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Executive Summaries

Andrew K. Rayburn, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. Andy Rayburn has been a staple of the northeast Ohio business community since 1981, when he became president of Flexalloy, a company that distributed components to the truck / trailer, energy, automotive, farm equipment, construction, and steel fabrication industries, among others. Over the next eighteen years Mr. Rayburn and his team grew the company from $8 million to $235 million in revenues, overcoming high interest rates, several recessions, and increased competition from national and international competitors. Mr. Rayburn achieved this remarkable growth in a commoditized business by creating the first-ever inventory control and logistics platform, by focusing on the people within and outside the company, and by pursuing excellence and continuous improvement in all areas.

After the sale of Flexalloy in 1999, Mr. Rayburn focused his talents on the professional sports industry and purchased the Daytona Cubs, a Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in 2000.  During Mr. Rayburn’s first season of ownership, the Daytona Cubs averaged a few hundred fans per game, but within several years the team averaged over 3,000 fans. Mr. Rayburn’s success followed the same path as with Flexalloy: The Daytona Cubs were fan oriented, family oriented, and the employees were engaged and passionate about the company and its impact in the community.

Mr. Rayburn expects to follow the same successful model in the medical marijuana industry in Ohio—to focus on the patient and provide them with safe, high-quality medicine in an environment in which the patient feels comfortable, respected, understood, and valued. His motivation to create the leading medical marijuana cultivation, processing, and dispensing company stems from an experience with a close friend who had cancer and who, after ten years of nonstop pain, tried some marijuana in the final days of his life. Stated the friend after he first tried his new medicine, “I slept. I woke up with an appetite, and it’s the first time in two full years that I have had any relief.” For Mr. Rayburn, the sole motivation to pursue a medical marijuana permit is the medicine and the therapeutic potential and promise that it shows for alleviating suffering.

In addition to building and transforming businesses, Mr. Rayburn is passionate about giving back to the community and in 2005 he founded The Human Fund, a nonprofit that benefits children in the Cleveland area. The Human Fund provides significant financial support to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Arts and Music Program, promoting to thousands of Cleveland school children the value of arts and music in their daily education.  

Mr. Rayburn graduated with a Liberal Arts degree (French) from Dartmouth College. He is married with three adult children, and resides in Northeast Ohio where he was born and raised.

 

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Brian Vicente, Esq., Legal Compliance. Brian Vicente, Esq., has been intimately involved in marijuana reform, legalization, and policy generation at the local, state, national and international levels since 2004. He is a primary author of Colorado’s Amendment 64 to legalize adult-use marijuana, and executive director of Sensible Colorado, the state's leading non-profit working for medical marijuana patients and providers. Mr. Vicente’s law firm, Vicente Sederberg is the premier marijuana regulatory and compliance law firm in the United States and has been called the “Country’s first powerhouse marijuana law firm” by Rolling Stone magazine.

 In 2010, Mr. Vicente was elected the first-ever chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the only trade association in the U.S. that works to advance the interests of marijuana-related businesses on the national level. He was also chair of the Committee for Responsible Regulation, which coordinated the successful 2013 campaign to implement statewide excise and sales taxes on the sale of adult-use marijuana in Colorado.

A tireless advocate for sensible marijuana reform, Mr. Vicente has conducted over 1,000 interviews in local, state and national press regarding marijuana policy, and in 2014 The Guardian (UK) dubbed him "the industry's de facto spokesman." Mr. Vicente's expertise in marijuana policy is highly sought after, and has led to him serving as a formal advisor to local, state, and federal governments—most recently he assisted Uruguay, becoming the first country in the world to fully regulate the adult marijuana market.

Among other awards, Mr. Vicente was awarded the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law in 2010. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School on a full merit scholarship where he clerked for outspoken social critic, Senior Federal Judge John L. Kane.

Mr. Vicente received his bachelor’s degree (psychology) from Grinnell College. He is married with two children and lives in Denver.

 

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Lewis C. Merletti, Director of Security.  Lew Merletti has had a distinguished 50-year career serving the United States. As a Special Forces Medic with the United States Army, Mr. Merletti deployed in Vietnam with the 5th Special Forces Group, A-502, Airborne, and earned the Bronze Star, Certificate of Achievement of Meritorious Performance, Combat Medical Badge, Good Conduct Medal, and Parachute Wings.

A 25-year veteran of the United States Secret Service, Mr. Merletti served as Assistant Director in the Office of Training, and as a Special Agent in the Presidential Protection Division, providing the highest levels of security for Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Special Agent in Charge for President Clinton and his family. Mr. Merletti served as the 19th Director of the United States Secret Service from June, 1997 until March, 1999.

Upon leaving the Secret Service Mr. Merletti continued in the security industry as Senior Vice President for Security for the Cleveland Browns. He is an active Board Member for root9B, an industry-leading cybersecurity firm, and for Shoreland, Inc.

Mr. Merletti graduated from Dusquesne University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  Lew and his wife recently moved from the Cleveland area to Naples, Florida.