A message from the Board of Directors
Eric Steenstra is stepping-down as executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Going forward, he has decided to work full time lobbying Congress and states on behalf of industrial hemp legislation via his role as President of Vote Hemp. Eric is a respected figure of the hemp industry with twenty-four years of service, and HIA and Vote Hemp will continue to work closely together for full re-commercialization of hemp under federal law.
Since cofounding his hemp clothing business Ecolution in 1993, Eric’s commitment to the hemp movement has been remarkable. He became a founding member of the HIA in 1994, and fought alongside David Bronner and fellow hempsters to stop the DEA’s attempted ban of hemp food and oil from 2001-2004. Eric served on the HIA board for a decade, from 1997-2007. In 2008, he stepped into the role of HIA Executive Director, following the retirement of former executive director Candi Penn.
During his nine years of executive leadership, the HIA has grown substantially both in membership and annual event attendance. He also created the popular chapter program, co-created and helped build key education efforts and marketing initiatives, such as the HIA’s Hemp History Week program.
Eric’s legacy in the hemp industry is deeply admired-he has demonstrated discerning, passionate leadership. In addition to his service with HIA, Eric pioneered the cofounding of Vote Hemp in 2000, of which he remains President. Under his leadership, Vote Hemp has become the nation’s foremost hemp lobbying organization working towards full re-commercialization of industrial hemp. Vote Hemp lead the effort to pass breakthrough hemp language in the Farm Bill and has helped passage of legislation in dozens of states.
It is our hope that Eric will shepherd the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to become law during the 115th Congress, and we are grateful to him for focusing his insight and experience toward this important task. You can reach Eric at email@example.com and (703) 729-2225
After a formal review, we would like to announce our decision to name Colleen Keahey as new Executive Director. Colleen has been working with Eric Steenstra as National Outreach Coordinator with Vote Hemp since June of 2014. Colleen joined Vote Hemp after assisting with the development and passage of Tennessee’s hemp law. She left her role as publisher at a Tennessee non-profit trade association dedicated to rural water industries. In 2014, Colleen founded the first state chapter of the HIA in Tennessee (TNHIA). Colleen successfully contributed to hemp pilot program rules and regulations and also held eighteen meetings as leader of TNHIA. Colleen’s skills in non-profit trade association management will bring new opportunities to the HIA and its members. This transition will not disrupt current projects or campaigns, nor interrupt any services HIA provides to its membership. Members are encouraged to reach out to Colleen with any questions or concerns; she can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and at (707) 874-3648.
We look forward to serving you in 2017-a new year full of opportunity. Join us in congratulating and honoring Eric Steenstra for his years of service! And join us in welcoming Colleen Keahey as the new Executive Director for our association.
– HIA Board of Directors
Lawrence Serbin, President
Hemp Traders Inc.
Eric Pollit, Vice President
Tyler Frank, Secretary
Steve Levine, Treasurer
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting
Hemp Oil Canada
Tahoe Hemp Company