Dr. Kirchner brings to SynergEyes more than 35 years of experience in the optometric community both in private practice and in other optometric business ventures. He is ideally suited to guide the company in delivering life-changing vision products and focusing on the practice of optometry and the commitment to independent eye care professionals.
Dr. Kirchner previously served as the senior vice president of clinical and professional relations at SynergEyes. He provided professional leadership of product development and product management. He also represented SynergEyes within the ECP community.
Most notably, he was the founder of EyeCare Specialties, a multi-doctor, multi-office optometric practice in Lincoln, Nebraska where he was the senior partner and Chief Strategic Officer before he sold his interest in 2010. His practice was focused on Primary Care Optometry, with an emphasis in contact lenses and the treatment of eye diseases.
Prior to joining SynergEyes, Dr. Kirchner was Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity, a VSP Global company. He has also been President and CEO of multiple startup companies, many outside the ophthalmic industry.
Dr. Kirchner has taken an active role in state, regional and national optometric association volunteerism throughout his career. He is a Past-President of the Nebraska Optometric Association and the North Central States Optometric Council; a ten state regional Optometric Association. Dr. Kirchner served as Chair of the American Optometric Association’s Communications Group Executive Committee for four years. He had previously Chaired the AOA’s Vision USA committee as well as chairing numerous AOA committee’s and task forces. Dr. Kirchner has served on the Nebraska Board of Optometry, the licensing and regulatory agency of the Nebraska Department of Health. He served as Chairman of the Board for three years.
He was named “Optometrist of the Year” in 1996 by the Nebraska Optometric Association. Most recently in 2008, Dr. Kirchner was honored by receiving the Nebraska Optometric Association’s “Distinguished Service Award” for lifetime work and achievement on behalf of the profession.
Vice President, Professional Services
Dr. Achenbach brings to SynergEyes more than 14 years of industry experience and 16 years of clinical practice experience to her new role at SynergEyes, Inc.
Dr. Achenbach will be responsible for representing SynergEyes to the ECP community, developing programs to capture the voices of various key opinion leaders and increasing the company’s presence and support within the profession.
Prior to joining SynergEyes, Dr. Achenbach was Chief Medical and Academic Strategist at Contamac, Ltd. She also served as Senior Director of Professional and Medical Affairs at J&J, Vistakon and as Manager of Worldwide Clinical Research at Bausch & Lomb. Dr. Achenbach spent 16 years in private practice in various group practices across the United States and in solo private practice in New Jersey. She co-founded a biotech company that conducted research in HIV and cancer and participated in pharmaceutical drug development, regulatory affairs, clinical studies management and fund raising. She is a graduate of Pacific University College of Optometry.
Vice President, Finance
Nick has more than 20 years of financial experience, including seven years as Controller for SynergEyes. He was part of the team that launched the initial SynergEyes products. Prior to SynergEyes, Nick was Controller of LEGOLAND California, a family-based theme park. Previously, he was Controller of Baxa Corporation, a medical device company that specialized in providing fluid handling and delivery systems.
Nick started his career as a tax accountant for and worked in public accounting for John Hansen where he earned his CPA. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from Indiana University.
Vice President, Marketing
Louise Curcio joined SynergEyes in 2011 and is responsible for strategy, product management and marketing for both the Vision Correction and Irregular Cornea Division for the company.
Louise brings over 20 years of experience in marketing and product development in both large and small companies. She understands the nuances of working in a multi-faceted environment of private practice optometry… where the needs of the independent practice exist within the context of a much bigger marketplace dominated by very large players.
Prior to joining SynergEyes, she managed the growth and development of brands as Vice President of Marketing and Digital Development at Upper Deck and Vice President of Marketing at Mattel. She has worked in ventured-funded companies, private companies, Fortune 500 companies as well as advertising and public relations agencies.
Louise holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Masters in Business Administration from University of Southern California.
Vice President, MIS , Logistics and Customer Service
Vishal brings to SynergEyes® 19 years of experience in the Automation, Manufacturing and IT industries. He previously has held positions in project engineering, project management, logistics and IT management for Honeywell, Johnson controls, Polaris Software and most recently Trend Technologies.
Vishal’s vast exposure to various business processes in the manufacturing industry, coupled with an in-depth understanding of IT, enables him to provide leadership and direction to the SynergEyes® Operations and IT Groups.
Vice President, Sales
Kevin joined SynergEyes as Vice President of Sales in October of 2012. He has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the ophthalmic industry. His eye care experience spans the practice management, laser vision correction, cataract and contact lens care markets.
Prior to joining SynergEyes Kevin held a variety of sales leadership positions. His most recent experience was as Vice President of Partner Relations for LCA Vision. From 2007 to 2011 he was Vice President of Sales for the Corneal business at Abbott Medical Optics. Fourteen years of his eye care experience were spent in various sales and marketing roles with increasing responsibility at Allergan, Inc.
Starting his career as a sales representative and working through all levels of sales, marketing and sales management positions has given Kevin the perspective it takes to build high performing sales teams that are focused on the customer.
Vice President, International Business
Tina Sharp was appointed to the position of Vice President, International Business in the 2nd half of 2013 where she is in charge of all the International Sales & Distribution for SynergEyes. This includes all sales outside US & Canada where she is responsible for establishing strategy and policy relative to the International Distributor Partners. She reports to the President/CEO of SynergEyes, Dr. James Kirchner. Prior to being promoted to this position, she held positions with the company as Global Sales Support Manager and Director of International Relations.
Prior to joining SynergEyes in 2007, she was the Global Sales Support Manager for Kinetikos Medical, Inc., from 2000 to 2007 where she was in charge of all support functions both the Domestic Direct Sales Channel as well as the International Distributor Partners. From 1996 to 2000, she held the position of Senior Sales Representative for Helix Medical.
Vice President, Manufacturing Operations
Neal joined the SynergEyes team in 2005; his background includes extensive experience in manufacturing soft, rigid and hybrid contact lenses. Prior to SynergEyes Neal held various positions in the Technical Services and Engineering departments at the Hydrocurve / Barnes Hind Contact lens Manufacturing facility in San Diego. While at SynergEyes Neal has held the positions of Sr. Process Engineer, Manager of Engineering and Director of Engineering leading to his current position as Vice President of Manufacturing Operations.
Vice President, Quality Assurance, Regulatory & Clinical Affairs
Mr. Ziémba joined SynergEyes in 2011 after more than 30 years in ophthalmology and eye care. During his time with industry leaders such as AMO, Allergan, Staar Surgical and Hoya, he helped develop and manage global clinical studies leading to the introduction of several innovative products in the U.S. and global markets, including extended–wear contact lenses, the first Nd:YAG ophthalmic laser, the first small-incision-foldable intraocular lens for cataract patients, the first implant for correcting nearsightedness and the first implantable and dissolvable device for treating glaucoma. He has also worked with several firms in orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, general surgery and dental products. As President of American Operations, he managed start-up activities and sales for the introduction of Hoya Surgical Optics to the United States.
Mr. Ziémba has authored over 25 professional publications and presentations and has successfully managed many FDA-compliance audits in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Singapore. He holds a Bachelor of Science from California State University, Long Beach and a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.
Director, Quality Assurance
Karen joined SynergEyes in 2012 and brings more than 30 years Quality Assurance/Control functions experience to the team. In her current role she holds the responsibility for creating, monitoring, and providing continuous improvement of the FDA/ISO regulated quality systems.
Formerly of Hydrocurve/Sola-Barnes Hind, in addition to her experience in the contact lens industry Karen worked for several FDA regulated Class III medical device companies all of which were used in the treatment of heart disease. The range of devices included atherectomy (for sclerotic arteries), angioplasty, stent delivery systems, atrial fibrillation, and percutaneous delivered heart valves.
Karen’s experience has afforded her the opportunity to learn about the human factor of the individuals who utilize the medical devices. The experience has carried over to SynergEyes where a contact lens, for some individuals is not just a daily wear lens, for those that suffer from irregular corneas it is their connection to the world.
Director, Clinical Services and Training
Dede Reyes has been with SynergEyes since early 2007. She has held various positions within SynergEyes as Clinical and Field Consultant, Product Specialist, Consultation Team Manager and was recently promoted to Director of Clinical Services and Training. Dede brings to SynergEyes 27 years of contact lens experience in fitting and education.
Prior to joining SynergEyes, Dede was the Co-Director of the Contact Lens Service at UC Davis Medical Center, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences and Manager of the Vision Correction Service.
She is a Fellow Member of the Contact lens Society of America. She has authored multiple articles on contact lenses and is a practiced lecturer.
Director, Clinical Studies
Dr. Sonsino brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge and clinical skills to SynergEyes. In a consultative role, Dr. Sonsino will lead SynergEyes’ clinical studies by engaging patients within his practice and by networking with other colleagues around the country when a large number of patients are enrolled in clinical studies.
Previously Dr. Sonsino was faculty at Vanderbilt Eye Institute for 12 years. As an assistant professor, he was the division chief of optometry, founded the Center for Sight Enhancement, was the director of the Scleral Lens Clinic, authored 9 patents on vision-related medical devices, authored multiple papers, and lectured internationally on contact lens technology.
A council member of the American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens Section and a Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Therapies Section of the American Academy of Optometry, Dr. Sonsino is in private practice with his wife, Michele Sonsino, O.D., in Nashville, TN.
Dr. Sonsino graduated with research honors from the New England College of Optometry, Boston and is well known in the optometric profession as a true leader and innovator in contact lens fitting and care.