Former leaders of Chipotle Mexican Grill have entered the cannabidiol business with the founding of NectarTek, a new high-volume hemp extraction company.
Tim Spong, former Chipotle executive director of supply chain and operations services, serves as NectarTek’s CEO. He is joined by board members including Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle Mexican Grill; and Monty Moran, former president and co-CEO of Chipotle; as well as Thomas Giacomini, president and CEO of JBT Corporation; and Ralf Ludwig, principal owner, CEO and president of Wolf-tec, Inc.
In addition, James Marsden, a preeminent food safety scientist, has joined NectarTek as its chief regulatory affairs officer, and Robert Gaither, an industry veteran, serves as NectarTek's chief technical officer.
NectarTek's isolate product is 99.5-plus percent pure CBD, snow-white in color, and contains no THC or impurities. Through its proprietary processes, food grade standards and extensive R&D programs, NectarTek processes an increasing daily volume of hemp.
After entering a Nevada Department of Agriculture hemp pilot program in 2016, NectarTek Founder and President Darrin Badger, who is the current president of Focus Commercial Group, was challenged in finding reliable and professional sources to complete the complicated extraction and refinement processes.
More so, he was unable to find a scalable extraction process that would produce the high-quality product he desired. This prompted Badger to create NectarTek.
"NectarTek was born from my desire to bring the purest product possible to the market and to combat the challenges I found when I first explored this industry,” Badger said. “In order for CBD and its immense benefits to truly impact consumers around the country, the industry needs a supplier who is professional, dependable and follows best business practices."
With the addition in October 2018 of Spong as CEO, the company spent months developing proprietary, scalable processes for CBD extraction, building out manufacturing plants and bringing together a board of high-level professionals, including CEOs of four publicly held companies.
As a vital part of the team during his time at Chipotle, Spong contributed to overcoming challenges the company faced. In the post-2015-food safety crisis, Spong was asked to take over Chipotle's supply chain, and he led and designed Chipotle's food safety initiative, working with Dr. James Marsden.
Now, Spong brings his 25 years of experience and expertise from Chipotle to NectarTek, applying the lessons he learned along the way, with the goal of instilling trustworthiness to the industry.
NectarTek’s farmers receive concierge service that gives them the opportunity to have their product tested and extracted in a timely, dependable, and transparent manner. NectarTek is currently partnered with one of the largest biomass farmers in Kentucky, and has invested substantial sums in farming operations to ensure supply of biomass in 2019 and beyond.
"We are growing rapidly with almost zero voluntary turnover of our team members,” Spong said. “That's significant because it means every single day the skill level and execution by our employees improves. We have a spectacular team of employees and leadership, who reward us for the massive investments we are making in training, systems and safety. Our people strategy will give us a decisive edge over our competitors.”
NectarTek is broadening its product line beyond CBD isolate to include THC-remediated distillate and water-soluble isolate. Future potential expansion plans include extraction facilities in California, Colorado, Kentucky and Thailand.