Team Biographies

Team Biographies


Chief Executive Officer

A veteran Wall Street executive with Big 6 expertise, Jim Smith brings over 30 years of experience to Whole Plants. Jim is dedicated to public service, serving as a board member of the PA Economic Development Finance Agency and Chairman of the Pittsburgh Financial Oversight Board. He leads Whole Plants by successfully bringing the application and management teams together, securing a highly coveted permit over hundreds of other applicants, and managing the construction and operational facets of the company.


Chief Operations Officer

Dr. William Hanson is a well-established grower in the industry with over 30 years of medical cannabis, commercial high-tech operations, manufacturing, engineering and intellectual property development experience. As a founding member of DS Growth Systems, an Oregon-based medical marijuana grow processor, he brings unmatched industry experience to Whole Plants. His knowledge in grow facility and productions operations management ensures success as he designs and oversees the retrofit of our facility and production.


Extraction Partner

With a PhD in Organic Chemistry focused on synthetic methods drug discovery, Dr. Jeff Raber is our key to unlocking the medicine within our products. Jeff is a founder of The Werc Shop, a California-based cannabis research center that provides technology to state licensees for custom formulation and extraction, and he has served as key SME, giving testimony to state legislature during the Pennsylvania medical marijuana legal proceedings. Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge to Whole Plants, developing precise consistency in medicinal dosage of our products.


Growing Consultant

An established grow expert in Colorado and expert botanist specializing in the organic cultivation of medical-grade cannabis, Jason Cranford brings over 35 years of industry experience to Whole Plants. Jason created the highly popular Cranfords cannabis brand in Colorado and is the owner of “Haleigh’s Hope,” a cannabis strain known nationally for its medicinal benefits, which will become a Pennsylvania exclusive of Whole Plants. Jason has the longest grow experience on our team, rounding out our unmatched cultivation and branding expertise.


Chief Science Officer

As our Chief Science Officer, Dr. Jahan Marcu brings world renowned and leading scientific knowledge, technology and practice to Whole Plants. Dr. Marcu received his PhD from Temple University for significant contributions to the study and structure of the CB1 receptor and role of the cannabinoid system in bone. He has held senior positions including Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Auditor with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), and also serves as a Board Member with the International Association for Cannabinoids. His work has been published in Forbes, Vice, Nature, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CannabisNow, Freedom Leaf Magazine, The Washington Post and more.


Medical Director

Dr. Susanne Sisley serves as a Medical Director for 11 medical cannabis license holders across the United States. She was recruited to organize Colorado State University’s Cannabis Center of Excellence, and is the lead author of “Why Marijuana is Critical for Research in Treating PTSD”. Dr. Sisley carries board certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Neurology / Psychiatry. Her industry-specific medical expertise ensures the highest standards for safety and efficacy at Whole Plants.


VP of Sales and Marketing

Caroline Hawkins is a former managing partner of a round one, dispensary permit license group in South Central Pennsylvania whose partnership was acquired by Green Thumb Industries, a publicly traded company on the Canadian Exchange and a leading multi-state, vertically integrated Cannabis operator in the US. Prior to getting into the Cannabis industry, Caroline worked in the financial and technology sectors for over 20 years and participated in multiple startups that have been sold or gone public. Caroline’s entrepreneurial expertise is a key driver in the marketing success of Whole Plants.


VP Operations

Matt Fennell is a recognized leader in Quality, Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement, Project Management and Strategic Investments. Since separating from a successful military career with 12 years of Active Duty Army and Senior Military Leadership service, he has continuously displayed an innate ability to implement effective processes, quickly achieve organizational integration and leverage operations and technology to meet objectives. He brings 14 years of Senior Management and Executive Leadership in Aerospace, FDA, Medical and Automotive to Whole Plants.


Director of Community Outreach

Dana Ulrich provides the north star vision for Whole Plants. Her critical role in raising awareness for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana patients was proven as she sat directly next to Governor Wolfe as he signed the medical marijuana bill into law. Dana’s leadership was a key driver in the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, and through her work, she has established governmental and industry relationships that will strengthen and propel each Whole Plants brand as it goes to market. As our patient-facing Director of Community Outreach, Dana brings real life experience on the proven benefits of medical marijuana.


Reed Smith

General Counsel

Glenn’s practice includes a wide range of business law subjects, including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, rights and remedies of minority shareholders, corporate and partnership organization, reorganization and governance, radio broadcast property acquisition, commercial contracts and public and private issuance of securities, including tax-exempt financing (including refundings). He has served as bond counsel, underwriters’ counsel and issuer’s counsel across a broad range of state and municipal authority transactions and has represented institutional investors and issuers in private placements. Glenn has represented major multinational corporations in the divestiture of business units and strategic structural reorganizations. Glenn’s clients include emerging entrepreneurial enterprises, professional corporations and individuals, and multinational corporations. He has provided advice to boards of directors of public companies, including special committees of independent directors in connection with major related party transactions.


Emery Construction Services

Construction Manager


Powell Law, PC

Diversity Consultant

Powell Law, PC is certified as a small business that is woman and minority owned and operated.

Powell Law, PC is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and specializes in intellectual property, public finance, real estate and construction law. The firm strives to address the legal concerns of our clients through approaches that manage risks, and to serve as trusted advisors and advocates. Offering services within core practice areas, we efficiently contribute to the growth footprint of our clients.

Founded in 1998, our attorneys are licenced in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and Texas. We have experienced patent attorneys. Powell Law is listed in the Municipal Marketplace Bond Buyer’s Red Book. We provide our clients with the benefit of our unique real estate and construction experience.


Aspire Grant & Development

Community Impact Consultant

Michele R. Beener is the President of Aspire Grant & Development, LLC, a full service Federal, State and private grant research/management company. Aspire is a nationally certified diverse vendor, accredited by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Additionally, the firm is a certified Women Owned Small Business, consistent with guidelines from the United States Business Administration. Michele specializes in business plan writing and development for nonprofit firms and public/private partnerships.

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