Leadership

Michael Clayton

Michael Clayton

CEO & President

Mike joined Virtual Benefits Administrator in February 2013 as the CEO. He has day-to-day operational responsibilities for all aspects of the business, full profit and loss responsibility, and the overall strategic plan development and execution for VBA.

Professional History

Mike joined VBA as the CEO in February of 2013. Prior to that he was a partner in The Capital Executive Group (CEG), LLC since 2004. As part of CEG, Mike was the Executive Vice President, Office of the Chairman for Woods Equipment Company with a broad portfolio including ongoing post-acquisition operational integration, business development, and strategic planning.

Previously, Mike has held various financial, distribution, marketing, business development, and general management positions both domestically and abroad at Textron’s Jacobsen Division, Deere & Company, Case Corporation/CNH Global NV, and Ford Motor Company.

At Textron’s Jacobsen Division, as Vice President and General Manager, Mike had global business and distribution responsibilities for Jacobsen’s Commercial Grounds Care business where he managed all six product brands through four marketing and distribution channels.

Mike was Director of Agriculture Business Development at Deere & Company, based in Mannheim, Germany, where he was responsible for strategy development and mergers and acquisitions. As Manager, Logistics, Mike lead the Logistics and Tactical Supply Chain teams at Waterloo Works, Deere’s largest and most profitable factory complex.

While at Case, he worked in both the Construction Equipment and Agricultural Equipment divisions in finance, strategy, and marketing roles variously holding the positions of Director, Business Development, South America, Director, Sales & Marketing Support, N.A. Ag, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis, N.A. Construction Equipment, and Controller, Financial Planning & Analysis, N.A. Construction Equipment.

At Ford Motor Company, Mike was part of the Financial Analysis and Planning Team in Car Product Development.

Mike earned his BA from the University of Northern Iowa and his MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Mike is also a graduate of Wharton’s Executive Management Program and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business Mergers and Acquisition Program. From 2005 through 2007 Mike served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, an industry trade organization. Mike currently serves on both the boards of VBA and HCAA.

Personal History

Outside of work, Mike is an avid marathon runner and cyclist, having completed over 20 marathons to date. In addition to marathon running, Mike cycles and has his eyes set on biking across the US. For a warm up he typically bikes across Iowa and Wisconsin during the summer.

Mike is active in charity events, including fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Children’s Hospital, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through some of his marathon events. Mike also enjoys spending time with his two great young adult children, as well as golf, hunting, movies, woodworking, and cooking.

Rachel Lanser

Rachel Lanser

Chief Revenue Officer

Rachel joined the VBA team in 2008 as a Business Analyst. She is now utilizing her extensive business experience and knowledge of VBA software to build critical partnerships while fostering the growth of our products and customer satisfaction as Chief Revenue Officer.

Professional History

Rachel’s professional journey started at Milwaukee Area Technical College where she earned her medical billing certificate in 2007. She went on to work with the Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corporation in a supporting role for international shipping and customer service. Rachel’s strong leadership abilities quickly earned her a spot as Assistant Manager of the company’s Orlando retail location.

This experience, and involvement with various other claims processing and customer care positions, helped prepare Rachel for her responsibilities at VBA – of which there are many. Rachel hit the ground running when she joined us in 2008; she served as claims examiner, provider-reporter specialist, customer service agent, and quality assurance specialist. She also assisted with plan organization and development, maintaining client implementations, and sales presentations.

Her proficiency in these areas swiftly earned her a role as Director of Operations in 2013. Throughout that time, and since, Rachel has served a range of administrative functions: plan designing, claims processing, provider pricing, maintenance, stop-loss processing, and more. As Director of Operations, she offered a wealth of end-user knowledge and expertise – critical skills in building strong customer service relations and ensuring that customer expectations are consistently met and exceeded.

These experiences and skills culminated in Rachel’s promotion to Chief Revenue Officer in 2021 – where she continues to grow and guide VBA’s continued success. Working her way from the ground up, Rachel is now able to fully utilize her team building and leadership skills to ensure her vision for the VBA company and products becomes a reality. Her ability to nurture and execute plans while also bringing our team together makes her a perfect fit for Chief Revenue Officer.

Personal History

Outside of work, Rachel’s focus returns to her family: her husband Ryan and their two children. Her greatest joy comes from watching her children play soccer, attending their school events, and watching them grow. She spends a lot of quality time with her family and friends either having dinners, attending events, or sitting by a campfire. She loves to have people to share her life, laughter, and travels with; however, Rachel’s family doesn’t stop there.

She also considers her community to be a part of her family. She is very active in local organizations – from working with her church and school to volunteering at events like the annual Open House and Pancake Breakfast for the Fire Department in Port Washington, WI. Wherever Rachel goes, she exercises her leadership abilities to bring people together and help them succeed.

Rich Pierce

Rich Pierce

Chief Technology Officer

Rich joined the original KeyLink Solutions in 2001 as a software developer for the Visual Claims application and now serves as the CTO responsible for architecture decisions, technology growth and product strategy of all VBA systems.

Professional History

Rich began his career with the US Air Force in 1995 where he earned the Honor Graduate commendation which is awarded to only 7% of basic training graduates. After basic he was stationed in Biloxi MS where he received his initial training in software development and design at the AETC (Air Education Training Center). Once assigned to his permanent duty station, he became Team Lead for the maintenance and development of several critical systems including PDOS (Publishing and Distribution), RIMS (Records Management) and RAMS (Reprographics Automation).

Upon honorably exiting the Air Force in 1999, he took a role with GlyThor Consulting where he developed inventory tracking systems and websites for several clients. It was during this time, as a consultant for GlyThor, that he was awarded a contract with American Whole Health Networks (AWHN). This was the start of his career in healthcare software development. While at AWHN Rich designed and developed a Provider Network application used for the credentialing of Doctors and Physicians according to NCQA requirements.

In early 2001, he left AWHN for a software developer position at Keylink Solutions and by 2004 Rich was promoted to the Director of Product Development where he was responsible for the architecture, design and development of their in-house application, Visual Claims. Over the next several years Rich grew the core functionality of the Visual Claims application, which primarily focused on medical administration, to include a fully functioning Life & Disability system.

In 2009, Rich completed development of the next generation software solution, VBA. It was at this time when Rich became a partner and owner of VBA. Over the next several years Rich would be responsible for the development of a robust Flex administration platform, process automation, offline remote perpetual adjudication and real-time claims payment, all while VBA experienced tremendous growth.

In 2013, a new leadership team was formed and Rich was promoted to CTO where he would be responsible for identifying the company’s technology stack and roadmap for both VBA and VBAGateway. In this role he has continued to oversee the growth of the core products (VBA and VBAGateway) while working with the Microsoft Azure team on developing a new services platform that will continue VBA’s role as a technology leader in the healthcare space.

Personal History

Rich is an avid gamer, developer and sports fan. He frequently plays basketball and during his time in the military was selected to the SEMAC (Southeaster Military Athletic Conference) All-Star team in 1993 and 1994. Rich has also been a basketball coach for a number of 7th and 8th grade boys teams for both public and private schools over the years. Rich’s father was a lifer in the military so Rich has lived all over the United States as well as parts of Europe. Rich has been married for 21 years and has a son. Rich’s wife is a counselor and focuses her practice on helping those with drug addictions and at-risk teenagers. His son loves to play video games and is a fantastic artist. Rich and his family are animal lovers and currently have 2 large English Mastiffs, 3 cats and a number of small animals.

Jessica Lockhart

Jessica Lockhart

Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Jessica joined VBA in March of 2019 as the Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing and is responsible for Sales & Marketing and Account Executive departments and the go-to market strategy for VBA’s user engagement, business insight and customer support solutions.

Professional History

Jessica has over 16 years of related healthcare experience, six of which have been within the Healthcare Information Technology market selling and supporting SasS enterprise solutions including engagement platforms (portals) and healthcare analytics at leading healthcare technology companies. Jessica also spent eight (8) years in brokerage services within the Student Health Insurance market managing Student Health Plans. As a Director of Client Service at Arthur J. Gallagher Special Risk Service, Jessica was responsible for creating a client service dept. and overseeing the implementation client support process for the company. Early in her career, Jessica held various positions at the two largest health plans in New England, Tuft Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare.

Jessica holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in Human Resource Management from Newbury College. She also holds an Information Technology Professional (ITP) designation from American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

Personal History

When not at work, Jessica enjoys Bikram yoga and traveling abroad.

Katie Fawole

Katie Fawole

Vice President, Operations

Katie joined VBA in early 2021 as the Vice President of Operations. In her role, Katie leads the business services, support services, and network and compliance teams to deliver exceptional client implementations and support.

Professional History

Katie was previously the VP of Operations at ConsortiEX, a high-growth software company in the healthcare industry. At ConsortiEX, Katie led the implementation, on-going services, and customer support teams. She was additionally responsible for 3rd party data integrations, vendor relationships, master data maintenance, and release coordination.

Prior to ConsortiEX, Katie held various roles within IT at GE Healthcare and in IT consulting at Accenture implementing complex software systems across a variety of industries. She brings experience in project management, business analysis, testing, end-user training, and customer support.

Katie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Personal History

Outside of work, Katie enjoys spending time with her husband and her two young sons. She's an avid reader and traveler and loves to spend quality time with her family and friends.

Aron Van Pelt

Aron Van Pelt

Vice President, Finance

Aron joined Virtual Benefits Administrator in May 2021 as the Vice President of Finance. He has day-to-day responsibilities for all aspects of Finance and Payroll and is responsible for the short term and long-term financial success of VBA.

Professional History

Aron joined VBA as the Vice President of Finance in May of 2021. Aron is analytical and strategic by nature and his expertise will guide VBA through continued growth. Prior to VBA, he was a Director of Finance at Concurrency. As the Director of Finance, Aron was responsible for the Finance, Payroll, and Benefits functions at Concurrency. He led the implementation of NetSuite and the enhancements of other back-office systems to enable improved and timely analytics and insights.

Aron has over 13 years of diverse Finance experience and has been a Controller in Software as a Service (SaaS), Professional Service, and manufacturing organizations. Aron’s previous SaaS experience was while he was the Controller at Zywave which is a SaaS company that specializes in the InsurTech industry. While Aron was there, he led the Accounting and Financial Planning & Analysis teams in the day-to-day operations.

Aron earned his BA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as well. Aron is a CPA and is a member of the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Personal History

Outside of work, Aron is a family man. Aron and his wife have three daughters ranging from 1 years to 6 years old. He is active with his kids’ academics and their extracurricular activities including soccer and swimming. Aron is also a DIY enthusiast around the house and takes on several home and yard projects in his spare time. Aron is passionate about sports as well with his favorites sports to watch are the NFL and NCAA basketball.

David Clark

David Clark

Director of Business Services

Professional History

David became Director of Business Services in 2019 after joining VBA in 2017 as a Data Integration Analyst. Prior to VBA, David was Executive Director of Client Services at DentaQuest and brings over 10 years of health care administration and more than 15 years of insurance & claims experience

David first began working in the insurance & claims area after joining Navigant Consulting in 2004, primarily focused on servicing long-tail claims in the international market. After Navigant Consulting, David joined DentaQuest in 2009 where he started on the Member Enrollment team responsible for healthcare data exchanges and system conversions. He later moved in the Member Enrollment Supervisor role, overseeing a team of analysts responsible for maintaining the enrollment of over 20 million lives. David spent his final few years as Executive Director of Client Services, managing a variety of dental & vision services for Medicaid & Medicare benefits around the country.

David graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002.

Personal History

Outside of work, David spends his free time with his wife and two young boys. They enjoy watching any Wisconsin sports and boating in lake country around the Milwaukee area. He also enjoys music and plays a variety of instruments in bands that perform throughout the Milwaukee & Chicago area.

Rob Lindbloom

Rob Lindbloom

Director of Data Services

Rob Lindbloom joined VBA in January 2017 to lead the Data team. Rob came from DentaQuest where he was a Manager of Client Data Services.

Professional History

Rob graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and began his career as a Data Integrity Coordinator for Manpower Group. It was there Rob began to develop his love and appreciation of data's role in any company.

Rob moved on to DentaQuest where he started as an Information Analyst. The fundamentals of data analysis he learned in this role still has an impact on his day-to-day.

From the Analyst role Rob began Development work and moved into a leadership role. He owned the relationship between DentaQuest and the clients for all of their data interfaces. Rob then moved to Supervisor and finally spent his last two years at DentaQuest as a Manager of Client Data, leading a team of 10 business analysts.

The management role at DentaQuest opened the opportunity to take on the role with VBA as Director of Data Services. Rob is utilizing his experience by helping to optimize VBA's team structure and processes to ensure the highest level of quality, accuracy and speed in data interfaces.

Personal History

Rob's free time is spent with his family. He has 4 young daughters and an amazing wife. Rob's family are big movie buffs, who love splitting their vacations between visiting out-of-state family and Disney trips.

Kari Krueger

Kari Krueger

Director of Support Services

Professional History

Kari started in the Property Casualty insurance industry out of high school and worked in various departments: Underwriting, Accounts Receivable technician and later at the Help Desk where she started her IT career and pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Business Administration through Lakeland College in Sheboygan, WI.

In 2012, Kari pursued an opportunity in the health insurance industry within the COBRA division at Wageworks, which is now Health Equity. She was a Data Integration Engineer and worked with clients and vendors on their COBRA eligibility data integration needs. She also trained new associates in her role when acquisitions occurred. While at Wageworks she was promoted to Supervisor of Data Services and led the team handling data discrepancies and file related issues.

Personal History

Kari has served as Vice President of Kettle Moraine Insurance Professionals (KMIP). It’s a group of professionals in the insurance and risk management industries. KMIP is also part of the International Association of Insurance Professionals (IAIP) who is best known for insurance education, skills enhancement, and leadership development within the insurance industry. During her role with KMIP, she had co-chaired a cookbook to help with group functions, such as continuing education and attending regional or national conferences.

And while at Wageworks Kari helped co-chair another cookbook for the company, based on employee recipes. The sales of the cooked raised over $5000 for Feeding America.

Kari has 1 teenage son who is an avid football player and loves to shoot trap.

In her spare time, Kari enjoys spending time with family/friends, traveling (mostly to Northern Wisconsin), occasional casino trip and shoots pool.

Joel Parker

Joel Parker

Director of Application Services

Joel joined VBA in April 2017. He came to VBA from DentaQuest/Delta Dental of Massachusetts where he held many different I.T. positions over 11 years, with his last role being Director of Enterprise Architecture.

Professional History

Joel began his I.T. career as a Programmer/Analyst for American Whole Health Networks, before moving on as a Senior Application Developer by joining Marshall, Swift & Boeckh.

In 2006 Joel moved on to Doral Dental as the Application Development Team Lead. During this time Joel ran the team's enterprise claim administration system.

Before joining VBA in 2017, Joel was Director of Enterprise Architecture at DentaQuest where he was responsible for all technical architectures of all enterprise systems.

Personal History

Aside from being a technologist, Joel has a passion for pretty much anything that has an engine. His first job as an adult was becoming a Toyota mechanic. Joel loves to diagnosis problems, take things apart and fix them. He spent 7 years as an ASE certified master mechanic before going back to school and learning computer programming. When he is not working with application code during the day, you will probably catch him in the garage with a wrench in his hand. Joel enjoys ATVs, snowmobiles, and sports cars. Outside of motorsports, his passions include camping, traveling, watching the Green Bay Packers and NASCAR, and spending time with his Bernese Mountain Dog, Duke.

Rosanna Zepecki

Rosanna Zepecki

Director of Human Resources

Professional History

Rosanna joined VBA in 2020 as the Director of Human Resources. She has over 20 years of experience in the Human Resources and over 17 years of technical recruiting experience in the Milwaukee market. Rosanna will continue to play a pivotal role in the growth of VBA. Rosanna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She also SPHR certified.

Personal History

Outside of work, Rosanna enjoys running and biking. She is currently training for her second marathon. Rosanna also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children

Chris Hodina

Chris Hodina

Manager of Business Services – Solutions

Chris joined VBA in 2020 as a Business Analyst. She is now utilizing her vast business experience and knowledge to provider leadership as the Manager of Business Services for the Solutions team.

Professional History

Chris began her career in the Managed Healthcare Industry, working her way up in organizations through operational areas of Provider Organizations, Health Plans and TPAs. Chris completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration through Elmhurst University in Elmhurst, IL.

Personal History

Chris chaired a Behavioral Health Redesign Committee during her time at a national health plan to explore parity across the medical and behavioral health spectrums, prior to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 1996. The committee consisted of Medical Directors, Underwriting, Sales Leaders, Transactional Areas and Market Leaders focused on bridging the gap in plan build and design, leading to improved crossover in benefits to members and sales.

While at a Medicaid Health Plan, Chris acted as executive sponsor for the Plan’s Community Advisory Committee, bridging services and needs between the Health Plan and the Community. Chris also served on the Grants Committee for the Plan which provided funds to local organizations to further the services to the Medicaid population in the county.

During her spare time, Chris provides catering services to small groups for showers, birthdays, and anniversaries. She is involved in the various activities of her 6 nieces and 2 nephews.

Shawn Mann

Shawn Mann

Manager of Engagement Solutions

Shawn joined VBA in 2013 as a software developer on the Gateway product, and now serves as the Manager of Engagement Solutions responsible for leading the development teams for the Gateway, VBAMobile, and VBAVoice products.

Professional History

Shawn has over 20 years of development experience, specializing in web applications. Prior to VBA, Shawn developed loan and investor tracking and payment software for a Las Vegas based real estate investment firm.

Personal History

Shawn lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Britty, their four children, and three dogs. Shawn is a vegan who loves reading and learning, art, gaming, movies, cooking, and basketball.

Dave Ostrenga

Dave Ostrenga

Manager of Data Solutions

Dave joined VBA in 2018 as an EDI Developer and now serves as Manager of Data Solutions, leading a team responsible for development and maintenance of data processes.

Professional History

Dave graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent time in the financial industry, first as a banker and then developing and maintaining data processes. He first began working with healthcare and insurance data upon joining DentaQuest as an Information Analyst. Eventually moving into a leadership role and ownership of client relationships, Dave gained experience in every aspect of the data process life cycle, from requirements gathering, to development, to maintenance of production processes.

Dave then took on a Software Architect role at Trisept Solutions. There, his focus was leading business process improvements, reporting, and analytics.

With a desire to return to healthcare data, Dave joined VBA as an EDI Developer. He took on leadership responsibilities as a Senior EDI Developer, prior to moving into the role of Manager of Data Solutions.

Personal History

Dave spends his time outside of work with his wife, son, and daughter. The family is very sports-oriented, involved in baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, and taekwondo. A longtime amateur baseball player, Dave has now retired to focus on coaching youth baseball.

Jacob Speaks

Jacob Speaks

Manager of Business Services - Data Integration

Jacob started with VBA in December 2018, previously coming from DentaQuest.

Professional History

The majority of Jacob's career has been spent as a Data Analyst. He enjoys managing a growing team to drive our client goals to success. He spent seven years at Hewlett Packard driving process improvement as well as business analytics and four years working at DentaQuest as Senior BA and TPO. In his role at VBA he works with his team, clients, and vendors to ensure the data interfaces are established properly and function as expected.

Personal History

Jacob enjoys all live music, sports, and chasing his daughter around. He takes pride in his grilling/smoking food abilities as well as his bourbon collection.

Peter Verbeten

Peter Verbeten

Manager of Quality Assurance

Bio coming soon.

Professional History

Personal History

BJ Whiddon

BJ Whiddon

Manager of Payer Solutions

BJ joined VBA in 2013 as a Software Engineer and now serves as the Manager of Payer Solutions responsible for leading the development teams for VBASoftware, VBAReport, and VBAdjudication.

Professional History

BJ has over 27 years of development experience beginning with his career in the US Air Force in 1995 working on the Standard Materiel Accounting System. After completion of his 4 years of active duty, BJ continued to work on this system as a contractor.

Personal History

BJ lives in South Dakota with his wife, Melissa, and their son, William. BJ enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially when playing games of all kinds. He is also active in his community, having served on the local Lund Theatre board, as Adjutant of his American Legion Post, and a Scout leader.

Mitchell Wilichowski

Mitchell Wilichowski

Manager of Claims Integration

Professional History

Mitchell joined VBA Software in August of 2010 on an internship while attending University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Since starting with the company, Mitch has been responsible for report writing, support incident resolution, encounter reporting, claim, eligibility, id card, accumulator, invoice, automated clearing house, billing, and payment interface development. His experience with claims covers almost all types of claim imports and exports including Pharmacy, Inpatient and Outpatient Medical, and Dental.

Mitch holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Information Systems from University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

Personal History

Favorite pastimes include watching his two girls grow up and coaching their soccer teams in the spring and fall. Also, hiking, hunting, and getting lost outdoors is a must do when he’s up north Wisconsin with his two labs.