Our Team

The Bakken Energy team is led by experienced entrepreneurs, innovators, company builders, financiers, investment bankers, energy sector professionals and project developers.

Chief Executive Officer

Mike Hopkins

Mike is an entrepreneur and one of the pioneers in energy storage. He co-founded Ice Energy, a thermal energy storage company, worked with policy makers in California to create the first market for energy storage in the US, and by the time he retired from Ice Energy to join Bakken Energy in 2018, Ice Energy was widely recognized as the leading thermal energy storage company in the world. Today, the business operates as Thule Energy Storage.

Prior to his career as an entrepreneur, Mike practiced law for 18 years as a partner with Bennett Jones LLP, a preeminent Canadian law firm recognized internationally as a leader in the fields of energy and climate change. He helped his clients successfully develop and finance over 54 power projects in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. Mike served on the law firm’s Executive Committee and led their Utilities, International and Independent Power Groups.

Mike is the Lead Director of Plus Power, a leading battery storage developer, and the independent member of the Board of Directors of Nelumbo, a nanotechnology advanced materials company.

His not-for-profit work includes serving as a member of the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board, and the Board of Chancellors of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada and Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.

He has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning and been a featured speaker at many conferences, including the Infrastructure Investors Forum, Grid Modernization Forum, Energy Storage Association, Energy Storage North America, Peak Load Management Association, Community Storage Initiative, SXSW Eco, Electric Power Research Institute, Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid, NY-BEST, EUCI,PlugVolt, World Energy Engineering Congress, US Energy Bar Association, Law Seminars International, and various investment bank sponsored private events.

Mike received a B.A. and a law degree from the University of Ottawa, an M.A. (Law and Economics) from
the University of Miami and an MBA from the University of Alberta.

Chairman and Founder

Steven Lebow

Steven is the Chairman and Founder of Bakken Energy (formerly Bakken Midstream Natural Gas).  He is also the Founder and CEO of Lebow & Co., a private investment and financial advisory firm.  Earlier in his career, Steven was a Managing Director of Investment Bank Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette (“DLJ”) from 1979-2000.  At DLJ, Steven was the Head of the Retail Investment Banking Group.  On August 1, 1986, he established DLJ’s Los Angeles Office and Co-Headed the Los Angeles Office with Ken Moelis from 1990-1996.  Steven was voted into the DLJ “Hall of Fame” in 1995.  Steven was the only person in DLJ’s history to invest in five transactions that returned between 100x to 500x the original investment—Costco, Starbuck’s, PetSmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and ULTA Beauty.  On a combined basis, the market capitalization of these companies exceeds $350 billion. Steven was very active recruiting people for DLJ and for many of the notable companies he financed.

Steven was a primary financier to companies such as Costco Wholesale, PetSmart Corporation, Dick’s Sporting Goods, ULTA Beauty; PF Chang’s, Caribou Coffee, Envestnet, Bill Me Later (PayPal) and Sagent Advisors.   He was extensively involved with DLJ’s investment banking clients until he founded Global Retail Partners within DLJ in 1996.  Global Retail Partners launched in 1996 with approximately $160 million in funding from Carrefour of France, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Investment Arm, DLJ and approximately 150 current or former CEOs or CFOs of notable companies.

In 2000, after DLJ was acquired by Credit Suisse First Boston, Steven and his partners left DLJ and rebranded Global Retail Partners as GRP Partners (GRP). Steven was the co-founder and co-managing partner of GRP. Global Retail Partners and GRP together managed approximately $900 million when Steven retired. GRP’s second fund, GRP II, an approximately $400 million fund, has been ranked the best venture capital fund for all 2000 vintage funds in the US.

Companies and individuals Steven has worked with include Autozone Corporation, Carrefour Corporation, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Organization, Costco; Starbuck’s Corporation, Egghead Discount Software, Staples Corporation, Office Max Corporation, Sears Corporation, K-Mart Corporation, Border’s Book Corporation, Brinker Corporation, Eatzi’s Corporation, KKR, Leonard Green and Partners, California Mart, Sodimac Corporation (Falabella Corporation) Chile, Oak Investment Partners, T Rowe Price Threshold Fund and many more.

Steven holds a BA in Economics and Political Science with honors, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA.  Steven received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania-Wharton School of Business.  Steven received the Exxon Fellowship for his studies at Wharton.

FOUNDER, VICE-CHAIRMAN

Shane Goettle

Shane is originally from Stanley, North Dakota where he was raised on a livestock ranch and small grains farm. After earning a B.S. Degree in Agricultural Economics from NDSU, Shane pursued a law degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 1994. From 1995 2001, Shane was an associate and partner in the McGee Law Firm in Minot, North Dakota, where he focused on business and estate planning, employment law, commercial contracts and transactions, securities, and real estate.

In 2002, Shane joined the George W. Bush Administration. He served two years as counsel to the Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, which regulated the Federal Home Loan Bank System. In 2004, Shane transferred to USDA where he served as Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Rural Development and helped manage the day to day operations of a then $87 billion rural capital investment organization with 7,200 employees.

In 2005, then North Dakota Governor John Hoeven recruited Shane to join his cabinet and head the North Dakota Department of Commerce where he executed on the Governor’s priorities in economic development, tourism, community services, infrastructure, workforce development, and energy policy.

One of Shane’s central roles was to chair Governor Hoeven’s energy policy commission ( EmPower ND), securing input from the private sector on the legal, regulatory and tax policy for energy development. Shane also lead the development of the state’s first major infrastructure plan for western North Dakota, which resulted in the state’s first $1 billion of coordinated investment in infrastructure in the state’s oil and gas counties and cities to support development of the industry. After John Hoeven’s election to the United States Senate in 2010, Shane served as Senator Hoeven’s State Director, addressing constituent concerns , flooding issues, and agriculture and energy policy.

In the meantime, in 2010, Shane and his extended family launched a family owned gravel company in Mountrail County to serve market needs that had developed for road and other infrastructure. Shane currently is an owner and in house counsel for this entity. Since 2012, Shane has also worked with several cities in Northwest North Dakota on flooding and growth infrastructure issues (from oil and gas development). Shane has been retained by the Cities of Minot, Stanley, Parshall and New Town as an assistant city attorney to work on these matters.

In 2012, Shane joined Odney , a full service media, communications, research, public relations and public affairs firm. Shane is now one of the owners and serves as CEO, Director of Public Affairs, and Corporate Counsel. Shane lives with his spouse, Brenda, in Mandan, North Dakota. Together, they have six children.

Founder

Curt Launer

Curt is a Founder of Bakken Energy (formerly Bakken Midstream Natural Gas). He brings over 30 years of midstream energy experience to the leadership team of Bakken Energy. He is an accountant by background and began his career at Arthur Young & Company where he became an oil and gas specialist with clients including Mobil Oil and Hess. Following a stint with Mobil he joined a privately held exploration and production company that was drilling in Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota.

His accounting and energy background led to Wall Street in Equities Research focused on Natural Gas pipelines, exploration and production and midstream infrastructure. From 1987 until 2001, Curt was with Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette and stayed with Credit Suisse until 2005 after DLJ was acquired by that firm.

He was ranked #1 in the Institutional Investor Poll of Analysts in the Natural Gas Industry from 1989 through 2001 (except 1996). In recognition of his 12 years of #1 ranking with investors world wide, Curt was inducted into the
“Institutional Investor Hall of Fame” in 2011 and was called “one of the best analysts of all time” for his work in Natural Gas and Energy Related Master Limited Partnerships (MLPS).

During his career as an analyst and investment banker, Curt has originated and participated in over $30 billion in merger and acquisition transactions and over $50 billion in equity and debt capital raising.

He contributed to numerous critical events in the industry by testifying in Congressional and Regulatory proceedings including the regulatory and tax approval of midstream assets in MLPs, natural gas related issues that came before US and foreign governments and proceedings involving the demise of Enron, where he assisted the investigation and prosecution of former executives.

In 2005, Curt became an investment banker dedicated to the same industry sectors, first with the boutique M&A firm Sagent Advisors and later with Deutsche Bank where he successfully completed transactions and capital raises in infrastructure, MLP qualifying assets, exploration and production and Liquefied Natural Gas. In 2013, Curt joined the start up of American Energy Partners (AELP), formed by Aubrey McClendon. AELP raised over $15 billion and achieved numerous successes in E&P, Midstream and Minerals entities.

Immediately prior to joining Bakken Midstream, Curt was with S2K Financial, a firm that AELP invested in as a broker dealer developing and distributing securities and performing advisory investment banking focused on real estate, energy and credit. Curt led the energy activities of the firm.

Chief Investment Officer

Martin C. Murrer

Martin (Marty) Murrer graduated from The Ohio State University in 1979 with a 4.0 average and a concentration on Finance and Marketing. After obtaining his MBA from UCLA in 1981, he spent the next 34 years on Wall Street primarily as an investment banker at major Wall Street firms including Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. His specialty was the sale of businesses and he completed over 200 merger and acquisition transactions while running merger groups at several firms.

In 2016, Marty joined Muirfield Capital Global Advisors, an alternative asset management firm as a Partner. He is the Managing Member of Muirfield GSE, a special situations fund that according to HSBC’s HedgeWeekly was the #2 performing hedge fund in 2019 out of its survey of over 400 funds.

Marty has also been active at Ohio State. In 2004, he and his brother Andrew endowed the Murrer Professorship in Finance. He also was a member of the Foundation Board and is a member of the Investment Working Group which advises the Chief Financial Officer of Ohio State on Endowment Matters. Marty is also a co-founder of the UCLA Fink Center for Finance and Investment.

He has been a Board Member of numerous public and private companies as well as nonprofits. He was a Board member of Catholic Charities of New York for 15 years where he led the Program and Quality Improvement Committee.

Chief Projects OFFICER

Chris B. Tillotson

Prior to joining Bakken Energy Chris led the information technology, software engineering and R&D teams at Ice Energy . He joined Ice Energy in 2014 as Chief Information Officer leading the IT and software engineering efforts. Shortly after joining Ice Energy, Chris was asked to lead the hardware development team and was tasked with revitalizing R&D efforts.

Chris led a ground up effort to rebuild the product development team and the result was the first new hardware solution produced by Ice Energy in over 8 years. The Ice Bear 20 residential solution was the result of Chris’s stewardship and complements the award-winning flagship Ice Bear 30 C&I energy storage solution.

During his tenure at Ice Energy Chris successfully led City of Riverside Ice Bear program business development efforts and authored and secured a Custom Energy Technology grant through the City of Riverside to develop solar energy and thermal storage integration and optimization capabilities.

Prior to joining Ice Energy Chris co-invented, designed and developed the e:VAL electronic parking validation solution. The e:VAL solution replaced existing and antiquated validation options and rapidly became the new standard. In 2014 the business was sold to SKIDATA AG based the world’s leading parking access and revenue control company.

Chris’s expertise is ensuring early stage ventures succeed by leveraging his over 20 years of leadership, business development, information technology and technical project management skills. He is committed to building highly functional teams and mentoring younger professionals.

Chris earned his B.S. in Mathematical Sciences with high honors and his M.A. in Applied Math from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Chief FInancial Officer

Scott Kaplan

Scott is a senior executive and brings over 25 years of financial and operational leadership experience to Bakken Energy. Scott partners with Steve Lebow and Lebow & Co. organizing investments in entrepreneurial companies in a variety of industries including automotive, energy/power, technology, healthcare, food & retail. Scott also provides financial advisory services to the companies we invest in, helping those businesses with capital raising, financial modeling, investor decks, formation documents and operational matters.

Previously, Scott was a Co-Founder, COO, CFO and Board member of Sagent Advisors Inc., a New York City based investment banking firm for over a decade from 2003 – 2014. At Sagent, Scott led all financial and operational matters for the firm. Scott helped lead the firm from founding to over 125 employees in 5 US cities, with alliances in Europe, South America and Asia. Sagent (DCS Advisory) was recently acquired by Daiwa Capital Markets, of Japan, in 2017.

Earlier in his career, Scott was CFO of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette’s Los Angeles business, where he worked with Steve Lebow and Ken Moelis to build the largest investment banking firm outside of New York which had over 150 investment bankers and 500 total employees, prior to its sale to Credit Suisse First Boston in 2000. Scott has also been an investment banker at UBS (where he worked on mergers, acquisitions and public and private capital raising transactions), a member of the investment banking management teams at UBS and Credit Suisse, and COO of KB Financial Partners (a wealth management registered investment advisor).

Scott holds a BS from Pepperdine University and a MBA from the University of California Los Angeles.

Advisor

Thomas C. Sadler

Tom Sadler was a Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, a leading global law firm with over 2,000 attorneys and offices in leading financial centers in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Over his 32-year career as a corporate attorney, Mr. Sadler represented investment banks, private equity and venture capital sponsors, corporations and entrepreneurs in a wide variety of complex leverage finance, investment and merger and acquisition transactions. Key areas of industry focus were oil & gas, retail and casino gaming.

He served for five years as Global Department Chair of their Corporate Department with responsibility for corporate department affairs and attorneys in all US and overseas offices. Tom also served as partner member of the firm’s Associates Committee, which is responsible for the evaluation, and progression of the firm’s associate attorneys. Mr. Sadler retired from the firm at the end of 2014.

Mr. Sadler currently is a member of the Board of Directors of Sequa Corporation and a member of the Board of Advisers of the LLM Program at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts. He received an A.B. from Stanford University in 1976 and his J.D. from U.C.L.A. in 1982.

Advisor

Charles Svenson

Charles Svenson is a member of Brock Capital Group LLC. The focus of his work at Brock has been private equity and investment banking services related to energy, alternative energy, project finance and transportation. He has specialized in gas fired cogeneration and renewable energy including wind, solar, geothermal and energy storage, with several billions of dollars completed or under development.

Charles began his career as a corporate and securities lawyer at Dewey, Ballantine, Busby, Palmer & Wood, where he specialized in lease and project financing. He subsequently served as Vice President and head of project finance at Goldman, Sachs & Co. specializing in Lease Financing, Energy and Maritime Transportation. He was also Managing Director and head of project finance, renewable energy, and maritime finance at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Charles is currently a trustee of Hamilton College and has served as co-chairman of its $1 billion Investment Committee. He currently serves or has served in a number of positions in not-for-profit organizations including the Harvard Law School, Chairman of The Nature Conservancy Adirondack Chapter, Chairman of The Adirondack Land Trust and Trustee of The Wild Center. He is a member of the American Bar Association , New York Bar Association, and New York City Bar Association.

Charles earned a B.A. with highest honors from Hamilton College in 1961 and an L.L.B. cum laude from Harvard Law School.

STRATEGIC ADVISOR

MANAGING DIRECTOR – SILVERCREST

Todd N. Kanter

Todd N. Kanter is a 40 year veteran of the financial services industry. Mr. Kanter joined Silvercrest as a Managing Director as a result of the Marathon Capital Group’s merger with Silvercrest Asset Management in October of 2008.  He serves on the firm’s Management Committee and as Portfolio Manager and/or Trustee for and with equity and fixed income portfolios for high net worth individuals, foundations, public corporations and bank trust departments.  He co-founded Marathon Capital Group in April of 2000 and served as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of the firm’s equity and fixed-income portfolios.

Prior to starting Marathon, Todd was a Principal of Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, where he ran the Boston office and served as Managing Director responsible for assisting in co-managing the firms high net worth group. He began his career at Merrill Lynch in 1979 and left in 1983 as a top revenue producing vice president to join DLJ.

Mr. Kanter served on the Board of Directors of Nutmeg Industries; a publicly traded company which was acquired by VF Corporation (VFC-NYSE) in 1994 and Applied Management Systems, a private company in the healthcare industry.  He currently is a member of the Board of Advisors of CKM Investments, a private equity firm.

Mr. Kanter served on the board so the number of public, private, and non-profit organizations including: Boston Children’s Hospital and as an Overseer, The Tower School, an independent school in Marblehead, where he served for many years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, NewPolitics.org, where he has served as both Board Chair and currently as a member of the Board.

Todd serves as an advisor and mentor to the Tufts Financial Group;  a large membership of Tufts University undergraduates who manage a fund for the University Endowment originated by him.

Todd received a BA (summa cum laude) and MA from Tufts University.  He also was an awardee of a Chancellors Fellowship from UCLA Graduate School.

STRATEGIC ADVISOR

CLARENDON CAPITAL

John G. Larkin, CFA

John Larkin was named an Operating Partner at Clarendon Capital in May of 2019. In April of 2021, Mr. Larkin became Strategic Advisor at Clarendon, and was named Chair of the firm’s Advisory Board. His mission is to help craft the firm’s growth strategy while assisting with deal sourcing, capital raising, and the creation of value within portfolio companies. Clarendon remains 100% focused on the transportation & logistics industry, broadly defined. Previously, Mr. Larkin joined Legg Mason (later sold to Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc.) in October 2001 to form and to lead the firm’s entry into the transportation markets.

For 17 years, Mr. Larkin headed up Stifel’s transportation and logistics research effort. In January of 2018, Mr. Larkin transitioned from Stifel’s Research Department to Stifel’s Investment Banking team. While in Investment Banking, Mr. Larkin advised numerous publicly traded and privately held transportation and logistics companies as well as many financial sponsors with investments in the transportation and logistics space. Over the years, Mr. Larkin has been recognized as an all-star analyst by Institutional Investor magazine numerous times, a Wall Street Journal All-Star analyst on several occasions, and has been awarded multiple Starmine stock picking and earnings estimate accuracy awards. Previously, Mr. Larkin has served as: Chairman and CEO of RailWorks Corporation, Managing Director with Alex. Brown and Sons’ transportation team, AVP – Planning and Analysis at CSX Transportation, Inc., Systems Engineering Consultant with Day & Zimmermann, Inc., and a Research Associate at the Center for Transportation Research (at the University of Texas at Austin).

Mr. Larkin earned his MBA from Harvard University in 1984, a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1978, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont in 1977. Mr. Larkin is a CFA charterholder. In addition, he is Chairman of the Board at Envio Express, Vice Chairman of Crown Diesel, and a member of The Board of Directors for CRST International, eNow Energy, and Phoenix Intermodal. He also serves on the Boards of Advisors for Freightwaves, Haul, LoadSmart, DFMData, Baton, On-ramp Payments, and LineHaul Station. Mr. Larkin is married and is the proud father of four adult children (Conor, Clifford, Casey, and Sarah Alexandra). He resides, with his wife of 37 years, Nancy, in Dallas, TX, Baltimore, MD, Saranac Lake, NY, and on Water Island, USVI.

STRATEGIC ADVISOR

ARGONAUT CONSULTING GROUP; MANAGING DIRECTOR/FOUNDER

J. Russell McClellan

Russ McClellan is an experienced senior executive that brings to client companies entrepreneurial energy, strong leadership, proven marketing and communication skills based on creative problem solving insights developed over 25 years working as a senior marketing executive for major corporations. He has a record of devising creative solutions to complex marketing and communications problems that tightly integrate organizational and financial goals for major healthcare, consumer product and service based companies as well as major not for profit organizations.

Mr. McClellan formed Argonaut Consulting Group in 2005 to provide marketing strategy consulting services to his clients in developing unique insights and competitive opportunities based on an integrated view of the client’s products/services, its markets, and competitors. He has lead the creation and implementation of highly successful marketing strategies for a wide range of clients whose products and services target both general audiences and culturally and ethnically diverse markets in a wide range of industries.

Mr. McClellan currently provides Marketing and Strategy training and counsel for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, a $500 million investment to develop entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country developed in conjunction with Babson College, ranked #1 graduate Entrepreneurship program in the world by Financial Times.

Prior to founding Argonaut Consulting Group he was head of client services for Rapp Collins, a division of Omnicom and the world’s largest direct and digital agency. In this role his clients were a variety a variety of Fortune 100 companies and new ventures. His clients included Kaiser, Lowes, Chase, PNC, Merck, Pfizer, Atkins and a variety of for profit and not for profit clients. He was responsible for directing the clients development of integrated marketing, advertising and public relations strategies by developing insights based on a unique understanding of the “consumer”, market trends and the competitive landscape and integrating those insights into strategies that delivered consistent market share and profit growth. He provided strategic insights and leadership to client senior marketing and operations executives on brand development, brand integration, customer targeting insight, and customer value enhancement programs.

Mr. McClellan received an M.B.A. in finance and corporate strategy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from the University of Utah. He also completed the Babson Advanced Management program representing Omnicom. He has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level, both domestically and internationally, for over 20 years.