Before he started designing and building multimillion-dollar cannabis facilities across the United States, architect Kyle Wilson faced a tough career choice. It was the spring of 2018, and the Midwest cannabis scene was ready to erupt. Wilson, having designed numerous breweries and beer distribution facilities, knew that his skill set and understanding of heavily regulated industries would translate perfectly to cannabis. But at the time, the firm he’d been working at for 14 years opted to stay out of the new industry.
“I spent a day really thinking about it and decided that I had enough faith in it that I would leave and pursue cannabis,” Wilson says. “I quit that job, figuring that if I could get one or two jobs that I’d survive for a while.”
He joined a small group of cannabis professionals looking to break into Missouri’s market and officially made his first leap into cannabis by helping design some of their facilities. After getting past the initial learning curve, Wilson accepted a position as the director of project development for cannabis clients at Kadean Construction.
Today, Wilson’s experience with cannabis build-outs runs the gamut from those looking for what he describes as “raw” build-outs, which cover little more than the basic requirements on a tight budget, to clients who “spare no expense” in their pursuit of a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis manufacturing facility. Which is really no different than the clients he worked with in the beer market, Wilson says.
— Patrick Wagner