Cannabis Career Watch | New Hires and Promotions February 28, 2020

House of Saka, VEXT, Flowhub, Shelter, ACES add new executives; Greenspoon Marder promotes new partner; Green Hygienics boosts management team; Benzinga forms new council; NorCal Cannabis adds to board.

Images: Flamingo Images /

Cannabis-infused beverage maker House of Saka, Inc. appointed Sue Bachorski to the role of chief operating and financial officer. Prior to joining the company, Bachorski spent nearly three decades as a senior operations and finance executive at Constellation Brands. Most recently, she served as senior vice president of operation services at Global Wine & Spirits.

“A talent acquisition such as Sue’s is paramount to delivering on House of Saka’s mission to produce and market the best-selling, most highly-regarded infused beverages in North America,” said Tracey Mason, co-founder and chief executive officer for House of Saka, Inc. “We believe this addition to our team will provide the additional know-how and competitive advantage we need to flourish for years to come.”


Upon the resignation of Robert (Bob) Brilon, VEXT Science named Denise Lok as its chief financial officer. Lok currently serves as senior manager of corporate finance at Baron Global Financial Canada Ltd.

“We are very pleased to have Denise join the VEXT team in the crucial role of CFO,” said VEXT Chief Executive Officer Thai Nguyen. “As a company listed in Canada and based in the U.S., we require a senior financial executive with Denise’s extensive knowledge and skill sets with respect to the public company reporting environment to streamline our filings and disclosures. Denise’s familiarity of VEXT through her role in our initial listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange, her experience as an auditor, and her knowledge of the Canadian public company regulatory requirements make her a valuable addition to our leadership team.”

Retail management platform Flowhub appointed Craig Gomulka as chief financial officer and Scott Schell as chief technology officer. Most recently, Gomulka served as CFO at Health Fidelity and earlier as vice president of finance at Highmark Health. Schell is an architect, entrepreneur, and technology executive with experience at enterprise software companies including Convercent, LogRhythm, Avaya, and Maptek.

“Our mission at Flowhub is to make safe cannabis products accessible to every adult on planet earth, and to do that we need to hire the best in their field,” said Flowhub Chief Executive Officer Kyle Sherman. “Craig and Scott will be instrumental in our ongoing goal to deliver the most reliable and robust cannabis retail platform for our customers. These individuals will tackle the financial and product needs that come with a company growing at a rate like ours as we continue to drive the industry forward.”

Shelter added Rick Infanti to its leadership team as director of retail strategy. Infanti previously served as category manager for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, British Columbia’s provincial wholesaler and distributor of regulated cannabis products, where he was responsible for purchasing cannabis, as well as managing and forecasting sales.

“The Shelter team and our cultivator partners will all benefit from Rick’s inside-out knowledge of the Canadian cannabis market, along with his broad experience in executing compliant projects,” said Shelter founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Hauk. “It’s a privilege to work closely with Rick to bring high-quality, innovative cannabis products to Canadians.”

Greenspoon Marder promoted Robert D. Finkle from senior counsel to partner in its Cannabis Law practice group. Finkle represents commercial cannabis companies throughout California at every level of the supply chain on a variety of matters including business organization, licensing and compliance, land use and real estate, commercial transactions, and civil disputes.

“Robert’s extensive knowledge of the cannabis industry has made him an invaluable asset to the firm,” said Greenspoon Marder Co-Managing Director Michael Marder. “We are eager to see him further thrive as a partner.”

“Robert’s promotion to partner is a testament to his exceptional work ethic and his devotion to his practice, clients, and the firm at large,” said Greenspoon Marder Co-Managing Director Gerald Greenspoon. “We are proud to have him as a part of the Greenspoon Marder team.”

Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. appointed three people to its management team: Kyle MacKinnon will assume the role of chief operating officer, Todd Mueller will become chief financial officer, and David Racz will join the advisory board.

“Quality people build a quality company and our business model includes ensuring our team is vested,” said Green Hygienics Chief Executive Officer Ron Loudoun. “Each of the professionals introduced in this [announcement] add real value to GRYN’s growth strategy. This is only the beginning of the industrial hemp industry and are pleased to welcome these gentlemen as we compete in this incredible market.”

Craft cannabis farm and culinary garden Sonoma Hills Farm appointed Aaron Keefer to the position of vice president of cultivation and production. Keefer has been an adviser to Sonoma Hills Farm since 2018, and most recently worked as head culinary farmer for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group (TKRG), which includes famed 3-Michelin Star restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville, California.

“We’ve always intended to be a beacon for the industry, and to lead in bringing craft cannabis to the farm-to-table lifestyle,” said Sam Magruder, partner at Sonoma Hills Farm. “Aaron has been a valued adviser and joins at the perfect time as we ready to build our cultivation facility and work toward our first harvest. Just as a highly-tended garden produces the best crops, and a well-managed vineyard is crucial to crafting a fine wine, the best cannabis is reliant upon the people that nurture it from seed to shelf. There’s no better person to cultivate and produce this cannabis than Aaron.”

Benzinga announced the launch of its Benzinga Cannabis Advisory Council, a group designed to share insights into industry trends, relevant news, and industry forecasts.

“We [Benzinga] are where the conversation happens at the intersection of industry and finance, and continue to be the place where investors come to read, ask questions, and identify their next opportunities,” said Patrick Lane, senior vice president of partnerships at Benzinga Events. “We are thrilled to have such a high achieving group join our platform.”

Members of the council include:
Alan Brochstein, founder, 420 Investor and New Cannabis Ventures
Beth Stavola, chief security officer and director, iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc
Codie Sanchez, managing director, Entourage Effect Capital
Kim Rivers, chief executive officer, Trulieve Cannabis Corp
Nancy Whiteman, chief executive officer, Wana Brands
Javier Hasse, managing director, Benzinga Cannabis
Jim Kirsch, senior managing director of investment banking, Alliance Global Partners
Phil Carlson, managing director, KCSA Cannabis
Lori Ferrara, co-founder, Treehouse Global Ventures
Everett Knight, executive vice president of corporate development, The Valens Company
Lewis Goldberg, managing partner, KCSA Cannabis
Dave Bocchi, head of investment banking, Alliance Global Partners
Barrington Miller, director of client listed services, Canadian Securities Exchange
Tahira Rehmatullah, president, T3 Ventures
Al Harrington, chief executive officer and founder, Viola Brands

American Cultivation and Extraction Services (ACES) appointed Kenneth Kunberger to the position of president and chief executive officer. Kunberger joins the company from International Textile Group (ITG), where he most recently served as president and chief executive officer.

“Ken’s experience and skills will be invaluable as ACES takes its place as a leader in the CBD and cannabinoid market,” said ACES Co-founder and Managing Director Ed Sartin. “We are very pleased to have Ken on the ACES team and look forward to his insightful leadership as we continue to expand our product line and grow our customer base.”

NorCal Cannabis appointed CPG industry innovator and entrepreneur Marina Hahn to its board of directors. Hahn most recently served as vice president and co-founder of new business at ZX Ventures, the growth arm of Anheuser-Busch, and currently sits on the board at Nasdaq company, Vapotherm Inc.

“Marina brings to NorCal her tremendous experience building brands and expertly navigating relevant emerging markets such as vodka, wine, and craft beer,” said NorCal Chief Executive Officer Doug Cortina. “With her vast CPG, Al-Bev, and pharma background, she couldn’t be a better fit. We’re extremely honored to have Marina bring her unique talent, creativity, and expertise to our board and our team.”

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