2017 AHPA Award

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) presented its 2017 awards to Elwood Richard, Scott Bass, Loren Israelsen, Suzanne Shelton and BI Nutraceuticals for substantive and positive contributions to the herbal products industry. The 2017 AHPA Awards were distributed at the AHPA annual member meeting on March 9 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.

Established in 2006, the annual AHPA Awards acknowledge individuals and organizations that help further AHPA's goal of promoting the responsible commerce of herbs and herbal products.

2017 AHPA Award Recipients

  • Elwood Richard, founder of NOW Foods, received the AHPA Visionary Award for his pioneering and unprecedented efforts to promote the benefits of herbs and herbal products.

  • Scott Bass, partner at Sidley Austin, LLP, and Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), received the AHPA Herbal Insight Award for their tireless work to ensure consumer access to herbal dietary supplements.

  • Suzanne Shelton, founder and managing partner of The Shelton Group, received the AHPA Hero Award, for her sustained and outstanding contributions to AHPA committees and initiatives.

  • BI Nutraceuticals, was presented the AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award for outstanding business practices that have helped move the herbal products industry forward.

"AHPA is pleased to recognize the hard work and dedication of these individuals and BI Nutraceuticals. AHPA and the entire herbal products industry have greatly benefited from their years of dedication and hard work," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin. "These awards are a small token of our gratitude for their tireless efforts."


Visionary Award

McGuffin presented the 2017 AHPA Visionary Award to Dan Richard who received the award on behalf of his father Elwood.

"It is difficult to think of another individual who has had as much of an impact on the herbal products industry," said McGuffin. "Elwood's dedication to value and quality and his unwillingness to compromise helped set a high standard for the industry."

"My father strongly believed in empowering people to take control of their own health and wellbeing and dedicated his career to that end," Dan Richard said in accepting the award. "He has never been satisfied with basic levels of quality and research and always pushed the envelop to ensure the highest quality products."


Herbal Insight Awards

Israelsen presented the 2017 Herbal Insight Award to Bass for his work to protect consumer access to herbal dietary supplements during the crafting of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

"Scott is the most congenial, professional and honest individual I've had the pleasure of working with," Israelsen said. "He helped kill a proposed deal that could have cut herbal supplements out of DSHEA."

Israelsen was also presented with the Insight Award by Peggy Brevoort and Lynda LeMole who stressed that all AHPA members have greatly benefited from Israelsen's work.

"Working with plants and the people who love plants has been the greatest gift," Israelsen said. "As the industry continues to evolve, it is critical that we remain engaged and continue to remind the next generation about the values that make the herbal industry so extraordinary."


Herbal Hero Award

Shelton was presented AHPA's Herbal Hero Award by Elizabeth Lambert who highlighted the many contributions Shelton has made to AHPA throughout her career, including serving as the long-time chair of the AHPA Communications Committee.

"Suzanne is a tireless advocate for AHPA and the natural products industry and her work has benefited many AHPA member companies," Lambert said.

In accepting the award, Shelton expressed appreciation for AHPA and other groups that promote the natural products industry and urged those not involved to engage with these groups to help ensure future success.

"I am grateful for all the support I've received from organizations like AHPA over the years and am glad to be able to support them in return," Shelton said. "I particularly appreciate that AHPA looks at how regulations and market changes will impact companies of all sizes, never forgetting that some of the smallest members are also standard bearers of quality and innovation that drive the industry forward."


Herbal Industry Leadership Award

Brenda Van Goethem presented the Herbal Industry Leadership award to Rupa Das, BI Nutraceuticals' vice president of global quality & compliance.

"We have relied on BI Nutraceuticals for their extensive sourcing expertise, intimate knowledge of the supply chain, innovative manufacturing technologies and superior quality standards," Van Goethem said. "BI's leadership and innovation has helped move the entire industry forward."

Das provided an overview of several initiatives implemented by BI Nutracueticals to effectively verify the identity of botanical ingredients, organically sterilize ingredients and work with farmers to fully understand the supply chain.

"For the past 40 years we have been on the forefront and ahead of the curve on several issues that the industry has faced," Das said. "Quality cannot be inflicted midstream in a product. It has to begin where it is grown and where it is collected.

"It is these beliefs that have led to innovations by BI over the years," Das continued. "This has stemmed from one core, basic value that we have, 'Do what is right not just what is convenient today.' It is very humbling to receive this award for doing what is right."