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.”

Jon grew up in Nashville, but a move to Denver in 2011 sparked an interest in cannabis cultivation, particularly in the areas of research, sustainability and wellness. In 2013, he became the Lead Grower for Doctor’s Orders, then for Sweet Leaf in 2014-15, followed by time as a Head Grower for the Native Roots brand starting in 2016. It was there that his leadership role and successes in cultivation became undeniably strong, and he joined the Next Big Crop team in 2018. “I worked in restaurants when I first got here, but I started meeting people who were working cannabis and were really excited about the opportunities and potential,” Jon says. “I became fascinated with large-scale production and best practices, and how to create models to minimize labor and maximize output.”

Jon also sees the rewards of spending time outdoors, with snowboarding and doing pretty much anything in the mountains topping his list of favorites, although he heads to the beach on vacation when he wants some time to reset — Bali and Southeast Asia are at the top of his bucket list right now. “There just has to be water,” he says. “I really love going to Mexico or anywhere on the coast.”