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Rhonda Simmonds brings over fifteen years of both legal and business management experience to the SIVA team. She is an integral part of the Licensing process for SIVA clients nationwide. Rhonda’s focus is client management primarily working with them to obtain cannabis licenses in merit-based application municipalities across the United States. She is proficient in technical writing, document review, contract drafting, regulatory compliance, legal research and negotiations.
Prior to joining SIVA, Rhonda served as a Corporate Paralegal to the Board of Directors at Global Infrastructure Solutions and AECOM, a Fortune 500 engineering firm in 150 countries with 87,500 employees worldwide. She worked primarily in Global Claims and Litigation and Mergers and Acquisitions. In these roles, Rhonda worked on large multinational litigation cases with a strong background in SEC compliance and entity management.
Rhonda is a UCLA graduate, Notary Public and a Certificated Paralegal in the State of California approved by the American Bar Association.
David concluded his five-year tenure at Apple to embark on his new chapter as Chief Operation Officer for SIVA Enterprises. David’s early passion for business began in 1996 when he founded his own entertainment company as a college student, The Fun Guys Disc Jockey Service, which offered music consulting, entertainment, event planning, party cruises, and karaoke.
In 2003, David relocated from Florida to Los Angeles and joined Universal Music Group as a member of the e-Commerce team where he played a vital role in the set-up, design and implementation of the various systems used in UMG’s digital delivery infrastructure. David simultaneously founded and spent five years running Diction Entertainment, a boutique artist management and consulting company for emerging independent artists that emphasized marketing and promotional campaigns, public relations, solidifying strategic partnerships, and securing international record and publishing deals.
In 2012, David served as Director of Content Operations for Jimmy Iovine’s new streaming service, Beats Music. For two years, David oversaw the music catalog and digital supply chain and was a viable asset in the 2014 acquisition by Apple for $3.2 Billion. As a Global Business Analyst for Apple, David was a key lead in the global launch, strategy and growth of Apple Music. He leveraged music analytics domain expertise for internal/external stakeholders; guided decisions on business strategy, customer experience, and strategic opportunities; and built data-based narratives to improve user engagement and retention.
David holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University with a double concentration in Marketing and Information and Decision Sciences, a B.S. in Communications Media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an A.S. in Recording Arts from Full Sail University.
Steve serves as SIVA’s Vice President of Licensing & Compliance. Previously, he worked as in-house/general counsel for some of the most heavily regulated industries, including: debt settlement, debt collection and credit repair. In these roles, Steve was responsible for building, monitoring and improving compliance programs, along with navigating businesses through complicated licensing and permitting processes nationwide.
Steve is also an experienced litigator, having represented clients in both state and federal courts. In 2015, Steve began representing clients before administrative tribunals, including the California Department of Consumer Affairs and Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board. In 2017, Steve represented Prime Marketing Holdings, LLC. in the largest cases ever initiated by the federal government against a credit remediation company.
Along with his passion for compliance and administrative litigation, Steve is an adjunct professor, teaching courses in civil litigation, criminal law and paralegal studies. Steve also holds a mediation certificate through the Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs and is a special master for the County of Los Angeles.
B.A., Criminology, California State University at Northridge (Dean’s List)
Juris Doctor, Loyola Law School
Quinn Hopp joins the SIVA team as Account Associate where she primarily works alongside the Licensing team.
Quinn holds her degree in Journalism: Public Relations from the University of Oregon.
Joselyn Cua is an Accounting professional with 25 years of progressive and diverse operational and financial management experience with a concentration on private companies within both the corporate and divisional areas of organizations. Industries include: startups, online retail, marketing, publications, professional firm, engineering, hospitality, residential, and commercial real estate management.
Amber Norwood brings over seven years of both legal and business experience to the SIVA team. She is an integral part of the Licensing Application process for SIVA clients nationwide. Amber’s focus has primarily been on working with clients to obtain cannabis licenses in merit-based application municipalities across the United States. She is proficient in technical writing, document review, contract drafting, regulatory compliance, legal research and negotiations.
Prior to joining SIVA, Amber served as a Contract Analyst and Technical Writer for the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) in Miami, Florida. In this role, Amber was responsible for analyzing the details of government contracts to ensure terms were equitable for the USAO. In addition, she researched and drafted legal documents, monitored and ensured compliance with contract terms, and reviewed and negotiated long-term agreements.
Asena Iyigun is the Executive Assistant to Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of SIVA, and Business Development associate. She joins us from the retail world where she was the store manager and lead salesperson for a Los Angeles-based jewelry designer and diamond wholesaler. Asena was responsible for managing the company’s sales portfolio, annual sales reports, invoices, and relationship management. Previously, Asena had utilized her organizational and interpersonal skills as a legal assistant and administrative assistant, coordinating both customer and document flow for boutique Los Angeles-area law firms Tennehouse, Minassian & Adham in Glendale and the Law Offices of Daniel Behesnalainin Beverly Hills.
Andy Shaknazaryan began his career in the insurance industry in 2005 as a licensed property and casualty broker. In 2008, Andy embarked on his own venture and launched his private insurance firm, Prime Star Insurance Services, where he currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. Andy wanted to fulfill his vision of being an entrepreneur by providing straightforward, comprehensive and unbiased advice by way of operating from an independent structure.
With over a decade of experience, Andy is now an enterprise level expert. He has an unparalleled reputation within the industry, serving over thousands of individuals and organizations nationwide. In 2013, Andy and his firm were awarded the “Top Insurance Firm” by Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
In addition to his current operations, Andy serves as President of SIVA Insurance. Andy provides substantial expertise in the areas of complex insurance products, operations and risk management, underwriting and client relations with a primary focus in the cannabis industry.
Vartan Avanesian is the Vice President of Licensing at SIVA. He brings over 11 years of experience designing and implementing analytical systems to improve operational and organizational efficiencies and client management.
Vartan began his career in data systems, networking and operational management in the United States Marine Corps and was based in Camp Pendleton, CA. During his multiple combat tours to Iraq, he served as the Network Operations Manager, where he was responsible for designing, assembling and deploying portable and tactical data communications suites as a member of the Special Communications Team. He also supervised the support and maintenance of the Marine Corps Networks.
Later, he went on to work for several leading data and network support companies such as DynCorp, DRS Technologies and VCubed Solutions, Inc. His extensive experience in network administration, development and implementation of projects and protocols enable him to maximize resources and manage SIVA projects at a superior level.
Vartan’s certification and training includes: CCNA Routing and Switching, Data Network Specialist Course, Active Directory and MS Exchange Server, Cisco Routing and Switching, LAN/WAN Infrastructures, Windows Server, Active Directory, Cisco Wireless Equipment, Cable Management, KG250, SecNet 54, iBuilder, iMonitor, CIMS Ticketing Systems, Paradise Modems, iDirect, LNB, WPPL Systems, BGP, ISIS, and EIGRP and OSPF Routing Protocols.
Vartan is a decorated Marine, having earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in 2008 and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in 2007
Jennifer Mascari is the Chief Marketing Officer for SIVA. She leads all marketing, public relations and strategic brand initiatives for the company, as well as oversees strategy, product development and launch for clients. Jennifer has been connecting people with brands and ‘moving businesses forward’ across the restaurant, lifestyle and hospitality industries since 2002.
Jennifer began her career in Chicago, where she helped launch the Innovations division at Levy Restaurants. Her team was responsible for building custom restaurant plans within the sports and entertainment industries. In 2006, Jennifer relocated to Los Angeles where she joined Organic To Go (OTG) as their Senior Director of Business Development. In her tenure at OTG, Jennifer built a wholesale division from ground up while expanding the retail business nationally. In addition, she played an integral role in taking the company public. Later, Jennifer joined LifeWorks Restaurant Group, a division of Aramark Corporation, as their Marketing Director and oversaw the groups’ portfolio nationwide. Some of her clients included: Nike, Caesars Hotels, Goldman Sachs, J.P Morgan Chase, Fidelity, and Cisco.
Bachelors of Science, Marketing and Merchandise Management, International Academy of Design
Lance Ott, CEO of Guardian Data Systems and former Director of National Bank of California, is a 17-year veteran of the cannabis, banking and financial services industries. He has expertise in FinTech, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), merchant services, operations, compliance and consulting. Ott also is a Certified Payments Professional “CPP” through the Electronic Transactions Association.
Ott founded Guardian Data Systems in 2008 with the specific intent of providing secure, reliable and transparent financial services for our cannabis community. He is a cancer survivor and fierce advocate of alternative medicine, including medicinal cannabis. Lance Ott firmly believes that safe access to medical cannabis must be provided as medicine for any patient in need.
Since the inception of Guardian Data Systems, Mr. Ott has become a ubiquitous presence at cannabis industry conferences and events produced by the MMJ Business Daily, National Cannabis Industry Association, International Cannabis Association/Cannabis World Conference, Israel Cannabis/CannaTech, Native Nations Events and Secure Cash Transport Association. He has been regularly featured in national media and his profile is highlighted in the third edition of ArcView’s Annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets Report. Last year, Mr. Ott was ranked #38 in the top 100 most influential cannabis business executives by Cannabis Business Executive.
Lance has demonstrated the courage of his convictions by fashioning a network infrastructure of cannabis friendly banks, institutions, processors and technology providers in order to provide the cannabis industry with a safe, legitimate venue for all commerce related and logistical challenges they may encounter. He has taken it upon himself to offer preeminent expertise for a unique and complex business model. Ott believes that proper regulation coupled with technology will bring credibility, legitimacy and transparency to our emerging and evolving industry.
Ott is currently serving his second term on the Board of Directors for the National Cannabis Industry Association and has served as a member of the ethics subcommittee. Guardian Data Systems is a Sustaining Member of the NCIA. Ott also serves on the Regulatory Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, as well as the Los Angeles Bank Working Group.
Ehab Haddad aka “Hab” is the COO of SIVA and oversees the development, operation and interaction of SIVA Consulting, Management, Ventures, and Brands in serving its diverse national clientele.
Prior to SIVA, Hab was the CEO of Habco Media, LLC, a business development consultancy for the media and technology Industries, specifically catering to the sports, music and film industries. Habco Media’s clients range from merchandise and licensing companies (Epic Rights, MashON), to technology companies (Swagbucks, Simfy) to NFL sports teams (Chargers, Packers, Colts, Giants), as well as a-list musicians and entertainers (KISS, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Gene Simmons and more).
Prior to Habco Media, Hab served as the Vice President of Business Development at McGhee Entertainment, a full-service artist management company. Hab was responsible for the company’s digital media strategies, business development, eCommerce, and tour management. He coordinated projects for recording artists such as KISS, Guns N Roses, Ted Nugent, Night Ranger, Darius Rucker, VH1, MTV, and many more.
Bachelors of Science, Audio Engineering, DePaul University
Jeff Garrison provides visionary and strategic leadership to SIVA and is responsible for directing and implementing ensuing policies and procedures. In support of the Company’s growth initiatives, Jeff is focused on merger and acquisition strategies and aligning opportunities with the appropriate investment platform. Jeff utilizes his 30 years’ experience in accounting and finance, including eight years as President and Managing Partner of a large regional accounting firm, in directing SIVA’s ventures.
Furthermore, Jeff provides consulting advice to SIVA clients in California and to those in future and current cannabis regulated states. Services include licensing, financial modeling, business plans, investment strategy and branding, with an emphasis on the real estate sector, operations management and implementation. Jeff works with lawmaking bodies with respect to a jurisdiction’s cannabis regulations.
From 2002-2010, Jeff was President of the Los Angeles-based accounting firm Stonefield Josephson (SJ), a 200-person firm with six regional offices in California and Hong Kong (now merged with Marcum LLP). In addition to leading SJ, Jeff provided consulting services to publicly traded companies, private- and nonprofit entities such as Guess Jeans, DC Shoes, Lucky Brand Jeans, Smith & Wesson Firearms and The Oakland Raiders and used his experience and expertise to architect acquisition and exit business strategies, source financing and establish best practices regulatory compliance.
Jeff is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer, and has been featured in Inc. Magazine and Practical Accountant (now Accounting today).
Education and Certifications
Active California Certified Public Accountant – #53757
Bachelor of Arts, Accounting, California State University, Stanislaus
MBA Certificate, UCLA Anderson School of Management – Merger & Acquisitions
Avis Bulbulyan is the Chief Executive Officer of SIVA Enterprises. In his role, Avis oversees corporate direction, business development and strategy, facilitating company activity in consulting, alliances and channels, marketing, investments and operations across the full vertical. Avis leads a high-caliber team who collectively provides clients with the highest level of support from ideation and concept, through execution.
Avis is a member of California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee for the Bureau of Cannabis Control under The Department of Consumer Affairs. He also serves as the President of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, an association in Los Angeles working with the local city officials and community on the development of the city ordinances within Los Angeles.
In California, Avis assists local municipalities on the development of local ordinances and their respective administration of the application process. He also participates in town halls to educate applicants on the process and how to transition into the regulated, licensed market.
Avis is currently working with the California Insurance Commissioner on educating the insurance carriers, the industry and public on the need for insurance to be available for cannabis business’s so they are not limited to surplus lines and limited coverages.
As one of the industry’s leading cannabis business and regulatory compliance authorities, Avis is a highly sought-after speaker and a valued expert resource for many municipalities and state agencies, as well as national news sources and publications. In 2017, SIVA was recognized by Expertise.com as one of the top 18 consulting firms in Los Angeles, representing the only cannabis business out of 800 firms, respectively.