Greg Schaan's family owned and operated a farm raising small grains and turkeys in Rugby, North Dakota, a city of about 3,100 people, south of the Canadian border.
"I knew that I wanted to work in agriculture," Schaan said. "But I also have a very strong interest, even when I was working on the farm, in knowing what's the price of turkeys this week, or how much the grain's selling for."
That's why Schaan got his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of North Dakota. He would spend the next decade working for agriculture companies across the Midwest, before moving to the Hartford area in 1992 to become president and CEO at Imperial Nurseries Inc., a garden plant nursery that was acquired by Monrovia Nursery Co. in 2014.
That deal led Schaan to the world of medicinal marijuana.
When Monrovia bought Imperial, Schaan signed a four-year transition agreement. In 2017, with that deal almost up, he was in the process of interviewing for a plant nursery job in Pennsylvania when a friend advised him to use LinkedIn as a job-search resource.
"So I just started searching through Connecticut jobs, just to see how this worked, and saw a general manager of a manufacturing company in Connecticut, not really knowing what the job was about," Schaan said.
He applied, and a few hours later got a call from a Curaleaf recruiter.
"He said, 'It's a medical cannabis company, do you have a problem with that?' I said, 'no, I have some friends who've moved from horticulture to the industry. I think it's very exciting.' "
A week later, he had a job leading one of the four legal medical-marijuana cultivation facilities in Connecticut.