From U.S. Marine to U.S. Cannabis Security Mogul: Meet Hunter Garth, Iron Protection Group’s Managing Director

Iron Protection Group founder Hunter Garth does not credit his years in the military with fully preparing him to run the nation’s leading security business for the cannabis industry. But as he’s been known to say, “My military service is the only reason I am successful.”

Hunter joined the Marine Corps when he was 19, and was leading teams in operations by the time he was 21. In eight months in Afghanistan, he participated in more than 175 combat missions.

The hard lessons learned in the course of his military service, and the cruelties of war he experienced alongside his fellow soldiers, became ingrained in his psyche, with a permanent impact.

The associated PTSD continued to weigh on him and affected how he handled day-to-day civilian life. Watching his fellow veterans self-medicate with alcohol and drugs taught him that was not the path he wanted to go down. So to keep his mind off the damages he had seen and absorbed, to keep himself as busy as possible with something positive rather than self-destructive, he turned to thinking about starting a business.

When he first came back to the United States, Hunter landed in Jacksonville, Florida, working for Merrill Lynch in the corporate world. But he says, “I hated every second of it. I wanted more freedom.”

His inspiration came when he visited Colorado in 2013 and decided to check out a dispensary with his friend and future business partner Caleb Patton, a fellow Marine veteran.

“I think cannabis is about quality of life. It’s a freedom, a right,” Hunter says.

But the feeling he had during his first dispensary visit was mixed.

“We walked in and saw a security guard with a big frown and a gun.” Hunter and Caleb looked at each other and both had the same thought: “We know how to do this job, and that is not it. Customers don’t want anything to do with someone who looks like a cop. Why don’t we put on a nice shirt, and why don’t we hire our fellow veteran friends who don’t act like this?”

They started talking to dispensary owners about their idea for an alternative to current security measures, and the owners immediately understood the advantages.

Hunter used the last of his money to rent a U-Haul and moved to Colorado with his then-girlfriend—they later married, and are now raising two kids.

In Colorado, he immersed himself in the cannabis industry, which was growing quickly after voters approved adult-use cannabis legalization in 2012. He started Iron Protection Group in 2014 with the help of Caleb Patton and Cory Aguillard, the same year adult-use sales launched in the state. Within a year, it was acquired by General Cannabis.

True to his original vision for a veteran-based workforce, over the last four years Hunter has helped at least 250 fellow veterans—and counting—transition back into civilian life, by hiring and training them at IPG. This for him is a more powerful way to address PTSD than cannabis itself.

“The real cure for PTSD is purpose,” says Hunter. “Find what you are here for. IPG drives purpose. Doing things for friends, taking care of others drives purpose.”

Blaine

Sales Manager

  • Blaine@IronProtectionGroup.org
  • 303.919.4576

There is no denying that Blaine loves the State of Colorado. He once left however his heart lead him back and he is now living in the state for good. And, we are so happy he did, as he is a great asset to Iron Protection Group as our Sales Executive.

Blaine’s professional experiences has been primarily based in technology sales, dealing with both public and private sectors. Since returning to Colorado, Blaine used his experience to be an avid advocate of the cannabis industry and has great respect for the hard working professionals that are raising the bar in the industry. Currently, Blaine’s focused on creating and leveraging successful relationships to drive growth and provide a positive experience for IPG’s clients.

When Blaine is not networking and taking care of IPG’s clients, you will find him enjoying his friends and family, skiing, practicing yoga and hanging out in Colorado’s beautiful backcountry. Also, don’t be surprised if you happen to see Blaine in Downtown Denver on any given Saturday morning leading Walking History Tours.

Tim Troxwell

Division Operations Manager | California

  • TimTroxwell@IronProtectionGroup.org
  • 916.242.0048

Tim joined the Marine Corps in 2008. He served as a Military Police Officer in garrison at Marine Corps Base Quantico and Camp Lejeune. While serving, Tim filled the billets of gate sentry, patrolman, tactics instructor and accident investigator. After departing the Marine Corps in 2013, he attended the Columbus Division of Police Recruit Training Program in Columbus, OH and served as a police officer with the Dublin, Ohio Division of Police. After exiting the public sector he took a district asset protection position with The Home Depot until coming aboard Iron Protection Group in 2017. 

Glenn Hardy

Director | California

  • Glenn@IronProtectionGroup.org
  • 916.936.5750
Glenn joined the United States Navy in 2004 and served as a Master-At-Arms on Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado. During his enlistment, he was tasked as an armed sentry, command investigator, prisoner transport, and force protection leader. After being honorably discharged from the Navy in 2008, Glenn entered the private security sector. He sought to build a well-rounded knowledge base in the industry and worked in many facets to include but not limited to; Personal Protection Officer for Ross Perot (PSC Security), Head of Security for a retail branch of Tiffany & Company, and regional Physical Security Program Manager for Centene Corporation. Glenn created and implemented security policies for multiple Fortune 500 companies and found an incredible opportunity with IPG. Glenn joined the organization in 2018 as the Director of Security Operations for California and executes the IPG mission and commitment to clients by marrying customer service and tailored security solutions in an unprecedented way

Shannon Hansen

Director of Strategy

  • Shannon@IronProtectionGroup.org
  • 303.759.1300

Shannon has extensive experience in the apparel retail industry, serving in various upper leadership roles during her 25 years in a corporate specialty retail environment.

During that time, she was responsible for managing operational and HR processes in multi-unit retail settings, creating business strategies to increase market share, drive profitability and increase customer satisfaction. She has participated in several accelerated leadership programs and has served on multiple filed advisory committees where she was able to leverage her analytical expertise to develop business solutions.  Her passion and focus for developing high performing teams and cultivating a customer-centric environment contributed to her many career achievements. She was nationally recognized for her commitment to brand excellence, customer engagement and producing top line results.  

Shannon has managed more than 2500 employees and upwards of $45M in revenue during her tenure in the fast paced, customer service, retail industry.

Caleb Patton

Managing Director

  • Caleb@GeneralCann.com
  • 314.399.1863
Caleb joined the United States Marine Corp in 2007 and served overseas four times, which included combat tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Soon after School of Infantry Caleb had his boots on ground, patrolling the streets of Ramadi, Iraq. Here, he quickly found out what it took to be a leader of Marines and ran with the responsibility and pride it gave him to bring everyone home safe on each patrol and operation. Caleb led Marines on countless patrols through the streets of Iraq to the poppy fields of Afghanistan and not until a training operation in the States did Caleb meet with tragedy. In 2014 while still in Wounded Warrior Battalion, after long talks with brothers in arms that had exited from the Marines, Iron Protection Group was born. In 2015 Caleb moved to Denver to fully immerse himself into the company. As Iron Protection Group expands into California, Caleb has taken the role of Director of IPG Colorado and continues to drive the leading cannabis security provider in the industry.