Our Team


Joe Kirkpatrick


Joe Kirkpatrick is currently in his fourth year as Tennessee’s chief lobbyist for the hemp industry. Having served as President of Tennessee Hemp Industries Association (TNHIA) since January 2017, he is transitioning to his role as the President of the Tennessee Growers Coalition, a political action committee dedicated to funding hemp-friendly elected officials. He is growing a hemp crop this year for his second time. Kirkpatrick also operates Nashville Flower CBD, a hemp consumables company with regional distribution.


Kelley Mathis Hess


With her experience in organized medicine, Kelley Mathis Hess brings first-hand knowledge of membership trade associations and the importance of being involved in the political process. She currently serves as the Executive Director and Lobbyist for the Tennessee Growers Coalition, which she founded along with the current Director of Cannabis in Florida, and others in 2018 with the goal of supporting and protecting the Tennessee Hemp industry through political advocacy.


Paul M. Oakley

Communications Director

Paul Oakley is an invaluable advisor for organizations seeking to engage stakeholders who matter most. He serves as the Communications Director for Tennessee Growers Coalition after nearly 25 years of managing PR, public affairs, sustainability, corporate and marketing communications programs for a range of domestic, international and global brands. Oakley earned his reputation delivering award-winning results and building high-performance agency and in-house communications teams worldwide. He has lived and worked across the United States, Europe and South America, and has worked extensively in Asia. Oakley honed his skills working with nonprofits, start-ups, mid-cap companies and Fortune 50 leaders primarily in the plastics, chemicals, materials and automotive segments. He is passionate about alternative and renewable technologies and applications. Oakley also is the owner and President of Tiny Mighty Communications.




Clint Palmer’s passion for the hemp industry is infectious and his commitment to hemp education is evident in his business ventures. He co-founded the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association (TNHIA), the Tennessee Hemp Farm, and the TN Hemp Farmacy and now, he’s with Blühen Botanicals.


Emily Gammell

Marketing and Membership Director

Emily Gammell joined the Tennessee Growers Coalition as Director of Marketing & Membership after working in the non-profit patient and healthcare sector. She found her passion working in women’s health and advocating for chronic pain patients while living in New York State. Gammell knows first-hand how important it is to protect hemp laws and legislation, especially regarding medical treatment and believes everyone deserves safe and equal treatment, whether medically or holistically.