Ian is an inventor, patent holder, and lifelong entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in tech, startups and senior management. He started his career as a software engineer and quickly gained momentum moving into senior consulting roles. While living and working overseas in the 90’s, he founded Rassman International Consulting which helped international companies design and build their CRM & SFA systems and provided project management. In this capacity, he consulted for several European Fortune 500 clients during his years living in Europe. He then moved back to the US in the very early days of broadband internet access to serve as a Sr. Manager of Customer Service & Tech support for an internet startup where he built a call center from scratch hiring 110 employees to support the first nationwide network of DSL customers. In 2002 he served as the Operations Manager for the International Olympic Committee at the Salt Lake Ice Center overseeing hundreds of personnel to ensure the safety and security of the venue in the first large-scale event in the wake of 9/11. His passion for technology led him to an Executive Vice President role and COO of a FinTech company, providing mobile technology to facilitate pier-to-pier payments, money transfers, bills payments, and merchant services in the US and to over 50 countries across the globe.
Currently, Ian serves as a Banking and Merchant Specialist. He is an expert in providing technology that supports credit card processing, cashless ATM, check processing, gift/loyalty, ATM, POS, mobile applications, and other payment processing and financial services.
Ian specializes in compliant banking and payment solutions servicing the cannabis industry. Building on the strength of relationships cultivated during his years in the banking industry, he has partnered with financial institutions that are now actively serving cannabis-related businesses.
Additionally, Ian is the Executive Director and President of Los Angeles NORML, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1973. As one of the oldest chapters in the country, it is a regional chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. For over 50 years now, NORML has worked at the local, state, and federal levels to reform cannabis laws and repeal the prohibition of cannabis by leading the fight to oppose cannabis prohibition and end the practice of arresting cannabis consumers that have targeted our most vulnerable minority communities.
The work Ian is most proud of within Los Angeles NORML is the organization’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Donation Program which works with the legal cannabis industry and other non-profit partners to provide charitable services and donated medicine to patients in need.
Ian’s greatest pleasure in life is exploring the world with his two small children. He has a daughter named Lexi and a son named Addy who are the light of his life. He enjoys rollerblading along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, sailing, swimming, warm water scuba diving, skiing, and is passionate about international travel. Along with his children, he considers himself an amateur cosmologist, and the 3 of them are regular attendees at Nasa’s local Jet Propulsion Laboratory lectures.
Ian was born in 1970 on the army base in Fort Knox Kentucky shortly after his father had been drafted as a military surgeon. From a very young age of 2 weeks old, Ian and his mother moved to Ireland where she would have the support of her family while Ian’s father served in Vietnam. After his father’s service, Ian and his family went on to live in New Hampshire, Vermont, Hawaii, and California. He spent most of his childhood living on a large 500-heard-of-cattle dairy farm in rural Lyndonville Vermont, and then in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii where he continued to strengthen his appreciation of the natural world around him. In his adult years, Ian lived in Ireland, England, Holland, and France, and has traveled to over 75 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia. Having only missed one continent, Antarctica, the bottom of the Earth is definitely on his “to visit” list.
In the Hawaiian language, the word kamaʻāina translates to “child or person of the land” and in Hawaii children are taught to respect the land and everything nature has to offer. This type of mentality shaped Ian into the environmentalist that he is today who supports, believes, and advocates for natural remedies and solutions in today’s toxin-filled world.
Ian’s interest in the cannabis industry grew while he was living in Holland. In the mid-’90s, his Dutch friends helped him understand and explore the medical benefits of cannabis and the misinformation surrounding cannabis prohibition in the US. Prior to living in Holland in the ’90s, Ian’s perception about cannabis was similar to many Americans and was heavily influenced by The War On Drugs and Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign with TV Media Giants frying eggs in a frying pan while narrating “This is your brain on drugs”.
In 1996 California enacted Proposition 215 and the world’s first legal cannabis market was established for medical patients with a doctor’s recommendation. In 2016 California voted to legalize cannabis for adult use and the market rapidly and significantly expanded. Shortly thereafter, Ian realized the financial difficulties the cannabis industry faced due to a lack of banking solutions. Banking and payments for cannabis have been a frustrating process for nearly every business in the industry. Every business owner has horror stories about having their banking or merchant services accounts shut down, funds seized, or a myriad of other financial nightmares. The traditional credit card processing that Ian was familiar with, was forbidden in the cannabis industry and compliant alternatives were required. His entrepreneurial instincts made him realize that he needed to spend more time and energy to help change the things that he thought needed addressing within the industry.