A Veteran’s Journey Into Hemp Farming & CBD Manufacturing: Andy Golden of Innovative Extracts
As a decorated Green Beret, Andy Golden never imagined that his next big adventure would take him down the path of hemp farming. Now several years later, he runs a successful hemp farm and CBD manufacturing business. Read on as we explore Andy’s journey from childhood to Green Beret commander to hemp farmer.
Andy grew up on the Golden family farm in Portage, Pennsylvania, where he was born and raised. Despite his rural upbringing, Andy had a rich academic life throughout school, eventually graduating with a degree in science and technology from a nearby college. It was during high school that he met Matt Sinosky, his future business partner – they bonded over mutual interests such as football, skiing and snowboarding. Andy and Matt have managed to preserve their close friendship since high school, testament to the strong connection they formed over all those years ago.
Andy always had a knack for problem-solving and thinking outside the box, so it’s no surprise he spent his formative years in the Army. As a combat engineer officer of an engineer platoon in Iraq supporting land forces combat operations, Andy spent a year in Ramadi during the insurgence. Afterward, he was accepted into Special Forces and eventually promoted to detachment commander of a 12-man Operational Detachment Alpha (SFOD A) team – also known as an “A-Team” and the primary fighting force of the Green Berets. His unit specialized in direct action operations such as raids, using unconventional warfare tactics to get through sticky situations. He deployed twice to Afghanistan and worked at an embassy in Tajikistan, cementing his reputation as an outstanding leader.
Introduction to the CBD industry
Andy had a life-changing experience when a mutual friend, who was also in the Special Forces, introduced him to CBD. This friend’s acquaintance in Colorado had a CBD lab and was generous enough to help Andy and his partners learn more about the cannabis industry.
They took advantage of this opportunity and travelled to Colorado several times to understand how to conduct CBD extraction, how the equipment worked, and become familiar with the cannabis industry that was beginning to boom in Pennsylvania due to hemp farming legalization. With guidance from someone already established in the CBD business, they were able to get a head start on their own venture into this rapidly growing sector. Thus, in 2019 Andy, his father, and his friend Matt formed an LLC and named it Innovative Extracts.
Andy’s role and vision for Innovative Extracts
Andy currently serves as chief operations officer at Innovative Extracts, where he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. His unique skillsets and many years of military experience make him an invaluable asset in keeping things running smoothly. One of the core values he learned in Special Forces is treating people fairly, empowering them, and allowing them to move mountains – which he applies strongly to his business acumen.
Andy’s vision for Innovative Extracts is to grow it into a generational organization that will create income for his family and help others while also contributing positively to its local community and promoting better quality of life.
Family and community
While serving in the US Army, Andy eventually met (and married) his wife – an Army Captain for the 82nd Airborne Division. Together they share three daughters and some pets too; their family dog plus some fish!
In their spare time, the whole family enjoys spending time together, making fond memories that will last a lifetime.
He also devotes time to other causes close to his heart as well; Andy is a member of both the Special Forces Association chapter 67 and VFW Post 4963 in Ebensburg. As the Commander of VFW Post 4963, Andy is passionate about their charitable activities. The Special Forces Association donates $5,000 each year to ROTC cadets for college money and the VFW makes various other donations. In addition, he works part-time with Valiant Integrated Defense as a Special Operations Forces mentor where he trains teams in planning unconventional warfare and other tasks.
When he’s not working or fulfilling civic duties, Andy enjoys spending quality time with his wife and two daughters. He mentors them on different topics such as nature and science, exposing them to new experiences, and showing them how to become good people.
Andy continues to live by the same core values that he learned in the service, and his work ethic, drive and passion remain an inspiration to all who know him.