Cannabis CEO 3.0
I have known Paul Bernier for much of the time I have been in the Canadian cannabis industry and his career within the space over the last five years has been of particular interest to me and that is for a number of reasons.
You see, I know the real reason why Paul Bernier is in the Cannabis industry. Let me tell you, it is not for the money, it is not for any sense of canna-fame or capitalist opportunism or anything dark like that. Paul is one of those rare people who has been in it from the start and will be in it for the long haul.
Paul is as passionate about the cannabis plant as they get. He has always had an eye on progress within the cultivation side of things, within the field of athletics and cannabis use and Paul has always been deeply rooted within the medical side of cannabis as well. I have watched Paul navigate his way through the early days of the industry with poise and true leadership.
He had a dream that would take years to accomplish but when this dream saw fruition it would be worth it. I have watched him take years and years to navigate to where he is today.
He slowly but surely pulled the very best people together. After the right people came the he right location, the right equipment, the right formula - a dream coming together bit by bit. Grown with dedication to doing it better and doing it more sustainably.
Paul is the perfect example of a new type of CEO that has risen out of the last three years of legalization. This breed is now battle tested, they have learned from each and every opportunity - good and bad and they are the ones who will survive and flourish.
Why? The reason is simple - they are a apart of that rare breed out there running legal facilities that actually understand the nature of the plant, the importance of indigenous ownership within the industry and in Paul’s case they are actually putting their money where their mouth is and building a better facility in order to actively work to reduce their carbon footprint and building one of the most sustainable facilities out there as a result.
Paul has scoured the globe that last few years finding more sustainable ways to grow. He is the CEO of Healthview Pharms, We featured his facility last month in a wonderful company overview. Healthview Pharms was nominated for an Environmental Impact Award at the 2022 GrowUp Awards.
Paul, Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me after all these years and talk about what you have been building and have finally launched. Years in the making and here we are - bigger, better, way more sustainable....
I spoke a bit in my introduction about your personal reasons for working tirelessly in the space the last number of years. Knowing the real reason why you are such a powerhouse within the Canadian cannabis space, I am hoping you will share your personal journey with our readers Paul?
Certainly Cy - thank you for having me here to talk about this journey I have been on.
My Father was diagnosed with Cancer of the mouth and throat again Nov 25th 2016. He had beaten it before but cost him emotionally and physically with the removal of many facial structures. They advised him that radiation and Chemo would start immediately. They informed us that if my father made it to January 2017, it would be a miracle. Nov 26th 2016, I began making the high THC oil for him again, known as the “RSO”. With the help of Tom Doyle and George Chuvalo, after hearing of my father’s news, they contacted Patrick McGuire of the Toronto Maple Leaf’s, my father’s favorite team. Mr. McGuire pulled out all the stops for my dad. The Organization rolled out the red carpet for my father and had him and our family to a game. He got to meet one of his favorite stars Wendel Clark, it was all smiles and a night we would all not forget.
I will never forget sitting with my dad in the cancer ward at the hospital that cold winter. He had just finished radiation treatment in the morning and were now back for the afternoon chemo session, as we were on day 3 of 15. It was radiation at 09:30 and chemo at 2:00pm, just like clockwork. As my dad sat in this cold grey pleather fitted recliner, hooked up for the treatment, I looked around at a room full of people. Young, old, middle aged…. Cancer did not care. The visual emotional drain on the individual and family members was beyond incomprehensible. I had seen large improvements with my father on the oil and the quality of life it gave him. Speaking of quality of life… he passed on June 28th 2017, 4 months longer than ever expected.
I was determined to help bring other healthcare choices that worked.
I travelled heavily through North America, touring as many cannabis facilities I could and speaking to anyone I could, going to events to gain knowledge. My knowledge became unprecedented and my desire and drive to share those in need was my driving catalyst. I worked with several great groups over the years, bringing them to market and creating successful teams that continue to flourish in the cannabis markets in Canada and the United Sates.
Now it’s time for the world to experience HealthView Pharms Quality!
Paul, You have been building and and you are finally ready and it is a hard time to be a legal producer right now. How are you navigating around such an interesting time as we now find ourselves in?
This is a great question! Many companies facing difficulties, are spending their budgets all over the place instead of staying focused on quality. When I walk through most cannabis businesses, before I even get to the production rooms, which is the heart and soul of the company’s, I pass about $2-$3 Million dollars in salaried positions. The amount of uncontrolled and irresponsible spending in the market is absolutely absurd.
HealthView Pharms was brought to life to change the market and change the playing field!
Companies over the last 3 years have been so focused on the consumer as being the “end user” that they have lost sight on their target markets and quality.
HealthView Pharms comes to market with a different mindset, believing that We are the “end user” with our focus on the consumers “wants, needs and Habits”, as the company’s main focus is they’re experience each and every time.
With the current saturated & competitive marketplace, we really had to focus on fixing the broken culture that all got lost in the “Green Rush” first!
We went out and created the most cannabis passion friendly and knowledgeable team we could find. We followed up with a low operation cost, fully controlled production facility and a genetic bank that would drop the jaws of many in the top echelon of the cannabis culture around the world. We will further stand out with our “think outside of the box” type of marketing never seen in this type of industry.
Paul, you stress the need to do things differently - to do things better and with more of an eye on the impact that we are having as a industry on the environment. It comes down to patients over profits every time for both of us. Can we talk about that a bit more?
This has to be one of the most talked about topics over the last dozens or so months. The CEO mentality of the last three years doesn’t fit the culture the cannabis space requires to stay the course in a new industry to build growth and longevity. When the “Green Rush” started, the industry was built around “legacy CEO people” trying to run a business without proper corporate governance. Then it all changed when funding was impossible to get without a proper management team.
The next shift in the market happened, the people that were brought in to provide corporate structure and create a profitable legal business were met with personality and cultural clashes. It was Bay Street vs the Legacy growers.
They absolutely did not speak the same language and a rift in the culture began to grow with the mentality of US vs Them.
The “Legacy CEO” people left, and the changes were on the way. The care for the quality of the product disappeared as did the care for the culture. What was left behind was nothing more than people just there for a meaningless hourly wage. It was like the whole reason we fought for this was gone.
I bring passion back through a hands-on team environment and have the mentality to be a “Marathon runner in a world full of sprinters”. I may be the CEO, but you will find me several times a week in the production rooms pruning, helping clean a harvest room to trimming. The new type of CEO needs to be hands on and know his people personally, erase that imaginary line between front office staff and back-office staff… simply put “were all the same staff”!
Paul - the future is sounding very exciting indeed. Tell me more about where you are right now and a little more about the tech your team decided to use?
We just submitted what we hope is our final RMI (request for more information) to Health Canada, through the Indigenous Navigator program, as HealthView Pharms is Indigenous owned. It was built with strict core values, especially with our carbon footprint being the center of it. We are hoping to have our License by end of October 2022.
With sticking to our core values when designing the brand-new state of the art 35,000 sq ft facility, which sits upon a 155-acre agricultural property, it was important for us to make our decisions with our carbon footprint always in mind. We employed technologies such as LED lighting systems and HVAC systems that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. After a yearlong process of educating ourselves on new light technologies and doing extensive traveling, Agnetix’s LED lights had been found to be far more advanced than others in the lighting space. These lights are environmentally friendly & sustainable as the facility and light design has the capacity to reuse the water that is used for cooling the lights back into our facility.
With new and cutting-edge technologies in the HVAC systems, we were able to design a system that was environmentally friendly and sustainable for our future. We use a system called HTS to monitor our HVAC system which includes an array of sensors, controls and safety systems. This system allows for a less than 5% humidity swing in each room at any given time. This system design also allows us to recover the condensation water from the HVAC units, which gets treated through various filters and UV systems and introduced back into the facility for daily use. This process reduces our “grey water” discharge significantly. These are just some of the many secrets that built the most sustainable carbon foot print friendly production facility’s seen yet.
What does the rest of 2022 and beyond look for you and Healthview Pharms?
The future is very bright for HealthView Pharms. Currently we just finished off our phase one buildout, 35,000 sq ft with a cost of about $17 Million Dollars. When we started the project, we worked closely with the township with regards to zoning. We believed it best to submit the entire 155 acres of property for cannabis cultivation and processing zoning. The Township agreed with our future vision and granted our zoning request for the entire acreage property. We are anticipating a Health Canada License at the end of October to mid November which will round out, an exciting 2022 for us.
2023 will be an explosive year for us as we have created a plan to push our genetics envelope to the limits and bring to market fresh exotic genetics. We will also look to further add new talented team members, to help us to continue to achieve our goals of consistent quality products. We will expand our educational relationships through various College’s and University’s and their cannabis programs. Our research will continue with the development of a variety of safe products and delivery methods for consumption by consumers.
As we watch the global market unfold over the next several years, we will focus on new international relationships and continue with our journey with genetic research. We will also continue to work closely with our devoted customer base and build strong sustainable brands.
Advice to people who are out there doing what you do?
As easy as this question sounds, its equally as hard to answer. First and foremost, spend time will all staff members regularly, get to know them and give them the comfort level of support they need to succeed in. If they succeed, you will as well. Learn to be more open minded, take and create opportunities for personal and business growth but don’t get all caught up in the “shiny items” around you… stay focused and believe in the culture, it’s been here longer than all of us!
Thank you Paul Bernier for sharing some of your story with us here today!
For more information on Healthview Pharms visit them online at www.healthviewpharms.com