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Business Owners

7 Innovative Healthcare CEOs in the Middle Market


With continually evolving regulations and an aging population, the healthcare sector is one of the most important and most closely watched sectors today. Various factors, including a shift from volume- to value-based care, improvements in technology, and new laws and regulations, are driving the traditionally fragmented healthcare industry as a whole toward consolidation.

Innovation in the sector is also on the rise. Here are seven CEOs building upon technology and other developments in the industry to solve unique challenges.

Dr. Alex Giannini, CEO of Blackford Dental Management

Alex was first brought on to the three-year old dental services organization (DSO) in the fall of 2014 in a consulting capacity to help patch the holes that were losing the company over half a million dollars a month. By January 2015 Blackford was break-even, and by March they were making money for the first time.

The investors in the business took another look at the company and saw tremendous growth opportunity with Alex at the helm. “It’s been quite a turnaround,” Alex says. “Same store sales have increased over 75% and EBITDA growth has been astronomically high.”

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William Deary, CEO of Great Lakes Caring

William Deary got the idea for Great Lakes Caring from his wife. Having exited a business in the publishing industry after taking it public, he was in the market for a new career. His wife had been involved in the home healthcare industry, but was not enthused at the lack of patient centricity in such a vital sector for care.

“I started to write a business plan for her,” William says. “Her mission was simple. I want to be the best home health care in Jackson.” The business model would be to take great care of patients and divide the business into two decision-making centers, one that focused on the patients and one that focused on the operations.

Once the business grew to 25 employees, William’s wife Cheri Lyn, said “no more growth.” Today, Great Lakes Caring employs 2,600 employees across 25 different offices and 7 states.

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Robert Herzog, CEO of eCaring

In the last years of Robert Herzog’s mother’s life, he underwent a pivotal, transitional moment when someone he loved started to need a lot of care. “It’s a physical, financial, and emotional transition no one is prepared for,” he says.

With a background in nearly everything but healthcare, the businessman in Robert couldn’t help but recognize the unfortunate opportunity. “I saw how terrible the systems were for generating good information out of the home,” he says of the firsthand experience he had in coordinating home care for his ailing mother.

He says the status quo in home healthcare was that of a “black box which produced no useful patient data.” He saw many of his peers going through similar experiences with loved ones and the frustrations that came from dealing with care providers who were not trained to read the minds of the elderly and the ill. The information gap between patient and caregiver is a constant source of stress for family members and treating physicians, who are not privy to the ongoing data points needed to assess progress.

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Adam Banks, CEO of NYSportsMed

What can you do with $20,000 in New York City? Spend a couple months rent on a small one bedroom apartment, do some damage on 5th Avenue, get two box seats to the ill-fated Mets World Series closer…

Or, start what today is one of the most sought-after physical therapy facilities for city dwellers who move and shake just a little too much.

Twenty thousand dollars is exactly what Adam Banks and his two co-founders had in the bank when they opened the doors to NYSportsMed in 2007. Today, they have three locations on some of the city’s busiest corners and are eyeing expansion opportunities both in space and services.

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Chris Welch, CEO of ZenoLink

A biomedical engineer by trade, Chris Welch has spent over 25 years in the industry in various capacities. After having spent some time on the research side of the business, Chris saw an opportunity for a business model of this own. His first concept, Welch Tech evolved into ZenoLink in 2011.

ZenoLink provides information on functional movement through its innovative technology. They specialize in sports performance assessments but also look into worker compensation issues. By using a 3D motion capture process they can analyze human movement and often influence injury prevention.

“What’s unique is that we’re not selling hardware, which is what some companies in this space do,” says Chris. “We provide our information from a solutions perspective.” Chris developed a patent for a unique process for creating 3D data from standard video (as opposed to markers or sensors which is how many of his competitors operate).

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John Golden, Founder of Medical Technologies of Georgia

John Golden started his first company, Medical Marketing Group, at his dining room table in 1973, with the help of his three children. “This was the good old days when you could do things like that,” he says.

“We started making some catheters. I was living on Long Island and I’d go to the city in the daytime and sell my wares, and at night I’d make the product with my kids.” He took out a second mortgage on his house and rented out a neighbor’s garage for $15 a month to get the business going.

Medical Marketing Group ultimately grew to a $22 million company. When John was 65, the company’s patents were expiring. He decided to sell for $42 million.

“I figured I’d never get back into the business. Everyone would figure out what needed to be done to improve on what we started.”

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John Bhakdi, CEO of Quantgene

John Bhakdi’s Quantgene is a biotech startup, specializing in cancer diagnostics. The company was founded in 2015 and is making cancer a curable disease through a new blood-based universal screening test.

John worked in M&A, venture capital, and quantitative finance before and has always been passionate about finding a solution to cancer. The disease runs in his family, and most of his relatives are doctors or scientists. He has been discussing early cancer detection with family members for the last 20 years.

“I always found it crazy that all we can do right now is to wait until we get diagnosed with late stage cancer,” John says. “We live in the 21st century and still have no way of detecting cancers early.” Then, in 2014, John saw a series of critical technical advances happening and quickly assembled the best minds in the field to create Quantgene with the objective to detect cancer in stages 1 and 2 rather than 3 or 4.

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