About Us


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Our Story

Like minded people have come together with a shared mission to use hemp as a sustainable building resource. Beyond education, we demonstrate the uses of hemp in building and are working towards certification of hemp building materials.

What We Do

Industry Networking

Take part in regional and national conversations on the developing hemp building industry. Become a leader. Find your destiny.

Advancing Policy

In the Certifications committee, the focus is on leading the way in acceptance into codes and determining how to calculate the carbon footprint of hemp building products.

Educating the Public

Education is key to the progress of our industry. The Education committee is working hard to provide reliable information that can be disseminated far and wide. 

Creating an Inclusive Industry

Creating an inclusive environment and trying to make diversity a priority are key goals of the USHBA. The Diversity & Inclusion committee was setup to help guid the organization as it grows.

Our Mission 

The purpose of the USHBA is to support and advocate for hemp building professionals, projects and materials in the United States. To facilitate the establishment, stabilization, and growth of a thriving American hemp building Industry.

USHBA Board of Directors

Jacob Waddell


Jacob Waddell has been the President of the US Hemp Building Association since October 2020. He has overseen the growth of the organization and is currently leading USHBA and USHBF initiatives including the creation of ASTM standards, development of a submission to the International Code Council, and the establishment of the Workforce Development Program.

Jacob has a science background with years in engineering in manufacturing environments and running businesses. His mission in life is to make a positive impact on the world around him. This sometimes manifests as empowering people around him to reach greater heights and other times can be seen as a relentless drive to accomplish tasks that he sees as important. A natural leader who believes that teams make the difference and that carefully analyzes situations to achieve success. He believes in win-win agreements and holds honesty and kindness as important virtues.

Education: Jacob has a Masters in Material Science and Engineering and MBA

Saba Tesfay

Vice President

Saba Tesfay is an emerging player within the hemp building sector connecting experts and citing trends. With a focus on environmental sustainability and social welfare, Saba shares our vision to fundamentally shift the attitudes and relationship towards the hemp plant to address the many issues society faces today. Saba’s experience in renewable energy, carbon credits, sustainable construction, and program development has given her a broad spectrum of hands-on experience that she willingly contributes. With a Masters Degree in Global Leadership in Sustainability, she is currently offering services in business development. 

Saba’s direct experience and knowledge in the United States and Africa evolved around applying practical solutions regarding natural resource management and education through outreach and engagement. Saba has organized and hosted small and large-scale events for clients including 350.org, UN WFP, PBS, a range of musicians, NGOs, and many more. She is an expert in developing campaigns, creating curriculum, and hosting dialogue among stakeholders to unify behind positive messages and ignite action.

With a focus on new and emerging hemp technologies for regenerative systems, Saba serves as a board member of the US Hemp Building Association to encourage the advancement of their mission. “Socially, and as extensions of the earth, we face many ‘wicked’ problems; but together, we can further facilitate the cannabis plant and it’s allies to optimize our manifestations in order to heal and uplift.”

Rachel Berry


Rachel Berry is the founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association, a women-led grassroots organization dedicated to building the resources and relationships necessary to grow a sustainable and equitable Illinois hemp industry.

She is a first-generation regenerative farmer raising poultry, growing heirloom vegetables, native medicinal plants, and industrial hemp with her family on their 13 acre homestead.

As a community organizer and dedicated volunteer she works to educate farmers, business owners, law makers, and families about the potential of hemp as a community crop. She is also experienced in hemp-lime construction.

Kimberly Claxton



Kim Claxton has a love for numbers and an appreciation for cannabis, so working in the industry was only natural. Today, she runs a full-service accounting firm, which provides tax assistance, bookkeeping, payroll, and CFO services to the cannabis industry.
She loves working with cannabis clients and values the opportunity to help them navigate the tricky world of finance and accounting.
She is a passionate advocate for the plant and the rights of patients and consumers and is involved with numerous organizations promoting cannabis education and advocacy, including Memphis NORML.

Eric McKee

Founder of the USHBA &
Director of Strategic Growth

Eric McKee is the Founder and CEO of Wndr, a Colorado startup whose mission is to infuse sustainability and style with economic viability in building with Hemp. Eric built the first permitted hempcrete structure in Denver County which  gained national attention and propelled Eric to the forefront of the Hemp industry. Eric has contributed countless hours to promote building with Hemp, including time in Haiti’s Wynne Farm Nature Reserve demonstrating Hemp’s application for humanitarian and ecological purposes, speaking and training at multiple Hemp Expos, Symposiums and Webinars, and contributing his expertise to the International Hemp Building Association.

Sergiy Kovalenkov

Director of University Relations Development

Known the world over as Dr. Hemphouse, Sergiy Kovalenkov, Civil Engineer, has worked on numerous hemp insulation projects across the globe in countries like: Ukraine, Switzerland, France, Russia, Poland, Australia,USA and Poland. In 2015, he founded Hempire UA in Ukraine, which has developed Hempire Mix, a 100% natural binder, that when mixed with hemp and water creates one of the lightest, carbon negative hempcrete insulation materials on the planet. Hempire has received  high recognition and numerous awards for innovative technology and developing creative, challenging projects building with Hemp. In 2018, Sergiy has founded Hempire USA in California. The company will focus on bringing a new hemp processing technology and other natural, innovative materials to US market and rest of the world.

Henry Valles

Founding Board of Directors Member

Henry Valles is a NAR Green Certified real estate professional with Realty Austin, Co-Founder & Vice President of the Texas Hemp Industries Association and a hemp building advocate. In 2017, He spearheaded Austin’s first hempcrete home in Community First Village, a community for the chronically homeless. Henry has delivered presentations on developing communities through hemp building at multiple conferences, such as the International Hemp Building Symposium and EarthX. Inspired to bring more sustainable and non-toxic solutions to the real estate and building industries, Henry continues to educate his community and champion the use of hemp-based building materials through his real estate and hemp building consulting practices.

Cameron McIntosh

Director at Large

Cameron has served as the Vice Chair of USHBA Area Leadership Committee, is a founding influencer of USHBA since 2019. He is a founding member of All Together Now PA Industrial Hemp Supply Chain Coalition and owner of Americhanvre, a licensed and fully insured hempcrete installation firm in Allentown, PA.  

Bob Escher, AIA

Founding President

Vermont Architect, Bob Escher AIA, hails from an impressive family of builders and engineers whose projects include New York’s original Yankee Stadium and Switzerland’s Gotthard Tunnel.
A practicing architect for over thirty years, his firm features a national portfolio of completed projects in numerous states including New York, Virginia, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont.
After completing the first permitted hempcrete structure in Denver Colorado in 2017 and being elected president of the USHBA in 2019, Bob is ready to take the lead to educate, innovate and create the infrastructure to bring hemp-based
construction materials to the marketplace.