Tom Ulanowski, MSc, C.Chem/P.Chem, A.Ag
Tom Ulanowski is former Vice President of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at Nextleaf Labs, where he also held the positions of Quality Assurance Person (QAP) and Responsible Person. At Nextleaf, Tom has been intimately involved in day-to-day production/manufacturing activities, as well as research and product development, regulatory liaison, and licensing/permitting. Tom is a Professional Chemist (ACPBC), Chartered Chemist (ACPO), and Articling Agrologist (BCIA), and holds an HBSc Degree in Analytical Chemistry & Environmental Monitoring from the University of Toronto, as well as a MSc Degree in Biogeochemistry and Hydrogeology from the University of Western Ontario.
Previous to joining Nextleaf, Tom was the Quality Assurance Manager, Quality Assurance Person (QAP), and Qualified Person in Charge (QPIC) at Canna Farms Ltd., BC’s first legal licensed producer of award-winning cannabis products, based in Hope, BC. Since joining the legal cannabis industry in 2014, Tom has quality-assured hundreds of batches of cannabis, while leading to efforts to obtain multiple production and sales licences, win national industry awards, and increase output ten-fold via expansions, improvements to current practices, and the development of new processes and products. In 2018, Tom led the effort to manufacture, license, and market “Canna Kief”, the first legal concentrated form of cannabis commercially sold in Canada.
Tom is an advocate of a science-based approach to cannabis cultivation, processing, and regulation, and encourages the use of critical thinking and healthy skepticism. He has been integral in developing Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU’s) Plant Production & Facility Management course, and has taught hundreds of students around the world about cannabis production and the interpretation of national and international regulations. Prior to his work with the cannabis plant, Tom was managing an environmental research laboratory at the Biotron Institute for Experimental Climate Change Research at the University of Western Ontario and conducting multidisciplinary scientific research in northern Canada. In May 2021, Tom was named British Columbia's "Agrologist of the Month" by the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists (BCIA).
With well over a decade of experience in the Startup-biotech space under his belt, Brandon Tate switched his focus 4 years ago towards the Canadian Cannabis Industry. Brandon's specialties include leading strategic regulatory affairs initiatives, quality management implementation/administration, project management, and process improvements. Mr. Tate has a strong history of RA/QA/QC/audit team development and strategic leadership, ISO/FDA/GPP compliance, and international quality management.
Brandon played a role in Canada’s largest biotech IPO, raising $120M & yielding a market cap of $550M, where his QA/QC process improvements assisted in enabling a global production capacity expansion from 20M lbs per annum to 250M lbs per annum over 18 months.
Brandon currently holds title as the Head of Regulatory Affairs/IT/Security, Director of Quality Assurance, QAP, and ARPIC for Thrive Cannabis as well as taking on the role of Director of Quality Assurance/AQAP for Canary RX (Venn Cannabis), and sits as QAP on file for a prospective Micro-Cultivation/Processing site.
Most notably, Brandon has been a key individual in the acquisition and compliant maintenance of Thrive’s Recreational/Medical Sales, Outdoor Grow, and Research and Development Licenses as well as successful Cannabis exports to multiple Countries. Brandon and his team have worked tirelessly to obtain Ontario’s first issued Cannabis Farmgate Retail Operators License, and they are in final stages of a separate micro cultivation license. He holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Biotechnological Engineering, an Advanced Diploma Specializing in Biotechnology, with a partial minor in Business Management, and continues to collect certifications in Internal Auditing, HACCP, and Quality Assurance for Cannabis.
Dr. Brigitte Simons, PhD
Dr. Brigitte Simons is a quality and regulatory compliance professional in support of science study-backed cannabis product development, laboratory services, and data management tools for the development of safe cannabis. Bridging expertise within chemistry, pharma drug development, and environmental testing – Brigitte has demonstrated a professional track record for cannabis industry knowledge towards building quality supply chain sustainability. Taken from lessons of laboratory quality control instrument mass spec services, analytical service contracting excellence for the Canadian federal agencies, and global sales experience in high value trade of laboratory services – cannabis is characteristic complex The toxicological implications and medical merits are studied at a molecular level by regulatory policy consulting labs and contract service findings.
Dr. Simons participated in early cannabis and hemp contracts within the agency settings Canadian Food Inspection, Health Canada, Agriculture Canada, and Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Following-on with field mass spec work with Molecular Science Corp, Brigitte established a craft cannabis quality assurance remote teams while companies navigate cultivator and processor partnerships with BC Craft Supply Co.and other early micro-licence holder applicants. Presently, Dr. Brigitte Simons is the VP of Compliance Operations at Safari Flower Co, a craft-at-scale licence cultivator. A life-long drive to the right to choose personalized medicine. Brigitte received her Ph.D. in Chemical Biology at the University of Ottawa and a Kellogg-Schulich M.B.A. in operational business strategy.
Nina Ackah, MSc
Nina Ackah joined Freedom Cannabis as the QA Manager/QAP in November 2021 with a wealth of knowledge and experience in Quality Management Systems, Analytical testing, Risk Analysis, Research and Data Analysis for both the food and the cannabis industry. Nina worked with Viridis Natural Health Products Ltd. as the QA Manager / QA Person from December 2018 to November 2021, before becoming a member of the Freedom Cannabis team. She assisted Viridis to get its cultivation and processing license, as well as sales licence for all the classes of cannabis under the Canadian Cannabis Act and Regulations. She also consults for Leisure Club Inc. and provided immense support to them in their journey to receiving their micro processing cannabis license which was granted by Health Canada in February 2022.
Prior to establishing herself as one of the most knowledgeable QAPs in the cannabis industry, Nina had worked as an Assistant Research Scientist and later as a Research Scientist with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Food Research Institute, Ghana from 2006 – 2018. Her research activities focused on food science and new product development, food safety and quality assurance. During that period, Nina supported several food companies to develop, implement and improve HACCP-based Food Safety Management Systems, which considerably improved the food safety output of those companies. Analogously, Nina lectured and examined MPhil students of the CSIR College of Science and Technology on Food Safety and Quality Assurance Regulations. She also led the microbiology laboratory to regain accreditation to ISO 17025 under her guidance as the Head of the Department. As well, she served as an ISO 17025 auditor for the Microbiology labs of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority for almost 4 years, leading them to gain accreditation to ISO 17025.
Nina holds a BSc. Degree in Laboratory Technology from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and an MSc. Degree in Food Quality Management from Wageningen University, The Netherlands. She was a recipient of the NUFFIC Fellowship for international students in the Netherlands. She is also a fellow of the prestigious USDA Borlaug Fellowship under which she worked as a visiting scientist at Tuskegee University, Alabama to carry out research on the use of molecular methods for the rapid detection of pathogens in poultry and beef.
She has attended and given presentations at several conferences, both local and international, including the C45 Growing Summit and C45 Quality summit, which are noted as some of the most important platforms for discussing cannabis-related topics in Canada. She also has several publications including peer-reviewed ones to her credit.
Nina is enthused about the cannabis industry because of its versatile and positively challenging nature as well as the constant new things to be learnt on-the-go. She also looks forward to championing innovative ideas to make the Cannabis Industry a more recognized one.
Monica Maillé is the QA/QC Manager for HealthView Pharms Inc (HVP). Monica joined HVP when the facility was still in its early construction phase, therefore, many details of the facilities design are a reflection of her vision. She has extensive knowledge pertaining to the Cannabis Regulations and Act and works diligently with the team to ensure compliance in all areas. She has been working in the cannabis space since 2019 after completing the Commercial Cannabis Production program at Niagara College. Monica has always enjoyed the fast-paced changing landscape of the cannabis industry, and works endlessly to create safe and enjoyable products for recreational and medical users alike. Her interests in the cannabis industry are diverse, but her drive for educating others and being a strong female leader in the cannabis space remains constant.
Monica has collaborated with the Grow Opportunity Magazine, the Growers Source Virtual Exposition and H!gh Canada Magazine early in her career where she was both a guest speaker and a content creator. Since February 2021, Monica has been an intern on the Board of Directors for the C45 Quality Association. As an intern for the Board, she helped various sub-committees meet their quarterly goals, played a large role in the organization of the C45 Quality Summit, helped establish the monthly Quality Time sessions, as well as accomplished many other projects as requested by the Board.
David has worked in the Canadian cannabis industry for about ten years now, first as a writer and researcher (along with many other hats) with Lift Cannabis, then as a Senior Policy Advisor with Health Canada’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch (CLRB), and now—since 2020—as the founder and main writer/editor at StratCann, a cannabis industry trade news site.
In that decade, Dave has had the opportunity to see this industry grow and change, and have grown and evolved with it. Even after ten years, he still enjoy following the various legislative and policy issues within this industry, from federal and provincial government rules to internal industry issues and look forward to many more years of helping this industry navigate and surpass those evolving issues.
Through his time at Lift, Health Canada, and now StratCann, David have continued to build access to a diversity of industry professionals who have helped shape my understanding of the nuanced landscape of this industry—the success stories and the failures, the approaches that are working and those that aren’t.
In his time in the past working with C-45 Quality Association, in both an official and unofficial capacity, I’ve been impressed with the potential such an industry organization possess—QAPs are such a lynchpin of the industry and having a functioning organization that can help amplify their voices and experiences is, in my opinion, essential to the health of this industry.