Bernie Iliakis, MHA
October 1, 2020
As President for CorneaGen, Bernie is responsible for all aspects of the tissue services organization. Over his career, he has been responsible for the distribution of more than 150,000 sight restoring grafts to nearly 50 countries worldwide.
Bernie began his career in eye banking in 1995, when he joined SightLife as an eye bank technician. In 2003, he became the Chief Operating Officer overseeing all operations, including clinical services and quality assurance. He transitioned to CorneaGen COO after its creation in 2016. In early 2021, Bernie was promoted to President of the organization.
For 15 years he served on the Medical Advisory Board for the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA), which creates and revises the medical standards that govern eye banking, and was an Inspector on the Accreditation Board for 15 years, which determines EBAA accreditation status of eye banks. In 2016, Bernie was honored by the EBAA with the Leonard Heise Award for his outstanding devotion to the field of eye banking.
Bernie has been a member of the American Association of Ophthalmology and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery course faculty for Femtosecond Laser Keratoplasty.
Bernie received his master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Washington and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, also at the UW.
October 1, 2020
John Guckes is CorneaGen’s Chief Commercial Officer. In this role he leads USA and International Sales and Marketing. John has over thirty years ophthalmic industry experience. He joined CorneaGen in 2016.
John is a former executive with Bausch & Lomb (Rochester, NY). He served in a variety of senior leadership positions which focused on commercial business development and geographic expansion in N. America, Asia and Europe. These included Vice President- Global Cataract Strategy, Vice President- Global Cataract and Vitreoretinal Equipment, Vice President and General Manager Global Instruments and Vice President Asia Pacific Commercial Operations.
John is recognized for his integrity and strong strategic and tactical leadership, for initiating and growing global businesses and the development and mentoring of ophthalmic business leaders throughout the world.
He serves on the Board of Directors for the Life Long Vision Foundation and the Advisory Board for the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ internationally recognized Global Business Institute. He is a former board member for the Eye Bank Association or America.
John holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Magna Cum Laude) and Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
October 1, 2020
Gretchen currently serves as Chief Talent Management Officer. She comes to CorneaGen with more than 20 years of human resources experience, and since 2009 has served in the same capacity for SightLife.
With previous roles at companies such as Starbucks and Doubletree Hotels, Gretchen is an expert in supporting and setting corporate office policy, employee benefits and relations, as well as supporting international operations and development.
Gretchen received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Washington and a Master’s of Science in Human Resources Management from Chapman University in California. She is certified in both PHR, SPHR, and SHRM-SCP.
October 1, 2020
As Chief Financial Officer of CorneaGen, David is responsible for both the finance and technology services teams. In his role, he will use his financial expertise to ensure the company has a strong balance sheet and the financial capabilities to accelerate its mission to eliminate corneal blindness worldwide by 2040.
Previously, Rostov served as CFO at Donuts Inc., a provider of services for digital identity management, where his efforts resulted in accelerated year-over-year growth with high EBITDA profitability and a successful sale to a private equity firm.
Rostov also held the CFO role at Avalara, which offers a cloud-based software solution for transactional taxes, and at Infospace, a publicly traded internet services company. He was responsible for increased efficiency, certain key acquisitions and helped support dramatic annual revenue growth for both organizations. Rostov also was part of the management team that launched drugstore.com, helped grow the business and took the company public. Rostov has also taken a personal interest in cause-related ophthalmology for many years.
Robert “Bob” J. Stevens
October 1, 2020
Bob Stevens joined CorneaGen in August 2017 as the Chief Technology Officer. Leveraging his extensive background in the ophthalmology industry, Bob oversees all research and development efforts.
Previously, Bob worked at Novartis/Alcon Laboratories for nearly 35 years. During his tenure, he spent more than 20 years leading all research and design for surgical products in the field of ophthalmology. The technology he helped bring to market significantly impacted the practice of medicine and positioned Alcon as the leading company in manufacturing of ophthalmic surgical products. Bob introduced several industry-leading innovations, including a proprietary intraocular lens material, AcrySof, along with proprietary intraocular lens designs, Viscoelastics and surgical instruments for both anterior and posterior segment surgery.
Bob’s experience in eye banking dates back to 1991 when he received the Thoth Award for his role in developing a plan to support U.S. eye banks during a crisis involving cornea preservative storage media. The storage media used by 80 percent of the market was recalled due to bacterial contamination, but the plan Bob developed with partners prevented a shut down of the corneal transplant business in the U.S.
His early work experience was at Harborview Medical Center as a microbiologist. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology and a master’s degree in clinical microbiology from the University of Washington.
September 30, 2020
Monty Montoya has earned global recognition for his persistent passion for eliminating corneal blindness worldwide by transforming how ophthalmologists care for the cornea. He is considered an innovative leader for working tirelessly for the past 20 years to bring sight-restoring transplants to the 10 million individuals waiting in darkness around the globe.
In October 2016, Monty became the CEO of CorneaGen (formerly SightLife Surgical), a mission-driven company seeking innovation and improvements in all dimensions of cornea care. Through partnerships, investments and education, Monty and his team drive research and development of scalable therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of corneal disease. He leads CorneaGen in supporting ophthalmologists and their patients with a spectrum of services, including the latest products and devices, delivery of the highest-quality tissue, surgeon education and advocacy for patient access to care and reimbursement policies.
Prior to taking the helm of CorneaGen, Monty was the CEO of SightLife, and guided its growth from annual revenues of $800,000 to over $40 million while driving positive change in cornea care space. SightLife’s success and impact under Monty’s leadership garnered many accolades, including Northwest EY Life Science Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and several Best Places to Work recognitions over the past 15 years.
In 2009, Monty was honored with the Eye Bank Association of America’s coveted Heise Award—an award given to a non-medical individual who has made the greatest contribution to advancing the cause of eye banking. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and an MBA from Duke University.