2014 AHPA Awards

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The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) congratulates the winners of the 2014 AHPA Awards presented to Dr. Bronner’s, Daniel Gagnon, Lyle Craker and VIRGO team members for making substantive, positive contributions to the herbal products industry.

The 2014 AHPA Awards were presented during AHPA's annual Member Meeting and Breakfast on March 6 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.


Herbal Hero Award

Ed Fletcher and Daniel Gagnon

The AHPA Herbal Hero Award was presented to Daniel Gagnon, owner of Herbs, Etc., in recognition of his outstanding contributions to AHPA committees and initiatives.

A practicing herbalist since 1976, Gagnon's passion for helping others was born out of his own childhood health problems, which ultimately put him on the path to becoming an herbalist. Throughout his career, Gagnon has continually worked to educate the public and the medical profession about the practical, healing applications of herbal medicine.

"Daniel is very active at AHPA. He serves on the Board of Trustees, several committees and supports special initiatives -- most recently the Botanical Safety Handbook, 2nd Edition," said Ed Fletcher of Strategic Sourcing Inc. "Daniel is an advocate extraordinaire for botanical products and our Industry."


Herbal Industry Leader Award

Michael McGuffin and David Bronner

The AHPA Herbal Industry Leader Award was presented to Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps for taking steps above and beyond normal business practices to advance the herbal products industry. Dr. Bronner's is a pioneer of certified organic personal care products and socially responsible business practices. The company strives to honor its heritage of progressive business practices and devotes a significant portion of profits to worthwhile causes and charities worldwide.

“I am so psyched we are working together and making significant steps to improve the world,” David Bronner said. “I look forward to a long, fruitful partnership with AHPA.” Also known as the "fighting soap company," Dr. Bronner's regularly puts its money where its mouth is to advocate causes that are important to the industry. The company has been a vocal proponent of organic integrity in personal care, re-commercialization of industrial hemp in the U.S. and consumers' right to know what's in their food by advocating for the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“This company isn’t just a soap maker, it is a visionary organization,” AHPA President Michael McGuffin said. “You are really a hero to me and the industry.”


Herbal Insight Award

 Zoe Gardner and Drs. Lyle Craker and Maged Sharaf

The AHPA Herbal Insight Award was presented to Lyle Craker, PhD, in recognition of his efforts to significantly increase and further knowledge and understanding of botanicals and their uses.

“I’m fortunate to be able to pass knowledge down to future generations,” said Craker, who has been a researcher in the field of medicinal plants for more than 30 years and is currently a professor in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Medicinal herbs and plants is a popular subject and we are able to educate roughly 500 students every year.”

Dr. Craker is also executive editor of the Journal of Medicinally Active Plants. He serves on the board of the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals and is also a member of the Expert Advisory Council for the AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook, 2nd Edition where he has made significant contributions to strengthen this publication. Dr. Craker is also well known for proposing that medical grade marijuana be available for scientific studies into its possible health benefits. Since 2005, he has been trying to obtain a permit from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to grow marijuana for research purposes.


Visionary Award

The VIRGO executive team received a special AHPA Visionary Award for supporting and promoting the industry's responsible growth through education. Awards were presented to Heather Granato (vice president of content for VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network); Dana Hicks (senior vice president and director of SupplySide); Natasha Weaver, J.D. (event manager and education manager in VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network); Sandy Almendarez (editor in chief of Natural Products INSIDER); John Siefert (CEO); and Jon Benninger (vice president of VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network).

“The executive team at VIRGO all do their jobs and do them well, but they are also very invested in this industry and it shows,” said AHPA COO Devon Powell.

For more than 15 years, these industry stalwarts have created forums for the industry and provided a platform for emerging issues. VIRGO also regularly partners with industry trade associations to provide guidance and leadership.

“Thank you AHPA members for all you do,” Benninger said. “We are all really invested and really believe in this industry.”
“The herbal products industry has great stories and amazing information and we’re fortunate to be able to tell these stories,” Granato said.

Jon Benninger, Sandy Almendarez, Devon Powell and Heather Granato