LEADERSHIP TEAM

RON KANDER | LEADERSHIP TEAM CHAIR

Thomas Jefferson University

Dr. Ron Kander is the Associate Provost for Applied Research at Thomas Jefferson University. He is also the founding Dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering, and Commerce at Jefferson and is a Professor in the College’s Engineering Program. He teaches and does research in the areas of material selection, materials processing, characterization of composite materials, and systems modeling.   Dr. Kander’s recent work has focused on an integrated study of the material science, process engineering, product design, supply chain economics, and sustainability of industrial and consumer products made from hemp-derived materials. He is a member of All Together Now PA’s Hemp Coalition and currently chairs the PA Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Steering Committee.  Dr. Kander received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware.

ASHELY WALSH | FARMER & PROCESSOR EDUCATION & OUTREACH SUBCOMMITTEE

Pocono Organics

Ashley is the founder of Pocono Organics, a global center for research, education, and discovery. Now, one of the largest Regenerative Organic Certified farms in North America and the World’s First and Only Regenerative Organic Certified hemp grower. Pocono Organics is also one of Rodale Institute’s largest satellite research stations for soil health and remediation, carbon sequestration, and other environmental impact studies. Ashley is passionate about the research of the dynamic hemp plant that has more than 50,000 potential uses to help both human and planetary health.Ashley and her team also launched the world’s first full-spectrum CBD product line that includes ROC hemp. The artisanal, small-batch items include tinctures, creams, salve sticks, lip balms, body oil, bath bombs as well as a petfriendly organic tincture. These products are the only products in the world to carry the respected Rodale Institute logo on its packaging and labels.

DAN SUMMA | FARMER & PROCESSOR EDUCATION & OUTREACH SUBCOMMITTEE

ArgiHemp Industries

Dan Summa is the Founder and CEO of AgriHemp Industries, a hemp processing company. Mr. Summa is also the Executive Director of the U.S. Ecological Advanced Research & Conservation Hub (USEARCH). USEARCH is focused on research around agricultural technologies and products derived from them. It is through USEARCH that Mr. Summa got involved in the hemp and cannabis industries. USEARCH has received a research permit to grow industrial hemp and Mr. Summa consults on technology related to plant growth. It is Mr. Summa’s vision for a vertically integrated hemp company that has resulted in assembling the pieces for AgriHemp Industries. He lives in Pennsylvania on a 16-acre farm where he grows hemp, corn and hay.

JAKE SITLER | SUPPLY CHAIN & MARKET DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE

JW Innovation Company

Jake Sitler started in the CBD space in 2018 after a traumatic professionally cycling accident, and has since taken the knowledge he’s learned in the major retail/growing/and extract space to Hugs Wellness and his own company JW innovation co. JW focuses on solvent free applications of cannabinoid products, cannabinoid powderizations, hemp growing/soil sciences, new extraction technologies, and retail product development. On the brand side, Hugs Wellness is a growing company in the CBD market, with a focus on many other hemp related cannabinoids as well.  

CYNTHIA PETRONE-HUDOCK | RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES & NEEDS SUBCOMMITTEE

Business Insights, Inc.

Cynthia has over 15 years of consulting experience, ranging from financial institutions to healthcare and now the cannabis industry.  She has worked with Cannabis companies for over 4 years assisting with strategic plans, go-to-market tactics and operational execution by focusing on people, process and technology. Cynthia is an investor and advisor to New Frontier Data, co-leads the Research, Opportunities and Needs Sub-Committee of the PA Hemp Steering Committee and member of the Chester County Agriculture Development Council.  She manages both cannabinoid and fiber grows, recently launched a cannabis supply chain evaluation company and has embarked on formulation and distribution of hemp-derived cannabinoid infused consumer products.

CARLA GARGZON| RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES & NEEDS SUBCOMMITTEE

K.H. Littlefield Professor of Plant Science in the Department of Plant Science at Delaware Valley University.

ERICA McBRIDE STARK | POLICY & REGULATION SUBCOMMITTEE

PA Hemp Industry Council

Erica Stark is the Executive Director of the National Hemp Association and the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council. She also serves as the co-chair of the Policy and Regulation Subcommittee of the PA Hemp Steering Committee which is the official advisory council to the PA Dept. of Agriculture. She has years of experience in hemp education and legislative advocacy, including testifying before the US Senate Ag Committee. She is a respected voice in the industry who has been invited to speak all around the country and has been quoted in most national media outlets. Erica was instrumental in enacting legislation in Pennsylvania and is proud to have been managing permits and growing hemp in PA since 2017.

EMMAROSE BOYLE | POLICY & REGULATION SUBCOMMITTEE

Barley Snyder Attorneys at Law

EmmaRose Boyle has been with Barley Snyder LLP throughout her legal career, starting with the firm in January 2018. Coming back to central Pennsylvania after an undergraduate education at Delaware Valley University and earning her law degree at Vermont Law School, EmmaRose primarily serves food and agribusiness clients throughout the region. Although EmmaRose’s background is in the livestock industry, she took on the task of becoming Barley Snyder’s go-to hemp attorney after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and has spoken on various topics affecting the industry since. Outside of the office, EmmaRose serves on a number of non-profit boards, including Berks Community Television and Pennsylvania’s Americana Region. EmmaRose also serves her community as a member of the Ladies’ Ancient Order of Hibernians, is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow for life, and adjunct professor at her alma mater, DelVal.

FRED R. STRATHMEYER | EX OFFICIO MEMBER

PA Department of Agriculture

Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection, Fred R. Strathmeyer Jr. was a co-owner of Strathmeyer Forests Inc. of York, a family business specialized in Christmas tree and evergreen nursery production, for over 35 years. A Bloomsburg University political science graduate, Deputy Strathmeyer has represented both the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association at the state and national levels. He was appointed by former agricultural secretaries to serve on multiple committees and task forces.

 

As the deputy secretary for plant industry and consumer protection, Deputy Strathmeyer oversees the department’s bureaus of Plant Industry, Ride and Measurement Standards, Dog Law Enforcement, the State Horse Racing Commission, and the Hardwoods Development Council. He serves as the designated chair for the Governor’s Invasive Species Council, the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee and the Amusement Ride Safety Board, to name a few, highlighting the department’s commitment to a sustainable and safe food supply, along with good stewardship of the land and natural resources.

KATIE McLAUGHLIN | DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

PA Department of Agriculture

Katie McLaughlin is the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretaries at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture where she assists with policy initiatives and special projects. Prior to joining the Department in 2019, Katie served as Council Director at PennAg Industries Association. Katie is a graduate of The Pennsylvanian State University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Science.

SARAH PICKEL | EX OFFICIO MEMBER

PA Department of Agriculture

Sarah Pickel is the Hemp Program Coordinator in the Bureau of Plant Industry at the PA Department of Agriculture. She’s been in the position since the fall of 2019, administering the permitting of hemp growers and processors, but has been working on Hemp in the Department since 2016. Sarah served over 14 years at the Department as an Integrated Pest Management education specialist (contracted through Penn State University) focusing on outreach to the nursery industry and school facility managers. Before her work through Penn State, she worked in the Department’s Plant Pathology Laboratory. Sarah is a graduate of Messiah College and has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Education.

MIKE ROTH | EXECUTIVE POLICY SPECIALIST

William Penn Fellow at PDA

Michael Roth is a William Penn Fellow with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Based in the policy office, his work focuses on food security, urban agriculture, climate change, and hemp.

KELLY KUNDRATIC | EX OFFICIO MEMBER

Team PA Foundation

Kelly Kundratic is Team Pennsylvania’s Manager of Agriculture Policy & Programs. She joined the staff at Team PA in 2018 through a partnership with the PA Department of Agriculture. Kelly’s role is to oversee strategic agriculture initiatives and manage the Pennsylvania Agriculture Advisory Board. The partnership aims to facilitate new opportunities for economic growth that address the needs and challenges of the agricultural industries.

PHILLIP J. STOBER | EX OFFICIO MEMBER

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Prior to joining the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in February, 2020, Phil was the principal owner and operator of Bare Foot Organics @ Greystone Farm, a USDA Certified Organic Produce &, Pastured Poultry Farm and Agricultural Marketing Company, in West Cornwall Township. His current work with PDA, as Division Chief for Economic Development, is to ensure Pennsylvania’s premiere industry remains sustainable and viable into the 21st Century. Also, as Director of the Agricultural Business Development Center, an entity created from the 2018 Farm Bill, one of Phil’s goals is to make Industrial Hemp a centerpiece of the Pennsylvania agricultural economy. He is eager to help the industry thrive. A graduate of Boston University, Phil currently splits his time between his farm in Lebanon, PA and New York City, with his wife of 35 years, Barbara Vitanza.

For more information, reach out to us on our Contact page.