MEET OUR TEAM
Hannah Wilner ~ Board Chair & Executive Director
Hannah Wilner is a seasoned professional who brings acceptance and perspective to every conversation. She has a unique ability to relate with everyone she encounters, leveraging her natural rapport to make those around her feel appreciated and invincible. Hannah began observing the cannabis industry in 2015 while living in California, however it wasn't until moving to Texas that she found her calling and launched TXHHA.
Andrea Sallis ~ Board Member
Andrea Sallis is a serial entrepreneur, advocate, and co-founder of Texas Hemp Harvesters Association. A consummate networker, Ms. Sallis has successfully turned "contacts into contracts" for over 15 years in real estate development, investor relations, business strategy and event production. In cannabis and hemp, she's applied this expertise as Visionary Officer for Healthway Education Systems, and serves as an advisor for UrbanCann Solutions, navigating clients seeking cannabis business strategies. Ms. Sallis has also founded Our Cannabis Culture, a community organization aimed at bridging the gap between cannabis, commerce and communities.
Andrea is an original founding member of Women Grow and launched the first Texas chapters in Dallas. Ms. Sallis is a vocal activist for social equity and having a sustainable platform for communities disenfranchised on the war on drugs. She is sought after speaker in the industry and has been featured in MG Magazine, on iHeart Radio and featured in the “Women of Weed” documentary released in 2017. She holds close the need for responsible patient care and creating healthy cannabis programs to improve the quality of life for families worldwide, by educating state and local government, healthcare and cannabis industry professionals on the efficacy of cannabis and hemp.
Richard L. (Rick) Hardcastle ~ Board Member
Rick Hardcastle spent over half of his life in agriculture businesses. Having owned and managed large family farms and several farming operations, his father sold their business to a multi-national firm. Rick was then elected to the Texas Legislature and served 7 terms in the House of Representatives for District 68. Four of those terms he served as Chairman of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee. Early in his public service career, his youngest daughter Cayce Lynn was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer at age 13, and during his care for her at MD Anderson in Houston, Rick was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Throughout Rick’s long battle with MS, and after losing his daughter to cancer, Rick has been a strong advocated for several alternative medicinal therapies including stem cell therapy and the use of hemp products. His personal success using hemp oil to alleviate many MS symptoms and having spent a lifetime in production agriculture, it was only natural for him to be involved in passing the Hemp Bill this last legislative session.
These experiences led to his current occupation assisting clients navigate the Texas Legislature and Texas State Agencies as a registered independent lobbyist. He is also the managing consultant for the Business Development Corporation in Vernon, TX, where he has lived for most of his life. He and his wife Nancy raised two daughters, the oldest Christie Marie Hardcastle Lehman, along with her husband Justin, live close by have blessed Rick and Nancy with 2 grandchildren, Kirby and Keeley, who enjoy spending LOTS of time with their “Grumpy”.
Preston Gardner ~ Board Member
Preston Gardner’s contributions advancing economic and financial education will continue to positively impact the cannabis industry. As a research analyst, he and the team at Alinga Capital and CVC Partners, LLC have contributed to the development of the regulated exchange of cannabis as a commodity.
With contributions to New Leaf Data Services, Cannabis Benchmarks® and Hemp Benchmarks®, Preston covers the hemp and cannabis-infused derivatives market. He supports emerging enterprises with business appraisal recommendations, he provides valuations and due diligence audits, and he offers a path for licensed participants to engage with a fund and commodities trading platform.
Preston applies a comprehensive approach to establishing market forecasts and structuring supply chains. His voracious appetite for research and data analysis resulted in a series of Continuing Education programs serving multiple industries, each course applied directly to specific sectors of the industry, from farmers to investors. Preston’s methodologies were developed through years of schooling and apprenticeships with a mutual fund, institutional bank, and a hedge fund. As an economist and attorney, Preston’s perspective has been sought when analyzing the alternative energy, natural resources and cannabis industries.
Becoming recognized by way of the “Cannabis Economics” series he developed, Preston’s public speaking engagements are tailored for private town halls and educational symposiums. He has been a featured speaker at events and for organizations including the CannaGrow Expo, the Industrial Hemp Association, the Industrial Hemp Summit, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and Marijuana Business Daily / MJBizCon Int'l. Preston serves as an instructor for the Women's Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, and Strategic Advisor to the Texas Hemp Harvesters Association.
Prior to joining CVC Partners and Alinga Capital, Preston spent ten years as an analyst in financial services, with institutions such as The Vanguard Group, Wachovia Securities / Wells Fargo Advisors, and MetLife Securities. Preston received his Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, his MBA from Wake Forest University, a Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a Masters in Finance from Boston College, and was sponsored to complete a graduate program through the London School of Economics and training through Harvard's Program on Negotiation.
Zev Paiss ~ Strategic Advisor
Zev began his involvement with hemp in late 2012 shortly after Colorado became the first state to fully allow farmers to grow this versatile crop. He created and was the founding Executive Director of the National Hemp Association, from 2013 to the end of 2016. As a result of his work with farmers, manufacturers of extraction equipment, lab owners, entrepreneurs, and buyers of hemp products, he has developed long-standing relationships with many of the major hemp players in the U.S. He actively consults with a range of farmers, technology companies, and organizations an active advisor to the Agricultural Claims Association, a hemp Subject Matter Expert to the Family Farm Group and an Advisor to the Texas Hemp Harvesters Association.
In 2017, he created the Hemp Marketplace, which has grown to become the largest and most active hemp marketplace in the world. Zev also founded Herb-a-lites, a wholesale and retail brand for raw hemp products such as flower, pre-rolls, hemp tea, and seasonings. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Abraham Paiss & Associates, Inc., which focuses on building a sustainable U.S. hemp supply chain.