In Their Own Words: Alex Romero, CEO of CannaVer
Having grown up in Washington D.C., my background was really in government and corporate business, but I first cut my teeth in management consulting working with Fortune 500 companies like Duke Energy, Wells Fargo, and Xcel Energy. At that time, I specialized in project and change management, mainly focusing on technology implementations. I didn’t grow up in a very entrepreneurial household, but became very interested in the startup world when the economy crashed in 2009. I worked for a financial house that went under, so I went back to school and earned my MBA with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and marketing at the University of Denver.
My professional skill set has transitioned well into the emerging national cannabis space. Efficiently managing large teams of subject matter experts is never an easy task regardless of the industry. Fortunately, we have found that past experience in managing project plans gives us a pretty significant competitive advantage during the application, startup, and project finance processes. Honestly, I enjoy the startup work that a lot of other folks shy away from.
Building an organization from the ground up is challenging (especially during a pandemic), but I really love what I do, so it’s also a lot of fun.
The main catalyst behind my transition into cannabis was really when my mother suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was on a lot of medications and was very focused on her disabilities. One of her physicians recommended cannabis. It was nothing short of inspiring to be living in the moment with my mother again after a few tokes.
But with that being said, I officially transitioned into the medical and adult use cannabis space a little over 5 years ago. I went to the University of Colorado and graduated with a number of friends who pioneered the Colorado medical and recreational cannabis markets. They created very well-known and respected brands and wanted to take their expertise to new markets. In doing so, they needed a Project Manager, which is where my skill set really came into play. Working with some of the bigger names in Colorado cannabis is what really created the foundation for where I am today and I am very proud to report that my team has collectively worked in 15 different states and two different countries to-date.
From a strategy perspective, I have always placed a strategic emphasis on building teams of reliable subject matter experts who maintain a track record of success. My network of subject matter experts has proven their ability to establish a consistent, sustainable, and often disruptive presence in emerging markets. We place a strategic emphasis on transparency and trust when building what some would call “super groups.”
The truth of the matter is that I am only as good as the teams that I am able to build. When we combine superior subject matter experts with proven project management and leadership, we have an award winning combination. I believe in letting everyone do their jobs, so long as they can prove they’re commitment and follow through. Trust is really at the heart of my teams.
Missouri was a tough market to penetrate. Missourians are very proud of where they come from and what they have created here in-state. Each state presents some unique challenges, but Missouri really took an incredible amount of networking and patience to build teams, raise capital, lock in real estate, build our facility, and become operational in a way that remains heartfelt to both our team and the Missouriians we have and continue to partner with.
I knew that I had an entrepreneurial drive, but at that time I would not have guessed that I would find myself in emerging medical and adult use cannabis markets. I have always appreciated the cannabis plant, but never really developed the respect for it that I have now until I saw how positively it impacted those in need. Once I experienced that first hand, getting involved in an emerging industry that drives positive and sustained change for so many people was a no brainer.