Our Team

Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D, FACSM, FNSCA, CSCS

Dr. Fleck has a long history as a successful administrator and researcher and is the Executive Director of the Andrews Research and Education Foundation (AREF). In this role  he is responsible for all educational and research programs of AREF. Prior to coming to AREF he was the Chair of sport science and kinesiology departments at several universities and also served as a program director for the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. While with the US  Olympic Training Center he advised coaches and athletes on training as well as performing research on athletic performance and physiological adaptations to training. Dr. Fleck’s research interests range from physical training’s effect on injury prevention, physiological adaptations to training, the application of research to optimize physical training program design to improve performance and prevent injury, and adaptations to training in individuals with diseases, such as leukemia, cystic fibrosis and McArdle disease. He has authored several books on the physiology of resistance training and exercise physiology. Dr. Fleck has also authored numerous peer-reviewed research and lay articles in the area of sport science and exercise physiology. He is a Fellow of both the American College of Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Fleck is a past president of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and has been honored by receiving both the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Sports Scientist of the Year Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jon McDonald, CPA, CDFM

Jon McDonald currently serves as the Operations and Finance Director at Andrews Research & Education Foundation, and is responsible for providing financial and accounting leadership and stewardship, as well as assisting in the development and execution of the Foundation’s strategic mission and goals.

Jon has extensive experience in professional accounting and financial management.  He began his career at a Big 4 accounting firm, working in both audit and consulting services, and his clients included Fortune 100 corporations, small private companies, and a Department of Defense (DoD) Agency. Some accomplishments while working with the DoD client include helping the Agency achieve its first successful clean audit opinion and receiving the “Award for Individual Achievement in Improving Financial Management and Internal Controls” from the Under Secretary of Defense, Robert F. Hale. Jon received his BS in Accounting at Florida State University, and is a Certified Public Accountant, and a Certified Defense Financial Manager.

Cassidy Shefferd, MBA

Cassidy Shefferd is the Finance & Research Manager. In this role, she is responsible for managing the company’s day-to-day accounting and financial functions and working with pharmaceutical and device companies to initiate industry funded clinical trials. Cassidy has been a part of the Andrews Research & Education Foundation since September 2010 and has worked in several different positions. She was born and raised in Pensacola, FL and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of West Florida and continued to obtain her Master in Business Administration from Troy University.

Leandra Price, MS, ATC, LAT

Leandra completed her undergraduate work at Quinnipiac University in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine. She continued to obtain her Masters degree at Troy University in Sports and Fitness Management. She recently moved from New Jersey where she worked as an athletic trainer at Hillsborough High School and spent two seasons for Sky Blue FC, a National Women’s Soccer Team. Leandra moved down to Florida to work as a clinical outreach athletic trainer for Andrews Institute at Washington High School in Pensacola before joining the Andrews Research and Education Foundation team as the Education Manager.

Leandra manages and coordinates all educational events for AREF. Events include weekly Sports Medicine Fellowship Conferences, annual Injuries in Football Conference, and many others throughout the year.

Leah Johnsey

Leah Johnsey is our Fellowship Manager.

Donna Rush, MHA

Donna completed her undergraduate degree at Southeastern Louisiana University and then obtained her Masters in Healthcare Administration from Strayer University. As the Membership and Marketing Director for the Hammond Chamber of Commerce, Donna planned and developed events to further the purpose of the Chamber resulting in increased membership and the creation of a Business Expo to serve the Hammond, Louisiana area and the business community. She served 12 years in the US Navy as a Clinic Operations Manager and is now a Navy Reservist with Naval Hospital Pensacola serving as a Senior Enlisted Leader. Donna works closely with other AREF staff to manage health-related educational meetings and events including those utilizing AREF’s Surgical Skills Lab while working  with potential partners for educational and Surgical Skills Lab events. Donna is also very involved in planning and coordinating Eagle Fund events and is passionate about further growth in this great initiative.

Laura Schubert, RN

Laura has been with Andrews Research and Education Foundation since March of 2014 and serves as one of the clinical research nurse coordinators. Laura grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Connecticut. She then worked for the VA hospital in Bedford, MA prior to moving to Pensacola, where she started work at Baptist hospital. She worked as a floor nurse on the Orthopedic/Neurology and Postpartum unit before joining the AREF team. She currently oversees the data collection process for 15 clinical trials that research the latest technological advances in pharmaceuticals, surgery techniques and medical devices. Laura coordinates the hands on, day to day research activities and helps the physicians, fellows, and clinic staff with subject enrollment and follow-up appointments. Her role is an integral part of the AREF team.

Drew Skidmore

Drew Skidmore currently facilitates research and lab related needs, including but not limited to specimen ordering, lab setup, assistance during lab, and cleanup. Drew was born and raised in Milton, FL, and earned his BS/HS in healthcare administration from the University of West Florida in 2012. Drew has been a part of Andrews Research & Education since January 2012 working as the clinical research assistant, which further helps to supplement his duties related to the surgical skills laboratory. His background and experience comes from 10 years of direct patient care working as a medical assistant in hospitals, physician offices, urgent cares, and intensive care settings.

Chelsea Gebs Black

Chelsea has been with the Andrews Research & Education Foundation since June 2016 and works as a Clinical Research Coordinator.  She is originally from Virginia and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a Certificate in Product Innovation.  After college, she continued to further her education with additional medical coursework, shadowing healthcare professionals, and obtaining her certified nursing assistant certification.  Chelsea’s role at AREF is strongly dedicated to improving the lives and quality of life of patients through innovative clinical studies and research projects focusing on cutting edge techniques and devices used in orthopedic care. Her duties also include assisting physicians, fellows, and ancillary clinic staff with subject enrollment, data collection, and all research related appointments.

Brent Hardy, MEd, ATC, CSCS

Brent is AREF’s Eagle Fund Athletic Trainer. He works in collaboration with EXOS, a company that focuses on mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery with the goals of improving health and improving the ability to perform physical activity. The Eagle Fund provides an individualized holistic health care approach for military personal. The Eagle Fund training programs are developed to meet the orthopedic and health needs of military personnel on an individual basis. This program’s goal is to return individuals back to active duty.

Prior to AREF, Brent attended the University of West Florida and received a Bachelors in Athletic Training and then earned a Masters degree in Research Education in Athletic Training at Auburn University. Brent has worked at Fort Benning as an athletic trainer and the Andrews Institute in both the Outreach Athletic Training program serving Navarre High School and in the Outpatient Physical Therapy program. Brent also had an internship with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos during their 2012 inaugural season.

Scott Winnier

Scott Winnier’s educational background is in engineering with a degree from Auburn University, and a Masters degree in Sports Medicine concentrated in Biomechanics from Georgia State University. He worked for Peak Performance Technologies/Vicon for 13 years as a Senior Systems Engineer and traveled 80% of the time to install, train, and provide onsite technical assistance with motion tracking systems and integrated biomechanics hardware. He worked and provided technical research assistance at the Olympic Games in 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, and 2004 Athens. He’s presented running related research data at various national and international meetings and conferences. Scott is now a leader in our Biomechanics lab where he conducts studies with athletes to provide data that can help them improve their game or protect them from injuries.

Travis Tharp

Travis Tharp is the Quality Assurance Manager for the new Regenerative Medicine Center (RMC) at AREF.  He ensures that the research conducted in the RMC is compliant with regulatory requirements and AREF’s  internal Quality Management System.  Whether developing policies, calibrating precision equipment, training staff, or performing quality audits, Travis is continually working to ensure the safety of volunteer research participants and the scientific validity of research processes.

Travis holds degrees in biology, philosophy, linguistics, and software engineering in addition to numerous academic and professional certifications in the areas of biomedical ethics, physiology, epidemiology, industrial hygiene, tissue banking, and quality auditing.  Prior to joining the AREF team in 2016, Travis spent ten years in the field of organ and tissue transplantation.