Russ Baron Spotlight
People are the core of our business at The Alinea Group. People on our team of experts, the people we serve as our clients, and the people we impact through our knowledge and promotion of the 340B Program.
In the Alinea Group Spotlight Series, we’re showcasing our people, our team. It’s our informal get-to-know you piece, we hope you’ll enjoy it.
Meet Russ Baron, 340B ACE
Associate Director, Information Systems and Data Analytics
How Long Have You Been a Part of The Alinea Team?
I’m one of the originals, a founding member. My working relationship began with Tim, Keith, and Shrujal as part of the 340B team at NavigantConsulting (now Guidehouse, Inc.). When the 340B practice split to form The Alinea Group, it was a natural fit for me, and the rest is history!
How Do You Best Describe Your Role?
As a small business, we’re all wearing multiple hats on a regular basis, but the core of our business is working with clients to ensure they’re always ready for whatever the 340B program throws at them. Most days, that takes the form of audit and compliance work, but I also enjoy helping entities new to the program find their footing in a complex and often-confusing program. Back to the multiple hats, the first half of my career was spent in IT, and today, the 340B program generates and consumes more data than ever before. As Alinea’s Compliance Officer and resident “data geek”, I get to flex that IT muscle often. My day-to-day role involves leading the Alinea data team, IT system maintenance, compliance monitoring, and, of course, expert-level 340B guidance.
What Do You Enjoy About Being on Team Alinea?
As a boutique firm, we enjoy the ability to pivot quickly, reacting to changes in the market and new challenges. There’s never a dull day in 340B, and I really enjoy the variety of projects we’re constantly engaged in – even our “normal” audit and compliance work is always different: no two audits are ever quite the same. The fact is, we have a diverse team where everyone brings something different to the table, and that keeps things fresh and interesting. We also have a real dedication to long-term relationships; we become a true trusted partner to our clients, and it’s really rewarding to see those clients grow over time.
Where Did You Grow Up?
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. After college, I moved around a bit, but ultimately, Pittsburgh brought me back, and my wife, Shannon, and I have settled here to raise our two kids in the Pittsburgh tradition: fries on salads, sandwiches as big as your head, and a growing collection of championship rings for professional sports.. Fun Fact: my wife and I got married at a “Pop-Up Wedding,” the first of its kind. It’s definitely a unique wedding story that we love to tell, and we would recommend it to anyone!
As a Child, What Did You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised by this, but , I’ll admit it was a grocery store check-out clerk. As a kid, it must have been all the giant, clicky buttons they got to push that I just found incredibly satisfying. Come to think of it, maybe those buttons were the start to my interest in technology… I would bet that a good percentage of you reading this, at one point, wanted to operate the scanner at the grocery store, right?
What Hobbies or Passions Keep You Grounded?
I am a tinkerer by nature. I have a woodshop in my garage, and an electronics workshop in my office. I have a healthy (?) obsession with building custom keyboards (the typing kind, not the musical kind). (For those in the know, my current board is a Mode Eighty in Celestial with a mix of Boba U4’s and Gateron Ink Blacks, with GMK Merlin on top.) It’s hard to say whether that keeps me “grounded”, but it’s a hobby I truly enjoy, and everyone deserves a better typing experience!