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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.


Hemp-Alternative, LLC

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 5 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-Chairs the PA Hemp Steering Committee and is a member of the Chester County Agriculture Development Council (the first County in the State to incorporate hemp into the strategic plan).  She manages cannabinoid, fiber and grain grows, formulates and distributes hemp-derived cannabinoid infused consumer products, is Co-Founder of a cannabis supply chain evaluation company (CSQI, LLC) and hemp food line (Intention Lifestyles).


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.


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.


Delaware Valley University

Dr. Garzon is the K.H. Littlefield Endowed Professor of Plant Science in the Department of Plant Science, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley University. She serves as the Director of the Cannabis Studies Academic programs at DelVal, that include a Horticulture Major and a professional certificate on Cannabis Studies. Dr. Garzon teaches an introductory course on Cannabis and another course on hemp production, and horticulture courses on hydroponics and greenhouse management. She is also the director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Laboratory. Her hemp research program conducts research on horticultural production of hemp, hemp diseases and hemp breeding. Dr. Garzon received her BS degree in Biological Sciences from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador, her PhD in Plant Pathology from Pennsylvania State University, and a Certificate on Cannabis Horticulture from Oaksterdam University. Before joining Delaware Valley University, she spent 12 years at Oklahoma State University as a tenure track faculty. As a Professor in Plant Pathology, Dr. Garzon taught courses on introductory plant pathology, soilborne plant pathogens, population genetics of plant pathogens, and scientific presentations, and conducted research on soilborne pathogens of horticultural and field crops.


PA Hemp Industry Council

Erica Stark is committed and knowledgeable hemp professional who has dedicated herself to the growth and development of the industry. As the Executive Director of the National Hemp Association (NHA) since 2017, she has become a trusted voice for policymakers and industry leaders. She was honored to be invited to testify at a US Senate Ag Committee hearing in 2019.


Erica’s service to the hemp industry can be traced back to her grassroots advocacy work in 2014. She went on to become a founding member of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council (PAHIC), serving as both Secretary and Executive Director. She was part of a small team that successfully pushed through hemp legislation in Pennsylvania. In 2023 she was elected as Chairwoman of PAHIC.


Barley Snyder Attorneys at Law

EmmaRose Strohl 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, Pennsylvania’s Americana Region, Women2Women, and PA Eats. EmmaRose is also an Albert Schweitzer Fellow for life, an adjunct professor at her alma mater, DelVal University, and serves as co-Chair of Barley Snyder’s Diversity and Inclusivity Committee.


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.


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.


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.

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