The Pillars


Justin Fakler is an instinctive entrepreneur who serves as CEO of Secoya Seed Company where he orchestrates corporate synergy to ideate strategy and logistics in the realm of research and development.Justin is on the leading edge of our country’s hemp seed security and believes that the industry is in dire need of more accountability involving authentic genetics and seed viability. His 4 years of experience tending various hemp cultivars has motivated Justin to create effective change to better serve both farmers and consumers. He holds a BA in International Studies and gleans his inspiration from years spent abroad studying ecological diversity, human impact, and community organization

Ashley Shawn Chaffin is a PhD Candidate/Graduate Research Assistant in the University of North Carolina Charlotte Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics. Shawn returned to higher education in an effort to earn the respect of the scientific community through which support could be gained to aid the study of the unbroken medicinal plant lineage of the Siekopai or Secoya tribe of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon, a lineage which extends into unrecorded history prior to the reign of the Incas. Shawn has spent over 20 months studying among the eldest curanderos of the Siekopai and was instrumental in projects which led to the reunification of the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Secoyas and retitling of over 475,000 hectares of their ancestral lands in Peru. Known among the Secoya as Matëmo Saikë, Shawn has formed close familiar relationships with the Siekopai communities since his first introduction in 1999.

Adrian Saliu is the founder and Agricultural Director of Secoya Seed Company. A visionary at heart with a profound cognizance of our ecosphere, he utilizes this innate symbiosis as the agricultural director and medicinal application expert of Secoya Seed Company. Adrian believes strong that industrial hemp holds the potential to shift localized economic landscapes through sustainable and biodiverse cultivation practices. As a cancer survivor, his experience has garnered fascinating insights into the myriad ways that medical cannabis improves the lives of those who are suffering. With 8 years in the industry, Adrian is adept at overseeing large scale operations in addition to propagating vibrant strains in the phenotype library at Mountain Magnolia Farms.

Terry Rabinowitz holds a BS in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he first began his interest in structural biology and proceeded to further his studies at the University of Rochester NY to obtain a MS in Biophysics. He continued as a lab tech there for several years using techniques including HPLC to purify proteins and NMR to probe protein dynamics. Gaining an interest in the data side of science, Terry moved to North Carolina and obtained a BS in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he focused on deep learning algorithms to predict biological metabolites from the peaks of mass spectrometry data. He also had the opportunity at this time to learn genetic techniques including gene alignments, PCR, and various sequencing methods. Terry is elated to have the opportunity to use genetic and data analysis to push the frontier of cannabis breeding. 

Michelle Carter is the Administrative and Agricultural Specialist for Secoya Seed Company. With 9 years of organic regenerative farming experience and 4 years running a successful handmade product business, she brings a spectrum of creative competence to the team. Michelle is an avid permaculture enthusiast who whole heartedly believes that a biocentric approach to stewarding this glorious planet is essential to our thrival. Passionate about all things great and small, when Michelle is not studying soil samples or networking the agricultural community, she revels in the wonder of the natural world with children and brings beauty into being with medicinal plants and beeswax from her hives.  

"Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?"   

- Henry Ford