2018 TravCon Key Note Speaker

Humerous; Engaging; Dynamic & Inspiring for all Healthcare Travelers

Jeff Solheim, MSN, RN-BC, CEN, CFRN, FAEN

Jeff has been delivering both motivational speeches as well as health-care related education to audiences all around the world for over ten years. He has been invited to speak at venues as diverse as the International Emergency Care Conference in Gold Coast Australia to the National Emergency Nurses Association Convention here in the United States. As director and founder of the Project Helping Hands, a not-for-profit third world medical organization, Jeff has travelled over fifty times to countries around the world leading medical teams into some of the poorest places on earth. Jeff is known to weave his down-to-earth speaking style with his incredible sense of humor and stories from around the world to create memorable presentations and seminars.

Currently residing in West Linn, Oregon, Jeff is a Registered Nurse with a varied background. He has worked on medical-surgical units, intensive care units and the emergency department, serving in roles as diverse as staff nurse, flight nurse, nursing administration, trauma coordinator, nurse educator and state surveyor. Since 2004, Jeff has authored eight books and contributed to numerous others while travelling around the world delivering seminars and speeches to more than 500 audiences.

2018 TravCon Speakers

Bringing Their Expertise to You

Earl Dalton, MHA, MSL, BSN, NEA-BC

Earl Dalton - Chief Nursing Officer at Health Carousel, has over 20 years of acute hospital experience in a variety of leadership roles from Adult Health to Emergency and Critical care. Dalton is an accomplished speaker, author and innovator in the Healthcare industry. Dalton has worked for several hospital systems most notably, the Duke University Health System, consistently in the top ten for healthcare delivery in the United States and globally. Dalton is an industry thought leader and has done exceptional work in areas of Work Culture, Quality Improvement and Customer Satisfaction.
Earl was part of the Magnet journey for Duke University Health System as well as TriHealth Health System where both sites displayed exemplar performance in their site assessments. Dalton has spoken at such events as the AMSN national conference as well as internationally at the Philippines National Nurses Association conference (keynote) and in South Korea. Dalton was published in Customer Care News for innovation in customer experience in 2015 and won the Mount St Joseph Distinguished Nurse Administrator award for the city of Cincinnati.

Aaron Highfill, RN

TravCon2015-16Aaron has been traveling in some capacity for most of his life. He realized early on that traveling is more fun when someone else is paying for it. His nursing career has taken him to approximately two dozen countries, six continents, two cruise ships, one civil war and a viral pandemic. When not traveling for work as a Flight Nurse for AMR Air Ambulance, he's probably traveling for fun. Aaron can now add co-author to his list of achievements for his work on the new Highway Hypodermics book: Travel Nursing 2017!

Landon Graham James, RN, BSN, MA, CEN, PCP

Landon JamesLandon James began his career early as an ER nurse and volunteered countless hours with the St. John Ambulance brigade. He was responsible for leading the Coastal Health service delivery area through its first Trauma Association of Canada Accreditation process in 2003, an achievement that was recognized with distinction. His career has also seen him as the leader of two different emergency departments.  In 2008, he became president-elect of NENA and served as its president from 2009-2011 (and one year as past president until June 30, 2012). He has also represented Canada internationally, in the U.S. (on multiple occasions) and in Brazil.

He had a leadership role with the Ministry of Health in mass casualty management in preparation for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which transitioned into a Games-time role of leading medical services for the Vancouver and Whistler athlete villages.

Cynthia Kinnas

Cynthia_KinnasCynthia Kinnas has over 20 years of experience in healthcare staffing (she started as a travel nurse recruiter) and is the former president of Randstad Healthcare, which offers nursing, allied and locum tenens including a strong focus in Travel Nursing. Kinnas co-founded Clinical One, the predecessor to Randstad Healthcare, as a travel nurse staffing firm in 1993. Cynthia also serves on the Editorial board of Healthcare Traveler, and was listed in SIA's Top 100 in Staffing in 2011-2014.

Cynthia is very passionate and knowledgeable about the travel nursing industry and speaks at a variety of healthcare conferences including several past Traveler’s Conferences. She is the former Chairman of the Health Care Section of the ASA (American Staffing Association) as well as a founding board member and former president of the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations and was instrumental in creating the first-ever travel nursing specific annual benchmarking report, which was launched by NATHO in partnership with SIA starting in 2013.

Cynthia holds a BA in International Relations from USIU-E.

Melissa Knybel, BSN,RN

Melissa_KnybelMelissa is the Vice President of Operations at Randstad Healthcare and responsible for the overall management of the Administration, Quality Assurance, and Housing departments. One of her biggest successes was achieving Joint Commission certification for Health Care Staffing Services in April 2005. Melissa also coordinates technology development and improvement projects, has full accountability for all company compliance programs, works with the Legal and Risk department to investigate all medical malpractice claims, and acts as a liaison to Human Resources on all legal personnel issues.

Melissa has over 15 years of experience in the medical staffing industry and over 10 years of clinical nursing experience. Prior to joining Randstad Healthcare, Melissa was employed as a Registered Nurse working in a variety of settings including a level one trauma center, a community hospital setting, and as an instructor for an Associates Degree RN Program.  Melissa is a member of the Joint Commission Advisory Board for Health Care Staffing Services, sits on the Clinical Executive Committee of NATHO, the National Association of Traveling Healthcare Organizations, and is an active member of the Health Care Policy Council of the American Staffing Association.

Julia Kuhn MS CCC-SLP

Julia is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in adult neurogenic rehab.  She has worked as a traveling SLP across the USA, including Hawaii. She has worked in acute care, inpatient rehab and skilled nursing facilities.

While she is not on assignment, Julia has traveled to over 15 countries! She loves to hike, practice photography and drink a lot of coffee! She blogs resources and inspiration for healthcare travelers at www.thetravelingtraveler.com

Laura Latimer, OT

View More: http://latimerstudios.pass.us/laurpersonal2014Laura Latimer is the founder of Nomadicare.com as well as a traveling OT for 6 years (and counting!) She is on a mission to find the best recruiters in travel healthcare and connect them to travelers. Only 1 in 4 recruiters pass the Nomadicare test and receive the"Nomadic Stamp of Approval". She knows just how important a recruiter is in a traveler's journey and Laura is honored to be dubbed "The Recruiter Matchmaker."

You can get Laura's free guide to getting started in travel healthcare at Nomadicare.com and follow her on Facebook at Laura Nomadicare where she loves giving away resources, answering questions and running free travel healthcare webinars.

Jeff Lee & Angel Wells

Violence is escalating in society, and it is increasingly recognized that caregivers in the healthcare setting are at risk. Jeff & Angel work to provide comprehensive solutions to individuals who are faced with the threat to physical property and individuals.  Learn some basic self-defense techniques from expert instructors that healthcare workers can use if necessary.

Phil Light, RN, CEN

philPhil is a working Emergency Registered Nurse Traveler, Co-Founder and President of the non-profit Professional Association of Nurse Travelers (PanTravelers.org), and a founding Board Member of the Travelers Conference. Following 12 years in the back of an ambulance as EMS Director, Phil  was one of the very first males to earn a nursing degree from Western Kentucky University. He's been working in hospitals at the bedside since 1988 and a traveler since 2004. 

Before 2005, travelers did not have an organization committed to representing their interests, nor a unified voice within the industry. PanTravelers was founded to fill that void. There was and is still an immense amount of myth and misinformation circulating among both travelers and agencies. We recognized a need for an authoritative source of accurate information available to all travelers with a goal of helping travelers avoid the common pitfalls that can affect their careers. We are growing rapidly, and with our growth we are better able to influence industry practices. PanTravelers is the only voice exclusively dedicated to traveler's interests.

Tracey Long, RN, PhD, MS, MSN, CE, CNE, CHUC, CCRN

tracey_longAs a registered nurse for 27 years, Tracey has worked in critical care, cardiology and developed Spanish programs in health education and diabetes for local hospitals in Las Vegas, Nevada where she now resides. She earned her Bachelor’s in Nursing Science and Spanish from Brigham Young University, a Masters Degree in Public Health Education at California College of Health Sciences and an MSN in Nursing Education at UNLV.

Tracey is currently a PhD student in Nursing Education. She is faculty in Nursing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her research interests are Simulation, cultural competency training, measuring effectiveness in education, and diabetes. She served on the NCSBN National Nursing Simulation Study Team. As a freelance speaker she has earned the Educator of Excellence Award, and been an invited keynote speaker for nursing school graduations, nursing career fairs, nursing webinars for Nurse.com, and genealogy seminars.

Greg Luther

Greg Luther is the husband of Belinda Luther , a L&D travel nurse. He has been traveling with her since 2007! He has a background in security and construction including 7 years with the Texas Dept of Criminal Justice. He is also a graduate of the Chattanooga Citizens Police Academy and a member of the NRA. He also had his own radio program on WSDT-AM where he spoke about personal rights and responsibilities. Greg and his wife Belinda are well known to TravCon attendees having been at most previous meetings and having spoken on Traveling with Your Pets!

Scott Martindale, LPC

Scott Martindale is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas – working specifically to treat depression, anxiety and transition issues with adults. This devotion has provided him tremendous insight into the causes of depression, treatment modalities and methods to deal with continuous symptoms. Scott is very passionate about mental health and the intense need to shed light upon current issues regarding our healthcare employees and how proper treatment can help to improve their overall quality of life, and the patients in which they interact. He holds a Master’s in Counseling and Human Development from Hardin Simmons University and commits time as a visiting Professor to several University Systems. Additionally, Mr. Martindale is the Chief Executive Officer of Republic Health Resources, a nationwide, Joint Commission Certified travel nursing firm based in Dallas Texas.

Shaunna Nastasi

Shaunna is a healthcare staffing expert who spends her days training recruiters to place healthcare travelers in the appropriate assignment. Shaunna was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas where she lives with her husband and 3 children. Before her current position as Recruiting Manager for TRS Healthcare, she was a recruiter handling up to 53 working nurse travelers - during which time she became expert in the successes and failures that healthcare travelers experience during the facility interview.

Robyn Otty, OTD, MEd

Robyn Otty, OTD, MEd, OTR/L, BCPR is the interim program director and associate professor at Touro University Nevada’s College Health and Human Services, School of Occupational Therapy. As a practicing clinician for 24 years, and ten years as a professional educator, she possesses a wealth of physical rehabilitation experience within multiple areas of practice.  She received her Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation in 2012 from AOTA, clinical doctorate (OTD) from Loma Linda University in 2010, Master of Education for Touro University Nevada in 2007, and Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State in 1994. Current research interests include using evidence-supported cognitive approaches to improve motor control for adolescents diagnosed with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Otty has presented at various conferences and lectured for Vyne Education.

Joseph Reinke, Founder & CEO

Joseph Reinke is the CEO and founder of Fitbux, Inc. FitBUX is a financial technology product originally aimed at helping physical therapists. Thus far they have helped PTs develop financial strategies to eliminate $11 million in student loans. Joe has been in the finance industry for over a decade and is one of the few CFA Charterholders in the world who has experience in both wealth management and business valuation (globally, there are only 120,000 CFA Charterholders). He has hosted numerous live chats about student loans with SPTs across the country, presented at the California Student Conclave, appeared on podcasts, and written numerous financial blogs. He will present on basic financial literacy and present financial strategies for healthcare travelers.

Dan Sees, RV Expert

I have 40 years of camping experience, over 20 years of maintaining RVs, and 9 years of supporting my wife as a Travel Nurse living in a motorhome. I am an aircraft mechanic by trade with extensive training in mechanical equipment, including engines, electrical systems, drivetrains, pneumatics, hydraulics & plumbing. I have been researching RVs and related content for approximately 20 years, and lead discussions on living and traveling in RVs over the past several years.

Kay “Epstein LaRue” Slane, RN, BS

The writing world calls her “Epstein,” but reality calls her "Kay."  She has been a nurse since 1992 and was first published in 2001.  She has been involved as a speaker since the first conference, and a board member and secondary MC in more recent conferences. Highway Hypodermics: Travel Nursing 2017 is the sixth book in her travel nursing series and sports Joseph Smith and Aaron Highfill as co-authors.

Highway Hypodermics: On The Road Again was a winner in the USABookNew’s awards over two other travel nursing finalists, and every book since Highway Hypodermics:  Travel Nursing 2007 has spent time on Amazon’s bestselling book in the Nursing Trends, Issues and Roles list.  Every book since Highway Hypodermics:  Travel Nursing 2012 has been #1 on the Medical Reference list for eBooks.

Epstein received her Certificate of Grad-Level Management in 2013 and travels during the winter to California as a house supervisor.  In the summer she concentrates her efforts on teaching recruiters about what travel nurses want in a company and updates her website, www.highwayhypodermics.com, which is a premier site for travel company information.  Her Facebook group “Travel Nursing Newbies” is the leading group for teaching new traveling healthcare professionals on how to get started in the travel healthcare field.  

Joseph Smith, RRT/EA/MTax

JosephSmithJoseph finished degrees in Accounting and Respiratory Therapy, and worked as a travel respiratory therapist before founding TravelTax and TravelTax Canada, a tax practice catering to the travel healthcare professional and mobile professionals in other staffing segments. TravelTax is well known in the healthcare staffing industry and serves a substantial client base of domestic and international mobile professionals, and their staffing agencies. His firm prepares US and Canadian returns and represents clients before the IRS, Canadian Revenue Agency and State Tax Agencies in audits, tax controversies and litigation support.

Joseph is a regular contributor to a number of staffing related publications/social media. He is the co-author of the 2015/2017 edition of Highway Hypodermics, serves on the Tax Compliance Committee of the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO), a regular speaker at the Healthcare Staffing Summit and teaches taxation at Northeast Community College. In addition to his undergraduate degrees, Joseph holds a MS in Taxation from Golden Gate University and has completed tax courses at Athabasca University in Canada.

Gary Swyers

For the past 26 years, Gary has managed and coached staff and volunteers. He has also facilitated corporate and non-profit groups, toward individual and team development, utilizing experiential learning and assessments as tools for growth. Currently, Gary uses his experience and skills to assist individuals at TRS Healthcare to leverage the best version of themselves. He holds certifications in DISC, Emotional Intelligence, CCL 360 Assessment, MBTI Type Indicator, Thomas Kilman Conflict Instrument, and Facilitation.

Melanie Theriac, RN and Joanie Reneer, RN, BSN

Image of Joanie and MelanieMelanie Theriac, RN began her career in ICU. Migrating to southern Indiana, Melanie moved into home care and eventually became a partial owner of Riverfront Home Health. After 10 years, the company was sold to American Nursing Care and Melanie joined two silent partners to open Medical Staffing Solutions, LLC in Evansville, Indiana.

Joanie Reneer, RN, BSN initially worked in hospital units including Med/Surg, Telemetry, and ICU. She transitioned into homecare where she met her future business partner, Melanie Theriac, and the two began working together. Joanie eventually left home care nursing to open a home infusion company.

In 2003, Melanie approached Joanie about becoming a business partner with Medical Staffing Solutions, LLC (MSS). Within a year, the two single mothers bought out their silent partners and became 100% Woman-Owned/100% Nurse-Owned business. Digging in her heels, the two expanded their per diem staffing services to include therapy, pharmacy, and allied health services.

Cathy Vollmer, RN, BSN, CSP

Cathy Vollmer is Senior VP of Favorite Healthcare Staffing. She has been integral in the foundation and development of Favorite’s National Travel Nursing, Disaster Resource, Project Staffing, VMS/Managed Services, and Healthcare Informatics areas. She is responsible for Favorite’s Travel, Allied Health, Advanced Practice, Direct Hire, Managed Services/VMS, Disaster Relief, and Project Staffing Divisions. As a member of Favorite’s Senior Team, she provides guidance and leadership to the corporate divisions and branch offices. Especially skilled at workforce solutions and contingent staffing strategies, Cathy considers keeping nurses in nursing to be her most powerful career motivation and professional goal.

Cathy was trained in the nursing field, achieving her Diploma in Nursing from Missouri Baptist School of Nursing and BSN Degree from Maryville College in St. Louis, Missouri. She has continued MBA and Leadership studies at Avila College in Kansas City, MO.