I have a background uniquely suited to this work.
My grandmother was a gardener and herbalist. I remember walking with her and learning the names of all the wild plants and tending to the many herbs and vegetables in her garden.
My Bachelor's degree is in Chemical Engineering with a focus on pharmaceuticals and process scale up. I worked at Roche Pharmaceuticals on AIDs drugs and Amgen Pharmaceuticals on a Leukemia drug learning a great deal about large scale production of synthesized molecules as well as biologically produced medicines.
After graduation, I became a quality engineer for propellant on Navy, Airforce and NASA rocket engines, where I learned the value of planning and executing everything exactly correctly. When things go wrong with medicine or rockets the consequences can be swift and devastating.
I had hoped to improve the world in a more tangible way, however, and went back to school for Environmental Engineering. This curriculum enabled me to take my already extensive knowledge of chemistry and apply it to real world systems like wetlands that had been damaged by pesticide runoff. I fell in love with human toxicology and the way that our body takes and uses the food, water, air and other inputs to sustain us. My thesis work contributed to understanding when an environmental clean up is sufficiently safe for people and animals to return.
Upon graduation, I got a job with an Environmental Consulting Company, at first I was working on old superfund sites trying to unravel the mystery of what had happened, when it happened and who had contributed. I showed a knack for contaminate modeling and was soon working on projects for mines. When a mine is considering an expansion, a geochemist will model the likely effects on groundwater to determine if the expansion will impact the environment in a negative way. This was also really fun, looking at the different geologies, metals and conditions present and understanding how water moves through them.
One day, I was talking to a friend about botanical extractions and I realized that many hobbyists were doing them in a way that was very inefficient and very unsafe. Immediately, my engineering mind engaged and I started to think of better and safer alternatives.
In 2014, recreational cannabis was legalized in the state of Colorado and I knew that the poor techniques I had heard about would be used. I saw a great opportunity to bring safety, efficiency, and professionalism to a brand new field. I purchased a bench scale carbon dioxide extractor and began optimizing the process. I was soon asked to manage the extraction department at the Growing Kitchen extracting legal marijuana with butane and propane. I was able to implement safe and effective extraction techniques and extensive data and process control. Once the system was working well, I became curious about other aspects of the emerging cannabis science and got an opportunity to work at RM3 Labs, a dedicated cannabis testing facility. At first, I worked as a bench chemist-testing marijuana products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, residuals, pesticides and microbial contamination. It quickly became clear that a more efficient data management system would make things better. I worked with a team of software developers to create a laboratory information management system to streamline the workflow and store data results.
At that time, I heard that Natural Extraction Systems was creating an entirely novel extraction system using nothing but hot air to vaporize and recapture cannabinoids. I joined the team as a process engineer and spent the first year building a proto-type and production extraction system. We were testing the system on hemp and soon began to build up a reserve of CBD oil. I created a production department to extract hemp and make it into whatever finished consumer good the client wanted to sell.
This was super fun, I was creating new products, managing the production team, talking to clients about exactly what they needed and managing the teams finances and regulatory requirements. As the company grew, others took on some of these responsibilities and I took point on getting organic and GMP certified. In 2019, the business model shifted away from product manufacturing and I found that I really missed the dynamic process of creating innovative new products.
Todd Plymal-Mallory and I shared a passion for traditional Chinese medicine and a new dream began to form. Both of us are dedicated to supporting our community of small business and of people's health. Mind Body Soul Medicinals was formed as a way for both of us to do just that, make great products, support small businesses and get more amazing plant medicine to more people.