With his long career in manufacturing, Roger Schulz is familiar with hard work. But the economic downturn brought a new challenge — lack of work.

“I worked for almost 35 years in the plastics industry for two global, flexible-packaging companies,” says Schulz, but the recession dealt a blow to his Ohio-based employer and he lost his job.

Schulz found himself unemployed for nearly three years, noting that he was “struggling to get third interviews.”

Networking with friends led him to Apeks Supercritical, an advanced manufacturing company in Johnstown, Ohio, that makes high-tech machines and systems designed for cannabis oil extraction. Cannabis oils and other extracts are popular options for both medical patients and adult-use consumers, and the extraction process has become highly sophisticated.

In the cannabis industry, Schulz found opportunity in an economically vibrant sector that is poised to keep growing exponentially. Plus, he says that his work as a shipping, receiving, and inventory specialist keeps him continuously engaged, a benefit that goes beyond pay.

“It is very interesting learning about the equipment that is always in development here at Apeks, as well as learning about the growth of the industry,” Schulz says.

“It reminds me of my younger days, when the plastics industry was constantly developing new process methods and applications. Everyone that works here is extremely knowledgeable in their field and I am always impressed with their skill levels.”

Schulz says that he was struck by the variety of customers at Apeks, representing what he and others in the industry hope is a broader acceptance of cannabis.

“I see both young and old, blue collar and executives, all of them people who want to see our facility and talk about their goals and needs. Since I’ve been here, I’ve met local officials and some of the highest-ranking legislators in Ohio,” he says.

“And when I first saw the products made here at Apeks, I was amazed at the engineering and testing involved in making what I think is very safe and efficient equipment.”

Schulz sees his work at Apeks as a chance for new opportunity in a vibrant field.

“When [Apeks president and CEO] Andy [Joseph] called and offered a job, I accepted immediately,” says Schulz. “I was struck by the energy I felt from Andy and his team here, and was excited by the chance to get involved in an industry that is young and growing. I offered to start the next day. “