What did you and your partners do before starting Ultra Trimmer?
I manufactured a pest control device for burrowing animals called Varmitgetter and have been doing pest control at golf courses and farmers fields for more than 20 years.
How did you get into the cannabis industry?
A big-time grower in Orrville, CA. had gophers in his grow and he called me with some tech support issues for catching gophers (I used to sell the Varmitgetter to nut farmers in that area). He told me he was growing medical marijuana and I wanted to get in on it and the rest is history.
When and where did Ultra Trimmer begin?
I built one machine for my own grow and spend $8,000 on a tumbler. It was my first year of growing so I bought the tumbler and used it for two hours and it destroyed the trichomes, so I figured I could build my own, which I did (in 2011). Word soon spread and friends kept asking for one. I have a machine shop in Idaho and knew I could build a better machine that would mimic scissors and save trichomes.
Because my trimmer was popular, I figured I’d patent it, so I’m the first guy in the history of the federal patent office to be issued a federal patent specifically for a cannabis trimmer.
What were the start-up years like?
I made the first trimmer in 2011 and we filed for a patent and they sent it back in 2015. At first, I thought it was a rejection, but they actually just asked for some changes, which we made. It took me seven years to get the patent.
How many people were employed by the company at the beginning?
I built every machine by myself in the beginning and now have 15 people working for me.
How did you gain market share and recognition?
Word of mouth has been huge for me. Most of my sales have been through word of mouth. Also, I started doing live demonstrations of Ultra Trimmer. I was doing demonstrations with a microscope with a camera plugged into a monitor, proving the trichomes are intact. People started to see the advantage of the Ultra Trimmer.
Ultra Trimmer trims the same way as scissors, so the (trichome) heads are not ruptured.
Has your company moved or expanded since the beginning?
I started building in Sutter County, CA., and then moved to Ontario, OR. I’ve been here now for about five years now with kudos to Ontario for letting me operate here.
What is your current product line?
Our current Ultra Trimmer product line includes three models: The Collective, The Industrial, and The Industrial Processor. The small unit does about 2-3 pounds an hour. The mid-size unit does 6-10 an hour, and the largest unit trims approximately a pound every three minutes without destroying precious trichomes. We also distribute worldwide.
What are the benefits of your trimmers?
What are some of your proudest moments?
I was nominated for being in the top-100 most influential people in the cannabis business in 2019 and High Times told me I was the first person ever to be nominated because of a machine. We are Stash Awards winner for five years in a row and Growers Choice winners for six years in a row for trimmers.
What significant things have you learned so far about the trimming industry?
There’s a lot of misinformation out there on trichome preservation.
What have you learned about starting and growing a company?
Nose to the grindstone! What I know about starting a company is having a product that is functional and works. Then, once it gets out there, other growers and people in the industry will see it and see the advantages of what your product will do.
What words of wisdom can you share about the business, the industry, or the future of the industry?
In the industry, they do everything to control you, except trichome quality that hits the stores: we control the quality. Make sure your product is a quality product you are proud to share with the maximum potential it can yield.
Share your favorite story from a day on the job.
Every day at work is my favorite day — if you love what you do, you won’t have to work a day in your life.
What makes your employees so awesome? How does your team bond?
Most my employees have been with me years. I have two employees that have worked with me on many adventures for more than two decade. I am very close with my employees; we are more friends than co-workers. We run very smoothly together.
Does your Ultra Trimmer participate in any community service?
We are soon to be starting a scholarship fund in Ontario, OR. We also contribute to many local food shelters, etc.
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