Our team is comprised of smart, inventive professionals with years of expertise in the cannabis industry — who honed their skills at Fortune 50 companies, agencies, The White House, entertainment firms, tech and startup companies, advocacy organizations, and at political campaigns. Powerplant’s team is big enough to execute on large ideas and campaigns and small enough to stay nimble and tailor our strategies to each client.
Chief Executive Officer
Michael Huttner is a corporate and political strategist, attorney and entrepreneur. He is the current Political Director and immediate past CEO of Fenton, the global social change agency. Michael initiated the first meeting in Colorado to decriminalize recreational cannabis which led to the drafting and passage of Amendment 64. He previously served as President of the Huttner Group, Inc., a Boulder-based firm which helps solve complex financial, communications and public policy problems in a variety of industries. Michael has helped launch over 40 different political organizations and has led communications ‘war-rooms’ for political and private clients. Michael also is the Founder of ProgressNow, a network of state-based communications organizations that moves people to action through communications and digital media. Described as the “crown jewel” of progressive investors’ efforts to build messaging power in the states, ProgressNow continues to expand with more than 3.4 million members in 23 states
Previously, Michael was a founding partner in the Denver law firm of Foster, Graham and Huttner where he headed the firm’s political, nonprofit and lobbying practice. Prior to his private practice, he worked as Policy Advisor to Governor Roy Romer and clerked at the Clinton White House for the Office of the Counsel to the President. Michael also has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver College of Law. He earned his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings Law School, where he served on the Hastings Law Journal, and his B.A. from Brown University.
Senior Vice President
Honed across the corporate, political, government, entertainment, technology and cannabis industries, Ellen brings clients more than 20 years of strategy, communications, public affairs, issue/change management and crisis communications experience.
Prior to joining Powerplant, Mellody worked in strategy, communications and media relations positions with two White House administrations (Clinton and Obama), at Comcast-NBC Universal, General Electric, The North Face and as a co-founder and partner at Collective Consulting. Mellody also brought her strategy and communications expertise to three presidential campaigns (Gore 2000, Kerry 2004 and Obama 2008) and the Office of the New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey, where she served as a primary spokesperson and as liaison to the 9-11 Families and memorial. Throughout her career, Ellen has served in various locations around the globe, including in Sydney, Paris, and Baghdad and has worked with clients such as HBO, ABC-Disney, Sony, WarnerMedia, Big Machine Records, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., Merida Capital Partners, Vicente Sederberg, and others.
Ellen holds certificates of achievement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and a degree in Communications from the University of Scranton.
Senior Communications Strategist
Leland is a long-time cannabis legalization activist and public relations professional experienced in changing market behaviors. He’s trained countless cannabis c-suite professionals to craft and better tell their stories, which help shape and move the industry forward responsibly. Leland is also a founding board member of the Cannabis Cultural Association, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to helping marginalized and underrepresented communities engage in the legal cannabis industry, emphasizing criminal justice reform, access to medical cannabis, and adult use legalization.
In the past, he has worked on local, state and national cannabis campaigns such as decriminalizing cannabis in New York City by closing the NYPD’s “in public view” arrest loophole in 2014, passing New York’s medical marijuana program in 2015, passing adult-use regulations in several key states in 2016, passing Prop M in Los Angeles in 2016, and is currently working to pass adult-use regulations in the state of New York.
Casey has over eight years of experience in communications, marketing, and administrative roles. Her career covers a variety of industries – from public radio to ad tech. For the last 10 years, she has dedicated herself to impassioned education of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. She finds rapid developments, from scientific advancements to positives changes in public perception and advertisement laws, exciting. Casey graduated from Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications in 2015 with a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications.
Our network of experts is unmatched in the industry.
In addition, Sparky has consulted with non-cannabis clients including Chanel, DDB, BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather, DirecTV, PepsiCo and Fox Sports Networks. He has also served as the Creative Director for the Discovery Channel’s Digital Cable Networks and Advanced Television Studio.
Expertise: Photography & Video Production (New York City)
Daniel Shapiro has spent over a decade creating visual content on both coasts. As an undergrad, Daniel was hired to cover social events for Lebron James and the athletic community of Cleveland Ohio. In 2010, he joined the Los Angeles based production company, SMI Entertainment. During his tenure, Daniel aided in crafting trans-media pitch packages for film and television properties. Additionally, he created video content for Ultra Records artists such as Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, and Kaskade. After relocating to NYC, Daniel was afforded the opportunity to produce and direct a commercial for PharmaCannis. He has since created web, social, and internal media assets for Facebook, Vice Media, Merida Capital Partners, Lufthansa USA, 72andSunny, City of NY, MMGY Global, CFDA, and Malibu Magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Film and Digital Media from Cleveland State University. Daniel currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife and son.