Leadership

Our experts span medical, scientific, and clinical operations

ERG’s Executive Management Team brings together experts spanning the medical, scientific, and clinical operations aspects of clinical research. They are bolstered by a Board of Directors with longstanding experience in the healthcare industry. Together, these leaders ensure ERG continues to follow a path of innovation underpinned by the vigilant approach toward quality we bring to all our clinical research.

Executive Management Team

Lori T. Wright

Chief Executive Officer

  • Diverse industry experience and clinical trial expertise, starting her career at one of the first full-service CROs in the industry-Oxford Research International Corporation, then moving to the site business as Director, Fieve Clinical Services and VP of Business and Network Development at Valence Research
  • Founded Thievon-Wright Consulting Group, LLC and grew it to the largest affiliate network of
    CNS sites in the US, providing centralized business development, financial, budgeting,
    contracting and compliance services to elite CNS research sites
  • In 2014, co-founded Evolution Research Group, LLC by merging Thievon-Wright with three network sites
  • Leads ERG through its expansion and diversification, both organically and through acquisitions, resulting in 4x growth
  • Holds a degree from Montclair State University (BS, Business Administration, Psychology)

Andria Chastain

Chief Operating Officer

  • Responsible for all clinical operations across the ERG portfolio, working closely with the medical and operational teams and bridging communication with the corporate leaders in finance, business development, and human capital
  • Industry veteran who oversaw clinical operations at several large multi-site SMOs  
  • Has worked on more than 100 early- to late-phase clinical trials
  • Provided clinical operations and project management services to Thievon-Wright and has been with ERG since its inception
  • Holds a degree from the University of North Carolina (BA, Psychology)

Daniel Gruener, MD

Chief Medical Officer

  • Served as Medical Director and Principal Investigator at St Louis Clinical Trials
  • Has participated in 400 early- and late-phase clinical trials
  • Industry-leading expert in psychiatry, pain, addiction, diabetes and HAL
  • Past board member of the American Pain Society
  • Author of numerous publications
  • Worked for PRAHS; CRI Worldwide; Penn Friends Behavioral Health System; Northeast Neuroscience Institute; Philadelphia Pain Program
  • Board certified by the American Academy of Pain Management and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Holds an MD from American University and a BS, Psychology

Dave Hennessy

Chief Information Officer

  • Built a dynamic and secure IT infrastructure to provide ERG with world-class service delivery
  • Known as a leader in the finance, software development and healthcare industries
  • Developed and implemented cloud strategies for clinical research facilities and public healthcare organizations
  • Holds a degree from the University of London (Business, Accounting, Computer Science)

Joanne Praul

Senior Vice President, Budgets and Contracts

  • Leads the budgets and contracts team and serves as ERG’s primary contact for all study budgets and contracts
  • Served as Senior Vice President, Budgets and Contracts at Thievon-Wright and has been with ERG since its inception
  • Prior experience as an investment advisor and licensed stockbroker
  • Previously employed by Merrill Lynch
  • Holds a degree from Kean University (BS, Business Management)

Stone Blacka

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Operations

  • Over 20 years of industry experience
  • Leads Business Development team
  • Leads the strategic growth initiatives across the ERG portfolio
  • Diverse experience in the clinical research industry
  • Deep operational expertise managing Phase II-IV clinical trials
  • Served as Client Relations Director at PRA International and Director of Contracts and Proposals over eight years at Lifetree Clinical Research

Jesse Deutsch

Chief Financial Officer

  • 20 years of finance and strategy experience in world class, multi-national companies (VISA, Kraft Foods, Smith Barney among others), leading M&A transactions and helping integrate them to create positive synergies
  • Has ensured consistency and standardization, while embedding best practices for finance and business processes at all of his previous employers
  • Passionate about executing with excellence while developing and motivating teams with a humanistic approach
  • Holds an MBA in Finance from New York University and completed his undergraduate work at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Calvez

Director, Human Resources and Communication

  • Passionate human resources and communications leader with over 20 years of experience
  • Previous work experience includes Pfizer, Medco Health Solutions, and DSM, where she was integral to the successful merger of several newly acquired companies and led the human resources change management program in North America
  • Experience in managing the implementation of a holistic communications structure and associated tools as well as rolling out programs to enhance the corporate image
  • Key areas of responsibility include managing the human resources function, automating HR systems, and handling communications and public relations

Board of Directors

Michael Farah

Chairman

  • Partner, Linden Capital Partners
  • Focuses on growth capital investments, recapitalizations, and management-led buyouts in the healthcare industry
  • Served as a Vice President at Metalmark Capital (focus on healthcare investment)
  • Spent three years with Summit Partners as a private equity associate
  • Began his career at UBS Investment Bank where he focused on M&A advisory and capital raising transactions for the healthcare sector
  • Holds degrees from Harvard Business School (MBA) and Carnegie Mellon University (Bachelor of Arts in Finance, with honors)

Lori T. Wright

Director

  • Chief Executive Officer, Evolution Research Group
  • Diverse industry experience and clinical trial expertise, starting her career at one of the first full-service CROs in the industry-Oxford Research International Corporation, then moving to the site business as Director, Fieve Clinical Services and VP of Business and Network Development at Valence Research
  • Founded Thievon-Wright Consulting Group, LLC and grew it to the largest affiliate network of
    CNS sites in the US, providing centralized business development, financial, budgeting,
    contracting and compliance services to elite CNS research sites
  • In 2014, co-founded Evolution Research Group, LLC by merging Thievon-Wright with three network sites
  • Leads ERG through its expansion and diversification, both organically and through acquisitions, resulting in 4x growth
  • Holds a degree from Montclair State University (BS, Business Administration, Psychology)

Piyush Shukla

Director

  • Partner, Linden Capital Partners
  • Served as a Principal with Warburg Pincus in London, where he evaluated and executed investment opportunities across the healthcare and consumer sectors
  • Began his career as a corporate tax specialist with Arthur Andersen, where he also qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales
  • Holds degrees from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (MBA) and Cambridge University [Master of Arts with honors in Natural Sciences (Astrophysics)]

Judith Dunn, PhD

Director

  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Atlas Venture
  • Pharmaceutical executive with over 25 years of CNS drug development expertise with both pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • Previously Vice President of Global Clinical Development at Roche in Basil, Switzerland and Head of Roche Innovation Center in NYC
  • Held leadership positions in both research and commercial neuroscience divisions at Pfizer and in clinical psychiatry at Sepracor
  • Holds degrees from the University of Rochester (PhD, Neurobiology) and Wesleyan University (MS, BS, Neurobiology)

Richard Cimino

Director

  • Mr. Richard F. Cimino is an independent consultant who focuses on growth equity in the Health Services sector. He is currently a Director of Evolution Research Group and chairs the Strategy, Innovation and Differentiation Committee.
  • Served as Partner at Trevi Strategic Opportunities, a private equity firm in the Health Services sector.
  • Previously served as Executive Vice President and Group President Clinical Development and Commercialization Services at Covance, Inc. Mr. Cimino oversaw global operations in 60+ countries for: Clinical Pharmacology, Early Clinical Development, Phase II/IV Clinical Development, Commercialization Services as well as Covance’s Molecule Development Group. He was a member of the company’s Operating Committee, Executive Committee and Benefits Committee. Mr. Cimino also directed corporate strategy and reported directly to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Under Mr. Cimino’s 12 years of leadership, Covance’s Clinical Development Services business grew considerably, increasing in scale, profitability, size, and strategic service capability.
  • Held several senior management positions during a 20-year career at Eastman Kodak. Most notably, he served as Corporate Vice President, Health Imaging Group, where he was instrumental in the digital transformation of Kodak’s second-largest business, now Carestream Health Inc.
  • Mr. Cimino holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the State University of New York at Geneseo.