Greenway Best of the Industry: A Joint Operation, Best Compliance Consultant
Voted Best Compliance Consultants by Greenway readers, A Joint Operation came together in 2021, making it the most important year yet for the group as they laid the foundation for their clients as they complete and activate businesses.
“Not only have we been in the midst of some of the most crucial times for many incredible businesses last year, but we also came together as a team at AJO and figured out how we can best work together in the spirit of best serving our clients and companies,” said Josh Ferguson, AJO principal. “Not all of our relationships are the same, by design; this has given us a stronger foothold of finding the challenging balance between best business practices and regulatory compliance.”
The core team at AJO each brings unique success that directly applies to our daily operations.
“We each bring unique, yet directly valuable, education and experience to the table,” Ferguson said. Ferguson brings a wealth of retail, manufacturing, distribution, and financial experience to the group.
AJO has three principals: Josh Ferguson, Josh Corson, and Ryan Rich. Ferguson has had a front seat at coffee mainstay Kaldi’s Coffee. Corson navigated real estate and equipment. Rich navigated transactional law and led the bloom of Hot Box Cookies. Rachael Herndon leads AJO’s compliance and communications, formerly co-founding and leading Greenway Magazine, Missouri’s cannabis industry outlet. David Zordan, director of retail at AJO, has a strong track record of cannabis operations in Colorado and Missouri.
“AJO was founded to fulfill a unique need in Missouri,” said Rich. “When Amendment 2 passed in 2018, it birthed an entire statewide industry overnight. This has created a unique road for the Missouri market; it is a privilege to navigate and translate the constant change and opportunities it creates for our clients. The reality of operations in a highly regulated industry is challenging but rewarding. This is a space where everyone can win if they apply the appropriate strategies never to lose focus of goals. We’ve done that at our own companies. It is truly an honor to watch our clients, regulators, and, most importantly, patients win by seeing high-quality products created in a best-practices environment.”
The principals echoed their mission of back-end, high-quality services based on mature business practices.
“Our experience in other markets and this market sets our perspective with the bottom line in mind,” Corson said. “We’re never above learning more and adapting our strategies to improve our successes on behalf of our clients. There is always room for improvement.”
More than understanding good business, supporting start-up facilities requires a vast network of resources and connections.
“AJO utilizes the vast network that each team member has built and draws upon the knowledge gained from successes,” Rich said. “We value best business practices as the road to providing patients with quality, accessible products.
In 2021, AJO assisted clients with various back-end services, ranging from commencement procedures, project management, compliance audits, and more.
“Just like the market continues to grow, so will AJO,” Zordan said. “AJO is uniquely positioned to adapt to the ever-changing cannabis landscape.
The team notes that it is an honor to be recognized in their first year of business but attributes the success to the years of experience before coming together.
“We are inspired by the brain trust of creativity in Missouri and look forward to making product dreams a reality for operators and patients alike,” said Herndon. “As clients here in Missouri stabilize from starting up, we look forward to looking for ways we can support market growth opportunities. Everyone wins in this industry, starting with patients, with good business sense and a strong comprehension of the value of compliance.”