MEET THE STAFF

Say Hello to Our Staff

JOHN BRUENS

Chief Executive Officer

John has spent 40 years in the Global Bio-Pharm world, starting as a bench research biochemist, then transitioned to the dark side (sales, market research, marketing) before spending over 20 years in corporate business development. John, and his partner Tim, started GTS in 2014.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

John has been an organ donor since he got his first driver’s license and always felt that saying “no” to registering as a donor was indefensible.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

He had his first dog when he was 5 years old. Today, his house is overflowing with 3 big dogs and 5 rescue cats, making him an “official” animal-wrestling referee!!

Guilty Pleasure…

Chocolate, Chocolate, and more Chocolate!

TIM BRUCE

Chief Operating Officer

Well, it’s like this. I was sitting at home one evening minding my own business when I got this call from John, whom I had met several months earlier in Columbia. We had met several times over those months discussing organ transplant and its future as we saw it in South Carolina…

READ MORE BIO

So, as I said I was sitting at home minding my business when I got the call from John saying I think we should go into business together…So that’s how Global Transplant Solutions came to be and that was almost 7 years ago. For 40 years I was a Mechanical Automation Engineer building equipment for mostly large medical companies, and my partner is the Biochemist and I tell everyone it works. We at Global Transplant Solutions don’t take ourselves too seriously but we have a fierce loyalty to our customers and the people we work with. John and I both adopted the attitude from the very start that we were a company that would go the extra mile for our customers because our customers are the doctors, nurses, techs, and trained people that help people at a most terrible time, and they do it to save lives. It’s an honor for me to play even a small part where every day our solutions are used to save or give someone a new life. Our goal is to make the state of South Carolina the center for Organ Transplant.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

To be honest I don’t remember so it’s been that long!!! My question is why wouldn’t anyone want to save a life if they could.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I was adopted at an age when most kids aren’t, I was almost 9. I thank God every day for my adoptive family and the advantages they gave me.

Guilty Pleasure…

Pie, what a great invention!!!

BURT MATTICE

Chief Clinical Officer
  • Served in the United States Air Force for nearly 18 years as a non-commissioned officer in charge of surgical research support groups
  • 10+ years with Life Connection of Ohio, Dayton; 6 years as Executive Director and 4 years as VP/COO

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  • 8 years with Carolina Donor Services first as Director of Operations, later as VP/COO
  • 5 years with Gift of Life Michigan as COO -5+ years with Southwest Transplant Alliance as Executive VP/COO
  • Honors, Awards, Publications, and Professional & Community Affiliations that are too numerous to list!

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

August 1978 Father-In Law Died and the family was approached about donation.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I had Top Secret Clearance and treated one of our President’s pets; however, I first hung up when called about it as I thought it was a prank call.

Guilty Pleasure…

Diet Coke

ALBERT BERALDO

Chairman

Albert has 40+ years of management experience in the Pharmaceutical/ Biotech and Medical device industry.  He has launched several successful companies over the last 30 years. 

Albert currently sits on the board of 3 Pharmaceutical/ Medical device companies and is the Chairman of Global Transplant Solutions. 

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

Albert became an organ donor when he got involved in the Organ Preservation Business.  It was something that hadn’t crossed his mind before but now believes wholeheartedly. 

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Albert traveled across the continent of Africa prior to going to college. 

Guilty Pleasure…

His world-famous homemade French Fries

LUCAS BERALDO

VP Business Development

Lucas has over 10+ years of experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.  He has a proven track record of being able to manage commercial and logistical operations in the medical device industry.  

Lucas previously worked in business development for Alveda Pharma and Idoman Limited which supplied sterile pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

He is not to be mistaken for his colleague and fellow Canadian “Louis “. Louis is much younger and taller.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

Growing up in a family with an older sister who is a family physician, I decided to be an organ donor at a young age. I truly believe this is an easy decision and everyone should be a donor if possible.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Lucas spent a summer in Kenya, Africa during his second year of college.  There he had a run-in with a pair of baboons, cute yet terrifying animals.

Guilty Pleasure…

Watching the reality show Big Brother.

LOUIS CASTROGIOVONI

VP, Sales & Marketing - Canada

30+ years in sales, marketing, and business development experience with a reasonable ability to drive business expansion

A long, long time in the sterile pharmaceutical/medical device area identifying, assessing opportunities to create long-term value…clear evidence that eventually anyone can learn anything.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

I really don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier… I think it has something to do with having to accept our own mortality… Spoiler alert…no one gets out alive…sign the form. Let’s help these transplant heroes save lives.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Yes, I do run almost every morning…and still cannot lose an ounce of weight… Maybe I should try changing my destination – McDonalds and back is becoming a habit…

Guilty Pleasure…

Spring: Italian wine and Scottish whiskey

Summer: German beer, Italian wine, and Irish whiskey

Fall: Scottish whiskey and Italian wine

Winter: Scottish whiskey, Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, and Canadian Club but not all in one sitting…I move around

LEANNE BURKHEAD

Executive Director
  • 35+ years of experience in business/office management, property management, bookkeeping/accounting
  • Commissioned South Carolina Notary Public
  • 2019 Graduate of Leadership Spartanburg – Several decades of OCD behavior and overall “bossiness” (I am the oldest sibling!)

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

After my great aunt passed away when I was a young adult, I found out that she was the first in my family to be an organ donor. After reading about the “Gift of Life”, I decided to follow her example.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I was born and raised in Tennessee near Memphis and my dad was a Rockabilly recording artist in the late 50s/early 60s.

Guilty Pleasure…

Watching back-to-back reruns of the Gilmore Girls and scrolling through Pinterest during commercials.

LARRY COCHRAN

VP of Clinical Resources

I worked for 6 years as an organ procurement coordinator and Executive Director at Life Resources, as the Executive Director of Tennessee Donor Services for 14 years, and finally for 18 years as the Associate Executive Director for LifeQuest. I served on numerous committees for AOPO and chaired its Standards and Accreditation Committee as well as its Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee and served on the UNOS OPO Committee for six years including one year as the Chair.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

My organ donation “defining moment“ started in the 1970s when I became offended by “God Squads” in hospitals which decided who would receive dialysis vs those consigned to die. I signed a Lions Club donor card the first time I saw one in the early 1980s.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I worked for my congressman on his US House of Representatives’ Rules Committee staff in a very small Capital office on the third floor with a small round window overlooking the Supreme Court building.

Guilty Pleasure…

My shareable guilty pleasure is eating popcorn with butter at a movie theater even if I just came directly from a filling dinner! That’s the only one I’ll share!!!

TONI LEE

Director of Global Services

40 years combined experience in bookkeeping, HR, marketing, and property, office & customer service management. Blessed to have spent the last 10 years as a team member in the organ transplant supply chain. Recipient of the Presidential E award and SC Export Award during that time. 

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

I’ve been a donor as long as I can remember. However, during a Floragraph ceremony seeing a Mother, while still mourning the loss of her son, find comfort in hugging some of his organ recipients, confirmed to me that organ donation truly is one of the greatest gifts you can give. 

Bet You Didn’t Know…

When I was a little girl, I told my Grandpa that I only wanted to be a Grandma when I grew up. He told me that I cried inconsolably when he said I had to first be a Mother. Thank goodness, it turned out I love being both!

Guilty Pleasure…

I’m an avid reader. If a book is exceedingly good and I get completely lost in it, I may spend a Saturday curled up on the sofa all day not bothering with a single thing on my “to do” list. 

ANNA KUZIK

Administrative Specialist

Anna has experience in the medical, culinary, and business fields, but nothing compares to the organ transplant industry. She is currently on track to graduate with a Bachelors in Accounting. Global Transplant Solutions has deeply increased her knowledge in organ procurement and transplants.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

Anna has been an organ donor since she was 16 years old. “I remember specifically telling my mother at the DMV that I could never say no to a person who is in more need of my functioning organs than I am. If that time ever comes, I am more than willing to help save a life.”

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Anna speaks 3 languages,  has traveled to 6 countries, and has lived in  4 states before buying her first home at the young age of 21!

Guilty Pleasure…

Lavender everything! (Teas, soaps, candles, flowers, etc.)

B.A. BRUCE

Manufacturing Director
  • 12+ years in industry with a focus on customer relations and safety
  • Business-related travel experience
  • High level of proficiency in areas of efficiency, time management, and strategic planning
  • Strong numeracy and attention to detail skills

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

While on the golf course, hearing the personal organ transplant story of a GTS customer deeply inspired me to become a donor.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I enjoy reading and creative writing. I am constantly writing various types of compositions including short and long stories.

Guilty Pleasure…

I watch Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives every Friday night, without fail!

DAVE HUNKINS

Logistics Team
  • Served 4 years in the US Coast Guard
  • 12+ years in sales and customer service
  • 20+ years in the Operating Room as a Surgical Technologist/Assistant where I assisted with all surgical specialties including organ preservation and transplantation
  • 5+ years as a Surgical Technologist Instructor/Preceptor

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

I have been an organ donor for as long as I remember. The importance of being an organ donor “hit home” in 2000 when a good friend’s life was saved when she received a liver transplant after sudden liver failure from fulminant hepatitis.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

When I was a dental technician in the Coast Guard, I cleaned pro football Hall of Famer Otto Graham’s teeth.

Guilty Pleasure…

Good ole southern cooking!

BRIAN SHORT

Warehouse Distribution Manager
  • Several years of experience in the restaurant industry cultivated my ability to be adaptable and develop problem-solving skills
  • Experience in the area of Information Technology: 3rd generation software developer, an internship repairing MacBooks, data entry.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

As a teen, when obtaining a driver’s’ license, I felt compelled to become an organ donor…so I did!

Bet You Didn’t Know…

After being vegetarian for several months, I recently transitioned to a vegan lifestyle.

Guilty Pleasure…

Continually expanding my collection of hot sauces. I enjoy visitingtouristy” shops and sampling all the flavors.

CHRISTIAN GINGRICH

Logistics Team

Christian has over 10 years of experience in driving, he has worked at DHL and has also been a part of a chafer company driving limousines.

He loves traveling and has been to all 50 states and about 50 countries. He has done mission work and loves learning about and exploring historical places.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

At the age of 15 when Christian was signing up for his driver’s license, he realized that becoming an organ donor was going to be helping others in need and he didn’t think twice about it.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Christian lived in a small town called Walhalla, SC where he was born in his home (the nearest hospital was too far away). Christian is the only member at GTS that was born in the state of South Carolina!

Guilty Pleasure…

Loves going to concerts!

STEPHEN LAWSON

Regional Account Manager

Before GTS Stephen worked as a skill trade operator in an industrial factory. He has a love for photography and has been photographing since high school.

Stephen also loves to spend time with his wife (who he’s known since kindergarten) and their two dogs Gaia Marie a Cane Corso and Gizmo the Shih Tzu.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

It’s been so long ago since I’ve made that decision, it was actually when I first got my driver’s license. Even at an early age, it was nice to think that maybe one day I could save a life.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Very competitive when it comes to bowling, it’s not only a sport it’s also a way of life for me.

Guilty Pleasure…

Watching Dr. Pimple Popper

CURTIS APWISCH

Regional Account Manager- Ohio

Curt is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) which is a four-year program that includes courses and practices in finance, accounting, data analysis, marketing, and economics in general. As a major in “Transportation and Logistics”, he’s learned how to plan, manage, and carry out the transportation of goods, materials, items, and people.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

It was always a “yes” to pay it forward regarding the gift of life, but his father’s career devotion (Life Connection of Ohio) to the service of organ transplant recovery made it a passion to help spread the positive values of organ donation even when it was a, seemingly, new frontier.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Curt was a touring musician and recording artist based out of Nashville for 15 years. Writing, recording, and performing for, and with, some major acts while crisscrossing the country was a part of a life’s dream come true.

Guilty Pleasure…

Caring about the Cleveland Browns football team. Why do I bother? 😉

JONATHAN WONG

Office Manager – Canada

Collectively over 10 years’ experience in administration and operations. I transitioned from the banking sector, formerly at BMO handling compliance inquiries/ responsibilities to the medical device industry where I’ve been ever since.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

I’ve been an organ donor ever since I could remember. Since birth my cousin has gone through multiple kidney transplants and continues to seek medical attention, there was never a doubt not to be one.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

As a child, I briefly modeled for a pet supply company where I was dressed up as an astronaut holding hamsters marketing their new space-themed cages.

Guilty Pleasure…

I HAVE TO round up my gas to the nearest dollar!

MARIA PATTERSON

Inventory Control Coordinator
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership
  • 37+ years of experience in bookkeeping, payroll, scheduling, customer relationship management, and inventory control

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

I learned at a very young age, that my oldest sister, had a disease called Cystic Fibrosis.  Through the years, I was taught how to “pat” her on the back if she was having trouble breathing.  As time went on, I learned that there was no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, and the only way to extend her life was for someone else to lose theirs.   When I was sixteen, like most teenagers, I was excited about getting my driver’s license.  While I was at the DMV, I was asked if I would like to become a donor.  I didn’t have to think about it, it was an immediate yes.  Unfortunately, my sister lost her life to Cystic Fibrosis in 1999 while on a lung transplant list.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I absolutely love cutting grass and pressure washing.  I know it is odd…but I find it relaxing.

Guilty Pleasure…

Watching the Young and the Restless

MEGAN McKAY

Director of Operations

Megan leads the company’s operational excellence with a passion for efficiency in serving the donation community. With seven years of OPO experience at Indiana Donor Network, Megan developed her operational and supply chain management skills in an executive support role and as Manager, Supply Chain.

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

I have been a registered donor since age 16. When asked at the DMV, I knew the only answer was yes!

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I had five minutes of fame at age 11 when I was in a commercial for a hospital system in Lafayette, Indiana.

Guilty Pleasure…

Cheesecake and Candy Crush.

JOSEPH KLUGE

Logistics Team
  • 5+ years experience in being a logistics expert and warehouse lead

  • 3+ years of delivery driving experience

FAQS

The Determining “Moment” of Becoming an Organ Donor…

The moment I determined to be a donor was when I was filling out my driver’s license information, and I decided it was for the greater good.

Bet You Didn’t Know…

I have been bodybuilding since I was 14 years old, I have competed in powerlifting and wanted to become one of the top martial artists in the world… till I got banned.

Guilty Pleasure…

A big fat rib-eye, crispy potatoes, and, white chocolate macadamia cheesecake.