North Carolina Business Group on Health

Attendee Speakers

Forum Speakers

Steve Burrows

Writer • Director • Performer

Steve Burrows

Writer • Director • Performer

Steve Burrows is a comedic storyteller.

This multiple award-winning filmmaker has been entertaining audiences in film, television, commercials and theatre ever since he attempted to do George Carlin’s “The Seven Words You Can’t Say On TV” at his 5th grade talent show.

His original voice, coupled with his edgy, character-driven humor, has made his work a favorite around the world, where his range in comedy is as diverse as the locations of his shoots – London, Rome, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin to name a few.

The award-winning, critically acclaimed HBO film Bleed Out is Burrows’ first feature documentary.

His bowling average is 189.


Jon R. Rankin

President & CEO
North Carolina Business Group on Health

Jon R. Rankin

Jon leads the North Carolina Business Group on Health (NCBGH) Board as president and CEO.  Prior to this, he spent over 25 years leading benefits and total rewards at various large employers, after having served as an officer in the US Army.

He holds a Master of Systems Management from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wichita State University.

He received designation as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from HRCI, as well Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) and Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) from WorldAtWork. Additionally, he currently holds life and health insurance licenses with the State of North Carolina.

Jon enjoys collaborating on health issues with his wife and son. His wife, Kathy, is a (now retired) Registered Nurse of oncology (OCN). His son, Blayne, a US Army major, recently completed his master’s degree in hospital administration which included a one-year internship with Mayo Hospital in Rochester, MN, and currently serves as the Executive Officer overseeing Fort Riley Hospital in Kansas.


Elizabeth Allen, J.D.

Vice President
Benefits Compliance and Counsel

Elizabeth Allen

Elizabeth Allen, Vice President of Benefits Compliance and Counsel for NFP, advises employers and brokers on employee benefits compliance issues. In this role, she researches and summarizes state and federal regulatory issues, develops and updates compliance tools, and provides compliance-centered publications and trainings to benefits firm personnel.

Prior to joining NFP, Elizabeth spent five years as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. As an investigator, she reviewed health and welfare and retirement plans for compliance with ERISA, and worked with employers, service providers and other regulatory agencies to bring employee benefit plans into compliance. She also served as the Dallas Regional Office Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) coordinator from 2012-2014.  

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctorate from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas. She also holds the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation, and currently serves as an online course instructor of the CEBS Directing Retirement Plans 1 (RPA1) course.


Jamie Crooks, J.D.

Fairmark Partners, LLP


Jamie Crooks

Jamie Crooks brings a wide array of legal and government relations expertise to Fairmark. Prior to co-founding the firm, Jamie practiced law at the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers, LLP. Jamie was a member of the firm’s Appellate & Supreme Court practice, as well as its crisis management and white-collar defense groups. He has worked opposite the U.S. Department of Justice in multiple complex cases, advised clients on regulatory and data security matters, and briefed cases before federal and state courts across the US.

Prior to his work at O’Melveny, Jamie served at the U.S. Supreme Court as a law clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, advising the justice on all manner of statutory and constitutional issues. He also clerked in Los Angeles for the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the country’s largest court of appeals.

Jamie graduated with high honors from Columbia Law School, and he received his bachelor’s degree cum laude from Harvard College.

He is licensed to practice law in Washington, DC and California.


Dale R. Folwell, CPA

State Treasurer of North Carolina

Dale R. Folwell, CPA

Dale R. Folwell, CPA was sworn in for his first term as State Treasurer of North Carolina in January 2017. He was reelected in 2020 and is currently serving his second term. As the keeper of the public purse, Treasurer Folwell is responsible for the more than $122 billion state pension fund that provides retirement benefits for more than 950,000 teachers, law enforcement officers and other public workers. Under Folwell’s leadership the pension plan was rated among the top five highest-funded in the country and won accolades for proactive management and funding discipline. In 2020, the state’s coveted AAA bond rating was reaffirmed by every major rating agency, making North Carolina one of only 13 states in the country to hold that distinction. Treasurer Folwell also oversees the State Health Plan, which provides medical and pharmaceutical benefits to more than 750,000 current and retired public employees and is the largest purchaser of health care in North Carolina.

Folwell was first elected to public office as a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. He brought his problem-solving skills to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2004, where he served four terms in the House of Representatives including one term as Speaker Pro Tempore. Treasurer Folwell began his career as a blue collar worker and became a Certified Public Accountant and investment advisor after earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from UNC-Greensboro. Married for over 30 years, he and his wife Synthia have three children and live in Winston-Salem.

Marianne's headshot

Marianne Hamilton Lopez

Senior Research Director,
Biomedical Innovation
Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

Marianne Hamilton Lopez

Dr. Marianne Hamilton Lopez is the Senior Research Director of Biomedical Innovation, an adjunct
associate professor, and core faculty at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy in Washington, DC.
She leads the strategic design and direction of the Center’s Biomedical Innovation portfolio, with a focus
on medical products development and regulation, real world evidence, infectious disease preparedness,
and payment, pricing, and coverage of drugs and medical devices. She also oversees the Value for
Medical Products Consortium and partners with Duke University faculty, scholars, and external health
experts to advance this work.

Prior to joining Duke-Margolis, Dr. Hamilton Lopez was a senior program officer with the National
Academy of Medicine’s Leadership Consortium for a Value & Science-Driven Health System and
provided strategic direction and oversight of the Consortium’s Science and Technology portfolio and
Clinical Effectiveness Research Innovation and the Digital Learning Collaboratives. She was a Senior
Manager at Academy Health; a Public Health Community Advisor for the United States Cochrane Center; and the Federal Women’s Program Manager and American Indian/Alaska Native Employment Program Manager for the National Institutes of Health


Abhi Gupta

Senior Director,
Global Gene Therapy Business
Pfizer Inc.

Abhi Gupta

Abhi Gupta is the Senior Director of the Global Gene Therapy Business at Pfizer Inc. Abhi is responsible
for the end-to-end gene therapy business including the long-term strategic plan and developing
commercial strategies for Pfizer’s gene therapy platform. Abhi also leads Pfizer’s gene therapy platform
and strategy team that focuses on all aspects of developing and delivering genetic medicines to
patients. Abhi has 15 years of experience as a senior scientist and in corporate finance and strategy
functions. Prior to his current role, Abhi led Portfolio Decision and Analysis for Pfizer’s Rare Disease
business where he developed strategies to invest in early pipeline programs in hematological,
neurodegenerative, endocrine/metabolic, and cardiovascular indications. Abhi has an MBA from NYU
Leonard Jones School of Business and a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from University of Virginia


Paula Stop

Director of Total Rewards
The Fresh Market

Paula Stop, CEBS, PHR, SHRM-CP

As the Director of Total Rewards for The Fresh Market, Inc. Paula Legendre Stop is responsible for the company benefit and compensation programs.

Paula received her Professional of Human Resources (PHR) designation in 2005. In 2016, Paula earned her CEBS (Certified Employee Benefits Specialist) designation and in 2019 earned for Fellowship designation. She serves on the board for the North Carolina Business Group on Health as the vice president and is currently government affairs director for the Human Resources Management Association of Greensboro (HRMAG)..

She has a B.A. degree in French and International Business from the University of Tennessee and an M.B.A from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Additional Speaker Bios Coming Soon