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Hardeep Shoker

CPO, Co-founder at Elevated Signals

Hardeep is Chief Product Officer and one of the co-founders of Elevated Signals, an organization that develops manufacturing software for the cannabis industry. With a strong focus on quality, the company manages 4+ million sq ft of production area represented by craft producers right through to enterprise level operators. 

 

Day-to-day Hardeep helps Licensed Producers get the most out of their teams by leveraging technology to streamline operations, and compliance. Having a technical and management background, he helps his peers navigate tough choices around change management and make data-led decisions. 

 

With over 14 years of experience in software development, he is passionate about bringing technical best practices from other industries and applying them to the cannabis space, in order to help the market become sustainable from both an operating and business perspective. 

 

Prior to co-founding Elevated Signals, Hardeep was a Lead Software Developer at Adobe. He studied Computing Science at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. 

What are some examples of positive contributions you would bring to the C45 Quality Association Community?

 

I have a strong technical background with 14+ years of experience in software development, a BSc in Computing Science, and previous experience as a lead developer at Adobe. Since co-founding Elevated Signals in 2016 I have applied this knowledge to the cannabis industry. 

 

As a result I have a detailed understanding of how the industry needs to adopt technology to reduce costs and improve competitiveness as Canada transitions from a domestic market to an international market. I have used this to help solve regulatory and supply chain challenges faced by operations, and quality compliance teams and am always looking for ways to share this intel with others in the industry. 

 

From a practical standpoint I help LPs navigate compliance reporting requirements set out by Health Canada and the CRA (batch records, B300, CTS) on a daily basis, and have successfully helped 40+ operators (from craft producers to enterprise sized) navigate change management when it comes to moving from paper based systems to digital solutions. I would welcome the opportunity to share the insights and best practices I have gathered here with C45 members. 

 

In addition to this, I recently led Elevated Signals through its GMP validation. As this certification becomes more and more important to Canadian producers, I believe my thorough understanding of the process will provide a positive contribution to the association. 

 

Finally, as a business founder, I understand the more general challenges and opportunities that come with the setting up, managing and scaling a cannabis business - and am always willing to provide my prospective and advice with other business owners. After all - in cannabis we’re effectively all start-ups helping start-ups.

 

What is the area of expertise that you share most with your network of peers?

 

I am one of the co-founders of Elevated Signals, a start-up that develops manufacturing software for the cannabis industry. With a strong focus on quality, our software manages 4+ million sq ft of production area represented by over 40 customers. Day-to-day I help Licensed Producers get the most out of their teams by leveraging technology to streamline operations, and compliance. Having a technical and management background, I am able to help my peers navigate tough choices around change management, apply best practices from other industries, and make data-led decisions.    

 

What is the area of expertise that you share most with your network of peers?

Leveraging technology to streamline operations and compliance.

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Brandon Tate

ARPIC/QAP/Director of Quality Assurance

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.

What are some examples of positive contributions you would bring to the C45 Quality Association Community?

A functional network of both gov't and industry QA/RA professionals. Invaluable insight to the Cannabis Quality and Regulatory Landscape both in Canada, and abroad. Past achievements in exports, outdoor licensing, the industry's first hydrocarbon extracts, Micro Cultivation, and Ontario's First Farmgate.

What is the area of expertise that your share most with your network of peers?

Strategic Cannabis Quality/Regulatory Affairs expertise with analytical acumen.

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Ivy Astrix

VP of Regulatory Affairs

Ivy Astrix is the Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs for Tantalus Labs, a licensed cultivator and processor of cannabis in British Columbia. In this role, she oversees regulatory compliance, government relations, and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) for the company.

 

She is an advocate for equity in the cannabis and psychedelic sectors, and brings her experience as a queer transwoman to provide perspectives on the LGBTQ+ issues that exist within these industries and beyond. 

 

Ivy is also a writer and content creator, and has moderated panels in the past for MAPS and Tam Integration on topics involving equity and social justice in psychedelics.

What are some examples of positive contributions you would bring to the C45 Quality Association Community?

Overseeing regulatory compliance / government relations for Tantalus Labs, I bring in-depth expertise on the acts and regulations governing cannabis, as well as the relevant QA processes and procedures that Tantalus has developed. I also bring the perspective of being a queer transwoman in the industry.

What is the area of expertise that your share most with your network of peers?

Expertise in municipal, provincial, and federal cannabis regulations as well as CDSA / NCR acts / regulations.

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Tom Ulanowski

VP of Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs

Tom Ulanowski is Vice President of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at Nextleaf Labs, where he also holds the positions of Quality Assurance Person (QAP) and Responsible Person. At Nextleaf, Tom is 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.

What are some examples of positive contributions you would bring to the C45 Quality Association Community?

As an outspoken advocate of the legal cannabis industry and the importance of quality assurance and control to the success of companies operating in this space, I think that my main contribution would be improved communication to the public as well as the association's members.

What is the area of expertise that your share most with your network of peers?

My deep knowledge of cannabis cultivation, processing/extraction and the related regulations.

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Karina Lahnakoski

Partner in Deloitte's Risk Advisory Practice

Karina is a Partner in Deloitte’s Risk Advisory Practice with a focus on the regulatory and compliance operations in the cannabis sector. Karina’s focus is in assisting mid-size and large cannabis businesses maintain and grow their businesses while maintaining operational compliance. Deloitte offers end-to-end business solutions for this regulated environment such as third-party risk management, ERM and operational remediation programs.


Karina has over 20 years practical experience in regulated industries (cannabis/ biopharma/ pharmaceutical/ medical device) with focus in Operations, QC and QA under GMP for Health Canada, FDA, and EU and ISO13485. Karina’s career has overseen product development for over 150 new products under various regulations.


Prior to joining Deloitte held the roll of Vice President Quality and Regulatory at Cannabis Compliance Inc. (CCI) and prior to that Karina came from a bio/pharmaceutical and medical device background where she held operational compliance, QA/QC and leadership positions with Dalton Pharmaceutical Services, Contract Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Amorfix Life Sciences. Karina holds a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from York University and B.Sc in Biochemistry from University of Guelph. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

 

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