North Dakota Law

Updates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Joseph Heringing ’03 selected as new North Dakota land commissioner

Bismarck investment manager selected as new North Dakota land commissioner

Joseph Heringer, a Bismarck attorney and wealth manager, will succeed Jodi Smith, who announced her plans to leave the job in October.

BISMARCK — Members of a North Dakota government board voted Thursday, Feb. 17 to appoint a Bismarck attorney and investment manager as the state’s new land commissioner.

The decision by the North Dakota Board of University and School Lands to offer the job to Joseph Heringer comes after current Land Commissioner Jodi Smith announced her plans last October to resign from the position.

As commissioner, Heringer will oversee the Department of Trust Lands, which manages unclaimed property, oil and gas leases on state lands and several education-focused trust funds. The agency has taken on a heightened importance in North Dakota since the oil boom of the late 2000s, managing billions of dollars in assets.

Heringer, an attorney who has worked for more than a decade in the trust and investment space, currently works as wealth manager for Bravera Wealth in Bismarck. At Bravera, Heringer has been involved in the management of land, mineral rights and investments, as well as work with oil and gas companies. He also serves on the company’s Investment Committee, where he manages investment portfolios and oversees all trust investments.

The five-member Land Board, chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum, held an interview with Heringer during an open session Thursday and announced their unanimous decision to offer him the job later in the day. Aside from Burgum, the Land Board consists of Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Attorney General Drew Wrigley, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and Treasurer Thomas Beadle.

“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,” Burgum said in a statement after the vote.

Heringer formally accepted the position Thursday afternoon. He will be paid $150,000 per year, said Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki.

A Bismarck native, Heringer previously practiced law for four years, specializing in wills, trusts and estate administration. He holds an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Minnesota and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2003.

“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,” Heringer said in a statement.

A selection committee interviewed three finalists for the job before recommending Heringer to the board. The other finalists were Kenneth Junkert, a recently retired director of the Administrative Services Division in the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, and Thomas Monaco, CEO of the New York-based Pearl Street Advisors.

Smith, the first woman to serve as land commissioner, has taken another job with the Metro Flood Diversion Authority in Fargo. Heringer is set to begin in about a month, with Smith continuing as a consultant until the end of March.

Read the Grand Forks Herald story