Who we are and what we do
Cannabis Business Times is owned by Valley View, Ohio-based GIE Media. CBTThe company’s mission is to help accelerate the success of legal cannabis growers by providing useful information on all aspects of business, from legislation, regulations and compliance news to analysis of industry trends, as well as expert advice on cultivation, marketing, financial topics, legal issues and more.
CBT focuses exclusively on the legal medical and recreational cannabis business and aims to provide timely information—via its website, e-newsletter, mobile app, print magazine, and annual conference—to help readers make timely, informed decisions which will help them run a better and more profitable business. In 2018 Cannabis Business Times The American Society of Business Editors named it magazine of the year.
president and CEO
Chris Foster rejoined GIE Media as President & COO in May 2005, after spending nine years in senior positions at InsightExpress LLC, the largest global online market research company, as Vice President of Technology and Product Development, and Attachmate Corporation leading global network technology Practice. Prior to that, Chris worked at GIE Media in various roles from Controller to Managing Director, having started with GIE Media straight out of college. He graduated in international business administration and international marketing in Heidelberg, Germany.
Jim Gilbride has nearly 20 years of experience in the events and media industry. As group publisher of the Cannabis Media Group at GIE Media, Jim oversaw the acquisition of the Cannabis Business Times website in 2015, followed by the launch of the print magazine later that year. In 2018, CBT received the magazine of the year award from the associate editors of business publications. In 2017, Jim oversaw the launch of the group’s flagship industry event, the Cannabis Conference, which is held annually in Las Vegas and now brings together more than 3,000 industry professionals and entrepreneurs.
[email protected] / 216-393-0245
Noelle Skodzinski has more than two decades of experience in the publishing industry. She co-founded Cannabis Business Times with previous owner Tim Hermes in 2014. She was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Cannabis. In 2012, she founded mediaShepherd—a website that provides useful information for media professionals—where she served as president and editorial director. Before that, she was the editorial director of the publishing group at North American Publishing Co. In that role, she oversaw Publishing Executive and Book Business magazines, along with all related digital products, including daily newsletters, and was director of the annual Publishing Business Conference, the Publishing Business Virtual Conference and all webinars. Skodzinski previously served as Editor of The Crafts Report, Editor-in-Chief for Inside Direct Mail, Senior Writer for Target Marketing, Interim Editor-in-Chief for The Jewish Exponent, among others. Folio named Skodzinski one of the best women in the media in 2018 and 2020.
[email protected] / 856-979-2081
Editor in chief
Michelle Simakis has been with GIE Media since 2012 and was promoted to editor of Garden Center magazine in 2015. Under her leadership, the magazine has become the leading trade publication serving independent garden centers. She recently launched an engaging must-read newsletter for the market and, with the help of an advisory board that includes some of the industry’s most influential leaders, organized an educational conference for key decision makers. That experience and knowledge will guide her leadership at Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.
[email protected] / 216-393-0275
Eric Sandy has joined GIE Media Inc. as digital editor of Cannabis Business Times in January 2018. He previously served as managing editor and writer for Cleveland Scene, where he covered criminal justice and environmental issues. Sandy graduated from Ohio University’s EW Scripps School of Journalism (2010) and received her MFA from Northeast Ohio Cleveland State University (2022).
[email protected] / 216-393-0329
Editor in chief
Patrick Williams joined GIE Media in 2017 and has worked as Associate Editor and Senior Editor for sister publications Greenhouse Management and Produce Grower. He began working with Cannabis Business Times as a senior editor in 2020 and was promoted to editor-in-chief of CBT in 2022. He was previously a freelance writer for B2B and consumer media. Williams graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2015.
Zach Mentz joined GIE Media in May 2021 as Senior Editor of Cannabis Business Times (CBT). He previously served as managing editor at North Coast Media and as a social media assistant at the Cleveland Indians. Mentz graduated from John Carroll University’s Tim Russert Department of Communications.
[email protected] / 216-393-0237
Senior Digital Editor
Melissa Schiller joined the Cannabis Business Times team as Associate Editor in June 2017. She previously worked as an Audience Development Associate for GIE Media’s Ornamental Group of publications, where she managed circulation for Cannabis Business Times, Garden Center, Nursery Management and Greenhouse Management magazines. . She has also worked as a writer and assistant editor for local newspapers and as a freelance writer for Northeast Ohio Media Group and Modern Tire Dealer. Schiller graduated from Hiram College with a degree in creative writing.
[email protected] / 216-393-0237
Tony Lange joined GIE Media as Associate Editor of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower in January 2021. He has spent the past decade working in weekly newspapers, contributing primarily to the Chagrin Valley Times as a beat reporter, sports editor, photographer and page designer. Prior to that, he was a congressional staff assistant in the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, where he drafted responses to constitutional letters and assisted the director of communications. Lange graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
[email protected] / 216-393-0234
Andriana Ruscitto joined GIE Media as Associate Editor of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary and Hemp Grower in January 2021. In early 2022, she was promoted to Associate Editor of Cannabis Business Times. Prior to joining GIE, Ruscitto attended Kent State University, where she worked in the university’s communications and marketing department as an editor for Kent State Today. Ruscitto graduated from Kent State University in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in marketing.
Scott Anthony joined GIE Media in 2013 as regional account manager for the Ornamental Group, which includes Nursery Management, Greenhouse Management, Produce Grower and Garden Center magazines. In 2014, he was promoted to account manager of Nursery Management magazine, where he was responsible for driving sales and increasing market share for an industry-leading brand. In May 2015, Scott was promoted to account manager of the newly acquired Cannabis Business Times brand and has been instrumental in CBT’s rapid growth, including the launch of CBT’s print magazine. In 2018, Scott was promoted to National Sales Manager for Cannabis and Hemp and continues to lead his team in growing revenue for these brands. In 2021, he was promoted to sales director. Scott is also responsible for overseeing exhibition and sponsorship sales for the Cannabis Conference and the Hemp Growers Conference.
[email protected] / 216-393-0219
Senior Account Manager
Craig Thorne joined GIE Media in 2015 as an account manager for Golf Course Industry magazine. In 2018, he was promoted to Account Manager of Cannabis Business Times & Cannabis Dispensary Magazine, where he was responsible for driving sales and increasing market share of the industry’s leading brand.
[email protected] / 216-393-0232
Thomas Vidmar joined GIE Media in 2021 where he handled classified advertising in all our publications in 17 different markets. He was quickly promoted to our role as Hemp Grower and Cannabis Dispensary Account Manager where he is responsible for growing sales and revenue for both of these market leading brands. Before moving to GIE, Thomas had extensive experience as a computer supervisor for Best Buy, where he excelled in that role for over seven years.
Thomas DiMassa joined GIE Media in January 2022 as Account Manager for Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Conference. He is responsible for increasing market share and increasing sales for both market leading brands. Prior to joining GIE, Thomas worked as a project coordinator on the land acquisition team at Atwell, LLC.
[email protected] / 216-393-0369
Michaela Dodrill helps organize logistics and outreach for the Cannabis Conference, an annual event held in Las Vegas.
[email protected] / 216-393-0336
Jim Blayney joined GIE Media in 2005. In his current role as creative director, Blayney oversees the visual design of Cannabis Business Times, Cannabis Dispensary, Waste Today, Recycling Today and Golf Course Industry magazines.
[email protected] / 216-393-0226
Katelyn Mullen joined GIE Media in 2015. In her current role as art director, Boyden designs and layouts each print edition of Cannabis Business Times and Construction & Demolition Recycling. She graduated from Ohio University.
[email protected] / 216-393-0312
Director of Audience Development
Christina Warner was hired by GIE Media in 2004 as a market coordinator for the Lawn & Landscape Media Group. In 2006, she was asked to join the GIE Media web group team where she managed many aspects of online advertising. Since then, she has held many roles within the web group, including web content editor and email production manager. She was promoted to director of audience development in 2014 and currently oversees all operations in that department.
[email protected] / 216-393-0292