About Sustainable Innovations

OUR HISTORY

In 1834, the first non-indigenous settlers arrived on the shores of the Rock River, just south of downtown Rockford. Germanicus Kent, Thatcher Blake, and Lewis Lemon called their new settlement “Midway” as it was located halfway between Chicago and Galena. Germanicus Kent planned to go into business running a ferry across the Rock River. At that time, the Rockford area was still part of Jo Davies County, so he went to Galena and obtained a ferry permit. To safely run his ferry, he needed a rope to stretch across the river, but being on the far edge of the frontier there was not enough rope for sale in Galena. He then traveled back across the State to Chicago, but once again, he could not find enough rope. Undeterred, Germanicus returned to the shores of the Rock River where he planted a field of hemp.  He grew that hemp, and then fashioned his hempen rope which he used to start his ferry operation… AND THUS BEGAN THE CITY OF ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS!

Given the history of its founding, Sustainable Innovations believes that Rockford is destined to play a major role in the hemp and cannabis production in the State. Sustainable Innovations is proud to be bringing hemp and cannabis production back to Rockford.

(From left going clockwise, Germanic Kent, Thatcher Blake and Lewis Lemon.)

WHO WE ARE

Our commitment to social equity is evident in who we are: our Founder and CEO, John Murray is a personal victim of the failed War on Drugs.

John Murray

Founder & CEO

Our Founder, John Murray, is disabled minority who has persevered through years discrimination and hardships associated with his marijuana conviction. He has launched Sustainable Innovations as a true social equity applicant seeking social justice.

Erik Carlson

Co-Founder & CCO

Erik Carlson’s legal expertise allows Sustainable Innovations to navigate and comply with the complex regulations related to the cannabis industry. He is dedicated to giving back to the City of Rockford and promoting its unique history.

Michael Klein

Co-Founder & VP of Cultivation

Michael Klein has over two decades of experience in cannabis cultivation and regenerative agriculture. He has a passion for sustainable, scalable, and regenerative practices both in the cannabis industry and in global food production.

Joshua Gillan

Co-Founder & Facilities Manager

Joshua Gillan is a disabled veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne. He has a personal commitment to giving back to the retired first-responders and veterans who use cannabis to alleviate PTSD or other service-related conditions.

Taylor Strehl

Research Director

Taylor has spent 10 years in plant science R&D. He has a B.S. in Crop Science from the University of Illinois and an M.S. in Biological Science from Eastern Illinois University. His research focus has been on plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere. He is also trained in plant genetics, soil science, and statistical analysis.

Imran Mirza

Director

Imran Mirza owns and operates a successful cannabis cultivation and extraction center in Phoenix, AZ with two of the leading brands in the Arizona cannabis market.

David Nissman

Director

David Nissman previously served as the US Attorney for the Virgin Islands and helped design the tax and banking laws of the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.