About Us

Experienced Cannabis Operators

Welcome to Next Big Crop, a full-service cannabis consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado. We are a dedicated group of passionate and seasoned cannabis experts with decades of collective expertise devoted to license procurement, facility design and construction, systems engineering, equipment and materials sourcing, management and compliance.

Our mission is to impart our experiences to the next generation of operators so that they are able to provide cannabis lovers with the highest-quality flowers, infused products and retail experiences available anywhere in the world.


Meet Our Team



Managing Director
AKA The Man with the Plan

Next Big Crop Managing Director Rich Cardinal

As Founding Partner and Managing Director of Next Big Crop, Rich Cardinal puts his passions for problem-solving and plant cultivation to good use for each and every client.

“My goal is to help everyone succeed through the inevitable growing pains that come with all components of cannabis, such as lowering production costs and leveraging state-of-the-art systems,” Rich says. “My take is that even if something seems status quo and people have been doing it for five years, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best way to do it, so I love to take a step back and work with the team to brainstorm top ways to tackle it, and then collectively come up with the most creative approach for reaching the best possible outcome. It’s so rewarding to pop back into an operation that we were instrumental in launching and see everything working smoothly.”

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Operations Manager
AKA Mr Service with a Smile

Next Big Crop Operations Manager Rob Hansen

Rob Hansen believes in starting at the ground floor of any endeavor in order to truly understand it, which has given him significant insights into all of the aspects of creating a cannabis company from the bottom up. “You need to know the back of the house so you can succeed at the front of the house,” Rob says. “I don’t ever want to be that guy who just comes in and calls himself a ‘consultant’ without having walked the walk, so I think it’s important to pay your dues so that when you evolve at a company, you understand it inside and out.”

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Director of Business Development
AKA The Efficiency Expert

Next Big Crop Director of Business Development Christian Phelps

Christian learned early on in his career that taking risks can sometimes lead to big payoffs, but the key is maintaining balance and striving for the greatest efficiency possible. “Understanding business dynamics is at the heart of what I’m trying to do,” Christian says. “My goal is always to squeeze as much juice out of whatever piece of fruit we’ve got, and just generally address our efficiency wherever possible, so that we can be the best versions of ourselves individually and as a company.”

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Project Manager
AKA The Glue That Holds It Together

Next Big Crop Project Manager Clay Brier

With his combined analytical finance background, strong information technology skills and operations experience in nearly every aspect of cannabis — from cultivation and quality control to sales and marketing — Clay has become a master at converting our clients’ big-picture visions into manageable step-by-step pieces for seamless navigation through the ever-changing and rapidly expanding cannabis universe.

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Director of Sales
AKA The Marketing Maven

Next Big Crop Director of Sales Mali Sanati

Sales is about people, and Mali Sanati loves that. “There’s always something new and fascinating happening every single day,” Mali says. “This is such a fun environment, and that makes it easy to connect with people and form solid, lasting relationships. I’m just constantly amazed at how many really interesting people there are in the cannabis world.”

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Aaron Mullins

Systems Engineer
AKA The Systems Sorcerer

Next Big Crop Systems Engineer Aaron Mullins

When Next Big Crop clients have an idea of what they want but don’t know how to get it out of their heads and into a workable operation, it’s time for them to meet Systems Engineer Aaron Mullins.

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Ann Stinn

Compliance Manager
AKA The Cannabis "Sherpa"

Next Big Crop Compliance Manager Ann Stinn

Even though Ann Stinn doesn’t have a lot of direct contact with the people who ultimately benefit from her work, she says her favorite part of being a Compliance Manager is knowing what a significant impact what she does has on everyone involved with a cannabis operation, from patients and caregivers to owners and employees. “I feel like the fact that I have their health and safety at the forefront of my mind helps me to prioritize where I’m going,” Ann says. “I might be twice-removed from personal interaction, but knowing that I’m helping in some way from afar is so important to me.”



Tyler Loeffler

Lead Designer
AKA Tyler the Creator

Next Big Crop Lead Designer Tyler Loeffler

Colorado native Tyler Loeffler, a former Firefighter 1/EMT, leverages his problem-solving abilities and effective communication skills to succeed at his current position, Lead Designer, continuing his commitment to excellence and passion for helping others. “I still put out fires, they’re just a different kind,” Tyler says.

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Justin Itzkowitz

Lead Engineer
AKA Mr. Multi-Dimensional

Next Big Crop Lead Engineer Justin Itzkowitz

After a few experiences with 3D printing in college, Justin Itzkowitz was hooked. “In my freshman year, I did a project that involved printing 3D rockets, and that really sparked an interest in all things 3D,” Justin says. “Later, I also got to be involved in this amazing project designing 3D prosthetic hands for MIT’s FabLab, and that kind of sealed it.”

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Cultivation Consultant
AKA "Let Him in, He's with the Band"

Next Big Crop Cultivation Consultant Jarret Ricci

Very little in Jarret Ricci’s past predicted his future results as a top-tier cultivation expert, but he thinks the intriguing disparity of his experiences has been instrumental in his success. “The work of running a cultivation is not usually what people expect,” Jarret says. “There’s so much thinking involved. You need to have a clear plan or a well-thought-out philosophy of why you’re doing this, and you need to be able to look as far down the road as possible to account for anything and everything.”

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Cultivation Superintendent
AKA Mr. Make It Happen

Next Big Crop Cultivation Superintendent Jon Jirikovec

Jon Jirikovec started out in business — he has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Middle Tennessee State University — but once he became involved in the alternative medicine industry, he knew he’d found his calling. “What I like about this is that it’s completely different from a normal desk job,” Jon says. “It’s also really cool being in a new, emergent industry. I love being a part of changing the stigma around it and helping people realize the health benefits.”

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