William Hilliard has 30 years in private legal practice specializing in corporate development and compliance. Hilliard served as general counsel and chief development officer for Thomas and King, Inc., a franchisee of Applebees and Johnny Carinos, culminating in the sale of Applebee’s 87 units. Prior to serving as general counsel for Thomas and King, Hilliard was a partner in the Lexington firm Gess Mattingly & Atchison, P.S.C. Mr. Hilliard is a farm owner and horse breeder. He is the founder and former president and director of Kentucky Horse Council, Founder and director of the Kentucky Polo Association, He currently serves as a director of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and Banker Land Company as well as the managing member of several real estate ventures.
Andrew R. Graves is a 7th generation hemp farmer and 25-year outspoken advocate for industrial hemp. As chairman of Atalo Holdings, Inc, Mr. Graves is committed to creating value for shareholders and opportunity for the new American farmer through research, development and commercialization strategies. Atalo Holdings has become a leader for disruptive technologies in agricultural hemp and crop science under his guidance. Atalo’s Hemp Research Campus, in Winchester, Kentucky, is an incubator for innovative seed improvement, agronomics, processing, and commercialization techniques, developing scalable technologies for sustainable, alternative protein and food-based wellness solutions in the emerging hemp industry.
Mr. Graves has overseen the family agricultural enterprises for 30+ years, tending cattle and growing soybeans, wheat, corn & tobacco and has spent the past 25 years leading efforts to legalize and re-commercialize industrial hemp. Mr. Graves was advisor director at Second National Bank and Commerce National Bank in Lexington, Kentucky from 1989-1999. He was a director on Grain Marketing Board for Southern States in Richmond, Virginia and currently serves on the board of the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation and the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association.
Andrew served as president of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association from 1994 until 2000 and as a board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Mr. Graves was president of the Fayette County Farm Bureau from 1993 thru 1995, and in this role was instrumental in obtaining the 1994 National Farm Bureau resolution in support of allowing U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp. In 1995, Andrew worked with then former Kentucky governor Louie Nunn to write and pass legislation fostering an interest hemp research in Kentucky and across America.
Tom Hutchens has 30 years experience in seed research, development and production and brings expertise, knowledge and international recognition to Atalo Holdings. From 1980 through 2012, Mr. Hutchens became vice president of F.W. Rickard Seed Company in 1980, then became president from 1989 to 2012. Hutchens led the Company to become the world’s foremost burley tobacco seed breeder, controlling 85-90% of the world’s certified burley tobacco seed market. After the sale of Rickard Seed to U.S. Tobacco in 1998, Hutchens became director of the agricultural seed company, Profigen LLC.
Mr. Hutchens personally holds a recognized patent for the air curing of burley tobacco to reduce tobacco specific nitrosamines, the cancer-producing elements of cigarettes. Tom has served as President of the Kentucky Seed Improvement Association, Inc. and as President of the Kentucky Turrets Syndrome Association.
Joseph Hickey’s long history in the hemp industry started in 1994 as the founder and Executive Director of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative. Mr. Hickey and Woody Harrelson established Tierra Madre, LLC in 1994 to focus on identifying and funding innovative technologies supporting environmental sustainability. Mr. Hickey was a founder and board member of both Kenex Ltd, Canada’s first commercial hemp seed and fiber processing company and Prairie Pulp & Paper, which produces environmentally friendly paper made from Canadian wheat straw waste. Mr. Hickey is a founder and acting CEO of Baswood, a company that developed a new disruptive technology for wastewater treatment. He managed the construction of Baswood’s first commercial wastewater treatment plant in 2013 for Dr. Pepper in Houston, Texas. In 2014, after more than 20 years of lobbying and research efforts, Mr. Hickey became a founding member of Atalo Holding, Inc.
Hickey is a member of the board of the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation and the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association.
Mark has over 20 years of senior executive experience in Finance, Fashion Consumer Products, Multi-Unit Food Retail (QSR), Internet Sales and Distribution, Importing, Manufacturing, and Brand Building and is accomplished in private and public companies in growth situations. He is successful in creating and improving brand equity, and repositioning companies through operational and financial restructuring to achieve optimal results. For Atalo, Mark identifies, defines, and manages the financial and operational metrics required to achieve the desired results on an expedited schedule.
David Spalding spent 27 years at the University of Kentucky as an Extension Associate for Horticulture and 10 years as a contracting office and economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Spalding has been a tireless proponent for the legalization of industrial hemp for more than 25 years and has led numerous regional and national legal and legislative initiatives, including programs for breeding and certification of feral Kentucky hemp seed in Canada.
Spalding was founding director Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative, a founding member of the Madison Hemp and Flax Company and the Hemp Fed beef Company. He serves on the board of the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association.