Meet our senior leadership team
Chief Executive Officer
Russ Thomas is the Chief Executive Officer of Availity. His vision helped to diversify Availity’s solutions and grow its customer base, creating the foundation for the expansive Availity network that exists today. Combined, the enterprise now delivers health care business solutions to a growing network that connects more than 900,000 physicians and allied care providers, 2,700 hospitals, and more than 600 technology partners with health plans nationwide. Under Thomas’s leadership, Availity is leading the charge in provider engagement and empowering health care professionals to improve results.
Before joining Availity, Thomas was CEO of Gold Standard, a drug information database and clinical knowledge solution. Thomas grew the company from a small start-up to a multi-sector leader in the health care market before selling the business to Reed Elsevier in 2006. He remained with Reed Elsevier as a senior executive in their clinical information business until 2008. Thomas also serves on the Board of Directors of Connecture, Inc., (CNXR), a technology company that develops information systems to support purchasing insurance online.
Thomas is active in a number of industry and philanthropic organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors for eHealth Initiative, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that seeks to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care through information technology. He is also the current Chair of the United Way Northeast Florida Campaign. Through the United Way, Availity developed a partnership with Ribault Middle School in the “Achievers for Life” dropout prevention program. Thomas was formerly a founding board member and past chairman of Hillsborough Kids, Inc., which provides oversight and resources for more than 4,000 disadvantaged children in Hillsborough County, Florida.
Thomas earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia. He lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida with his wife Claudia and their two children. He is an avid cyclist and pilot.
Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer
Jeff Chester is Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for Availity and has responsibility for leadership and direction of the Availity sales organization.
Prior to joining Availity in 2010, Jeff served as Vice President and General Manager of Sales for GE Healthcare IT Clinical Business Solutions, a $1.4 billion division of General Electric.
Jeff began his health care career in 1993 with WebMD, where he was part of the original management team that merged WebMD with Healtheon, ENVOY and Medical Manager. He went on to serve as Vice President of Business Development at Next Ventures LLC, a venture capital accelerator for upstart health care technology companies.
Additionally, he has served as Vice President of Strategic Account Development for Groupcast, a division of IDX Systems Corporation. In 2002, Jeff joined IDX Systems Corporation as the Regional Sales Director for IDX Groupcast and was promoted to Groupcast’s Vice President of Strategic Account Development in 2005. He was then assigned to lead the IDX/GE integration for sales, which led to his role as a Vice President and General Manager of Sales at GE Healthcare IT Clinical Business Solutions.
Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida State University.
Chief Financial Officer
Nate Eastman is Chief Financial Officer (CFO) managing all aspects of the company’s finance and accounting operations.
Eastman joined Availity in 2014 and brings more than 16 years of financial leadership, and has a history of excellence as a strategic business partner in high growth, complex business environments.
Prior to joining Availity, Eastman was CFO of Maryland-based health care analytics firm Inovalon, where he was central to strategic planning and decision making in the financial, treasury, and banking functions, in addition to providing executive leadership for budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting and tax matters. Prior to that, he led the client audit function at Express Scripts and served as a director in the mergers and acquisitions practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Eastman, a Certified Public Accountant, earned a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, after having completed his undergraduate degree in accounting at St. Norbert College.
He is based in Jacksonville, Fla.
Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Trent Gavazzi is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Availity, managing all aspects of the company’s network technology, health plan operations and platform solutions.
Trent joined Availity in July 2009, after serving as the CEO of QuickWaters Software, a startup software company providing risk management software products for C-level executives in investment banking and trading organizations. His 19 years of experience ranges from small, agile software startups, to mature corporations, where he has managed large technology teams that supported sub-second transaction processing, online retail, and institutional trading technologies. He also has extensive experience with compliance and business continuity for highly regulated businesses.
Trent started his career at Price Waterhouse, where he consulted with the RTC savings and loan bailout, and later became a founding partner with Madison Consulting where he led major technology initiatives for several investment banking firms. He began his career on Wall Street at Nomura Securities, where he supported the equity trading, operations, and financial controllers. Trent held several CIO roles for the Capital Markets Division of the Bank of Montreal, including the Harris Direct Online trading platform, which he helped migrate to E*TRADE. He was a Wall Street and Technology Gold Book Profiles in Excellence recipient in 2005 and 2006.
Trent is a graduate of Buffalo State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in computer information systems.
Senior Vice President and General Manager of Provider Solutions
Scott Herbst is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Provider Solutions, leading Availity’s provider services groups and the partnership/vendor programs. Additionally, he was responsible for leading much of the integration between RealMed and Availity.
Scott joined RealMed in 1999 and held various leadership roles at RealMed, including General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Sales and Support.
Prior to joining RealMed, Scott was employed by The CIT Group Inc. and its predecessor, Newcourt Credit Group Inc. as the Chief Counsel of the Specialty Finance and Strategic Development units. While at Newcourt, he had the primary responsibility of drafting and negotiating the company’s major vendor partnership agreements with the company’s largest customers. He also was responsible for developing Newcourt’s programs related to financing of software, insurance compliance, and corporate governance and licensing activities.
Scott also has been an attorney practicing in the merger and acquisition area with Indianapolis-based Sommer & Barnard PC, and Lord Bissell and Brook in Chicago.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Indiana University, and his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from Indiana University School of Law, where he was a member of the Indiana University Law Journal.
Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis
Justin Hesterlee is Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis for Availity, where he manages the company’s financial strategy, including financial planning, budgeting, reporting, and decision support analysis.
Justin joined Availity in 2015 after serving as Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Capital for Southeastern Grocers. In this role, he was responsible for managing the corporate strategic planning process and overseeing execution activities, which involved several merger and acquisitions, as well as a large rebranding initiative. He also served as the company’s Director of Financial Planning and Analysis for Merchandising & Marketing.
Prior to Southeastern Grocers, Justin began his career in the business operations division of AB InBev (previously Anheuser-Busch). During his eight-year tenure, he assumed roles with increasing responsibility up through his last position as senior plant controller of their Jacksonville, FL brewery.
Justin received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Indiana University and an M.B.A. from the University of Florida. He lives in Jacksonville and participates in several charities, including HabiJax, a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity; Big Brothers Big Sisters, where he serves as a volunteer mentor; and Life Rolls On, which hosts surf and skate events for wheelchair athletes.
Vice President of Gateway Platform
Jack Hunt is Vice President of Gateway Platform where he manages architecture, information management, enterprise development, project management and quality assurance teams.
Jack is responsible for ensuring the Availity gateway meets emerging customer needs, while leveraging economies of scale to reduce costs and accelerate growth. He is also responsible for setting and maintaining the vision for Availity’s strategic architecture, and ensuring adherence to the principles of agile software development methods.
Prior to joining Availity in 2011, Jack owned and operated J. Hunt & Associates, a niche information technology professional services firm.
Before starting J. Hunt & Associates in 2004, he managed infrastructure and software development services for Schwab SoundView Capital Markets. He was the chief technology officer at SoundView Technology Group prior to its acquisition by Charles Schwab & Co. In addition, Jack has held technology management positions supporting the capital markets divisions at Merrill Lynch and SG Cowen.
Jack is an avid community volunteer and takes a leadership role in Availity’s outreach efforts. He is a member of the United Way of Northeast Florida Campaign Advisory Council and also serves as an Achievers for Life mentor at Ribault Middle School in Jacksonville, Fla.
He is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, where he received a bachelor of engineering degree.
Chief Product Officer
Paul Joiner is Availity’s Chief Product Officer where he heads product management, marketing, and user experience initiatives and leads the company’s overall go-to market strategy, brand positioning, and product portfolio development.
Prior to joining Availity, Paul was responsible for client engagement and business development activities across the customer life cycle as Vice President of Client Engagement with Xerox Midas +. He brings a diverse background and deep market knowledge to the executive leadership team with areas of expertise in health care capital finance, market planning, information technology, and revenue cycle management.
Previously, Paul was Vice President of Corporate Development for Passport Health Communications, Inc. where he led strategy, mergers and acquisitions, new product initiatives, and payer services during the five year period where Passport Health saw revenue growth double. Additionally, Paul was Senior Associate with Jefferies & Company, Inc., where he conducted equity research on health care information technology companies. Early in his career, Paul was Vice President of Origination and Senior Underwriting Analyst for Pine Creek Healthcare Capital, LLC. Paul also served as senior project manager for Healthcare Management Directions Inc.
Paul holds a Masters of Accountancy from Belmont University and a Bachelors of Accountancy from the University of Mississippi. He is currently active in the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Senior Vice President of Legal & Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel
Karin Lindgren is Senior Vice President of Legal & Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel for Availity. In addition to overseeing legal, audit and regulatory functions, she serves as chief compliance officer and corporate secretary.
Prior to joining Availity in 2013, Karin was General Counsel for the Reed Group Ltd., a Boulder, Colo.-based cloud computing software and informatics services company. She has also previously served as a law firm partner at two firms, and as general counsel and chief compliance officer for the University HealthSystem Consortium, an alliance of academic medical centers.
A seasoned health care technology lawyer, Karin founded Lindgren Law Group LLC in 2001 and continues to serve as managing partner. Today, her practice focuses primarily on counseling emerging technology companies, investors and health care clients in cloud computing, health information exchange, informatics, electronic medical records and analytics.
Karin teaches in the graduate programs in medical informatics at Northwestern University and the University of Colorado. She is a frequent national speaker and published author on medical-legal issues, with multiple writing awards to her credit.
Karin earned a Juris Doctorate from Southwestern University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ursinus College. She is licensed to practice law in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development
Ryan Miller is Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development for Availity, where he is responsible for driving strategies for growth through core business scale and diversification.
Ryan joined Availity in April 2012 after serving as Staff Vice President of WellPoint Inc., one of the nation’s largest health benefit providers. With 15 years’ experience in strategy development, he brings a significant background in business development, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions to Availity.
While at WellPoint, Ryan led strategy development to improve provider engagement and was responsible for provider connectivity initiatives, vendor relationships, joint ventures and acquisitions. He co-founded WellPoint’s provider connectivity group and led strategy development for provider portal functionality, administrative and clinical data exchange and other health information technology tools. He began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he spent nine years in its investment banking division.
Ryan is a magna cum laude graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics.
Mary Anne Orenchuk
Vice President of Platform Solutions and Health Plan Operations
Mary Anne Orenchuk is Vice President of Platform Solutions and Health Plan Operations, leading a team that includes health plan and partner connectivity and enterprise platform product solutions.
She brings to Availity more than 15 years’ experience in information technology and operations in both health care and the financial services industries. Mary Anne was a leader of the initial team that launched Availity in 2001 with Florida Blue and Humana, and later served as the executive sponsor for the Availity/THIN migration in 2006.
Mary Anne has been instrumental in growing client and alliance relationships, including extending Availity’s relationship with Health Care Service Corporation, WellPoint, Inc., and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
Prior to joining Availity, she was an Information Technology leader at Florida Blue. She also served in multiple product and technology leadership roles delivering office automation in retail banking at Bank of America. As Vice President in Bank of America’s Information Management division, she led and consulted on organization-wide process engineering improvements and total quality management efforts.
Mary Anne holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida.
Senior Vice President of Human Resources
Susan Reece is Senior Vice President of Human Resources. She oversees Availity’s organization and leadership development, talent acquisition, employee relations and total rewards programs.
Susan brings to Availity more than 14 years of distinctive executive experience in human resources and corporate consulting, with specialized experience in performance coaching, organizational effectiveness and corporate strategic planning.
Prior to joining Availity, Susan was Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Streamlite Inc., an Atlanta-based privately held distribution company. While there, she created an integrated human capital strategy, designed incentives to align with strategy, and facilitated strategic planning. Prior to that, she was Founder and CEO of Dalton Spencer Consulting Inc. in Duluth, Ga., where she advised senior executives on leadership enhancement, organization effectiveness and business strategy development. Susan has also held executive roles at Unisource Worldwide Inc. and Leupold & Stevens Inc.
She created and co-hosted the radio show, “Simple, Not Easy: Intentional Impact in a Chaotic World.” Susan is a member of the University of North Florida Dean’s Council, the United Way’s Volunteer & Community Engagement Committee and is chair of the Jacksonville Executive Human Resources Coalition.
Susan is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.