Who We Are and What We Do
Cannabis Business Times is owned by GIE Media, based in Valley View, Ohio. CBT’s mission is to help accelerate the success of legal cannabis cultivators by providing actionable intelligence in all aspects of the business, from legislation, regulation and compliance news to analysis of industry trends, as well as expert advice on cultivation, marketing, financial topics, legal issues and more.
CBT focuses strictly on the business of legal cannabis for medical and recreational use and aims to provide timely information—through its website, e-newsletter, mobile app, print magazine and annual conference—to help the reader make timely, informed decisions to help them run their businesses better and more profitably. In 2018, Cannabis Business Times was named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Business Publication Editors.
Christopher Foster, President and CEO
Chris Foster rejoined GIE Media as President & COO in May, 2005, after spending nine years away holding senior positions with InsightExpress LLC, the largest online market research company globally, as VP of Technology and Product Development, and Attachmate Corporation running the Global Network Technology Practice. Prior to that, Chris has worked at GIE Media in various roles from Controller to General Manager, having started with GIE Media directly out of college. He holds degrees in International Business Administration and International Marketing from Heidelberg, Germany.
Jim Gilbride, Group Publisher
Jim Gilbride has nearly 20 years of experience in the event and media industries. As the Group Publisher of the Cannabis Media Group at GIE Media, Jim oversaw the acquisition of the Cannabis Business Times website in 2015, which was followed by a subsequent print magazine launch later that year. CBT won Magazine of the Year from the Associate of Business Publication Editors in 2018.
Jim oversaw the 2017 launch of the group’s industry-leading event, Cannabis Conference, which takes place annually in Las Vegas and now brings together more than 3,000 professionals and entrepreneurs from around the business.
Noelle Skodzinski, Editorial Director
Noelle Skodzinski has more than two decades’ experience in the publishing industry. She co-founded Cannabis Business Times with previous owner Tim Hermes in 2014. She has been named among the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Cannabis. In 2012, she founded mediaShepherd–a website providing actionable intelligence for media professionals–where she served as president and editorial director. Prior to that, she was the editorial director of the Publishing Group at North American Publishing Co. In that role, she oversaw Publishing Executive and Book Business magazines, along with all related digital products, including daily enewsletters, and served as director of the annual Publishing Business Conference, the Publishing Business Virtual Conference and all webinars. Skodzinski was previously editor of The Crafts Report magazine, managing editor for Inside Direct Mail, senior writer for Target Marketing, interim managing editor for The Jewish Exponent, among other posts. In 2018 and 2020, Skodzinski was named one of the top women in media by Folio.
Michelle Simakis, Editor-in-Chief
Simakis has been with GIE Media since 2012 and was promoted to editor of Garden Center magazine in 2015. Under her direction, that magazine has become the leading trade publication serving independent garden centers. Most recently she launched an engaging, must-read newsletter for the market and, with the help of an advisory board that includes some of the most influential leaders in the industry, she organized an educational conference for key decision-makers. That experience and knowledge will guide her leadership at Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.
Eric Sandy, Digital Editor
Eric Sandy joined GIE Media Inc. as digital editor of Cannabis Business Times in January 2018. Previously, he worked as managing editor and staff writer of Cleveland Scene, where he covered criminal justice and environmental issues. Sandy is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism (2010) and the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program through Cleveland State University (2022).
Theresa Bennett, Editor
Theresa Bennett was hired as associate editor for Hemp Grower and Cannabis Business Times in November 2019 after working for GIE Media’s Recycling Group of magazines. She became editor of Hemp Grower in early 2021 before becoming editor of Cannabis Business Times in early 2022. Prior to joining GIE in 2018, Bennett was the K-12 education reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal. Outside of GIE, Bennett is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Modern Farmer, The Devil Strip and newspapers across the country. Bennett graduated from Kent State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Patrick Williams, Managing Editor
Patrick Williams joined GIE Media in 2017 and worked as the associate editor and senior editor for sister publications Greenhouse Management and Produce Grower. He then worked for Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower before taking his current managing editor role at Cannabis Business Times. Previously, he was a freelance writer for B2B and consumer media and an editorial intern on GIE Media publication Golf Course Industry. Williams graduated from Kent State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Zach Mentz, Senior Editor
Zach Mentz joined GIE Media in May 2021 as senior editor of Cannabis Business Times (CBT) and Cannabis Dispensary (CD). Previously, he worked as editor in chief at North Coast Media and as a social media assistant with the Cleveland Indians. Mentz is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communication at John Carroll University.
Melissa Schiller, Senior Digital Editor
Melissa Schiller joined the Cannabis Business Times team as an Assistant Editor in June 2017. Previously, she worked as an Audience Development Associate for GIE Media’s Ornamental Group of publications, where she managed the circulation for Cannabis Business Times, Garden Center, Nursery Management, and Greenhouse Management magazines. She has also worked as a contributing writer and editorial assistant for a community newspaper and as a freelance writer for Northeast Ohio Media Group and Modern Tire Dealer. Schiller is a graduate of Hiram College with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing.
Tony Lange, Associate Editor
Tony Lange joined GIE Media as an associate editor of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower in January 2021. He spent the past decade working in the weekly newspaper business, contributing primarily to the Chagrin Valley Times as a beat reporter, sports editor, photographer and page designer. Before that, he was a staff assistant for a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., where he drafted responses to constituent letters and aided the communications director. Lange is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Andriana Ruscitto, Associate Editor
Andriana Ruscitto joined GIE Media as an assistant editor of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower in January 2021. In early 2022, she was promoted to associate editor of Cannabis Business Times. Before joining GIE, Ruscitto attended Kent State University, where she worked in the university communications and marketing department as an editor for the Kent State Today. Ruscitto graduated from Kent State in December 2020 with bachelor's degree in public relations and a minor in marketing.
Scott Anthony, Director of Sales
Scott Anthony joined GIE Media in 2013 as the Regional Account Manager for the Ornamental Group, which includes Nursery Management, Greenhouse Management, Produce Grower and Garden Center magazines. In 2014, he was promoted to Account Manager of Nursery Management magazine, where he was responsible for driving sales and growing the market share of the industry-leading brand. In May 2015, Scott was promoted to Account Manager of the newly acquired Cannabis Business Times brand and has been instrumental in CBT's rapid growth, including the launch of CBT's print magazine. In 2018, Scott was promoted to National Sales Manager of the Cannabis and Hemp divisions, and continues to lead his team in driving revenues for these brands. In 2021, he was promoted to Director of Sales. Scott is also responsible for overseeing the exhibit and sponsorship sales for the Cannabis Conference and Hemp Grower Conference.
Craig Thorne, Account Manager
Craig Thorne joined GIE Media in 2015 as the Account Manager for Golf Course Industry Magazine. In 2018, he was promoted to Account Manager of Cannabis Business Times & Cannabis Dispensary Magazine , where he was responsible for driving sales and growing the market share of the industry-leading brand.
Thomas Vidmar, Account Manager
Thomas Vidmar joined GIE Media in 2021 where he handled classified advertising across all our publications within 17 different markets. He was quickly promoted into our Hemp Grower & Cannabis Dispensary Account Manager role where he is responsible for driving sales & revenue for both of these market leading brands. Before transitioning to GIE, Thomas was well experienced as a Computing Supervisor for Best Buy where he excelled in that role for more than seven years.
Thomas DiMassa, Account Manager
Thomas DiMassa joined GIE Media in January 2022 as an Account Manager for Cannabis Business Times and the Cannabis Conference. He is responsible for growing market share and driving sales for both market leading brands. Before starting at GIE, Thomas worked as a Project Coordinator on a land acquisition team at Atwell, LLC.
Cassie Neiden, Conference Programming Director
Cassie Neiden rejoined GIE Media as Conference Programming Director for its Cannabis Group in February 2020. She has since also taken on the role as Editor of Cannabis Dispensary magazine, overseeing the brand’s continued digital growth. From 2014 to 2019, she held several editorial roles at GIE Media with titles such as Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary, Garden Center, Greenhouse Management, and more. Previously, Neiden served as Director of Marketing & Communications for Firelands Scientific, an Ohio-based vertically integrated medical cannabis company. Within the state’s nascent and tightly regulated market, Neiden led the company’s community outreach efforts and helped to launch its infused products line—including tinctures, edibles and solventless concentrates.
Neiden is also an experienced freelance writer, with bylines in Martha Stewart Weddings, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Cleveland Magazine. She is an alumna of Kent State University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication with a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism.
Michaela Dodrill, Market Coordinator
Michaela Dodrill assists in organizing logistics and outreach for Cannabis Conferece, an annual event that takes place in Las Vegas.
Jim Blayney, Creative Director
Jim Blayney joined GIE Media in 2005. In his current role as creative director, Blayney oversees the visual design of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary, Waste Today, Recycling Today and Golf Course Industry.
Katelyn Boyden, Art Director
Katelyn Boyden joined GIE Media in 2015. In her current role as art director, Boyden designs and lays out each print issue of Cannabis Business Times and Construction & Demolition Recycling. She is a graduate of Ohio University.
Christina Warner, Audience Development Director
Christina Warner was hired by GIE Media in 2004 as Market Coordinator for the Lawn & Landscape Media Group. In 2006, she was asked to become a team member of GIE Media’s Web Group where she managed many aspects of online advertising. Since then, she held many roles within the Web Group, including Web Content Editor and Email Production Manager. She was promoted to Audience Development Director in 2014 and currently oversees all operations in that department.