Meet Our Leaders

Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital is led by a team of highly experienced healthcare professionals who are passionate about providing the highest level of care available to the hospital’s patients.

We invite you to learn more about us below:

Meet Our Leaders


Nicholas Nilest, Chief Executive Officer
Nick is originally from Louisville, Ky., where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences and a Minor in Biology from Bellarmine University. He continued on to also receive a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Nick is also Neuro-IFRAH certified to treat and manage adults who have suffered a brain injury or stroke.

Nick started with Ernest Health in 2008 at Laredo Specialty Hospital as the Director of Therapy Operations. In 2014, Nick relocated to Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital as the Chief Operating Officer and in 2015 moved into his current role as Chief Executive Officer.

Nick enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family, friends, and his pets.

 


Leslie Hess
, Chief Financial Officer
Leslie brings more than 30 years of financial management experience to the hospital, with half of them in healthcare administration, including acute care & rehabilitation hospitals, home health, and hospice.

Leslie takes an entrepreneurial approach to building successful businesses and has a strong belief in the mentoring process to help others succeed. She has been involved in multiple start-up organizations, as well as Fortune 500 companies, and has helped to bridge the gap when companies experienced growing pains.

Her expertise includes: financial management, customer service, human resources, strategic planning, crisis management, contract negotiations, and team building.

Leslie has lived in various places in the United States and abroad, but now is an “Island Girl” with her husband two dogs. She lives by her motto, which is “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”

 


Dr. Michael Fuentes, Medical Director

Dr. Michael Fuentes has led our medical services since 2013. Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, he oversees the hospital’s patient care and progressive therapies. He is passionate about providing the most effective treatment options for our patients so they can return home with as much independence as possible.

Dr. Fuentes graduated from the University of Nuevo Leon School of Medicine, Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. He completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the State University of New York in Buffalo, NY.

A native of Corpus Christi, Dr. Fuentes is an advocate for health and physical exercise, and he encourages his patients to commit to an active and healthy lifestyle.

 


Hany Geris, 
Director of Pharmacy
Hany brings extensive pharmaceutical knowledge to Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital. He is passionate about communicating his knowledge to our medical and nursing staff, ultimately helping to improve patients’ clinical outcomes.

Hany attended the Faculty of Pharmacy in Alexandria Egypt. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemical pharmacology and a doctorate of pharmacy from the University at Buffalo, New York. He is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist (BCPS) and is actively involved in various local and national pharmacy associations.

With broad experience as an acute care clinical pharmacist, and as an outpatient community pharmacist, Hany is able to bridge the gap between acute care settings and home. Directing the pharmacy operations at Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital provides a great opportunity for Hany to positively impact patients’ therapeutic outcomes through medication reconciliation and monitored transition of care from acute care to rehabilitation and outpatient settings.

When not working, Hany is involved in his church. He enjoys a wide variety of hobbies, including cooking, swimming, and playing soccer.

 


Savannah Leonard, RN, 
Director of Patient Outcomes
Savannah is a native Texan, and former Corpus Christi resident, who returned after living and working in San Antonio for some time. Savannah brings 18 years nursing experience, 13 of which she has devoted to serving the acute rehabilitation patient population. Savannah received her nursing degree from San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas.

 


Maurice Curran, 
Director of Compliance
Maurice brings passion and commitment to his work, overseeing quality and regulatory compliance at the hospital. He enjoys change that helps improve the quality of care we provide to our patients and families.

Maurice has been a registered nurse for more than 20 years, bringing extensive experience to the hospital in nursing, nursing management, sales and marketing.

He is a graduate of General Hospital School of Nursing in Newfoundland, Canada.

When not working, Maurice enjoys family time with his partner and children. He has even done a little acting!

 


Roxanna Schmidt, Director of Nursing Operations
Roxanna brings over 20 plus years of nursing to Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital.

Her experience in a  management/director role for 15 years brings competence and clarity to the nursing team at CCRH.

Her passionate care for patients is shown throughout the nursing staff she directs.

In Roxanna’s spare time, she loves spending time with her family, running, and volunteering for different organizations throughout the community.

 


Leticia Morales, Director of Therapy Operations
Leticia is perfectly suited for her role as Director of Therapy because loves helping people and seeing them succeed with therapeutic intervention. She says, “It’s the best feeling in the world.” 

A speech language pathologist, Leticia is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Having practiced in the field for several years, she holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence and is a certified Vital Stim provider. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication science disorders from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Prior to her current role, Leticia served as a full-time speech language pathologist for the hospital. Now, she enjoys having an overall impact on the therapy department through her management position.

Leticia is originally from Falfurrias, Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family at the beach or floating on the Frio River.

 


Bettina Piotrowski, Director of Marketing & Business Development
Bettina brings passion, energy and experience to her role, with her personal motto being, “Everyone deserves a chance.”   

As a licensed vocational nurse with more than 14 years of experience, Bettina worked in pulmonary and critical care, occupational medicine, internal medicine, and school nursing before joining the rehabilitative hospital as a clinical liaison. She always knew she wanted to go into the nursing field, and to this day, she still receives satisfaction in seeing a patient leave the hospital with as much independence as possible.

In Bettina’s current role, she enjoys educating the community about the hospital and its services.

Bettina is married with three children. When not working, she enjoys staying fit, traveling, and spending time with her family outdoors.

 


Dave Hoepker, 
Director of Facilities Management
Dave takes pride in ensuring the physical components of the hospital are well maintained and operating effectively. 

He brings more than 35 years of commercial facilities and construction management experience to his role, with 20 years in the health care facilities. He also has served in the U.S. Army as a plumbing and water treatment specialist.

Dave earned an associate’s degree in business management from Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wis.

When not working, Dave enjoys ocean living.


Steven Dienda, 
Food Service Manager
Steven brings more than 30 years of experience in hospitality, fine dining, and concept dining to Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital. He takes pride in the quality of food and service provided to our guests every day.

Steven’s background included culinary and retail-hotel management training. He has also taken courses in leadership, sales & marketing, and diversity.

Originally, Steven was born and raised in West Texas. He now resides in Corpus Christi.