Life, as most of us know, can take some pretty crazy twists and turns. Someone who knows this truth especially well is Merlynn Lindgren. Merlynn has had a long and winding road toward Avitas. She’s been a vet tech, worked in mills, taken on phlebotomy, and did research in a grass seed genetics lab all of which has prepared her for her new role as our Lead Extraction Technician/Lab Manager at our Oregon lab. “I found the position in, of all places Craigslist! It was just one of those right place, right time kind of things. I saw the ad, sent in my resume, and a half hour later, Joe gave me a call. It was a huge ‘aha’ sort of moment; I laughed because everything I’d done up to this point made me perfect for the role.”

Getting Her Science On

In the lab, Merlynn does everything from grinding flower and extracting the oil, to delicately extricating the terpenes from the mix and drawing off waxes and lipids in our purification process. After all of that, she hand mixes the terpenes back into the finished oil to preserve and showcase the flavor and aroma of the specific strains, and gets the oil to the team that puts it into the actual cartridges. From harvested flower to final product, she’s there nearly every step of the way. “It’s been such a great experience. I love learning about the plants. Honestly, I can’t believe they let me run around giant buckets of weed all day. It’s great!”

Customer Focus

Avitas works hard to make sure that we’re doing everything we can for our customers, and that’s something Merlynn experiences first hand, even in the lab. “We have salespeople dropping in a lot, giving us customer feedback and letting us know which strains are making people happy. It’s great to have that kind of touchstone.” Having that level of feedback might be stressful somewhere else, but at Avitas that’s not an issue. “We have such a conscientious group at our lab. We’re proud of the quality of oil we create, and we’re such a tight-knit group that even putting in a lot of long hours isn’t a chore. We just want to make sure our product is first class.”

Women in Cannabis

The irony is that Merlynn hadn’t ever really thought of trying cannabis before Avitas and quite honestly; she still doesn’t routinely partake. It’s just not something that fits her lifestyle at the moment, but she still feels cannabis is a great industry to work in. She’s excited about the direction cannabis is headed and enthusiastic about the role of women in cannabis. “In my position, I’m responsible not only for the chemistry but also repairing and maintaining the equipment and managing the day to day operation of the lab. Our science director based in Washington is also female. There are so many opportunities in this industry that women should jump into it.” Merlynn continues, “If you have women involved in cannabis, it makes other women feel like they can take on the space too. It’s so important because it humanizes this growing industry.” She laughs, saying, “Honestly, I think you need the balance. Women bring so much to the table.”