Our Leadership Team
Industry experts in cannabis, life sciences, quality, and operations.
Our team of leaders has been hand-selected from a diverse background of disciplines and expertise. Blending decades of hands-on experience in cannabis, life sciences, and many other industries, the collective brings with them the knowledge, aptitude, and passion to take CannaSafe forward into a promising future.
Chief Executive Officer
Aaron Riley is the owner and CEO of CannaSafe, the first ISO accredited cannabis testing lab in the world. He holds a bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. from Jacksonville University, where he earned his way through college on a football scholarship. Aaron’s experience with cannabis has come full circle. In college he was arrested and charged for felony intent to distribute amongst six other charges. His record was eventually expunged, but he turned to entrepreneurship as his criminal record proved to be a problem with employers. After starting two successful businesses in Florida, Aaron moved to California and re-entered the legal cannabis space by taking ownership over Cannasafe in 2016. Aaron is a well-respected subject matter expert in the field of cannabis and hemp safety testing and appeared twice on NBC Nightly News to shed light on the breaking vaping health “crisis” (EVALI). He remains active in cannabis and hemp regulation and frequently participates in discussions with the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC). Aaron has become a fervent and outspoken advocate for social equity and consumer safety issues.
Chief Operating Officer
Derrick Friedrich is the COO at CannaSafe where he drives process improvement and business streamlining by implementing Lean Six Sigma procedures and metrics. Derrick earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Biomedical Science from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, and began his career in the analytical lab industry focusing on environmental testing. Over the course of 25 years he had multiple leadership positions working for some of the largest testing lab networks in the country—including Pace Analytical and Microbac—giving him the experience and knowledge needed to help navigate the complexities of business life cycles.
Vice President of Operations
Antonio Frazier is the Vice President of Operations at CannaSafe. He was the first Furman University athlete to complete a dual-degree engineering program, and earned both a B.S. in Physics from Furman and a B.S. in Materials Engineering from Clemson University—cum laude. Antonio began his career as a Nuclear Quality Engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority, certifying and verifying the final construction of nuclear components. He then moved into aerospace engineering, performing quality assurance for the foundry, testing lab, heat treat, and special finishing departments for SKF USA in Maryland. Antonio is passionate about using his industrial, public safety-focused skillset to forge quality standards in the burgeoning cannabis industry and has been instrumental in its evolution. He focuses his attention on building strong relationships with regulators, supporting policy change, and is actively involved in organizations like ASTM D37, ACIL, and UCBA. Antonio joined the Americans for Safe Access board in 2020. He is deeply committed to social equity and consumer safety education—devoting much of his time at CannaSafe to community involvement.
Vice President of Sales
Stephen comes to CannaSafe with over 13 years of experience in the life sciences industry. After earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and Chemistry, Stephen began his career as an R&D chemist at Bachem synthesizing peptide therapeutics at pilot and process scale. He then transitioned into the commercial side, selling separation science consumables at Phenomenex, a Danaher Company. Stephen quickly moved up the ranks into senior management and eventually became head of Business Development for North America, managing all key market verticals (Pharma, Biopharma, Enviro, Government, Food, Clinical, Toxicology, and Cannabis). Stephen joined CannaSafe to develop and lead the company’s commercial excellence strategy and brings extensive laboratory and business experience. He is fluent in DBS (Danaher Business Systems) principals and is passionate about coaching winning teams to success.
Antoinette has spent her 13-year career working with top pharmaceutical, medical device, and cannabis companies in a Quality Assurance function. At CannaSafe, she leads the Quality Assurance team and is responsible for implementation, maintenance, and improvement of quality systems. Prior to CannaSafe, she worked to help cannabis organizations understand the rigors associated with requirements of regulated industries such as Quality Management Systems and ISO 17025 accreditation. Her volunteer work includes membership with Minorities for Medical Marijuana, ASTM D37, and is currently on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Iniobong “Ini” Afia
Ini develops and validates methodology used in assays that directly impact consumer safety, including the analysis of heavy metal contaminants from vaporizer smoke and methods to identify intoxicants in illicit products, among others. Ini is also a member of the ASTM D37 Technical Committee on Cannabis and a Scientific Committee member of both the Emerald Conference and the CannMed Conferences. Ini earned his Master of Science degree from the renowned University of Wisconsin, Madison and draws upon more than fifteen years of leadership experience as a microbiologist, analytical chemist, and lab director in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cannabis industries. He has worked with some of the top biotech companies in the world including Abbott Labs, EMD Serono/Merck, Invitrogen Corporation, and ProCaps Laboratories.
Vice President of Marketing
Kari leads a high-performing in-house marketing agency at CannaSafe responsible for media and film production, socials, creative branding, engagement marketing, corporate and public relations, and technical writing. The team executes innovative campaigns that push boundaries and reinvent ways of engaging and delighting our clients. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and after spending several years in the lab, made the move into the business side of life sciences—spending 13 years in marketing for Phenomenex, a Danaher Company. She brings extensive expertise in transformative marketing, including digital, content, creative, and experiential marketing, branding, PR, and corporate communications. Kari has a fierce passion for storytelling and creating experiences that move people.
Mallory oversees all operational departments to ensure quality results with on time delivery while maintaining compliance and customer satisfaction. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Utah State University. She started her career as an analytical chemist in the flavor and fragrance industry and continued to round her experience in quality assurance in the food testing industry. Mallory has spent the last five years working in the cannabis industry and has participated in several BCC workshops and industry conferences as the regulated market in California was first developing. She is very passionate about quality, consumer safety and education; it is of utmost importance to the work she does.
Human Resources Manager
Hillary has worked in a wide range of HR capacities since 2007, including talent acquisition and retention, organizational development, training, employee relations, compliance, and leadership strategy. Prior to joining CannaSafe she served as the Director of Human Resources at The Management Trust, an Associate HR Business Partner at Sunrun, an HR Generalist at Scientific Drilling International as well as Hanapin Marketing, and various roles at Universal Music Group. Hillary has held other HR, administrative, and operations functions in education, healthcare, and philanthropy. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Spanish from Indiana University and is a self-described “HR Geek.” Hillary is passionate about bringing people and business needs together and creating a happy, healthy, and successful working environment. In her role at CannaSafe she supports the Leadership and HR teams in continually identifying opportunities to improve the employee experience. Hillary is an active SHRM member, holds a PHR designation, and mentors young HR professionals.