September 2020 Special Elections

 15 Candidates

7 Open Director At Large Positions

Click their image to view a video interview 

Rachel Berry
Rachel Berry

Princeton, IL

Background

I am the founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association Benefit Corporation, a grassroots organization serving the public through education, consulting, lobbying, media outreach, and volunteerism.

I am a first generation farmer, a passionate community organizer, and a frequent statewide speaker.

I am experienced in the joy of hemp lime building and instruction.

My work is devoted to promoting a socially, environmentally, and economically just future for hemp in my home state.

Why I would be a great board member.

I believe the emerging hemp industry needs leaders that are passionate, well connected, and have good instincts.

Equipped with my experience as the head of the IHGA, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and as a hemp farmer,
I can represent the USHBA to those standards.

The USHBA is the hemp industry’s best chance of accelerating the acceptance of hemp building materials across the country and in the communities I serve.

As a member of the Board of Directors, I would utilize my expertise and resources to achieve our goals as an organization.

Peter Burgess
Peter Burgess

Willowbrook, IL

Background

I am a retired professional who upon retiring in 2016 moved from the United Kingdom so that we could be closer to my wife’s family in DuPage County, Illinois.  I have a wide range of career skills and knowledge, which were acquired during a 40-year career working as a dedicated professional. A good deal of my work career was spent establishing and running my own businesses. I have had extensive experience leading, managing and delivering projects and services in a wide range of disciplines in both public and private sectors.
I have experience, knowledge and formal training in:
– Environmental sustainability and environmental management.
– Hempcrete in construction.
– Occupational health and safety management.
– Business improvement techniques and advanced applied ergonomics
– Carbon reduction methodologies and renewable energy technology
– Leadership, performance management and behavioral change implementation.
Over the years I have also had quite a varied academic career, the most recent studies of my studies were undertaken almost a decade ago at the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) and it was there I first learned about the use of industrial hemp and lime in construction.
For four years (2007 to 2011) I served as an elected member of my local council, two of those years I had specific responsibility for issues related to the Environment and the Green Agenda.

Why I would be a great board member.

I have a long history of doing voluntary work, in my younger days that work was with the sports rugby union and athletics. I was a founder member of my towns athletic club and the rugby union club. In 1979 I was treasurer my athletic club and have also served as treasurer and chairman of the rugby club, both those clubs still thrive today. A four-year term as an elected Councillor strengthened further my ability to be an active and productive participant in committee work. The senior council role I acquired after serving two years, necessitated me serving as executive director or member on various local, regional and national boards and committees of partner organizations.
I first learned about hemp and lime during my time studying at CAT, as part of the course I was undertaking we were classroom taught and also participated in hands on workshops. During my time studying at CAT I and other students stayed in the onsite accommodation block, which is one of the largest hempcrete structures in the UK.
When I lived in the UK I had the good fortune to have lived close to the largest hemp growing and processing facility in the UK (East Yorkshire Hemp), which I have visited frequently. In the later part of my career (2014-2015) I worked on a scheme funded by the European Union, the aim of the scheme was to increase employment and added value to businesses in my region. One of my clients during my time in that role was a builder who at the time was tasked by the owners of East Yorkshire Hemp to undertake hempcrete installation work on a number of the dwellings located on their holding. Another of the clients assisted by the scheme I was working on was the architect who had designed the main dwelling for the owner of East Yorkshire Hemp. That too was constructed from hemp and lime.
The EU scheme was fixed term and when it finished in 2015, I embarked on establishing a not for profit community interest company aimed at increasing skills and employment opportunities for people wishing to utilize sustainable materials such hemp, lime, clay etc in construction. Unfortunately, toward the end of 2015 family health reasons necessitated my wife and I move to the USA so I had to cease the work I was doing to get the CIC established. In the few months I took on that CIC challenge I did quite a bit of experimentation working on modular hempcrete panels and MGO boards.
I have now lived in the USA for over three years and consider myself settled here, during my time living here have watched closely as the industrial hemp industry begins to emerge.
As I mentioned I am now retired and have no further plans to embark on a new business venture. I believe I will be a useful addition to the USHBA board and the only gain I seek is the furtherance of the utilization of industrial hemp.

Paul Castillo
Paul Castillo

Santa Rosa, CA

Background

I  am an associate at Rimon Law’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices, and my practice primarily focuses on transactional hemp law. I help my hemp industry clients, with regulatory compliance, corporate formation, administration and governance, commercial and supply chain transactions, mergers and acquisitions, investments and fundraising, as well as guidance and counsel on the wide variety of legal and business issues which arise in the nascent hemp industry.

Why I would be a great board member.

I have worked in the hemp industry for the last 3 years, providing legal counsel to a wide variety of operators within the hemp space. I have experience in corporate governance and I have assisted hemp focused non-profit organizations specifically. I have a passion for the hemp plant and I truly believe that the utilization of hemp in building materials will change the world for the better. If elected to the Board, I will use my passion and expertise to help further the mission of the USHBA and ensure that it remains a voice for positive change for years to come.

Jeffrey Cole

Jeffrey Cole
Erie, CO

Background

As the owner of myEnergyLoan, which became the EnergyStar Mortgage, I have a deep background in green building. I have been in our industry for seven years. Partner at PureHemp Technology.

 

Why I would be a great board member.

I bring board and executive management experience, plus I have worked in green building, finance and national media/advertising with a focus on sustainability. I love to teach and mentor and will bring my full network to the table for the betterment of the organization and its membership.

Ruben DeSantiago

Ruben Desantiago
Murrieta, CA

Background

Southern California Native familiar with residential construction/real estate. 1997 commercial construction union carpenter.  Employed by one of the biggest construction companies in the world Kiewit Pacific Co. Environmental water supply renewable energy construction projects southern California. Colleges Union Joint Venture Apprenticeship Program Trust.  Riverside Community College.  Mount San Jacinto College. Association of General Contractors of America Training Committee.  Earned many Certifications

2002 real estate. Prudential California Real Estate 2002-2006. Finance credentials as well

2006 -2008 1st Independent Automotive Dealership DeSanti Motors LLC. Discovered on demand portable hydrogen generators, biofuels, and use of esters in gas and oil. Operated a Property Preservation Company repairs and remodeling bank-owned properties

2009 R&D Acquisitions Inc. Foreclosure Resolutions Inc. Real Estate Acquisitions and investment Services foreclosures, short sales bank-owned REO properties.

2011 Real estate auctions Real Estate Auction Service selling residential homes. Rowland Development Inc. & Santa Rosa Development Consultants Inc.
Became Director of Business Development of S2AModular in 2018 a Modular company building Net zero modular homes.

Why I would make a great board member.

I feel I would be a great board member due to the fact of all the resources I can help bring in to help enhance the growing nature of the US Hemp Building Association in advancing collaborative measures involving resources brought to the table from s2a modular such as nationwide PR and also my personal resources. Since being involved as a vested partner in a CBD company and with many other contacts in real estate development, and Hemp cultivation, including my background in various areas of business such as land acquisition, financing, business, construction specialties, entitlements, developments, investment, partnerships, consultanting, a great Hemp ambassador resource which adheres to the whole Hemp industry.

I currently stand as the Director of Business Development for S2AModular and we all want Hemp at the forefront in the building industry and we want everything to do with Hemp and have all of our homes built with as much hemp materials we can provide and help push Hemp in every way as possible.

Ryan Doherty
Ryan Doherty

Fort Collins, CO

Background

I am the founder and CEO of Hemp Ventures. I have amassed a vast knowledge of hemp fiber processing technologies and downstream applications of hemp materials. I have played a role in supplying many hemp projects with raw materials and worked with companies to develop other hemp based building materials. I am currently working on a state funded hemp impact study to determine to economic and environmental impacts of grain and fiber hemp in addition to the work with Hemp Ventures.

 

Why I would be a great board member.

The USHBA is made up of driven and visionary leaders in the Hemp space and I would be honored to play a role in pushing that vision forward. I have a great interest in hemp building applications and believe that my experience in the supply chain of raw hemp material production would prove valuable to building a greater understanding of the hemp building material supply chain. I have had the opportunity to supply many hemp building projects and work on the development of several hemp building materials which has allowed a better understanding of US hemp building markets and how the USHBA could best catalyze these activities.


Ben Droz

Washington, DC

Background

I moved to Washington, DC, to be the nation’s first full time lobbyist for the hemp industry, in 2008. I worked tirelessly to build support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, and was the ‘man on the ground’ to whip votes for the passage of SEC 7606 in 2013. I am still a registered lobbyist and lives less than 2 miles from the U.S. Capitol building.

Why I would be a great board member.

I bring over a decade of experience and leadership in the hemp industry.  I have a deep understanding of the benefits of hemp building. In 2013, I was even featured in the documentary, “Bringing It Home”, about hemp building. I bring a keen understanding of legislative and policy issues to the table, that will be an important voice to have in the USHBA Board of Directors.
Once things settle down and somewhat normalize, my proximity to Capitol Hill, will make me a great voice to represent USHBA, both on and off the Hill. In addition to the 535 Members and Senators, DC is home to many coalition organization, such as the US Green Building Council, where I can bring hemp building to the table and conversation. I look forward to bringing my expertise and network to the USHBA.

Hemp building is one of the greatest uses for hemp, because it is maximizes the unique benefits of hemp in many ways. It does not require complicated processing, and can be done on a local or regional level. It is also scalable (pre-fabricated), so has huge potential. Hemp building is a major use for hemp that is too often overlooked. I want to continue to focus on the industrial uses for industrial hemp.

Bob Escher
Bob Escher

Dorset, VT

Background

I have been an architect in Dorset Vermont for over thirty years as well as the founding president of the US Hemp Building Association since its creation in 2019.
Over the years, I have designed and built over 500 projects through out the US, including the WNDER Workshop, which was the first permitted hempcrete building in Denver Colorado. I presently have four hempcrete projects in the design stages in Vermont, NY State and Missouri.

Why I would be a great board member.

My 30 + years of experience in the construction industry has served the USHBA in understanding the process of bringing hemp based materials into the mainstream construction market.
As the founding president, I will continue the work the USHBA has started in educating the public and Government agencies about the many uses of the hemp plant, assist in the writing of the US certifications to get hemp based products into the US markets and to organize the creation of the supply chain infrastructure of processing that will guarantee a market for hemp farmers to sell their harvest.

Kayla
Kayla Haddix-Heard

Loveland, CO

Background

In the Hemp space I am an education advocate. I reach out to and work with the world to spread knowledge about the beautiful plant we work with on a daily basis. I have worked with farmers, certifying bodies, state agencies, ag departments, extractors and more. I have developed extraction technologies, developed custom formulations for products, consulted on dozens of projects and lead many educational seminars to bring people on board with our mission. Together we will never stop ushering Hemp forward.

Why I would be a great board member.
I have the experience, strength, and resilience necessary to get things done. I have grown successful businesses from the ground up and love the challenge. I am a visionary who can see past current obstacles and find solutions for the benefit of the long haul. I have a passion for the Cannabis plant that is unwavering and grows with each passing year. I would be grateful and proud to offer my strengths to the USHBA.

Sergiy Kovalenkov
Sergiy Kovalenkov

Los Angels, CA

Background

– 10 years in the field of hempcrete.
– Civil Engineer by trade (Carleton University, Canada)
-USHBA founding member
– Founder and CEO of Hempire UA
– CEO of Hempire USA
– Many completed hempcrete Projects all around the world
– Director of Education (USHBA)
– Strong knowledge base in the field of green construction

Why I would be a great board member.

I believe my background and experience of 10 years in the field of hempcrete can bring additional value to USHBA and help build this entity into Google of hempcrete.

Eric McKee
Eric McKee

Denver, CO

Background

I am the Founder and current Director of Strategic Growth of the USHBA. In 2017 I began Wnder LLC, a hemp product development company based in Denver Colorado. Also in 2017 I designed and with help built the Wnder Workshop, the first permitted Hempcrete structure in Denver County. In 2018 I attended the International Hempcrete Building Symposium in Brussels Belgium organized by Steve Allin’s IHBA. This began the conversation of forming a US focused hemp building organization. Finally in 2019 with the assistance of ten of the biggest names in industrial hemp I formed the USHBA. Since then, I have committed my life to building infrastructure in the hemp industry and to the success of the association.

Why I would make a great board member.

It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with so many incredible individuals while breathing life into the USHBA. I've worked with many incredible teams in my career and this team is no different. The USHBA has lot's of amazing talent from different industries, backgrounds and perspectives. it's really special when you are able to set a goal, strategize and execute the game plan at a very high level. The term morale or "esprit de corps" used in the Marines is defined as the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in an institution or goal. Without good Morale a group is more likely to give up or not accomplish its set goals. If we look at our own country and see how divided it is, it doesn't run very well. I believe hemp and the USHBA (and myself for that matter) can help improve this country's economy and its morale and I want to be apart of that team. One way to do this is by showing them that hemp works and it does all the things we say it can do, greener and cheaper! There is a tremendous amount of opportunity out there for this earth saving hemp industry but there is a lot more work for us to do before we get there.I want to continue to work as team builder and strategist to insure that we are building an association and hemp industry that strong and inclusive and capable of saving the world, because we have to. It's up to us.
Thank you for your support.


Aaron Schoeneman

Homewood, IL

Background

I am the founder and President of the Hemp Economic Development Group (HEDG). HEDG’s mission is to work with regional development authorities and local municipalities to leverage hemp as an economic development tool. I have worked on hemp issues since 2013 and co-founded the Iowa Hemp Association (IHA) and Iowa Hemp Industries Association (IAHIA). Now I am focused on mainstream hemp fiber product education and building large-scale fiber processing nationwide. HEDG is also seeking wide-spread use of hempcrete in urban and suburban areas that need residential, commercial, and economic revitalization and development. In my free time also work as a political campaign manager and strategist for progressive candidates.

Why I would be a great board member.

I believe I would be an ideal USHBA BOD member because I have experience leading and growing grassroots non-profit organizations. It requires strategic thinking to build an organization coupled with strong leadership to drive it toward accomplishing its vision. HEDG and USHBA share common ground along with complementary visions for the future of hempcrete and the hemp industry at large. HEDG also works with regional development authorities and a number of municipalities to establish local hemp processing industries, including large-scale processing. HEDG also has a goal to implement large-scale hempcrete building and revitalization projects in cities, suburban regions, and rural areas throughout the country. To be effective, a leader in hemp must be able to wear a myriad of hats, navigate a variety of circles, and think about the plant, industry, and supply chain in parallel. I have experience doing that with the Iowa Hemp Association (IHA), Iowa Hemp Industries Association (IAHIA), and something I’m currently working on for HEDG. In addition, I have experience working in rural areas across the Midwest with farmers, breaking down taboos and encouraging them to grow the commodity crop for fiber and seed by way of focusing on its economic and land stewardship benefits. My experience in the Midwest also comes with legislative experience, where I wrote prospective draft legislation and lobbied with the IHA, organizing farmers to attend legislative forums in order to successfully push for the legislation with the IAHIA. I am confident that these qualities and our shared goals would make me a great USHBA Board Member.

Saba Tesfay
Saba Tesfay

Las Vegas, NV

Background

I have a vast background in hands-on work focusing on environmental education and social justice in many different scenarios and places around the world. With BA in Political Science/Solar&Renewable Energy and a MA in Natural Resources with an emphasis on Global Leadership in Sustainability I have also been able to apply practical social formula’s and see their results. A brief overview of my experience includes co-founding a non-profit in Ethiopia for street children to get access to education, organizing the nation’s first 3 day EarthDay Expo with over 80+ vendors, programming, gov’t officials, entertainment, school children etc. Organized an event for the UN World Food Programme. From there became a full time mom while also working as an executive assistant in two businesses. Organized Kaya Fest’s annual cannabis oriented Education Before Recreation symposium. Have done 10+ years of self study, participated in some hempcrete workshops, took courses in sustainable construction and prepping to get LEED AP Certified. I have done work in Germany (speak fluent German), Egypt, Kenya, Lesotho, and have planted many seeds while also growing from my many experiences. It is one of my ultimate goals to have a processing facility in Ethiopia or anywhere on the African continent, and create a regenerative framework that can be utilized by the people who can benefit the most. My passions range but are all very specific. I feel as though I have a deeper innerstanding of the orientation/framework our society needs to make a change, and as we know, hemp is a divine tool for our childrens and planets future!

Why I would be a great board member.

Having been working with the USHBA/USHBF full-time for about 4 months in operations, I would love to be able to apply that energy effectively and in collaboration with a resource-rich, engaged, and driven board. I feel as though clear communications and agreed upon expectations are key to successful progress! And whether I am a part of the board or not, I hope that the USHBA can continue to grow and evolve to ensure that we are uniting all sectors of the supply chain to set forth and create tangible results/ offer resources for the collective to take advantage of and apply in sustainable construction and beyond. There is so much potential in this organization and the key is the membership base. There are so many members that have offered their time and/or research/resources, and it’s essential to engage this collective (which are all leaders) in order to really usher in the development of the industry.

Henry Valles
Henry Valles

Austin, TX

Background

10 years working in real estate and new construction; Co-founded the Texas chapter of the Hemp Industries Association back in 2015; Have attended 6 hemp building workshops and contractor trainings since 2014; Traveled to Canada and Europe multiple times to attend the International Hemp Building Symposium and to research hemp building facilities and practices; Fundraised and built the first hemp home in Austin, TX for a homeless community; Founding board member of the USHBA and Chairman of the USHBA Regional Leadership Committee.

 

Why I would make a great board member.

Bringing hemp building materials to the mainstream construction market has been a passion of mine since I have been introduced to hemp building materials and particularly hempcrete. In my real estate business I am constantly working with buyers, sellers, investors, builders, developers and trade organizations where I understand what will be needed to get hemp based building materials mainstream. With the help of Cameron McIntosh, Katie Poss and Jacob Waddell, I have lead the USHBA Regional Leadership Committee to great success and promise to continue to bring that leadership and passion on the USHBA Board of Directors.

Jacob Waddell
Jacob Waddell

Nashville, TN

Background

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.
Jacob is the COO of Ology Essentials, a cosmetic manufacturing company that focuses on CBD. He is also pursuing opportunities in the non-CBD hemp industry and is assessing markets to enter into for his next company. Previous to entering the hemp space, Jacob worked in product development and engineering in the automotive parts industry. In this career, he learned the practices of a corporate structure and the high quality standards and efficiency that the automotive industry is known for. He hopes to use this background to make the USHBA a high quality association that makes change in the industry.
Education: Masters in Material Science and Engineering and MBA.

Why I would make a great board member.

I think I can effectively help guide the USHBA success as a member of the Board of Directors. I am familiar with organizational work and corporate environments and practices. The next steps in USHBA development is fully forming the organizational structure and my experience in these environments will help with this process.

I believe communication is the key to a team’s success. This takes a great deal of listening to achieve and directing the conversation at times to maximize the effectiveness of meetings and discussions. This is a skill I have been honing for decades through time in youth groups, collegiate organizations, bands, and businesses. I am excellent at running meetings and think that this role would be one that I would excel at.

I enthusiastically believe hemp is one of the greatest opportunities this generation has to make progress that can help environmentally, economically, and, if done properly, help society. I would enjoy an opportunity to work with the great people that I have begun to know over the last year to help drive this industry forward. Together we can make an impact larger than anything anyone can accomplish on their own.

In the past 4 or 5 months, along with Henry Valles, Cameron McIntosh and Katie Poss, I have helped organize and direct the progress of the Regional Leadership Committee. I have heard this committee mentioned multiple times as the example of what needs to be done in the rest of the committees and the organization as a whole. I hope the progress we have made in this group shows what my colleagues and I have to offer. We have initiated the first USHBA webinar events and have organized the Regional leaders in an effective way. We are now working to empower them to accomplish great things and grow the organization. This has also allowed me to get to know other amazing people in our organization that have so much to offer. I believe these actions and activities speak louder than any words I can write here.

Please consider me for this position because I can help lead this organization to grow into something much bigger and more influential. I want to make a change in the world and I know so many of our other members are striving for the same goal.

Together we are stronger. Together we can make a difference. Together we can change the world.

Greetings Members and Friends of the USHBA!

Thank you for your interest in the US Hemp Building Association Board of Directors Special Election.

The election will begin Thursday Sept 3, 2020 at 12:00 PM CST and end Sunday September 13, 2020 at 5 PM CST.

All members are eligible to vote.  Members can access their ballot link by logging into their member account.  Ballot links will go live at the beginning of the election.

*  Each member is allowed seven votes, one vote for each open Director at Large position.
*  No member may vote for the same candidate twice.
*  Ballots submitted with seven or less votes will be validated.

The election results will be announced as soon as possible after the election ends. The elected positions will become effective immediately upon announcement of election results. The BOD of 9 post election will proceed as governing body at that time.

USHBA Founding BOD members transitioning off the USHBA BOD will transition onto the USHBA Advisory Council. Definition of the USHBA Advisory Council will be structured post election.

The USHBA Founding Board of Directors members have dedicated extraordinary commitment to the development of the USHBA and we look forward to their ongoing council.  It has been their intent to do a full board election per member vote since inception of the USHBA. This election will move the USHBA into our next phase of development in accordance with their original vision. We look forward to a strong working relationship between the incoming USHBA BOD team and the USBHA Advisory Council in the continued growth of the organization.

Members please use the button that will appear below at 12 PM CST on Thursday Sept 3rd to access your member account log-in where you will find the live link to your ballot.  We look forward to and appreciate your participation!