Lori Daytner worked for over 20 years for Rosinter (ROST) in Russia’s fast-paced, developing restaurant industry starting in the early nineties just after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Having worked in Operations, Human Resources, New Business Development and Franchising, Lori became the CEO in 2006 and saw the company through a successful $100m IPO in 2007. These experiences, Lori believes, prepared her for her current focus in the emerging industrial hemp industry in Pennsylvania.
Lori retired (she thought!) in 2014, returning to New Castle, PA to care for her elderly father and other family members. After 5 years of caregiving, DON founder Chris Lloyd offered her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work to launch DON Processing Inc. with the aim of establishing an industrial hemp processing and production hub in western PA. Lori couldn’t turn down the chance to work in a newly-developing industry again, because “being a part of a new industry is fascinating, especially in a developed, mature market—there are very different challenges than in an emerging market”.
The DON group of companies is a combination of non-profit and for-profit entities which at its core is focused on supporting persons with disabilities. In its 20 years since the inception of the first non-profit, Disability Options Network, DON has grown to become a force for economic development in the region, employing over 1,000 people and working in several sectors including disability rights advocacy, in-home personal attendant care, affordable accessible residential construction, business district revitalization, neighborhood revitalization, construction reuse and reclamation, a co-occurring mental health and drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility, and now, an industrial hemp production hub. DON’s staff is inclusive of individuals with disabilities and is a model for community responsibility and rejuvenation.