Michael Stomberg is the founder and CEO of The Planet Group which includes several renowned staffing companies and global consulting organizations. Since founding Planet in 2009, Michael has led the organization to record organic growth while also leading the company through the launch of four new business lines and the acquisition of multiple firms. He also led the M&A activities when in May 2021, The Planet Group merged with ProPharma Group, the leading global provider of outsourced regulatory, clinical research, compliance, pharmacovigilance, and medical information services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. Michael assumed the role of ProPharma Group's CEO in September 2021.
Michael has over 20 years of experience developing and leading global organizations focused on the Life Sciences, Technology and Energy industries. His expertise includes organizational development, leadership development, streamlining operations, technology integration, team development, and global business strategy. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management.
Executive Vice President, Planet Forward
Andrew is an accomplished leader in the recruitment industry with over 20 years of experience in sales strategy and management. Prior to joining Planet Forward, he served as CareerBuilder’s Senior Vice President of Staffing and Recruiting, which served nearly 98% of the top 150 staffing firms in the country and had more than 3,000 customers. In the role, Andrew led the sales strategy and product vision for one of the most critical segments in the world of recruitment, the staffing industry. He also served as Senior Vice President of their Managed Services division while running numerous regions as Vice President of Sales responsible for developing human capital strategies for a variety of organizations ranging from Fortune 1000 companies to mid-sized businesses. Andrew holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and an undergraduate degree from West Virginia University.
Chief HR Officer and General Counsel
Marni Helfand is the Chief HR Officer and General Counsel for The Planet Group. Marni oversees all legal and HR functions including providing training, advising on all areas of compliance, negotiating client agreements, managing litigation, and protecting the company's intellectual property. After leaving private practice with the law firm of Littler Mendelson, most of her career has been spent in the staffing and consulting industries. Prior to beginning her career, Marni received her Bachelor's Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations form Cornell University, and attained her JD Law Degree from Northwestern University's School of Law.
Vice President of Technology
Bob Scalise is the VP of Technology of The Planet Group of Companies and is responsible for IT support operation, implementation of new technology, process improvement, and integration. He has over 20 years experience in information technology gaining knowledge in a variety of languages, managing IT development, and help desk support. Having spent 10 years at a pharmaceutical company in research and development, Bob has a solid understanding of FDA regulations as they apply to clinical trials, pharmacovigilance, and data management. Bob earned a Bachelor’s Degree in management from DePaul University and a certificate of Information Technology Programing from DePaul University.
Chief Technology Officer
Pete Byer is the CTO of The Planet Group of Companies and is responsible for IT support operation, implementation of new technology, process improvement and integration. He has over 30 years experience in information technology with knowledge of a wide variety of programming languages, systems and managing IT development. Having spent 20 years at pharmaceutical companies in research and development, Pete has a solid understanding of clinical trials, data management and the software platforms that powers them. Pete earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University.
Senior Vice President, Planet Healthcare
Jim Patton joined The Planet Group in 2016 to expand the healthcare division and services. Jim brings over 13 years of experience in healthcare and is responsible for business development, recruitment strategies and account management. Jim brings a wealth of experience to clients with attention to detail and offering flexible solutions. Jim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Cleveland State University.
Executive Vice President, Planet Technology
Andrew John joined Planet Technology in November 2001 to expand the company’s IT Consulting Services (known then as R121 and later as Planet121) to the US. As Executive Vice President of Planet Technology, he is responsible for the continued expansion of the Enterprise Systems business. Andrew has worked in SAP recruitment and consulting since 1998, covering industry verticals such as manufacturing, insurance, and life sciences.
President, The Planet Group
Tim Simmerly is the President of The Planet Group and oversees global strategy as well as the day-to-day operations for our global staffing and consulting companies. With more than twenty years of experience in talent and human capital services, Tim has helped launch three of Planet's companies and continues to lead them today: Planet Forward, PFES, and Rokster.
Tim's leadership ability, business development acumen, and operational excellence are key to his role in expanding The Planet Group into new market segments worldwide.
Tim joined the Planet Group of Companies in 2009 and has held numerous leadership positions including Director of Business Development, Vice President, and Executive Vice President.
Vice President of Global Operations
Ashley Porter is The Planet Group's Vice President of Global Operations. She joined Planet Forward in 2010, quickly advancing through the organization before being named Director of Recruitment in 2013 and Director of Operations in 2016. In 2018, Ashley transitioned into a corporate role supporting operations for The Planet Group organization globally. Ashley continues to be an integral part ofThe Planet Group's global expansion with a diverse range of experience encompassing company operations, recruitment, account management, business development, mergers/acquisitions, system integrations, and training/development. Ashley holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communications with minors in both Business Management and Leadership Studies from Bradley University.
Senior Vice President, Planet Technology
Loren Rakowsky leads the Planet Technology Creative & Digital sales team with drive, enthusiasm, and passion. A New Yorker, business professional and people-person by nature, Loren's sales experience has spanned over industries as well as the country. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with her degree in Business & Marketing, she began her career in sales which led to a decade of working within staffing. She has been with Planet since 2015, where she provides strategic staffing solutions for major clients across the US.
Vice President, Planet Pharma EMEA
Lloyd Cobb leads Planet Pharma across the EMEA region and has responsibility for providing operational oversight and strategic direction linked to the region. He has worked in global staffing, outsourcing and vendor partnership for over a decade providing innovative staffing solutions across the full gamut within the Life Science Space linked to Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, CRO and Biotechnology organizations. His experience includes providing solution orientated business development initiatives, Account management, FSP solutions, outsourcing, project and Team Management. Since earning a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Sports and Exercise Sciences at the University of Gloucestershire Lloyd has specialized in both project and team build-outs across SME and Multi-national environments, focusing on strategic and innovative resourcing solutions to help clients achieve optimal business objectives.
Chief Operating Officer
Carolyn Durham brings a unique blend of experience in account management, business development and corporate operations to lead the direction of our client services, business development and administrative functions. Carolyn brings over 17 years of experience in the professional staffing and consulting industries primarily supporting pharmaceutical, biotechnology and device organizations. Her experience has encompassed sales, recruitment, business development, commercial operations and project management. Carolyn has a bachelor’s degree in communications and culture with a minor in business and sociology from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
Chief Operating Officer
Sara Nichols is the Chief Operating Officer of The Planet Group and is responsible for leading our client services, business development, and corporate operations functions. Sara brings over 20 years of experience in the professional staffing and consulting industries, where she has helped drive organizational transformation for companies growing both organically and via acquisition.
Sara is skilled in finance and corporate operations leadership, organizational development, streamlining operations, leadership and team development, technology integration, and strategic planning. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL.
Chief Financial Officer
Tim Bauwens is the CFO of The Planet Group of Companies and is responsible for accounting and reporting, financial planning, cash management, human resources and risk management. He has over 25 years corporate accounting and finance experience, having spent the early part of his career focused on mergers & acquisitions, mostly in the service and utilities sectors. Tim has spent the last ten years in the professional services and construction industries working with publicly traded and privately held companies with an emphasis on accelerated topline growth, improved cashflow, and maximizing return on investment. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Augustana College, and holds a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship from DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.
President, Planet Pharma
Nick Demling offers 20 years in Clinical Trials Resource Management, Business Development – Consulting/ Project Teams, Staff Augmentation, FSPs & Outsourcing. Nick has expertise in Global Workforce optimization solutions across multiple areas of clinical research to the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Device, and CRO Industries. Mr. Demling provides a lead role in business development and client management, working with managers and on-site vendors within the industry to meet their needs for staffing solutions.
Specialties: Deep rooted relationships in the pharmaceutical/ medical device/ CRO industry. Strategic Planning, Business Development, Resource Management, Business Re-engineering, P&L Management, Acquisitions & Divestitures. Intelligent, Cost Effective, Innovative, Problem-Solving skills for international clinical trials focused on helping patients live longer, healthier lives.
President, Executive Search
Emma Morris has 15 years of global staffing and consulting solutions experience. Her career spans multiple geographies and incorporates commercial and operational strategy in addition to sales leadership and client services for retained executive search, and global recruiting projects within the Life Sciences space. Having joined The Planet Group in 2014, she holds a strategic role to provide scalable tailored executive search solutions to our Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Device clients globally. Emma is committed to a high touch approach, ensuring people and passion remain at the forefront of every project.
Sr. Vice President, Planet Pharma
Ryan Gayan has 15 years of global resourcing experience within the pharmaceutical industry. Ryan specializes in providing flexible solutions to clients with a high attention to detail, delivery and quality. He has worked extensively on the agency side and understands the importance of speed, quality and delivery as well as within corporate HR / Talent Acquisition managing vendors, budgets and navigating the lines of communication with internal management. Additionally, Ryan has experience working for a Global outsourcing company providing full service, FSP and blended service offerings. Ryan offers a consultative, knowledgeable approach to Planet Pharma clientele. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commodity, Food and Textile Marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Andre Lozier has been working in the Consulting, Solutions, and Staff Augmentation industry for over 15 years. His focus has always been in the life sciences sector, with the past 10 years focused specifically in clinical trial resourcing. He has been a part of building teams for Medical Writing, QA (GxP), SAS and Biostatistics, Data Management, CRAs, Project Management, and Study Management. Andre takes pride in understanding his customers business, and adding value with out of the box thinking and creativity.
Vice President, Recruitment
As the Vice President of Recruitment for Planet Pharma, Dane Yarnell is responsible for the global consultant and direct hire delivery platform. Dane is a graduate of Northwood University with a degree in Advertising along with 11 years of experience in staffing specific to research and development within Pharma, Medical Device and Biotechnology. Dane possesses an expert knowledge of this market, along with the experience necessary to deliver quality opportunities to our consultants and the best resources to our clients. With strategic oversight and tactical management to the strongest recruitment team on a global level, Planet Pharma is a true game changer for our consultants and clients.
President, Planet Technology and Planet Professional
As president of Planet Technology and Planet Professional, Scott Ragusa oversees the strategic direction and daily operations of these two impactful contingency search and contract staffing businesses. Scott joined Planet Technology's predecessor, WinterWyman, in 1999 after more than five years with two national temporary staffing firms. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Staffing Association (MSA).
Executive Vice President, Planet Professional
As Executive Vice President of Planet Professional, Stuart Coleman oversees the strategy and operations of Planet Professional, formerly WinterWyman’s Professional division. Stu joined WinterWyman in 1999 and quickly helped the company expand its financial services contract and temporary offerings. He subsequently began directing all the firm’s Accounting & Finance, HR, and Professional recruitment services while managing and mentoring both recruiters and business development managers.
Executive Vice President, Planet Technology
As Executive Vice President with Planet Technology’s Core Tech division, Melissa Masse oversees East and West Coast strategic business development for this large, impactful group of tech sales professionals focused on the Software and Infrastructure life cycles.
Melissa joined Planet Technology’s predecessor, WinterWyman, in 2004 where she built several high performing sales and recruiting teams. She has 20 years of operations, leadership, training and sales/business development experience. Melissa holds a Bachelor's degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from SUNY Geneseo.
Executive Vice President, Planet Technology
Formerly COO of Interactive Business Systems, one of the legacy companies forming Planet Technology, Jeff Jorgensen now serves as Executive Vice President overseeing the Mid-West. Jeff has played a pivotal role in developing many of Planet Technology’s key practice areas, including Microsoft 365 implementation and automated testing solutions.
Jeff joined IBS in 2001 as the Cincinnati Branch manager and was crucial in distinguishing the firm within the IT consulting space. Jeff doubled majored in Accounting & Finance at Kent State University in Northeast Ohio.
Executive Vice President, Planet Technology
Formerly founder and CEO of I.T. Works Recruitment, one of the companies acquired by The Planet Group, Gary Dytor now serves as Executive Vice President of Planet Technology. In his role, Gary oversees the continued expansion of niche recruitment for ERP, HCM, EMR, and Lab Informatics.
Gary has over 20 years of experience in staffing and has worked with tier two software systems and users since 2004. He has a background in Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Business Management.
Vice President, Marketing
As Vice President of Marketing, Elizabeth Spayne develops promotional and branding strategies that expand and further strengthen the position of The Planet Group and its multiple staffing firms, consulting companies, and consultants in the marketplace. She has extensive experience designing and implementing social media, public relations and communication programs in both the consumer and business-to-business sectors. Prior to joining The Planet Group, Elizabeth served as EVP of Marketing for WinterWyman, an award-winning staffing firm that was acquired by Planet in November 2019.
Previously, she served in senior marketing roles for a well-known career management firm and a publicly-traded senior housing developer and operator. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Providence College.
Chief Technology Officer
Jon Whiley is the CTO of The Planet Group of companies and is responsible for leading the firm's innovative technology strategy, including network infrastructure, system integrations, process improvements, new technology implementations, and IT support.
Jon has over 20 years of progressive tech and operations experience delivering transformative solutions that drive immediate business impact and continuous improvements across enterprises. During his career, he has designed competitive tools and adopted technology to optimize workflows and strengthen service delivery across multisite operations.
Prior to joining The Planet Group, Jon was Executive Vice President and CTO of Majestic Steel USA. A veteran of the US Marine Corps and graduate of Ohio University, he serves as a Governing Body Member of Evanta’s Midwest CIO group and is also involved with the Northeast Ohio chapter of SIM.
President, Strive Consulting
Brian Ganser brings over twenty-five years of experience, including several executive-level roles at high-growth consulting firms, to his role as President of Strive Consulting. In addition to leading the firm, he plays an integral part in helping client companies rapidly scale, all while evolving their service offerings to provide more innovative and impactful solutions.
Brian has also been intimately involved in the creation of high-performing teams by fostering a culture of empowerment, engagement, and collaboration. A native of the Chicago area, Brian is a graduate of Millikin University and earned a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in entrepreneurship from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
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