Our Board of Directors
Chris Brandt is the Chief Executive Officer of Audacious Inquiry (Ai)—he oversees client services, portfolio planning, product development, and operations. In 2004 he founded the company with a mission to use information technology as a change-agent for positive impact. Mr. Brandt led the effort to become one of the first recognized B Corporations in Maryland; integrating our company’s values with the work we take on has resulted in a greater footprint and alignment with our clients’ goals. Through his role in driving the company’s growth over the years, Ai has been consistently recognized in Inc. 5000’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, and in 2014, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young for the Maryland Region. Mr. Brandt serves as a staff adviser to CRISP, Maryland’s health information exchange. He served on the boards of the Duke University Alumni Association and the Maryland Small Business Financing Authority. Prior to founding Ai, Mr. Brandt held information technology positions with Prudential. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an AB in Computer Science from Duke. Chris is a Fellow of the third class of the Health Innovators Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Scott Afzal is the President of Audacious Inquiry and a Strategic Advisor for CRISP, a health information exchange serving Maryland, DC, and West Virginia. Across both roles, Scott establishes organizational growth strategies, delivery system reform initiatives, and technology solutions to support value-based payment models and connected communities. Through Ai, Mr. Afzal advises other states, health systems, and health information organizations on health information exchange (HIE) implementation approaches and sustainability strategy. Previously at CRISP, Mr. Afzal served as the Program Director for the organization’s first 10 years; he managed the roll-out of CRISP’s HIE network while leading the development of new service offerings. Scott is a noted speaker on HIE, having presented at regional and national health IT conferences. Prior to joining Audacious Inquiry, he served as a consultant with Accenture, Inc. out of their New York City office. Mr. Afzal holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) from Bucknell University.
Cal Wheaton is relentlessly dedicated to understanding the companies and opportunities he works with and focuses his efforts on constructively supporting and bringing forward to the leadership team the ideas, resources, and people that will drive a business forward.
As general partner at ABS Capital, Mr. Wheaton has found compelling investments at the intersection of payments, people, wealth, health, and benefits — with a deep knowledge of how technology is impacting processes, transactions, and systems. Mr. Wheaton believes in the truth and transparency of data, and the clarity and simplification it creates when partnering with executives to optimize their business models and strategies for continued success. Building trust and working side-by-side, his humble approach of building partnerships on trust, empathy, and availability (with a big dash of humor) has allowed him to develop an extensive network that can be called upon at any time.
Prior to joining ABS Capital, Mr. Wheaton served as vice president in Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown’s Health Care Investment Banking Group. During this time, he developed a deep domain knowledge of health care growth companies, with a specific focus on health care information technology, services, and outsourcing companies.
Penny Thompson, MPA, is principal of Penny Thompson Consulting, LLC, and provides strategic advice and solutioning services in the areas of health care delivery and payment, information technology development, and program integrity. Previously, she served as deputy director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Ms. Thompson previously was director of health care strategy and planning for Hewlett Packard’s health care business unit. In addition, she served as CMS’s director of program integrity and as chief of the health care branch within the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Thompson received her master of public administration from The George Washington University.
Dan Mendelson recently joined the healthcare group of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS), a leading U.S. private equity firm, as Operating Partner. In 2000, He founded Avalere Health, a provider of advisory and business intelligence solutions to health plans, delivery systems, and life sciences companies. Mr. Mendelson served as CEO of Avalere until 2015, when the company was acquired by Inovalon Holdings.
Prior to founding Avalere, Mr. Mendelson served in the White House Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton Administration, as the Associate Director of Health. In this role, he was responsible for the nation’s healthcare portfolio, including Medicare, Medicaid, NIH, CDC, and the FDA. He began his career with The Lewin Group, where he rose to Senior Vice President and focused on strategic and operational planning.
Mr. Mendelson serves on the Board of Champions Oncology, Centrexion Corporation, and numerous non-profit and philanthropic boards. He is a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He previously served on the boards of Coventry Healthcare (sold to Aetna in 2013), PharMerica Corporation, and HMS Holdings.