2021 Education at TPE
Join us in Las Vegas this January for three days packed with captivating education sessions, exhilarating discussions, and vital information that is sure to jumpstart your business in the new year. These topics are sure to disrupt the tobacco, vapor, and alternative industries. TPE’s educational sessions, IGNITE, is the only program designed to meet the needs and challenges of retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers who deal with tobacco, vapor, and next generation products. TPE education is where innovation in the market comes to life and will provide you the information necessary to not only compete in today’s market but also provide a blueprint that will allow you to reinvent your business. Disrupt your industry, ignite your profits, and crush your competition at TPE21 by attending the IGNITE educational conference.
Please keep checking back as sessions are added.
Bethany has a background in quantitative and strategic research, specializing in the market research of the consumer goods industry.
Prior to joining Brightfield Group, she worked with Euromonitor International, a leading CPG market research firm, managing the company’s syndicated research of industries such as packaged foods, alcoholic drinks, consumer health and tobacco in Mexico.
She has also worked as an analyst and consultant on a wide variety of projects for private companies, nonprofits and multilateral organizations, including analyzing opportunities to leverage telecom to promote World Bank health initiatives and contributing to human resource strategic planning for the United Nations. As Managing Director, Bethany designs all of Brightfield Group’s products, both as custom research and syndicated research. She develops and defines methodologies and manages all projects conducted by our excellent team of analysts and data scientists.
Laura Baldwin Fuentes is a co-founder of Green Roads, a licensed compound pharmacist, and a trailblazing formulator of CBD products. She’s a former board member of the Broward County Pharmacy Association, and volunteers at various charitable organizations including the Autism Speaks Walk, Multiple Sclerosis Views and News, the Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and more. She has an AA from Miami-Dade College, a BS in pharmacy from Nova Southeastern, and she worked in the pharmacy industry for 20+ years before moving into the CBD industry.
Her passion for this work helped shape the company’s deep sense of responsibility to its customers, who are seeking safe, natural alternatives to the often addictive, harmful
pharmaceutical options available. Laura prioritizes consumer safety and transparency in all products by Green Roads. For Laura, Green Roads is an opportunity to have a
positive impact on millions of lives and help people on their journey to better health.
Focus on the cannabis space occurred for Lance in late 2013 after joining DFM’s flahship property, The Denver Post. There he assisted in the launching and shaping the true news-first site focused in this space–The Cannabist. Lance quickly learned the true benefits of this plant from the stories they produced around positive effects on those with autism, cancer, and epileptic seizures. Being a cancer survivor himself, this especially hit home. He went on to head up media for Weedmaps and Marijuana.com before arriving at Boveda in 2017. In this position his focus involves strategic planning around growth in the cannabis space. He works to identify strategy and opportunity for Boveda as the global leader in 2-way humidity control.
Dave Garofalo is president, owner and founder of Two Guys Smoke Shop of New Hampshire. Founded in 1985, Garofalo’s three retail shops have become destination locations for cigar consumers. Garofalo takes a very active role to include education for his sales staff and education about the products to his staff and to his clientele which includes events and promotions and has been included in marketing and business books and courses around the globe.
Erica Arroyo is currently the director of social media for La Familia Robaina. Over the past 4 years she has worked with multiple companies including cigar retailers, accessory lines and brand owners to help guide and connect with the world through social media. As well as working on building a platform where the cigar community feels welcome and to help build the industry in a positive way from a female perspective.
Paul Copeland has been serving and loving the premium cigar industry since 2012. He began his cigar retail career in Nashville, TN by taking a failing cigar shop and turning it into the most successful and most awarded store in town. This was not only accomplished by changing staff and inventory, by creating a cigar culture and environment that Nashville had not seen.
In 2016, Paul and his close friend, Luke Bryan, opened up Shore Thing Cigars located on Florida’s Beautiful Emerald Coast in Watersound, FL. He found an opportunity in that market to create an environment that was clean and chic as well as a place that would be unlike any other store in the country. He refers to it as a lifestyle lounge. He visits and touches the store and its operations daily to ensure that it is held to his very high standards of look, smell, feel, and sound.
Paul has served as President of the Tennessee Tobacco Association. He has also earned two Davidoff Golden Band Awards. One for Best Merchandising and one as Davidoff Appointed Merchant of the Year. He has spent over 7 weeks in cigar fields and factories and has worked with rollers and manufactures to create over 9 blends for cigars, three of which have become private label cigar for his stores.
Rebecca Harvey is co-owner of Smokers Abbey in Cedar Park, TX with her husband, Ian. She has a background in event management, marketing and graphic design. At the shop Rebecca coordinates all of the events ranging from brand events, industry pop up events, ladies nights, pipe nights, etc. She also handles all of the accounting and ordering for her store.
Indiana Ortez is part of the first 100 percent Nicaraguan tobacco family. From an early age, she watched her father, Omar Ortez, work with his hands- harvesting, creating, experimenting, developing, and producing tobacco. There was an alluring quality to tobacco that drew her interest and held it into her adulthood.
She realized that if she really wanted to get involved in the business, she had to start from the beginning, and learn everything. With a hands-on approach, she began exploring the whole process of producing a cigar- the classification of raw materials, sorting leaves, bunching the filler leaves, wrapping in a binder leaf, rolling the cigars, and developing the packaging. Within Agrotabacos she now has several different responsibilities, some of which include the development of new blends, detailed quality control supervision, and the stripping process of the wrapper and binder that our company uses. Additionally, she manages the social media for our factory, embracing the medium as a new way to reach those who share her passion for the art of cigar-making.
Indiana officially works in collaboration with Ventura Cigar Company, developing exclusive blends for them, like Fathers Friends and Fire and Psyko Seven Nicaragua, which are already in the market. In addition to her work with her family’s business, she’s been putting her marketing and advertising skills to use as the Director of Digital Marketing for the Nicaraguan Tobacco Chamber since 2018. In regards to TPE’s first-ever women’s cigar panel, Indiana says, “I am honored to be a part of this panel and look forward to meeting you all.”
Scheril Murray Powell
Scheril Murray Powell, Esq. is an Agricultural and Cannabis Attorney at Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair, and Dishowitz. She is the Executive Director of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida and former Director of Federal Affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Scheril is on the Hemp Pilot Program Advisory Board for the University of Florida. She is on the board for the Hemp Feed Coalition and the U.S. Hemp Builders Association. She is also President of consulting firm Green Sustainable Strong, LLC. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Crohns Foundation Blood, Sweat, and Tears Award and the Cannabis Business Award’s Industry MVP Award. She is In House Counsel for Sunflora/ Your CBD Store and former In House Counsel for Green Roads World She is a graduate of Florida International University College of Law.
As a Cannapreneur, Scheril is the President of Canna Headhunters, a staffing agency in the Cannabis Industry that connects Cannabis talent to opportunities. She has been selected to present at a number of Cannabis Conferences including the South East Cannabis Conference, the Women Grow Leadership Sumit, the U.S. Cannabis Conference, Canex Jamaica Conference, South East Cannabis Conference, Cannaday, The University of the West Indies Caribbean Neuroscience Conference, Women Grow Leadership Summit, The Kentucky Hemp Convention, The Kentucky State Hemp Symposium, the University of Technology Jamaican Medical Cannabis Integrated Symposium, The Women of Cannabis Conference, the Cannabis Science Conference, Detroit’s Canna Con, Florida Medical Marijuana Conference, and Canna-Ed Conference hosted by the Florida Cannabis Coalition. She has been asked to speak at Jamaica’s Pharmacological Board Mandatory Meetings and Jamaica Bureau of Standards meetings based on her international reputation as a Cannabis Expert. In May of 2019, she planned and hosted the 1st Annual Cannurban-Unifest Agricultural Symposium in collaboration with the City of Lauderdale Lakes and the FAMU-Cannurbian Hemp Town Hall with Florida A&M University.
Scheril was the regular Cannabis Law expert on Cannabis Law Radio every Saturday morning on Cannabis Life Radio and is launching a Cannabis Talk Show called “Terps in the City” in Summer of 2019. She presented at the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists Joint Conference in August 2016 on the topic of: “Exposing the Truth: Getting Access to Audio and Video Evidence in Police Involved Shootings”. Scheril is the Treasurer of the FIU College of Law Alumni Board. While at FIU Law, she was the Charter President of the Palm Beach ABA Student Organization and a member and coach of the Board of Advocates Negotiation Team.
In 2013, Scheril won the FIU Law Intramurals Negotiation Competition, also she and her partner won the ABA Southern Region Negotiation Competition. In 2014, she and her partner came in 2nd place in the Nelson Mandela International Negotiation Competition and she was awarded the distinction of Best Overall Negotiator for her efforts. Scheril served on the Black Law Student Association’s National Board for two years and is passionate about eradicating sex trafficking and other social justice issues such as police brutality. She has interned at the State Attorney’s office in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Palm Beach County and for two judges of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Broward County. In the summer of 2014, she served as an Anti-Defamation League Summer Associate. She believes that practicing the law and advocacy for the disadvantaged go hand in hand. She is an activist and has dedicated her time and resources to promoting awareness, access to educational resources, and support for survivors of domestic violence and trafficking. She has a Facebook page called “Police Chronicles” which documents national police interactions with the community. She mentors Pre-Law and Law School students of diverse backgrounds and has been a speaker at the Black and Hispanic Prelaw Conference, the Diversity Prelaw Conference, and the HBCU Prelaw Summit and Expo. Law is a second career for Scheril. She spent over a decade in the wireless industry working for T-Mobile, USA; T-Mobile, UK; RIM BlackBerry; and MetroPCS as a Customer Retention Strategist and Marketing Interface Manager rolling out training, technical change, cultural change, and process improvement projects Nationwide. Scheril received her undergraduate Business Management degree from Florida Atlantic University with a minor in Marketing where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served as the Student Government Senate Speaker for seven campuses. Scheril credits her hard working and strict Jamaican parents James and Judith Hall for her work ethic, tenacity, persistence, and commitment to excellence. She was taught at a young age that we all have a responsibility to each other and must be the example that tears down stereotypes while opening the door for others to follow in your footsteps. She stays motivated by remembering that her son Judah is watching how she lives her values and “walks the talk” in her daily activities. Scheril believes that every test is for a testimony that will glorify God. If He can do all that he has done for me…imagine his plans for you.
Shawna Williams is a highly qualifed professional encompassing over 20 years in sales, marketing and management, including 16 years specializing in premium cigars.
Shawna currently oversees and manages sales of Premium Retail for Drew Estate. With her serious entrepreneurial abilities, she and her team are disrupting the premium cigar space in the USA.
Case Mandel is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cannadips “The Original Smokeless Cannabis Pouch,” as well as the Co-Founder in California’s First Type 7 Licensed Cannabis Extraction Facility, ArcataX. With over a decade of experience in the Capital of Cannabis, Humboldt County, California, Case is blessed to be on the forefront of Cannabis product development, branding, distribution, and regulation.
Jacopo D’Alessandris is the President and CEO of E-Alternative Solutions (EAS), an independent, family-owned innovator of consumer-centric brands for highly regulated, emerging industries. In his current role, Jacopo directs all functions of the enterprise, including strategic development, sales, marketing, and corporate citizenship. In building EAS’s portfolio of brands, he cultivates deeply collaborative relationships with retail partners, vigilantly markets EAS products only to adult consumers, and ensures that business strategies are underpinned by data and research. Under his stewardship, EAS has undertaken a leading role in the creation of sensible vapor industry standards and regulations, helping to create the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) marketing standards.
Craig Williamson currently serves as President of the Cigar Association of America, Inc., a national trade association representing cigar manufacturers, importers, distributors, and suppliers. He was appointed President in 2011 after serving as Vice President since 1998. The CAA is one of the leading industry voices looking out for the interests of all shapes and sizes of cigars and has played a key role in both federal and state government affairs for the past 21 years.
During his time as Vice President of Government Relations, Craig created an on the ground structure of state lobbyists in almost all 50 states. He was responsible for bringing the voice of CAA to state capitals and worked to protect the industry from harmful legislation. In addition to his role at CAA, Craig also currently serves as President of the Pipe Tobacco Council, Inc. Prior to joining CAA, Craig was Vice President of State Relations at The Smokeless Tobacco Council for seven years. After graduating from Ohio State University, Craig spent time serving the state of Ohio as Chief Legislative Aide to the Majority Leader.
Jamal Hackler, co-founder of tripleAgenetics, has been involved in cannabis for over 30 years and has become one of the top-ranked cultivators and breeders in cannabis. Hackler has been involved in cannabis since the age of 10 and now travels across the U.S. growing and setting up cannabis gardens. Hackler operates a large distribution community that spans the U.S. and has a dispensary network of 500 stores through a partnered media contact.
Currently, Hackler operates Cannabis Club LA full time to serve the cannabis community. Jamal is the master grower and breeder for tripleAgenetics, overseeing the first tripleAgenetics crop from three seeds purchased from Dr. Greenthumb. Now being world ranked in cultivation and breeding, you can often find Hackler in the greenhouse actively tenderly caring for his plants, which have been featured in national publications such as the Northwest Leaf. If he isn’t busy tending to the grow, he is out networking within the cannabis community or actively meeting the needs of his clients for his glass accessories business based in Tacoma, WA. In the very near future, Hackler plans to expand the tripleAgenetics brand to Belize to produce hemp strains, where he plans to live and work to meet the needs of children and communities in the most impoverished areas of the country. Sustainability is his motivation and champion cause.
Chris Howard is Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at E-Alternative Solutions (EAS), an independent, family-owned provider of electronic alternatives to cigarettes. In his current role, Mr. Howard oversees EAS legal strategies and policies encompassing brand protection, compliance, strategic partnerships, and regulatory affairs.
Under Howard’s stewardship, EAS leads the vapor industry by going above and beyond regulatory standards to ensure EAS marketing messages are only received by adult audiences who are existing smokers and vapers.
Howard’s work is vital not only to the launch and growth of EAS vapor franchises, but also to the vapor community at large. As Board Treasurer of The Vapor Technology Association (VTA), he was instrumental in the creation and adaptation of the VTA Marketing Standards, which in 2018 became a requisite for VTA membership. His work on the VTA Board of Directors advances the interests of the manufacturers, wholesalers, small business owners and entrepreneurs of the vapor industry who seek responsible policies and regulations.
Widely considered an authority on the category’s rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, Howard is a frequent speaker on the complex legal issues facing the tobacco and vapor industries, including: antitrust law, intellectual property, marketing, external communications, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
Prior to joining EAS, Howard served as General Counsel at Fontem Ventures B.V., and held senior legal positions with Lorillard Tobacco Company and ITG Brands, LLC. His experience leading the legal functions of global and domestic tobacco enterprises has built deep expertise in: influencing and ensuring compliance at all levels; multimillion-dollar partnership negotiations; mergers and acquisitions; intellectual property protections; litigation, and extensive resource management including international law teams and expansive outside counsel.
Howard holds a Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) from the T.C. Williams School of Law at University of Richmond, and a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from James Madison University. An avid fisherman, he resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL with his wife, Becky, and their three children.
With over a decade of government relations and policy experience in Washington D.C.,
Daniel Trope currently serves as the Director of Government Affairs at SI Group Client Services -the government relations office of Swisher International. In this capacity, Daniel leads outreach efforts toward House and Senate Democrats on behalf of the company. He works closely with Congressional committees, Members and staff whose decisions directly impact the cigar industry.
Prior to joining SI, Daniel served as the Senior Director of Federal Government Affairs at the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association -a small business trade association representing brick-and-mortar premium cigar storefronts. As Senior Director, Daniel was the chief federal representative for IPCPR’s member retailers in Washington, DC -pursuing legislative and regulatory priorities on behalf of retailers, the association and the premium cigar and pipe tobacco industry.
Before joining IPCPR, Daniel served as the Director of Government Relations for Royal TenCate (USA) Inc., an engineered textiles and materials manufacturing company headquartered in the Netherlands. Previously, Daniel worked on the legislative staff for Senator Evan Bayh, supporting the Senator’s armed services, national security, and homeland security portfolio. Daniel originally hails from Overland Park, Kansas and received his bachelor’s degree in political science and near eastern languages and cultures from Indiana University.
Glynn Loope has served as Executive Director of Cigar Rights of America for the last decade. In that time, CRA has developed a 50 state coalition of cigar consumers, that have issued over 500,000 petitions to congress and state legislatures, advocated for federal relief from federal cigar regulations, and provided grassroots support in opposition to expanded smoking bans, taxes and regulations. Prior to joining CRA, Glynn led his own advocacy consulting firm, Commonwealth Advance, addressing projects in transportation, manufacturing, infrastructure, and education, including the Cigar Association of Virginia, and served as a legislative assistant in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate. He is a former Assistant Director of the University of Virginia Center for Public Service.
Joshua Habursky is the Director of Federal Affairs at the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) overseeing legislative, regulatory, legal, and PAC functions of the association. Josh has previously ran advocacy operations for the Independent Community Bankers of America, American Diabetes Association, and American Motorcyclist Association. Josh is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and the Contributing Editor of Campaigns & Elections Magazine.
Rob Maneson has been with Fontem U.S., Inc., since January 2019. He was promoted to senior Vice President of sales in April. He has shown great leadership as he develops the blu sales department. Prior to his time at blu, Rob was the general manager for JR Cigar, Inc., for six years and has provided great insights to strengthen the team.
KARL “THE MAILMAN” MALONE
Few people have impacted the sport of basketball more than Karl Malone has. A dominating force on the court, Karl is respected for his performance, leadership and talent that has influenced the sport throughout the world. Some of his accolades include,
• NBA’s 2nd all-time leading scorer
• Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player
• 14-time NBA All-Star
• 2-time Olympic champion with The Dream Team
• Named one of NBA’s 50 Greatest Players
Relaxing with a cigar has been a ritual for Karl for a long time – both in retirement and while celebrating a big win during his days on the court. Karl searched long and hard for a partner who could collaborate on a high-quality cigar with him.
Karl and La Aurora’s owner, Guillermo León Herbert, connected on a love of the Dominican Republic, cigars, rum, and shared values. Together they curated a special cigar for Karl using tobacco aged in rum barrels and established “Barrel Aged by Karl Malone.” Their partnership with the La Aurora Rum and Barrel Aged cigar was a natural fit and it quickly became a passion project for the NBA star in his next chapter.
Through the cigar development process, what Karl Malone discovered was The La Aurora’s E. León Jimenes Rum was a perfect complement to his cigars as well as delicious on its own. Karl was convinced that both cigar lovers and non-cigar lovers would enjoy E. León Jimenes Rum and wanted the opportunity to bring the rum into the United States.
Along with Karl’s commercial businesses, Legends Cigar & Vape is a family affair in which his daughter Kadee Malone is the owner. The cigar and rum that bear their family name embody all the dedication and desire for greatness that has been the standard for the Malones.
Karl is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and hunting. He also is a community advocate, volunteer, and philanthropist – enthusiastically supporting our troops and first responders.
Brittny Peloquin is the Trade Marketing & Merchandising Manager for Canndescent, the foremost luxury cannabis brand based in California, known for changing the approachability of the consumer shopping experience with its signature selection of effect-based product-naming architecture.
Her team produces the award-winning branding and packaging that sets the bar for cannabis brands in the fast-moving regulated legal market. She leads retail strategies and product launches that scale from single-store operations to multi-state chains while navigating the complex marketing landscape of highly regulated environments. Brittny’s marketing career has spanned multiple industries including technology, entertainment, and specialty tobacco distribution.
Senior editor, Convenience Store Petroleum (CSP) magazine
Angel Abcede is the tobacco editor for Convenience Store Petroleum (CSP) magazine, having covered multiple in-store categories and breaking business news with the Chicago-based publication and digital resource for more than 20 years. In the past three years, his focus on the tobacco beat has led to in-depth stories on category innovation, regulatory activity and product trends.
Ray Johnson, has been in the convenience store and travel center industry for the past 40 years. Ray has been able to bring all of his skills and expertise to his position with Speedee Mart, Inc. located in the Las Vegas market. While his title is Operations Manager Ray happily splits his time focused on total store operations and marketing.
Ray received his Marketing degree from the Louisiana State University and attended an Executive Development Program and UNLV course study in gaming operations, finance and marketing. Over the years he has accumulated many additional course credits in business and finance, hospitality, media marketing. Ray lives in Henderson, NV with his wife and best friend Toni. In their free time Ray and Toni enjoy gardening, time in the RV, community service, and enjoying desert life. Ray can be reached at
Jason Carignan, President DRYFT Sciences
Mr. Carignan serves as President of DRYFT Sciences LLC and was formerly the Chief Marketing Officer at Kretek International across the company’s distinct operational divisions including Kretek, Phillips & King International, Ventura Cigar Company and Tobacco Media Group (TMG).
Jason is a seasoned executive and serial-entrepreneur with cross-functional leadership experience in domestic and international markets across diverse industries including consumer products (CPG), tobacco, food and beverage, wine/spirits, housewares, outdoor products, health care, technology and agency management.
Prior to joining Kretek, he was founder and CEO of Tonic, a leading brand consultancy in Los Angeles and has also founded several successful consumer products startups.
Peter Frattarola is the category manager for tobacco and center store with The Wills Group, La Plata, Md., which operates the Dash In chain of more than 50 convenience stores. Its locations feature fresh and prepared food, beverages, tobacco products and fuel for customers on the go.
Thomas Ericsson pharmacist from Sweden vast experience in Pharmaceutical particularly nicotine and Nicorette. Latest achievement; Strategist of All White, legal and Development concept. Launched other brands but today known as “ON, ZYN” in USA.