A powerhouse team of healthcare solutions experts
John Erwin, CEO
Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit and determination to elevate the healthcare experience, Carenet CEO John Erwin introduced an innovative business model to an industry in desperate need of cost containment, price transparency, service delivery improvement and relationship-building tools.
In 2004, John and a group of private investors acquired Carenet, and what began with just 20 team members is now an award-winning company with 700 employees and record revenue growth. Over the past three years, Carenet’s revenue has grown nearly 450 percent with a 50 percent growth rate in 2012. The company has been recognized as one of the Inc. 500|5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America for five consecutive years and has a 96 percent client retention rate.
A true visionary and innovator of next-generation patient care, John was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2013. And, his dedication to cultivating a workplace that is both personally and professionally rewarding has been reflected in Carenet being honored as one of the “Best Places to Work” twice by the San Antonio Business Journal.
Prior to Carenet, John created West Corporation Outbound in San Antonio, Texas. Within 10 years, the company became the market leader with revenues exceeding $200 million and 8,500 employees in 17 facilities nationwide.
There is never a dull moment in John’s life. Always on the go, he and his wife are kept quite busy raising their seven kids. When not attending baseball games, John enjoys running and serving on the board for Lifetime Recovery.
“The difference we make for the businesses we serve is measurable and is driven by a shared respect and trust we have with our partners. Together we are transforming our healthcare system and significantly upgrading the consumer experience.”
Vikie Spulak, Executive Vice President
An equally creative and critical thinker, Executive Vice President Vikie Spulak develops and drives Carenet’s strategic initiatives to support the company’s growth and strengthen its market position. She is also responsible for the company’s operating and financial performance, directs the leadership team, oversees day-to-day operations and steers corporate culture.
Recognizing an opportunity to transform America’s healthcare system, Vikie joined forces with Carenet CEO John Erwin in 2005 to assemble a powerhouse leadership team dedicated to making the healthcare experience more personalized, efficient and results-driven. Today, Carenet is an award-winning company with record revenue growth and more than 700 employees.
In 2013, the San Antonio Business Journal presented Vikie with the Women’s Leadership Award for Corporate Leadership. This honor is a testament to Vikie’s commitment to exemplary leadership and to cultivating a vibrant, rewarding environment where talented people want to contribute, grow and succeed.
A seasoned executive, Vikie has nearly 20 years of experience in account and contact center management. Prior to Carenet, she was client services vice president at West Corporation in San Antonio, Texas. At West, Vikie successfully led key long-term relationships with numerous industry leaders including AT&T, BellSouth, Southwestern Bell and notable financial services and insurance clients.
Vikie relishes family time, energizing workouts and her role as a mother of two young children, which she considers the most rewarding job one could ask for.
“At Carenet, we’re driven by our relentless passion and unwavering commitment to making a healthy impact on the lives of millions of people by providing high quality, easily accessible, and completely personalized healthcare support.”
Jeffrey VanGelderen, M.D., F.A.A.P., Medical Director
A board-certified practicing pediatrician, Jeffrey oversees the quality and service of Carenet’s clinical operation and is the senior leader of the Quality Management Committee. He is also managing partner of Children’s Medical Group of Saginaw Bay, Michigan, a pediatric group practice that is part of the National Continuous Quality Improvement Project IPIP (Improving Performance in Practice).
Jeffrey graduated magna cum laude from Kalamazoo College with a bachelor of arts in biology and from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency at the William Beaumont Hospital and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Prior to Carenet, he served five years as the medical director for MedConnection, a nurse triage call center.
Jeffrey and his wife Jade have five children. Besides family time, his hobbies include walking and traveling.
“I have been with Carenet from the beginning and as our company expands I continue to be impressed with the quality and dedication of our Carenet team.”
Scott Schawe, Chief Financial & Human Resources Officer
A strategic architect with an analytical eye, CFO Scott Schawe has played a significant role in Carenet’s stellar growth since joining the company in 2008. By providing critical financial and operational information and actionable recommendations to the CEO and executive leadership team, Scott enables key decision-making across the company.
Responsible for all financial and accounting aspects of Carenet’s operations, Scott develops forward-looking, predictive models, provides in-depth financial analyses and assesses organizational performance against both the annual budget and the company’s long-term strategy.
In addition to his role as CFO, Scott oversaw Carenet’s People Services and Facilities departments for three years. During this period, the company grew from 200 employees to more than 550 and expanded its footprint by 20,000 square feet.
In 2013, Scott received the Best CFO & Financial Executive Award from the San Antonio Business Journal. This honor is a testament to his commitment to providing the expertise, information and resources the company needs for sustained growth.
Scott’s began his career as a tax consultant with an internationally recognized accounting firm. He also served as vice president, controller and treasurer for a multi-national aircraft manufacturer. Naturally, he is a CPA and a graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
A father of two children, Scott enjoys participating in school activities, volunteering at swim meets and traveling with his family. He serves his church’s ACTS ministry and partakes in many philanthropic events from riding his bike to Corpus Christi, to building houses in Mexico.
“We are continually asking, ‘What can we do better?’”
Lynda Trafton, Registered Nurse & Vice President, Clinical Services
With an invaluable combination of hands-on clinical knowledge and tele-health management experience, Vice President Lynda Trafton leads Carenet’s Clinical Services Department. In addition to directing a team of registered nurses, she oversees the Quality Management Committee, manages accreditations and provides clinical expertise to the sales team and business partners.
Since joining the company in 2005, Lynda has played a significant role in Carenet’s rapid growth. She expanded the nursing team from eight to more than 100 nurses, added non-clinical support staff and created unique work-from-home opportunities for nurses across the country. As a result, she has greatly improved recruiting success and retention rates.
Under Lynda’s guidance, Carenet has thrice received RelayHealth’s ICARE award for exemplifying integrity, customer service, accountability, respect and excellence by making these principles the foundation of every interaction between the Carenet team and its members/patients.
The first 11 years of Lynda’s 26-year career focused on emergency medicine, serving as staff and management in a variety of adult and pediatric emergency departments. For the past 15 years, Lynda has worked in the tele-health industry. Prior to Carenet, she served in various management roles with OptumHealth and McKesson Health Solutions.
A graduate of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Lynda loves returning home to Michigan, is a dedicated fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Spurs, enjoys challenging workouts and kayaking.
“Our team of nurses is dedicated to helping members on their journey to better health. Their passion to make a difference in members’ lives drives their desire to do their best.”
Rick Scheel, Senior Vice President, Business Development
Rick brings more than 27 years of experience to his role as Carenet’s senior vice president of business development, in which he is responsible for increasing the company’s top-line revenue via the development of new business relationships and strategic partnerships.
By combining his vast expertise and leadership prowess with his exceptional ability to identify and harness untapped revenue streams, Rick has successfully built a high-performance team with a track record of consistent annual sales increases. Under his leadership, Carenet has been recognized for five years in a row as one of the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He has also developed and implemented numerous programs and best practices to improve team performance including a bi-annual sales summit, Carenet’s Presidents Club, a more robust customer-relationship management database, a standardized Sales Rules of Engagement policy and ongoing staff development and training.
Prior to Carenet, Rick spent 15 years with United Healthcare’s UMR division, the largest third-party administrator of employee benefit programs in the US. As UMR’s sales vice president, Rick oversaw more than 100 employees including a national sales team who sold in excess of $100 million in new services. In addition, he served as chief technology officer for Benefit Planners and as IT director at West Corporation.
Rick has been a guest speaker at numerous industry events including RISE, Society of Professional Benefit Administrators and Self Insurance Institute of America.
An avid outdoorsman, Rick enjoys spending time with his wife and six children on the family ranch in Hunt, Texas. Hunting, fishing, hiking and serving in his church’s youth ministry are also favorite pastimes.
“Each connection we have with a member is a moment of truth. It is that unique moment in healthcare where we are speaking with a member and positively impacting their life. Our goal is to always leave them feeling better than they did prior to speaking with us.”
Frank Schilling, Vice President, Member Services
Carenet’s 96 percent client retention rate is a testament to Vice President Frank Schilling’s ability to anticipate and exceed the needs of the company’s business partners. By applying more than 20 years of experience in developing customer service and sales solutions for contact centers, Frank successfully leads Carenet’s Member Services division in providing high quality healthcare support to more than 20 million consumers worldwide.
With an expert hand and contagious enthusiasm, Frank keeps his department running like a finely tuned machine. He adeptly balances costs and ever-changing industry regulations with consistent delivery of 24x7 customer care and measurable results to ensure satisfaction among all stakeholders including providers, payers, members/patients and employees.
An inspirational, passionate and dedicated leader, Frank is involved in many aspects of Carenet’s operations from hiring and training new team members, to actively participating in the company’s Culture Committee.
Before Carenet, Frank held a senior-level management role at one of the nation’s leading outsourced contact center providers where he directed the operations for 15 call centers staffed with more than 4,500 employees worldwide.
Frank and his wife enjoy day trips around Texas, exploring unique, small towns and discovering hideaway places, wineries and eateries. He also relishes golfing and vacationing with friends.
“When we say service is a way of life at Carenet, it means the people we touch are in better spirits than they were before we connected.”
Justin Blankenship, Vice President, Information Technology
Justin brings more than 37 years of experience in IT solutions, strategy and management to Carenet. Since joining the company in 2009, he has built a world-class team responsible for designing, deploying and maintaining technology initiatives that assure high performance, consistency, reliability and scalability, and are 100 percent secure and complaint.
Justin oversees the day-to-day operation of Carenet’s IT functions including all systems, networks and infrastructure and directs the development of customized client solutions that smoothly integrate people, data, processes and systems. He leads strategic and tactical technological planning to achieve the company’s business goals and works directly with Carenet’s partners to ensure all technology requirements are met.
Most recently, Justin spearheaded the development of Carenet’s secure, fail-safe data center, which guarantees uninterrupted delivery of 24x7 member support and safeguards all client data via industry best-practice security measures. Thanks to Justin’s unwavering high standards, Carenet consistently passes third-party security audits and has passed numerous client security audits.
Prior to Carenet, Justin successfully led both small- and large-scale technology teams including a geographically diverse, multi-national team that delivered technology solutions for a leading technology-driven communications-services provider. He is a proud graduate of Capella University where he received his bachelor of science in technology and MBA degrees.
Justin stays active by playing racquetball, windsurfing and chasing around his grandsons.
“Carenet is unique because culture isn’t just a buzz word here; our culture is pervasive and truly embraced throughout the organization.”
Stacie Stoner, Vice President, Strategic Services
A results-driven leader, Stacie has an extensive background in client services, operations, quality and training. As vice president of strategic services, she oversees Carenet’s Client Services and Customer Experience teams. Responsible for partner growth and loyalty, Stacie ensures Carenet always delivers the highest level of client support and continuously increases the value of the company’s services.
Since joining Carenet in 2011, Stacie has successfully executed dozens of new program installations by partnering with all stakeholders on project delivery, customer experience, solution development and deployment, and revenue generation. To keep pace with Carenet’s exceptional growth, she’s expanded her team and created organizational socialization and professional development programs for new hires and current talent. With a keen eye for efficiency, Stacie continually collaborates with departments across the organization to refine processes to maximize resource utilization.
Stacie joined Carenet from American Express where she served for five years as program manager, global partner relations, responsible for merchant acquisition and optimization as well as customer marketing and engagement. Prior to American Express, she enjoyed eight years at West Corporation where she was promoted to business director responsible for the strategic direction and operational execution for Fortune 500 companies and the US government.
Stacie enjoys exploring Atlanta’s culinary scene and its many cultural activities, sporting events and parks with her husband, daughter and the family dog.
“Delighting our clients—and winning their hearts and minds—is our top priority.”
Julie Ring, Vice President, Marketing
With a strategic mind and creative eye, Julie drives Carenet’s market share gain and profitability and supports the organization’s mission, vision and values through the development and implementation of results-focused marketing initiatives.
A marketing maven with more than 20 years of multifaceted experience with high-growth companies, Julie’s expertise includes strategy development, plan execution and branding. Because her true loves are grammar and copywriting, Julie is also passionate about public relations, internal communications and social media. Since joining Carenet in 2013, her primary focus has been on building a world-class marketing team and elevating company awareness via numerous branding and public relations measures including the procurement of several performance and leadership awards.
Before joining Carenet, Julie was marketing vice president for SWBC, where she contributed to the company’s more than 30 percent annual growth for many years. Prior to SWBC, she served as corporate marketing and communication director for the Argonaut group and property and casualty insurance marketing director for USAA. A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Julie bleeds orange.
Active in her community, Julie serves as the board vice president of the Children's Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA). She is also a board member of Kinetic Kids and a Catholic Charities Foundation Advancement committee member. In her spare time, she enjoys running, blogging and spending quality time with her husband, three children and three dogs.
“I’m proud to be part of an expert team dedicated to tackling America’s healthcare crisis.”
Jane Binzak, Vice President, People Services
An experienced leader and energetic, forward-thinking individual with high ethical standards, People Services Vice President Jane Binzak oversees talent recruitment and acquisition, new-hire orientation, leadership training and development, performance management, employee relations, total rewards and succession planning.
Intent on maintaining Carenet’s status as “One of the Best Places to Work in San Antonio,” Jane has further enhanced the company’s award-winning culture through improved interdepartmental communication and new team-building events, employee wellness initiatives and philanthropic activities since joining the organization in early 2013.
Jane has more than 20 years of robust experience in human resources and employment law, primarily in customer-focused industries. The majority of her career was spent at Buffets, Inc., a $1.8 billion restaurant company with more than 30,000 employees in 450 locations across 42 states. Prior to joining Carenet, Jane served as human resources vice president at Food Safety Net Services.
Jane holds a juris doctor degree from Marquette University Law School and a bachelor’s degree in public administration, personnel emphasis, from St. Cloud State University. She is licensed to practice law in multiple states.
In her free time, Jane enjoys playing sports like volleyball and tennis and spending time with her husband, children and dogs. She also volunteers with Insight Dance Ensemble, a non-profit dance company for youth.
“Carenet is a lifestyle choice! The company’s happy, engaged team members create a contagious environment that promotes career growth and personal satisfaction.”