Trent Woloveck: American Cannabis Company (OTC:AMMJ)
He’s really the kind of businessman who consistently aims to get down to the foundation of the problem at hand and he’s here with us now, speaking on some of the most problematic issues of them all. He’s an innovator, he’s a communicator and he’s a business connector, and through those skills and his vast array of other strengths, he is leading the American Cannabis Company (OTC:AMMJ)as COO and ‘growing the next frontier!’
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
At the time, I had just moved from Ohio to Denver, Colorado to manage sales for Cardinal Health, a Fortune 19 pharmaceutical and medical supplies distributor. While I was living in Denver, my cousin who is an owner and operator, would always look at the samples and returns that I was bringing back from my dock and mention that she used that either at her dispensary or at her cultivation facility and asked if I could give it to her. I said “Sure, absolutely! Let me price you off and see if I can actually beat the pricing for what you’re doing today.” Long story short, I would and I had asked Cardinal Health to see if they wanted to become distributors in the space and unfortunately, they decided not to. So, I took the opportunity to start my own business and break into the space as a small business owner and entrepreneur.
What were you doing before the green rush?
Well, I graduated from the Miami University with a degree in finance, spent about a year and a half as a consultant specifically focused around Sarbanes-Oxley doing supply chain management, audits, and a few pre-IPO works, and then left there and did financial planning and analysis for Cardinal Health, eventually transferring into sales specifically around the physician office business for our inventory care division.
What are you doing to impact the industry?
The American Cannabis Company are what I would say are the bellwethers for the industry. We really are there as the markets are starting to look at how the rules and regulations affect their business models. We’re able to work with individual entrepreneurs or businesses that are looking to develop and bring their expertise and their vision into these new markets to be able to best serve the patients of those states.
The American Cannabis Company are what I would say are the bellwethers for the industry. We really are there as the markets are starting to look at how the rules and regulations affect their business models.
We’re with them from the inception of their business through the application and licensing process. Once we obtain the license for our clients, we then design and build out their facilities, whether it’s for cultivating, refining, or dispensing the medicine. We are bringing to life what we promised the state in the application process and then we are there to ensure a successful implementation of the program and of the business. This not only positively affects the state and its given program, but more importantly it ensures medicinal access to patients of that state.
Describe your work ethic to us in one word.
Tell us about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?
I graduated from Miami University with a focus in commercial and investment banking in 2008 and if you’ll remember, that was the kickoff time for the Great Recession. Being a recent college graduate in a time when a massive amount of people were being let go from their jobs, was not ideal. So, it really prompted me to look and better understand what I exactly wanted to do. I had to put myself in a position where I could start a career in business that would be best for my situation.
I started right out of college and then began continually growing, learning, and challenging myself on an every-other-year basis. I think those are really values to live by in the ever-changing economic climate that the job market is in today.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
One of my all-time favorite books is Memos From The Chairman. It’s a Warren Buffett book and it takes you through his thought process and gets into why he makes an investment and what he thinks makes a strong management team. If you know anything about Warren, he truly does invest in the management team, so it’s great to see and understand what he looks for from that executive level of management. That’s always been a great book for me to reference.
Then, the new book that I would recommend for people to go and check out is Bold by Stephen Kotler, which is about the advancement of technology and how it’s really changing society’s views on a lot of these businesses. It talks about Airbnb versus Hilton and what they’ve been able to accomplish in a very short amount of time versus what they’ve been building up for generations. Those are two books that I would lean on for advice.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
I would have to quote Biggie Smalls in this situation: “Don’t get high on your own supply.” But no, in all seriousness, I think as I’ve progressed in my career and have got to interact with a lot of individuals both outside and inside the cannabis industry, change is the only consistent in the business world and really, just life in general – Being able to understand and grasp that concept, is really the only way you’re going to look at a situation and be able to determine the next best steps that will then yield the most success for you and your business.
In all seriousness, I think as I’ve progressed in my career and have got to interact with a lot of individuals both outside and inside the cannabis industry, change is the only consistent in the business world and really, just life in general…
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
My advice would be to be patient and really understand what your strengths are – Look for the right opportunity; don’t go out and just rush into the industry because its something that everyone is doing. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses, and really be able to say “Here are the two or three things that I truly believe I can help progress in this industry.” Then, be patient and grow from there because that is really what it’s going to take to drive the success of this industry as a whole.
What is a skill or trait that you think is necessary to make an impact in this industry?
I think the most important skill that I could tell people out there is to be adaptable and know and understand your audience because, as I’m sure a lot of people are aware, this was a very underground cottage industry previously, a bro-brah industry. Now, as we’ve seen it come above ground, we’re seeing a lot of medical influence. People have come into the industry because we’re starting to look at what the plant can do and achieve, as well as some very wealthy individual business men and women and corporations. So, being able to play and speak towards all three of those audiences is something you have to be able to adapt to and really be able to understand and speak their given language.
What are your thoughts on mega-corporations entering the cannabis space?
My two cents is that I think it’s naïve for people not to think that this is a big business industry. It’s a very well-known fact that statistics expect this industry to rise and become a $60 billion a year industry. That’s big business! Now, only $2.7 billion of that is currently above ground and legally licensed, so we still have quite a long way to go to fill that gap. But again, it’s inevitable that big business will come into this the market. They will see the growth potential and they will eventually step in.
Now, that being said, I feel like the progression of our industry will be similar to that of alcohol – Yes, there will be the big brands, but there will still be room for that mom and pop, micro-brew business as well. A lot of activists and people who have dedicated their careers to getting the industry to where it’s at to this day, might be upset that big corporation is coming in. They just have to realize that there’s still a niche in the market and it will always be there for them. Again, just look at alcohol.
A lot of activists and people who have dedicated their careers to getting the industry to where it’s at to this day, might be upset that big corporation is coming in. They just have to realize that there’s still a niche in the market and it will always be there for them. Again, just look at alcohol.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
Is Hillary Clinton going to be president or not will probably be the first topic of conversation. Then, we’ll be talking about what our outgoing president and our new incumbent president, are doing from a federal perspective in moving forward on medical cannabis as a whole; because by that time, I really do feel that we’re going to be seeing anywhere from 30-35 states with a medical cannabis program in place. I think that will be the time when the national conversation will need to be had.