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 had a lasting impact on many brands in GIE Media’s portfolio, and he applies the company’s high standards for innovative B2B media with every project and team he oversees. As the current Group Publisher of the Media Group, Jim directs 7 magazine titles and 3 cutting-edge industry events—including Cannabis Conference, which will return to Las Vegas for its fifth iteration in August 2021, and Hemp Grower Conference, which will launch in Orlando, Fla., in November 2021.
Jim was hired by GIE Media in 2004 as Account Manager for the Lawn & Landscape Media Group. In 2005, he transitioned to West Coast Account Manager for the PCT Media Group, where he was a key factor in driving sales growth until 2009. In June 2009, shortly after the GIE acquisition of Branch Smith Publishing, Jim was promoted to National Sales Manager of the portfolio—which includes the brands Greenhouse Management, Nursery Management and Garden Center. Jim became a key factor in the success and rapid growth of the ornamental market brands, and he was promoted to Associate Publisher in 2010; two years later, he helped launch the Produce Grower brand. Jim was promoted to Group Publisher of the Ornamental Media Group in 2012, and currently oversees all operations for those titles and related brands. The continued growth of the media group includes the acquisition and launch of the Cannabis Business Times in 2015, which in 2018 won Magazine of the Year from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Jim also has overseen the launch of the Cannabis Conference & Cannabis Dispensary in 2017. In 2019, he oversaw the launch of Hemp Grower, which was followed with the 2021 launch of Hemp Grower Conference.
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
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.
Brian MacIver, Managing Editor
Brian MacIver joined GIE Media, Inc. in July 2016 as an associate editor for Cannabis Business Times. A graduate of the Medill graduate journalism program at Northwestern University in 2015, he has written for U.S. News and World Report, Christian Science Monitor, and UPI, among other national publications. Prior to reporting on the cannabis industry, he covered all levels of sports, from the QJMHL in his hometown of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, to the NFL Draft in Chicago.
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.
Eric Sandy, Digital Editor
Eric Sandy joined GIE Media Inc. as digital editor of Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary in January 2018. Previously, he worked as managing editor and staff writer of Cleveland Scene, where he covered criminal justice and environmental issues. Elsewhere, he is an established freelance music writer. Sandy is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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, Assistant Editor
Andriana Ruscitto was hired as an associate editor for Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower in January 2021. Before joining GIE, Ruscitto attended Kent State University, where she worked in the university communications and marketing department, writing stories for the Kent State Today. Ruscitto graduated from Kent State in December 2020 with a bachelor of science degree in public relations and a minor in marketing.
Scott Anthony, National Sales Manager
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.
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.
Sarah Birckhead, Account Manager
As a graduate of Ohio University, Sarah started her career in the finance industry in 2018 where she was responsible for driving revenues and sales growth for the largest mortgage lender in the US. In June of 2019, Sarah made the transition to join the Cannabis Division of GIE Media, ready to bring her energy and passion to the fast-paced cannabis industry. Sarah is responsible for driving sales for Cannabis Business Times and the Cannabis Conference.
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, Graphic Designer
Katelyn Boyden joined GIE Media in 2015. In her current role as graphic designer, 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.
Ladonne Wilson, Audience Development Associate
Ladonne Wilson develops targeted outreach programs for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary audiences.
Editorial Advisory Board
David Bonvillain, Founder/CEO, Elite Cannabis Enterprises
David Holmes, Founder/CEO, Clade9
Dr. Raymond Cloyd, Professor/Extension Specialist, Department of Entomology, Kansas State University
Rich Kwesell, Co-Founder/Co-Owner, Strawberry Fields
Kenneth "K" Morrow, Founder, Trichome Technologies
Crystal Oliver, Co-Owner/Co-Founder, Washington's Finest Cannabis
Markus Roggen, Founder, Complex Biotech Discovery Ventures
Brian E. Jackson, Associate Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University
Brian Whipker, Professor of Floriculture, North Carolina State University
Tim Hermes, Founder
Tim Hermes is President and Owner of Hermes Media & Research. He founded CannabisBusinessTimes.com in July 2014.