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REX Strategic Innovations

Rex Strategic Innovations

Rex Strategic Innovations (RSI) is a groundbreaking innovation platform being created by Rex Healthcare to foster and nurture innovative technologies and companies in the healthcare sector. The RSI mission is to enable access to healthcare products and services that will allow for improved patient care.

RSI’s focus includes:

  • Early stage ideas to mid-stage companies that will benefit from a strategic partnership with our resources and network
  • Healthcare services, Healthcare IT, Medical devices and Biopharma technologies

All branches of RSI support and complement UNC Health Care’s innovation initiatives.

Our Team

Steve Burriss

Steve BurrissPresident, UNC REX Healthcare

Steve Burriss serves as President of UNC REX Healthcare, an affiliate of UNC Health Care. From April 2012 to April 2015 he served as the chief operating officer at UNC REX, and oversaw all operations at the 660-bed organization, at six locations in Wake County, with more than 5,400 co-workers.

R. Erick Hawkins

Erick HawkinsCFO, UNC REX Healthcare; System Vice President Heart & Vascular Services, UNC Health Care System

Erick is responsible for executive UNC’s strategy with heart and vascular services. He joined Rex in 2003. Erick received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Don Esposito

General Counsel, Rex Healthcare

Don is responsible for determining, managing and directing Rex’s legal posture and affairs. He joined Rex in 2006. Don earned his bachelor’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Anita Watkins

Anita WatkinsDirector, Rex Strategic Innovations

Anita joined Rex in 2012 to help launch Rex Strategic Innovations. She is a member of the Rex Health Ventures team and oversees Rex Health Solutions working to partner with health care innovators to pilot emerging healthcare solutions within the hospital. Prior to joining Rex, she served as the Vice President for Government Relations for UNC General Administration. She received her Juris Doctorate and Master of Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Spanish from North Carolina State University.

Bobby Helmedag

Director of Operations, Rex Health Ventures

Bobby oversees the day-to-day operations of the fund, and joined Rex Healthcare in 2010. Previously, Bobby worked for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in the Corporate Development group. He also worked for an angel investor group in Columbia, S.C., Citigroup and KPMG. Bobby received his International MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina where he studied in Germany, England and Australia. He received his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

W. Merrette Moore

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lookout Capital

Merrette oversees the day-to-day operations of Lookout Capital, a Raleigh-based investment firm. He has more than 15 years experience working in venture capital, private equity, investment and commercial banking, and received both his undergraduate and MBA degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Board of Advisers

Members of our Board of Directors are actively engaged with Rex Health Ventures and provide invaluable knowledge, strategic insight and a deep understanding of the investment business.

Dale Jenkins

Dale has served on the Rex Board and is currently the Rex Board Chairman. He is the CEO of Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina. Previously, Dale worked at Ernst & Young in North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Accounting.

Jim Hyler

Jim has served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Rex Healthcare since 2007. He is a retired banking executive with First Citizens Bank in Raleigh where he worked for 28 years as CFO, President, Vice Chairman and COO. Jim has served on many other boards and was President of the United States Golf Association, Chairman of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, Chairman of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Rex Healthcare Board of Trustees. Jim graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.

Champ Mitchell

Champ currently serves on the Board of Directors for the 41st Parameter. He is the former Chairman and CEO of Network Solutions, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Mass Markets Division of VeriSign and Executive Vice President and COO of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Champ also founded and managed two successful start-up companies specializing in Voice over Internet Protocol. He earned his Juris Doctor with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tom Darden

Tom is the CEO of Cherokee and founder of Cherokee Investment Partners, Cherokee Property Foundation and Cherokee Sanford Group. He is on the boards of Woodberry Forrest School, Shaw University, the Environmental Department of the University of North Carolina and Governor’s of Research Triangle Institute. He has a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and earned his undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar. Tom also worked in Seoul, Korea under a Luce Scholarship.

Dhruv Patel

Dhruv is a Program Director, Senior Manager of Life Science Programs and Senior Manager of Capital and Technology Development at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. He is also a former Director of Research and Roundtables at Piedmont Triad Entrepreneurial Network. Dhruv graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ted Zoller

Ted is a practicing entrepreneur and experienced educator. He is the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, where he oversees teaching and outreach programs, and Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flager Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ted was a founding director of Economic Development at the College of William and Mary, and founded CommonWeal Ventures, a venture accelerator and private equity firm. He serves on the Boards for Idea Fund Partners, Southeast TechInventures and CollectiveIQ Private Equity. He earned his Doctorate Degree at UNC Chapel Hill, his Master’s Degrees at Syracuse University and the University of Virginia, and a Dual Bachelor’s Degree at the College of William and Mary.

Jay Yadev

Dr. Yadav is an interventional cardiologist and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of CardioMEMS Inc. and a consulting cardiologist at the Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Yadav has written two books and over 200 publications. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the Metro Atlantic Bioscience Leadership Council, Chairman of the Medical Device Committee and Atlanta Heart Ball 2013 and Director of Georgia Bio and The Indus Entrepreneurs. Dr. Yadav earned his medical degree at West Virginia University Medical School, Bachelor of Science at Yale University and completed his post graduate medical training at Duke University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Interested in working with us?

Contact Bobby or Anita to discover what opportunities may be available for your organization.

Bobby Helmedag
Director, Rex Healthcare Ventures
(919) 784-3100

Anita Watkins
Director, Strategic Relations
(919) 784-7711

Contact Us

Bobby Helmedag
Director, Rex Healthcare Ventures
(919) 784-3100

Anita Watkins
Director, Strategic Relations
(919) 784-7711