The American Botanical Council (ABC) has announced Richard “Dick” Griffin as the recipient of its ABC Champion Award for 2017. Griffin has consistently served ABC and other organizations in the natural products community through partnerships with his insurance companies Grifcon Enterprises and Griffin Insurance Services, and his consulting work with R-T Specialty, LLC.
The ABC Champion Award was created to recognize individuals who have been outstanding supporters of ABC and have helped the organization promote and achieve its nonprofit educational mission, whether through monetary support or contributions of time. The generosity of ABC’s friends and members is vital to the nonprofit’s continued success and growth.
“Dick is an extraordinarily generous man,” said ABC Founder and Executive Mark Blumenthal. “He created a great business opportunity for himself and others when he foresaw an opportunity to pool the positive safety records of many companies in the herb and dietary supplements industry to produce the industry’s premier product liability insurance program. This has resulted in great savings for many leading companies, allowing them to invest in other areas of product development, research and growth. Dick has shared this good fortune with ABC and its members, which has been greatly beneficial to ABC and its educational mission.”
Griffin thanked ABC for the award, stating, “I’ve worked with members of the American Botanical Council and other innovators in the natural products space for many years, and I’m so honored to be awarded this significant recognition. I’ve spent my life’s work finding insurance solutions that help individuals and businesses succeed. I wanted to be sure the innovators could focus on developing products to improve customer health goals while our insurance programs protected their companies.”
Through his work and connections with other companies and organizations in the natural products industry, Griffin fostered a beneficial partnership with ABC and provides the nonprofit with quarterly override contributions. This effort, in addition to other donations initiated by Griffin, has provided ABC with approximately $100,000 since 2010.
Currently, the scope of Griffin’s program has expanded to the cannabis (Cannabis spp., Cannabaceae) industry, with the goal to provide all lines of insurance coverage to medicinal cannabis dispensaries and related businesses in states where these enterprises have been legalized.
Griffin’s daughters Nicole and Rene will accept the award on his behalf at the annual ABC Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony in Anaheim, CA, on March 8, 2018. The event, for ABC Sponsor Members, occurs during Natural Products Expo West.
In addition, ABC announced that Jon Benninger, vice president of Informa Exhibitions’ Global Health & Nutrition Network, is the recipient of the 2017 ABC Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award.
The annual award, named for Mark Blumenthal, is given to an individual who has played a significant role in creating a sense of community among herbalists, researchers, members of the herb and natural products communities and industries, and others who work in the area of medicinal plants.
At Informa, Benninger is in charge of the strategic direction and growth of two of the largest natural products trade shows in the United States, SupplySide West and SupplySide East, as well as that of Natural Products Insider, a leading industry publication. In addition, he frequently collaborates with those responsible for other Informa events, such as Natural Products Expo West and Vitafoods, and the Nutrition Business Journal.
“It is an incredible honor to be associated with the people who have received this Mark Blumenthal Community Builder Award in prior years,” said Benninger. “I must share this recognition with all of my colleagues in our company and our industry who have been a part of SupplySide over the last two decades.”
Blumenthal noted, “Jon is responsible for creating and growing one of the global herb industry’s most significant events: the SupplySide West trade show and conference held every year in Las Vegas. Through the SupplySide events, Jon has brought together thousands of people: herb growers, producers, brokers, manufacturers, consultants, and numerous other stakeholders in the global botanical industry and extended community. Many people in the fast-growing herb and dietary supplements industry owe a debt of gratitude to Jon for his vision and foresight in creating the highly beneficial SupplySide shows.”
Benninger also serves on the boards and committees of various organizations in the natural products community. Currently, Benninger is a member of the American Herbal Products Association’s communications committee, the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s communications and media outreach committee, and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA). In addition, he is a member of ABC’s Director’s Circle and on the board of trustees of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ.
For more information, visit www.herbalgram.org.