August / September 2020 Edition


NADP Honors 11 Individuals with Evelyn Ireland Volunteer Award

In celebration of outstanding volunteer achievements, the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) is honoring 11 individuals with the Evelyn Ireland Volunteer Awards featured during Virtual CONVERGE 2020, Sept. 21-Oct 1. The award recognizes annual volunteer contributions necessary for the association to accomplish its mission to promote and advance the dental benefits industry and improve consumer access to affordable, quality dental care.

“Because of the leadership of our volunteers, NADP is the respected industry leader and voice of the dental benefits industry,” said Executive Director Eme Augustini. “In this unprecedented year, NADP continues to thrive because of our volunteers who give their time, talent, and expertise to advance our industry. We are grateful for their contributions and commitment to NADP.”

Following is a list of 2020 Evelyn Ireland Volunteer Award recipients and their contributions to NADP volunteer groups.


Board of Directors

Bruce Walker, Nippon Life

The Board of Directors is honoring Bruce for providing continued expertise and service on the Audit Committee.

Bruce is currently senior vice president, chief financial Officer, chief risk officer, and corporate secretary at Nippon Life Insurance Company of America. He has more than 30 years of finance and insurance industry experience. Prior to joining Nippon Life, he worked for Guardian Life Insurance Company as chief accountant, Group Insurance. Before that, he was senior vice president and chief financial Officer at Swiss Re Life and Health Canada and served as head of Financial Services at Swiss Re America Holding Corporation.  Earlier in his career, Bruce worked in the Financial Institution Practice of KPMG in Canada and Australia. He is a US Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Professional Accountant in Canada. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Goodman School of Business at Brock University in Ontario, Canada.  Bruce has been the Chairman of NADP’s Audit committee since 2009.

Commission on Advocacy Policy (CAP)

Suzanne Heckenlaible, Delta Dental of Iowa

CAP recognizes Suzanne for cultivating and maintaining relationships on the Hill with members of key committees and for her persistent advocacy on the issue of decoupling and independent purchase of dental benefits on public health insurance Marketplaces.

Suzanne Heckenlaible is Vice President Public Affairs and the Executive Director of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. In her role as Vice President, Suzanne oversees Delta Dental’s Community Impact Program, government relations, and community relations. With the formation of the Foundation in 2007, Suzanne’s role as Executive Director is to lead all aspects of the Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen and transform the health and smiles of all Iowans. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) designated supporting organization to Delta Dental of Iowa.

Prior to joining Delta Dental in 2006, Suzanne’s experience included more than 14 years as al obbyist/administrator for the March of Dimes.

Suzanne has a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) and master’s in Public Administration from Drake University. She is also a graduate of the Greater DesMoines Partnership Leadership Institute. She currently serves as a Co-Chair for a national Funders Oral Health Policy Group; Health Cabinet Chair and Board Director for the United Way of Central Iowa, and a Commissioner serving as Vice-Chair for the Iowa Department on Aging. She serves on the following committees: Delta Dental Plans Association Public Policy Committee; National Association of Dental Plans Commission on Advocacy Policy, Government Programs & PAC; Lifelong Smiles Coalition Public Policy & Reimbursement committee; Iowa Council of Foundations Public Policy Committee; Iowa Healthiest State Foundation Sub-Committee and the Iowa Donated Dental Services Advisory Group. Her previous leadership roles include Dental Health Chair of the Healthiest State Initiative; Chair, Vice-Chair, and Board member for the Iowa Council on Foundations; Chair for the Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) Metro Women Connect Board; and Chair of The Greater Des Moines Partnership Government Policy Council.

Suzanne was recognized as a “FORTY under 40” award recipient in 2008 from the Des Moines Business Record and received a “Star” Award from the National Association of Dental Plans for her work on the Government Relations Commission in 2013 and for her work on the Commission on Advocacy Policy in 2018 and 2020.


Crystal McElroy, MetLife

CAP celebrates Crystal’s exceptional effort to coordinate and lead the NADP and CADP response to legislative proposals in California; Crystal has played an instrumental role in drafting alternatives which take all carriers’ business operations into consideration.

Crystal McElroy is the assistant vice president over supplemental health product compliance and regulatory at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Irvine, CA. She currently oversees all compliance and regulatory issues as it relates to MetLife’s PPO and DHMO Dental, Vision, Accident & Health, and Health Spending & Savings Account business. Crystal currently is the vice chair of the NADP Commission on Advocacy Policy and volunteers on the NADP Government Relations Workgroup.  She also serves as the co- chair of the CADP Legislative and Regulatory Committee and is the Secretary/Treasurer on the CADP Board of Directors.

Prior to joining MetLife in October 2013, she served as a Senior Attorney with the California Department of Managed Health Care in the Office of Plan Licensing for seven years. She was responsible for reviewing dental plan and health plan licensing documents as it relates to plan benefits, disclosure documents, networks, and mergers and acquisitions. Crystal graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in Biochemistry and a minor in Political Science in 2003 and obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 2006.

She currently resides in Irvine, CA with her husband, twin nine-year old daughters, and quarantine puppy, Pepper.


Communications WorkGroup (WG)

Brooke Ellis, Solstice

The Communications WorkGroup praises Brooke for her timely, insightful engagement on multiple volunteer projects.

Brooke Ellis, director of Strategic Sales Communications at Solstice, oversees the company’s sales proposal/RFP team. Passionate about consumer literacy, Brooke strives to make insurance and health-related topics simple and accessible for all audiences. Her tenure at Solstice has included restructuring RFP team roles and processes, which contributed to increases in the company’s RFP win rate and response volume – the latter rising more than 60% from 2018 to 2019.

Brooke has nearly 15 years of marketing communications experience in the insurance, legal, news, and software industries, including a past role at Solstice, in which she focused on B2B and B2C communications, social media and email lead generation, and increasing web traffic through SEO tactics. She led the team to a first-place creative advertising award from Facebook for A/B testing in 2018.

Brooke is a volunteer with the NADP Communications WorkGroup, for which she currently serves as vice chair. She previously served as co-chair of the 2018 national ClearMark Awards, which recognizes excellence in plain language.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations with an outside concentration in political science from the University of Florida.


Beth Rutherford, United Concordia Dental

The Communications WorkGroup commends Beth for her contributions to development of press contacts and a media kit.

Beth Rutherford, director, Integrated Communications, is responsible for executive, corporate, crisis and employee communications, as well as public and media relations, at United Concordia Dental. She joined the company in 2009 and held numerous positions in marketing and communications before moving into her current role. Prior to joining United Concordia, Beth worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a number of nonprofit organizations, including a health system and charity, in a variety of media, communications and marketing roles. Her nonprofit work has earned her national and local recognition, including two Telly awards. Beth is accredited in public relations from the Public Relations Society of America, holds a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and a Bachelor of Arts in both Journalism and Economics from the Pennsylvania State University.


Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) WorkGroup

Art Schoen, Aspen Dental Management

The EDI WorkGroup recognizes Art for his active participation in the workgroup and knowledge of EDI transactions. In addition, they are praising him for leadership as part of the DSO Advisory Council and serving as liaison between these two groups on EDI challenges.

Art currently serves as the Vice President of Insurance Operations and Revenue Cycle for Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI).  ADMI is a dental support organization that provides non-clinical business support services to over 800 independently owned and operated Aspen Dental-branded practices in 41 states.

His business focus is on improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of dental transactions so that dentists and insurance carriers can better focus on patients, subscribers, and employer groups.

Art started his career in insurance with a subsidiary of Anthem focusing on claims processing, file set-up, and system migration.   He served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and holds an MBA in Healthcare from Binghamton University and a BA in History and MS in Education from Canisius College.  Art is currently the Chair of the National Dental EDI Council (NDEDIC) and works with NADP on the EDI, DSO and Government Relations Work Groups.


Government Relations WG (GRW)

Mike Trebold, Ameritas

GRW is honoring Mike for his contributions to analysis of legislative issues and leadership in key issues in Nebraska.

Mike Trebold is a compliance manager for the Group Division of Ameritas Life Insurance Corp, which he joined in 2014.  His responsibilities include advocacy as well as management of regulatory issues, including provider network compliance and regulatory reporting.  Trebold earned a B.S.B.A. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law.  He is vice chair of the Government Relations Workgroup of the National Association of Dental Plans.  


Gary Pickard, Pacific Dental Services

GRW commends Gary for his contributions to discussions on strategic planning and proactive advocacy.

For more than two decades Gary Pickard has been connecting people and ideas, dedicating his life to advocating for the dental industry and elevating the profession.

Gary has focused his attention on legislative affairs for the past seven years and in that time, he has helped two bills become law, one in Washington State and one in Maryland. He has spoken to countless legislators that include attorneys general, senators, governors, and has even met the vice president of the United States. He has testified in front of state dental boards and legislative committees addressing access to care issues, explaining alternative business models, urging that Congress add medically-necessary dental coverage to Medicare, and educating policy makers on the value of dentistry and good oral health.

He has helped Pacific Dental Services (PDS) become one of the largest and most successful Dental Support Organizations (DSO) in the world, a leader in modern dentistry, moving the needle on the Mouth-Body Connection, supporting almost 4,000 oral healthcare professionals, approaching 1,000 dental practices across 22 states.

Gary currently serves as PDS’s senior director of Government and Industry Affairs. He is a proud veteran of the United States Navy. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. Gary also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Pacific Dental Services Foundation. A foundation dedicated to creating opportunities to serve through improving oral healthcare locally, nationally and internationally. He is an editorial board member for Group Dentistry Now, the dental industry’s go-to place for DSOs and a member of the Board of Advisors of XP Health, a health tech startup introducing a new kind of vision benefit for employees.

He has been an NADP member since 2004, annual participant in Advocacy in Action, and a longtime Government Relations Workgroup member.


Membership WG

Brian Correria, Solstice Benefits

The Membership WorkGroup applauds Brian for providing insight regarding NADP benefits and serving as a panelist for the Membership presentation at Leadership Conference.

As Solstice’s vice president of Sales and Marketing, Brian Correia drives and oversees all national insurance sales and marketing initiatives and strategic partnerships in the commercial and public sectors, leading a team of 26 employees.

Under Brian’s tenure, Solstice experienced triple-digit revenue growth, including a 3,000% increase in individual consumer sales within a five-year period. Brian is a leader in Solstice’s nationwide expansion to double its state footprint with dental products in 12 markets by the end of 2020.

A frequent industry speaker and continuing education instructor, Brian earned his master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College. He volunteers in the National Association of Dental Plans Membership and Government Relations WorkGroups and is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters. Brian is also an active member with Manhattan Community Board 8 and volunteers at the ALS Society of Greater New York.


Sue Wright, Lincoln Financial Group

The Membership WorkGroup applauds Sue for providing insight regarding NADP benefits and serving as a panelist for the Membership presentation at Leadership Conference.

Over the span of 35 years in the insurance industry, Sue Wright has accumulated more than 25 years of experience working in the dental insurance industry. For the past 13 years, she has been concentrated solely on Dental products and network management, expanding to include Vision experience in 2012.  In her current position as assistance vice president, Dental and Vision Product Solutions at Lincoln Financial Group, Sue has a broad range of organizational, product, network and industry knowledge.

Sue has been an active member of the NADP Membership Workgroup since 2010.  In 2011 and 2014, she was awarded a Star Award for her accomplishments and contributions on the Membership Committee.  To be an even more active volunteer in NADP, Sue joined the Government Relations Workgroup in 2017 and is still a volunteer on that Workgroup.

Sue has been on the Board of Directors since 2016 and is currently serving her second and final term. She serves on the Executive Committee as secretary. 

As a board member, she is a liaison to both the Research and EDI Workgroups. 

Sue has also participated in past Leadership Conferences and every year Advocacy in Action has been held.


Research Commission

Angela Salverian, United Concordia Dental

The Research Commission salutes Angela for taking on new roles and projects, being very engaged in re-developing surveys, creating new surveys, and supporting the Shared Research program.

Angela Salverian joined the NADP Research Commission in 2019 and in 2020 was appointed vice-chair. She is director, strategy risk management with United Concordia Dental where she is responsible for market research and competitive intelligence. Angela joined United Concordia in 2017 and has extensive experience in health insurance in various roles including strategy, marketing, sales support, product development, communications, and finance.

Previously she was with Independence Blue Cross where she managed ancillary business and partnerships, and with AmeriHealth Administrators where she created and expanded the role of the marketing services business unit. Angela is a member of the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Villanova University.



Congratulations to our 2020 Evelyn Ireland Volunteer Award recipients!



blue dots

Join NADP Today