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Executive Team

Our people: Our strength

At Black Elk Energy we believe in our talented group of highly-experienced professionals. People, and community, are the core of our business value. Our seasoned team possesses proven track records of achievement and is able to offer innovative solutions. The Black Elk Energy work environment is highly-collaborative and people-oriented which drives superior business performance. Every employee is respected for their unique ability, experience, skills, and competencies as individuals and professionals. Through our team’s efforts, the Company has been a recipient of the Inc. 500, Chronicle 100, Fast 100 Companies, Houston’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™, and Inc. Hire Power Awards. Biographies of our growing team follow:

John Hoffman

John Hoffman - President and CEO

John Hoffman serves as President and CEO of Black Elk Energy. Mr. Hoffman is a Registered Professional Engineer with over thirty years of Industry experience. Internationally, he is a well-traveled, seasoned veteran, with a wide network. Mr. Hoffman has extensive experience in field development and operations, onshore and offshore. Prior to starting and building Black Elk Energy, Mr. Hoffman held various leadership positions in Amoco, Gulf of Suez Petroleum, BP Americas and Stone Energy. His new field development experience spans internationally in the Egyptian Western Desert and Gulf of Suez. In the United States, his developments include major projects in deepwater Gulf of Mexico as well as on the Shelf margins. Mr. Hoffman has extensive exploitation experience and knowledge with a unique demonstrated track record of increasing reserves and production while lowering costs. Mr. Hoffman has numerous publications in journals for his work on sand control, subsea wells and innovative coiled tubing pipelines. In late 2007, Mr. Hoffman initiated a new oil & gas company, Black Elk Energy. Black Elk is well known as a good corporate citizen with their activities and fund raisers to support communities and multiple charitable organizations. Black Elk raised $150m in bonds to fund the operations strategy. Mr. Hoffman’s superior abilities have been recognized by his peers several times throughout the years of his dedication to the industry. During his time with Gulf Suez Petroleum, Mr. Hoffman was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Operational Excellence. Mr. Hoffman received this prestigious Chairman’s Award once more during his tenure with Amoco while working the Amoco Deepwater Strategy. In 2012, Mr. Hoffman was awarded the Charles E. Braithwait Leadership Award for excellence in community action and humanitarianism. Further distinguishing his superior business skills, Mr. Hoffman was honored as a winner of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Gulf Coast Area Award, Who’s Who in Energy and the TX Top Producers CEO category. Mr. Hoffman also received his certification as a Dive Master and is an avid diver and marine enthusiast.



Jeff Shulse - Chief Financial Officer 

Jeff Shulse serves as Chief Financial Officer of Black Elk Energy with over 20 years of finance, M&A and oilfield operations experience. Most Recently, Mr. Shulse was founder and President of Freedom Well Services.  Prior to launching Freedom Well Services, Mr. Shulse was VP of Finance with Norse Cutting & Abandonment, CFO and General Counsel for American InfoSource and has public accounting experience with both Andersen and Deloitte in the areas of M&A, structured finance and taxation.  Mr. Shulse is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the State Bar of Texas and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Houston and a JD from the University of Houston Law Center.


Art Garza

Arthur "Art" Garza - Chief Technical Officer

Art Garza serves as Chief Technical Officer of Black Elk Energy. Mr. Garza has over 21 years of industry experience focused on exploitation of oil & gas fields. Prior to joining Black Elk Energy, Mr. Garza held leadership positions at Hilcorp Energy Company as GOM/Terrebonne Bay Senior Reservoir Engineer & Rockies Asset Team Manager. Mr. Garza’s extensive GOM experience while at Devon, Texaco, Mobil span inland Louisiana, thru shelf/flextrend(Green Canyon), and deepwater (Shasta, Nansen/Boomvang, Zia, Merganser). Mr. Garza’s career at Texaco included executive rotations thru Strategic Planning, Power & Gasification, and Project Finance. Mr. Garza participated in Texaco Reservoir Management Training Program and was a Qualified Reserves Estimator. Art has extensive waterflood and polymer flood experience. Mr. Garza successfully sanctioned/executed skid-mounted polymer flood units in Wyoming that will be deployed at several mature oil fields. Mr. Garza holds a B.S./M.E. Petroleum Engineering - Texas A&M University and M.B.A.- University of Oklahoma.


Keith Hubbard

Keith Hubbard - Chief Well Officer

Keith Hubbard serves as Well Operations Manager for Black Elk Energy. Mr. Hubbard has over 32 years of oilfield experience in the US and Internationally in South America and Africa. He gained most of his experience with Halliburton where he served in various roles including; Logging Engineer, Maintenance Engineer, Supervisor, Integrated Solutions Service Coordinator and Gulf of Mexico Operations Manager for Logging and Perforating Product Service line. In 2007 he served as Halliburton’s Gulf of Mexico Business Development Manager where he was responsible for business sales strategy, financial planning and personnel development in Houston, Lafayette and New Orleans. After retiring from Halliburton after 27 years, Mr. Hubbard joined West Star Operating Company as Operations Manager and later in 2009 joined Black Elk Energy. In his current role, Mr. Hubbard is responsible for recompletions, work overs and well diagnostics. Mr. Hubbard holds an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Devry Institute of Technology. He and his wife of 32 years, Terri, have 2 daughters.


Mary Patterson

Mary Patterson - Chief of Staff and Administration

Mary Patterson is Chief of Staff and Administration for Black Elk Energy. Prior to joining Black Elk, Mrs. Patterson was VP of Human Resources for Silver Eagle Distributors where she set strategic direction for Human Resources through management partnerships and transformation initiatives. She is an accomplished business leader with a broad range of HR experience and demonstrated skills in re-engineering business processes and improving operations to deliver significant cost savings. Prior to Silver Eagle Distributors, Mrs. Patterson held leadership positions at Aegis Mortgage Corporation and ConAgra Foods where she years partnered with senior management regarding staffing strategies, acquisition integration, employee development, compliance and compensation strategies.   Mrs. Patterson is a certified Professional in Human Resources and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, HR Houston, American Payroll Association and World at Work. She has Bachelors in Communications from the University of Houston.


Larry Combs

Larry Combs - Vice President of Operations

Larry Combs is VP of Operations for Black Elk Energy. He has over thirty-six years of oilfield experience in Leadership/Management, Engineering, Procurement and Producing Basins. Prior to joining Black Elk, Mr. Combs served as Sr. Completions Engineer/Completions Superintendent at Talisman. He was responsible for providing completion technical expertise and field operations management for the Eagleford Shale play. He developed AFE’s, horizontal wellbore designs, frac design, completion procedures, material/vendor identification and post well analysis. Mr. Combs also gained experience through various positions as Completions Engineering Manager, Sr. Completions Engineer, Director SRM Supply Chain Services/Portfolio Manager, Executive Consultant, Global Procurement Specialist, Exploration & Operations Manager and Reservoir, Operations, Facilities and Civil Engineer. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Idaho.


Joe Matthews


J.D. "Joe" Matthews - Vice President of Land

Joe Matthews is Vice President of Land for Black Elk Energy. Prior to joining Black Elk, Mr. Matthews was Manager-Business Development for Callon Petroleum Company in Houston. He was responsible accessing and screening outside joint venture opportunities and partnering Callon generated prospect. Mr. Matthews land duties were focused in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore South Louisiana. Prior to joining the Callon in October 2000, Mr. Matthews was Director - Offshore Land for Vastar Resources, Inc. (ARCO Oil and Gas). He joined ARCO in 1984 and was responsible for land duties in many different oil and gas trends in the "lower 48" before assuming offshore duties that included OCS lease sales and other offshore joint ventures. He participated as a member of Vastar's Deepwater Impact Study Team in 1995, which helped initiate Vastar's successful deepwater exploration program. He also helped draft the AAPL Model Form Deepwater Operating Agreement as a member of the OCS sub-committee of the American Association of Professional Landmen. Mr. Matthews received his B.B.A. degree in Petroleum Land Management from Texas Tech University in 1983. Mr. Matthews is a Certified Professional Landman and a member of AAPL and HAPL.


George Tappin_-_Interventions_WSL

George W. Tappin, III - Vice President of HSE&C

George Tappin serves as Vice president of Health, Safety, Environmental & Compliance for Black Elk Energy. Mr. Tappin has over twenty-two years of oil and gas experience in Production, Drilling, Completion and Well Intervention operations both onshore and offshore.  Prior to joining Black Elk Energy, Mr. Tappin held various leadership positions at BP America Production Company that included Wellsite Leader in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore, Safety Advisor and Safety Coordinator. Through his experience, Mr. Tappin has demonstrated a strong health and safety culture in all operations and supervision of crews. He has a degree in Nursing from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.


Marizza Piché

Marizza Piché - General Counsel

Marizza Piché serves as General Counsel for Black Elk Energy. She has over twenty years of legal experience in the oil and gas industry, most recently as General Counsel with Boa Marine Services, Inc. Houston, Texas. Marizza is experienced in formalizing and negotiating various oil and gas contracts, both onshore and offshore, international and domestic.

Marizza has worked with outside counsel on virtually every aspect of the energy industry as it relates to the acquisition, exploration, development, production, marketing, and financing of crude oil and natural gas, and the formation, operation, and restructuring of oil and gas companies. At Black Elk Energy, Marizza works closely with Executive Management and Board of Directors to assist in matters pertaining to business development, operations, risk and legal management; including commercialization activities, conduct legal analysis and provide strategic advice to ensure all interests are appropriately represented. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas @ Pan American, and a JD from Thurgood Marshall Law School in Houston, Texas.


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