Graham Norton-Standen, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Norton-Standen holds a tremendous amount of corporate experience having served as Chairman of the Board, CEO, Board Member, Senior Advisor, Group Advisor, Corporate Advisor and many other positions with a number of the world’s top companies and fund managers including: Gartner, EDS, Digital Equipment Corporation, British Telecom, Hewlett Packard, Unisys, Tata Group, Cable & Wireless, Deutsche Bank, Reuters, P&O and other organizations. He serves as Chairman of Maevis, a company specializing in airport management and operations based in Nigeria. He also serves as Chairman of VSL, a Hong Kong based program management trading company. Mr. Norton-Standen is a well-known, well-respected, infrastructure manager and advisor with an extremely rich background with many related top tier organizations and utilities. During his tenure in various organizations Graham also acted as an advisor to a number of professional and government bodies including the European Commission, the World Energy Council, EPRI, the Centre for European Policy Studies and the Governments of Sweden and Australia in the run up to privatization of certain industries. He also acted as a board member to the United States Trade and Investment Council based in Brussels and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
Stephen (Steve) Aust, President
Mr. Aust has built a career of solid business experience that spans over 30 years. Since 1991, he has successfully raised over $100M in Venture Capital for several direct sales companies. Among these firms is the Video Home Shopping Network.com where he raised $8M, Visionquest.com where he raised $2.5M and 2Extreme Sports.com where he not only raised $5M but also took the company public. He worked with Donald Trump to create the Wall Street Café theme restaurant on 40 Wall Street in New York City’s financial district. Mr. Aust secured $12M in initial financing to complete the development of the Wall Street Café. He was instrumental in the management of the West Coast Division of Hendrix Automotive. Mr. Aust and his team took Hendrix Automotive sales to record levels to become the number one auto dealership in the United States. He has owned and operated his own direct sales company marketing products spanning from nutrition and skin care to travel and entertainment. He performed in the top 100 Networkers for 12 years with various direct sales companies with over 250,000 distributors. Steve has had a very dynamic professional life prior to his business success in direct sales and investment banking. Steve spent his young adult life as a college and professional athlete. While at Pepperdine University he played Division 1 Basketball leading him to a professional basketball career playing for the European League as well as the Summer League Los Angeles Lakers.
A.C. “Ironman” Green, Director
Mr. Green brings not only his rich knowledge of what it takes to be a champion but a diverse background in business development, investment and philanthropy to the Board. During his career A.C. owned twelve Denny’s restaurants and a Hyundai dealership among other investments. Automotive manufacturers, real estate companies, utilities contractors and many others frequently tap A.C.’s unique talent in business development to help guide them to success. One of the things A.C. is most known for is his title as the NBA’s “Ironman”, having played in 1,192 straight games. A.C. Green spent 16 seasons in the NBA, and won three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers spanning three decades (1987, 1988 and 2000). Mr. Green is also recognized for his contributions outside the NBA such as his tremendous commitment to youth through the A.C. Green Youth Foundation he started in 1989. He also serves as one of the NBA’s global Ambassadors and founded Going Green with A.C. Green to promote environmental awareness and sustainability.
Donald A. Driftmier, Director
As a Board member of the California Board of Accountancy, where he served as Board President in 2008, Mr. Driftmier brings over 40 year of accounting experience to Verdant. He has served as a long time partner at Vavrinek, Trine, Day and Co, LLP and is now CFO of Noble House Entertainment Pictures, Inc. Mr. Driftmier has been recognized with numerous professional honors and offices including the Board of Directors for the California Society of Certified Public Accountants where he also served as President of the Citrus Belt Chapter. He has also served as President and Director of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, California. His awards include Accountant Advocate of the Year from the United States Small Business Administration and many others. Mr. Driftmier has also been a regular speaker at many California Universities. He is currently Chairman of the Centers Committee, Board of Directors, at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation Hospital as well. He is also a Vietnam veteran.
Michael Sheikh, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Sheikh has over 15 years of experience in specialty financing. His experience ranges from asset based lending, factoring, purchase order finance, and international letters of credit. He has operational experience running MMI, a small promotional products company which transformed into a top tier national supplier under his leadership. He has operational experience running a small oil operator based out of Oklahoma and has acted in the capacity as a contract CFO for other public companies. During his tenure as CFO he was responsible for raising funds, maintaining compliance with the SEC, book keeping, taxes, and even troubleshooting equipment. Mr. Sheikh is a versatile asset skilled in all facets of business operations. Mr. Sheikh earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the United States Air Force Academy and was a KC-135 pilot.