Leadership Team

Nicole-Osborn-Meridian

Nicole Osborn

Chief Executive Officer

Nicole Osborn founded Meridian Clinical Research in 1999 in Omaha, NE. Under her guidance, Meridian grew from a single dedicated research center in Omaha, NE, to a network that includes more than 30 principal investigators at sites across North America.

Osborn has also been appointed to the Society for Clinical Research Sites (SCRS) leadership council, for which she provides strategic guidance, policy decisions and oversight. Osborn cofounded Platinum Research Network, a highly respected site network and global leader in vaccine trials.

Under Osborn’s direction, research at Meridian is frequently published in academic journals and presented at major scientific and academic events worldwide. She is involved in numerous charitable organizations focused on researching and treating diseases. Osborn graduated from the University of Iowa and earned her BSN from Clarkson College.

Laura-Falcone-Meridian

Laura Falcone, APRN

Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer, Laura Falcone directs operations at all Meridian sites across North America. An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), Falcone brings years of firsthand clinical experience to her executive role at Meridian. She established Meridian’s excellence in patient-centric research conduct and remains heavily-involved in day-to-day clinical operations, occasionally serving as sub-investigator for trials.

In 2012, Falcone was named Study Nurse of the Year at the PharmaTimes U.S. Clinical Researcher of the Year competition.

Before joining Meridian, Falcone was a nurse at the Methodist Health System. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Biology from the University of Virginia; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Creighton University; a Master of Science in Adult Acute Care and a Post-Master's Certificate in Family Practice Nursing from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dave-Roehr7

Dave Roehr

Chief Financial Officer

Dave Roehr brings more than three decades of experience in banking, finance, and strategic growth to his role at Meridian. Before joining Meridian, he founded Proceed Finance. Roehr was also president and chief financial officer of Cabela’s Inc., guiding the company through a time of unprecedented sales growth and retail expansion, rocketing the company past the $1 billion valuation mark.

In his role at Cabela’s, Roehr also served as founder, chairman of the board, and CEO of World’s Foremost Bank, a wholly-owned regulated credit card bank used by Cabela’s. He was also a partner at tax consultancy Grant Thornton LLP, where he leveraged his certified public accountant (CPA) and Masters of Taxation credentials within their public accounting business practice, contributing to revenue growth of over $150 million and expansion into almost 70 countries.

Aside from his career leadership roles, Roehr is also a member on various boards of directors, with current and past board memberships at organization including Buckle, Air Methods, Regional Board of Directors for US Bank, and Security First Bank.

Brandon-Essink-MD

Brandon J. Essink, MD, CPI

Principal Investigator, Medical Director

Dr. Brandon Essink has served as a principal investigator at Meridian since 2003. In his role, Dr. Essink directs clinical practice operations at Meridian’s dedicated research center in Omaha, NE. He is frequently selected to lead pioneering vaccine research programs because of his extensive experience in the field and the superb track record sites have maintained under his guidance.

Dr. Essink earned his BS from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE, and attended medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in Omaha, NE, graduating in 2001. He completed his residency in Family Practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2003 and a Family Practice Procedural Fellowship in 2004. He has been board certified in family practice since 2003 and has practiced family medicine since 2004.

Keith-Vrbicky-MD

Keith Vrbicky, MD

Principal Investigator, International Medical Director

Dr. Keith Vrbicky serves as a principal investigator for Meridian’s Norfolk, NE, OB/GYN sites, and is also the company’s international medical director. Dr. Vrbicky earned his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine in 1979. He completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University Affiliated Hospitals in 1983 and served as assistant professor at Creighton University School of Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology until he began private practice in Norfolk in 1985. In 2013, Dr. Vrbicky delivered his 10,000th baby.

A frequent contributor to prestigious publications, Dr. Vrbicky maintains a faculty appointment at both Creighton University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American College of OB/GYN. In 2006, Dr. Vrbicky, together with Connie Keck, co-authored a book titled Menopause Maze. In 2006, Dr. Vrbicky was welcomed by U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry to address the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations. Dr. Vrbicky was recognized for his service at the President's Convocation at Creighton University and received the 25-Year Faculty Service Award.

Wes-Bonner-Meridian

Wes Bonner

Vice President, Business Development, Principal Investigator Liaison

Wes Bonner joined Meridian Clinical Research in 2014 and now serves as VP, business development and principal investigator liaison. He is responsible for cultivating relationships with physicians across North America to enhance Meridian’s site network and operations. Before joining Meridian, Wes accrued 17 years of experience in sales and account management roles with pharmaceutical companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Upjohn, Otsuka, and Sanofi (where he was a seven-time Above and Beyond winner).

Bonner serves as expert counsel for Total Clinical Trial Management, a committee that bridges the gap between clinical research organizations (CROs) and clinical research conduct. He has also spoken at a Model Agreements & Guidelines International (MAGI) event and served as a moderator at the Global Site Solutions Summit. Bonner earned his Bachelor of Science in Communication from Georgia Southern University.

Yvonne-McCracken

Yvonne McCracken, MPH

Vice President, Quality Assurance

Yvonne McCracken joined Meridian Clinical Research as VP of quality assurance in 2015. Before joining Meridian, she founded Carolinas Research Associates (CRA) and served as CEO from 1996 until 2013 when the company was sold to PMG Research. In that role, McCracken implemented clinical research programs for numerous private practice physicians and large medical groups. She also provided consultation and training services to academic medical centers, private practice groups, and pharmaceutical companies.

McCracken has been a frequent speaker, panelist, and moderator at forums ranging from national professional conferences to community organizations. She has given presentations at the Clinical Research Conference in Taipei, Taiwan, sponsored by Association for Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). McCracken earned her Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992 and was a certified clinical research coordinator from 1996 to 2013.

  • Member of the Drug Information Association (DIA) Good Clinical Practices & Quality Assurance (GCP-QA) Community since 2004; Elected as co-chair of the GCP-QA Core Committee in 2014.
  • Held positions in DIA groups including the Nominations Committee, Annual Meeting Planning Committee, and SIAC Program Committee.
  • Served on the ACRP Board of Trustees and on the Editorial Advisory Board for the ACRP journal, The Monitor; Member of the ACRP Marketing & Communications Committee.
  • Founding member of the Greater Charlotte Chapter of ACRP; president of the chapter in 1996 and 2006; Program committee chair from 2001-2010.
Kathy-Stoddard-Meridian

Kathy Stoddard RN, CCRC

Vice President, Strategic Development

Kathy Stoddard has substantial experience in managing multi-site research trials and providing oversight for business development, contracts, budgets, staffing, and operating procedures. She was previously chief operating officer at AMR. Before that, Stoddard served as vice president for a nationally known multi-site research network for four years. During this time, she was primarily responsible for the development, buildout, and credentialing of three urgent care centers in three states to augment the core business.

Stoddard was also director of research for Heartland Research Associates for 15 years. During her tenure there, the business grew from one employee to more than 50 across five separate research centers, with annual revenue exceeding $4M.

Stoddard attended Wichita State University and St. Francis School of Nursing. Her past experience includes the buildout of an orthopedic ambulatory surgery center, accredited by the state of Kansas. She is a member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and is recognized by that organization as a certified clinical research coordinator.

Andrew-Kimball-Meridian

Andrew Kimball

Vice President, Business Development

At Meridian, Andrew Kimball is responsible for generating new partnerships and strengthening existing client relationships while assisting in the financial and operational growth of research sites. Kimball was formerly vice president of business development at Platinum Research Network, of which Meridian Clinical Research is the largest member. At Platinum, he expanded the network to comprise more than 80 principal investigators and 30 cities.

Before joining Platinum, Kimball was senior director of business operations at Total Clinical Trial Management, and worked at companies including Benchmark Research, VaxNet, and Greenphire. Kimball frequently presents at clinical research conferences worldwide, speaking on site management, growth, and relationship development. He graduated from Mount Wachusett Community College with a degree in graphic design.

Mission

To enrich lives by providing quality, compassionate care to patients and unparalleled clinical research services.

Vision

Be the partner of choice for clinical research services in the therapeutic areas we serve, particularly for studies exploring complex and individualized medicines. Be a significant asset for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies driving the greatest advancements in human health.

Values

Safety: Put patients first. Make the clinical research of new therapies a positive experience for study participants and a viable investment for clients.

Integrity: Provide exceptional care to study participants, reliable performance to clients, and high-fidelity data to advance research programs.

Partnership: Establish a shared vision within the company and with clients to guide well-informed decisions and bring life-changing therapies to market faster.

Dedication: Assign the best team for every study, deliver on every promise, and exceed expectations at every opportunity.