Board of Directors

GP Lens Institute

Dr. Ed Bennett, GPLI President and Executive Director

Dr. Ed Bennett is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry. He is President and Executive Director of the Gas Permeable (GP) Lens Institute and is the Clinical Features Editor for Contact Lens Spectrum. He is a past Chair of the Contact Lens and Cornea Section Council of the American Optometric Association(AOA) and is a Diplomate and a past Chair of the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Section of the American Academy of Optometry. He is a past Chair of the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators and past President of the MD-OD Contact Lens Foundation of St. Louis. He is also a Fellow in the Scleral Lens Education Society and a Distinguished Fellow in the National Academies of Practice. He has authored over 200 publications including 14 texts and lectured at over 340 scientific and continuing education symposia. He was named one of the 50 most influential optometrists in America by Optometric Management and was honored as one of the 30 most influential in contact lenses in the last 30 years by Contact Lens Spectrum. He is on the Education Committee of the Global Specialty Lens Symposium, an Editorial Review Board member for Review of Optometry, an Expert Contributor to, and an Editorial Board Member for Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses.

Derrell James, GPLI Vice President

Derrell James is the Vice President and General Manager of X-Cel Specialty Contacts, a division of Walman Optical, and a leading global manufacturer of specialty gas permeable and custom soft contact lenses. Prior to X-Cel, Derrell was the President and CEO of Stradis Healthcare, a custom medical device procedural kit manufacturer. In his career, Derrell has held leadership positions in operations and business development for diverse industries including medical device, aerospace and defense, process control sensors and automotive manufacturing, with Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, Kimberly Clark Health Care, and Genicon. He is a certified Lean Master, and holds a BS in Management from Georgia Tech and a MS in Technology Management from Mercer University. He is currently serving as President of the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association.

John Hibbs, GPLI Secretary/Treasurer

John Hibbs graduated from TCU in 1985 and has been in the eye care industry for 34 years, spending the majority of his time with Bausch & Lomb’s Boston Products Division. He is currently Vice President of Commerical Sales for North America for Contamac US, a contact lens materials manufacturer. John is Treasurer/Secretary on the CLMA board, a board member of the GPLI and The Levitt Foundation, and chair of the Friends and Foundation of the Arlington Public Library. He also served three elected terms on the Arlington Independent School District Board of Trustees as Vice President. John is very active in community service, including Lake Arlington Childrens Ministry Leadership, Chairman of Arlington Childrens Toys Inc., and Chairman of the George Hawkes Library Funding Campaign. He has received several honors, including the PTA Life Membership Award, PTA Extended Life Membership Award, Girls Inc Tarrant County, Strong Man of the Year, TASB School Board of the Year, HEB School Board of the Year, and was a CLMA Innovator in Industry Award Recipient.

Cindy Belliveau

Cindy has had a dual career path spending a large part as an engineer in the aerospace industry while having a hand supporting the family business manufacturing specialty contact lenses at Visionary Contact Lens in Anaheim. She has used her technical training, a BS degree from Lehigh University and an MS degree from the University of Texas Arlington, to help progress the company’s capabilities. She has now transitioned full-time as the company’s operations manager and also focuses her passion in helping advance the specialty contact lens industry by serving on the board of the CLMA and the GPLI.

Kurtis Brown

Kurtis Brown brings over 35 years of specialty contact lens experience to the GPLI board of directors. In varied roles such as lab management, lens design, marketing, product management and sales, Kurtis has held positions with Boston Sight, B+L Boston, and Menicon. Kurtis is currently director of sales at DAC International for Europe, Middle East, Africa, India and China.

Robert L. Davis, OD, FAAO

Dr. Robert Davis is co-founder of EyeVis Eye and Vision Research Institute. He is a diplomate in the American Academy of Optometry and an inductee in the National Academy of Practice in Optometry. He has published and lectured extensively on topics related to contact lenses, eye care and the management of eye disorders. He is an adjunct faculty member for six colleges of optometry and has developed many contact lens designs, holding various contact lens patents. He is a past recipient of the GP Lens Institute “GP Practitioner of the Year” award.

George Mera

George has been in the contact lens industry since 1996. He previously served as Chair of the GP lens committee for the CLMA with budget input for the GPLI programs, and he attended the GPLI Cornea and Contact Lens Resident Symposium since 2002 as a CLMA Ambassador. He has been NCLE certified since 2002, Advanced Certified since 2011, and holds a Master in Contact Lens Technology from the NCLE. He previously served on the Board of Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ in Dallas Texas, a church with a 2,000 plus member congregation. George holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, allowing for a deeper understanding of contact lens materials and solutions. He is currently a specialty contact lens fitting consultant at TruForm Optics, which allows him to work with eye care professionals in Optometry, Ophthalmology, and Opticianry to help their patients achieve the best possible visual outcome.

Daren Nygren

Daren Nygren is President of Custom Craft Lens Service and a past President of the CLMA – Contact Lens Manufacturers Association. Daren has over twenty years of experience as an Optometric/Ophthalmic Technician and contact lens fitter. Daren previously served as City Council President and Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Bremerton in Washington State. Daren is honored to serve on the inaugural Board of Directors of the Gas Permeable Lens Institute.

Chris Pantle

Chris Pantle is Director of Sales (Americas and Pacific Rim) at DAC International Inc., a manufacturing equipment supplier to the contact lens and intraocular lens industries. He has been involved in the optical industry for more than 36 years. He served as President of the CLMA from 2008-2010 and is currently serving on both the CLMA and GPLI boards as Chair of Internal Affairs. Chris was the recipient of the CLMA ”Leonardo Da Vinci Award” in 2015.

Jan Svochak

Jan Svochak is currently President of TruForm Optics, a family-owned business headquartered in Texas. He served as President of the CLMA from 2014-2016. Jan is an experienced contact lens fitting consultant, optical design programmer, presenter and lecturer, and has served on several boards. He was the recipient of the 1994 CLMA Creative Design & Process Award as well as the 2018 CLMA Leonardo da Vinci Award and holds several US patents.

Sara Yost

Sara Yost is the President and CEO of BostonSight, a nonprofit healthcare organization that advances the treatment of diseased or damaged corneas and dry eye. Sara leads a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to patient care, research, innovative scleral lens design, education, and technology, to help restore vision and improve the quality of life for people suffering with ocular surface disease. Before transitioning to CEO, Sara held the role of Chief Financial Officer and Director of Operations at BostonSight, where she helped to launch BostonSight SCLERAL, the organizations’ first commercial scleral lens product. She was also instrumental in the development of BostonSight’s proprietary FitConnect® software, translating practitioner needs to the software and lab team. Sara believes strongly in promoting education and collaborating with the eye care community. She earned her B.S., summa cum laude, in Health Management and Policy from the University of New Hampshire and earned her MBA, High Distinction, from Bentley University.