The idea for Avitas may have started at a kitchen table while discussing legalization with family and friends. But, to move beyond a single state operation, we had to expand our leadership team outside of Washington. As we began to assemble our team, we knew we wanted to take a long-term approach and build a company that kept the big picture in mind, working to lift the stigma and misinformation that still bedevils cannabis as a whole. We also wanted to create a company that consumers could trust, a company that operated with integrity and transparency, and that had a progressive social mission. For our expansion to Oregon, one name was at the top of our list, Joe.
At first glance, Joe might not seem like an obvious candidate to run a cannabis company. He spent most of his career in the nonprofit world, working at organizations that matched at-risk youth with transformational mentors. However, this unique set of skills and perspective brought a whole new management approach to Avitas. Joe worked at nonprofit startups, so he was no stranger to the hard work of scaling, replication, and business development needed to feed a new company.
It was about more than making the businesses pieces fit though. Joe says, “Part of what I wanted when I came to Avitas was a company that made me proud. I have a lot invested in how we run the company, not just the products we’re putting out into the world but also our employees and how we treat them.”
Joe shapes Avitas’ culture with four guiding principles: be happy, be productive, be yourself, and be together. This approach makes the care and feeding of cannabis go faster. (Despite what you might have heard, trimming weed isn’t the most exciting thing in the world). The Avitas farm and lab teams make each day their own by having fun, being themselves, and supporting each other as a community. This environment (hopefully) leaves little room for boredom and ensures sure that every task is knocked out on time and with excellence.
On top of regular working days, teams embark on various activities including BBQs (Joe does most of the cooking for Oregon get-togethers), bowling, holiday parties, an employee of the month contest, and a mountain of inside and practical jokes. It’s all part of the culture and part of what makes working at Avitas unique. Joe says, “We’ve built something special as a group no one person owns the responsibility. It’s a collaborative effort. Our staff shares in creating a great working environment that’s fun and supportive.”