Board of Directors
Merrick OkamotoExecutive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Merrick D. Okamoto serves as Executive Chairman and interim CEO and as a director of the Company since August 2017. Mr. Okamoto also serves as the President at Viking Asset Management, LLC (“Viking”) which he co-founded in 2002. He is responsible for research, due diligence and structuring potential investment opportunities for the Longview Family of Funds. Mr. Okamoto has been instrumental in providing capital to over 200 private and public companies and he is responsible for Viking’s trading operations. He served as the Chairman of Optex Systems Holdings, Inc., from January 2013 to November 2014, and as its director from March 2009 to November 2014. He currently serves as an Executive Director at Embark Corporation.
Prior to Viking, Mr. Okamoto co-founded TradePortal.com, Inc., in 1999 (“TradePortal”) and served as its President until 2001. He was instrumental in developing the proprietary Trade Matrix software platform offered by TradePortal Securities. Mr. Okamoto’s negotiations were key in selling a minority stake in TradePortal to Thomson Financial. Prior to TradePortal, Mr. Okamoto had been employed in the securities industry since 1983. He served as Vice President at Shearson Lehman Brothers, Prudential Securities and Paine Webber. Mr. Okamoto founded First Stage Capital, Inc. in 1996, which advises Public and Private Companies on business matters. Mr. Okamoto is widely recognized as an advanced securities trader specializing in short-term trading with sector momentum and has extensive experience in technical market analysis techniques. From 1987 to 1990, Mr. Okamoto hosted the television program, The Income Report. He has been featured as a guest speaker on CNN and the McNeil/Lehrer Report.
Mr. David Lieberman is a seasoned business executive with over 40 years of financial experience beginning with five years as an accountant with Price Waterhouse. He has extensive experience as a senior operational and financial executive serving both multiple public and non-public companies. Mr. Lieberman currently serves as the President of Cobra International and Lieberman Financial Consulting where he acts as administrator for several investment groups. Previously he served as CFO and Director for MEDL Mobile Holdings, Inc., and CFO and Director of Datascension, Inc., a telephone market research company that provides both outbound and inbound services to corporate customers, since January 2008 and a director of that company since 2006. From 2006 to 2007, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Dalrada Financial Corporation, a publicly traded payroll processing company based in San Diego. From 2003 to 2006, he was the Chief Financial Officer for John Goyak & Associates, Inc., a Las Vegas-based aerospace consulting firm. Mr. Lieberman attended the University of Cincinnati, where he received his B.A. in Business, and is a licensed CPA in the State of California.
Fred Thiel is a globally experienced public/private company CEO, board member, strategic advisor, private equity firm principal and senior advisor/operating partner with over 30 years' experience building high performance businesses and creating value through innovation and revenue growth - both domestically and internationally.
Thiel currently serves as Chairman and Co-founder of Sprocket, Inc., a Blockchain/Cryptocurrency technology and financial services company whose mission is to reduce the risk and friction of cryptocurrency trading across marketplaces, regions and exchanges by establishing a federation of exchanges that together create a single aggregated global trading marketplace with large scale liquidity, rapid execution, minimal counter-party risk, and price transparency.
Prior to that, Thiel served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Local Corporation, an $80 million Nasdaq listed leader in on-line local search and digital media, mobile search monetization and programmatic retargeting markets with over 240 million unique annual visitors.
During his career while holding the title of CEO across multiple companies, Thiel successfully created in excess of $750 million in shareholder value; raised more than $150 million through both public (IPO and secondary offerings) and private capital sources; led multiple successful corporate transformations resulting in highly accretive exits; built high output agile product development organizations; established corporate innovation groups resulting in the creation of new product businesses that generated significant new revenues in first year.
Mr. Berg, age 70, has been a practicing Certified Public Accountant for over 30 years and currently serves as an advisor to several small public companies. From September of 1977 until June of 1985, he was an audit manager for Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC) in San Francisco and in January 2008, co-founded and served as the West Coast PIC of PMB Helin Donovan, a 100+ person CPA firm. From September 1988 until December 2000, Mr. Berg served as the Chief Financial Officer of a public real estate company and a high tech manufacturer and a research and development company. He has established several independent companies including EXIS in January 1992, which sold and installed a proprietary software product which he helped develop for distributed general ledgers systems. Most recently, in January 2014, he formed the Registry of Accredited Investors that provides services to investors and companies in Reg D offerings. His industry experience ranges from finance and distribution to high tech, pharma, real estate and construction. Mr. Berg has worked extensively with public companies and has participated in many public offerings in national markets. From January 1989 until October 1996, he was the President of the Board of Directors of the Names Project and formed a not-for-profit called the Permanent Display aimed at creating a San Francisco landmark for the AIDs Quilt. In March 2005, Mr. Berg also helped found Welcome, a 501C (3) that provides homeless outreach in the Upper Polk Street area of San Francisco. Mr. Berg attended San Francisco State University, where he received his B.A. in Accounting, and is a licensed CFF and CPA in the State of California..
Peter Benz, currently the Chief Executive Officer of Viking Asset Management, LLC, an asset and investment management company which he founded in 2001. From March 2015 until January 2019, Mr. Benz served as a director of Fluent, Inc, a leading performance marketing company. Since March 26, 2018, Mr. Benz has served as a director of Red Violet, a data analytics company. From June 2016 to May 2018, Mr. Benz served as a director of Lilis Energy Inc., an onshore oil and natural gas exploration and production company. From January 2012 until its merger with Lilis Energy Inc. in June 2016, Mr. Benz served as a director of Brushy Resources, Inc. (formerly known as Starboard Resources, Inc.), an onshore oil and natural gas exploration and production company, and became its Chairman on November 24, 2015. From October 2014 to January 2018, Mr. Benz served as a director of Usell.com, a technology based online market place, and Mr. Benz served as a director and Chairman of the Board of Optex Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of optical systems for the defense industry from November 2014 to August 2018. Mr. Benz earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame. The Board of Directors believes Peter Benz is suited to be a director due to his longstanding experience with public companies.
Mr. Benz was set forth as a director nominee in the Company’s Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A filed with the SEC on November 2, 2020 to replace Mr. Rudolph, who was to stand for reelection. Due to the postponement of the Company’s Annual Meeting, Mr. Rudolph opted to resign on the date on which the Annual Meeting was originally scheduled to occur, and Mr. Benz has been appointed to fill the vacancy and will stand for election at the Annual Meeting, as contemplated.
Suspected violations of the Code of Ethics or Insider Trading policies should promptly be reported. Violations will be investigated by the Board or by a person or persons designated by the Board and appropriate action will be taken in the event of any violations of this
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