that you were able to do to make things better within this is going to be adapted in one form or another. And that all coming together I think the the heart of a lot of the people in within the cannabis industry is in the right place to actually one help people and to make an industry that is not only inclusive, but also is beneficial and rewarding to everybody involved.


John Valdez  09:38

I agree with you Jesse on that being on the front side of the industry. You know, being in Colorado, starting in Colorado, we were seeing all the pitfalls and all I’ve been able to help people through this process of making their dreams come true. Which is such an amazing part of this whole process is seeing somebody go from basically nothing Starting out at zero, and having a finished product that’s out there, that is something that they believe in and changing the industry from that, that reefer madness type of mentality that’s out there. And going working through that, that’s that. That’s the fun part and the incredible part of this industry in this company.


Marissa Cortes  10:19

I completely agree with John and Jesse, you know, breaking, the stigma is so important on so many different levels. And for myself, personally, you know, getting into this industry, it was really because of the fact that I saw this stigma and the fact that, you know, coming from Philadelphia, it’s no secret, it’s, it’s rampant with the opiate epidemic that is going on right now. And I’ve seen, you know, in real time, and you know, very my, my personal personal circle, the effects that cannabis can have in helping people get off of opiates, helping people with cancer, helping children lead normal lives with, you know, these horrible diseases that you see. So, I mean, really, that’s a huge reason why I personally got into it. And while obviously most of our team members are saying that they got into it, too, is just to see that change, to really be a part of that change and affect that change. So we can start to actually be able to freely utilize this, this plant this cannabis plant for all of the different ways that it can be utilized safely and responsibly.


Anthony Adkins  11:33

Yeah, because in addition to that, what you have is you have that aspect of the cannabis industry, right? I mean, from the scientific to the organic, to the holistic to the environment, that you have such a naturally occurring, agricultural based plant, right, that can do that is so medicinal, that can help that can do all those particular things. Now, from the business perspective, on the business side, we have another factor of, you know, what I’ll call illusion, that somebody can watch a YouTube video and, you know, become a master grower, or that they can, you know, figure out something in their kitchen, and then, you know, scale it to, you know, national or state even a statewide reach, right. So, what we what we’re about, I mean, what we do, why we do it is pretty interesting, we’re we’re putting certainty around an uncertain element of the industry, we have continuity, because we can see through the supply chain, and the value chain in order to be able to fill gaps, mitigate risk, and make sure that our clients and customers always maintain fiscal responsibility. A lot of times, you know, we were talking individuals who have no idea what it’s going to take or what it’s going to cost in order to actually enter into any segment or sector of the of the industry, whether it’s just a piece of cultivation, manufacturing, or dispensary, or if it’s an entire on the entire vertical, and being a vertically integrated opportunity. So what we do is we mean and making a mistake or having to do something over is, is big, I mean, it’s a fine, it’s a it’s a huge financial risk. If something is done wrong if compliance isn’t upheld, if you know, mold mitigation in a cultivation environment is not handled upfront. So we’re about helping these organizations helping these individuals avoid these pitfalls, providing a straight line between current situation and what their vision is, and helping them mitigate risk and financial or fiscal response and being fiscal responsibility isn’t responsible along the way.


Adam Kulbach  13:42

So what kinds of projects do you love working on most


Marissa Cortes  13:47

would have to say, as much as I would hate to see anyone in a position where they do need to take any sort of corrective action in any area of their cannabis business, I would have to say that the corrective types of compliance services that we offer, end up being my favorite types of projects, you know, when you have someone who is in a situation that can feel incredibly hopeless, and provide them with the right support. And then along the way, as you’re correcting whatever compliance issue or situation might have arisen in their business, you can provide them with the right tools and education to mitigate any of those risks, and then some in the future. And it’s just it’s so great to see the client go from feeling that hopelessness to just feeling positive and empowered, really, because we’ve armed them with the necessary tools to be able to move forward and never make those same mistakes again.


Jesse Larson  14:41

Yeah, likewise, there comes a time in every in every project where the facility that you’re going to be operating out of comes into play, and sometimes that can be the make it or break point, more times than not with with a lot of the smaller clients and And my myself personally kind of harkening back to what Marissa said in the beginning, no job too small, I love working with the smaller guys that are able to, to really make their way into this industry and be successful but also have a have a real realistic expectation of of what they’re going into as well. It’s, it can be a jungle, and it’s, it’s not always fun. And being being able to effectively adapt and overcome the obstacles that that that lie within that. I really enjoy seeing seeing those smaller guys be successful and be effective.


John Valdez  15:48

I agree with you 100% On that one day, like one of the smaller mom and pops also, you know, just seeing them like cosign before sorting out their dream, to getting out of an industry that they possibly hated before, and just helping them get to that finish line. And just seeing the smile on their face saying thank you so much for making my my dreams come true on this whole, this whole journey that we’re in. That’s definitely my favorite is the mom and pops.


Anthony Adkins  16:15

Yeah, in terms of project development, and the ROI, the ones that resonate with me are the are the ones that are strategic in nature that involve every many aspects of what higher yields provides into the marketplace. That’s innovative, creative, collaborative, right and, and strategic mean ultimately looking to navigate and have to be creative in order to be able to push through fine with different ways. And if you have a collaborative client, customer account, what have you, they’re willing to make those adjustments necessary in order to navigate the regulatory environment, the state local environment. And, you know, even the market environment, you know, the current temperature of the market with how it’s how it’s moving, and how it’s developing. So for me, that’s, that would be, those developmental projects are our most fun, for my end.


Adam Kulbach  17:11

What’s one main thing that you wish that people knew about H yc.


John Valdez  17:17

I think that there’s all the services that we provide, you know, we’re not just a compliance company, or we’re not just a marketing company, or I’m just a real estate company, a design build company we have from A to Z. So we’re able to help you from not knowing a single thing about the industry, to the experts that know everything about think that they know everything about the industry, and our team, our team is incredible to be able to help through all phases of the cannabis industry. That’s what I think would be the best thing of what I’ve put out there for HVAC.


Marissa Cortes  17:46

I, I would like people to more readily know that HVAC is made up of a bunch of people just like them, you know, we do come together and create this amazing team. And we have such an amazing set of skills across all of our team members. But at the end of the day, you know, we’re approachable, and more people just like them and more from all walks of life, we’ve been in all areas of the industry and then outside of it. And I think being able to put a more relatable face to H yc. And have people know, you know, we’re not stuck up sticking our nose in the air because we’ve been in this industry for 10 years, and you haven’t it’s never like that we want to help everybody and I want people to know who we are, which is fantastic that we’re doing this podcast.


Jesse Larson  18:39

Yeah. Likewise, the, when I first came to higher yields, I was told that we had the opportunity to make this the place where we always wanted to work. And every week we have the opportunity to not only come together and work on projects, but but also come together as a team and and, you know, talk about where we want to take this, this this company and you know, this this this industry and what what could we do to help people along the way and that’s that’s something that I truly find special about higher yields.


Marissa Cortes  19:14

Totally agree, Jesse. Now,


Adam Kulbach  19:17

earlier it was mentioned that there’s no job too big or too small that H yc. could handle. Could you give us an example of what one of those small jobs might be? And also an example of what’s one of the biggest jobs?


Jesse Larson  19:34

Well, there. There’s there’s a little client out in eastern Wyoming that I am particularly fond of. And as soon as they’re up and running, I’ll give them a full full name shout out however, they they came into the initial issue of having some funding issues, and we thought the the project was was not going to move any further than it already was, however, in three months, got a got a call and a text message saying that everything was ready to go. And they were able to move forward. And, you know, they they never lost, they never lost sight of what they were going to go for. And I’m happy to say by the end of the year, they’re going to be up and running in eastern Wyoming and be one of the only production and processing locations in the in that area. And so it’s it’s really special. And they’re, they’re a mom and pop team. They’re, they’re, they’re, they’re easy to believe in.


Marissa Cortes  20:42

So true. And I mean, these guys, who we are all very fond of, by the way, we love these guys, they started with one of our more like lower on the tear services. It’s not, you know, the big giant build outs and all this, they started with a very straightforward feasibility study for Wyoming have manufacturing. And from there to be able to see over the last, gosh, six, eight months, I think it’s been now evolved from that, like Jesse said to the funding and then get having a hiccup there. And then I mean, move powering right through to equipment, and they’re getting ready to get their SOPs come and do some training in Denver. It’s just it’s really cool. And I think that’s a good way to show, you know, we can even start out with that smaller engagement. And then with the same client, fast forward, not even a year later. And here we are, you know, doing a full outfitting for their manufacturing facility and all of that. So it’s cool to even make that connection there to see you can bring these engagements together big and small with with the same client. It’s just a phased approach, which Anthony has done an amazing job at honing in the last year that he’s been here. By the way, happy anniversary. Anthony. He’s been in HVAC for a full year officially,


Anthony Adkins  21:57

officially today. Thanks. Thanks, thanks. Yeah, it absolutely continue on for us, because that phased approach is like so. So mazing, and how it connects to the market. So let you finish. It is


Marissa Cortes  22:12

and that I mean, that’s a perfect segue for these larger projects that we take on. You know, typically, even the larger projects, we’re not going to start and just dump all of the phases on them, it doesn’t make any sense, we do the phased approach for very specific reasons, because you can’t put the cart before the horse, especially in the cannabis industry. So a larger engagement could look anything like a four phase looks a 24 month engagement that includes everything from facility design, build out equipment, procurement, all the way through to operational, helping them with operational procedures, actually getting boots on the ground, training them, showing them how to cultivate manufacture responsibly, you know, then retail sales, whatever it might be. So seeing it from a very small seed of an idea, below up to let’s say, a multi state operation would definitely be on that larger scale of engagements for us.


Adam Kulbach  23:13

What’s one thing that you wish people knew about getting into the cannabis industry? Before they do?


Anthony Adkins  23:19

If they want to start with cultivation, they’re going to have to bring more than $50,000 to the table. Just just getting right. But no, I think it’s, it’s being able to being flexible. And really, I mean, it’s, it’s actually taking a look and actually spending the time and a little money investing into the upfront feasibility and assessment of their project, and being willing to adapt at either entry points, or what they ultimately need to consider in order to be able to put together not only their team, but also the financial package that they would need in order to be able to facilitate their, you know, their vision, if you will. So that’s one of the biggest things with me, I mean, is understanding and knowing that, you know, we’re researching we we provide assessment and feasibility at a different level. And if the, if the group or the the account opportunity is actually open to reviewing and looking at different states for their project or their program that they should actually consider that. But also understand, you know, that there are probably going to be some pitfalls and some gaps and some risks that we’re going to have to you know, overcome with delivering, delivering that and on even on a recent project for example, this group is out of Texas and they wanted to move into they want to move into the cannabis industry and we know that Texas is not cannabis friendly at this point in time, but they’re willing to explore and then really Lean on our expert advice and, you know, our expertise in in the market, both nationally and globally, to help them understand and to help them provide the either least cost of entry to provide the least path of resistance, and to actually see their their vision come true. So it’s really the flexibility and being open to, you know, our directional leadership.


Marissa Cortes  25:27

It’s such a good point, Anthony, and brings me to my point of support, support support support. I like to kind of say, you know, you wouldn’t start a tech company with zero professional Tech experience, right? You can’t say, Well, I use a computer so I can do it. Right. So you wouldn’t say the same thing in the cannabis industry? Well, I go in my basement or Well, I smoked weed 1995 You don’t, there’s so much more that goes into it. And it’s very, very complex, just beyond, you know, even growing the plant, which I do know, most of us know. And most of our clients do know, getting into it, but not being afraid and really being proactive with seeking out and securing professional advisement from experienced, you know, cannabis consultants, it’s number one, in my book, I’ve seen it happen both ways. I’ve seen people try to start by themselves, and then you know, come running, because 20 fires popped up as soon as they did. So I’ve always recommend, you know, to anybody that’s looking to get in the cannabis industry, do due diligence, vet them out, but definitely go with a professional cannabis consultant.


John Valdez  26:39

I agree with you on that. Definitely need a professional help you out, be patient, do your homework, and be flexible. So those are the main things I would suggest.


Jesse Larson  26:51

What do you think testing. Likewise, patients is is something to really covet within the cannabis industry. It comes into play when when you’re growing and when you’re starting a business just just in general, but the cannabis industry as I said earlier can be a jungle and and navigating that jungle, a guide is usually usually sought after. And that’s where higher yields really, really brings value to each and every client. And then not only clients but the business to business interactions as well and fulfilling the client’s needs. Those relationships and and and networks are extremely valuable and it gets you it gets you to know everybody within the industry and it’s something that can’t be can’t be taken away once it’s once it’s good.


Adam Kulbach  27:47

Well, I think that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you very much to our panel. Thanks for being here. Thanks. Thank you. We’d like to thank everybody for tuning in today and listening to our podcast. For information on how to follow the higher enlightened podcasts. Please be sure to check out the description below. You’ll receive all the latest and greatest podcasts news and announcements. Also let you know when we release new episodes. If you’d like to be a guest on the higher enlightenment podcasts, or have ideas about upcoming episodes, please be sure to check out the description below. For information about sponsorship or advertising on the higher end like then podcast, please call us at 844 High yield. That’s 844 HHI why I ELD ER visit our website at higher yields consulting.com. Thanks, have a great day and we’ll talk to you soon