Investment Fund Board of Directors

The Board of Directors (Investment Committee) is responsible for implementing the investment policy and asset allocation, monitoring of investment performance and other investment decisions. These individuals were selected for their professional or personal knowledge and experience in the area of investments along with a demonstrated interest in the University and its mission. These Board members are elected for a three year term.

Click here for the Board of Directors: Organizational Chart [PDF].

Bios of the Board of Directors, 2020


Mrs. Nan G. Strader, Chair | Board Member, 2016:  After graduating from North Carolina State University, Nan was an Account Executive for Kidder Peabody & Co., San Francisco and Assistant Vice President of Asset Management Marketing in New York. In 1989, she was an Institutional Consultant for the Manager’s Funds, Norwalk, CT; and in 1992, became Managing Director of Institutional Marketing and Client Service for Trainer, Wortham & Co., New York City. In 1997, she joined Seneca Capital Management, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, as Managing Director of Institutional Business Development.

In 2002, Nan co-founded Virginia Ventures, LLC, with her husband and Partner, Leighton Strader. They serve as Business Advisors and interim COO’s to Institutional asset management platforms, Multi-Family and Single Family Offices, and Consultants. Virginia Ventures is headquartered in Williamsburg, VA, and clients are located in NYC, San Francisco, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Nan’s speaking engagements include topics covering Marketing/Sales and establishing marketing platforms; fiduciary responsibility and managing the RFP process. She served 10 years on the NC State University Foundation Board and currently serves as Chair of the NC State Investment Fund Board and the Private Equity Subcommittee and Chair of the Nominations Committee. Nan has served on several Boards including Angel Guardians for the Elderly in NYC and Dream Catchers Therapeutic Riding Center, and is an active Board member of The Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, VA. She also worked as Development Coordinator for Saint Francis Service Dogs for over two years.

Mr. Rob Nelson, Vice Chair | Board Member, 2015:  Rob Nelson is the former Vice President for Finance for the University of North Carolina System.   Mr. Nelson is currently in private consulting after retiring from an almost 32 year career in State Government, the most significant of which was the last 10 years of his career where he served the UNC System Office, the UNC Board of Governors, and worked daily with then President Erskine Bowles helping to manage the finances of the sixteen campus University system and the NC School of Science and Mathematics.  Rob Nelson is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a Master of Public Affairs from North Carolina State University.   Prior to joining the University, Mr. Nelson invested a 21 year career in the Office of State Budget and Management working in all areas of public finance and with the highest level of elected government leadership. As Vice President for Finance, his accomplishments included the successful implementation of the Board’s Four-Year Tuition Plan; completion of the $2.5 Billion Higher Education Bond Program; expansion of the UNC Pool Bond Program and the issuance of $1.5 billion in long-term, tax-exempt bonds; implementation of recommendations from President Bowles’ efficiency and effectiveness commission; creation of the NCSU/UNC-CH Commercial Paper Program; and helped guide the University through the fiscal crises of 2008-2010.

Rob Nelson has been actively working with Universities for the last 5 years as a consultant with a focus on finance and operational efficiencies.  He has also served on the Legislative Commission to Study the Governance and the Adequacy of the Investment Authority of Various State-Owned Funds; the ECU Board of Visitors; the UNC Press Finance Committee and the Board of Directors of the Longleaf Press; and the Board of Directors of the UNC-TV Foundation.   His community activities include involvement with his church, the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, youth basketball, and continues to be a strong family person and community supporter.

In addition to Mr. Nelson’s experience in the area of public finance, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service through both his professional career and his personal life.  He is knowledgeable, personable, dedicated, committed—and these attributes would enhance and guide the board through the years ahead.

Mr. Craig Demko | Board Member, 2018: Craig Demko is the Director of Private Equity at the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer – Retirement Systems Division. He joined the North Carolina Retirement Systems in 2005 as the Alternative Investments Portfolio Manager. Since that time, he participated in expanding the portfolio with more than 100 fund transactions across Venture Capital, Growth Equity, Buyout, Secondary and Co-Investment strategies. In 2010 he was promoted to Director of Private Equity. As of 2Q18, the Private Equity portfolio represented 5.2% of the Pension Plan with a market value of $5.1 billion. Mr. Demko began his career in New York City with Oppenheimer & Company Inc., which subsequently became a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and renamed CIBC World Markets. Within the Equity Research Department, he began as an Associate, later to be promoted to Director, contributing to the management of a staff of 150 investment professionals and an equity research universe consisting of approximately 1000 public companies across multiple industries. In 2000, he relocated to Boston and worked for two companies, a Vice President with HC Wainwright & Co., and a Senior Vice President for Josephthal and Co., in both cases coordinating an Institutional Equity Research platform with institutional clients. Mr. Demko attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he received a BA in Economics.

Mr. Jeff Brock | Board Member, 2016:  Jeff Brock is an investment management professional with 15+ years of private equity, investment banking and corporate banking experience in business development primarily focused on providing debt capital solutions to middle market companies across multiple industries and with particular concentrations in restaurants, beverage distributors and domestic subsidiaries of foreign-based parent companies. He currently serves as managing partner at Hargett Hunter Capital Partners which he founded in July of 2015. He also cofounded Triangle & Two Hospitality Group LLC in June of 2015 which is a restaurant operating company. Prior to his current entrepreneurial ventures, Mr. Brock held several prominent roles at Morehead Capital Management, General Electric, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase Bank. He currently sits on the board of Stealz, Inc. and has been a board member for PlotWatt, Chop’t Creative Salad Company, and Run Hargett Run, LLC. Mr. Brock graduated from North Carolina State University in 1993 with a degree in Business Administration concentrating in Finance and HR Management. He also completed an MBA in Corporate Finance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. He served previously as a board member for the NC State University Foundation, Inc.

Mr. Dennis Gartman | Board Member, 2016:  Dennis Gartman is the editor and publisher of “The Gartman Letter”. He has been directly involved in the capital markets since August of 1974, after his graduate work at North Carolina State University. He was an economist for Cotton, Inc. in the early 1970’s, analyzing cotton supply/demand in the US textile industry. From there he went to NC National Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina where he traded foreign exchange and money market instruments.  In the late 1970’s, Mr. Gartman became the Chief Financial Futures analyst for A.G. Becker and Company in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Gartman was an independent member of the Chicago Board of Trade until 1984, trading in treasury bond, treasury note and GNMA futures contracts.  In 1984, Mr. Gartman moved to Virginia to run the futures brokerage operation for the Sovran Bank, and in 1987 Mr. Gartman began producing “The Gartman Letter” on a full time basis.  He continues to do so today.

Mr. Gartman has lectured on capital market creation to central banks and finance ministries around the world, and has taught classes for the Federal Reserve Bank’s School for Bank Examiners on derivatives. Mr. Gartman served a two-year term as an outside Director of the Kansas City Board of Trade from 2006-2008. He has been a member of the Suffolk Industrial Development Authority, and now serves on the Investment Committee of both the University of Akron and the North Carolina State University.

Mr. Gartman appears often on CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg television, discussing commodities and the capital markets, and speaks before various associations and trade groups around the world.

Mr. Bob Newell | Board Member, 2015: Bob Newell is Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Street Partners. In addition, he leads the marketing and business development efforts for the firm. He retired as President of Wachovia Trust Company in January 2009, after 27 years with Wachiovia Bank. Mr. Newell served on the board of Trustees of Peace College from 2002 until April 2009, where he chaired the Development Campaign and served on the Presidential Search Committee. Bob Newell is immediate past Chairman of IFB Solutions, a Winston Salem based nonprofit that is the largest employer of blind and visually impaired workers in the U.S. Mr. Newell is currently serving as Chair of the Investment Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, managing the Diocesan funds under the direction of the Bishop and Trustees of the Church. Mr. Newell received his B.A. in Business Management and Economics from NC State University in 1981. Bob Newell completed the Executives Institute of the Kenan Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1988.

Mr. Mark Roberts | Board Member, 2020: Mark Roberts serves as the Chief Investment Officer for Ironsides Asset Advisors, LLC, as well as a Managing Director for the Tuscarora Company (a family office). Immediately preceding that, Mr. Roberts was the Director of Global Equities and Hedged Strategies for the North Carolina Retirement Systems where he and his team were responsible for the management of the $33 billion Global Equity and Hedge Fund portfolios for the State of North Carolina. Additionally, Mr. Roberts has served as Chief Investment Officer for families and provided consulting services for endowments and foundations in both asset allocation, manager due diligence and portfolio construction. Earlier in his career, Mr. Roberts served as Director of Risk Management for Centura Bank and had asset – liability management responsibilities. Mr. Roberts received his Master of Science degree in finance from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Calloway School of Business at Wake Forest University. Mr. Roberts serves on the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Philanthropic Advisory Board. Mr. Roberts is the past Chairman of the Board for the NC State Investment Fund and served nine years on the fund’s board. He is a member of the North Carolina Society of Financial Analysts and the American Finance Association. Mr. Roberts has served on multiple non-profit boards.

Mr. Jeff Smith | Board Member, 2015: Jeff Smith serves as the Director of Fixed Income at North Carolina Department of State Treasurer.  As Director, Mr. Smith’s role includes the oversight of $40 billion in internally managed fixed income assets within the Investments Division.  He has 24 years institutional experience in the capital markets in multiple assets classes.  Mr. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Business Management and is a CFA charter holder.  He is an active member of the CFA North Carolina Society and previously served on the Board of Directors.  Jeff Smith currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the National Association of State Investments Professionals (NASIP) and was recognized by Institutional Investor Magazine as one of the Rising Stars of Public Funds in 2009.

Mr. Alex Wallace | Board Member, 2020: Alex Wallace is a Managing Director of Higher Education/Not-for-Profit Business at Loop Capital Markets. Alex Wallace is an 18-year veteran of the municipal securities industry with broad experience across many aspects of municipal finance. Prior to Loop Capital Markets, Alex was Head of the Public Finance Banking Team of the U.S. Bancorp Municipal Securities Group. Alex joined U.S. Bancorp in August 2009. At Wachovia Securities (1996 – 2008), Alex was Co-Head of the Municipal Securities Group and was responsible for the Public Finance Group. Alex also led a number of other businesses including Municipal Credit Origination, Syndications, and Municipal Leasing. He also spent a year as the Head of Mid-Atlantic Region for Loop Capital Markets. Prior to joining Wachovia Securities, Alex worked for the State Treasurer’s Office of the State of North Carolina.

Alex currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University and the Board of Advisors for the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Center for Municipal Finance. He is the current Secretary-Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee for the Bond Dealers of America (BDA). In addition, Alex serves on the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) Municipal Securities Executive Committee. He is a Past Chairman of the Carolinas Municipal Advisory Council and Past President of the CityWest Community Development Corporation. He has also been a long-time member of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts and the New York Municipal Forum.