Meet Our Experienced Team
We've brought together a team with a diverse set of expertise, from managing organizations, events and marketing programs, to government affairs.
Kevin AtticksFounderContact Me
Kevin founded Grow & Fortify to support entrepreneurs and organizations as he has for the Maryland Wineries Association as its executive director since 2003. Kevin started out writing press articles for the wine industry, but soon grew the organization with new events, promotional programs, government affairs initiatives and more. He serves on the University of Maryland College of Agriculture's Global Leadership Council and on the board of Future Harvest, is past chair of the Maryland Tourism Coalition, past president of the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council, and past chair of the WineAmerica State & Regional Associations Advisory Council. Kevin holds a masters in environmental journalism from CU-Boulder, a doctorate in communications design from University of Baltimore, and a bachelors in journalism and music composition from Loyola University, where he teaches book publishing.
Jim BauckmanDirector of Communications
Jim BauckmanDirector of CommunicationsContact Me
Craft beer, local agriculture, and community engagement have all shaped Jim’s career and personal interests for more than a decade. Jim’s former role as Sales and Marketing Director at Monocacy Brewing Company in Frederick afforded him the opportunity to work directly with many Maryland craft beverage producers and farmers. Working in partnership with Maryland’s first modern malting business at Amber Fields Malting and Brewing, Jim has witnessed the potential for farmers with a focus on value-added agricultural business models. For several years Jim served as a committee member and Chairman for committees within the Brewers Association of Maryland and held the position of Secretary for Frederick Beer Week. Jim currently plays an active role in neighborhood revitalization and advocacy in Frederick’s South Market Corridor Community Association. An alumnus of Towson University, Jim graduated from the College of Business & Economics with a bachelor’s degree in International Business.
Jalita BoffmanAdministratorContact Me
Anyone who knows Jalita knows that her Maryland pride runs deep. After a short tenure in the Massachusetts cannabis industry in 2021, she found herself yearning to return to her hometown of Frederick, MD in order to contribute to the city and state that impacted most of her life. Jalita spent 3 years in the hemp industry as the Sales & Operations Manager at thrīv nutriceuticals, a MD-based manufacturer and retailer of hemp CBD products. Jalita was first introduced to the Grow & Fortify team during their tour of the facility in 2019 and was invited to lobby alongside the Maryland Hemp Coalition in Annapolis in 2020. Prior to her time in the hemp industry, Jalita was a day-of event manager for one of the best rated full-service catering companies in Virginia. She brings over 3+ years of experience in leading small weddings and special events at wineries and breweries throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia. She’s excited to bring her passion for building valuable partnerships and engaging in community events to G&F. Jalita earned her bachelor’s of science in Biology from Penn State University.
Abby CasarellaDirector of Events
Abby CasarellaDirector of Events
Abby Casarella brings 9+ years of professional experience in Maryland’s Craft Beverage Industry to her role at G&F. As the Event Manager for G&F, she organizes fun and amazing events to help promote craft beer, wine, and distilled spirits and helps to increase recognition of and buy-in for the local craft marketplace.
Abby previously served as the general manager for a Milkhouse Brewery, a farm brewery in Mt. Airy where she ran the taproom, managed staff, helped in the back office, and planned all large and small-scale events. Prior to that, she worked for a wine distributor in sales. She sparked her career in craft beverages and her love for the industry at Flying Dog Brewery, serving in several roles including local sales, promotion, and events.
Abby’s college years and early career were mostly spent on the back of a horse. Abby earned her bachelor’s degree in Equine Science from SUNY Morrisville. Abby has served on the Frederick Beer Week Board as well as a board member of the Frederick County Humane Society. She is thrilled to be part of the G&F team and is excited to put her event planning experience into action.
Kelly DudeckChief Strategy Officer
Kelly DudeckChief Strategy OfficerContact Me
Kelly has spent over a decade working in either agricultural policy, land preservation or local food systems work. She was Howard County’s first Food Policy Director, making huge strides from food and farmers. Before that, she was the Executive Director of the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council and prior to that Kelly served as Director of Rural Lands at 1000 Friends of Maryland, where she administered the Keep Farmers Farming campaign, as well as the Partners for Open Space coalition. She has also worked for the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Baltimore County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program. In addition to serving on the Rural Legacy Advisory Board, the Partners for Open Space Executive Committee, and the Maryland Food Policy Blueprint Advisory Committee, Kelly is also a LEAD Class VII alumni.
Janna HowleyChief Operating Officer
Janna HowleyChief Operating OfficerContact Me
Food, farms and economic development have been Janna’s passions since the early 2000s. She most recently worked for the USDA National Organic Program’s Accreditation and International Activities Division, where she conducted auditing and accreditation activities related to organic certifiers and international partners. Prior to that, Janna was the Agricultural Marketing Specialist at the University of Maryland Extension, Prince George’s County. In that capacity she also served on the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Board, the Southern Maryland Meats Steering Committee, and the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council. Janna is also a LEAD Maryland Class VII alumni. Prior to the Extension position, she was the Marketing & Outreach Manager for FreshFarm Markets, where she managed four Maryland farmers markets, developed community level partnerships, conducted farm visits and helped increase farmers’ visibility. Janna also spent three years at the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, working on public health nutrition campaigns. She received a masters degree from the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health at New York University, with an emphasis on the environmental and social impacts of food production systems.