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Board of Directors

Benjamin P. Cowart

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

Mr. Cowart has served as our Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President since April 2009. Mr. Cowart has been involved in the petroleum recycling industry for over 30 years. Mr. Cowart is the founder of the Vertex group of companies and has served such companies since 2001. As a leader in the recycling field, Mr. Cowart helped pioneer the reclamation industry by developing recycling options for many residual materials once managed as a hazardous waste. Mr. Cowart has served on NORA’s Board of Directors and as President in 2008. Mr. Cowart was a finalist for the 2015, Gulf Coast Area, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®. Mr. Cowart has taken an active role in the petroleum industry with his involvement in speaking, consulting, chairing, and serving on various committees and industry associations. Prior to the formation of Holdings, Mr. Cowart served as the Vice President of Aaron Oil Company, a regional recycler in Alabama.

Dan Borgen

Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of U.S. Development Group LLC

Mr. Borgen currently serves as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of U.S. Development Group LLC (“USD”), where he has worked since May of 1995. In his current role, Mr. Borgen guides all senior aspects of USD’s corporate activities. USD is comprised of wholly owned subsidiaries that focus on industrial development, logistics, products terminaling, power corridors, financial services and gasification. In addition to his work with USD, Mr. Borgen has served as President of U.S. Right-of-Way Corporation since June 1993. Prior to this, Mr. Borgen worked for 11 years as an investment banker serving as Merger & Acquisition Director, Portfolio Manager and as a member of the Executive Committee for strategic planning and development. His activities were focused on manufacturing, food service, oil and gas exploration/production, telecommunications, banking and Western European finance. In his capacity as an investment banker, Mr. Borgen served as Vice President of The Oxford Group from July 1990 to June 1993, Vice President/Principal of The Paramount Companies from July 1985 to April 1990 and Manager – Investor Relations of Invoil Inc. from April 1982 to June 1985.

David L. Phillips

Managing Partner of Bilateral Initiatives LLP

Mr. Phillips is currently the Managing Partner of Bilateral Initiatives LLP, an international business-to-business consulting firm specializing in providing key strategic expansion and corporate growth advice to the chairman and chief executive level members of various firms. Mr. Phillips is also Managing Partner of Phillips International Law Group PLLC, a worldwide recognized international law firm specializing in mergers, acquisitions, project development and EPC construction work with a focus on the international energy landscape in the oil, gas, chemical and power downstream sector and the alternative energy industry. Mr. Phillips’ clients include worldwide energy companies, including several Middle East National Oil Companies. Prior to his founding of Bilateral Initiatives LLP and the Phillips International Law Group, Mr. Phillips was a Partner at the law firm of Jackson Walker LLP from May 2002 until May 2008 and chaired several of the firm’s practice areas over that period. Prior to working at Jackson Walker LLP, from May 1995 to May 2002 Mr. Phillips served as a chief executive officer of KeySpan Energy Corporation, a $14 billion public energy conglomerate based in New York City, and as a member of the board of directors of certain KeySpan subsidiaries. From June 1991 to May 1995, Mr. Phillips served as chief executive officer in Equitable Resources, Inc. a $6 billion public gas utility holding company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and as a member of the board of directors of certain Equitable subsidiaries. Mr. Phillips also served as the General Counsel to Eastex Energy Inc., a public midstream energy company, from June 1985 to May 1991, which was later acquired by El Paso Energy and ultimately Enterprise Products LP. In addition to his current roles at Bilateral Initiatives LLP and Phillips International Law Group LLC, Mr. Phillips is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Board of Advisors, Ambassadors, Ministers & Former US Cabinet Secretaries of the Bilateral US Arab Chamber of Commerce (BUSACC). Mr. Phillips received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in August 1984 and his Juris Doctor from the South Texas College of Law in August 1988. Mr. Phillips is a member of the State Bar of Texas, International Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Houston Bar Association; he is also a member of the Oil, Gas & Energy Law Section, the Business Law Section, and the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Bar Association. Additionally, he is a member of the Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the American Bar Association & International Bar Association.

Timothy C. Harvey

Vice President of Oil Trading at Westport Petroleum, Inc.

Mr. Harvey served as a Vice President of Oil Trading at Westport Petroleum, Inc. (“Westport”), which operates in the petroleum trading, blending and transportation industries, from November 1987 to June 2012, during which time he specialized in Black Oil trading. From May 1986 to October 1987, Mr. Harvey served in an oil trading position with Shell International, providing services in throughput trading and sourcing. From May 1984 to May 1986, Mr. Harvey served as a supply trading analyst with Shell Oil Company. From June 1980 to May 1984, Mr. Harvey served as a logistics analyst with Shell Chemical Company. Mr. Harvey obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in Business Marketing and Transportation in 1980.

Chris Stratton


Mr. Stratton’s finance and risk management expertise includes 18 years energy and commodity experience. This experience includes industry and consulting experience with global financial institutions, investment banks, utilities, producers and end users. Mr. Stratton was instrumental in designing and implementing key financial, regulatory and risk management systems and processes for Citi’s initial foray into energy trading. While in consulting, Mr. Stratton served as project leader on multiple engagements that focused on the assessment and design of risk management frameworks for large- and mid-market energy companies. Assessments focused on market, credit, and operational risks embedded within natural and traded positions, including asset management, fuels procurement, wholesale trading and marketing and risk management. Mr. Stratton’s experience focused on evaluating key elements of the risk management structure, including identification and prioritization of risk components, risk measurement and valuation, limit structures, organizational design and reporting and risk management policies and procedures. A recognized expert in developing energy related middle- and back-office risk processes, including risk management and derivative accounting systems, Mr. Stratton combines unique training and experience to offer creative solutions to clients. Possessing deep technical knowledge of finance, derivative accounting, valuation and risk management processes often allows Mr. Stratton to create and implement novel solutions to complex financial issues. Mr. Stratton received his BBA from Baylor University in 1991 and his MBA degree from Rice University in 1998. Mr. Stratton serves on the Rice University Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management Partner’s Executive Board and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Texas.

James P. Gregory

General Counsel of Vertex Energy Inc.

Mr. Gregory has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Company since July 2014, and as the General Counsel of Vertex Refining Nevada since May 2014. Mr. Gregory is currently a Manager/Partner at Gregory & Plotkin, LLC, a law firm located in Denver, Colorado, a position he has held since November 2002. Prior to forming Gregory & Plotkin, LLC, Mr. Gregory had served as a partner and associate with various law firms in Denver, Colorado and Detroit, Michigan since 1974. Mr. Gregory’s forty years of legal experience in the private practice of law has been focused on tax, transactional work, structuring, and finance. From 1990 to present, Mr. Gregory has served as counsel to Global Environment Fund (“GEF”), a registered investment advisor and private equity fund management group with almost $1 billion under management with a focus on environmentally beneficial goods, services and technologies concentrating on emerging market countries. Since 1997, Mr. Gregory has served on the Board of Directors of GEF. Mr. Gregory has served on the Board of Directors of Omega Holdings Company, LLC (“Omega”) and several of its subsidiaries including Omega Refining, LLC, Bango Refining NV, LLC and Golden State Lubricant Works, LLC since May 2008. Omega is involved in the refining, blending and marketing of lubricants and fuels. The Company entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with Omega in March 2014, and consummated the initial closing thereunder in May 2014. Between April 2010 and May 2012, Mr. Gregory served as a member of the Board of Directors of Nutrinsic, Inc., a waste water processing company. Mr. Gregory also owns and operates two Egg & I restaurants in Denver, Colorado.

Mr. Gregory is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Michigan and in the District of Columbia and holds a Master of Laws (in Taxation) from New York University Law School (1976), a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School (1974), and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan (1971).

Director Qualifications:
Mr. Gregory has had a long and successful career with various law firms with extensive experience in tax, transactional work, structuring, and finance. In addition to his extensive legal experience, Mr. Gregory served on the Board of Directors of Omega Holdings Company, LLC which was involved in the refining, blending and marketing of lubricants and fuels. As such, we believe Mr. Gregory is highly qualified to serve on the Board of Directors of the Company.