Kyle Kingsley, M.D, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vireo Health, a board-certified physician, serial entrepreneur, and inventor. Dr. Kingsley believes that cannabis-based products are a safer, less-addictive alternative to opioids, alcohol, and tobacco. Dr. Kingsley is focused on building the cannabis company of the future by combining the best of medicine, engineering, and science.
Dr. Kingsley leads Vireo’s physician- and scientist-led team of more than 400 employees in creating best-in-class cannabis products and offering unmatched customer experience. Under Dr. Kingsley’s leadership, Vireo has experienced exponential growth. What began as a company operating exclusively in the state of Minnesota in 2014 has now emerged as one of the country’s leading multi-state operators, with licenses in ten states and Puerto Rico. In March 2019, Dr. Kingsley took the company public, and Vireo Health is now listed on Canadian Securities Exchange, under the stock symbol “VREO”.
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Dr. Kingsley received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in German from University of Minnesota in Duluth and received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 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.
John Heller serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Vireo Health. As CFO, Mr. Heller works closely with CEO & Founder Kyle Kingsley, M.D., Vireo’s Board of Directors, and the entire Vireo team to help focus the company on profitable growth and operating efficiency.
Mr. Heller has more than 30 years of combined experience as a financial executive, including extensive experience in the areas of corporate finance, accounting, treasury, capital markets, and investor relations. He has a proven track record overseeing the rapid growth and development of various businesses, including securing growth capital necessary to fund such initiatives. Mr. Heller joins Vireo after serving as Chief Financial Officer of Lift Brands since 2016. He also recently held senior executive positions at Life Time Fitness.
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As a financial leader with experience at start-ups, venture backed enterprise, public companies, and private equity owned organizations, Mr. Heller has extensive knowledge of rapid multi-unit expansion, franchising, securing capital for expansion, and managing investor relations. He has built entire accounting systems from the ground-up and made substantial improvements to existing processes to drive efficiency. Additionally, he has authored robust financial strategies for business planning, led finance committees, and participated on audit committees for the Board of Directors at his past companies.
Mr. Heller is a Certified Public Account (Inactive) and a graduate of the St. John’s University with a B.S. in Accounting.
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.
Amber Shimpa serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for Vireo Health. From 2014 through 2019, Ms. Shimpa served as the Company's CFO. As CAO, Ms. Shimpa will lead the company’s human resources and business administration teams and further drive the integration of people and culture for Vireo. She will work closely with Chief Executive Officer Kyle Kingsley to perpetuate Vireo’s core values and culture as its workforce continues to rapidly expand. Ms. Shimpa will also spearhead Vireo’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and Diversity and Inclusion programs. Ms. Shimpa serves on Vireo’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee.
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Prior to joining Vireo Health, Ms. Shimpa spent 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.
Eric Greenbaum is the Chief Science 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.
Ari Hoffnung serves as the Chief Strategy 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.
Christian Gonzalez is the Executive Vice President of Operations for Vireo Health Inc. 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.
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).
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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.
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.
Dr. Paloma Lehfeldt serves as a Medical Science and Patient Liaison for Vireo Health. Dr. Lehfeldt brings to Vireo more than ten years of experience in psychiatric research, community outreach, and teaching. She has expertise in neuroscience with a keen interest in pain management/analgesia in the endocannabinoid system. Her interest in cannabis as medicine is a direct result of working with patients and research participants unable to control chronic pain and their subsequent opioid dependence.
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At Vireo, Dr. Lehfeldt is the direct line of communication with providers and physicians and organizes outreach events, conferences and lectures for both providers and patients. She is passionate about the use of cannabis as medicine, and looks forward to advocating it's healing properties throughout her career.
Dr. Lehfeldt is a graduate of Ross University School of Medicine. She also has a Master in Biological Psychology from New York 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.
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.
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.
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. Sam graduated from Boston University in 2010 and is an active member of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI).
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 Director of Medical Education for 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.
Mr. Johnson serves as the Vice President of Corporate Real Estate, for Vireo Health. He plays a critical role in the strategy, negotiation and execution of Vireo’s vertically integrated, multi-state operations involving cultivation, processing and dispensary locations. Mr. Johnson brings a wealth of commercial real estate expertise to the company, having worked nationally for Fortune 500 companies, and privately held enterprises, developing over 7.5MSF of: retail, office, industrial multi-family types in 22 U.S. states. Companies include, Target Corporation, Xcel Energy, The Opus Group, JMW Development, JREA and Wallace Enterprises, performing market analysis, site selection, financial analysis, contracts, entitlements, construction bidding, scheduling, close out and sales.
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Mr. Johnson held state licenses as Real Estate Broker (inactive) and Landscape Architect (inactive). He is a Badger and a Gopher (in that order) having earned an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, a B.S. in Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a “W Club” lifetime member (Men’s Varsity Crew).
Mr. Johnson served as President of the Hopkins Royals Boys Basketball Association, was a member of the Board of Life and Growth at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church and has volunteered over the years for a variety of charitable organizations. He and his wife have two adult two sons, a yellow lab (“Otis”) and a very large maine coon cat (“Max”).
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.