Team Biographies

Team Biographies


Chief Executive Officer

A veteran Wall Street executive, and a CPA who worked at a Big 8 accounting firm in the 1980’s, Jim Smith brings over 30 years of experience to Whole Plants. Mr. Smith graduated from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School where he also played football and received “All-Ivy” League Honors. Mr. Smith signed a contract to play professional football with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his career was cut short due to a knee injury.

Jim is dedicated to public service, having served as a board member of several Pennsylvania agencies and Commissions, including as Chairman of the 1st Pittsburgh 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.

As a former member of the Urban League of Pittsburgh, Mr. Smith has been a champion of diversity throughout his professional career. Mr. Smith made a commitment to the Mayor of Lebanon to recruit employees from the local Hispanic community, and Mr. Smith has delivered on that commitment. Mr. Smith has recruited women and minority investors, consultants and Board Members who are an integral part of the Whole Plants team.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Medical Director

Dr. Sue 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.


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 owner of Aspire Grant & Development, LLC, a firm with a strong history of success in development of medical cannabis business applications in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Missouri. Ms. Beener has a diverse background in healthcare, having served as the Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Relations for Somerset Hospital (Somerset, Pennsylvania) before the launch of her own firm, Aspire Grant & Development, LLC (Aspire). The firm 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.

Michele is a passionate advocate for community development and rural health programming across the Appalachian Region of the U.S. and is a registered federal grant reviewer for U.S. Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Michele served the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Rural Health Committee, appointed by the Senate of Pennsylvania in 2010. Michele has authored several awarded grants to support opioid prevention programming, including one that resulted in the establishment of an “Opioid Center of Excellence” by Hon. Tom Wolf. Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She holds a Master of Science in Business Ethics from Duquesne University and is proud to be a mother of four.


Emery Construction Services

Construction Manager


Yvonne Cook is president of the Highmark Foundation and responsible for management and direction of the Foundation. For more than 30 years, Ms. Cook has volunteered her time and expertise by serving on many boards and committees. Ms. Cook has received numerous awards for service to the community including the leadership award in the area of Business & Industry by the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. She serves on the Board of Directors of Women for a Healthy Environment.


Jared Odrick is best known for his successful career in football as a former defensive end, having played professionally for the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars. A Lebanon native, Mr. Odrick graduated from Lebanon High School in 2005 and went on to play for Penn State where he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. After his NFL career, Mr. Odrick has made a name for himself as a promoter of the arts and a philanthropist in his hometown, giving back in a variety of ways. Most recently, he has commissioned a sculpture called “Conversations with Myself” by Lorri Acott to be donated to his Alma Mater, Lebanon High School. Read more about the project and all the ways Mr. Odrick has enhanced the community here.



DaQuan Jones is best known as an American football nose tackle for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League. The former Johnson City Senior High School standout has always had a reputation as an upbeat, positive influence, and was counted on to mentor and guide younger players in the locker room and on the field. Later, while studying criminal justice at Penn State, Mr. Jones was named first-team All-Big Ten Conference by the league’s coaches and second-team All-Conference by the media and, among other accolades. Mr. Jones is currently in the process of launching his own non-profit organization called “Create Your Legacy.” In June 2019, he hosted the DaQuan Jones Create Your Legacy Football Camp for more than 100 kids ages 11-18 at Johnson City High School.

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