Board of Directors

Raymond Courter, MBA, CPA, Chair
Miguel R. Rivera, JD, Vice Chair
Kay Barnes, MPA, MA
Hubert Benitez, DDS, PhD, Ex-officio 
Robert S. Bonney, MBA, MSPH, JD
Jeremy Crow, MBA, PMP
Theresa A. Garza, MLS
Renee Gillespie, BSA
Kathy Howell, RN, BSN, MBA
Edgar Palacios, MBA
Juan J. Rangel, Jr., MEd
Lisa Vansaghi, MD
Kathy Walter-Mack, JD
Thomas R. Willard, MBA
Debbie Wilson, RN, MSN, MSA, NEA-BC
Jim Wilson, MBA


Board of Director Bios

Raymond J. Courter, MBA, CPA
Chair of the Board of Directors

Ray Courter retired from Northwest Missouri State University in 2009 after a 38-year career in higher education. He served in four separate administrative positions at Northwest, retiring as vice president for finance and support services. As one of the senior officers serving on the president’s cabinet, he was an instrumental partner in the team development and deployment of continuous quality improvement programs and processes across all segments of the University, culminating in Northwest Missouri State University winning the Missouri Quality Award four times between 1996 and 2008. His professional knowledge includes finance, budgeting, accounting, organizational behavior, leadership, management, human relations, capital facilities, and legislative committee work. 

Additional professional experiences include serving as the auditor in Office of Inspector General, U.S. Dept of Agriculture and enlistment in the United States Air Force honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. Mr. Courter continues to serve on numerous boards of not-for-profit organizations. 

Since retirement in 2009, Mr. Courter has been working with a team of volunteers focused on developing two business projects based on a community wellness model in Maryville, Missouri. Both projects focus on improving the quality of life for individuals aging in their homes. One project envisions a not-for-profit delivering in-home service and social support; while the other project envisions an intergenerational neighborhood of homes being developed. These projects aim to enhance opportunities for aging individuals who choose to stay in their homes and communities in our rural location. Their goal is to enable community resources—both human and technological—to support the desire of aging seniors to remain in their home, so that rural communities remain more economically and socially vibrant.


 

Kay Waldo Barnes, MPA, MA

Kay Waldo Barnes is a former two-term mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. She was the Democratic nominee for Missouri’s 6th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives in the 2008 election.

A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, she earned a bachelor’s in secondary education from the University of Kansas and a master’s in secondary education from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She was president of Kay Waldo, Inc., a human resources development firm until her retirement.

Mayor Barnes was the first woman elected as mayor of Kansas City in 1999 and was re-elected for a second term in 2003. Mayor Barnes has received the most credit for her work in improving downtown Kansas City and for beginning the revitalization of the urban core. She is also credited with the Sprint Center arena in Kansas City that opened on October 10, 2007. 

In 1974, she was one of the first two women on the Jackson County Legislature. She was later elected to the Kansas City Council in 1979 serving four years.

Mayor Barnes led Park University’s effort to establish a Center for Leadership in Public Affairs where she has been the Distinguished Professor of Public Leadership since 2007. She continues to teach courses at Park’s Hauptmann School of Public Affairs.

Mayor Barnes also helped found the Women’s Resource Service Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, co-hosted and produced a cable television talk show, “Let’s Talk,” focusing on community issues, and Co-authored a book published by McGraw-Hill, About Time! A Woman’s Guide to Time Management (1981).


Robert S. Bonney, MBA, MSPH, JD

Robert S. Bonney is senior vice president for non-acute services and business development for Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Missouri. He has nearly 40 years of healthcare operations experience at the executive level both in large hospitals, health systems and managed care organizations.

Mr. Bonney holds master’s degrees in both business administration and public health with a concentration in health services management from the University of Missouri–Columbia and a law degree, graduating summa cum laude, from Michigan State College of Law (formerly Detroit College of Law). 

A prolific author in areas of health management, he has held adjunct faculty positions at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Missouri–Columbia and is currently an assistant professor in the Health Policy and Management Department of the University of Kansas.

Mr. Bonney is board certified in healthcare management and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


Jeremy Crow, MBA, PMP

Jeremy Crow is senior vice president of Professional Services including project management, consulting and training at Procura located in Springfield, Missouri. Before this position, he was the senior executive over Implementation and Product Support; Departmental P&L; Personnel and the Client Experience. 

He has also worked as vice president at Xerox-Healthcare Provider Solutions, as project director of Meaningful Use at Community Health Systems, vice president of Clinical Client Services at Healthland, vice president of Customer Services at McKesson Provider Technologies, and Director of Implementation Services also at McKesson.

The majority of Mr. Crow’s HealthCare IT experience was with McKesson’s Provider Technology group where he held multiple roles over 13 years. As vice president, he led a cross-functional team of 40+ employees and had responsibility for over $10 million in revenue. During his tenure, Mr. Crow had oversight of several multi-site deployments for two national post-acute providers as well as the State of Arkansas’ Health Department. Also during his tenure, he led McKesson efforts to introduce e-learning (web-based and computer-based training), subscription-based software solutions and revenue cycle outsourcing to their clients that addressed specific business problems while growing McKesson’s solution set. 

He graduated with an MBA from Washington University—Saint Louis Olin Business School.


Juan Rangel, Jr., MEd

Juan Rangel, Jr. serves as the director of the Gateway to College Program at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. Mr. Rangel also teaches at William Jewell College as an adjunct professor and has done so since 2006. 

Before his full-time appointment at Donnelly College, he was the Director of Community Engagement for Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City for nearly eight years. Before joining MCC, he was executive director for the National Conference for Community and Justice (now called Harmony) for 12 years—a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and racism. He was also an Educational Counselor at LULAC National Education Service Center in the early 1990s. 

He has extensive experience in providing service to the community in a variety of other volunteer roles including current and past Commissioner for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority/Treasurer (appointed by Mayor Mark Funkhouser); and Commissioner of the Kansas City Port Authority (appointed by Mayor Sly James). He has multiple board memberships including: the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, the Coalitions for Community Collaboration Board, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Ewing Marion Kauffman Fund for Greater Kansas City, Guadalupe Center, Inc., Greater Kansas City Health Foundation Board, Heartland Men’s Chorus Board, Jewish Vocational Services Board, Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, Northwest Missouri State University board of regents (appointed by Governor Mel Carnahan), Northwest Missouri State University Foundation, Synergy Board, Research Development Institute, Truman Medical Center, UMKC Women’s Council, and the Youth on Race Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast board.


Kathy Walter-Mack, JD

Kathy Walter-Mack, JD, is associate vice chancellor of human resources and chief of staff to the chancellor of Metropolitan Community College (MCC), Kansas City, Missouri. Ms. Walter-Mack joined MCC in 2009 as the director of urban affairs and inclusion. In 2010, she was named the chief of staff to the chancellor.

Before joining MCC, she served as general counsel for the Kansas City Missouri School District where she was responsible for a staff of 13 and an annual budget of $3 million as well as oversight of the district’s five out¬side law firms. She provided legal advice to the superintendent and senior administrative staff and directed the strategies that led to the suc¬cessful resolution of the district’s decades-long school desegregation case.

She served as the co-director of the Low-Income Tax Clinic at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. She also taught at UMKC’s College of Education and Avila University and worked as a consultant in the areas of diversity management, internal investigations, and strategic planning. She was twice appointed as commissioner for the Kansas City, Missouri Port Authority and was a tax dis¬trict appointee to the Tax Increment Finance Commission of Kansas City.

Ms. Walter-Mack earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a law degree from DePaul University School of Law in Chicago. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Missouri.


Thomas R. “Buzz” Willard, MBA

Thomas R. (Buzz) Willard currently serves as the vice chairman of the Commerce Trust Company and is the president and CEO of Tower Properties Company. Before joining the Commerce Trust Company and Tower, Mr. Willard was president of Bliss Associates, Inc., a regional real estate appraisal firm.

Mr. Willard currently services as president of Saint Luke’s Hospital-Kansas City Board, co-chairman of the Greater Downtown Area Plan of Kansas City Missouri (GDAP) and treasurer of the Police Foundation of Kansas City. His current list of civic activities includes service on several civic and charitable boards including William Jewell College (immediate past chairman), the Kansas City Police Foundation and the Downtown Council Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Commerce Bank of Kansas City; and TNEMEC. 

His past board service includes the Saint Luke’s Cancer Institute (chairman), the Mission Hills, Kansas Planning Commission, the Horizon Academy, St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, UCP/Open Options (Chairman), The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, The Downtown Community Improvement District (chairman), the Kansas City Country Club (president) and the University Club (president).

Mr. Willard received his Bachelor of Science degree from William Jewell College and his MBA from Rockhurst University. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious CRE designation from the Counselors of Real Estate.


Debbie Wilson, RN, MSN, MSA, NEA-BC

Debbie Wilson, RN, MSN, MSA, NEA-BC is the vice president and chief nursing officer for Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, a 602-bed quaternary referral center. Saint Luke’s Hospital is part of Saint Luke’s Health System a not-for-profit, faith-based health system consisting of 11 hospitals and numerous primary and specialty care practices located in the Kansas City metropolitan area as well as the surrounding region. As the vice president and chief nursing officer, Ms. Wilson is accountable for the nursing care delivered by more than 1,200 registered nurses and oversees the operational and quality performance of multiple inpatient and outpatient clinical areas. Ms. Wilson was a part of the executive team responsible for Saint Luke’s Health System’s 2010 Missouri Quality Award achievement. 

Under Ms. Wilson’s leadership, Saint Luke’s Hospital received Magnet re-designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for excellence in nursing services in 2009. The hospital initially achieved Magnet designation in 2004. She led her team to Saint Luke’s third Magnet designation which was obtained in 2014. Ms. Wilson’s team is now working on their fourth designation in 2018. 

Ms. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa; a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Missouri–Kansas City; and an additional master’s degree in administration with an emphasis in health care administration from Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan. 

She holds a certification as a nurse executive, advanced (NEA-BC) from the American Nursing Credentialing Center. Ms. Wilson was the recipient of the 2011 University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) Alumni Achievement Award for the School of Nursing. She is active in some professional associations and boards, including Kansas City Area Nurse Executives (KCANE), the UMKC School of Nursing Advisory Board, and president of the Missouri Organization of Nurse Leaders (MONL). Ms. Wilson is also a 2012 Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow.


Jim Wilson, MBA

Jim Wilson is CEO of StrategyNow Consulting, LLC—a healthcare business operations, sales, acquisitions, contract negotiations, and sales training firm. He is also the executive advisor for Health Outcomes Sciences, Adreima, MedCPU and 1stHealth. He has been an active participant and advisor for the Health Management Academy since 2000.

Before his current position, he was CEO of Health Outcomes Sciences, LLC; president of Craneware; vice president and general manager at Cerner; vice president at Oacis Healthcare, and director at EDS.

Mr. Wilson attended William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and also served honorably for over nine years in the United States Navy.