Meet Our Team

With decades of combined experience, we cultivate teams to build growth opportunities.

Blake Mertens

President and CEO

Chris Pudenz

Chief Financial Officer

Gail Hawkins

Senior Vice President

Vance Gardiner

Senior Vice President

Marsha Marron

Senior Accountant

Blake Mertens

President and CEO

Blake’s passion is building successful teams, mentoring and nurturing operational groups in a variety of companies, producing strong, confident leaders. He brings more than 20 years of experience to Tetrad in engineering, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, leadership and project management. Blake has had both financial and operational level P&L responsibility having served on the executive management team for a large energy and utilities company with 175,000 customers, generating $600M of annual revenue. Blake has overseen nearly $3B of capital investment projects.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Missouri State University.

Chris Pudenz

Chief Financial Officer

Chris’ experience and expertise spans many industry sectors. He spent the past eight years growing private investment-owned businesses as CFO for a range of organizations in the technology, human and animal food ingredients, automobile repair, and office equipment sectors. Company sizes under management ranged from $400M to nearly $1B in revenue. His accomplishments received well-earned recognition from a variety of sources, including being named CFO of the Year in 2015 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Prior to that, Chris spent eight years in senior finance leadership roles at ConAgra Foods; specialized in acquisitions at a multibillion-dollar technology business and took a regional distributor public in the mid-90s.

Chris earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Creighton University in Accounting and has an inactive CPA license.

Gail Hawkins

Senior Vice President

Gail has over 25 years of experience working with private investment for Tetrad. Gail is responsible for a wide range of functions, including asset management of real estate investments, financing, accounting and risk management. Before joining Tetrad in 1995, Gail managed the internal and external audit resources for Cornerstone Bank Group, a four-bank holding company. At Price Waterhouse-Coopers, Gail developed a broad knowledge of the banking and construction industries, providing audit, tax provision, advisory and acquisition support services to clients.

She has an MBA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Vance Gardiner

Senior Vice President

Vance has served in several leadership roles at Tetrad for over the last 30 years. Throughout his tenure, he has served as an integral part of strategic investments and transactions, followed by oversight and leadership of those investments. His vast experience in equity investments runs vast and deep. He is responsible for corporate investment objectives, strategic and financial planning, and tax planning and compliance. Prior to joining Tetrad, Vance worked for Union Pacific Railroad in the planning and finance department, focusing primarily on strategic acquisitions and dispositions.

Vance holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business-finance from the University of Utah.

Marsha Marron

Senior Accountant

Marsha has over 20 years of experience working with Tetrad and the Scott family. She is responsible for many areas including accounting and reporting for real estate investments, private investments, payroll, budgeting, and exec administration.

She is instrumental in maintaining financial operations, managing contracts, accounting for various assets and also performing due diligence around potential investments.

Prior to joining Tetrad, Marsha was the Lead Property Accountant for a multi-state portfolio with a commercial real estate firm in Omaha where she provided financial reporting, cash management, and contract administration.

Marsha holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.