Ryan Doherty, newly elected vice president of US Hemp Building Association (USHBA), is excited about 2023. He says the USHBA board is the strongest he has seen, with a CPA for treasurer, a professional journalist as secretary and a builder as president. Doherty has been a volunteer with the organization for years and worked on the supply chain map created for the group’s website.
He sees the vision becoming clearer for the professional trade organization, which was co-founded by Denver-based Eric McKee in 2019. The USHBA is looking to become a more professional association, perhaps offering a certificate for training and developing classes, especially through partnerships on university campuses.
Ray Kaderli, president, based in New Braunfels, Texas, agrees. He has spent the past couple of years talking to universities and now looks forward to a forum where they can come together within the industry and share ideas. Kaderli has seen programs at Texas A&M, Clemson, Lincoln University in Missouri, Tennessee State and several universities in California and Florida develop around “a whole new field of study for hemp — anything from construction and building science all the way to unrelated industrial applications,” he said. Kaderli notes that Ag departments are also adding hemp curricula to support farming.
Kaderli is especially interested in bringing hemp to builders at their own industry shows instead of mainly at hemp events. He wants to gather with homebuilders and architects because they are the people who meet with consumers and can readily advocate for hemp’s adoption in residential projects. Last year, under the leadership of former executive director Jacob Waddell, the USHBA got hemp approved in U.S. residential building codes with the addition of IRC RB316-22. Kaderli wants to take the momentum generated by that and work to get into commercial projects. Before the code, he said, “it was almost too abstract to engage with building professionals.” Now that there many residential building projects to show them, and now that hemp has been established as a legitimate building material, Kaderli sees it as a natural progression to work toward getting commercial codes.
Jean Lotus, secretary, said, “We need to get the builders to realize that it is in the building code and this is an available material.” She agreed with Kaderli’s goal of attending more general building shows and bringing in more builders as members. She would like to see USHBA provide value to builders so they will bump up to corporate membership and provide leadership to others looking to work with hemp building materials.
A big upcoming event for the USHBA is South by Southwest, where three hemp builders will present a panel on zero-carbon construction. USHBA will have a booth to showcase hemp materials and tiny home blueprints. Corporate members will display their materials, including flooring from Murray, Ky.-based HempWood and raw materials from a Texas processor. The inclusion of hemp building materials at such a popular large event is good news for hemp advocates.
All three board members agree that increasing individual memberships will be a major focus in 2023. The board is working to build out the membership package. Members will be able to find a professional for a building project and become informed consumers of hemp building materials. Education will be a main focus of the USHBA so consumers can make sure they understand hemp building materials and choose wisely. “When people are building a house, they are building a home,” Kaderli said, “and they want it to be right.”
USHBA 2023 Board of Directors
Ray Kaderli, President
Kaderli is a real estate investor with a focus on education and stewardship. He values educating other builders about hemp materials and has an entrepreneurial background. Kaderli is active in building with hemp in San Antonio, Texas, and is passionate about the benefits of healthy homes and protecting the planet through the use of hemp building materials.
Ryan Doherty, Vice President
Doherty, based in Boulder, Colo., wants to continue advancing the goals of the U.S. hemp building industry and provide more resources to those looking to enter the space. He previously worked on the supply chain committee and is CEO of Hemp Ventures.
Jean Lotus, Secretary
Lotus is an experienced Colorado-based journalist and publisher of HempBuild Magazine and the Hemp Building Directory: Guide to the International Hemp Building Industry, which lists more than 300 companies internationally in 25 categories in 26 countries. She is passionate about increasing membership.
Michael Knight, Treasurer
Knight is founder of the Charlottesville, N.C.-based Hemp Accountant, a remote accounting practice in the marijuana/CBD/industrial hemp space. He joins the USHBA to support the group with accounting expertise and will prepare the monthly statements.
Matthew Bruce, Director At-Large
New Jersey-based Bruce, who owns and operates a cannabis and hemp brand called Herbal Vybzz, is the regional leader for USHBA region 9 (Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Washington, D.C.) and is the CEO of the Hemp Farmers Association of Guyana. He is hoping to improve communication between members and the board of directors.
Tai Olson, Director At-Large
Olson is the director of operations for Chicago-based US Heritage Group, a specialty lime company. Tai has almost 10 years of experience in hemp construction. He plans to guide newcomers to the hemp building industry and expand membership.
Alexander Sexsmith, Director At-Large
Sexsmith is a Santa Fe, N.M.-based architect hoping to bring his expertise and perspective on healthy buildings to expanding membership.