Maximum Yield Industry News October/November 2020 - Page 19

How did Integra start ?
Integra became a division of Desiccare when I saw a need for atmospheric packaging in the cannabis community .
How did you get into the cannabis industry ?
Integra by Desiccare utilized its existing manufacturing power , efficiencies , technology , and resources to create this effective and affordable product . It was a smooth process to bring this product from concept to market . Integra was a small team with an aggressive strategy to bring these much-needed products to growers , sellers , and consumers of fine cannabis products .
When and where did Integra begin ?
Integra started with an idea I had while working with a customer who produces kale chips . My colleague and I chuckled at the bags of kale thinking they looked like bags of cannabis running down the production line . I was inspired by the kale chips to do more research to see if Desiccare ’ s products would work for cannabis . We took a look at what was on the market already and figured we could come up with something a bit more appropriate . My ideas would have never worked , but our expert chemical engineering team was able to put together a solution in a matter of days .
What were the start-up years like ?
There was a lot of trial and error trying to contain liquid in a breathable film . Product development was tough because we put several different film materials through vigorous tests all while immersing ourselves in cannabis science . However , our research team was able to work seamlessly with engineering to develop a top-notch product .
How many people did Integra employ initially ?
Over the past 26 years , our team has grown from a mere 25 employees to well over 600 today . We were fortunate enough to have Desiccare ’ s immense production staff , engineers , customer service agents , and food safety experts on our team right away .

Vaughn Fitzgerald and myself spearheaded research into the emerging cannabis market to develop go-to-market strategies . Vice-president of Operations and Director of Food Safety Marcus Dukes leveraged his manufacturing muscle and food safety experience to build efficiencies into the production of the products . Technical Director of Food Safety Products Joe Glorioso was able to dedicate large amounts of his time and resources to developing a working high-quality product that would exceed the expectations of the most demanding cannabis producers and consumers . Our powerful procurement team headed by Marc Laporte allowed us to tap into our worldwide supply chain to ensure we were procuring quality materials at low costs allowing us to pass cost savings along to our customers . Shortly after the launch , we brought on Shannon Omlor ( featured on the cover ), our brilliant and youthful marketing manager , to spearhead new campaigns and modernize our marketing efforts .
What did Integra first produce ?
We first produced the Boost two-way humidity control pack . Then we also found uses for existing Desiccare Pharma and Food Safety products but for cannabis uses ( Dry Bucket and Cargo Dry ). We ’ ve always got some great new products on the way !
What were some of your struggles as you started the business ? How did you overcome them ?
Educating the market and getting our name out there after coming from a food safety and pharma background was a big challenge . Although we were a commodity manufacturer whose products may be found in a majority of people ’ s medicine cabinets , we had little to no involvement with the retail world and people still didn ’ t know who we were . Overcoming that meant we had to really focus on education and branding . Navigating both worlds can be like trying to steer two 18-wheelers at the same time . There have been many lessons learned along the way for everyone involved but I think it is safe to say we ’ ve enjoyed every second of it .
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