Internal Support Team

The team that helps make your team a success!

Lou Vaickus, MD, FACP

Founder & President

More than just aktaPD’s owner, Dr. Vaickus is the company’s fearless leader. He is a physician executive who calls upon more than 30 years of experience at start-ups as well as small, medium, and large companies in his role as president of aktaPD. The expertise he brings to aktaPD clients spans all aspects of drug development and clinical medicine: new chemical entities (NCEs), medical devices, assay development, biosimilars, foods, cell therapies, beneficial bacteria, diagnostics, and biologicals in a broad variety of indications including oncology, autoimmunity and immunology, respiratory, neurology, hematology, and infectious disease. He has served aktaPD clients in the areas of preclinical and clinical drug development plans and implementation (Phases 1-4), executive leadership and organizational structure, executive training, regulatory affairs/quality assurance, business development, financing, medical writing, and commercialization solutions.

Sheree Vaickus, COSMO

Chief Operating Sales and Marketing Officer

A global integrated marketing strategist, Sheree brings decades of operations, management, and international marketing experience to aktaPD. Her responsibilities at aktaPD encompass marketing, sales, project management, budget management, international vendor/client relations, procurement solutions, staff development, and overseeing the company’s growth and advancement. She is a very humble leader with a gift for locating the best-in-class talents, whether it’s an award-winning marketing team or expert physicians, directors, and managers in the pharmaceutical development space. Her professional background includes serving as Chief Operating Officer for an environmental device company; Vice President of Operations and Sales for PPM (a marketing and ad agency); and Lead Marketing Manager at GlaxoSmithKline, where she was responsible for procurement, vendor management and contract standards, and policies and contracts worldwide. She owns several businesses, including The Right Plan, which was one of North Carolina’s largest pharmaceutical medical education vendors, providing high-scale productions, commercials, product launches, shareholder meetings, advisory boards, marketing logistics, and training for clients, including GlaxoSmithKline, Sunovion, Elan, Eli Lilly, Molecular Insight, TolerX, Pfizer, Harvard, Duke University, Wake Forest University, Cardinal Health, and Johnson & Johnson. Through these experiences, she has gained the proven executive level management abilities, niche marketing expertise, contract negotiation capabilities, communications experience, and protocol-reporting skills necessary for growing successful companies, developing budgets, and increasing company value in the marketplace. To-date, she has branded over 1000 companies/products/services. She has designed and implemented campaigns for NBA, NFL players, and Olympic athletes, as well as for top CEOs around the world.

Randy Soare

Director of Technical Services

Randy Soare relies on over 25 years of multimedia experience in his job as aktaPD® Designer/Web Master/Developer. His areas of focus for aktaPD® include website and interactive media development, SEO/SEM, social media, motion graphics, interactive training, e-commerce sites, corporate branding packages, and marketing design projects. His technical expertise includes designing and deploying feature-rich CMS-based websites and an extensive knowledge of the full line of Adobe products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects, with a special emphasis on 3D animation. He unites his technical and creative skills to help aktaPD® clients creatively grow their brand and online presence.

Maureen Simpson

Graphic Designer

Maureen Simpson specializes in quick turn-arounds of compelling and meaningful medical, scientific, and marketing materials. She uses her 18 years of experience and expertise with Illustrator to create eye-catching and brain-sparking communications materials, ranging from logos to business cards, brochures to billboards, multimedia to scientific posters, presentations to signage, branding collateral to marketing materials. A master of taking a great idea and running with it (often, with very little information!), she brings professionalism, creativity, speed, and a laid-back humor to every aktaPD project.

Melanie Raskin


Melanie Raskin brings more than 30 years in the communications field to her copywriting and public relations duties at aktaPD®. Her expertise includes websites and e-news, articles and feature stories, press releases, video and audio scriptwriting, direct mail (sales letters, cards, and invitations), marketing, slogans, naming of products, and sales force/employee/HCP communications and training. She assists in devising budgets and time lines for creative communications, supervising vendors/creative personnel, and managing communications projects.

Mary Gukelberger


Mary Gukelberger has been deploying her impressive accounting and finance management skills to the commercial and small business sectors for more than twenty years. Highly skilled and dedicated to accuracy and detail, she dots every i and crosses every t in the finance arenas of accounts payable and receivable, bank reconciliations, monthly reports, payroll, benefits administration, quarterly and year-end tax forms, and sales and use tax returns. She prides herself on delivering excellence in financial management with efficiency, attention to detail, nimbleness, responsivity, and professionalism.

Steve Arnold

Information Technology

Steve Arnold is one of those rare individuals who can explain technical things in such a manner that anyone can comprehend them. That’s his job at aktaPD®. His understanding of computer systems and networks makes him uniquely qualified to ensure the company’s network infrastructure functions in a manner that allows us to focus on what we do best: serve our clients. Certified in MS and MCITP, with a strong base in the Microsoft AD DS (Active Directory Services) network, Steve understands how highly regulated the Life Sciences are and speaks often on CF Part 11.

Jamie Blackburn


Jamie Blackburn brings more than 25 years of experience to his job of assisting aktaPD® research, clinical, and commercial clients to create and implement interactive e-learning programs. A knowledge transfer expert, he helps the organizations aktaPD® partners with identify their program goals and create a platform that delivers on those needs. He uses instructional design as the core of a systematic approach to ensure that learning, not technology, is kept at the center of e-learning development. Previously, he was Vice President of Learning for Synaptis, a knowledge transfer company located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and a former director of GlaxoSmithKline’s IT department, where he led several key, enterprise-wide interactive programs that drove top-line revenue for brand teams.

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