AHPA names its 2024 herbal products industry award winners

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

From left: Sidney Sudberg, Heather Granato (WIN), Tony Martinez (on behalf of the late Governor Bill Richardson), Katie Banaszewski (NOW Foods), Nate Brennan (Pacific Botanicals), Susan Leopold, and Will Woodlee.  Image courtesy of AHPA
From left: Sidney Sudberg, Heather Granato (WIN), Tony Martinez (on behalf of the late Governor Bill Richardson), Katie Banaszewski (NOW Foods), Nate Brennan (Pacific Botanicals), Susan Leopold, and Will Woodlee. Image courtesy of AHPA

Related tags Ahpa Botanical supplements

The American Herbal Products Association has announced the recipients of its 2024 AHPA Awards, which are given to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the continued success of the herbal products industry.

“Every year, it is our distinct privilege to honor a select group of the many individuals and organizations whose work has strengthened our industry and challenged us all to do and be better,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “We are grateful to the esteemed group of 2024 AHPA Award recipients for their contributions to AHPA and the wider industry, and we thank them for celebrating with us.”

2024 AHPA Award Winners

• Herbal Hero Award: Will Woodlee
• Herbal Industry Leadership Award: Pacific Botanicals
• Herbal Insight Award: Sidney Sudberg
• Herbal Diversity & Inclusion Award: Women in Nutraceuticals (WIN)
• Environmental Impact Award: Susan Leopold
• Herbal Advocacy Award: NOW Foods
• Herbal Champion Award: Governor Bill Richardson (1947-2023)

 This year's awards were presented at the AHPA Annual Member Meeting on March 13 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.

AHPA Herbal Hero Award: Will Woodlee

Will Woodlee
Will Woodlee. Image courtesy of AHPA

Will Woodlee, a partner at Washington, D.C.-based Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker LLP and general counsel to AHPA, was commended for his subject matter expertise and thoughtful attention to supporting the association and wider industry.

“Serving AHPA has been the privilege of my career thus far,” Woodlee said. “The work we do for AHPA is fulfilling, challenging, engaging…but the most important and most exciting thing about this work is the people. I've made great friends, I continue to develop relationships, and I can say, unequivocally…the herbal community is special. I look forward to earning this award eventually, and I greatly appreciate the recognition.”

AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award: Pacific Botanicals

Pacific Botanicals
Nate Brennan, Pacific Botanicals. Image courtesy of AHPA

Oregon-based Pacific Botanicals, a division of Herb Pharm, are growers and suppliers of high-quality herbs and spices. Founded in 1979 by Mark Wheeler, Pacific Botanicals is committed to building trusted, lasting relationships with customers and growing partners, and their work to care for herbs and the earth is appreciated by and inspirational to many.

“We are very honored to be the recipient of the 2024 AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award,” said Nate Brennan, senior supply chain manager at Pacific Botanicals. “It is a true testament to the team that we have here at Pacific Botanicals and the dedication of each person here from the farm team to the mill to the shop; we have people that are passionate about botanicals. Without them, and their dedication, we would not be the company we are today.

“The cooperation, commitment, and passion that is throughout the herbal industry is something we are proud to be part of and look forward to continuing to lead into the future.”

AHPA Herbal Insight Award: Sidney Sudberg 

Sidney Sudberg
Sidney Sudberg. Image courtesy of AHPA

Sidney Sudberg, L. Ac. D.C., is a natural products scientist with emphasis on the discipline of pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal natural products. After many years as a clinician, Sudberg combined his clinical knowledge and experience with his chemistry background to found Alkemist Labs, an independent contract analytical testing and research laboratory highly respected for its botanical testing expertise.

“I am honored to have been chosen for the 2024 AHPA Herbal Insight Award,” Sudberg said. “This acknowledgment of my rewarding journey into the world of botanical or plant drug medicine, which began in 1965, is especially meaningful as it is from my AHPA peers, who have been on their own rewarding paths. It is my hope that what we have done at Alkemist Labs for nearly 30 years will continue to contribute to world health, by enhancing the quality of botanical and natural medicine.”

AHPA Herbal Diversity & Inclusion Award: Women in Nutraceuticals

Heather Granato
Heather Granato, WIN President. Image courtesy of AHPA

Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on unlocking the professional and personal potential of women. The organization is building support for women across the nutraceutical supply chain to help increase the percentage of women holding leadership roles, funding for female-led businesses and women's participation in research.

“WIN leadership is honored and grateful to AHPA for this recognition of our role in advancing diversity and inclusion in the nutraceuticals industry,” said Heather Granato, president at WIN.

“Achieving economic and societal gender equity will have a positive impact on our industry as increased diversity improves business outcomes and innovation. It's notable that AHPA itself has a diverse staff, including several women in high leadership positions, and is a partner of WIN. Being recognized by AHPA is particularly meaningful because of how much thought and discussion go into their selections.”

AHPA Environmental Impact Award: Susan Leopold

Susan Leopold
Susan Leopold. Image courtesy of AHPA

Susan Leopold is an ethnobotanist and conservation biologist known for her work in the fields of plant conservation, sustainable agriculture and ethnobotany. She is the Executive Director of United Plant Savers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their habitat.

“I am so honored to get this Environmental Impact Award,” she said. “One thing I really want to highlight is that conservation, commerce and cultivation of these plants are intricately connected, and we can't have commerce without conservation. The conservation piece of this work in the American herbal products world is critical, so there's no better time to partner with United Plants Savers and to partner locally with conservation efforts to ensure a future for our native plants that really provide the backbone to this industry.

“As we heal ourselves, we heal the planet, and vice versa—so we each have a very important role to play. Something I often say is, ‘herbs are the gateway drug to activism.'”

AHPA Herbal Advocacy Award: NOW Foods

Katie B NOW AHPA award cropped
Katie Banaszewski, NOW Senior Director of Quality. Image courtesy of AHPA

Founded by Elwood Richard in 1968 on the belief that natural is better and still a family-owned company today, NOW Foods provides customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness by offering products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives.

In 2017, NOW started its award-winning industry self-policing program of testing unfamiliar brands found on Amazon with the goal to provide consumers with knowledge on quality and testing of supplements so they can make informed purchases.

"NOW is honored to receive this special AHPA award for Herbal Industry Advocacy in recognition of our efforts in documenting the poor quality of ‘ghost brand' supplements available on Amazon and advocating for better policing,” said Katie Banaszewski, senior director of quality at NOW, who accepted the award.

“NOW started this testing program in 2017 when family owner Dan Richard decided it was important to document the problems he was seeing with many supplements for sale on Amazon. We will continue to use the tools we have to ensure the safety and quality of NOW products to also monitor unfamiliar brands found on Amazon. And we will continue to advocate for Amazon to take action against dishonest brands and for regulatory agencies to enforce existing quality requirements."

AHPA Herbal Champion Award: Governor Bill Richardson (1947-2023)

Governor Bill Richardson

For more than 30 years, Bill Richardson led a distinguished public service career, serving as a U.S. Congressman, a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton, as well as receiving four Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

As Governor of New Mexico, Richardson's bold governing style moved New Mexico forward in several important areas, including clean energy, education, transportation, healthcare, immigration and environmental protection.

Among his many great achievements and public service contributions, AHPA is most grateful for Governor Richardson's sponsorship and support of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA)​, which he helped maneuver through the House of Representatives and eventually get passed, establishing the foundation for the robust dietary supplement industry we know today. Governor Richardson passed in September 2023.

Accepting the award on behalf of and at the request of the Richardson family, Tony Martinez said: “What can I say about Bill Richardson, who, for me, was a mentor and a great man. He was a wizard. His gift was he had the ability to look at a situation and to say, ‘How do we connect?'…and he would use this in the most difficult situations. In fact, there is a lot of great political theater with Bill Richardson when it comes to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act—which, going to congressional tradition, if DSHEA were to be named after the legislators primarily responsible for that act, DSHEA would be called the Hatch-Richardson Act…

“He would say, if he was here today, ‘Go connect and develop new champions'. He would also say, 'Run for office'. Why shouldn't someone in this industry be in Congress? That would be the best champion we could have…”


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