Avtar Dhillon, MD
Executive Chairman and President
Dr. Dhillon is a life sciences entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience. As a founder/co-founder or lead investor in dozens of life science companies, he has raised more than $1B in public and private financings. He is currently the Chairman, CEO and President of Emerald Health Sciences, a holding company with a portfolio broadly focused on the development of pharmaceutical, botanical, and nutraceutical products, including a controlling position in Emerald Health Therapeutics. As President and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Dr. Dhillon led a turnaround with multiple successful financings and licensing deals with Merck, Wyeth (now Pfizer) and Roche. Before joining Inovio, he was Vice President of MDS Capital Corp. (now Lumira Capital Corp.). Dr. Dhillon now serves as an active board member and chairman for multiple life science and investment companies and is Chairman of the Cannabis Canada Council. Prior to his business career, Dr. Dhillon practiced family medicine. He has a BSc (Honours) in Human Physiology and an MD from the University of British Columbia.
Robert C. Hill, CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Hill has more than 20 years of accounting, finance and senior leadership experience. He is a seasoned manager of private and publicly traded technology and financial services businesses in Canada, USA, and Asia. Prior to joining Emerald, Mr. Hill was the Chief Financial Officer of Tokyo-based Minkabu, a technology company advancing sophisticated stock market intelligence and financial data solutions. Before that, he held financial leadership positions at Haywood Securities in Vancouver, Vignette Corp. and Trilogy Software in Austin, TX. Mr. Hill earned a BSc from the University of British Columbia and his certification from the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia, Canada while articling with KPMG LLP.
Thierry Schmidt, B.A.
Mr. Schmidt has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, brand advocacy, and general management in the consumer goods industry. Most recently, Mr. Schmidt served as Chief Operating Officer of Botanical Technologies Inc., a cannabis ancillary products supplier, developing marketing plans and managing investor relations and product development. As General Manager at L’Oréal and Chief Marketing Officer at Next Level Energy Inc., he managed product development focused on advancing a sustainable and profitable business model. Furthermore, in his Business Development and Sales Director roles at British American Tobacco, he successfully developed and launched a national trade marketing strategy. Thierry holds a bachelor’s degree from HEC University and is an IMD School of Business Alumni.
Frey Garabagi, PhD
Vice President, Research
Dr. Garabagi is a research scientist and inventor in the fields of plant molecular genetics and medical biotechnology. He has 10 years of experience conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Guelph, where he developed intellectual property (IP) on the production of plant-derived Herceptin, a therapeutic monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Garabagi also has extensive experience in the development of DNA-based techniques for improving insect pest management strategies. A member of the International Association for Plant Biotechnology and the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists, he has published numerous scientific papers and books relating to plants. Dr. Garabagi holds a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Guelph.
Vice President, Operations
Mr. Bierman has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing management, product development, and marketing; from commodity products to fast moving consumer goods. Prior to joining Emerald, Mr. Bierman was the divisional controller for Tolko Industries and then served as the general manager of Lighthouse Brewing Company. Mr. Bierman earned a diploma in accounting and is a certified management accountant.
Vice President, Quality Affairs
Ms. Wong has more than 25 years of managerial experience in quality assurance and quality control spanning preclinical, clinical, and commercial phases for pharmaceuticals, genetically engineered products and medical devices. Before joining Emerald, she was the Executive Director of Quality Assurance at Novelion Therapeutics (formerly QLT Inc.), where she led the strategy for quality assurance, equipment validation, compliance auditing, document management, and GxP training. Ms. Wong previously worked for life science companies including MDS Nordion, Cangene Corporation, and Biomira Inc. Specializing in microbiology, she earned a BSc from the University of Alberta.
Vice President, Production
Mr. Graham is the Master Grower for Emerald Health Botanicals, responsible for the medical cannabis growing facility in Victoria, BC and all of the company’s plant production. He has been producing medical cannabis since the inception of the MMAR (Marihuana Medical Access Regulations) program in 2001. His experience encompasses all aspects of production, including large and small plant types, soil and hydroponic environments, and indoor and outdoor greenhouse enclosures. Mr. Graham has for several years been a professional consultant in cannabis production and grow room design.