Richard Fiske

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Fiske’s impressive healthcare career began at Johnson & Johnson, where he spent 6 years before leaving to serve in the Vietnam War. Upon returning home, he joined the Acquisition and Development department at American Medical International for 4 years, followed by 3 years with National Medical Enterprises, 10 years with Continental Medical Systems, and 9 years with Tenet Healthcare as VP of Acquisition and Development through 2003. As of January 2004, he became CEO and Co-Founder of Everest Health Partners, a healthcare marketing and consulting organization, and he joined Cobalt in 2012. Mr. Fiske has planned, developed, and opened over 70 freestanding, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals throughout his storied career.

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Fiske obtained both his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Master’s degree in Marketing at Lewis and Clark College.

Mr. Fiske enjoys baseball, flying and mountain climbing, the latter of which lead him to summit Mount Everest in 1999 and Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010. Mr. Fiske presently resides in Dallas, Texas, traveling often as a registered speaker for Stonecroft Ministries and several Fortune 500 companies.

Erik de Vries

Co-Founder & Principal

As the real estate principal of Cobalt Medical Development, Mr. de Vries manages all strategy, financing, investments, new business and operations. Recently, Mr. de Vries served as VP of Business Development at Rainier Medical Investments, LLC, managing the company’s capital platforms, fundraising strategies and new business real estate development.

Some of Mr. de Vries equity accomplishments at Rainier include the acquisition of Baylor Grapevine medical office building and ambulatory surgery center, an 84,000 sq. ft. MOB physically attached to THR Presbyterian Hospital of Flower Mound, Texas, a Reliant Healthcare 60 bed IRF in South Austin, and the management of a $10MM fund exclusively for Physicians. Prior to Rainier, Mr. de Vries managed a healthcare development team that created 50 -75 bed post-acute care inpatient rehabilitation and skilled nursing hospitals throughout Texas averaging 65,000 square feet with real estate transaction costs that totaled over $100MM.

Peter Cacciapaglia

SVP Design & Construction

With over 30 years of experience in architecture and project delivery, Mr. Cacciapaglia is responsible for managing all aspects of project development, including planning, equipment, design, construction, and opening of new healthcare facilities.

Previously, Mr. Cacciapaglia served as Director of Hospital Projects at MedCath Corporation, where he managed the development of eight hospitals nationwide, totaling more than $350 million. In this key project leadership role, he maintained project budgets and schedules and protected stakeholders’ interests throughout the entire development process.

Mr. Cacciapaglia is a registered architect and received his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University.

M. Christian Cullum

Chief Operating Officer
Cobalt Medical Partners

Mr. Cullum is involved in all aspects of the real estate development (Cobalt Medical Development) and operations (Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospitals) sides of the business, with a particular focus on all financial aspects (analysis, reporting, etc), capital sourcing and structuring, investor relations, development management, operations oversight, strategic partnerships, and overall corporate strategy.

Prior to Cobalt, Mr. Cullum worked for five years as VP & Director of Underwriting at EDGE Realty Capital Markets, where he played a dual role leading the financial underwriting of all real estate asset property types for the capital markets team, as well as helping to develop new business and working with clients and investors on asset sales. Before EDGE, Mr. Cullum worked at Rainier Capital Management, a $1.5BB boutique real estate investment bank, where he managed similar responsibilities on the acquisitions and development side of the business. Mr. Cullum spent most of his time at Rainier working with Rainier Medical Investments, which primarily developed and acquired high-end MOBs and ASCs on the campus of major system hospitals.

Prior to returning home to Dallas to help manage his family’s fourth-generation construction company and complete his MBA, Mr. Cullum worked for seven years in the political and national security arenas in Washington, DC. Mr. Cullum received his undergraduate degree in international politics from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and he received his MBA in finance and real estate from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Cullum is licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission.

Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospitals

Jim Ransom

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Ransom heads up all operations for Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospitals. Prior to Cobalt, Mr. Ransom served as Chief Executive Officer of a rehabilitation hospital in the DFW area for HealthSouth, the nation’s largest rehabilitation hospital system. Mr. Ransom has over 19 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He has held various positions including Chief Executive Officer, Director of Operations, Regional Controller, Division Chief Financial Officer and Chief Financial Officer. His expertise is in inpatient hospital management, turn-around financial management, expense management and financial improvement. He is an Associate of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Mr. Ransom holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ernie Escobedo


Mr. Escobedo has over 20 years of healthcare accounting experience. Before joining Cobalt in 2016, he served as Controller at Reliant Hospital Partners. Mr. Escobedo’s accounting experience includes work on emergency rooms and acute care hospitals, as well as rehabilitation hospitals. During his decade of management experience, he has successfully overseen Accounts Payable, Payroll, Fixed Assets, and General Ledger work.

Mr. Escobedo earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from California State University – Long Beach and plans to further his education, pursing his Master’s degree in the near future.

Brenda Steffy

Director Revenue Cycle Management

Ms. Steffy is responsible for corporate revenue cycle and billing, which optimizes the entire continuum of care and satisfaction for the Cobalt patient. Her skillful career began over 30 years ago as a billing supervisor at Cook Children’s Medical Center, Ft. Worth’s only children’s hospital. From there, she advanced her career and knowledge by specializing in and managing admissions, billing, and maintaining revenue cycles for rehabilitation, psychiatric, acute-care hospitals, nursing homes, and private practice. Her superior knowledge of insurance plans and the laws, along with her tenacity to pursue complete, accurate and timely payments, has garnered first-class outcomes. Ms. Steffy’s dedication to revenue cycle management and educating and leading teams has made a positive impact on the hospital corporations and multiple physician practices she has represented.

Natashé Washington

Accounts Payable Manager

Ms. Washington manages all accounts payable for Cobalt Rehabilitation Hospitals. She has 13 years of healthcare and accounts payable experience, previously having worked for Reliant Hospital Partners, HealthSouth, Medical Clinic of North Texas, and Financial Resource Group. She brings years of experience working on multiple-site accounts, processing payroll, managing various vendor relationships, and assisting with special accounting projects. Ms. Washington has strong accounts payable and general accounting related skills.


Steve Puterbaugh

Chief Human Resources Officer

Mr. Puterbaugh, an experienced HR leader with both national and international success, joined the Cobalt team in 2015 as Chief Human Resources Officer. In his current role, he works in close partnership with the executive management teams at the corporate and hospital facilities to develop and execute a robust talent brand strategy, including talent acquisition and engagement, performance management, employee relations, succession planning, compensation and benefits, policy and compliance. Throughout his 35+ year
career, Mr. Puterbaugh has focused on implementing innovative human resource strategy and initiatives in large, mid and small cap companies, as well as start-ups and early stage venues in the retail, technology and logistics industries. Prior to joining the Cobalt team, his roles have included Chief Human Resources Executive, Global People Leader, and Vice President of Human Resources. Mr. Puterbaugh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Ferris State University in Michigan.