BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) voted today to offer the position of Commissioner of the Department of Trust Lands to Bismarck attorney and investment manager Joseph Heringer.
“Joseph Heringer brings highly applicable experience in managing land, mineral rights, trusts and investments, as well as a legal background that will greatly benefit the Department of Trust Lands and serve the citizens of North Dakota well,” said Gov. Doug Burgum, who chairs the Land Board. “We appreciate the candidates for applying and the Selection Committee for conducting a thorough process and recommending Joe for this important leadership role.”
The five-member Land Board consists of Burgum, State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, State Treasurer Thomas Beadle, Secretary of State Al Jaeger and Attorney General Drew Wrigley. Members conducted a group interview with Heringer in open session today before voting 5-0 to offer him the position. Heringer officially accepted the position this afternoon.
Heringer is a licensed attorney with 14 years of experience in the trust and investment industry. He currently serves as a senior wealth manager for Bravera Wealth in Bismarck, a position that has provided him with experience managing land, mineral rights and investments and working with oil and gas companies. He also serves on the company’s Investment Committee, overseeing all trust investments, managing investment portfolios and establishing investment policies and procedures.
Heringer previously practiced law for four years, focusing on business, real estate and estate planning and specializing in wills, trusts and probate/estate administration. A Bismarck native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1999 in political science from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and his law degree in 2003 from the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks. He also holds a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor certification from Cannon Financial Institute in Athens, Ga.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to carry out the Department of Trust Lands’ critically important mission of managing the state’s considerable trust funds and assets,” Heringer said. “I look forward to working with the Land Board, the Trust Lands team and its constituencies to fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities and maximize benefit to the citizens of North Dakota.”
Land Board members voted in October to open a search for land commissioner after former commissioner Jodi Smith resigned to take a position with the Metro Flood Diversion Authority in Fargo. A board-appointed Selection Committee narrowed the pool of nine candidates to three finalists and, after a final round of interviews, recommended Heringer to the Land Board for consideration. Burgum thanked Smith for continuing to serve the Land Board on a consultant basis and ensure a smooth leadership transition.
The Department of Trust Lands is governed by the Land Board and is responsible for management and oversight of educational trust funds, mineral acres and other assets for the benefit of public schools and institutions in North Dakota.
The department has approximately 30 full-time team members with a biennial operating budget of $8 million. It administers approximately $7 billion of financial asset investments, over 706,600 surface acres and over 2.5 million mineral acres. The department also administers the North Dakota Unclaimed Property statutes and operates the Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office.
As appointed and directed by the Land Board, the commissioner leads the department in the management and stewardship of educational trusts, along with providing overall direction and oversight of all divisions.