Our People

Whether it’s the leadership team guiding our shared values or the Board of Directors driving our mission of moving health care forward for employers, our people are ethically principled and passionate about delivering on our promise of improved access to high-value health care for employers and their families.

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Our Business Development & Account Management Teams

Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Marketing
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Dr. Melina Kambitsi joined The Alliance in 2017 and leads the team responsible for membership growth and retention of the cooperative. Dr. Kambitsi comes to The Alliance from Network Health in Milwaukee and Menasha, Wisconsin. where she was chief sales and strategy officer. In this role, she was responsible for sales and underwriting, strategic planning, product development and risk-based contract analytics. Earlier she was senior vice president of sales at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Honolulu, Hawaii and the vice president of sales, marketing and product development at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Dr. Kambitsi currently serves on National CooperativeRx's Board of Directors.

Dr. Kambitsi received her bachelor’s in international studies and her master’s and doctorate degrees in economic geography at The Ohio State University. She speaks Greek fluently as well as four other languages (Spanish, French, Romanian and Russian).

Read articles written by Melina

Mike Roche

Director of Business Development
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Mike Roche joined The Alliance  in 2015. He is responsible for working with prospective employers, their broker/consultant and their TPA partners to introduce them to self-funded health benefit strategies; sharing data-based information to manage their health care spend; and serving as a voice of The Alliance to expand our membership.

Mike has a strong background in health benefits and self-funding. He previously served as a regional sales advisor for Digital Benefits Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin, where he managed the health benefits for more than 160 credit union clients across 14 states. Prior to that position, Mike worked at CUNA Mutual Group in their employee benefits division for almost 10 years as an employee benefits sales specialist.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree with a double major in marketing and business administration and is licensed in both health and life insurance in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Montana.

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Paul Roelke

Manager of Member Services
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Paul Roelke joined The Alliance in 2013 and currently serves as Manager of Member Services where he leads the team responsible for developing and implementing services and solutions for employer-sponsored health benefit plans. Paul has more than 15 years of experience in benefits and insurance, including positions with UMR and Wellpoint. Paul received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has held his Wisconsin insurance license since 2003.

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Bobbie Jo Aue

Account Executive
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Bobbie Jo Aue joined The Alliance in 2021 and serves as Account Executive where she uses her wealth of experience in Network design, implementation, and analysis to better service employer-members and their brokers. Bobbie Jo comes from UMR where she held the role Director of Customer Solutions - Networks for over 11 years. Other previous positions include Network Administrator/ Contract Manager roles at UMR, Security Health Plan, and Fiserv Health. Bobbie Jo earned her degree from UW-Steven's Point.

Theresa Islo

Account Executive
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Theresa comes to us from The University of Wisconsin- Extended Campus where she served as Academic Program Manager of the Health and Wellness Management online degrees and certificates. Prior to her time at UW, she worked to foster employee well-being in healthy workplaces through her role at the Wellness Council of Wisconsin, Inc. She also spent over a decade consulting with primarily self-funded employers on all aspects of their health and other benefit plans. Theresa is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), holding a BS from UW- Milwaukee and an MBA from Alverno College.

Theresa brings a wealth of account and project management experience as well as a strong self-funding background that will be of asset in servicing our employer-members and broker/TPA partners.

Our Provider Contracting & Relations Team

Deb Kunferman

Vice President of Provider Contracting & Relations
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Deb Kunferman joined The Alliance in 2013 and now serves as Vice President of Provider Contracting & Relations. Kunferman leads the team responsible for constructing a provider network that brings value to employer health care purchasing by providing direction and oversight of provider network development strategies, including maintaining and growing provider partnerships.

Kunferman previously served as CEO at Cumberland Memorial Hospital where she oversaw the fiscal budget, 26 departments, and 285 employees. Other prior roles include CEO at Oakleaf Surgical Hospital and Executive Director for Valley Health Plan, an insurance plan in Eau Claire, WI.

Kunferman earned her Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and has served on several Boards in the Eau Claire community over the course of her career, including United Way and Children’s Service Society, and she was elected as the first female president of Kiwanis Club in the organization’s 42-year history.

Holly Dooley

Provider Contracting & Relations Manager
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Holly Dooley joined The Alliance in 2020 as Provider Contracting & Relations Manager where she oversees provider relationship management and strategy to help employers get more value from their health plans.

Holly brings more than 25 years’ experience in the insurance industry, including roles with a nationwide insurer, a major provider health system, and a family-owned benefits brokerage firm in Western Wisconsin.

Jess Robinson

Provider Contracting & Relations Manager
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Jess Robinson joined The Alliance in 2019 as Provider Contracting & Relations Manager where he oversees provider relationship management and strategy to help employers get more value from their health plans. Robinson’s previous roles include Contracting Manager at Dean Health Plan and Product Manager at Navitus Health Solutions.

Jess has over 20 years of experience in contracting and network development and has served Dane County as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for over 22 years.

Jess Ellefson

Provider Contracting & Relations Specialist
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Jess Ellefson joined The Alliance in 2015 and now serves as Provider Contracting & Relations Specialist where she focuses on improving employer health plans through the creation of high-value provider networks and growing provider relationships. Ellefson previously served as Project Coordinator – Health Care Transformation as the initial point of contact for value measurement programs at The Alliance.

Jess has over 20 years of experience in the health care industry, including health care marketing, claims, emergency services coordinator, and projects for compliance and coding

Our Leadership Team

Cheryl DeMars

President and CEO
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Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative.

Cheryl participates in a number of national and regional initiatives that align with The Alliance’s mission of controlling costs, improving quality, and engaging individuals in their health. She serves as board chair of the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) and is a board member for Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

Prior to joining The Alliance, Cheryl was a program manager at Meriter Hospital in Madison. She earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read articles written by Cheryl

Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Marketing
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Dr. Melina Kambitsi joined The Alliance in 2017 and leads the team responsible for membership growth and retention of the cooperative. Dr. Kambitsi comes to The Alliance from Network Health in Milwaukee and Menasha, Wisconsin. where she was chief sales and strategy officer. In this role, she was responsible for sales and underwriting, strategic planning, product development and risk-based contract analytics. Earlier she was senior vice president of sales at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Honolulu, Hawaii and the vice president of sales, marketing and product development at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Dr. Kambitsi currently serves on National CooperativeRx's Board of Directors.

Dr. Kambitsi received her bachelor’s in international studies and her master’s and doctorate degrees in economic geography at The Ohio State University. She speaks Greek fluently as well as four other languages (Spanish, French, Romanian and Russian).

Read articles written by Melina

Deb Kunferman

Vice President of Provider Contracting & Relations
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Deb Kunferman joined The Alliance in 2013 and now serves as Vice President of Provider Contracting & Relations. Kunferman leads the team responsible for constructing a provider network that brings value to employer health care purchasing by providing direction and oversight of provider network development strategies, including maintaining and growing provider partnerships.

Kunferman previously served as CEO at Cumberland Memorial Hospital where she oversaw the fiscal budget, 26 departments, and 285 employees. Other prior roles include CEO at Oakleaf Surgical Hospital and Executive Director for Valley Health Plan, an insurance plan in Eau Claire, WI.

Kunferman earned her Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and has served on several Boards in the Eau Claire community over the course of her career, including United Way and Children’s Service Society, and she was elected as the first female president of Kiwanis Club in the organization’s 42-year history.

Doug Benzine

Vice President of Finance and Operations
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Doug Benzine joined The Alliance in 2022 as VP of Finance and Operations where he oversees the claims and customer service, finance, MIS, and HR departments, as well as business planning and reporting.

Doug has over 30 years’ experience in business finance and organizational operations, including VP of Operations at WPS Health Solutions, where he orchestrated the expansion of the fastest-growing, most profitable division of the organization from 275 employees to more than 800 while managing the largest federal Veteran Affairs (VA) health claims administration contract in the nation using a $95 million budget that processed 18 million medical claims per year.

Doug earned his BBA in finance at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, and his MBA from UW-Madison’s school of business. Benzine has lived, worked, and served the Madison area for most of his career, serving on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including Summit Credit Union, Wind River Financial, and the Benzine/Anderson Foundation.

Our Board of Directors

The Alliance elects board members with a diverse set of skills and qualifications to ensure all of our employer’s needs are met. Hear from a few of our current board members about the benefits of serving on The Alliance Board of Directors.

James Beier

Chief Financial Officer
Fall River Group
Fall River, WI

One of the largest non-ferrous foundry groups in the Americas specializing in sand & die castings for the plumbing, fire protection, petroleum, and electrical industries.

Jim Beier has been the Chief Financial Officer of Fall River Group since 2021 after joining as Vice President of Finance in 2020. As CFO he has responsibility for finance and operations. Beier has considerable experience with multinational corporations in global finance, operations and strategy, and accounting. Prior to joining Fall River Group, where he also serves as Board Treasurer, Beier spent 13 years at Fiskars Group and held leadership roles in the United States and Finland. As Head of Finance for Supply Chain, he oversaw finance for a $700 million global supply chain division and was responsible for the accounting, reporting, budgeting, strategic planning, transfer pricing and banking activity across multinational subsidiaries. Beier received his MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater and completed undergraduate studies in Accounting and Finance at the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin-Eau Claire, respectively.

Richard Campbell

Head of Human Resources
ABS Global, a division of Genus PLC
DeForest, Wisconsin

World-leading provider of bovine genetics, reproduction services, technologies and udder care products.

Campbell joined ABS Global, a division of Genus PLC, in 2018 as head of human resources for the company’s 1,700 employees worldwide. His responsibilities include focusing the organization’s human resources on serving as a business partner in developing talent to meet strategic and tactical needs. Campbell was previously employed at Glanbia as human resources, vice president and at CUNA Mutual Group as HR business partner leader, vice president. Earlier, he held positions at Think3 Inc., Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Applied Materials. He has a master’s degree in languages from The University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a postgraduate diploma in human resources management from Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Campbell joined The Alliance Board of Directors in 2018.

Diana Clark

Board Chair

Benefits Manager
Promega Corporation
Madison, Wisconsin

Global leaders in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry.

Clark has been the benefits manager at Promega Corporation since July 2016. In this role, she designs and manages all health and welfare, leave of absence and retirement programs, including all compliance activities. Clark previously held Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certifications. Clark was previously employed at QBE as a lead benefits analyst and has held positions at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare, Festival Foods and CUNA Mutual Group. Clark joined The Alliance Board of Directors in 2017.

Dan Ludwig Board of Directors The Alliance Self-Funding Smart

Dan Ludwig

Director of Benefits & Safety
Brakebush Brothers, Inc.
Westfield, Wisconsin

A value-added, socially responsible processor of great-tasting chicken products with four processing facilities that handle over 200 products with capacities ranging from 5,000-10,000 pounds per hour.

Ludwig joined Brakebush Brothers as safety manager in 2004 where he now holds the position of director of benefits & safety. Ludwig developed Brakebush Brothers’ Centers of Excellence program which includes steerage and international prescription benefits and for which he received a Health Transformation Award from The Alliance in 2018. The following year, Ludwig was awarded the Employer/Purchaser Excellence Award in recognition of innovation in healthcare strategy – previous winners of the award include Walmart and Disney. Prior to an impressive career at Brakebush Brothers, he held leadership and safety roles in the Sheboygan and Green Bay areas.

Jake Nolin

Vice Chair

Vice President of Human Resources
Rice Lake Weighing Systems
Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Family-owned, international leader of manufacturing and distribution of weight-related products and process-control equipment.

Jake Nolin joined Rice Lake Weighing Systems as Director of Human Resources in 2011. In this role, Nolin focuses on providing high-value health care at his company. Prior to his current role, Nolin held human resources leadership positions at Fortune Brands, Newell-Rubbermaid, and GKN. Nolin holds an M.B.A. in Human Resources Management, a master’s degree in Business Law, is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, a Master Trainer for Mission Directed Workteams and a Master Facilitator for Investment in Excellence and Thought Patterns for High Performance. Nolin joined The Alliance Board of Directors in 2020.

Brad Olm

Vice President of Human Resources
Gordon Flesch Company, Inc.
Madison, Wisconsin

Leaders in business technology with locations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Olm joined Gordon Flesch Company as vice president of human resources in 2010. He previously served in human resource leadership positions at Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, CUNA Mutual Group, Allstate Insurance Company and Avon Products. He also served as an active duty commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Olm has served on The Alliance Board of Directors since 2013 and served as board chair in 2015 and 2016.

Craig Parsons

President
Palmer Johnson Power Systems
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Leader in servicing and supplying components for heavy-duty, off highway transmissions and axles.

Parsons joined Palmer Johnson Power Systems in 2004 as president. In this role, he is leading the overall business operations for Palmer Johnson Power Systems. Earlier, he was a partner in Agave Group, LLC. Parsons has a MBA in entrepreneurship from the UW-Madison School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Russian history and creative writing from Stanford University. Parsons joined The Alliance Board of Directors in 2019.

Kyle Reading

President
Spuncast, Inc.
Watertown, Wisconsin

Manufacturer and supplier of quality centrifugal castings to the construction, food, pulp and paper, mineral and ore processing, steel processing, metal extruding and defense industries.

Reading has been with Spuncast since 2003 and has served on the Spuncast Board of Directors since 2004. He served as vice president and CFO from 2008 to 2015. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing all financial decisions and operations, along with information systems in the organization. Reading became Spuncast’s president in March 2015. Reading is involved in negotiating and the decision process in all health care policies and overall business operations for Spuncast. He is currently the trustee for both the Spuncast 401(k) and ESOP plans. Reading has served on The Alliance Board of Directors since 2011 and was the 2014 board chair.

John Stephens

Chief Strategy Officer
WPS Health Solutions
Madison, Wisconsin

WPS Health Plan is celebrating 75 years as a nationally regarded benefits administrator for a variety of U.S. government programs and serving millions of people across Wisconsin and the Midwest as a not-for-profit health insurer.

 Stephens is the Chief Strategy Officer at WPS, with responsibility for the Strategy and Human Resources teams, and oversight for WPS’ Health Insurance business. Stephens joined WPS in 2013, bringing expertise in strategic planning, business growth, and health care business model innovation. He previously co-led the health care practice at Bridge Strategy Group (acquired by Houlihan Lokey), after several years working with a wide array of clients in financial services, health care, transportation, manufacturing, energy, and technology. Stephens is a community board member for the Wisconsin chapter of JDRF, and in the past served on the board of Aspirus Arise Health Plan. Stephens earned a degree in economics from Northwestern University, and an MBA with concentrations in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Wendy Whitehead Board of Directors The Alliance Self-Funding Smart

Wendy Whitehead

Director of Rewards & HR Service Delivery
Kwik Trip, Inc.
La Crosse, Wisconsin

A family-owned convenience store chain, headquartered in La Crosse, WI, that employers more than 28,000 people at 700+ locations across the Midwest.

Whitehead joined Kwik Trip in 1999 as HR intern and held various HR, employment, recruiting, and benefits positions before becoming director of rewards & HR service delivery in 2019. In her role, she provides strategic leadership and direction for several HR teams comprising of more than 50 professionals who are responsible for benefits, payroll, HRIS, and HR call center. In addition to her impressive career at Kwik Trip, she is Board Chair for 1st Community Credit Union and has professional affiliations with the La Crosse Society for Human Resource Management (LASHRM), Society for Human Resource Management, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) Business Advisory Council. Whitehead currently serves on The Alliance Health Policy Committee.

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