- Management Team
- Ledger Member Advisors
- Medical Advisors
- Commercial Management Advisors
- Former Executive
- Corporation Administration
Robert S. Schultz
Co-Founder and CEO
Robert Schultz is the Co-Founder and CEO of Direct Allergy, LLC. He is a “tested leader” and “innovator” within the Healthcare Industry with over 30 Years of successful commercial business experience. His specific areas of expertise include Operations Management, Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Brand Management, Data Analytics. Mr. Schultz has been recognized at a national level for numerous professional management achievements within two distinct industries: Pharmaceutical (Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, & GSK-Reliant) & Automotive Manufacturing (Ford Motor Company Corporate). Mr. Schultz set out to create national brand recognition for “The Direct Allergy Service Model” and has accomplished just that within a very fractured market, including the negative spill-over of industry challenges (regulatory) and the Pandemic. To overcome such challenges required a great deal of grit, patience, discipline, and strategic execution. The Direct Allergy business model has been pressure tested in 7 states and over 40 beta sites since its inception. Mr. Schultz has built an infrastructure for dependable and reliable vendors supporting the Direct Allergy organization on an-ongoing basis without interruption. In addition, he has aligned with the Pennsylvania State University to develop a sustainable internship program for Penn State students within the Finance and Accounting program which created a win-win situation for Direct Allergy, Penn State Students. It is this kind of collaboration that earned his organization (Direct Allergy, LLC) the Corporate Partner of the Year Award by The Pennsylvania State University – Erie, PA. After the successful completion of this extended beta-test program, the company launched commercialization of a field proven business concept to the front-line of medicine (Primary Care) and Pulmonary Specialty to better improve patient access to Advanced Allergy Services. The Direct Allergy Business Model developed by Mr. Schultz and his partners is focused on “Advanced Allergy Immunotherapy Testing & Treatment Service Support” for healthcare clients, specifically Healthcare Systems with multiple PCP locations. The business platform addresses “Three Distinct Market Needs” within the Allergy/Respiratory Space:
- Specialty Service Support for Allergen Immunotherapy Testing & Treatment
- Specialty Marketing Support for Clients
- To offer a relatively new and novel treatment modality to the market; Allergen Toothpaste
Direct Allergy, LLC is a reputable late-stage start-up organization that has established an internal and commercial management team to manage its economic resources in order to maximize business opportunity. Mr. Schultz and his management team is very confident that they have identified the perfect pathway to “go-to-market” and SCALE the organization to a national platform or multi-regional platform.
Jay L. Gruhlkey, M.D.
Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Gruhlkey is a well-known and respected figure in Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Gruhlkey is the Past-President of the Pan American Allergy Society which was the largest society for PCPs (Family & Internal Medicine) that implement Allergen Immunotherapy Testing & Treatment Clinics within the Primary Care Environment. Dr Gruhlkey also serves on the National Procedure Institute (NPI) and has trained over 3,500 primary care physicians, internists, pediatric physicians, and ENT Specialists in the discipline of Allergy Testing & Treatment. He is a well-known and respected figure within the Allergy and Immunology industry nationally and has been the recipient of numerous leadership awards throughout his career. Dr. Gruhlkey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Texas A&M University and an MD degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at Southwest Memorial Hospital in Houston, where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. Gruhlkey received the Mead Johnson Award for Graduate Medical Education in 2000 and AMA Foundation Leadership Award in 2003. In addition to his Co-Founder & CMO role at Direct Allergy, LLC, Dr. Gruhlkey operates his own Primary Care Practice in New Braunfels, TX, consults on medical, legal matters, and sits on various boards within the healthcare community.
Co-Founder & Executive Consultant
Data Analytics & Decision Support
Joseph Zajac is a senior C-level executive with more than 35 years of experience in diverse functional business areas of the pharmaceutical and data (health information) industries where he led many operational teams for fortune 100 pharmaceutical & data companies. Mr. Zajac is a well-known and highly respected expert within business development, business analytics, and decision support. He was instrumental in the successful development of Reliant Pharmaceuticals, a start-up pharmaceutical company that was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2008. He was instrumental in the sale or transaction of Reliant Pharmaceuticals, LLC to Glaxo Smith-Kline in 2008 for over $2.5 billion where he served as the company’s Vice President of Corporate Operations & Data Analytics from 1998 to 2008. After this, he consulted with XenoPort, Inc. and was responsible for building a new sales organization to support their initial commercial operations. Mr. Zajac has been loyal, steadfast, and resolute since joining the Direct Allergy, LLC founding team in 2012, assisting in the guidance in the building of a “best in class” business model for “the front-line of medicine” and Specialty Allergy Care. His Bachelor of Arts is from Princeton University, and he graduated with an MBA from Lehigh University.
James L. Kosco, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President
Corporate Optimization, Site Management
After retiring from the chemical industry, James Kosco spent 10+ years seeking out, funding, and mentoring promising start-up companies in Northwest PA area through Ben Franklin Technology Partners which is one of the nation’s longest running technology-based economic development programs.
He also assisted promising companies in raising millions of dollars in startup capital. One company, first recognized and funded by Ben Franklin, won the Amazon Web Services worldwide business plan contest (2000 applicants from 22 countries). That company had a successful exit. Prior to Ben Franklin, Dr. Kosco earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and then joined Engelhard Industries as a bench chemist. His work eventually led to a role in manufacturing where he rose to Director of Manufacturing Technology, heading a group responsible for developing and commercializing on a large scale both internal technology and external toll manufacturing of products for major chemical and pharmaceutical companies. He was also responsible for technical liaison and transfer of technology to international subsidiaries. Duties included house account manager for German licensed technology that was sold to three major U.S. based chemical companies. He devised a predictive inventory control system to manage $1 million per month in precious metals. Dr. Kosco had major director roles in technology development, interfacing closely with sales/marketing at Degussa corporation and Mallinckrodt corporation. Groups under his oversight successfully developed and commercialized over 100 products in 30 years. He became General manager of the Chemical Catalyst U.S. division at Degussa, where he oversaw a turnaround of a business with a raw material throughput of $80 million per year. For two years Dr. Kosco was a consultant to a chemical startup business in Princeton N. J. funded by an Italian industrialist. He was responsible for setting up the manufacturing process, recruiting, and hiring of technical staff. That business was successfully sold to a Russian entrepreneur.
Matthew J. Minnaugh, CPA/ABV, CVA; Financial & Tax
Chief Financial Officer (Outsourced via SKM)
Investor in Direct Allergy and Advisor to Direct Allergy Management Team – Matthew Minnaugh is a founding partner of Schaffner, Knight, Minnaugh (SKM) & Company, P.C. Mr. Minnaugh serves as the principal in charge of proactive tax consulting, compliance services, and managing the tax-related services to the firm’s larger clients. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1989 and a Certified Valuation Analyst in 1999. He earned his Accredited Business Valuation designation in 2007.
Previously, Mr. Minnaugh was associated with a “Big 4″ international accounting firm. He was a senior manager in the tax consulting department. Mr. Minnaugh has provided tax consulting and compliance services to business and industry, including large, publicly traded companies and privately held businesses for more than 25 years. He has extensive training in corporate and individual tax related matters. His training is coupled with significant experience in corporate and individual tax planning, representation of taxpayers under IRS examination, mergers and acquisitions, and estate and personal financial planning. Professionally, he is a member of the American Institute and Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts. Mr. Minnaugh earned his B.S. degree in Accounting from Gannon University.
Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable
Mike Foss (Foss Business Solutions, LLC) has been working as an outsourced virtual accounting department for small businesses for many years with clients from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh. He has held a variety of leadership roles including General Manager for a Minor-League Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chief Financial Officer for an internet media agency and Controller/CFO for a global automotive supplier.
As a consultant and outsourced vendor, Mr. Foss works to assist with:
- Acquisition and other traditional environments in the areas of Financial Management
- Budgeting and Control
- Accounting and Reporting
- Human Resources
- Insurance and Contract Negotiation
Mr. Foss received his MBA from Cleveland State University, BS from Slippery Rock University, and is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants.
Theresa Dugan is a seasoned Human Resources professional, mentor and facilitative trainer with over 30 years of HR Management and strategic business expertise in the private, public, and higher education sectors. She was was employed at the Ben Franklin Transformation Business Services Network part of Ben Franklin Technology PArtners from 1997 until her retirement in March 2017. Ms. Dugan was responsible for the oversight of all human resource functions for the funded companies in the Ben Franklin portfolio.
Ms. Dugan’s areas of responsibility included:
- Leadership Development
- Policy Development & Administration
- Performance Management & Appraisal Systems
- Employee Recruitment
- Interviewing and Selection
- Mediation & Conflict Resolution
- Business Development & Strategic Planning
- Organizational Development & Effectiveness
- Employee Benefits Design & Administration
- Employee & Labor Relations
- Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)
- State and Federal Employment Law Compliance
Prior to The Pennsylvania State University, Ms. Dugan worked in the “human resources” environment in several “start-up” and small to medium size organizations. There she was the principal HR executive overseeing the daily operations, development, and implementation of human resource management programs, policies, and procedures, including the company’s health care and enterprise facilities. Ms. Dugan also headed strategic planning activities in the development of performance improvement management by devising programs for enhancing productivity, increasing efficiencies, reducing costs, and taking advantage of opportunities.
Ms. Dugan is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a BS degree in Labor and Industrial Relations/Human Resources Management and a minor in Business.
Practice Management, Medical Billing/Coding
Julie Lewis is a Principal of Evolutions Consultants, LLC. Ms. Lewis’ company has been retained by Direct Allergy, LLC as a 3rd party administrator to assist Direct Allergy:
- In Billing/Coding training
- To manage the reimbursement analysis in-concert with a Direct Allergy, LLC client-prospect during the pre-contracting phase
- Manage a Q&A hotline; should a Direct Allergy client’s billing department need to ask a question about allergy testing and treatment billing and coding
Evolutions Consultants operates out of two locations in the San Antonio Metro Area. It was founded with the mindset of assisting medical practices with the foundations that would help assure success and growth. Their corporate location is New Braunfels, Texas. They service clients of all sizes multi-regionally.
Evolutions Consultants specializes in:
- New Medical Practice Set-up
- 3rd Party Medical Billing & Collections
- Medical Code & Billing Audit
- Electronic Health Record Conversion
- Physician Credentialing
- Medical Practice Audit, Medical Practice Contracting
- Medical Practice Management & Administration
- Worker’s Compensation Billing
- e-Rx E-Prescribing
- Training & Development of client staff in all areas mentioned above
Pamela Lowry, RN
National Nurse Trainer
Pamela Lowry has specialized in allergy care since 1977 when she joined the office of Dr. James Willoughby, M.D. Over the next 21 years, Ms. Lowry tested, trained and taught SET (serial endpoint titration) as well as Provocative Food testing with one of the nation’s pioneers in allergy. While working with Dr. Willoughby, Ms. Lowry taught all aspects of allergy to many members of the American Academy Otolaryngic Allergy, the Pan American Allergy Society and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
In addition to SET, Ms. Lowry has taught other allergy techniques including:
- MQT (modified quantitative testing)
- SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy)
- RAST-based immunotherapy
Ms. Lowry’s expertise is sought and contracted by physician practices across the country.
Marc Thomas, RN
Clinical Science Liaison & National Nurse Trainer
Marc Thomas has been a registered nurse for forty years. Upon graduating from nursing school, Mr. Thomas worked in an emergency room in Zanesville, OH, and then in Southeastern Ohio Otolaryngology, where Mr. Thomas developed their allergy department, all the while mentoring with many of the pioneers in the field of ENT allergy. Mr. Thomas worked in the ER in the evenings, while managing the allergy department of Southeastern Ohio Otolaryngology during the day, clinically and from the business side. By 1989, Mr. Thomas was only working occasionally in the ER and his focus was entirely on allergy.
Mr. Thomas continued to attend courses sponsored by the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, the Pan American Allergy Society, American Academy of Environmental Medicine, and the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology. Mr. Thomas oversaw the allergy department for S.E.O.O. Inc. for twenty-three years, where they offerings included testing for inhalant, food, chemical, insect allergy and treatment as appropriate.
Mr. Thomas went on to work with Antigen Laboratories, an FDA licensed allergy extract manufacturer. After an initial time in sales, as the Midwest Regional Manager, Mr. Thomas became Antigen’s Clinical Science Liaison. Mr. Thomas has helped set up and train many offices around the country since 1980 and continues to work as an Independent Allergy Nurse Consultant. Mr. Thomas is well versed in all aspects of allergy from the clinical perspective to the regulatory and business side. Mr. Thomas expert knowledge continues to be sought by physicians and companies throughout the country.
Ledger Member Advisors
William Reisacher, M.D.
Board Certified Otolaryngologist and ENT Allergy Specialist
Medical Advisor to Direct Allergy’s Board of Managers – William Reisacher, MD is currently on the full–time faculty of the Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Department at Weill Cornell Medical College / New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where he is an Associate Professor and the Director of Allergy. Dr. Reisacher is a board-certified, practicing otolaryngologist and allergist, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of airborne and food allergies in children and adults.
Dr. Reisacher completed two years of General Surgery training at St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC in 1996, and completed his Otolaryngology residency at The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary in 2000. After five years of private practice in the Hudson Valley region of New York, he returned to academic practice at Weill Cornell. Dr. Reisacher is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA). He has published numerous chapters and research papers, and is currently engaged in funded basic science and clinical research.
Dr. Reisacher has presented his work on local allergy diagnosis at both national and international meetings and has been a member of the Allergy & Immunology Committee and Board of Governors of the AAO-HNS. He has also served for the past seven years as an oral examiner for the AAOA Fellowship exam and is a member of the Fellowship Exam Committee. Dr. Reisacher has been on the Board of Directors of the AAOA for the past three years. He has been an instructor and mini-seminar moderator for the AAO-HNS Annual Meeting as well as an instructor for the Academy U program.
Dr. Reisacher has appeared on national and local news broadcasts, providing commentary on ENT/allergy topics, and is actively involved as a scientific advisor to two early-stage biotechnology companies in New York City, Allovate (He is the inventor of a toothpaste based oral mucosal immunotherapy treatment – Allerdent ®.) and Immunovent, which are developing allergy-related technologies Dr. Reisacher developed at Weill Cornell.
Dr. Reisacher received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Cornell University in 1990 and graduated from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1994 with Distinction in Research.
Stefan Aigner, MD, CEO of Inspirion Pharmaceuticals, LLC
Investor in Direct Allergy and Advisor to Direct Allergy Management Team – Stefan Aigner, MD has more than twenty years of broad healthcare industry experience. He also is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inspirion Pharmaceuticals LLC, a specialty pharmaceutical company committed to “provide physicians and patients options to help battle the growing societal epidemic of prescription drug abuse“. Dr. Aigner was previously Executive Vice President of Corporate and Business Development at Alpharma, Inc., where he was responsible for transforming the company’s specialty pharmaceuticals business precipitating its acquisition by King Pharmaceuticals for $1.6 billion in 2008.
Prior to Alpharma, Dr. Aigner was co-founder of Reliant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a private equity backed specialty pharmaceutical company. During his seven-year tenure at Reliant, Dr. Aigner was a key driver in building a fully integrated specialty pharma infrastructure with more than 1,300 employees. He held the position of Executive Vice President of Business Development and Scientific Affairs and led the company through multiple product acquisitions and in-licensing transactions with aggregate deal value in excess of $1 billion. He was also part of the management team that successfully raised over $750 million in multiple private equity and venture capital funding rounds. Reliant was acquired by GlaxoSmithKlinein 2007 for $1.65 billion. Prior to co-founding Reliant, Dr. Aigner was a Senior Consultant with The Wilkerson Group, a specialty healthcare consulting firm in New York.
Dr. Aigner is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and has over ten years of broad clinical experience including four years of postgraduate OB/GYN experience at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Cipher Pharmaceuticals and several privately held companies.
Dr. Aigner graduated summa cum laude with a medical degree from the University of Erlangen, Germany.
William A. Esper, D.O., F.A.C.O.I., F.A.C.C.
Board Certified Internist & Cardiologist
Investor in Direct Allergy and Co-Chairman of Direct Allergy Board of Advisors – William Esper, MD is a board-certified internist and cardiologist, specializing in non-evasive cardiology. Dr. Esper has been practicing medicine for over 30 Years and is the Founder and Principal of Osteopathic Cardiology Associates. He is adjunct Professor at Lake Erie College Osteopathic Medicine, one the fastest growing Medical Schools in the United States. He graduated medical school from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1977 and completed his residency training at Oklahoma Osteopathic Hospital, Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1980. From 1980 to 1982, Dr. Esper completed his fellowship training at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation where he served as Chief Fellow. Dr. Esper has many certifications, affiliations, been an investigator participating in numerous clinical trials, and has published many articles within the science of cardiology.
Dr. Esper’s undergraduate degree is from University of Pittsburgh, 1973.
Commercial Management Advisors
Robert J. Lowther, II
Co-Founder of Great Lakes Case & Cabinet Company (IT Industry)
Business Development Advisor
Investor in Direct Allergy and Co-Chairman of Direct Allergy Board of Advisors – Robert Lowther, II is an avid supporter of Edinboro University athletics and the University in general where he serves as a member of the Business Advisory Board. His membership provides advice and guidance to the Business and Economics Department. He played basketball for the Fighting Scots and was enrolled in the Army ROTC Program. Upon graduation in 1977, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served as a Medical Service Corps officer. Mr. Lowther and his wife, Carrie, founded Great Lakes Case & Cabinet Company in 1985. The Edinboro-based company is a manufacturer of data center and thermal management solutions with worldwide locations. Among many other business accomplishments, he was a finalist for an Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. He was named to the Edinboro University Council of Trustees in October 2014.
Mr. Lowther is a 1977 graduate of Edinboro University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science.
Sales, Marketing, & Commercial Operations Advisor
Advisor to Direct Allergy Management Team – Jay Smith is a senior level executive with more than 26 years in the healthcare industry. Currently, Mr. Smith is the Chief Experience Officer (CXO – Head of Customer Experience & Outcomes) at Intarcia Therapeutics, a cutting edge biotech company in Boston, MA. Mr. Smith’s experience include start-ups with a focus in biotech and consumer healthcare initiatives.
Mr. Smith has previously served in executive leadership roles:
- President at 1-800 Doctors
- Senior VP at Novartis
- Executive VP at Sunovian (formerly Sepracor)
- Executive Director at Johnson & Johnson
Areas of strength include:
- Customer Experience
- Direct Sales and Sales Leadership
- Brand Marketing
- Launch Planning and Execution
- Commercial Strategy
- Managed Markets
- Alliance Management
Michael Garczynski, CPA, CGMA
Finance & Accounting Advisor
Investor in Direct Allergy and Advisor to Direct Allergy Management Team – Michael Garczynski is a Partner in Arnett Carbis Toothman LLP’s Health Care Services Group, as well as the Coordinator of Nonprofit Client Services. He is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. Garczynski serves as the Audit & Accounting Coordinator for the firm, which includes monitoring the firm’s quality control system. With 25 years of experience in public accounting, his background includes providing assurance and advisory services to clients within the health care industry.
In addition to his roles for Arnett Carbis Toothman, Mr. Garczynski also serves as Secretary for Total Practice Management, LLC, providing physician billing and practice consulting services. Mr. Garczynski has extensive experience auditing health care organizations and adding value throughout the audit process, specifically relating to complex accounting transactions, financial reporting, and internal controls. He regularly makes presentations to boards of directors and professional groups, and has written articles on a variety of topics affecting the health care industry.
Mr. Garczynski also represents the Arnett Carbis Toothman as a member of the:
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
- Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA)
- Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
- Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC).
He is a former President of the Board of Directors of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of HFMA and is currently serving as the Regional Executive of Region 3 of the HFMA.
Mr. Garczynski is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
Linda Hajec, CPA, M.B.A.
Finance & Accounting, Internship Liaison
Advisor to Direct Allergy Management Team – Linda Hajec is currently a Teaching Professor at The Behrend College of The Pennsylvania State University.
At The Behrend College she is an:
- Associate Chair of Student Recruitment, Retention, and Outreach, Black School of Business
- Assistant Teaching Professor, Accounting
- Assistant Teaching Professor of Accounting, MPAcc Program
Research and teaching interests include accounting, supply chain and related contracts, warehousing, enterprise resource systems, and systems and documentation. Ms. Hajec spent 14 years in the manufacturing industry, most recently as Vice President of Finance and Administration at a company with sales in excess of $90 million. Ms. Hajec spent six years in public accounting at an international accounting firm, working primarily in audit and consulting for manufacturing and not-for-profit clients.
Ms. Hajec obtained her CPA; M.B.A., at Duquesne University (2000).
Former Direct Allergy, LLC Executives
Emeritus Status: Direct Allergy’s 1st Chairman and CEO from December 2013 through December 2014
Lt. General, US Army (Ret.) William “Gus” Pagonis
Former Chairman and CEO of Direct Allergy
Served 1 Year Term (Operations Planning/Beta Test Year)
Direct Allergy wishes to acknowledge and thank Lt. (Ret.) General William “Gus” Pagonis for serving as Direct Allergy LLCs 1st Chairman and CEO from December 2013 through December 2014. His world-renowned dynamic leadership successfully brought Direct Allergy through beta site testing and operations planning. This laid the groundwork for Direct Allergy to establish a stable platform for continued growth and success in an under-served market.
Background: Lt. General Pagonis is an elite figure in the U.S.A. He is world renown and co-authored a best seller; “Moving Mountains – Lessons in Leadership,” which is recommended by several universities and colleges for students studying either business logistics or managerial leadership. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal for Business and has been interviewed over 2,000 times on prime-time news. When it comes to expertise in logistics and overall leadership in management of very complex projects and organizations, few people are better qualified than Gus Pagonis, a retired three-star U.S. Army Lieutenant General.
Lt. General Pagonis is widely recognized for his logistical achievements particularly during Desert Shield/Desert Storm where he commanded over 150,000 soldiers (largest in history). After successfully masterminding logistics for the Gulf War and winning high praise from his boss, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Pagonis left the Army in 1993 and joined Sears, Roebuck and Co. – President of the Sears Logistics Group. General Pagonis served as the past Chairman for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s CEO Task Force. He was Vice Chairman of Genco (Logistics-Based Organization in Pittsburgh. PA), past Chairman of Rail of America and is on or leads several well-known boards. Today, General Pagonis is widely known on the corporate speaking circuit as he is sought out for his unique expertise on Supply Chain and Managerial Leadership; Lessons from the Gulf War.