J. Russell Porter has been a member of our Board and has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer since February 2004. From August 2006 until January 2010, he also served as Chairman of the Board. From September 2000 to February 2004, he served as our Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Porter has an energy focused background, with approximately 19 years of natural gas and oil exploration and production experience and five years of banking and investment experience specializing in the energy sector. From April 1994 to September 2000, Mr. Porter served as an Executive Vice President of Forcenergy, Inc., a publicly traded exploration and production company, where he was responsible for the acquisition and financing of the majority of its assets across the United States and Australia. He currently is a director of Caza Oil & Gas, Inc., a publicly traded exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the London AIM exchange. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of Stallion Oilfield Holdings, Inc., a private Delaware corporation that owns Stallion Oilfield Services, a private oilfield service company. He has held no other directorship positions in publicly-traded companies during the last five years. Mr. Porter holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Land Management from Louisiana State University and a MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Porter was chosen as a director nominee because he is the Company's Chief Executive Officer and has proven management skills. He has extensive knowledge of the natural gas and oil industry and experience in managing natural gas and oil assets and, as well as relationships with chief executives and other senior management of natural gas and oil companies and oilfield service companies throughout the United States. Mr. Porter actively participates in all facets of the Company's business and has a significant impact on both its business strategy and daily operations.
Michael A. Gerlich joined us in May 2005 as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Gerlich has over 30 years of natural gas and oil accounting and finance experience. From 1999 until joining us, he held various accounting and finance positions at Calpine Natural Gas LP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calpine Corporation, an independent electric power generation company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. His last position at Calpine Natural Gas LP was Senior Vice President – Accounting and Finance, for the natural gas and oil operations of the wholly-owned subsidiary. From 1994 until 1999, Mr. Gerlich served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sheridan Energy, Inc, an independent natural gas and oil exploration company traded on the NASDAQ, which was acquired in 1999 by Calpine Corporation. Over a 12-year period prior to joining Sheridan Energy, Mr. Gerlich held various accounting and finance positions with Trinity Resources, Ltd., an independent natural gas and oil exploration and production company, with his last position being Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to that, Mr. Gerlich was also with a Big Four accounting firm, where the focus of his practice was with energy related clients. Mr. Gerlich is a Certified Public Accountant and graduated with honors from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting.
Mike McCown joined Gastar in 2009 originally as a Senior Advisor and since July 2010 as Vice President – Northeast. Mr. McCown is responsible for all operational activities on the company's Marcellus Shale assets. Prior to joining Gastar, McCown held various positions with CDX Gas LLC., predecessor to Vitruvian Exploration LLC., including Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President and General Manager. Mike has over 30 years experience in production, drilling and operations throughout the United States in the Unitah, Permian and Appalachian Basins. His experience includes managerial responsibilities for companies including Pennzoil, Devon Energy, East Resources and EOG Resources. Mike has served two terms on the Board of WV Oil and Natural Gas Association and is a former President of that association. He is currently serving his second term on the Board of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia and was appointed President of the association effective August 2010. He holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio University and is a Registered Professional Petroleum Engineer.
Keith R. Blair
Vice President, Exploration Manager
Keith R. Blair joined us in August 2005 as a Senior Staff Geologist. He was promoted to Vice President, Exploration Manager in 2008. Mr. Blair has over 30 years of natural gas and oil experience. He has extensive working knowledge of natural gas and oil basins in Colorado, New Mexico, East Texas, West Virginia/Pennsylvania, Offshore Gulf of Mexico and the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast. Prior to joining us, from 1999 until 2005, he was an independent exploration geologist. From 1995 until 1999, he was a Senior Geophysicist at Schlumberger Limited. Prior to 1995, he held an Exploration Manager/Supervisor position at Conoco Phillips for 14 years. He began his career as a well logging engineer with Halliburton Company. Mr. Blair graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology.
Henry J. Hansen
Vice President of Land
Henry J. Hansen joined us in September 2005 as Vice President of Land. Mr. Hansen has over 30 years of land management experience. Prior to joining us, Mr. Hansen was Rocky Mountain Land Manager with El Paso Corporation, a natural gas and oil exploration, production and pipeline company, from 1999 until January 2003. He returned to El Paso Corporation in June 2004, where he was senior landman until joining us in September 2005. Mr. Hansen graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Petroleum Management.
John M. Selser
Chairman of the Board
John M. Selser became a member of our Board effective March 30, 2007 and effective January 4, 2013, was appointed Chairman of the Board. Currently, Mr. Selser is a private investor and also serves on the board of directors of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge and the investment committee of the Franciscan Ministries of Our Lady, the parent corporation of Our Lady of the Lake. From 2010 to 2012 Mr. Selser was a managing director of energy research at IBERIA Capital Partners LLC, a subsidiary of IBERIA Bank Corporation. Also in 2010, he was an instructor of finance at Louisiana State University. From 2003 to 2009, he was a partner at Maple Leaf Partners, a long short equity hedge fund. From 1992 to 2003, he was an energy equity analyst for several sell-side firms including Lehman Brothers, Howard Weil and Johnson Rice. From 1984 to 1992, Mr. Selser was a petroleum engineer for Chevron and Mobil in various domestic drilling, production and reservoir engineering assignments. He has held no directorship positions in publicly-traded companies during the last five years other than that of Gastar. Mr. Selser holds a Bachelor of Science in both Civil Engineering and Petroleum Engineering from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a Masters of Business Administration from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Selser was chosen as a director because of his significant finance experience as well as his prior engineering and exploration and production experience, which provides a meaningful perspective in the Board's oversight of Gastar's execution of its long-term business strategy.
Randolph C. Coley
Randolph C. Coley was appointed to the Company's Board January 2010. Mr. Coley currently is retired and has been since the end of 2008. From 1999 until his retirement at the end of 2008, Mr. Coley was a partner in the Houston, Texas office of the law firm, King & Spalding LLP, where his practice was concentrated in the areas of corporate and securities law. Previously, he served as Executive Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking for Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. and was a partner in King & Spalding LLP's Atlanta office. He is a director of Deltic Timber Corporation, a publicly-traded natural resources company engaged primarily in the growing and harvesting of timber and the manufacture and marketing of lumber, a position he has held since 2007. Additionally, he is a member of the audit, nominating and corporate governance committees of that organization. He has held no other directorship positions in publicly-traded companies during the last five years. Mr. Coley earned his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and graduated with a law degree from Vanderbilt School of law. Mr. Coley was chosen as a director nominee because of his extensive business and legal background and his keen understanding of various corporate governance matters that he has attained through his representation of and service on other public company boards.
Robert D. Penner
Robert D. Penner became a member of our Board effective July 2007. Mr. Penner currently is and has been an independent consultant since 2004, when he retired from his position as a senior partner with KPMG, after a career of advising public and private clients on tax and accounting matters for almost 40 years. He currently serves on the Board for Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd., a manufacturer and seller of electronic components for grid-connected solar power systems; and Corridor Resources Ltd, Storm Cat Energy Corporation, Terra Energy Corp. and Altima Resources Ltd. (successor company to Unbridled Energy Corporation), each involved in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors or as Executor/Trustee for several private companies and family trusts. Mr. Penner received his Chartered Accountant designation in 1971 in Manitoba and 1977 in Alberta. He has held no other directorship positions in publicly-traded companies during the last five years. Mr. Penner was chosen as a director nominee because of the keen understanding of finance, accounting and various corporate governance matters that he has attained through his career with KPMG and service on other public company boards.
John H. Cassels
John H. Cassels became a member of our Board effective March 11, 2011.
Mr. Cassels is a Chartered Accountant in Canada with 30 years of experience in the Canadian natural gas and oil industry, serving as a senior officer and director of nine small natural gas and oil companies.
He is currently a partner and chief financial officer of Purdy Partners Inc., a private equity/merchant bank in Calgary, Alberta, a position he has held since December 2009. Prior to joining Purdy, Mr. Cassels was a financial consultant to a Canadian oil and gas exploration company operating in both Argentina and Canada. Earlier, he was a founding shareholder, chief executive officer and director of Highview Resources, a publicly traded firm that built a significant inventory of natural gas and oil prospects in Alberta and Saskatchewan. He holds a BA degree from Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Mr. Cassels served during 2007-2008 as a director of World Cup Operations/ Alpine Canada, which organized alpine test events for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.