Vets: Andy Joseph

From a fast attack submarine to a fast-growing business

Andy Joseph started Apeks Supercritical as a one-man operation in his garage and built it into a multimillion-dollar company, putting to use some of the skills he learned during six years in the U.S.Navy, where he worked as a nuclear mechanic on a fast attack submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor.

Andy JospehAfter attending The Ohio State University for welding engineering, Joseph made the decision in 2012 to focus on Apeks.

“I had to make a choice between working at Apeks full time and staying in the corporate world,” Joseph says. “I made the leap. The cannabis industry was taking off and I decided to take the plunge.”

Veterans in the Industry

As Marijuana Venture celebrates its four-year anniversary with this issue, we profile nine veterans who have made their mark not only in their service to this great country, but also in the cannabis industry. It’s safe to say that not everybody in the marijuana business is a consumer. But stories like these highlight the outrageousness of Jeff Sessions’ infamous statement that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

The following article is from the March 2018 issue of Marijuana Venture, © 2018 Marijuana Venture.

Since then, Apeks Supercritical has evolved into one of the industry’s leading suppliers of extraction equipment, twice being identified among the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., according to Inc. magazine. Apeks was No. 24 on the Inc. 500 in 2015 and No. 2,248 on the Inc. 5000 in 2017.

But the company’s success hasn’t been without challenges, including a lackluster 2016, when sales were down amid increasing competition. However, the 2016 elections opened the potential for massive new markets and Joseph refocused his company’s mission to close out 2017 with record sales.

“We just finished up 2017 and we did about $13 million in revenue with almost all of that coming from the cannabis industry,” Joseph says. “We just shipped our 500th unit in October. We’re super proud of the 500th unit. It’s a big deal for us.”

Joseph initially served as the company’s CEO, welder, accountant and janitor, slowly adding staff members to relieve his workload.

“I take hiring to be a pretty serious endeavor,” he says. “I look at where I am spending most of my time, or where I am overwhelmed in a certain area and then hire there.”  

The Ohio-based company now has 31 employees — about 20% of whom are veterans. They’ve been a key component of Apeks’ success, as Joseph applies an age-old adage of business: “Surround yourself with people smarter than you and hire someone stronger than what you need,” he says. “I did that. It was tough and expensive, but that approach paid off a thousand-fold for the growth of the organization.”

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