National Executive Search Firm Quick Leonard Kieffer is Pleased to Announce the Addition of Three Managing Partners

CHICAGO, IL April 3, 2018 – Derek Castaneda, based in Omaha, NebraskaMark Nelson, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Stefan Werdegar, based in Austin, Texas.

Derek brings 11 years of recruitment experience to his role, most recently serving as the healthcare practice leader for a global executive search firm in Omaha.  His focus has been on the placement of administrators and senior executives in Critical Access Hospitals, Prospective Payment System hospitals, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals, physician-owned multi-specialty groups, FQHCs, ACOs, and healthcare consulting firms throughout the Midwestern and Western United States, with particular expertise in the functional areas of administration, operations, finance, revenue cycle, medical management, clinical management, quality and compliance, and technology.

Prior to entering executive search, Derek served for five years in the 155th Civil Engineering Squadron of the Nebraska Air National Guard.  Originally from a rural community in western Nebraska, he holds a bachelor’s degree in business and philosophy from Doane University.  Derek is active in a number of professional organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the National Rural Health Association, the Medical Group Management Association, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

Mark brings to the role a 30-year career in comprehensive staff development and executive recruitment over a broad range of clinical, financial, marketing, sales, product development, and IT professional specialties in national health care payer and hospital markets.  He most recently served as a managing partner with Blausen Medical Communications, a company that produces award-winning online and mobile health education content for population health strategies, patient engagement programs, employee training, and care management initiatives.

Earlier in his career, Mark spent 13 years with Allianz Life, the U.S. healthcare subsidiary of Allianz AG, managing its $100 million HMO reinsurance and hospital provider stop loss business; he was also Allianz Life’s representative on the Health Insurance Association of America’s Managed Care Committee in Washington, D.C.  Prior to joining Allianz, Mark served as the U.S. managing general agent for a hospital stop loss program developed with Lloyd’s of London, and was the founder and president of Protocol Networks, an organization that managed transplant and specialty care contracts at medical centers across the U.S.  Mark has been a speaker at conferences held by the National Managed Health Care Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Self Insurance Institute of America (SIIA), and the Children’s Health Care Association, and has written articles for The Self-Insurer, published by SIIA.  He holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

Stefan brings over six years of executive search experience to his role, having served in a variety of vice president-level positions within national healthcare consulting and search firms.  His expertise – and passion – is in the areas of healthcare technology/life science and private equity/venture capital.  He is also very enthusiastic about leadership development and helping leadership teams and executives perform at their best.  Stefan has led successful searches to place a variety of executives in healthcare systems, ambulatory medical groups and private equity- backed technology service/software providers.

Prior to beginning his career in executive search, Stefan spent more than 12 years in business development and client management positions within large technology and healthcare IT software companies.  Bilingual in English and Spanish, Stefan is a frequent speaker on the topics of leadership and career development at regional and national association conferences, including those of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and the Texas Association for Healthcare Financial Administration.  He has also been a visiting lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin and St. Edward’s University in Austin, as well as for the Master of Medical Management program at Carnegie Mellon University.  Originally from Chicago, Stefan holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University.  He is active in the National Association of Hospital Councils, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.


Founded in 1999, Quick Leonard Kieffer is one of the country’s leading retained executive search firms specializing in the health care, life sciences/medical device, academic, association, and nonprofit industries.  For more information, please visit

Christian Cañas

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