Mr. Merrick D. Okamoto has served as Executive Chairman, 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.
Chief Executive Officer
Prior to serving as Marathon’s chief executive officer, Thiel co-founded and served as chairman of Sprocket, a blockchain and 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 online 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, efficiently 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, and established corporate innovation groups resulting in the creation of new product businesses that generated significant new revenues in their first year.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Crawford has over eighteen years experience in the technology and business sector with expertise in a wide range of disciplines including new media, mobile marketing, intellectual property, security, and compliance.
In early 2013 Mr. Crawford joined Marathon Digital Holdings (Nasdaq:MARA), as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing numerous aspects of the company's operations.
Prior to Marathon Mr. Crawford served as Chief Information Officer at Modavox/Augme Technologies focusing on internal product development and infrastructure build out. He also worked extensively in the Intellectual Property division to effectuate monetization through licensing, and enforcement, as well as assisting in reducing to practice the company¹s innovations and positioning the patent portfolio as a competitive differentiator. He is a named inventor on several Internet Technology patents pending with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Mr. Crawford served on the Board of Directors of Augme Technologies from March 2006 through August 2011.
Prior to Augme Technologies Mr. Crawford was a founding member of Kino Interactive, LLC (Acquired by Surfnet Media Group, AKA Modavox/Augme Technologies (HIPP)), a developer of enhanced communication software and digital media solutions, as well as a founder of Audioeye, Inc (AEYE), a patented voice infrastructure technology enabling web compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Mr. Crawford received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Washington State University.
Chief Financial Officer
Prior to joining Marathon, Mr. Salzman served as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of the Las Vegas Monorail Company, a private non-profit 501c(4) entity, from 2018-2020. There, he was responsible for overseeing all financial functions including audit, treasury, and corporate finance. In addition, he was responsible for internal control compliance and management strategy.
Prior to being CFO of the Las Vegas Monorail Company, Mr. Salzman served as the Chief Financial Officer for Wendoh Media and Corner Bar Management for over three years, from 2015-2018. Through enhanced analytical reviews, budgeting, internal control implementation and reducing overhead, Mr. Salzman was able to save over $1.4 million in aggregate costs and generate EBITDA of over 25% for eight consecutive quarters.
Mr. Salzman holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
Vice President, Corporate Development
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.