AuDacity 2018 Conference - Speakers



Bold Keynote Presentations Scheduled For AuDacity 2018

Lt. General Mark P. Hertling, U.S. Army (Retired)Bold Keynote 1: Lt. General Mark P. Hertling, U.S. Army (Retired)

Leaving his beloved US Army in January 2013, Lieutenant General (retired) Mark Hertling is a senior vice president at the innovative Florida Hospital in Orlando.

Prior to joining Florida Hospital, Mark served for almost four decades in the US Army. At the time of his retirement, he was Commanding General of US Army Europe, where he led over 60,000 soldiers, cared for over 100,000 family members, and partnered with the armies of 50 countries in the European theater. During his military career, LTG Hertling commanded training organizations at the Army’s National Training Center (Ft Irwin, California) and the Joint Multi-National Training Center (Grafenwoehr, Germany). He was an assistant Division Commander in Baghdad in 2003-4, and later commanded the Army’s 1st Armored Division (1AD) in Germany and in Northern Iraq during the surge. Hertling spent over 36 months in combat.

Receiving a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Military Academy in 1975, LTG Hertling is a graduate of the Army's Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College. He also holds Masters Degrees in History and International Relations from these institutions, and he also earned a Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology from Indiana University. He is currently pursuing an Executive Doctorate in Business Administration from the Crummer School at Rollins College.

During his time in the Army, Mark received many military honors including three awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, six awards of the Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor. He also received the Gold Cross of Honor of the German Army, the Romanian Land Forces Emblem of Honor, and the Polish Soldier’s Medal of Honor. He is a life member of the Purple Heart Association, Phi Kappa Phi, and he is a Distinguished Eagle Scout. In 2015, he received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award from the US Sports Academy.

In addition to working with Florida Hospital, Mark was appointed by President Obama to be one of 25 members of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport and Nutrition. He serves as an advisor to the non-profit organizations “Mission: Readiness” and “Operation Gratitude. He is an adjunct scholar at West Point’s Modern War Institute, and he also serves as a military analyst for CNN. Mark speaks and acts passionately on the subjects of leadership, national security, and health trends. His book, Growing Physician Leaders, was published in May 2016.

Dan Price, Founder & CEO of Gravity PaymentsBold Keynote 2: Dan Price, Founder & CEO of Gravity Payments

Dan is widely known for setting a $70k minimum wage at Gravity Payments, a small step in his goal to be a speck in a revolution where business is about purpose, not profit. Dan’s mission is to create a world where values-based companies reshape the economy, so business stops being about making the most money possible. Instead, he wants leaders to recognize that business should be about purpose, service, and making a difference. Dan believes it’s not about doing business as usual anymore, and instead, doing business better.


Speaker Bios

Deb Abel, Au.D.

Manager of Contracts and Coding, Audigy Group
Debbie Abel, Au.D. received her Bachelor and Master's degrees from Kent State University and her AuD from the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Dr. Abel spent 13 years in private practice in Alliance, OH after moving an existing practice from the Alliance Eye and Ear Clinic, where she was employed for 14 years, taking the ENT with her. She recently became the manager of Coding and Contracting Services for Audigy and is also associated with Arch Health Partners in Poway, CA, where she provides audiologic services on a limited schedule.

Formerly the Academy's Senior Specialist, Practice Management, she was the Director of Reimbursement and Practice Compliance and served as an Academy Board member-at-large and as the chair of the Academy's Coding and Reimbursement Committee and a member of the Academy's Ethical Practice Board. She currently sits on the Practice Compliance Committee and is serving on the board of the American Academy of Audiology Foundation.Dr. Abel has authored several chapters in Plural Publication texts including the first and second editions of Strategic Practice Management: A Patient Centered Approach/Business and Procedural Considerations and The Essential Guide to Coding in Otolaryngology: Coding, Billing and Practice Management. The audiology companion book, The Essential Guide to Coding in Audiology: Coding, Billing and Practice Management, edited by Dr. Abel, was published in 2017.

Dr. Abel is an adjunct assistant professor at A. T. Still. She was the Alliance Area's 1994 Athena Award recipient, was awarded the first "Active Advocate of the Year" by the State Leaders' Network of the American Academy of Audiology in 2006, in 2012, the American Academy of Audiology's President's Award and in 2017, ADA's Joel Wernick Award.


Amyn M. Amlani, Ph.D.

Professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Amyn M. Amlani, Ph.D., is Professor and Department Chairperson, Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, in the consortium program between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA-Little Rock). Dr. Amlani holds the Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders from the University of the Pacific, the Master of Science degree in Audiology from Purdue University, and the Ph.D. degree in Audiology/Psychoacoustics (minor in Marketing and Supply Chain Management) from Michigan State University. His research interests include: (1) economic and marketing trends within audiology, particularly with respect to evolving/disruptive technologies (smartphone-based applications, personal sound amplifiers/hearables), (2) the influence of hearing aid technology on speech and music, (3) hearing conservation for musicians, and (4) room acoustics.


Kyle N. Acker, Au.D.

Kyle N. Acker, Au.D. is Director of Sales for the South-Eastern U.S. at Starkey Hearing Technologies. Acker completed his B.S. in Industrial Hygiene and Organizational Leadership and Supervision and his M.S. and Au.D. in Audiology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He began his clinical career in balance at a small private practice in Florida, before joining the Starkey Hearing Technologies team as a regional trainer and Manager of Education and Training. His clinical interests include amplification and counseling techniques, utilizing technology in the hearing aid delivery process and innovating training techniques toimprove clinician understanding of new technology. Acker is also a passionate supporter of Starkey Hearing Foundation.


Nola Aronson, M.A., CCC-A

Nola received a bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Hartford in 1975 and taught until 1981 with many types of disabled children. She then received her Master's Degree in Audiology from California State University, Long Beach in 1982. Nola holds certifications of clinical competence from the American Hearing and Speech Association and the American Academy of Audiology. She is licensed by the state of California in Audiology and hearing aid dispensing. She has practiced Audiology in Los Angeles County for 35 years, 30 of those have been in the Santa Clarita Valley. For several years, she served as Director of Audiology at Valley Hospital Medical Center in Van Nuys. Her professional affiliations include the American Academy of Audiology, American Hearing Aid Associates, American Speech and Language Association and California Academy of Audiology and the California Speech, language and Hearing association. She is a member of the California Academy of Audiology and, as a member of its board of directors, represents audiologists throughout Southern California.


Randy Baldwin

Vice President of Marketing, CareCredit
Mr. Baldwin is a marketing and product management executive with over 25 years of experience in the optometric, ophthalmic, and hearing industries. Currently, as Vice President of Marketing – vision and hearing for CareCredit, a part of Synchrony Financial, his team is responsible for engaging with vision and hearing professionals teaching them to use and position patient financing as a product to help both their patients and their practices.


Victor Bray, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and former dean (2009- 2016), Osborne College of Audiology
Dr. Bray was previously the Director of Audiology for the Austin (Texas) Ear Clinic, the Director of Clinical Research for ReSound Corporation, the VP and Chief Audiology Officer for Sonic Innovations, and VP and Chief Audiology Officer of OtoKinetics. Dr. Bray holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, a master’s degree in Audiology, and a doctorate in Speech and Hearing Science. He has presented nationally and internationally at numerous workshops, seminars and conferences on the clinical applications of audiology.


Torryn Brazell

Chief Executive Officer, American Tinnitus Association
As Chief Executive Officer, Brazell works with the Board of Directors in setting strategic direction for the future of ATA, and serves as a key internal and external spokesperson. Prior to joining ATA, she served as Managing Director of the American Board of Audiology. Brazell holds an MS in Business from Marymount University, a BS in Political Science from Oregon State University, and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).


Craig Castelli

Craig Castelli is the Founder and CEO of Caber Hill Advisors and a widely recognized authority on audiology practice acquisitions. He and his team have advised hundreds of audiologists on the purchase, sale, and valuation of private practices.


John Coverstone, Au.D.

John A. Coverstone, AuD received BS degrees in Speech Communication and in Speech & Hearing Science from Portland State University, an MS degree from Portland State University, and an AuD degree from PCO School of Audiology. Dr. Coverstone has previously worked in hearing instrument and medical equipment manufacturing and is currently the President and CEO of Sentient Healthcare, an audiology consulting company. He is the clinical audiologist at Innsbruck Hearing & Balance Center in New Brighton, MN and the educational audiology at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault, MN. Dr. Coverstone has served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Academy of Audiology and the Sight & Hearing Association, St. Paul, MN. He has additionally served as Chair of the American Academy of Audiology State Network Committee, 2007-2010 and the Minnesota Academy of Audiology Continuing Education Committee, 2005-2006. Dr. Coverstone also is active in state legislative affairs in Minnesota and serves on the Governmental Relations Committee of the Minnesota Academy of Audiology.


William Diles, M.A.

William Diles has been a licensed audiologist and hearing aid dispenser in California since 1981. Bill believes in being independent and knows first hand that providing hearing solutions in a comfortable environment is what people are looking for. Bill has been a featured speaker at regional and national hearing professional meetings as well as at local trainings for physicians.


Danielle Dorner, Au.D.

Danielle Dorner, AuD is a vestibular audiologist who cares for patients experiencing dizziness and/or balance problems. She earned her Doctorate of Audiology degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and her bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Although she works with all ages, she has an interest in special populations. She is currently employed at Associated Audiologists Inc., a large single-provider owned private practice located in the Kansas City metro area.


Gregory Frazer, Au.D.

CEO, AUDNET Hearing Group
Dr. Gregory Frazer has been a private practice audiologist since 1982. Today, he owns six audiology private practices in California. He is also the CEO for AUDNET Hearing Group. Dr. Frazer is a well known clinician and teacher. He was a UCLA Clinical Instructor as well as Chief of Audiology in the Department of Head & Neck Surgery at Olive View Medical Center. He was an instructor at the University of Florida Au.D. program and is currently adjunct professor at AT Still University, San Diego State University and the University of Texas at Dallas.


Patricia Gaffney, Au.D.

Associate Professor, Nova Southeastern University
Patricia Gaffney, Au.D. has a bachelor's degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC and earned her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005. She joined the audiology department at Nova Southeastern University in 2007. Her specialty is vestibular diagnostics and treatment and amplification. She teaches didactically and clinically with the Nova Southeastern University Au.D. students. Prior to NSU, she worked at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Miami, FL. Professionally she has served on several committees and as a member of the American Academy of Audiology Board of Directors.


Richard E. Gans, Ph.D.

Founder and executive director, The American Institute of Balance, one of the largest balance centers in the U.S.A.
Dr. Gans received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in Auditory-Vestibular Physiology. For over 20 years has been a leader in the development of vestibular evaluation and rehabilitation techniques, including tests of oscillopsia and postural stability as well as BPPV treatment. He has presented or published over 150 programs and papers worldwide in the area of equilibrium disorders. He is the author of 8 textbook chapters and texts ranging from diagnostic vestibular testing, vestibular rehabilitation, BPPV treatments and pediatric vestibular evaluation. Thieme Medical Publishers will publish his upcoming textbook, Evaluation and Management of Balance Disorders in Children and Adults. His most current research is in the areas of pediatrics, migraine and psychiatric aspects of dizziness. Dr. Gans served as the President of the American Academy of Audiology (2004-2005) and continues to be active in professional and governmental issues. He is an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University and the University of South Florida.


John Hartman, MA

John Hartman is the current owner of Audiologic Services in Glen Ellyn, IL. He received his Master of Science degree in Audiology from Illinois State University and his Master in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University. Prior to owning Audiologic Services, John spent 17 years in various senior sales leadership and business development roles on the hearing aid industry side, most recently as a VP of Business Development for Widex USA. His primary responsibilities involved leading and mentoring sales teams as well as lending capital to Audiologists to purchase clinics.


Lia James

Lia James leads Growth & Strategy for humanpredictions, a recruitment software company. She is a branding expert and professional coach with over 10 years experience in people management, business development, and branding. Lia works with teams to advise on internal and external messaging, user experience copywriting, and leadership branding to improve business development as well as team dynamics. Lia has worked with close to 1,000 leaders and career changers to fine tune their brands through storytelling and goal aligning. She reviews the processes companies are currently using and works with them to assure future growth.


Dusty Jessen, Au.D.

Dr. Dusty Jessen has been practicing audiology since 2001. She spent 2 years in a hospital setting, 15 years in an ENT clinic, and is now the proud owner of a private practice in Littleton, Colorado. Dr. Jessen’s passion revolves around patient education and counseling. In 2014 she wrote and published a patient handbook, “5 Keys to Communication Success” which is now the backbone of the 5 Keys Communication aural rehabilitation program. Dr. Jessen has published many articles on the topic of aural rehabilitation and has spoken for state and national conferences around the world about the critical importance of keeping patient education and counseling at the forefront of our treatment plans in order to shift the focus back to our professional services and set ourselves apart from the commodity options available to patients today.


Carol Knightly, Au.D.

Carol Knightly, AuD, CCC-A, is director of clinical operations in the Center for Childhood Communication and the Center for Rehabilitation at CHOP. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech& Hearing Science & Psychology form Thiel College, her Master of Arts degree from The Ohio State University and her Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Florida.


Jason Leyendecker, Au.D.

A graduate of A.T. Still University’s residential program in 2010 Jason started working in a private practice in Edina, Minnesota. He served as lead audiologist until June of 2017 when he purchased his practice. Audiology Concepts currently has two locations and 6 providers (4 AuD and 2 HIS). The primary focus of this practice is hearing aids and has a separate tinnitus clinic. In his short tenure Jason has served on several committees and is a board member for the Minnesota Sight and Hearing Association. Jason is also an adjunct assistant professor for A.T. Still University since 2016. When not at Audiology Concepts, you can find Jason spending time with his family in the great outdoors of northern Minnesota.


Jill Meltzer, Au.D.

Dr. Jill Meltzer is a clinical audiologist at North Shore Audio-Vestibular Lab (NSAVL) in Highland Park, Illinois. She joined the staff in 1986 after working as the Audiologist at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her interest and expertise in tinnitus and other sound tolerance issues is long standing. She started the Tinnitus and Sound Sensitivity Program of NSAVL in 1997. She has served on committees of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) and now is a member of the Board of Directors of ATA. She served on the Board of Governors for the American Board of Audiology (ABA) and is a previous board member of the Illinois Academy of Audiology (ILAA). She received her Au.D from what is now known as Salus University and her M.A.T. (Masters of Arts in Teaching- Audiology) from Tulane University. She has presented and published in areas of tinnitus and sound sensitivity.


Michelle Mcelhannon, Pharm.D.

Michelle McElhannon received her B.S. and Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Georgia. She completed a residency in pharmacy practice at The Ohio State University Medical Center and has specialized in ambulatory care pharmacy for over 20 years. Currently, Michelle is a Public Servant Assistant in the Division of Experience Programs at the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy. At her practice site she provides diabetes education and medication management to patients at a Federally Qualified Health Center while simultaneously providing introductory pharmacy practice experiences to second year UGA pharmacy students. At her home site, she is a wife, and a mother to three children, 11 dogs (3 dogs plus 8 puppies), 5 chickens, 3 birds, 5 fish, 1 turtle and 1 very ferocious black cat.


Angela Morris, Au.D.

Regional manager, Widex
Prior to this Angela was in private practice for 13 years. She has been involved with many audiology organizations including ADA, AAA, ABA, the Kentucky Academy of Audiology, and the Kentucky Audiology Licensure Board. She is the current president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology. She obtained her MS from the University of Louisville and her Au.D. from Salus University. Dr. Morris was elected to serve her community on the Corbin Independent School Board as Vice Chairperson. She is married and has two boys, Kory and Kody, and two dogs, Kouper and Benny.


Scott Myatt

Scott Myatt has worked in audiology since starting with Sonic Innovations in 2006, acquiring, and then managing, clinics around the US. Scott joined Oticon in 2010, starting up their acquisition team. Scott was then hired by Helix (the retail arm of Widex) in 2013. He has been with Caber Hill since April of 2017. Prior to joining Sonic, Scott did acquisitions for a private investor for 3 years in a variety of industries. He has a Master of International Management from Thunderbird, an MBA from Colorado State University, and a B.A. in Japanese from Brigham Young University.


Alyssa Needleman, Ph.D.

Clinical Director and Associate Professor, Nova Southeastern University
Alyssa Needleman, Ph.D., is the Clinical Director and an Associate Professor in the Department of Audiology at Nova Southeastern University. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, and her Master's in Audiology and Ph.D. in Communication Sciences from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her primary responsibilities are didactic and clinical education, and management of clinical operations within the NSU Audiology Clinic, as well as coordination of internship and externship experiences, both within NSU and external clinical sites. Prior to NSU, Dr. Needleman served in a variety of roles in academia, hospital administration and industry.


Maryann McCullough Nikander, Au.D., FAAA

Maryann McCullough Nikander, Au.D., has a Bachelor's degree from The University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s degree in Audiology from Temple University and her Doctorate from Salus University. She opened a private practice, Audiology and Hearing Aid Center in Warminster, PA, in 2008 with her partner, Holli Lish. Dr. Nikander worked for many years prior to that in an ENT practice as well as for HEARX Corporation.

Maryann is currently President Elect (for upcoming 2019) of the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology. In addition, she is an adjunct instructor at Temple University in Philadelphia teaching undergraduate speech/audiology communication students.


Stacy O’Brien, Au.D.

With years of experience, Dr. Stacy O’Brien, Board-Certified Audiologist, is dedicated to providing solutions to those with hearing loss. She received her undergraduate education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and her Doctoral studies at the University of South Florida, Tampa. She is an active Fellow of the following: the American Academy of Audiology, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, and the Florida Academy of Audiology. Stacy was born in Florida at Homestead Air Force Base, but spent her childhood in Texas, and then returned to Florida in 2000 where she now happily resides. In her free time, Stacy is a sports fanatic. She loves watching, playing, and coaching sports. Her favorite football team was the Houston Oilers, which is no longer a team, so she now cheers on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dr. O’Brien was inspired to become an Audiologist when her youngest daughter suffered from middle ear issues and the treatment process she went through instilled a dream within Stacy to help others in a similar manner.


Howard Ong, DDS, MAGD

Dr. Ong started practicing dentistry 24 years ago. He loves dentistry and feels that mastering his craft through education and practice is a hobby.

As a general dentist now specially trained in implantology, Dr. Ong has focused his love for implants and surgery by completing his Masters ICOI. He has also completed his Masters in the AGD program. Dr. Ong has been instrumental in selecting the technology within the specialty suite expansion, and as a result of the new devices and his specialty training, he now treats over 95% of patient needs in house.


Rachele M. Orsini, Au.D.

Dr. Rachele M. Orsini, Au.D. has been an active member of the Audiology Community in Florida since 2004. She received her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University in 2000. She then moved to Florida where she attended the University of South Florida and received her Doctorate of Audiology degree in 2004. She is licensed by the State of Florida Department of Health Division and Medical Quality Assurance.

Dr. Orsini spent eight years working for a retail hearing aid company before she joined Starkey in 2012. She currently serves as the Central Florida Field Sales Representative for Starkey and resides in Tampa. She is also sitting on the board of the Florida Academy of Audiology as the Membership Chair. In her spare time she enjoys dining out at new restaurants, trying new wines, antique shopping, and spending time with her friends and family.


Nicole Pavol

Patient Care Coordinator, Atlantic Hearing & Balance
Nicole Pavol received her bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and Speech from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is CPR and First Aid Certified. Nicole is from Franklin, TN but has lived and worked in Florida for two years. Outside of work, Nicole is heavily involved in theatre. She enjoys singing, acting, and dancing. Nicole’s favorite part of her work is interacting with patients, whether it be just meeting and greeting them, or building stronger relationships with them the longer she gets to know them. She is passionate about customer service and quality care. Nicole believes that Atlantic Hearing & Balance allows her to utilize that passion and to develop it fully.


Gaetano Pizzi

Senior SEO Analyst, AudiologyDesign
Gaetano Pizzi is a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, with experience in all areas of Internet marketing including strategy and planning, system design and development, branding, and website design. In his current role with AudiologyDesign, he leads SEO initiatives for hearing care practices throughout the United States and Canada, to consistently achieve top rankings in all major search engines. He directs best practices for SEO by implementing technologies and strategies that maximize usability and accessibility when optimizing local business websites. He develops cost effective, customized, web marketing solutions to solve problems and drive results for clients.


Dan Quall, M.S.

Director of Managed Care, Fuel Medical Group
Dan is an audiologist who began his career in the hearing industry in the 1970s working for his father's private practice and has more than 36 years of industry experience. Dan received his M.S. from Western Oregon University and owned and operated a number of audiology clinics in the Pacific Northwest.


Nicholas Reed, Au.D.

Nicholas Reed, AuD, CCC-A is an Instructor of Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He received his clinical doctorate in audiology (AuD) from Towson University and completed his clinical fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital. He holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association. He has clinical experience with diagnostic audiology and amplification management across the lifespan (pediatric to older adults).


Elizabeth Rogers, Au.D.

Dr. Liz Rogers is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, receiving both her Bachelors and Doctorate degrees from IU. Dr. Rogers completed her audiology externship at the prestigious House Research (formally Ear) Institute in Los Angeles, CA where she focused on pediatrics and cochlear implants. In 2014, Dr. Rogers realized there was a need for cochlear implant services in Southeastern Kentucky. At this time, she was able to join the team at Southeast Kentucky Audiology and began providing cochlear implant services to children and adults in the area.

Dr. Rogers is a recipient of the Nick Hipskind Outstanding Audiologist Award and she is the current Treasurer for the Kentucky Academy of Audiology. In 2016, the opportunity arose to take on the new role as owner of Southeast Kentucky Audiology. Dr. Rogers was very excited to take on this new role and continue to offer the best in hearing healthcare to Southeastern Kentucky residents.


Tricia Scaglione, Au.D., F-AAA

Tricia Sheehan Scaglione, AuD, F-AAA, CCC-A serves on the Board of Directors and is an educator for the Tinnitus Practitioners Association (TPA).

Dr. Scaglione practices at the University of Miami Hospital, where she serves as the Director of the Tinnitus and Sound Sensitivities Clinic, Co-Director of Clinical Education- Division of Audiology, and Assistant Professor. Her clinical specialties include tinnitus and sound sensitivities, auditory and vestibular diagnostics, hearing aids, and evoked potentials. Dr. Scaglione is Board Certified in Audiology and has presented at state, national, and international meetings.


Jacqueline Scholl, Au.D.

Owner/Manager/Audiologist, The Scholl Center & Sound IQ
As a return-to-school graduate of Missouri State University and Arizona School of Health Sciences, Dr. Scholl established her private practice, The Scholl Center, in Tulsa, OK 10 years ago. Last year, she broke ground on her new showroom and retail component to her practice, Sound IQ. Dr. Scholl has authored numerous articles, as well as participated in research and pilot projects. Dr. Scholl's innovative approach to putting audiologists on top of the OTC movement, as well as many others that will surely take place, is unique to the industry.


H. Christopher Schweitzer, Ph.D.

Chief of Technical Audiology, Samplified Audio International
As a clinical researcher, industry consultant, and graduate faculty member in multiple programs (presently Salus University's George Osborne School of Audiology) Schweitzer has lectured to large professional gatherings in N. & S. America, Asia, Europe, and Africa on numerous occasions. Also, as a Private Audiology Practice Owner for over 30 years, he has conducted many consumer seminars.


Jim Skjeveland

Jim Skjeveland received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Mankato State University in Minnesota and a Master of Business Administration at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. Mr. Skjeveland, who is hearing, wife is deaf with a Cochlear Implant as well as his step-daughter has a progressive hearing loss. He is active in the community. He started his career teaching elementary-aged students with special needs at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD), and then began working for Sprint in 1993. In 1995, Mr. Skjeveland was hired by Communication Service for the Deaf as the Senior Vice President of Call Center Operations. In 2009, he returned to Sprint as a Senior Client Director. In total, Mr. Skjeveland has over 25 years of experience in the relay industry serving customers with a hearing loss. Mr. Skjeveland’s current position includes working closely with government relay customers and others who could benefit from Sprint’s broad range of accessibility products and services such as Sprint CapTel. Mr. Skjeveland works with Audiologists and other service providers to share the benefits of offering Sprint CapTel as a communication solution to those with a hearing loss.


David Smriga, M.A.

Vice-President, Corporate Communications, AUDNET Hearing Group
David Smriga, M.A. is Vice-President of Corporate Communications for AUDNET Hearing Group and Senior Audiology Consultant for Audioscan. Mr. Smriga received his master's degree in audiology from Northern Illinois University in 1976. During his subsequent career, Mr. Smriga has held positions in clinical and research audiology as well as senior management positions in sales, marketing, product management and public relations for some of the industry's leading hearing instrument manufacturing firms. Having conducted nearly 700 lectures and authored nearly 70 industry publications, Mr. Smriga is an often-requested speaker who is known for presenting complex information in a clear and understandable way.


Christopher Spankovich, Au.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Christopher Spankovich is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He obtained his Master of Public Health from Emory University (Atlanta, GA), AuD from Rush University (Chicago, IL), and PhD from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN). Dr. Spankovich is a clinician-scientist with a translational research program focused on prevention and treatment of acquired forms of hearing loss, tinnitus, and sound sensitivity. His research includes clinical trials of otoprotectant agents, epidemiological studies of determinants (e.g. dietary quality) of hearing loss and tinnitus, basic research in thermal stress for prevention of ototoxicity, and translational research on the effects of noise on auditory physiology and perception. Dr. Spankovich’s clinical interests include tinnitus, sound sensitivity, ototoxicity, hearing conservation, and auditory evoked potentials.


Alicia Spoor, Au.D.

Audiologist and President, Designer Audiology, LLC
Alicia Spoor earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from Gallaudet University in 2006. After being employed at the Mayo Clinic Arizona and two Maryland-based private practices, she opened her own practice in 2014. Dr. Spoor is currently the President for the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and Legislative Chair for the Maryland Academy of Audiology. Dr. Spoor was named the first recipient of the Craig W. Johnson Advocacy Award from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology in 2015.


Brian Taylor, Au.D.

Director, Fuel Medical Group
Brian Taylor, Au.D. is the director of audiology for the Fuel Medical Group. He also serves as editor of Audiology Practices and editor-in-chief of the Hearing News Watch for Hearing Health and Technology Matters. Dr. Taylor's most recent textbook, Practice Management Essentials will be published by Thieme in 2018.


Thomas J. Tedeschi, Au.D.

Chief Clinical Advisor, Amplifon Americas
Primary responsibilities center around Governmental Affairs and Regulatory activities. He holds doctorate degree in Audiology. Dr. Tedeschi has worked in a number of sectors throughout his career, hospital based, private practice, teaching and industry related positions. He started his career as the Chief of Audiology for a large Children’s Hospital Medical Center where he specialized in central auditory disorders and neurophysiologic evaluations of the hearing and balance mechanisms. He moved into the private sector where he was a partner in a Hearing and Balance Center. At that time he also held adjunct professor status at The University of Akron. After leaving private practice Dr. Tedeschi became the Director of World Wide Training & Business Development for Sonic Innovations and was responsible for the establishment of training protocols and business development in 22 countries. He has co-authored chapters on Ethics in Audiology in two books, and recently co-authored a chapter on Practice Management. He has been the author of numerous professional articles and has given over 400 professional presentations both nationally and internationally. Dr. Tedeschi has served on various committees for the American Academy of Audiology, including the Academy’s Ethical Practices Board and is a Past President of the Ohio Academy of Audiology. Dr. Tedeschi joined the Amplifon group in 2009 as VP of Sonus, then moved to VP of Training and Development, Chief Audiology Officer, and currently the Chief Clinical Advisor, Amplifon Americas.


Robert Tysoe, BSc.

Marketing Consultant & Trainer, Hearing Healthcare Marketing Company
Robert Tysoe has a history of nationwide leadership in Marketing and Sales in the health care industry. He has twenty-five years of experience in the ethical pharmaceutical industry, and medical device sales; as well as over twelve years of highly successful results in providing physician marketing training programs for the audiology industry. Bob currently consults for hearing aid manufacturers, audiology practices, ENT clinics, and hearing health specialists in the U.S. and abroad.


Dale Thorstad

President, AUDNET Hearing Group
For 33 years, Dale Thorstad served as a key management executive in the hearing instrument manufacturing sector. In 2002, he left manufacturing to become President of Marcon Group, and is now President of AUDNET Hearing Group. Mr. Thorstad has served on the board of the Better Hearing Institute, and on the board of NBC-HIS. He is presently chair of the NBC-HIS exam and writing committee. Mr. Thorstad has lectured both nationally and internationally on various hearing care related topics, with a focus on hearing instrument technology and fitting strategies.


Brian Vesely, Au.D.

Dr. Vesely graduated with his Au.D. from The Missouri State University in 2010. During his tenure as a student he was the National NAFDA President and worked diligently to merge NAFDA into what is now the Student Academy of Audiology. He served as the first President of the Student Academy of Audiology, and was also awarded the 2008 American Academy of Audiology Presidential Award.

Upon graduating, Dr. Vesely co-founded Sound Advice Hearing Doctors and the Alpaca Buying Group. Today, Dr. Vesely serves as the President and CEO of Alpaca Group Holdings which owns the Alpaca Negotiating Network and Resolution Hearing. In addition, the group currently owns more than 40 clinics in a diversity of specialties including dispensing, ENT, cochlear implants, hospitals, and specialized contracts. Dr. Vesely serves on the State of Missouri licensure board, and just recently accepted a co-chair position on the newly formed AAA Public Awareness committee designed to promote audiology in the eyes of the consumer.

In a recent interview Dr. Vesely had this to say when asked about the success of Alpaca Group Holdings: “It’s 100% about our team. I work daily with some of the finest audiologist in the country, and all of us are constantly pushing to better the patient experience, and the profession of audiology as a whole. It is a deep-rooted passion that all of us share, and it drives us to not settle for the status quo.”


Kathy Wentworth, DVM

Owner and principal veterinarian Dr. Kathy has been caring for veterinary patients in Southern CA for 17 years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and completed her undergraduate studies in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience at UC San Diego. Dr. Kathy furthered her passion as a veterinarian by becoming board certified as a Diplomate in Canine and Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2010.

Although she is fully dedicated to caring for dogs and cats, Dr. Kathy has the expertise and appreciates the more exotic creatures that have become so much a part of the family. She has extensive experience in rabbits, pocket pets, all types of reptiles and birds.


David Zapala, Ph.D.

David Zapala earned his BA from California State University at Fullerton, MS from Utah State University, and PhD from the University of Memphis. Early in his career he developed the Infant Hearing Center and Hearing and Balance Center at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis and served as a clinical professor in Otolaryngology at the University of Tennessee. He is currently a Senior Consultant and Chair of the Audiology Section at the Mayo Clinic in Florida and an Associate Professor of Audiology in the Mayo School of Medicine. Dr. Zapala has published and taught in the areas of vestibular assessment and diagnostic audiology. He has served on the American Board of Audiology, the Board of the American Academy of Audiology, the American Balance Society and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Accessibility and Affordability of Hearing Healthcare. He is currently an NIH funded clinical researcher, investigating how well consumers and audiologists assess ear disease risk.