Board of Directors
Bradley Berman - Chairman of the Board
Bradley Berman, who currently serves as an independent director, has been a director of Black Ridge since our inception and began serving as the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in November 2010. Under Mr. Berman's stewardship, Black Ridge accumulated our initial 10,000 net mineral acres in North Dakota & Montana’s Bakken & Three Forks play. Having successfully launched the company into the oil & gas business, Mr. Berman recruited a seasoned energy executive, Mr. Ken DeCubellis, to take his place as Black Ridge's new CEO in November, 2011. Mr. Berman’s introduction to the industry came by way of his role as a board member of Ante4, Inc. (previously, WPT), a position he held since 2004. Mr. Berman was instrumental in navigating Ante4 into a merger with Plains Energy, which resulted in the creation of Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc. Mr. Berman served on the board of Voyager until he assumed the role of CEO at Black Ridge in November 2010. Mr. Berman is President of King Show Games, Inc., a gaming development company he founded in 1998. Between 1992 and 2004, Mr. Berman worked in various capacities at Grand Casinos, Inc. and then Lakes Entertainment, Inc., achieving the position of Vice President of Gaming. Mr. Berman is a fourth generation entrepreneur – his family has launched successful businesses in a variety of opportunistic industries.
Benjamin Oehler - Independent Director
Benjamin S. Oehler has been a director of Black Ridge since November 16, 2010, and chairman of our audit committee and compensation committee since February 22, 2011. From 1999 to 2007, Mr. Oehler served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Waycrosse, Inc., a financial advisory firm for the family owners of Cargill Incorporated. While at Waycrosse, Mr. Oehler played a key role in two major growth initiatives for Cargill: the merger of Cargill’s fertilizer business into a public company which is now Mosaic, Inc., and the transformation of Cargill’s proprietary financial markets trading group into two major investment management companies: Black River Asset Management, LLC and CarVal Investors, LLC. Prior to joining Waycrosse, Mr. Oehler was an investment banker for Piper Jaffray. By the time he left Piper Jaffray in 1999, he was group head for Piper’s Industrial Growth Team. He has also played a leadership role in a number of corporate buy-outs and venture stage companies, served on corporate and non-profit boards of directors, and has been involved in the creation and oversight of foundations and charitable organizations, as well as U.S. trusts and off shore entities. Mr. Oehler has been a board member of many companies and non-profit organizations and completed the Stanford University Law School Directors Forum, a three-day update on key issues facing corporate directors presented by the Stanford Business School and Stanford Law School.
Joseph Lahti - Independent Director
Joseph Lahti is a Minneapolis native and leader in numerous Minnesota business and community organizations. As principal of JL Holdings since 1989, Mr. Lahti has provided funding and management leadership to several early-stage or distressed companies. Mr. Lahti recently served as Chairman of the Board of PokerTek, Inc., a publicly traded company sold in Ocotber 2014, and as previous Chairman of the Board and current independent board member of AFAM/Innealta Capital. Within the past five years Mr. Lahti served on the board of directors of publicly owned Voyager Oil & Gas, Inc., and several privately held companies. More than five years ago Mr. Lahti served as the chairman of the board of directors of Shuffle Master, Inc., and as a board member of Zomax, Inc. Through his public company board experience, he has participated on, and chaired, both audit and compensation committees. Mr. Lahti graduated from Harvard University in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, After graduating, Mr. Lahti worked at First Bank Minneapolis before working with Syncronamics, Inc., an operational consulting firm. He joined CIGNA Financial Services as a financial counselor in 1985 and left to become president of McQuillan Lahti and Associates in 1989. At both firms he advised business owners in the areas of tax, investment, insurance and succession planning strategies and related product selection. From 1993 to 2002, Mr. Lahti held the positions of chief operating officer, president, chief executive officer and chairman at Shuffle Master, Inc..