Sara Batterby is an astute and intuitive entrepreneur and strategist and has spent the last decade launching and funding early stage companies in high growth, emerging markets. She started her career in technology and finance with Accenture and has subsequently supported multiple ventures as a founder, a consultant and an advisor. She is a strong systems thinker and fluent in the process of bringing form and function to the founders vision through organizational development, fundraising and brand. She is also passionate about diversity as a basis for strong business and smart investing, and co-designed an angel fund that applied the diversity principle as a portfolio strategy for early stage investors.
Sara is the President and CEO of Hifi Farms and Founding Chair of the Portland Chapter of Women Grow. She entered the cannabis industry in early 2015 and has subsequently built, funded and is now scaling a clean cannabis cultivation business in Hillsboro, Oregon. Built on the principles of craft, quality, community and sustainability, Hifi is currently one of the premier brands and most recognized cannabis companies in Oregon. Sara is proud to partner with the Resource Innovation Institute at the forefront of sustainable cannabis.
Margi Hoffmann, Founder & Board Chair
Margi Hoffmann has spent the last decade working in public policy and politics in Oregon, a great deal of which has been concentrated in the energy and clean technology sectors. Most recently, Hoffmann served as Energy Policy Advisor to Governors Kate Brown and John Kitzhaber. During her time serving the Governors, Hoffmann wrote the first-ever Ten Year Energy Action Plan for Oregon, negotiated the West Coast Climate and Energy Action Plan, spoke at the United Nations Council of Parties (COP) 20 about the need for collective, sub-jurisdictional action on climate, and helped co-found the Governor's Climate Accord. Prior to joining the Governors Office, Hoffmann served as Senior Vice President and Director of Oregon Operations for Strategies 360, a vertically-integrated political and marketing consulting firm. She has worked on a number of campaigns, including serving as Coordinated Campaign Director and manager of a congressional campaign. Hoffmann loves to mix her deep understanding of policy and politics to drive relevant outcomes for clients, stakeholders and businesses. She also really loves to backcountry ski, run rivers and play music.
Born and raised in Colorado, Margi co-founded the Resource Innovation Institute because she believes that her region and its communities are well served by its thriving cannabis industry – and wants to make sure it stays that way. As policy-makers struggle to figure out how to regulate the natural resource component of the industry, Margi sees ample opportunity for the industry to shape its own destiny, prove up new resource models for manufacturers, and leverage water conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy to increase productivity and maximize profit.
Jesce Horton is the owner of Panacea Valley Gardens, a medical cannabis cultivation center and co-founder of Panacea, an award-winning dispensary in Portland, OR. He is also the co-founder and Chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), the first non-profit organization founded to create equal access and economic empowerment for cannabis businesses, their patients, and the communities most affected by the war on drugs.
Currently, Jesce is developing Saints Cannabis, a vertically-integrated cannabis campus that will house adult-use (recreational) retail, cannabis lounge, indoor and greenhouse cultivation, processing and R&D operations all on one flagship property in Portland, OR. He sits on numerous state and city appointed committees that oversee rules and regulations shaping the Oregon cannabis industry. Jesce has received recognition from Marijuana Business Magazine, Willamette Weekly, Dope Magazine and High Times Magazine for local and national contributions.
Contributing to RII is important to Jesce because he believes that energy and resource efficiency is a cornerstone to the sustainable growth of the cannabis industry: “Cannabis has the ability to do amazing good in our society, but the industry will never reach its full potential without keeping sustainable business practices, like diversity and environmental efficiency, as core principles of development and growth.” Jesce bikes and runs with his dog Buddha in his beloved hometown of Portland, OR.
Kayvan Khalatbari, Board Member
A leading executive in the cannabis industry, Kayvan Khalatbari co-founded Denver Relief, the longest-operating cannabis business in Denver, CO, prior to its sale to Willie Nelson in 2016. He is also co-founder and operations manager for Denver Relief Consulting, which has assisted clients across North America with winning licenses in merit-based application processes and improving existing operations, and a founding partner in Cresco Labs, the largest medical cannabis cultivator in Illinois, and Silver Sage Wellness in Las Vegas, NV. He has been active in cannabis advocacy and government relations for over a decade and currently sits on the boards of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and the Illinois Cannabis Industry Association; is a founding member for the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation; and co-chairs a Committee within the Denver Department of Environmental Health to promote environmental stewardship in the cannabis industry. Kayvan is also a successful entrepreneur beyond the cannabis industry, with multiple business ventures. And, he is an active civic leader, mentoring children through the Denver Kids program; founding art&, a progressive creative collective aimed at exploring the relationships that art has with civics, entrepreneurship, livelihood and drug and social policy; and the lead proponent for Denver’s 2016 Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, which would make Denver the first city in the world to regulate the social use of cannabis.
Kayvan views joining the RII board as a tremendous opportunity to continue growing this coalition of well intending collaborators and that together we can do well to ready the cannabis industry for its impending grand expansion. The time to establish best practices and a progressive intent is now.
John Morris, Founder & Board Secretary
John Morris is the Chief Executive Officer of Morris Energy Consulting, an energy firm with a focus on software as a service, electric vehicles, policy & regulatory affairs, cannabis and microgrids. John developed and facilitated the first ever utility working group on energy consumption by cannabis producers. He has deep working relationships with a majority of utilities in Washington and Oregon and has spent the last two years delivering education and outreach to utilities on power factor in indoor agriculture processes, including presentations at a number of utility conferences throughout the western United States. Previously, John was the Policy & Regulatory Affairs Director for CLEAResult where he managed energy efficiency policy in 14 Western States and Canadian Provinces. John currently serves on the boards of Northwest Energy Efficiency Council and Drive Oregon, for which he chairs the Utility EV Working Group, focused on Oregon and Washington.
A native Washingtonian, John committed his expertise to founding the Resource Innovation Institute because he believes a platform through which utilities, growers and manufacturers can co-create market-based energy standards will have a deep and lasting impact on the cannabis industry and his own region.
Derek Smith, Founder & Executive Director
Derek Smith has been a leader in triple bottom line ventures in the public, private and nonprofit sectors for 15 years. Most recently, he founded and led Clean Energy Works, a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization that facilitates residential energy efficiency upgrades throughout Oregon and Washington. He has directed energy programs for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and also created an award-winning sustainability program for a national retailer who was part of bringing to market certification standards such as Forest Stewardship Council and Marine Stewardship Council.
From his roots in Northern California and throughout his career, Derek has seen the power of industry partners coming together to develop market-based solutions to their collective climate challenge, and he co-founded RII to serve as an effective industry platform that fosters the collaboration and thought leadership needed to forge a winning future for the cannabis industry.
Alex Tinker, Board Member
Alex Tinker is an attorney at Tonkon Torp LLP, a business law firm in Portland, Oregon. Alex brings five years of nonprofit and public sector experience advocating for clean energy and energy efficiency to the Resource Innovation Institute board. Before joining Tonkon Torp, Alex coordinated dozens of clean energy policy town halls with members of Congress nationwide, and helped craft and pass state legislation to finance energy efficiency retrofits in public buildings. Alex's legal practice focuses on business litigation, and Alex has been advising companies and individuals participating in and serving the cannabis industry since Oregon voters first approved regulation of adult-use cannabis.
Alex sees the changing legal landscape for cannabis as an opportunity to drive the development and adoption of cutting-edge energy efficiency practices and technologies as the cannabis industry rapidly emerges from the underground, and he joined the Resource Innovation Institute board to help make that happen.
Elizabeth Whalen, Founder & Board Treasurer
Elizabeth Whalen has more than 20 years experience as a strategic marketing professional and committed sustainability practitioner. For more than a decade she worked with Columbia Forest Products, where she developed and executed environmental strategies and activities that led to pioneering innovations in green chemistry and biomimicry, and to regulatory successes that have altered a global industry for the good of the environment and human health. Elizabeth has a deep understanding of the green building industry, having built credible and lasting green brands and successfully addressed chemicals of concern found in materials within the built environment. She served seven years in the Manufacturer’s Seat and as an officer on the board of the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversees the highly influential Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program.
An Oregon native, Elizabeth has witnessed firsthand the positive social and environmental impact of a self-regulated industry, both locally and globally. As co-founder of the Resource Innovation Institute, she believes RII can provide the cannabis industry the dynamic, market transformation tools needed to ensure long term success.