Executive Team


David Wellis, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer

David is a cell biologist with over 25 years experience in the life science industry and currently serves as the CEO of the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB).  SDBB provides San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles County hospitals with a wide range of blood products and testing services, including cord blood banking.  David joined SDBB following his tenure at a variety of companies that developed tools for biomedical research, diagnostic and applied markets, including Illumina, GenVault and Axon Instruments.

David received his B.S. from UC Irvine, an M.S. and Ph.D. from Emory University, postdoctoral training at Tufts University and UC Berkeley, and business training at Leavey Business School of Santa Clara University and Haas Business School at UC Berkeley.  David is on the Executive Committee of the Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UC San Diego, and holds board and committee roles in several national blood bank organizations and local biotechnology companies. David is also a Board Trustee at Francis Parker School.

Chief Medical Officer,

Mark Insley, Chief Financial Officer

Mark Insley, CFO, has been with the San Diego Blood Bank since 1988. Initially, starting out as the Business Office Manager shortly after graduating from San Diego State University with a degree in accounting; advancing through the years to Assistant Controller, Controller and currently as the CFO.  He earned a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification at the 9 year mark of his career.  The CMA exam is similar to the CPA exam except broader in scope focusing on accounting functions associated with running an organization as opposed to the limited effort of externally reviewing financial statement compliance and taxes of other organizations.  The CMA exam goes beyond by including questions testing knowledge of organizational functions outside of accounting, such as information technology, business law, marketing and human resources.  There have been no major accounting adjustments from any annual external audits during his time at the San Diego Blood Bank.

Doug Morton, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer

Doug Morton is an information system professional with over 25 years of experience in a variety of industries. Doug has been with the San Diego Blood Bank since 2000 in roles ranging from Director of IT to Chief Operating Officer. Doug received a B.A. from Point Loma Nazarene University majoring in Computer Science. Prior to joining the blood bank Doug held Information Technology positions with the US District Court, Hanson Aggregates and Real Property Services. Volunteer activities include coaching youth sports and raising service dogs for the blind and disabled.

Robert Baracz, Vice President, Marketing

Robert Baracz, the Vice President of Marketing has more than 25 years of marketing experience.  In his role he is responsible for all marketing channels including: donor recruitment and retention, Foundation and development, media and public relations, special events and marketing services.

After his first stint at SeaWorld from 1986-1996 as a marketing representative, Robert joined SFX Broadcasting as promotions manager. He then took the position of associate marketing director at the San Diego Zoo where he received accolades for excellence in advertising including Best in Show from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, and Best in Show from the California Travel Industry Association.  Robert then went on to become the marketing director at LEGOLAND, as well as vice president of business development for the San Diego Tourism Authority.

Prior to returning to SeaWorld as Director of Marketing, Robert held the position of Vice President of Marketing for Advanced Reservations System (ARES), an online booking system servicing hospitality partners across the United States.

Robert is a native Californian, originally from San Jose.  He moved to San Diego in 1986.  Robert is married and enjoys hiking San Diego trails, traveling and culinary experiences.  He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor of arts degree in communications.

Helen Bixenman, Vice President, Quality & Regulatory Affairs
Quality Assurance & Compliance

Helen Bixenman has over 30 years of significant contribution within the biotech/healthcare arena. Through key strategic roles, Helen has acquired broad-based general management experience encompassing clinical operations for multi-site, multi-million dollar operations. Areas of professional expertise encompass compliance and regulatory affairs, quality assurance and quality control, clinical research, technical administration and operations and strategic planning and business development.

As Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs/Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer, she is responsible for quality and regulatory performance, oversight of quality systems and sustaining a culture of quality.  

Before joining San Diego Blood Bank she held increasingly responsible positions with several clinical laboratories and healthcare systems including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Banner Health, Sun Health, Genzyme Genetics/Genetrix and the Genetics Center of the Southwest Biomedical Research Institute.  Helen currently serves on the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification Board of Governors and the Association of Genetic Technologists Council of Representatives and as a member of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Government Affairs Committee.

Helen earned an MBA with an emphasis in healthcare management from University of Phoenix and a B.S. in Biology from Georgian Court University, Lakewood, N.J. Helen’s professional credentials include: Certification in Healthcare Compliance (Compliance Certification Board) and Technologist in Cytogenetics, Diplomate in Laboratory Management and Qualification in Laboratory Compliance (American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification).

Rick Dickson, Vice President, Logistics
Logistics & Hospital Services

Rick has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from Sacramento State University and has over 23 years of experience in the logistics field. He began his logistics career with Federal Express (FedEx) Corporation in 1993 coordinating the Containerized Transport Vehicle (CTV) fleet from the FedEx hub at Los Angeles International Airport to stations throughout Southern California. Rick worked his way up through the ranks to become the PM Operations Manager at the FedEx station in Santa Barbara, California. While there he coordinated the activities of the couriers, handlers, ramp agents, CTV vehicles and cargo aircraft.

Rick joined the San Diego Blood Bank management team in 1999 as the Manager of Hospital Services then was promoted to Director of Hospital Services (and Document Control) and is currently the Vice President of Logistics responsible for coordinating the activities the Hospital Services, Materials Management and Plant Operations Departments.

While at the Blood Bank Rick has helped launch the Commercial Motor Vehicle program, the Training and Document Control Department and works with California Blood Bank (CBBS) to perform the duties of the Southern California Area Emergency Operations Center (AEOC) to help coordinate the flow of blood products through California in the event of local, state or national emergencies.

Marie Bilyeu Dirks, M.S., SHRM- SCP, SPHR, Vice President, Human Resources
Human Resources

Marie is a human resource professional with over 25 years of experience in high tech, engineering, software, health care, and manufacturing industries; start-up and multibillion dollar companies, commercial and defense industries, international and multi-state experience, including The Singer Company, Computer Sciences Corporation, Scripps Health, Sharp HealthCare, and DENSO.  

Marie earned her M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering. As a nationally certified senior professional in human resources, she has taught senior level courses, and for many years served as an adjunct professor at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) extension.

Throughout her career, Marie has actively promoted the Human Resource profession by serving in key positions for many professional HR groups.  Marie has held significant leadership roles including President of the San Diego Equal Employment Opportunity Council, board member for the California State Board for Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), board member for the Area VI Board for SHRM, and Co-Founder of the San Diego High Tech Force.

While serving as Past President of the San Diego Society of Human Resource Management, Marie received the Pinnacle Award from the national Society of Human Resource Management for her work in founding the Workplace Excellence Awards, which was a national program for 15 years.

Marie continues to show her dedication to the profession by actively serving as a member of the program committee for the 20/20 HR Group and as a member of the Advisory Board for the San Diego Labor Employment Relations Association (LERA). 


Rob Tressler, Ph.D., Vice President, Laboratories
Cell Therapy

Dr. Tressler is Vice President of Laboratories for the San Diego Blood Bank where he oversees the Public Cord Blood Bank and Cell Therapy research program. Previously he held leadership roles in Biotechnology companies, serving as head of Preclinical Oncology Research at Geron, Inc, overseeing their oncology and anti-aging research programs. He also was VP of Research and Development at Cellerant Therapeutics, heading up research and development efforts for stem cell and oncology programs. He has authored over 30 peer reviewed scientific articles, book chapters and reviews as well as being inventor on several patents. Dr. Tressler has been invited to give numerous talks and lectures at Scientific and professional meetings and served as a chairperson and panelist at scientific symposia and meetings. His scientific focus is in stem cell biology, oncology and anti-aging research and he has served as a scientific advisor to various companies. He received his Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Science and his Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Microbiology from McNeese State University. He is a member of the American Association of Blood Banks, The International Society of Cell Therapy and The American Society of Hematology.