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Get to know Wellphora founder Matt Russell

Recently, Wellphora founder Matt Russell was asked to complete a business bio for a “Get to Know the Owner” section for a local publication. Here’s a little about Matt:

Hi, my name is Matt Russell. I am the founder and owner of Novas Labs, LLC. I’m excited to share a bit of myself with our customers– happy reading! 

Personal Background Highlights
I am a native of Arizona and grew up in Glendale. I married my beautiful wife over 21 years ago and have 3 children. I played college basketball on scholarship before getting my dream job as a Firefighter. I consider myself and outdoorsman and love to be outside golfing, fishing, hunting, exploring and off-roading. I am fortunate enough to be able to spend my summers in Montana and the other 8-9 months in Arizona. I call myself a “Sunbird”, which is similar to a “Snowbird”, but I never had to leave the snow and literally follow the sunshine and warm weather year-round.
Professional Background Highlights 

Immediately after college, I started my 23-year career with the Peoria Fire Medical Department. During my career I served as a Fire Captain, Engineer, Battalion Safety Officer and also had specialties as a Hazardous Materials Technician, Toxicologist Paramedic, Rescue Swimmer, Boat Captain at Lake Pleasant and even a 5-year assignment with Homeland Security as a Terrorist Liaison Officer. I have always immersed myself in science-based learning with an emphasis on health and helping others. Towards the end of my Fire Department career, I started experimenting with plant-based medicine to help with my wife’s arthritis. This eventually led me into manufacturing wellness products and currently I am the Lab Director and CEO of Novas Labs, a contract manufacturing company that primarily produces hemp-based CBD products. During my time as Lab Director, I developed my own line of organic, all-natural CBD products that would later become Wellphora CBD.

What do you do in your business?

I have the opportunity to lead an innovative company that specializes in natural healing and wellness through plant-based medicine while continuing to be a trailblazer in the cannabis and naturopathic industry. Innovating new products, speaking with, and helping people with their health journeys are what makes my job dynamic on a daily basis. I get to collaborate with some of the best and brightest doctors from the naturopathic world to find alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments to help people better their lives.

Where do you do business?

We operate out of 2 locations: Butte Montana and Sun City West Arizona. Because I spend the summers up in Montana it was important that I am able to travel with Wellphora and bring my business with me. Montana calls to me whenever I am not there and I just can’t imagine a more perfect split between the warm Arizona winters and the beautiful Montans summers. I am trying to relocate from Butte Montana to the Flathead Valley eventually landing in Bigfork. Being able to directly connect with our customers, has been nothing short of amazing. The people in Arizona and Montana have really embraced our business, products, and what we are trying to do to help people achieve optimal health and deal with personal medical issues. Everyone has been so friendly and have networked with me to create a powerful team of professionals that serve as referrals to our customers, friends, and family for treating various health ailments outside of Western Medicine. Every single day we are getting more and more new customers just from word-of-mouth referrals. 

What Changes would you like to see in the area of natural healing?

The biggest change that needs to happen is transparency. There is currently no way to legally advertise, or even communicate to customers what natural, plant-based medicine can be used for. The Federal government has locked down the use of any medical. People researching a specific condition or diagnosis will never find what they are looking for by way of alternative medicine and treatments because the professionals of these alternative medicine fields have been silenced thanks to the influence of powerful lobbyists from the alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industry…with Big Pharma being the biggest opponent of natural healing.

What am I promoting?

I am promoting an alternative to pharmaceuticals through education, lifestyle changes, and plant-based medicine to live a better healthier life. Although we manufacture CBD, we often refer our customers to naturopaths and other functional medicine practitioners that support a more scientific and common-sense approach to achieving better health outcomes without the use of pharmaceuticals.

What are you excited about in your business and why?

I am excited about the upcoming speaking engagements I have scheduled. The opportunity to share information (uncensored) and connect with people that are looking for natural health alternatives and information that will enrich their lives through simple changes in their diets and lifestyles. We just launched 2 new products including one that is super-specialized and being case-studied with extraordinary results thus far.  I am also excited about expanding our business model in the near future to include other forms of therapeutic treatments that include frequency healing (EMF) and oxygen healing (HBOT) with potential strategic partners and investors.

What is your favorite community cause and why?

I am a big supporter of the Peoria Firefighter Charities because of the amazing support that they provide to the community. I have had the opportunity to be closely involved with this worthy organization for +25 years and have personally experienced the lives that they have impacted in very positive ways. 

When and why I started my business?

I started this business to help my wife who was dealing with arthritis flare-ups because she had previously broken her back in a car accident years ago. CBD was one of the only things that helped her with the pain and inflammation. At that time CBD was unregulated, and we had very inconsistent results from using different products. I leveraged my chemistry and medical background to formulate my own CBD that I knew could be trusted, safe, and free of harmful chemicals and heavy metals. Because quality CBD was so expensive to produce, I started a contract manufacturing business to produce CBD for other companies to help offset the costs of our own personal use. CBD took off, for good reason, and the rest is history!

Where I came from and why I left?

The decision to move on and retire from the firefighting career that brought me so much joy for 23 years was difficult and one I did not take lightly. The personal calling to help and serve others has always been the driving force. Now I have the opportunity to continue that personal mission on a larger scale by impacting more people. I have blazed a trail in the natural healing world and continue to help others make changes in their lives to support their own health and well-being. Although I miss the brotherhood of my Fire Department family, I am certain that the path I am on currently is right where I am supposed to be.

Tell us about your family.

My entire family has been extremely supportive of my decision to change careers and have all had a hand in helping me grow Wellphora into what it is today. They have stepped in to help with everything from being the assembly line workers packaging products, to sales staff, to investors during times of rapid expansion. I have also included them as guinea pigs (testers) sampling and sharing their personal results during new product development. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without their support and commitment.

What are you “into” lately?

Most recently I have been researching and learning about electromagnetic energy fields (EMF) and Oxygen Therapy, which I find both subjects very interesting. It is difficult at times to find credible information because open-source information is continually suppressed for some reason. I have recently set up electromagnetic energy fields surrounding my organic gardens at home, and we are seeing pretty incredible results on the yields of our vegetables thus far. On the Oxygen therapy portion, I am fascinated on how much something as basic as oxygen can make such a tremendous impact on our health. I want to continue to explore this and help to make Oxygen Therapy more mainstream within our community. Of course, I still love golfing, fishing, hunting, and all things basketball. Go Suns!

What is your guiding philosophy?

Professionally, I maintain the belief that “We are Physics before we are Biology.” I continuously seek out as much research as possible in the field of Quantum Physics because I believe this holds the key to our existence, future, and improved health. 

Personally, I try to always maintain a positive outlook on life and literally every situation that comes my way. Happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy and positive.

What advice would you give to today’s youth?

In the words of the great Coach Vince Lambardi, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. My advice… Never let your lack of preparation be the reason to miss out on opportunities. This is also known in the Marine Corp as the 7 P’s of success. If you don’t know, look it up! 

Is there one particular person/thing that inspires you?

My wife Stephanie is the single most important person that inspires and encourages me to follow and achieve my goals. Her consistent commitment to family, marriage, friendships, helping others selflessly, and looking after her own health is truly inspiring. I have never met someone with so much self-discipline and such a kind heart. She makes everyone around her strive to be a better person. She lifts those up around her at every opportunity with a warm smile and words of encouragement.

What is your dream vacation?

I have never been on a cruise. An Alaskan Cruise with the family fishing at each port along the way sounds about right.

Describe your perfect day.

Fly fishing on a river in Southwest Montana and hooking into a nice fat brown/rainbow trout, with the cool breeze and pine trees surrounding me. Then I would enjoy a cold craft beer from the Smelter Brewery in Anaconda, Montana and a hot meal at the Gallatin River House before laying down and catching a glimpse of the northern lights and listening to the elk bugle. My version of heaven on earth.

What was your first job?

My first official job was a Sandwich Artist at Subway. It helped that my employer was great and fed us a sub and Cold Stone Creamery ice cream every day I worked. That was fantastic for a teenager making $3.75/hr. Unofficially, before Subway, I was a roofer one summer. I carried bundles of shingles up a ladder and laid shingles in the really HOT AZ summer!

What words of wisdom would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with amazing, positive-minded people and empower them to succeed! Only grow with what you are capable of sustaining with those great people. Don’t compromise your integrity or core values for anything. Your customers will “feel” the difference and get behind not only your company, but everything you stand for.


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