Lab Team

PhytaTech - Stephen Goldman, Laboratory Director

Stephen Goldman - Laboratory Director

Stephen Goldman is an analytical chemist with extensive industrial and academic laboratory experience. He brings to PhytaTechSM expertise in GC, HPLC and mass spectrometry, chemical and biochemical engineering as well as project and business management. Prior to joining PhytaTechSM, Stephen served as an analytical chemist at the CLIA and CAP certified Forensic Laboratories, overseeing toxicology testing. Earlier, he was a scientist-chemist for Novartis (Sandoz), Kemin Industries, Genentech and served as a contract chemist. In that capacity, Stephen was involved in research into biocatalyst production and new chemistry products, neutraceuticals, antibody conjugate linkers, technical services, quality control, analytical method development and validation.
Before embarking on a career in the private sector, he was a research assistant in academic laboratories at the University of Kansas and the University of Iowa. There, he engaged in research into the intracellular trafficking, cellular localization and stability of small molecules as well as the purification and quantification of heparin oligosaccharides.

Stephen has published a number of research papers in the fields of biological and analytical chemistry. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and the American Chemical Society. Stephen has a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry with Honors from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Iowa.

PhytaTech - Robert Howland, Sales Director

Robert Howland - Sales Director

Robert Howland brings over twenty years of sales, marketing and product development experience to PhytaTechSM. A veteran independent sales representative, Rob has worked with K2 Snowboarding, on school recognition programs and in a wide range of industries. He has a wealth of experience in meeting the needs and challenges of businesses as well as establishing strong B2B relationships around outstanding products, services and solutions.

Robert has received multiple awards for sales and service from corporations, retailers and national associations of sales representatives.

PhytaTech - Connor Fitzhugh, Laboratory Scientist

Connor Fitzhugh - Supervisory Microbiologist

Experienced with using molecular methods to identify microbial species, Connor has a B.A. in biology from the University of Colorado, and has pursued a M.S. in Biology, with a focus on microbial ecology, at Humboldt State University. Connor’s graduate research was published as "Microbial Heterotrophic Production in an Oligotrophic Acidic Geothermal Lake: Responses to Organic Amendments and Terrestrial Plant Litter" in FEMS Microbial Ecology. Through this research, he gained experience with designing large scale enrichment experiments, specialized DNA extraction methods, and next generation sequencing.

Leading the effort to certify PhytaTechSM Microbial Testing, Connor has integrated modern molecular methods into the PhytaTechSM quality control regimen allowing precise detection and quantification of common microbial contaminants of Cannabis. Previous experience working in microbiological quality control at the Eel River Brewery in Humboldt County has also given Connor expertise in microbial contamination and control in production oriented environments.

PhytaTech - Sarah Otis, Analytical Chemist

Sarah Otis - Supervisory Chemist

Sarah earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Physiology from Michigan State University in 2007 and worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department. She moved to Colorado shortly after graduating and worked in the environmental sciences testing water and soil. She also brings experience from a research lab in the department of medicine at the country’s leading respiratory hospital. Having started in the Marijuana industry in 2010 as a manager of a small mountain shop in Summit County where she learned every aspect of the business from growing, product research and ordering, patient education and service, and compliance and regulations. Since then she has gained years of experience in all areas of the business from inventory management at a busy Denver based dispensary to working in CO2 extractions for a well-known marijuana infused product company, Sarah started at PhytaTechSM in January of 2015 and is very excited about the future of Cannabis and all we are learning about the many benefits of this amazing plant!

PhytaTech - Andrea Nolte, Analytical Chemist

Andrea Nolte - Analytical Chemist

Andrea brings 4 years of Cannabis industry experience to PhytaTechSM including quality control, analytical chemistry, laboratory maintenance, method development and validation. She received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a minor in chemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the Anschutz medical campus through the University of Colorado Denver. Upon graduation, she hopes to become involved in pharmaceutical industry doing drug development for cannabinoid-based therapy or to help patients with medication therapy management who are taking cannabis-related medicines.

PhytaTech - Joanne DeSoto, Analytical Chemist

Joanne DeSoto - Microbiologist

Joanne DeSoto is a microbiologist whose operational experience in both industrial and academic laboratories span more than 10 years, and includes multi-disciplinary work with environmental microbiomes, gene conservation, regenerative and cellular therapy, microbial biotechnology, sterile tissue processing, and donor eligibility screening. Including her time at an ISO, FDA, UNOS, CLIA and CAP accredited organ and tissue transplant lab and the ISO accredited PhytaTech, she has accrued 7+ years of experience working in regulated environments.

Joanne’s proficiencies lie in QA/QC, improving and maintaining laboratory quality management systems, instrument validation, method development, employee training, and process improvements. Her areas of expertise in testing include recovering and identifying organisms via both traditional and molecular microbiological methods – specializing in ribosomal protein analysis using MALDI-TOF Mass spectrometry (MS).

A native of Colorado, Joanne’s roots were in the local arts and non-profit sector until she discovered her passion for the sciences and completely switched gears – going back to school and getting her feet wet with any experience she could garner at the University labs. Joanne joined PhytaTech in March of 2016, and has since been honored and privileged to be a part of the team at the most highly regulated cannabis testing facility in the state. She enjoys serving the cannabis community in Colorado by proving reliable and quality test results, helping to hone processes, and tailoring unique solutions to best meet client and industry needs.

Joanne holds a BS degree in Biology with an emphasis in microbial ecology and a minor in Chemistry from Metropolitan State University of Denver. 

PhytaTech - Ian Jessup, Analytical Chemist

Ian Jessup - Analytical Chemist

Ian is an analytical chemist and cellular/molecular biologist with years of experience in both academic and industry research. He holds an undergraduate degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver with double majors in chemistry and cellular/molecular biology. After college, Ian was a Student Research Fellow with the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Cancer Research Summer Fellowship where he simultaneously worked on two fellowship projects: one on evaluating the metastasis of ER-negative breast cancer cells under hormone treatment and the other involving the targeting of Focal Adhesion Kinase in thyroid cancer with small molecule inhibitors. Afterwards, he went on to do contract research for the mining and energy industries evaluating and assisting in the development of technologies involved in biorefining of low-grade ore, catalytic pyrolysis of biomass to produce biofuels, extraction of rare earth metals, uranium, and thorium. Immediately prior to starting at PhytaTech in 2016, Ian worked as a scientific consultant assisting and advising nutraceutical start-ups in the development of technologies from bench-top research to production-scale.

Outside of Ian’s work as a scientist, he has volunteered countless hours in his other passion: the conservation of amphibians and reptiles. He has served in multiple roles, including as chairperson, on the steering committees for both state and regional chapters of the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.

With as extensive a background as Ian has, he is excited to leverage his analytical experience to meet the rapidly evolving needs and demands of the cannabis industry. He immediately recognizes the similarities between processes currently in use by the cannabis industry and those he encountered in his past work. Ian also sees potential for the cannabis industry to participate in conservation initiatives like those that traditional agricultural industries participate in.

PhytaTech - Dane Oberhill, Analytical Chemist

Dane Oberhill - Analytical Chemist

Dane moved to Colorado from Michigan after earning his B.A. in Chemistry from Michigan State University in 2007. For the next year, Dane worked as an organic analyst for an environmental testing lab in Arvada, CO where he tested soil and water samples for pollutant contaminants. After this experience, he worked in chemistry formulations developing carpet and upholstery cleaning products and protectants for a local product supplier in Denver, and then applied his chemistry formulation work to color changing ink technology for a Denver company specializing in disposable medical devices that test for sterility. During these chemistry jobs Dane also held positions relevant to the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) of the companies he worked for. Dane began working at Phytatech in 2017 as a chemist and will earn his Master’s Degree in EHS from University of Denver in the March of 2018. He hopes to apply his new degree to expand EHS interest and representation for Phytatech and the cannabis industry in the near future.

PhytaTech - Will Stephens, Analytical Chemist

Will Stephens - Chemist

Will received his Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from Clemson University.  Since then he has gained experience in a regulated environment while working in Quality Control at Two Brothers Brewing and at LABS, Inc in the Sample Management department.  Will’s interest lies in genetic mapping and identifying novel ways of incorporating new PCR technologies into the cannabis industry.