Small Business Purchasing Pool Board of Directors
John Thomas, Helena
Appointed by Governor Schweitzer - Mr. Thomas is the Senior Health Officer of the Department of Administration Health Care & Benefits Division. He has worked in the healthcare and insurance industries for the past twenty years. Mr. Thomas was employed by Montana State Fund from 1990 to 1999 as a Medical Benefits Coordinator and had responsibility for the State Fund's Managed Care and Preferred Provider programs. He also served as the Executive Director/President of the Montana Physician Hospital Organization until accepting his current position in 2004. Mr. Thomas fulfills the qualification as a Management-level Member with knowledge of state employee health benefit plans.
Katherine Buckley-Patton, Helena/Dillon
Appointed by Governor Schweitzer. Ms. Buckley-Patton is the Healthy Montana Kids Supervisor in the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Ms. Buckley-Patton has more than 25 years experience advocating for families through different positions held in community, hospital and government agencies, including the last 15 years with DPHHS. She is a long-term supporter of addressing the needs of the uninsured in our state. Ms. Buckley-Patton fulfills the qualification of Management-level Member with knowledge of Medicaid services
Tim O'Leary, Missoula
Appointed by Governor Bullock - Tim was born in Helena Montana and raised by great parents with three awesome sisters several blocks from the Capitol. Time graduated from Helena High School in 1985, he then attended three semesters at St. John’s University in Collegeville MN, changing direction he graduated with honors in 1990 from Montana State University with BS in Physics. Tim worked odd jobs in Denver area including Salvation Army bell ringer after college before starting his career as a research assistant at a LIDAR lab in the mountains west of Boulder Colorado. Missoula Montana became his home in 1994, where he started a small neighborhood brewery. In 2006 the KettleHouse Brewery became the first modern microbrewery to can beer in Montana. Tim was delighted to share the Small Business Person of the Year Award with wife and business partner Suzy Rizza in 2009, who also shares in raising their two super cool sons Luke and Colin. Tim and his family love to ski, hunt, fish, float, and ride mountain bikes.
Claudia Clifford, Helena
Claudia Clifford is the Advocacy Director for AARP Montana, serving this role since 2004. She has worked for over 20 years on health policy issues. For seven years, Claudia served on the board of the Montana Comprehensive Health Association, the state’s health insurance program for high risk individuals.
Susan Witte, Attorney at Law, Helena
Appointed by Commissioner Lindeen - Ms. Witte is currently the Regulatory and Compliance Officer for the Montana University System (MUS) Employee Benefits division in Helena. Her responsibilities include monitoring interim legislative work and related legislative committees and ensuring that the MUS employee benefits plan is in compliance with state and federal regulations, especially those pertaining to federal health care reform. Previously Ms. Witte served as an officer and general counsel with a domestic health insurance company and third party administrator in Montana; associate general counsel and public relations officer with another Montana health insurance carrier, and work with state regulatory agencies including the Montana Department of Insurance. She has also been in private practice in Helena and Livingston. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history-political science from the University of Montana and a law degree from the Antioch School of Law in Washington, DC. Ms. Witte is from Poplar, Montana.
Julie Jaksha, Butte
Julie is the Director of the Small Business Development Center for Headwaters RC&D in Butte Montana. In her current position she helps businesses with business planning, marketing, financials, and growth strategies throughout the 7 counties that Headwaters serves. The mission of her office is to build, sustain and promote small business and enhance the local economy through job and business creation. She has over 16 years in the banking industry working at both Wells Fargo and First Montana Bank before joining Headwaters in 2009. In 2013 she completed the National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional program and earned certification. In addition she is a trained facilitator for Edward Lowe Peersepective Progam and Profit Mastery, a financial education program for small business owners. Julie also volunteers her time serving on numerous public and private boards. She is currently attending Montana Tech, working towards completing her BA in business management. Julie and her husband Steve have 3 amazing children, Seth, Hailey and Kenzie. Julie and her family like to spend their weekends traveling for soccer games, as well as skiing, camping, rafting, fishing and hiking.
David B. Kendall
Appointed by Commissioner Morrison - Mr. Kendall is a health policy analyst best known for crafting a new progressive agenda for health care. At the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and its affiliate, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), Mr. Kendall has developed innovative policies for reforming health care financing and delivery. His work has been praised on the editorial page of The New York Times, by national columnists such as Morton Kondracke and James Glassman, and by former Senators Bob Kerrey (D-NE) and John Breaux (D-LA) and Congressman Bill Thomas (R-CA). Mr. Kendall fulfills the qualification of a Consumer Member representing the public interest.