This Agronomy Expert Holds the Key to Our Top-Quality Texas CBD Medicine
In this occasional series, we spotlight Compassionate Cultivation’s team members and partners who work behind the scenes to create the highest-quality high-CBD medical cannabis products for Texas patients.
Meet VP of Operations: Taylor Kirk
The critical work of an expert cultivation team sets the course for Compassionate Cultivation’s top-quality cannabis oil products. Cleanly grown cannabis plants are the source for our CBD medicine that’s specially formulated and lab tested to treat qualifying patients under the Texas Compassionate Use Program.
We asked VP of Operations Taylor Kirk, who has been with the company from the start, to share some insights into his role at Compassionate Cultivation:
What’s your day-to-day like, as VP of Operations for one of three licensed cannabis businesses in Texas?
A typical day starts with walking through the garden (cultivation rooms) and checking on the plants, then meeting with the cultivation staff to line out the priority tasks for the day. We log environmental and fertility data in our cultivation journals daily and make adjustments to our systems if needed.
In order to grow healthy, productive plants we must manage their nutrition and environmental conditions. We look for things like elemental salts building up above specific levels and temperature and humidity fluctuations that are outside our ideal set points. We don’t use any pesticides or horticultural oils, so keeping our plants healthy and our grow rooms immaculate is a round-the-clock task and our primary defense against pests.
We’re on a strict cultivation schedule that allows for a perpetual harvest; it requires routine propagation and harvesting, so that keeps us very busy. Our staff is cross-trained on duties to ensure that we never skip a beat. For our work schedules, we rotate weekends and holidays so there is always someone managing the garden seven days a week.
After I’ve lined out the cultivation staff’s duties, I check in with our staff members who handle processing, manufacturing, testing, facilities and compliance, and assist them anyway I can. Overall, my greatest responsibility is working with our Director of Security / IT / Compliance to ensure that we remain compliant with our state regulations. Once I’ve toured the facility and met with our staff I work on administrative tasks, things like getting the operational budget ironed out and keeping up with our inventory and procurement of goods and services.
What is your background?
I’m an agronomist, also known as a soil and crop scientist. I earned a degree in agronomy from Texas A&M University. A lot of my background is in turfgrass and irrigation management. I previously worked as a golf course superintendent, and a sod farm manager. I also had a job at COTA, the Formula One racetrack here in Austin, as the Track and Grounds Superintendent. It is a huge property—my role was maintaining the racetrack, grounds and landscaping, and respective staff.
What makes Compassionate Cultivation a good fit for you, and vice versa?
Our company is committed to excellence. I’m all about continuing education, things like going to conferences, collaborating with other industry professionals, etc. I constantly challenge myself to improve my trade and step up my game. We hire professionals that are of a similar mindset and we promote a high-performance culture. We strive to be leaders and change the perception of the cannabis industry.
Continuing education and research are a huge part of the job, because relatively speaking, it’s such a new industry. Collectively, we’re still very far behind in terms of solid data to work off of because of the federal restrictions on proper research. However, with all of these other legal states coming online, there are a lot more professionals getting into cannabis. Folks with relevant experience and education are bringing a lot to the table, specifically sound cultural practices and the science behind cultivation and processing.
What’s your favorite thing about working for Compassionate Cultivation?
For a long time I’ve been fascinated by medicinal plants and dreamed about discovering a plant that could change people’s lives. My dad was a doctor, so I was raised with the idea that helping others is the right thing to do.
When my home state of Texas enacted legislation in 2015 to allow the production of medicine from cannabis, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. And now that I regularly see patients and families whose lives are changed by our medicine, it’s really hit home and been the most rewarding part of being with Compassionate Cultivation.
I’ve enjoyed my past career experiences, working in beautiful landscapes and managing world-class events, but this takes it to a new level. Being able to help people and make a difference in their lives is what it’s all about for me.
When you’re not at work, what do you do for fun?
I’m a family man with two kids. We live in Giddings, a small town about an hour east of Austin where my wife grew up. I’m an outdoorsman and enjoy golfing, camping, kayaking, hunting and fishing. I also love to barbecue; I worked at a barbecue restaurant while I was in college and now I have my own pit at home. So when I have time on the weekends, I watch sports and barbecue brisket, ribs and chicken. I’m primarily a dry-rub guy but do like to whip up my own secret sauce—Texas-style of course, with a little bit of Carolina influence.