Board of Advisors
Colleen Keahey Lanier (Board Advisor) – Colleen K. Lanier entered the industrial hemp scene in 2013 when she approached the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) to develop a state chapter program to bolster advocacy efforts in Tennessee. As a former legal assistant turned publishing and marketing coordinator for a water and wastewater trade association, Ms. Lanier dedicated her talent and executed a successful strategy to legalize hemp in Tennessee. The campaign included a widely shared educational component that reached 20 million people on social media. In 2014, Vote Hemp recruited as National Outreach Coordinator. She’s worked with activists, policy writers, regulators, legislators and industry stakeholders to identify pathways for the hemp industries.
In 2017, Ms. Lanier became Executive Director of the HIA. She works with the Board of Directors to lead the vision and execute strategies for the association in the interest of the hemp industries. Protecting opportunities for hemp in agriculture and commerce remain a critical focus. Ms. Lanier led the engagement with Hoban Law Group to facilitate swift board action resulting in HIA v. DEA III. She is also working to establish a legal defense fund for the industries and envisions the normalization of hemp farming and the crop’s commodities in the marketplace and the home.
Ashton Potter-Wright (Board Advisor) – Ashton Potter Wright, a Lexington native, holds a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. Upon graduation she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia where she served as the operations manager for First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move! Child Care campaign. Mrs. Potter-Wright currently manages Bluegrass Farm to Table, an initiative of the City of Lexington’s Office of Economic Development. As Lexington’s first Local Food Coordinator, she works to add to farm income for local food producers and to increase access to healthy, local food in the Bluegrass Region.
Andrew Graves (Board Advisor) – is a 7th-generation farmer with lifelong ties to agriculture in Kentucky. He has overseen the family agricultural enterprises for 30+ years, tending cattle and growing soybeans, wheat, corn & tobacco and has spent the past 23 years leading efforts to legalize and re-commercialize industrial hemp. From 1994 until 2000, Mr. Graves served as president of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association and as a board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. He also served as president of Fayette County Farm Bureau from 1993 thru 1995, and in this role was instrumental in obtaining the 1994 National Farm Bureau resolution in support of allowing U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp. In 1995, Mr. Graves worked with then former Kentucky governor Louie Nunn to write and pass legislation in fostering hemp research in Kentucky. Presently, in addition to his efforts with Atalo Holdings, Mr. Graves owns and operates BrickWorks, a masonry contracting business that he formed in 2002.
Tejas Shastry (Board Advisor) –Tejas Shastry, a native of Eastern Kentucky, grew up in Greenup County. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where he was also a McConnell Scholar. During his time in undergrad, Tejas also worked at Peritus Public Relations, where he focused primarily on public affairs. After Louisville Tejas served as a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka, and later worked in Lexington for the International Book Project. He now lives and works in Denver, CO, where he serves as a digital consultant and helps train multinational tech teams. He has worked with and been a founder of a few LOHAS brands (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). When he is not busy he enjoys skiing, coding, or getting involved in his local chapter of the Sierra Club.
Scientific Advisory Board
Tom Keene (Scientific Advisor)- Tom Keene is an Agronomist Specialist at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Keene works closely with agents and producers to help establish, harvest, package, store, test, transport and market Kentucky forages. He has also worked with native warm season grasses being utilized for energy, grazing as well as for hay. He is now working with hemp focusing on sustainable agronomic practices and its many opportunities for Kentucky farmers.
Prior to that, Dr. Keene was agricultural manager for both Spendthrift Farm and North Ridge Farm in Lexington, KY from 1979 until 1988. His primary responsibilities were maintaining and improving forage quality for all horse pastures. Dr. Keene was also responsible for the procurement of all hay and straw needs for those thoroughbred operations. From 1989 until early 2005, he was a hay and straw broker with Charles T. Creech, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He is also past President of the American Forage and Grassland Council and past President of the National Forage Testing Association. Dr. Keene and his wife reside in Lexington, KY. He has also served on the Board of Directors of several other forage related organizations.
David Williams (Scientific Advisor)– David Williams is a Professor in Agronomy in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Director of the Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability at the University of Kentucky (UK). Dr. Williams has been directly involved in agronomic science for his entire career. He is a practitioner, researcher, and teacher. He also serves in leadership positions in several national, regional and UK organizations and committees. He hols a Ph.D in Crop Science from the University of Kentucky. His main research interests lie in agronomic science as related to optimizing production systems for industrial hemp and feedstocks for biofuels.
Bruce Pratt (Scientific Advisor)- Bruce Pratt, Director of EKU CRAFT, received his BS in Animal Husbandry from Delaware Valley College in 1974, MS and Ph.D. from West Virginia University in 1976 and 1979, respectively. Prior to teaching at EKU in 1988, Dr. Pratt conducted post doctoral research at Oklahoma State University and was an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine. He was promoted to Professor in 1998 and was Chair of the Department of Agriculture from 2004 to 2010. He took over as full time director in July this year. Under his leadership, the Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies (CRAFT) developed from a concept to a viable research institution.