This is our team: a lot of hard-working people reaching new heights in clinical research.
Chief Executive Officer
Tom has a diverse background with 33 years of progressive responsibility in pharmaceutical R&D and healthcare. He is the CEO and member of the Board of Directors of CenExel Clinical Research, the premier network of clinical research sites with expertise in Analgesia, Psychiatry, Neurology, Early Phase patient populations and Japanese bridging studies. Tom was previously the CEO of eStudySite, a leading network of clinical research sites in Infectious Disease pharmaceutical drug development.
Tom was the Chief Operating Officer of Worldwide Clinical Trials (WCT), a full service, phase I-IV global contract research organization with operations in more than 40 countries. At its founding, Tom was instrumental in identifying and evaluating acquisition targets, leading to five CRO acquisitions, followed by aggressive and successful integration in to a single platform. Subsequently, the company grew organically from 400 employees to more 1,400 employees.
From 1997 to 2007, Tom held executive management positions at two other global contract research organizations, which are now part of Syneos Health.
From 1988 to 1997 Tom was the Operations Manager at California Clinical Trials, one of the largest Phase I–III investigational sites which specialized in sophisticated clinical pharmacology studies of CNS medications. He also had management oversight of International Clinical Trials in London, England. Tom has an undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology from BYU, a Master of Science in Kinesiology from UCLA and a Master of Business Administration (Finance) from Rutgers University.
VP of Process and Quality Improvement
Jim is an entrepreneurial, innovative business leader with 20+ years of multifaceted and progressively responsible expertise in driving large-scale, visionary business transformations and integrations within pharmaceutical, financial services, and manufacturing industries. As a global project manager, he offers a blended background in operations and continuous improvement. In addition, he has a demonstrated track record of success in leveraging his MBA and GE leadership training with skills in engineering, Six Sigma, and data analytics to drive strategic cost containment, informed decision making, measurable process improvements, positive organizational change, and operational excellence.
Chief Information Officer
Rob has worked in the pharmaceutical and clinical research industry for over 25 years in a variety of positions. From 2018 to 2021, he was the Director of Quality Engineering at KitePharma, a Gilead company and a front-runner in cell and gene therapy. He was QE lead on the implementation of the organization’s major quality business applications. In addition, he was the QE lead in the implementation of the organization’s research manufacturing facility and served as point contact for IT system compliance at numerous health authority inspections for Kite’s commercial and clinical divisions.
Prior to this, he was the Chief Information Officer of Worldwide Clinical Trials, a premier global clinical research organization, for eight years where he was responsible for building the company’s information systems platform at all levels. In addition, he has worked in Clarkston Consulting’s Life Science Group as a Senior Consultant for a wide variety of pharmaceutical and life science companies. Before this, Rob was the Vice President of a clinical research division of United Healthcare and Director of IT for a clinical research organization based in Atlanta. Rob has a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master’s of Science in Information Systems & Technology from Claremont Graduate University. He has expertise on the matter of data integrity in the pharmaceutical industry and has spoken on the subject at industry conferences including publishing several articles on the topic.
Chief Financial Officer
Todd Orullian serves as the Cenexel Chief Financial Officer. He is a strong senior executive with many years of finance, accounting, and operational experience. Todd is a highly self-motivated individual with a proven track record of success and exceptional performance in corporate strategy and execution. He is a results-oriented professional with a strong work ethic.
Todd has spent the last 20+ years as a CFO primarily with companies providing services to the healthcare industry. These companies include Nelson Laboratories, AAPC, The MGIS Companies, and Professional Staff Management, Inc. His problem-solving abilities have helped companies overcome growth challenges, improve business operations, and enhance profitability. He has an extensive background in mergers & acquisitions and in leading all aspects of finance for many organizations. Before joining the corporate world, Todd was an audit manager for the international public accounting firm of Ernst & Young where he worked with many pre-eminent clients of the firm.
Born in Salt Lake City, Todd attended the University of Utah, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, graduated Summa cum laude and was selected as the Outstanding Scholar of the School of Accounting. He then obtained his MBA from the University of Utah where he was the Dean’s Scholar and recipient of the UACPA Outstanding Graduate Student award. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
VP of Business Development and Integration
Kevin has 25+ years of experience in medical devices and healthcare services. He has successfully achieved aggressive business objectives through effective leadership, skillful product development, market analysis, and negotiation of strategic partnerships. Prior to CenExel, Kevin was the COO of Webster portfolio company HQRC Management, a pediatric dental practice in the Northeast. At HQRC, Kevin led the practice’s expansion from 6 locations to 13 locations in 18 months through both acquisitions and de novos. He has also held prior roles as the VP of Sales/Marketing at ActivStyle Minneapolis, a medical equipment company, and Optigen, a DME business focused on treatment for sleep apnea.
Kevin was founder of EyeTel Imaging, a devise enabled service company that provided screening for diabetic retinopathy in the primary care setting. He was responsible for the development and clinical testing of a semi-automated digital fundus camera, established manufacturing in China, signed a strategic alliance with a top 10 pharma company, negotiated provider agreements with 21 of the top 22 managed health plans in the US and established a telemedicine retinal reading center in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute.
He has also held prior executive roles in private equity backed companies in a consumer focused DME business, a home sleep testing for Sleep Apnea and, a medical equipment company, focused on treatment for sleep apnea in the military. Kevin began his career with The Upjohn Company in sales and marketing.
Judy Montero, PsyD
Director of Clinical Assessments
Dr. Montero has a doctorate degree in clinical psychology with concentration in neuropsychology. Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry in 2002, she worked in a multidisciplinary clinical setting providing psychological services and conducting neuropsychological assessments to heterogeneous populations, including assisting with the diagnosis, development, and implementation of behavioral interventions for children and adults with various disorders.
Judy started in this industry working as a rater and sub-investigator for a large South Florida network of research sites. Over nearly a decade, she participated in numerous clinical trials, developed inter-rater reliability programs and supervised the rater team. This on-site experience was invaluable in her role as a Lead Clinical Scientist with Syneos Health’s Clinical Surveillance & Training group.
During the 10 years working for this large Contract Research Organization, Judy developed rater training and data monitoring programs to ensure quality efficacy outcomes for psychiatric and neurologic studies in multiple indications, including Parkinson’s disease, Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and mood disorders. Dr. Montero is fully bilingual in English and Spanish with extensive experience administering clinical assessments and conducting training presentations in both languages.
Centers of Excellence Leadership
Sarah Kazmi, MD
VP and General Manager, CenExel ACMR
Dr. Kazmi is bringing 15 years of extensive experience in Phase I-IV clinical trials spanning many therapeutic areas. She has a strong leadership background and a proven track record of managing large clinical research sites.
Robert Riesenberg, MD
Founder and Principal Investigator, CenExel ACMR
Dr. Riesenberg is a research psychiatrist with four decades of experience. His primary focus is on CNS, PK, Healthy Normal, and Child/Adolescent disorders. Dr. Riesenberg has been the Principal Investigator in over 600 studies.
Dr. Riesenberg earned a bachelor’s degree in both Zoology and Psychology from Memphis State University in 1972. In 1975, he earned his MD from the University of Tennessee. He is licensed to practice in Georgia.
CEO, CenExel ACT
Patrick McLaughlin graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Austin in 1999. Patrick’s entry into the Clinical Research space was in 1996, when he was recruited to a full-service multi-specialty dedicated research site, as President. Three years into the position at the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR), sales were up 600% and the ownership group desired to sell the company.
In March of 1999, Patrick was the principal negotiator in arranging a deal that sold ICR to Protocare, a Site Management Organization. Protocare named ICR as one of their premier sites in Centerwatch and one in which other Protocare sites would be modeled after. Shortly after the sale, Protocare was acquired by Radiant Research and ICR to this day is one of Radiant’s leading sites nearly 23 years after its acquisition.
In May of 1999, Patrick started working at Advanced Clinical Research Institute in Anaheim, CA as its Executive Director. Exclusively conducting Phase 2-4 studies for its entire history Patrick made a decision for the company to enter the Phase I sector. Dr. Dennis Riff and Patrick McLaughlin funded the purchase of an 8,800 square foot dedicated Phase I facility in 2007, and re-branded the company as Anaheim Clinical Trials.
Through years of continued success and the need for additional investment in order to move the company to the next level and to a much larger state-of-the-art research facility, a decision was made to bring on an additional investment partner which was completed in February 2019.
Robert E. Litman, MD
Medical Director and Principal Investigator, CenExel CBH
Robert E. Litman, M.D., is the Medical Director and Principal Investigator for all clinical trials at CenExel CBH. He developed his interest in the treatment of schizophrenia at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he completed his residency in Psychiatry. Shortly thereafter, he joined the Experimental Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, as a Senior Staff Fellow remaining at NIH until 1995, where he continued to pursue his interest in schizophrenia, including investigating the effects of atypical neuroleptics biological and genetic markers in schizophrenia, as well as the development of better combination therapies for schizophrenia using the alpha-2 antagonist idazoxan. After leaving the NIH, he formed his own clinical trials research organization, first in conjunction with area hospitals, and then as a free-standing inpatient and outpatient clinical research organization now known as CenExel CBH. Since then he has conducted over 300 Phase I-IV clinical trials and has participated in many of the important advances in pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia and other brain disorders.
Dr. Litman has an extensive background in psychopharmacology, the evaluation and treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar, major depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer disease. He serves as a consultant in psychopharmacology to many area hospitals and group practices, has over 30 academic publications, and frequently speaks about new advances in the field of psychopharmacology, and on the current issues regarding drug development for psychiatric illness. He is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, (where he teaches and trains Psychiatry residents) and a Fellow and Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and Diplomate, Added Qualifications in Geriatric Psychiatry.
Debra Hoffmeyer, MA, CCMA
CEO, CenExel CIT
Debra began her career in biotechnology, and has since held every position from patient recruiter and clinical research technician to rater and CEO of CenExel CIT. Debra holds certification in clinical research and is a member of the Society of Clinical Research Associates, the CNS Summit, National Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit (NCDEU) of the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. She serves on the Finance Committee and Working Groups for Suicidal Thinking and Behavior Assessment and Signal Detection of the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM). As CEO, Debra focuses her time on business development and attending conferences on the latest advancements in research and development.
Todd Bertoch, MD
Chair, CenExel Analgesic Advisory Board
Chief Medical Officer, JBR Clinical Research
Dr. Todd Bertoch is board-certified in Anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry from California State University at Fullerton and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. After an internship in Internal Medicine, he completed his Anesthesiology residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he was Chief Resident and received the Arthur B. Tarrow Outstanding Resident Award. He is a member of the esteemed Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Dr. Bertoch served as an anesthesiologist in the United States Air Force until 2006. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Dr. Bertoch was deployed to Mindanao in the southern Philippines and later to Balad Air Base in Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a recipient of the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
After completing his military service, Dr. Bertoch served for 11 years as the managing partner of Prescott Anesthesia in Prescott, Arizona where his practice included a focus on chronic pain management and addiction medicine. He joined JBR Clinical Research as Chief Scientific Officer in 2017.
Peter Ventre, MD
President and Founder, Research Centers of America
President and Founder, Ventre Medical Associates
Chief of Psychiatry, Broward Health Medical Center
Within the research community, Dr. Peter Ventre has built a strong reputation over the years as being a diligent and insightful investigator. With experience in more than 125 clinical trials, he ensures excellent patient care and thorough involvement in the research process.
Dr. Ventre is board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Science from the University of Puerto Rico and continued his medical studies at San Juan Bautista School of Medicine in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He earned his medical degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana, Santo Domingo and completed residencies at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Cabrini Medical Center for Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. He then completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Florida Psychiatry Program.
In addition to being a principal investigator at Research Centers of America, Dr. Ventre is the owner of one of Broward County’s largest group practices, Ventre Medical Associates (VMA). VMA provides a quality referral source for potential RCA research subjects. VMA is also contracted with Broward Health, Broward County’s largest hospital system, to provide all psychiatric services for two of their largest hospitals: Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health Imperial Point. Dr. Ventre serves as Chief of Psychiatry at Broward Health Medical Center.
Howard Schwartz, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Research Centers of America
Dr. Howard Schwartz is the Chief Medical Officer for Research Centers of America and serves as Principal Investigator on vaccine and phase I trials, as well as a sub-investigator on most other trials. He has been involved with over 1,000 trials in multiple therapeutic areas and attributes his success to combining a well-trained research staff with a skilled investigator and motivated trial participant. Throughout his career, he has always led with integrity and made sure all members of the team are well trained on GCP and study-specific requirements.
Dr. Schwartz is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology and practiced in South Florida for over 30 years. He is now focusing on making RCA the premier research site in South Florida. He has lectured and published extensively on many of the clinical trials in which he has participated. Additionally, he served as an industry consultant and on numerous data safety management boards.
Dr. Schwartz was born in Philadelphia, but moved to Florida to attend college and never went home. He is a graduate of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine where he also completed his internal medicine residency and Gastroenterology Fellowship. He is married with three children. He is an avid sports fan, golfer, and boater.