By: Stephanie Shehan Photos: Katie Peede The vision of Matrix NV came to fruition in September of 2014, when the founders developed a plan to enter the newly emerging legal cannabis market. Their dedication and efforts throughout the license application process and start up phase of the company paved the […]
By: Stephanie Shehan Photos: Katie Peede
The vision of Matrix NV came to fruition in September of 2014, when the founders developed a plan to enter the newly emerging legal cannabis market. Their dedication and efforts throughout the license application process and start up phase of the company paved the way for Matrix’s success in Nevada. The team at Matrix NV has years of experience and knowledge in cannabis cultivation, oil extraction, and cannabis branding. They believe that cannabis done right is cannabis done from the heart. Their premium products are cultivated in a modern facility with an old-school vision: find the best strains and grow them to their fullest potential.
Through the years, Matrix NV has established itself as a premier brand committed to producing premium cannabis. Their goal is to not only provide patients and consumers a wider variety of superior products, but to create a company culture that empowers their leaders to excel in their craft and encourage innovation and collaboration.
Recently, I sat down with the Matrix NV Owner David Tuttleman, General Manager JJ Brumfield, Director of Cultivation Sierra Torres, Director of Production Nicole Poticar, and Extraction Manager Darrel Galacgac to discuss where the company is today and what their plans are for the future.
Stephanie Shehan: Hello team! David, let’s start with you. Tell me, what brought you to Vegas? And, what piqued your interest in the newly established cannabis industry?
David Tuttleman: Many years ago, I was invited to Las Vegas to open a large bar and restaurant called Kahunaville. It was very successful, we had a great team and a lot of fun. A friend, who was also a part of the Kahunaville team, expressed interest in the newly emerging cannabis industry here in Nevada knowing that I had the background and qualifications to apply for licenses. I declined many times before deciding to take the leap and submit our application.
Stephanie Shehan: That’s awesome! So, you’ve been around since the beginning, when it was still medicinal. After declining initially, what made you decide to enter the cannabis industry?
David Tuttleman: Ultimately, it was my dear sister Jan that prompted me to embrace cannabis. She was diagnosed with Glioblastoma which is a quickly-progressing brain cancer. She became really sick, really quick. There came a point, when she was in hospice, where she turned to me and asked me if I had any cannabis, specifically one of the infused brownies I had gotten for her many years prior. Her hospice facility was in California, so I visited a local dispensary and purchased some edibles for her. She ate an infused brownie and within 40 minutes, she was laughing and we were talking and reminiscing. My nieces arrived at the hospice and one of them said “Uncle David, mom is so happy when you are around.” No one in my family knew that I had given her the brownie earlier in the day and I had kept slipping her pieces throughout the day. The next thing I knew, my sister, who hadn’t been able to eat, told me she was hungry. That evening, I prepared the family a big lobster dinner then kissed my sister goodnight as she went to sleep. Just days later, she passed away. It was apparent to me that it was the cannabis-infused brownies that gave her solace and peace, and the ability to enjoy one last meal during her final days. I decided right then and there that entering the cannabis industry was not going to shame my family, it was not going to shame me. I was also able to see firsthand that this really is medicine.
Stephanie Shehan: What a touching story! I think back then, we all started in this industry because we believed in the healing power of this plant. What was the industry like back then?
David Tuttleman: In the beginning, we were all very quiet. The governing bodies were still working out the rules and regulations and those of us that were newly licensed were trying to figure out how to navigate these new waters. To be honest, we were all still a little scared of what was to come.
Stephanie Shehan: That’s very interesting. And, much different from how we see the industry operating now. Matrix has become one of the leading cultivators and producers in the industry. To what do you attribute this?
David Tuttleman: I knew that bringing people together, that are a team, and that are passionate about what they do, would aid in the success of this company. Bringing people on board that believed in my efforts and believed in the efforts of each other, really helped us to build an amazing core unit. Our management team and all those under them makes this dream a reality.
Stephanie Shehan: I love that. Sierra, you are currently the Director of Cultivation, tell me a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Matrix NV.
Sierra Torres: I was born in Las Vegas and raised in North Carolina. I moved back here in 2013. Prior to working at Matrix NV, I was a cable guy… the worst job I have ever had. Just over six years ago, I answered a job listing for a Trimmer here at Matrix NV and they brought me in for an interview. After looking at my resume and seeing that my past jobs included roofing and automotive work, they knew that sitting in a chair with a pair of scissors was probably not going to work for me. I really needed to be doing some type of manual labor, so I started as a Cultivator, then moved to a Team Lead and Manager and am now the Director of Cultivation where I oversee all of the cultivation and packaging.
Stephanie Shehan: Congratulations on your advancements within Matrix NV. Is it common practice for employees to be able to advance as you did? How many people work within your cultivation team?
Sierra Torres: It is common practice for us to advance employees and to hire from within. We also train our employees ourselves. We are a close knit family and we pride ourselves on the longevity and loyalty of our employees. Our grow team is very small, only four cultivators work under me. We have our processes and procedures down and we are able to produce an amazing amount of flower given the small team that we have. My team really cares about what they do, and they care about each other, which makes it really worthwhile to show up at work every day.
Stephanie Shehan: It sounds like you have the cultivation side of things running like a well-oiled machine. Let’s talk a little bit about the extraction side. Darrel, you are currently the Extraction Manager. Tell me a little about yourself and what led you to Matrix NV?
Darrel Galacgac: I am originally from Walnut, California. I was a combat medic in the Army, and deployed to Iraq in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. When I got out of the Army in 2005, I went to college for nursing and then worked in the emergency room for about a year, and eventually realized that nursing was not for me. This was right around the time that Nevada was legalizing recreational cannabis and I convinced my wife to move here so I could pursue a job in the industry. Once we were here, I applied for a job at Matrix NV and was hired as a “joint roller.” After doing that for about six months, I was in the break room one day and I asked the Extraction Manager what I needed to do to get into extracting. He said “all you have to do is ask,” and just like that, I moved into extracting. At that time, all we had was Distillate and CO2. We have since added BHO, Cured Resin and Live Resin.
Stephanie Shehan: First let me say, thank you for your service. It seems like you really found your true calling.
Darrel Galacgac: I really did. I love that each day I wake up and look forward to coming to work. I am always excited for what the day will bring and what new projects we get to work on.
Stephanie Shehan: That’s great. Not many people can say they truly enjoy going to work. What is one of your favorite products there?
Darrel Galacgac: Probably our Live Resin Vape Cartridges which contain no Distillate. Those cartridges are really the essence of what the plant is. The balance of the THC and the terpenes make our cartridges a superior product. And, the way the plants are grown on the cultivation side makes my job that much easier.
Stephanie Shehan: Clean medicine is good medicine. You guys also produce edibles, Nicole, what brought you to Matrix NV and how did you get into edibles?
Nicole Poticar: I grew up in Wilmington, California. I was a Food Service Specialist in the Marine Corp from 2001 until 2005. When I left the Marine Corp, I went to culinary school for Baking, Pastries and Confections. I came to Las Vegas and applied for a job in the cannabis industry and ended up working for Silver State Wellness, eventually working my way up to Production Manager there, making edibles under the Dixie Elixirs brand. In 2021, I came over to the facility here to work with the BellRock (Dixie Elixirs) team as their Operations Manager. As soon as the Production Manager position at Matrix NV opened up, since I was already in the building, I applied and was hired.
Stephanie Shehan: Thank you for your service as well. I guess you could say you were in the right building, at the right time. Dixie Elixirs is now under Matrix NV, right? What other brands are currently under you?
Nicole Poticar: Yes, BellRock Brands is under Matrix NV and that includes Dixie Elixirs and Mary’s Medicinals. We also have The Clear under us.
Stephanie Shehan: Oh wow, you guys have some great brands coming out of your facility. What is one thing within the industry that you are passionate about?
Nicole Poticar: As a Veteran, I am extremely passionate about cannabis as medicine. Veterans typically come out of the military with a wealth of medical and mental health issues, and the doctors are quick to prescribe a host of pharmaceuticals. I myself became a medical cardholder the minute I was able to and I love that we have the ability to help other Veterans like myself. In addition, my daughter had some health issues in the past and I was giving her Mary’s Medicinals CBD products even before I came to work here at Matrix NV.
Stephanie Shehan: You seem to have a really great team there at Matrix NV and the fact that you are mindful of our Vets and our medical patients is really impactful. JJ, you came to Matrix NV as the General Manager. What brought you here and where do you see Matrix NV in the future?
JJ Brumfield: I was a part of the cannabis industry in Oregon and moved to Las Vegas to work with the Matrix NV team. My family and I love it here in Vegas and I love the work we are doing here at the facility. I think, moving into 2023, the success of Matrix NV is really going to depend a lot on our service within the community. I know we have an array of innovative products coming out which the consumers will enjoy but, to sustain long term we also want to legislate for some changes within the industry and make an impact on our local community. Our growth is really dependent on us helping others.
Stephanie Shehan: Well said, and some great thoughts to wrap up this interview. Thank you all for taking the time to speak with me. It is apparent that Matrix NV will continue to be a leader within the Nevada cannabis industry.
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AVAILABLE MATRIX NV PRODUCTS
Flower: Grams, 1/8ths, and 1g Prerolls
Carts: Live Resin .5g, Co2 Vape .5g, Co2 Disposables .3g, and The Roach .35g
Concentrates: Cured – Butter and Sugar .5g, Live Resin, Butter and Sugar .5g & 1g, and Live Resin Applicators .5g
Chocolate: Hot Milk Chocolate, Hot Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Pudding White Chocolate Bar, and Party Bar (coming soon)
Dixie Gummies: Citrus Blast, Sour Smash, and Tropic Twist
Dixie Elixirs: Berry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, and Fruit Punch
PAX: Live Resin PAX Pods
Mary’s Medicinals: Tinctures, Muscle Freeze, Transdermal Patches, and Transdermal Compound
The Clear: Elite Vape .5g, Disposables .35g, and Twax Infused Prerolls
MATRIX SIGNATURE STRAINS
Sugar Tits: This in-house Matrix exclusive is a cross of Girl Scout Cookies, Double OG Sour D, and Star Fighter, which makes for a potent indica-dominant hybrid. Along with highly resinous flowers, Sugar Tits has an incredible sugary taste that is as smooth as silk. Dominant terpenes are myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene.
Nepalese Kush: Nepalese Kush is a cross of Hindu Kush and Nepal IBL. This makes for highly resinous buds with an earthy, savory flavor. This strain provides a clear, heady effect and can be a heavy hitter leading you to deep relaxation and sleepiness. Dominant terpenes are limonene, caryophyllene, and myrcene.
GG4: This strain is a sativa-dominant hybrid composed of Chocolate Diesel, Sour Dubb and Chem Sis. Flowers are trichome encrusted and highly resinous, with a strong diesel flavor. Experience a full on creative high coupled with a body buzz. Dominant terpenes are caryophyllene, humulene, and limonene.
Super Sour Diesel: A cross of Super Silver Haze and Sour Diesel, this strain has strong, skunky, diesel aromatics with heavy cerebral effects. Effects include a happy, energetic buzz, ideal for day-time use. Dominant terpenes include limonene, terpinene, and caryophyllene.
Hell’s OG: A cross of OG Kush and Blackberry, this gassy fire strain is sure to calm your mind after a long day. It’s a potent flower that provides a relaxed, almost meditative high. Dominant terpenes include caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene.