Dr. Kingsley is a board-certified emergency medicine physician and Chief Executive Officer of Vireo Health. Dr. Kingsley oversaw the implementation of the Vireo Health System in Minnesota with the construction of a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility, four dispensaries, and the pharmaceutical and patient care center models. Through Vireo Health of New York and other national startup companies, Dr. Kingsley has developed the leadership and healthcare management skills needed for a large-scale endeavors across disparate processes.
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Dr. Kingsley is co-author of the book Medical Cannabis Primer for Healthcare Providers, written to elucidate objective medical cannabis knowledge in the medical community. Using comprehensive, state-wide programs that integrate healthcare providers, Dr. Kingsley’s solitary goal is to make Vireo Health the safest, most reliable, and compassionate choice for the patients in all of the States in which the company operates.
Amber Shimpa serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Vireo Health and is responsible for all aspects of the company’s finance, accounting, treasury, investor relations and administrative functions. She has 14 years of experience as a financial services professional with various commercial and investment banking organizations. At Vireo Health (and Minnesota Medical Solutions), Ms. Shimpa drives the company’s planning initiative of which the foundation is to provide the safest, most reliable medical cannabis to patients at a price that is supportable given the higher cost of quality, optimal manufacturing practices that Vireo Health bears, along with the continued review of financial planning as it relates to Internal Revenue Code §280E.
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Prior to joining Vireo Health, Ms. Shimpa spent the last nine years as Vice President of a $1.6 billion bank focused on commercial, nationwide lending. Her experience in the highly-regulated banking environment has engrained quality and control in her leadership and financial management approach. Banking is often seen as a challenge for operators within the cannabis industry. Ms. Shimpa’s understanding of the strict compliance requirements in the banking industry, coupled with Vireo Health’s scientific and safe medical model, have led to welcoming discussions with banks, and ultimately the first known open banking relationship with a cannabis-related company in the country.
Ari Hoffnung serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Vireo Health. Mr. Hoffnung was previously the founder and CEO of Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a medical cannabis company. Prior to that, Mr. Hoffnung served as New York City’s Deputy Comptroller for Budget & Public Affairs, where he oversaw the City’s $70 billion budget, managed a 100+ employee staff, and served as the chief liaison to all levels of governments and to various labor unions.
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Prior to serving in New York City government, Mr. Hoffnung was a Managing Director at Bear Stearns, where he worked for more than a decade. Mr. Hoffnung also led a research team composed of economists and policy experts that published two-dozen white papers, including two ground-breaking and widely-cited reports on the public-health and economic impacts of reforming cannabis policies: 100,000 Reasons: Medical Marijuana In The Big Apple and Regulating and Taxing Marijuana: The Fiscal Impact on NYC. He holds an Masters of Business Administration in Finance degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a Bachelor’s degree from Queens College.
Dr. Stephen M. Dahmer is the Chief Medical Officer at Vireo Health and a board-certified family doctor whose passion for health and healing has taken him around the globe. A fellow of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, for over a decade he has studied the relationships between plants and people, working closely with diverse cultures and documenting their uses of plants.
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Aspiring to understand ethnomedical systems, as well as the plants and traditional beliefs that support them, Dr. Dahmer has worked in divergent settings including Umbanda terreiros in the heart of Brazil’s second largest slum, Maori clinics in New Zealand, native healers on the Palauan Islands, and as a hospitalist to the Navajo (Dine) Tribe in Chinle, Arizona. Prior to starting full time work for Vireo Health of New York, Dr. Dahmer was most recently Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai where he passionately provided innovative primary care for over seven years in New York City where he lives and resides with his family.
Eric Greenbaum is the Chief Intellectual Property Officer of Vireo Health and has an impressive combination of scientific and legal expertise. Eric began his career working on stem cell and gene therapies for neurometabolic diseases. He went on to explore the role of protein folding in neurodegenerative diseases and led the team that performed the first biochemical characterization of the newly discovered E46K mutation responsible for a form of early onset Parkinson‘s Disease. After leaving academic science, Eric ran a boutique IP law firm where he crafted global patent strategies for biotech and pharmaceutical inventions. Since joining Vireo Health, Eric has been instrumental in developing our IP portfolio and driving our R&D efforts. Eric received a bachelors of science from Emory University in neuroscience; a masters of science from the University of Pennsylvania in pharmacology; and a JD from St. John’s University.
Senior Vice President of Global Affairs & Chief Quality Officer
Gary Starr, M.D., is the Senior Vice President of Global Affairs & Chief Quality Officer for Vireo Health. Dr. Starr is board-certified emergency medicine physician who practices in Minnesota. In his role at Vireo Health’s international office in Montreal, Canada, Dr. Starr brings a wealth of knowledge as a result of his many years of experience at the intersection of medicine, business, manufacturing quality and politics. Dr. Starr currently serves in leadership roles in the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), and the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS). He also co-founded and has held multiple executive roles for other vertically integrated licensed medical cannabis manufacturers and consulted for multiple U.S. and Canadian companies engaged in cannabis-related bio-pharmaceutical and consumer product development. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Dr. Starr graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago and his residency in family medicine at Saint Louis University.
Jennifer Duey currently serves as Vireo's Chief Security Officer. Jennifer has over 17 years of law enforcement/security experience at the private, local, and federal levels. She served over 14 years in the federal government as a Criminal Investigator/Special Agent with the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Homeland Security. Jennifer has been involved in hundreds of federal criminal investigations and has extensive experience planning, organizing, and conducting criminal and administrative investigations for a myriad of offenses. During her federal law enforcement career, she served in a variety of positions including both Firearms Instructor and Use of Force Instructor, as well as assignments to the Violent Gang/Sex Offender Task Force (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), Public Corruption Task Force (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Jennifer has trained at various federal and private academies, where she successfully completed, among others, Protective Service Operations, DEA Narcotics Investigators Course, and several leadership training courses.
Jennifer also has experience working within the private security industry, assisting with site planning and surveillance equipment layout and configuration, integrity/loss prevention, and internal investigations. Jennifer earned a BS Degree in Criminal Justice, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Columbia College. She also holds a MS Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master in Public Administration, both from Nova Southeastern University.
Michael Schroeder serves as Vireo Health's General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. Michael has been an attorney for over 25 years, including 6 years in law firm practice in the New York City area and the balance as an in-house attorney. He served as General Counsel for two public companies prior to Vireo Health and worked for companies in a variety of industries. He also oversaw the compliance function at two companies prior to Vireo Health. Michael has broad expertise in the law, including corporate structuring and transactions, securities, employment, contracts, real estate, capital markets, intellectual property, international trade, litigation management, dispute resolution, and administrative law. Michael received a Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude, in Business with a concentration in Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a J.D. from Duke University. He joined Vireo Health for the opportunity to use his legal and compliance expertise to help a growing company navigate a complex industry with robust and ever-changing laws and regulations.
Colette Bellefleur is Vireo Health’s Vice President of New Market Development. She comes to Vireo Health with unique and extensive combination of operational, people, and relationship management experience – all critical to getting facilities and operations in newly licensed markets up, running, and fully compliant. Ms. Bellefleur has a BA and MS in Economics from Rutgers University and a long career in operations management working in highly regulated industries, such as financial information and analytics, engineering standards, and the cannabis industry.
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Ms. Bellefleur always hoped to crown her long business career by giving back to her community. Vireo Health has given her that opportunity - to use her skills in support of medical cannabis programs across several states. She brings great compassion for those who are suffering from disease and chronic pain as experienced first-hand with family members who have benefitted from medical cannabis. Ms. Bellefleur is dedicated to the highest level of business ethics, combined with the highest operational performance standards, to build successful and compassionate operations that provide best-in-class products and services to patients in need.
Justin Bueno, Ph.D. is the Scientific Director for Vireo Health. Dr. Bueno is an analytical chemist with a diverse background of scientific experience. His graduate work involved applying novel analytical technologies to forensic applications. This research yielded five first authored publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Justin completed his post-doctoral work at the United States Food and Drug Administration where he published his novel approach for quality assessment of protein pharmaceuticals. Justin next transitioned to the pharmaceutical industry where he supported the manufacturing of small molecule API. Justin was attracted to the medical cannabis industry because of the exciting R&D opportunities. Justin is currently directing R&D activities and working to bring new technologies and products to market at Vireo Health. Justin received both his Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. from the University at Albany, SUNY.
Ericka Cummins serves as controller for Vireo Health. She brings diverse skills in strategic planning, budgeting, business planning, accounting, and competitive analysis to the Vireo Health team. She is responsible for the management of Vireo’s treasury, budget, tax accounting, facilities, legal and insurance activities. She also actively administers the business’ compliance program of internal controls over financial reporting for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Ms. Cummins has ownership of the company’s profit and loss statements, driving organization and profitable growth, leading to sustainable results.
Sam Gibbons is the Vice President of Investor Relations at Vireo Health. He joined the company in January 2019 and brings nearly a decade of investor relations and corporate finance experience working primarily with consumer retail and industrial manufacturing companies across North America.
Prior to joining Vireo, Sam served as Vice President at Chicago-based Alpha IR Group, where he was part of the agency’s senior leadership team. During Sam’s tenure at Alpha IR, the firm rapidly expanded its client roster and grew revenue by approximately 320% to become the largest IR-only focused agency in the Midwest, and a top-10 agency in the United States.
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Sam graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Communication and minor concentration in Business Administration. He is active member of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), and is an avid Minnesota Wild and hockey fan and enjoys volunteering his free time to working with youth hockey players in his local community.
Christian Gonzalez is the General Manager of Pennsylvania Medical Solutions. Christian is an engineer and manufacturing entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the medical device, pharmaceutical and aerospace/defense manufacturing industries. Christian founded and has served as the Chief Executive Officer of a successful Medical Device/Aerospace component manufacturing company since 2008. Before that, Christian filled several different engineering and operations roles in the Medical Device and Pharma industries. His knowledge of the startup process, thorough understanding of good manufacturing methods/practices, and commitment to quality are useful tools in an ever evolving industry such medical cannabis. Christian decided to join Vireo Health because he believed in the company's core values and he saw this venture as an opportunity to effect meaningful change in many people's lives.
Aisha Khan serves as the Vice President of eCommerce for Vireo Health. She joins the team with a wealth of digital sales and marketing experience after spending over 5 years at Johnson & Johnson, where she led one of the largest Health & Beauty eCommerce businesses in the U.S.. Aisha is an industry expert and thought leader in data analytics, social commerce, digital shelf, CRM, and promotional planning. She enjoys bringing her passion for eCommerce to the classroom as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, teaching her custom syllabus focused on data visualization (Tableau) and eCommerce analytics. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, Aisha worked at Goldman Sachs in equity trading and owned an eCommerce apparel business. She earned her MBA from Rutgers University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers College in Finance & Mathematics.
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Aisha joined Vireo Health because of her commitment to bringing healthcare products to digital, accessible marketplaces and her strong belief that natural remedies result in better patient outcomes with fewer side effects.
Dave Lenzen is the Vice President of Information Technology for Vireo Health. Dave brings broad technology experience leading high performing teams in a variety of industries including healthcare and retail. Dave is passionate about aligning technology teams, strategy, and execution to grow and protect his company’s business.
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Dave has developed expertise in technology strategy, cloud computing, enterprise integration, business intelligence, ERP, and digital technology while working at large-scale enterprises such as Buffalo Wild Wings, UnitedHealth Group/Optum, and Accenture. Dave has experience leading many large technology change programs. Dave has a B.S. in Accounting from Iowa State University. Dave joined Vireo Health to help the team leverage technology to improve the patient experience and grow the company to be the premier, trusted brand in the industry.
Jennie Leuzarder is charged with executing Vireo Health sales and marketing strategy, overseeing the company’s rapid expansion in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and other emerging markets. She brings a breadth of knowledge from the highly regulated wines and spirits industry, where she held different positions, leading global luxury brands at Diageo, and Pernod Ricard, where she oversaw all aspects of B2B and B2C, including sales, brand management, wholesaler management, strategy, trade, shopper and consumer marketing insights.
Vireo’s vision to help patients and her passion for health and wellness is what drove her to the cannabis industry.
Wendy Lou is the VP of Retail Strategy at Vireo Health. Wendy is a retail strategist who has held leadership positions across a broad range of functions, including strategy, merchandising, ecommerce, and financial planning. A 13-year veteran of Macy's, Inc., she is passionate about creating consumer-centric strategies that are a win/win, both engaging customers and delivering financial results.
Most recently, Wendy headed up the transformation for Macy's pricing and promotional strategy, from vision to execution. Prior to that role, she also led a special project for the organization merging the Macy's stores and Macy's ecommerce operations. In addition, Wendy has managed merchandising and planning teams across multiple categories, including apparel, jewelry, home and food. Wendy started her career in investment banking at Citigroup in securitized products and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and B.S. in Finance from New York University.
Brenda Mattson serves as HR Manager for Vireo Health. She brings over twenty years of diverse Human Resources experience to Vireo Health. She has managed the HR function in several highly regulated industries, including medical device manufacturing, flame and gas detection, and food-grade plastics injection molding. Most recently, Brenda spent over five years at Rockler Companies, Inc. driving employee engagement, benefits plan design, performance management, and talent management for locations in 20 U.S. States. Brenda is a proud graduate of Pennsylvania State University and earned her certificate in Human Resources Management from Villanova University.
Brenda is passionate about engaging employees in health and wellness; while at Rockler, she developed employee wellness programs that earned Hennepin County's Wellness by Design award and Gallagher Benefit Services' Best of the Best Award. Brenda is thrilled to have joined the Vireo team and is excited to support our efforts in natural, innovative health and wellness solutions.
Kaitlyn Nedo serves as the General Manager of Vireo Health of New York. Kaitlyn brings several years of laboratory expertise from her time at Pace Analytical and as a laboratory technician with Vireo Health of New York. She also served as the Operations Manager at Vireo Health of New York prior to becoming the General Manager. Her time spent in different roles with Vireo has given her a unique understanding of the industry’s processes and needs.
Josh O’Neill is the Chief Business Development Officer at Vireo Health and brings extensive experience in business development, corporate strategy, finance, real estate, project management, marketing and customer service having held senior leadership positions at several multi-national companies. His business acumen and focus on patient access optimization help to create the organization’s strategy for patient care locations and manufacturing facilities.
Mr. O’Neill is committed to a patient experience that brings consistent and exceptional service in secure, modern and environmentally friendly locations that are accessible and positioned to serve a diverse patient population. He is a leader in the development and growth of the Vireo Health brand and national presence. Mr. O’Neill is also a licensed real estate broker in the State of Minnesota and received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration-Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas and an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.
Medical Science and Patient Liaison of Minnesota Medical Solutions
Sarah Overby has served the health care industry for more than 20 years. Her experience as a nurse extends across various disciplines including geriatrics, pediatrics, family medicine, cardiology, medical surgery and women’s health. As the Medical Science and Patient Liaison of Minnesota Medical Solutions, Sarah spearheads outreach and education for healthcare professionals, patients and community groups. She is an expert in MinnMed’s operations, its products, current medical and scientific research and publications in medical cannabis. She has lectured on medical cannabis to hundreds of medical providers, while building and maintaining strong relationships. She also represents MinnMed at various conferences throughout the state. Sarah is an advocate for patients, witnessing and documenting countless inspirational and life-changing patient success stories. Sarah has also helped launch MinnMed’s very own patient support group and facilitates a patient follow-up program. Sarah was awarded the 2017 Vireo Innovative Award.
Dr. Satija has over 12 years of experience in retail pharmacy. She received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Dr. Satija began her career in San Francisco, California where she worked as a pharmacy manager as well as a travel health pharmacist. In San Francisco, she devoted a lot of her time helping HIV patients manage their medications as well as any side effects they experienced. Dr. Satija was also an associate professor at the University of California San Francisco.
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In the previous 5 years, Dr. Satija has been a pharmacy manager for a large retail chain in New York City where she devoted much of her time to developing trusting patient relationships. During her time in New York, she has become an American Pharmacist Association Certified Immunization Trainer as well as a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist.
Brendan Sweeny is the General Manager of the Maryland manufacturing facility for Vireo Health. Brendan brings over 11 years of food processing experience to Vireo Health. Prior to joining Vireo Health, Brendan worked as the Vice President of Operations with Handy Seafood Inc., a 100 year old seafood processor based in Maryland and operating out of 12 countries throughout North America, Central America, and Asia. Brendan also served on several food safety and traceability working groups with the National Fisheries Institute, an industry trade group, while in the seafood industry. Brendan holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Bryant University and a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the University of Rhode Island.
Chuck is the Director of Cultivation for Vireo Health. In this capacity, Chuck assists all cultivation staff in the production of medical cannabis. Chuck has over 30 years of experience in the horticulture industry. Prior to joining the Vireo team, Chuck spent 15 years as a Resource Educator for Cornell University through the cooperative extension system. Chuck has worked in the horticulture production industry in North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and California. While in California, Chuck also served as a research and new crop development specialist at Bay City Flower Company. Chuck received his Associates in Applied Science degree in horticulture from Potomac State College; his Bachelors of Science degree from West Virginia University in 1984; and his Masters of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture in 1987 from The Ohio State University. In 2017 Chuck was awarded the George L. Good Gold Medal of Horticulture by the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association for outstanding achievement in horticulture. Chuck decided to join the Vireo team because he wanted to be part of a field that enriches peoples lives.
Kandice Peterson, Vireo's HR and Administrative Generalist has been a proud member of the Vireo team since August of 2016. While at Vireo, she has been an integral part of Vireo's administration team, establishing processes for human resources, payroll, and accounts payable while providing structure and support to employee relations and general admission. Kandice is now fully dedicated to supporting the Human Resources function, specializing in the candidate experience, training and development. Kandice brings a wealth of experience in the Human Resources industry with her to Vireo.
Chief Executive Officer of Minnesota Medical Solutions
Joseph (Jay) Westwater, M.D., J.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of Minnesota Medical Solutions, a subsidiary of Vireo Health. Dr. Westwater is a board-certified emergency department physician who has practiced in Minnesota for almost thirty years. A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the Saint Thomas Physician Leadership College of Business, Dr. Westwater completed his residency at Hennepin County Medical Center and has held numerous medical staff and professional group leadership positions over the years. Prior to his career in medicine, Dr. Westwater received a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and practiced tax law and specialized in legislative affairs in Washington, D.C.
Albe Zakes is the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Vireo Health. In his role, Albe manages Vireo's internal and external communications, including PR, social media, and employee engagement. Albe’s passion for working at mission-driven, social enterprises began during his time at University of Colorado, where he was a campaigner for Colorado Public Interest Research Group. After graduating, he spent the first 10 years of his career working his way from unpaid marketing intern to VP, Communications for TerraCycle, a global leader in innovative recycling and upcycling programs. Albe's work has received awards from PR News, PR Week, and the Cause Marketing Forum.
Albe joined Vireo Health to help patients find effective, plant-based medicines to treat their medical conditions. He believes that medical cannabis is safer, less-addictive, and often times more effective than traditional pharmaceuticals.