Women in Cannabis: Kathleen Sullivan

Kathleen SullivanKathleen Sullivan

President

Forever Green Indoors and Forever Green Illumination

Spokane, Washington

Kathleen Sullivan is a serial entrepreneur, mom and philanthropist, and somehow also finds time to run both Forever Green Indoors and Forever Green Illumination.

Sullivan has 25 years of business experience, having started companies like Express Your Point, Forever Green Illumination and Forever Green Indoors, as well as being the co-founder and director of marketing for PE Systems. She’s also taken time to give back to the community, founding the Washington chapter of Mended Hearts, a support and outreach program that pairs cardiac patients and their families with survivors.

“My youngest daughter had a congenital heart defect and it was actually discovered, quite by accident — or by miracle — whatever you would like to call it,” Sullivan said. “A few years later she and I were asked to give a speech together for the American Heart Association as a survivor. We raised over $23,000 dollars and we caught the attention of Mended Hearts and we were asked to start a Washington chapter.”

Sullivan’s philanthropic endeavors have run parallel in comparison to her entrepreneurial spirit. Her background as an entrepreneur has produced serious advantages for her venture into the cannabis industry — a path she never expected to take.

“This business and industry has been the most enjoyable and rewarding work I’ve ever done,” Sullivan said. “I’m so fortunate to meet the people I do. Every element is filled with amazing, intelligent, talented, brave people from all walks of life. Watching them interact and appreciate what each brings to the table illustrates the respect people have for one another in this business.”

Forever Green Illumination specializes in energy-efficient lighting and solutions for commercial buildings and the horticulture industry and Forever Green Indoors is the more cannabis-specific arm of the parent company. Sullivan has been working in energy efficiency, lighting and grow technology since 2010. Prior to that she was one of the founders of PE Systems, where she provided operational efficiencies for businesses, sports teams and universities nationwide. PE Systems was sold in 2010 with a valuation of $42 million. With PE Systems (now called Vizant), Sullivan learned to streamline corporate inefficiencies into revenue for nearly 20,000 corporate clients.

By the time Washington voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, Sullivan was already primed to jump into the cannabis industry. Her interest developed through her work in energy-efficient lighting and utility incentives. A growing concern of Sullivan’s was the detrimental impact the industry was going to have on the power grids in the Northwest.

“Once we ran the numbers of the electrical impact using the traditional grow lights would have on our power grid, we started to search for a viable LED solution,” Sullivan said.

One of her first steps was to seek out former NASA scientist Neil Yorio for his expertise and business with lighting manufacturer, Lighting Science Group.

“At that time NASA had perfected LED technology for indoor growing, and some former plant and lighting scientists who worked on that project were creating scientifically-proven, commercial quality grow-lighting,” she said.

Furthering that initiative, Sullivan expanded Forever Green Indoors’ product line with the inclusion of BIOS and Swedish light manufacturer Heliospectra. The trio of lighting manufacturers allow Forever Green Indoors to tackle the variables associated with cannabis growing and also provides enough depth for Forever Green Illumination to handle clients outside of the cannabis industry.

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