Chairman and CEO
Douglas James PhD, is a technology entrepreneur who believes that the disciplined search for sustainable solutions creates opportunities, reduces costs and increases availability.
In 2010, Dr. James searched for a worthy technology venture. He ‘discovered’ the work being done by Stephan Dufresne, and became intrigued with the high-technology approach to an old industry – agriculture. After a thorough technical and business review, he became convinced that indoor controlled environment agriculture was going to revolutionize food production – providing higher quality, fresh, local, and pesticide free produce grown in an environmentally sustainable way at prices that would more than compete with conventional production methods. This same technology is at the heart of Thrive Growing.
Dr. James’ ongoing goal for Thrive Growing to develop better ways to provide high purity medical cannabis products to those in need at a very competitive cost of production.
He brings his wide range of experience, from the lab bench through to client fulfillment, to drive the venture and guide the world class team he recruited.
President and COO
Charles Ramsey is an early pioneer in the licit medicinal and recreational cannabis industry.
Mr. Ramsey is the founder, and former CEO of Agrisoft Development Group, one of the first widely recognized regulatory compliance, seed to sale, software companies to serve cannabis licensees and government agencies. He went on to co-develop the first end-to-end, seed to bank solution for this burgeoning industry, and subsequently sold Agrisoft to KIND Financial, a Microsoft partner company, in 2016. He is a serial entrepreneur, creating numerous tech companies, utilizing cutting edge biometric authentication solutions for the medical industry. He has been involved with sales and marketing efforts for numerous organizations including Sprint, Sony Electronics, Broadwing Communications, and Velocity Computer Tech.
Mr. Ramsey is a driven leader, with over 20 years of experience managing teams and projects that shape the world around us.
SVP and CTO
Stephan Dufresne is the Steve Wozniak of Thrive Growing. His desire, determination and innovative thinking has taken rudimentary concepts developed by NASA and developed them into a fully integrated and commercially viable system for growing produce at scale, anywhere on our planet.
In 1998, Mr. Dufresne began experimenting with hydroponic growing in a garage, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Through a series of private and Canadian government funded trials, he transformed rudimentary principles of hydroponic and aeroponic growing into 4 patent pending technologies and processes that are the cornerstone of fully developed growing systems for fruit, vegetables and medicinal plants including cannabis.
Mr. Dufresne’s work has also resulted in the development of key supplier, go-to-market and R&D partnerships with several of the world’s leaders in agricultural growing technologies.
Mr. Dufresne remains the driving technology force behind Thrive Growing. He will provide hands on supervision of all initial projects from design, construction and through to facility commissioning. Once in operation, he will be the “Grey Thumb” that ensures the smooth and profitable operation of Thrive’s facilities. Mr. Dufresne holds an MBA from Concordia University.
Chief Growing Officer
Cees serves as the chief horticulturist and “Green Thumb” for Thrive Growing. His key responsibility is to ensure successful growing operations at all Thrive facilities. The expression, “grew up in the business” might have been invented for Cees VandenEnden. Cees (pronounced ‘Case’) is a second generation, indoor horticulturist from the mecca of indoor growing – Holland. Cees’ formal education in horticulture began with a horticultural specialization from Rijks Middelbare Tuinbouwschool. For more than 40 years, he has successfully owned and/or operated large commercial greenhouse operations in Europe and North America under highly competitive circumstances. He has also become one of the world’s leading experts in his field, providing consulting services on 2 continents for over 14 years, assisting many start-up operations that are now leaders in the greenhouse industry, and increased production and labour efficiencies for many other greenhouse operations. Cees is Thrive’s horticultural expert, ensuring that growing conditions (lighting, nutrient formulas, environmental factors, etc.) and practices are optimized on a plant by plant basis for each of our advanced growing technologies.
VP of Operations / Master Grower
As VP of Operations and Master Grower of Thrive Growing, Eddie Abravanel brings more than two decades of practical, hands-on marijuana cultivation and processing experience and has worked as a consultant for a wide variety of businesses in the cannabis industry. Eddie Abravanel specializes in operations and implementation of commercial cultivation and production facilities and played an integral role in the design of Thrive’s Cannafactory.
Eddie Abravanel was a pioneer for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Movement owning and operating Michigan’s first vertically integrated cannabis operation called Ed’s Meds. He also worked directly with THCF (The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation) providing education and a free meds program for terminally ill patients and patients suffering from chemo and CNS disorders.
Eddie Abravanel was a contributing author on the collaborative marijuana studies,
“The Medical Marijuana Desk Reference”, with Signal Bay Research / Evio Labs. He also has considerable experience in cannabis infused products as well as ice water and butane cannabinoid extraction and concentrates production.