Officers & Directors

MANAGEMENT

John Hartman – Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Board

Mr. Hartman has been Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors since its inception.  Prior to joining the Company, over the most recent five years, Mr. Hartman has held leadership roles at private and public real estate firms including institutionally backed private equity real estate funds, where he managed capital formation, due diligence, underwriting and acquisitions.  Most recently he was a Managing Director and equity partner of Republic Capital Partners, a commercial real estate merchant bank, where he oversaw the investor marketing and capital formation activities, including deal sourcing and negotiation. Prior, Mr. Hartman served as a Managing Director of Astrum Investment Management, a $50 million private equity real estate fund focused on C-credit middle market industrial sale/leasebacks.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Hartman held the position of Chief Financial Officer for Global Facilities Development, a national commercial real estate development and site selection company, focused on historical rehabilitations for high-tech reuse, primarily data centers. He has also served as President and CEO of for Silverado Financial (SLVO), a publicly traded real estate finance company.  Mr. Hartman holds a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and an MBA from California Coast University. Mr. Hartman is a licensed real estate broker in California and Arizona.

George Bell – President & Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Bell has been the President & Chief Operating Officer of Gadsden Growth Properties since June of 2016. Prior to joining Gadsden, he worked with Memory Matters which focuses on the development of facilities dedicated to the control and remission of Alzheimer’s. These facilities are constructed as a “Home Model” and focus on the patient’s condition rather than simply being a controlled space where people are housed and made comfortable until death. Prior to that Mr. Bell was Chief Operating Officer for Talk Media TV where he was responsible for implementing day-to-day operations, compliance, sales, personnel and business development. He was Regional Manager for Fort Sill National Bank for over 12 years, and prior to that worked with Mr. Hartman as his Chief Operating Officer of Next Advisors where he was responsible for oversight of compliance, reporting, cost containment, financial oversight, audit, and securities reporting. Mr. Bell was Head of Insurance Services for First Cleveland Securities and has extensive experience with human resources, health insurance, D&O/E&O insurance, the structuring of medical savings accounts, and 401k retirement plans.

Scott Crist – Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Crist brings over twenty-five years of finance and accounting experience in real estate investment, land development, residential, multi-family and commercial real estate. Mr. Crist was most recently Finance Director with the M3 Companies, a master planned community real estate developer managing projects in Arizona, Colorado and Idaho. Responsibilities included directing the finance and accounting operations of the company. Previously Mr. Crist was Controller for Professional Equity Management, a real estate and asset management company with a diverse portfolio of multi-family and commercial properties throughout the United States, where he managed a team of ten financial managers, accountants and accounts payable staff. Mr. Crist has also held various Director and Controller level financial positions with the Lyle Anderson and affiliate Companies, a world recognized master planned community developer with projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and the United Kingdom. Mr. Crist spent nine years with Desert Mountain Properties, a Lyle Anderson 8,000-acre master planned community with six Jack Nicklaus championship golf courses and five award winning club houses. Mr. Crist is an accomplished forward planner experienced in managing financial, operational and economic risk with specialized skills focused on profitability, development and growth strategy. Throughout his career he has been instrumental in developing comprehensive analysis of joint ventures and projecting investment returns to determine optimum buy/sell/hold strategies. Mr. Crist has earned a Masters of Arts degree in Business from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Finance from Northern Arizona University.

Brian Ringel – Corporate Controller

Mr. Ringel is a certified public accountant (CPA) with over 15 years of experience in public accounting, audit and SEC regulatory compliance. Prior to joining Gadsden Mr Ringel was Vice-President of Finance and Controller for American Standard Energy where he managed all functions of finance, accounting and reporting for the publicly traded energy company. Mr. Ringel was Audit Manager at Grant Thornton, and international accounting and consulting firm, where he worked with both public and private companies in multiple different industries across the U.S. Prior to joining Grant Thornton, Mr. Ringel was an Associate and then was promoted to Audit Manager at KPMG a global accounting firm. Mr. Ringel holds an Masters in Accounting from Brigham Young University as well as a BS in Accounting from Brigham Young University.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

John Hartman – Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Hartman has been Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors since its inception. Prior to joining the Company, over the most recent five years, Mr. Hartman has held leadership roles at private and public real estate firms including institutionally backed private equity real estate funds, where he managed capital formation, due diligence, underwriting and acquisitions. Most recently he was a Managing Director and equity partner of Republic Capital Partners, a commercial real estate merchant bank, where he oversaw the investor marketing and capital formation activities, including deal sourcing and negotiation. Prior, Mr. Hartman served as a Managing Director of Astrum Investment Management, a $50 million private equity real estate fund focused on C-credit middle market industrial sale/leasebacks. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hartman held the position of Chief Financial Officer for Global Facilities Development, a national commercial real estate development and site selection company, focused on historical rehabilitations for high-tech reuse, primarily data centers. He has also served as President and CEO of for Silverado Financial (SLVO), a publicly traded real estate finance company. Mr. Hartman holds a Bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and an MBA from California Coast University. Mr. Hartman is a licensed real estate broker in California and Arizona.

Douglas Funke – Independent Board Member

Mr. Funke was elected to the Board of Directors of Gadsden REIT in April of 2019. Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer and Portfolio Manager of the Berkeley Street Real Estate Income Fund. Mr. Funke is responsible for identifying, sourcing, structuring and managing the investments for the Fund. As Portfolio Manager he oversees the daily operations and he sets the investment guidelines for the Fund. Mr. Funke is also a member of both the Investment Committee and Risk Committee at Berkeley Street Real Estate. He also is a Managing Director and Head of The Americas for Iceberg Real Estate (Forum Partners spin-out entity). Mr. Funke and Iceberg Realty act as a sub-advisor and manager of the Berkeley Street Real Estate Income Fund. He is also responsible for bottom-up research for the Income Plus, Alpha, and Special Situations Fund strategies.

Prior to Iceberg he was a Managing Director and Global Portfolio Manager with Forum Securities based in Greenwich, CT. At Forum, Mr. Funke managed and oversaw the Americas. Before joining Forum Partners, Mr. Funke was a Managing Director at BeachStreet Capital where he advised hedge funds, institutional money managers, high net worth clients and public and private companies on real estate and real estate related investments. Mr. Funke began his investment career at Morgan Stanley where he was a Managing Director and a Portfolio Manager of Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s US Real Estate Fund and the Morgan Stanley Special Situations Fund. He was the first employee of the fund and helped raise assets under management from $5.0 million in Morgan Stanley seed capital to $7.0 billion of institutional assets; today the fund is in excess of $25.0 billion in assets under management. Mr. Funke was responsible for the day-to-day investing of these funds and managed the bottom-up stock picking and research effort. In addition to his duties as Portfolio Manager, Mr. Funke sourced, structured and executed private investments for both the Morgan Stanley US Real Estate Fund and the Morgan Stanley Special Situations Fund. Douglas Funke holds an AB in Economics and Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Dennis M. McGrath – Board Member

Mr. McGrath joined the Gadsden Board of Directors in April 2019 with Gadsden’s acquisition of FC Global. Having served as a member of FC Global’s Board of Directors since July 2009. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PAVmed, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVM, PAVMW) since March 2017. Previously, from 2000 to 2017, Mr. McGrath served in several senior level positions of FC Global, including from 2011 to 2017 as director, President, and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to FC Global’s reverse merger with Radiancy, Inc. in December 2011, he also served as Chief Executive Officer from 2009 to 2011 and served as Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2009. He received honors as a P.A.C.T. (Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology) finalist for the 2011 Investment Deal of the Year, award winner for the SmartCEO Magazine 2012 CEO of the Year for Turnaround Company, and finalist for the Ernst & Young 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, both domestically and internationally, and particularly involving public company acquisitions, including Surgical Laser Technologies, Inc., (formerly, Nasdaq: SLTI), ProCyte Corporation (formerly, Nasdaq: PRCY), LCA Vision, Inc. (formerly, Nasdaq: LCAV) and Think New Ideas, Inc. (formerly, Nasdaq: THNK). Prior to joining us, he served in several senior level positions of AnswerThink Consulting Group, Inc. (then, Nasdaq: ANSR, now, The Hackett Group, Nasdaq: HCKT), a business consulting and technology integration company, including from 1999 to 2000 as Chief Operating Officer of the Internet Practice, the largest division of AnswerThink Consulting Group, Inc., while concurrently during the merger of the companies, serving as the acting Chief Financial Officer of Think New Ideas, Inc. (then, Nasdaq: THNK, now, Nasdaq: HCKT), an interactive marketing services and business solutions company. Mr. McGrath also served from 1996 until 1999 as Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and director of TriSpan, Inc., an internet commerce solutions and technology consulting company, which was acquired by AnswerThink Consulting Group, Inc. in 1999. During his tenure at Arthur Andersen & Co., where he began his career, he became a Certified Public Accountant in 1981, holds inactive licenses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and has a B.S., maxima cum laude, in accounting from LaSalle University. In addition to continuing as a director of PhotoMedex, he serves as the audit chair and a director of several medical device companies, including DarioHealth Corp. (Nasdaq: DRIO), Noninvasive Medical Technologies, Inc. and Cagent Vascular, LLC, and as an advisor to the board of an orphan drug company, Palvella Therapeutics, LLC. Formerly from 2007 to 2009, Mr. McGrath served as a director of Embrella Cardiovascular, Inc. (sold to Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, NYSE: EW). He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Manor College and the Board of Visitors for Taylor University. Mr. McGrath was selected to serve on our Board because of his 30 years’ experience in the development and implementation of innovative business and marketing practices.

B.J. Parish – Independent Board Member

Mr. Parrish has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Cibolo Creek Partners, LLC since 2005.  He has been a Director since 2013.  He is responsible for the financial management of Cibolo and the 12 limited partnerships of which they serve as General Partner.  Mr. Parrish is also instrumental in the raising of capital through both the equity and debt markets for all the company’s investment ventures. Prior to Cibolo, Mr. Parrish served as the Vice President of Cibolo’s predecessor company, Midland Red Oak Realty where he was involved in the formation of a $100 million credit facility, as well the acquisition and disposition of over $200 million worth of commercial real estate assets across the southwest United States. Prior to Midland Red Oak, Mr. Parrish was a financial analyst and a manager of investor relations with Southwest Royalties, Inc., a privately held oil and gas exploration and production company. Mr. Parrish also serves on the Board of Directors of Memory Care America, an Alzheimer’s and dementia residential care operating company with facilities in Texas, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Mr. Parrish received a BBA in Finance and an MBA, both from the University of Texas Permian Basin.

Kristen E. Pigman - Independent Board Member

Mr. Pigman joined the Gadsden Board of Directors in 2019 with Gadsden’s acquisition of FC Global. Having served as a member of FC Global’s Board of Directors since June 2018. As President of The Pigman Companies, LLC, or TPC, Mr. Pigman coordinates acquisition, planning, financing, development, construction, and disposition of commercial real estate projects for TPC, its partners, and institutional and corporate clients. Before the creation of TPC in 1994, Mr. Pigman was a titled officer and partner of The Koll Company of Newport Beach, CA. Prior to joining Koll in 1989, Mr. Pigman was President of The Sandpiper Companies, a real estate development firm headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona; and an executive with Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Group. He served as President for five years of the Sacramento Valley Chapter of National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, or NAIOP, and was a member of the National Board of Directors of NAIOP and Vice Chairman for the NAIOP National Office Development Forum. He also was Vice President of Development and a member of Board of Directors for the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, Chairman of the Building Industry Association Commercial Developer’s Council, and a member of numerous other trade organizations and Chambers of Commerce. Mr. Pigman has been and continues to be involved in a number of charitable organizations, including The Comstock Club, Easter Seals, the American Lung Association, the Police Athletic League, the Leukemia Society, The Heart Foundation, the Principal for a Day Program, and the Boy Scouts of America, having attained the rank of Eagle Scout in that organization. Mr. Pigman graduated with honors from The Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, PA, accepted an English Speaking Union “Jr. Rhodes” Scholarship and took his ‘A’ levels at The Truro School, Truro, Cornwall, UK, attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL on a baseball scholarship, and earned a B.S. in Economics cum laude from The University of Maryland. Mr. Pigman was selected to serve on the board of GPI because of his extensive real estate development experience.

Dolev Rafaeli – Board Member

Dr. Rafaeli joined the Gadsden Board of Directors in April 2019 upon Gadsden’s acquisition of FC Global. Having served as a member of FC Global’s Board of Directors since December 2011. He previously served as FC Global’s Chief Executive Officer from December 2011 until May 2017. Dr. Rafaeli joined the FC subsidiary Radiancy in February 2006 as president and CEO. He has over 29 years of experience managing international operations. Prior to joining Radiancy, Dr. Rafaeli served from 2004 to 2006 as president and CEO of the USR Group, a consumer electronics products manufacturer, managing operations in Israel, China, Hong Kong and the U.S. Between 2000 and 2004, Dr. Rafaeli founded and served as general manager of Orbotech Ltd. (ORBK-NASDAQ), an automated optical inspection capital equipment manufacturer for the electronics industry in China and Hong Kong, where he was instrumental in building these operations into a $100 million a year business. Between 1997 and 2000, Dr. Rafaeli served as CEO of USR Ltd., a global electronics contract manufacturing company providing design, supply chain and manufacturing services to dozens of clients in the communications, consumer and medical device fields. USR Ltd. employed approximately 1,000 individuals. Dr. Rafaeli previously served as director of operations and manager of the Arad manufacturing facility for Motorola in its Land Mobile Product Solutions division, manufacturing and distributing communications, consumer and other infrastructure electronics products in excess of $400 million annually. Dr. Rafaeli graduated with a B.Sc. in industrial engineering and management cum laude and a M.Sc. in operations management from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and holds a Ph.D. in business management from Century University and an MBA (with distinction) from Cornell University. Dr. Rafaeli was selected to serve on our Board because of his over twenty five years of senior executive and board of directors’ experience with private and public multi-national companies and his vast mergers and acquisitions successful track record.Douglas Funke – Independent Board Meeting

James Walesa – Independent Board Member

Mr. Walesa is Vice Chairman of the board of directors. Mr. Walesa has more than three decades of experience in financial services with an emphasis on the energy industry. In 1988, Mr. Walesa founded the Asset Management & Protection Corporation (AMPC), where he currently serves as its Principal. AMPC started from scratch and today manages over $500 million. Mr. Walesa is a licensed registered representative and Principal carrying FINRA licenses 6, 7, 22, 24, & 63 through Triad Advisors. Mr. Walesa and AMPC clients continue to provide startup capital for energy and real estate related companies. Mr. Walesa entered the energy industry in 1992 in the Permian Basin. He and some of his clients were original investors in Basic Energy Services (BAS: NYSE) and Southwest Royalties, now part of Clayton Williams Energy (CWE: NYSE). His prior experience includes serving as a founding member of the Offshore Energy Center in Galveston, Texas, and serving as a registered representative for First Investors (FIC), where he became the youngest vice president in firm history at age 26. Mr. Walesa previously served on the board of NASDAQ-traded Company (NASDAQ: CBF). and currently serves as the chairman of the board of Citadel Explorations (NASDAQ: COIL) and a member of the boards of Caerus Hospitality, and AmpliSine Labs. He was the Chicago Chairman for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and is a member of the Alzheimer’s Alois Society in recognition of his leadership and support of the Alzheimer’s Association to prevent and cure dementia related disease. Mr. Walesa received a BS in Business Administration from Rockford University.