Meet Our Team

At the end of alcohol prohibition in the 1930s, industry entrepreneurs fired up the old stills, the retired distribution systems and of course, the financial and political relationships. But in cannabis – we’ve never had any of that before! We are creating this industry from scratch.

With depth of expertise in commercial real estate, cannabis laws, ag technology and relationship building, Grupo Flor’s founders set out to shape a local cannabis ecosystem that would play a large part in the state’s future cannabis supply chain. That goal requires vision, creativity, patience and not just a little bit of determination.

FOUNDING PARTNERS

Gavin Kogan

Gavin Kogan is commercial cannabis attorney, political advocate and entrepreneur dedicated to the curious intersection of cultural revolution and business opportunity. His creative enthusiasm for start-ups and scaling new businesses for growth is well suited to California’s emerging cannabis industry.

As one of California’s earliest cannabis business attorneys, he has been involved in the development of many cannabis related endeavors. As an entrepreneur, Gavin has been prolific, co-founding many cannabis enterprises such as Reaper, a powered shears for trimming cannabis, Indus Holding Co., which launched Altai Brands, a low-dosage edibles brand and brought Colorado’s Dixie Elixirs to the California market in 2015.

Presently, Gavin is one of the co-founders of Grupo Flor, a family of companies engaged in cannabis real estate leasing, entrepreneur finance and strategic partnerships throughout the entire cannabis supply chain, from nurseries to dispensaries. Formed as a loose network rather than a centralized business unit, Grupo Flor’s architecture was designed for speed and adaptability in responding to the evolving regulatory landscape.

The projects that most interest Gavin are those that challenge cultural prejudices and show leadership in evolving new ideas and perspectives. To his mind, the cannabis (r)evolution is a once-in-a-lifetime tool for shaping the American culture into a more tolerant and kind society.

Gavin is a member of the California State Bar Association, National Cannabis Industry Attorney’s Association, National & California Cannabis Industry Association and is a founding member of California Cannabis Manufacturer’s Association. He is a frequent speaker on regulatory and consumer safety issues being addressed by the evolving cannabis industry.

Gavin lives in Monterey County, California and is an avid reader, yogi, surfer and general adventurer.

Mike Bitar

Mike Bitar, Co-Founder of Grupo Flor, has emerged as a leader in the cannabis industry, advocating for sound policy that strikes a balance between a thriving business environment and safe communities.  Mike has worked closely with local policy makers to help guide the industry forward.  In addition to the development of commercial cannabis real estate, he has provided assistance in drafting language for several of the local ordinances and is helping to ensure that Monterey County continue to be an agricultural leader in this newly emerging industry.

As a long-time resident of Monterey County, Michael has a deep understanding of this area and has developed strong relationships in the community. He has over a decade of experience managing and owning real estate companies throughout the County, specializing in both residential and commercial real estate.  As a licensed Real Estate Broker, he has owned and operated many agencies, including Executive Estates, Executive Commercial and Executive Property Management.  Executive Estates is a family-owned company, focused on residential properties. They have sold over 1200 properties in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Fresno Counties.  Executive Commercial ranges from small commercial lots to large scale planned master communities.  They manage over 350,000 square feet of industrial space, 100,000 square feet of retail space and 35,000 square feet of mixed-use space.  Executive Property Management currently manages almost 200 units ranging from single family homes to large apartment complexes.

Prior to real estate, Mike owned and operated several restaurants, and continues to impress his friends and family with his love of cooking.  He lives in Pacific Grove, California, where he and his wife Ola are raising their six children.  Mike attended Hartnell Community College in Salinas, where he studied business.  He speaks English, Spanish and Arabic.

Omar Bitar

Omar Bitar is an owner and broker at Executive Estates Realty, Executive Commercial and Executive Property Management in Salinas, California.  His focus has been on finding and securing appropriate cannabis locations throughout Monterey County and the entire State of California.

Omar’s has been doing business in Monterey County for over a decade and his extensive knowledge of the local community has been a great asset in the newly emerging cannabis industry.  He has a deep understanding of how local ordinances may affect property values and how to find property that is compliant with local and state laws.  His involvement with local advocacy efforts was instrumental in securing the passage of key cannabis ordinances.

Omar manages several hundred thousand square feet of real estate currently being used for indoor cannabis cultivation in Monterey County, and is a resident expert on BioTrackTHC systems, the premier cannabis tracking system.

Since 1965, Omar’s family has owned and managed several dozen businesses in the community, including a successful auto dealership.

Omar and his wife are raising their three children on the Monterey Peninsula.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

CEO, Grupo Flor

Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson recently joined Grupo Flor as CEO, responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company.  Prior to joining the company, Paul worked as an independent consultant serving the cannabis industry.  He learned the cannabis business as the Chief Financial Officer for Indus Holding Company where he learned a great deal about cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, and distribution. Prior to Indus, Paul served as the Worldwide Financial Services Manager at Apple, where he was instrumental in establishing the global Enterprise and Educational financial structuring unit within Apple Financial Services. Paul has spent most of his career-launching new initiatives and business units within larger enterprises.

Prior to Apple and immediately after graduate school, Paul joined GE Capital in the Experienced Commercial Leadership Program, a 2-year leadership program focused on sales and marketing. After graduating from the program, Paul launched a new financing business based out of Minneapolis, MN. Prior to business school, Paul worked in product development and operations at Goldman Sachs, where he graduated from their 3-year analyst training program. He eventually led a global team that built a private bank catering to Goldman Sachs Private Wealth clients.

Paul received an M.B.A. in Finance, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. from Brigham Young University. He and his wife and son live in Morgan Hill, CA. Paul spends most of his free time cycling and trail running. He has completed several half-Ironman triathlons and trail ultra-marathons.

President, East of Eden

Steve Podell

Steve joined Grupo Flor to oversee the retail and distribution of the dispensaries and licensed product. In addition, Steve is focused on developing strategic sales plans based upon company goals and ensuring customer satisfaction in all brand touch points. Prior to joining Grupo Flor, Steve was an executive at Cypress Consulting where he helped his clients implement customized solutions for key business challenges such as revenue growth, cost reduction, technology utilization, process improvement and profitability enhancement.

Steve also spent over 10 years with E. & J. Gallo Winery, one of the largest owners of vineyard land in the county and 15 years in private equity-owned consumer product companies. His roles have included President/GM, Senior Vice President, and Operations Executive, he has led supply chain, sales/marketing, IT (e-commerce), customer service, operations, and product development functions within the consumer products and cannabis industries.

Steve received his B.S. in Finance and Economics from California State University-Chico.

President, 710 Combinator

David Hessler

David joined Grupo Flor’s manufacturing company, 710 Combinator to lead all manufacturing and engineering activities to ensure effective and efficient use of facilities and personnel so that the best practices are in place. He will also develop and implement strategic plans to exceeding company goals and objectives with an emphasis on quality, cost reduction, and productivity improvement.

David has over 20 years of global experience in Supply Chain Management in the tobacco industry (Europe, Russia, Asia-Pacific) working with Japan Tobacco Intl, RJ Reynolds Intl and Phillip Morris Intl. With eight overseas assignments in executive management and operations in Europe, Russia, and Asia, David gained a deep understanding of global and regulatory challenges and played a key role in developing strategies to defeat or mitigate those challenges. David’s industry experience as the former COO of UpToke lends itself to his new position at Grupo Flor as he led and directed the day-to-day activities to bring the world’s most advanced vaporizer to market, including planning and forecasting, procurement, purchasing, logistics, Customs, sales and distribution.

In his former senior-level positions at $35-billion Japan Tobacco Intl (JTI), David led its Global Supply Chain operators for Asia and CIS, including leadership of one of the world’s largest cigarette factories, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Prior to that, David led JTI’s Global Customer Service in Geneva, where he was responsible for all international export orders, including forecasting, procurement, purchasing, logistics and distribution for 5,000 SKU’s sold to over 120 international markets. His career has spanned two decades of unprecedented global growth at the tobacco majors.

David has a B.S. in International Affairs from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington D.C. He is fluent in English, French, Russian and German, David is a dual US-Swiss passport holder. He relocated from Switzerland to Carmel and enjoys hiking, mountain-biking, and skiing.

President, Grupo Properties

Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher is President of Grupo Properties and Flor Brands overseeing the real estate holdings as well as developing new brands and partnerships with third party entities and celebrities.

Joe Fletcher brings over twenty-five years of leadership in the entertainment field. He has a proven track record in fundraising, concert promotion, management and event production.

Fletcher has produced over 1200 concerts and festivals all over the world and has worked with artists such as: Beyonce, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Pink, 50 Cent, Keith Urban, Ziggy Marley, Maroon5, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Elton John, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Lou Reed, James Brown, Ray Charles and many others.

Fletcher was asked to join the Obama for America team in 2007 and was appointed to the National Finance Committee in 2008 raising over $1 million for the campaign.

Fletcher was appointed by President Obama to the Entertainment Advisory Council, Obama for America and in that capacity was able to secure major entertainers to perform at Obama events including John Legend, Michael Franti, Bruce Hornsby, Sheila E., Chris Cornell, Mary Chapin Carpenter and others.

Fletcher was elected Delegate in 2012 to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC and served as a Delegate from California.

Fletcher became the Director of Development for Beacon House in 2015 leading their fundraising efforts.

Fletcher acted as Finance Director for Jimmy Panetta for Congress in 2016 which Panetta won with 70% of the vote.

Fletcher received his BA from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Fletcher is married with two children and lives in Carmel Valley.

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