Starkey's Executive Team
William F. Austin Owner, CEO and President
William F. Austin
Owner, CEO and President
In 1967, Starkey Hearing Technologies Owner, CEO and President William F. Austin founded a hearing instrument repair service in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Four years later, he acquired a small earmold company called Starkey Laboratories, and merged his companies under the Starkey Laboratories name.
Austin's experience in hearing aid distribution and repair led him to create the concept of comprehensive hearing solutions. Austin's focus on customer satisfaction and quality of life revolutionized the industry by setting a new standard for innovation and service. Since 1984, his Starkey Hearing Foundation has promoted hearing care awareness through support of research, education and charitable programs.
Tani Austin Chief Philanthropy Officer
Chief Philanthropy Officer
Named Female Philanthropist of the Year and honored at the First Ladies Summit at the UN General Assembly in 2015, Tani has helped develop a sustainable world hearing health program to deliver the gift of hearing to people in need around the globe. In her role as Chief Philanthropy Officer, she executes Starkey Hearing Technologies’ humanitarian efforts, focusing on empowering communities to create ownership over local hearing health services.
Participating in dozens of hearing missions every year with her husband, Starkey Hearing Technologies Founder and CEO William F. Austin, Tani has visited over 100 countries to provide hearing aids and hearing care. Her relentless efforts have guided Starkey Hearing Foundation to become a global leader in developing sustainable, community-based systems of hearing healthcare.
Tani holds more than 30 years of experience in the hearing industry, including: maintaining her own hearing aid practice for 10 years and serving as the Illinois Department of Public Health Practicum Examiner for the hearing aid dispensing of state licensing, Secretary of the Illinois Hearing Society and on the National Board of Certification in Hearing Sciences.
Tani’s commitment to philanthropy goes beyond hearing. By supporting a multitude of both local and global charitable causes, her inspiring vision and selfless dedication helps change countless lives.
Sara Burdak, Au.D. Chief Audiology Officer
Sara Burdak, Au.D.
Chief Audiology Officer
Dr. Sara Burdak joined Starkey Hearing Technologies as an audiologist on the Hearing Research and Technology team in 1999. Over the last 16 years, Burdak has worked to bring impactful programs to our global customer base. She is responsible for developing and aligning Starkey’s global audiology strategy as it relates to education and training programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and customer and industry relations. Burdak earned her bachelor's degree in audiology and speech sciences from Michigan State University, her master's degree in audiology from Wayne State University, and her Au.D. from the Arizona School of Health Sciences
Chris Hillman Executive Vice President of Operations
Executive Vice President of Operations
With over 20 years of experience in operations, manufacturing, strategic planning and large-scale transformation, Chris Hillman is responsible for Starkey Hearing Technologies’ operational efficiencies and analytics. In his previous role as Vice President and General Manager of Global Services Supply Chain for GE Healthcare, Hillman successfully executed the aftermarket equipment business’ commercial operations, supply chain and operations strategies.
Prior to GE, Hillman held multiple leadership positions at Scientific Games and Motorola Networks. He holds a B.A. in business from DePaul University.
Chris McCormick Chief Marketing Officer
Chief Marketing Officer
Since joining Starkey Hearing Technologies in 1988, Chris McCormick has worked and excelled in multiple sales, service and marketing positions with Starkey's mission in mind – to serve our customers better than anyone else. His deep knowledge of Starkey and our customers and consumers will allow Chris to lead our marketing efforts to a new and unified global level. His leadership and vision will drive Starkey's strategy to strengthen our brand loyalty and values to our customers and their consumers. Chris earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from the Herberger College of Business at St. Cloud State University in 1995.
Paul Phillips Executive Vice President of International Sales
Executive Vice President of International Sales
As Executive Vice President of International Sales, Paul Phillips leads our efforts in growing and developing our markets throughout the world. For the last 24 years, Phillips has given his time and talent to Starkey in many capacities in the United States, Europe and New Zealand. Having worked in sales, marketing and retail roles, he has a deep understanding of how and why we provide better hearing around the globe.
Phillips holds a B.A. in international business and economics from Temple University.
Lisa Richards Chief Customer Officer
Chief Customer Officer
Lisa Richards has been a champion in the field of hearing healthcare for more than 20 years and is currently serving as Chief Customer Officer for Starkey Hearing Technologies. In her role, Richards is responsible for developing Starkey Hearing Technologies’ customer relations teams and expanding corporate resources and operations globally. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership and is a proven expert in the areas of cross-departmental process improvement, team building and organizational development. Richards’ primary objective is to advance the company’s vision — which is to “serve our customers better than anyone else.”
Richards holds a B.A. in marketing and psychology from Upper Iowa University.
Steve Richards Executive Vice President of North American Sales
Executive Vice President of North American Sales
Steve Richards is responsible for growing Starkey Hearing Technologies’ North American revenue and market share. With more than 30 years of industry experience, Richards has a proven track record in sales and management. He began his career as a hearing aid technician in 1985 and joined Starkey Hearing Technologies in 1992 as a field sales representative for Omni Hearing Systems, a Starkey subsidiary located in Carrollton, Texas. He has held a number of leadership roles in the company including Vice President of Network Development, Managing Director of Starkey Texas, Managing Director of Audibel and Senior Managing Director of Exclusive Networks.
Brandon Sawalich Senior Vice President
Senior Vice President
Brandon L. Sawalich has been with Starkey Hearing Technologies since 1994, when he started his career as an Inside Sales Executive. Since then, he has built expertise in nearly all aspects of sales and marketing in the hearing industry, and today leads Starkey Hearing Technologies' Sales, Marketing and Customer Relations teams. He is responsible for helping move the company forward through strategic development, as well as planning and executing key growth initiatives. Additionally, he is charged with building and strengthening relationships with customers. In his leadership roles, Sawalich has helped the company achieve overall growth and has built excellent teams to tackle the challenges customers and patients face every day.
Tom Ting General Counsel
Tom Ting holds 14 years of extensive legal and business experience gained in various company settings. During his time as General Counsel at Sun Country Airlines, he provided legal counsel and business consultation to management teams.
Prior to Sun Country, Ting held essential counsel positions at Moneygram International, Polaroid Corporation and Petters Group Worldwide. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and he holds a B.A. in medical ethics from Davidson College.
JeanAnn Trombley Chief Human Resources Officer
Chief Human Resources Officer
JeanAnn Trombley has over 25 years of human resources and talent management experience. Prior to joining Starkey Hearing Technologies, Trombley held several leadership roles within medical device, healthcare, technology, and travel organizations, including Vice President of Global Human Resources at Kroll Ontrack and Vice President of Human Resources at WuXi AppTec. With the experience of working for establishments around the world, she is able to ensure that our Human Resources Department is a catalyst for attracting and developing world-class talent and strategic initiatives of our company.
Trombley holds a B.S. in finance and marketing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, earned her MBA in Human Resource Management at the University of St. Thomas (Minneapolis), and completed the Executive HR Leadership program at the University of Michigan.
Todd Watterson Chief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Todd Watterson has over 20 years of executive financial leadership, excelling in transactional structuring, strategic and tactical planning, and policy-making. During his time as Chief Financial Officer at Aimia Inc., Watterson successfully managed all controllership, finances, banking operations and capital planning for the U.S. region.
Prior to Aimia, Watterson held multiple fundamental positions during his seven years at Datacard Group. He obtained his CPA accreditation in Illinois, and he holds a B.S. in accountancy from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Starkey Hearing Technologies
6700 Washington Avenue S.
Eden Prairie, MN 55344-3476
Starkey Hearing Technologies is a world leader in the design, development and distribution of comprehensive hearing solutions. We believe in using superior hearing technology as a means to something even greater — creating meaningful connections between people and their worlds.
With 21 facilities in more than 100 markets around the globe, Starkey Hearing Technologies is an industry leader in hearing instrument manufacturing. We create top quality diagnostic equipment, hearing protection products, wireless technology and unique hearing solutions for every environment.