Our Experience

“There are basically three reasons people get into the cannabis business. Money, love of the plant, or sick loved ones that they want to help.”

The ESG team is made up of a diverse group of leaders with various experiences in the cannabis and related industries. ESG was created to help clients navigate this complex industry. Our intention is to help our clients reduce risks and costs while achieving their business goals. We generally align ourselves with funding resources to better assist our clients in making solid business decisions rather than relying on a hunch and hoping for the best when it comes to their investment.

Dan O’Neill

Partner & Business Development Director

Zachery Howell

Head of Compliance & Quality Control

Adam Hudgins

Partner & Cultivation Specialist

Dan O’Neill

Dan’s background spans 30 years in leadership roles focused on sales, sales management, business development, and partnership creation. As an expert in wood flooring and reclaimed wood projects, Dan also has extensive experience in packaging, organic soil, technology, and construction.

Dan joined ESG after starting his cannabis career with Ideal Harvest in Denver, CO, where he spearheaded sales and business development efforts. He is also on the leadership team and advisory boards of several other companies in the U.S.


Zachery Howell

A native of Colorado, Zach started in the Colorado cannabis industry in 2014 as the quality control and compliance leader for a medical and recreational cultivation facility in Denver. With a background in compliance and quality control, the move to the heavily regulated cannabis space was a natural fit.

Zach has worked with both the Department of Defense and major pharmaceutical firms for 10 years in various positions of responsibility focused on supply chain management, quality control, and compliance. Zach attended the University of Northern Colorado where he got his degree in clinical psychology. He is a member of the Psychology Students Network, the Institute for Supply Management, and Denver Young Professionals.

Adam Hudgins

Adam owned a large commercial landscape company for 5 years in Asheville, NC. He spent 2 years as a live-nursery specialist for Lowe’s and acted as their retail buyer for two locations. Adam also worked for a commercial farm called Big Frog Nursery for 3 years. He directed the operation of 80 working acres, with responsibility for all aspects of the enterprise.

For the past 3 years, Adam has been running a 14,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation facility in Denver. He designed and led the development of the vertical canopy system for flower room operations. He was also responsible for all aspects of the grow, including 2,000 plants in flower and approximately 5,000 plants in total. Currently, Adam is spearheading the construction of Emerge Farms in Hayden, CO. Emerge Farms is poised to be one of the most technologically sophisticated cannabis grow facilities in North America, with vertical mobile rack systems for both flower and veg plants.

10 questions with Adam Hudgins & Tony Frischknecht


At ESG, we have aligned ourselves with industry experts to assist you in building your business to one that is best in class. Our clients not only receive the opportunity to work with our highly trusted, vetted partners, but they also get proprietary discounts.

Our Past

Collectively, ESG’s leadership team possesses over 12 years of experience in the regulated and legal cannabis-cultivation, processing, and retail industries.

Our formal and organized network of industry partners extends our reach to best-in-class companies dedicated to cannabis. We leverage subject matter experts within our network to support each client engagement to ensure we bring our clients the most current, focused guidance.

Our Approach

“Success is a lousy teacher”

Unlike many consultants in the cannabis space, ESG is committed to an engagement process based on delivering specific results based on a scope analysis. We do not work on an hourly basis or ask for equity in exchange for our work. We prefer to develop a profit-sharing scenario with our long-term clients. We believe that approach rewards our clients’ initial financial investment and risk, and also incentivizes our team over the long term by having “skin in the game” and downstream revenue.

Because we believe that “success is a lousy teacher,” we take the hard lessons learned from the Colorado market and apply them to our clients’ specific needs. We certainly do not know it all, but we have been operating in a unique and challenging business for several years. We have intellectual property to share—which was expensive to earn. We help our clients avoid costly risk, get to market faster, and operate safely and more efficiently because our skills were forged in the distinctive and pioneering Colorado marketplace. We are truly unique.

Our partners are also uniquely qualified to contribute with experience gained from their successes and failures. Cannabis can be a very clandestine industry, but we prefer to be transparent and focus on data-driven decisions and fact-based business cases.

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