A special message from Dan Gustafik, President & CEO of Hybrid Tech:

“I want to let all the IBEW members know about Gary Young’s foresight in expanding market share. Three years ago Gary Young and Allan kesser met with the founder of Hybrid Tech and set the groundwork for a collaboration between designers, engineers and skilled labor.

With the cannabis market becoming the fastest growth market in the US, Hybrid Tech is deploying IBEW contractors across the state of Oregon. Hybrid Tech would not exist without the support of skilled labor. Gary Young was the catalyst for IBEW support of the Cannabis sector. As you vote in this election, please remember who supports new markets! Gary Young for IBEW business manager.”

You can find Gary Young’s campaign website here.

Below you’ll find an article from earlier this year highlighting some of the outstanding work IBEW Local 48 workers have been doing with us.

Dan Gustafik’s company for many years has designed and built processing and grow facilities for the medical cannabis industry. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Oregon, he is rebranding to take on more projects.

The 19-year-old company’s name was changed by Gustafik from Synergy Construction to Hybrid Tech to better reflect its business. At present he has 10 proposed projects on file with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, he said, and seven more in the engineering phase.

Gustafik said his projects include mostly production (grow) facilities and extraction units for producing oils and edible products. His company provides complete engineering, architectural and general contracting services.

Hybrid Tech founder Dan Gustafik stands on the site of a marijuana grow facility the company is working on in Hillsboro. The MEP contracting and engineering firm specializes in work for the cannabis industry. (Sam Tenney/DJC)

Hybrid Tech founder Dan Gustafik stands on the site of a marijuana grow facility the company is working on in Hillsboro. The MEP contracting and engineering firm specializes in work for the cannabis industry. (Sam Tenney/DJC)

According to the OLCC, recreational marijuana applications have been filed in Multnomah County for 41 production facilities, 49 retail outlets, 14 processing facilities and nine wholesale operations. Not all of these require new buildings, but Gustafik believes cannabis-related construction is on the rise.

Although people in businesses tied to cannabis may have trouble securing bank accounts because of federal laws, builders don’t have that problem, Gustafik said, because they don’t deal with the product. Developers can draw from personal accounts or others to pay for construction and engineering costs.

“They don’t work on a cash basis in the investment phase,” he said. “We don’t take cash, but we don’t have that problem. We want checks and my suppliers want checks.”

And there is no shortage of skilled workers if you go through the unions, Gustafik said. He relies on workers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 16 of the Sheet Metal Worker’s International Association (SMART) and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (UA).

Steve Miller, a journeyman electrician with IBEW Local 48 and employee of Hybrid Tech, lays out electrical conduit on a grow facility being constructed in Hillsboro. (Sam Tenney/DJC)

Steve Miller, a journeyman electrician with IBEW Local 48 and employee of Hybrid Tech, lays out electrical conduit on a grow facility being constructed in Hillsboro. (Sam Tenney/DJC)

“When a greenhouse shows up from the manufacturer in giant pieces of sheet metal, it’s not easy to find armies standing around,” he said. “But the union has an army. You call SMART and

you can have as many sheet metal workers as you want on the site the next day. Same with IBEW and UA. It’s working fantastically.”

Some contractors don’t want to build for the cannabis sector because of moral objections, Gustafik said, and others think it’s a way to get rich quick. It’s not, he said.

“A lot of people don’t want to work in this sector,” he said. “You have to have background checks and understand what has to be done. It has to be done fast and with quality. Some people have dollar signs in their eyes, but in reality it should be treated like any other project.”

That’s how Alan Keser, IBEW assistant business manager in Portland, sees it. He’s surprised that cannabis construction hasn’t picked up more.

“We’re not getting as much as we thought — it’s starting off slow,” he said. “But our members are working more on grow facilities.”

Keser considered it irrelevant that union members who work on grow facilities must pass drug tests.

“We wire things,” he said. “It could be a coal plant or windmills or a nuclear plant or marijuana grow. I would see this as a boon to constructors.”

Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC, said he also sees signs of increased building in the marijuana industry.

“I was on Barbur Boulevard and saw the build-out of a new marijuana facility and almost stopped and took a photo,” he said. “I think there’s an economic story (in cannabis) and a multiplier effect on the trades.”