Our Team

Owned & Operated By CRNAs Who Care About You

Daniel Frasca DNAP, CRNA


Daniel has been a practicing CRNA for nearly 30 years. He received his MSNA from VCU in 1992 and his DNAP in 2010. As a student, he was awarded the Agatha Hodgins award for academic excellence.

Daniel worked with students in the clinical area for 25 years as preceptor and student coordinator. He is the proud recipient of the Herbert T. Watson award and Outstanding Alumnus award for his continued support to the VCU school of nurse anesthesia. He continues to serve as adjunct faculty at VCU.

As co-founder of APEX, Daniel’s primary responsibilities include customer relations, administration, and content development. He is proud APEX is making a difference in so many lives and strives to hold true to the APEX brand professionally and personally.

An avid drummer, Daniel is always looking to play in a decent band. So many drummers, so little time.


Kevin R. Baker MSNA, CRNA


Kevin has a strong vision that has shaped the landscape of CRNA education. With a love of anesthesia and unyielding enthusiasm for online learning, Kevin spends his days creating anesthesia content that is both engaging and effective. His other focuses include strategic business development, instructional design, and marketing.

In 2005, Kevin earned his Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he graduated at the top of his class. Additionally, Kevin scored in the 100th percentile on the National Certification Exam. He has written extensively for APEX Anesthesia review, published in the AANA Journal, and delivered a variety of invited presentations in anesthesia as well as instructional design. Before transitioning to APEX fulltime, Kevin greatly enjoyed precepting students. He was named VCU Clinical Instructor of the Year in 2013. Kevin enjoys spending his free time with family as well as refining his appreciation of food, wine, and music.


Chuck Biddle PhD, CRNA

Content Creator

Chuck has spent his entire anesthesiology career in academic settings, first at Old Dominion University, then the University of Kansas, then Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and for the last 20 years, at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Chuck has served continuously as Editor-in-Chief of the AANA Journal since 1988. His doctorate is in epidemiology from the University of Missouri, and he has approximately 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and is the sole author of the book, Evidence Trumps Belief: Nurse Anesthetists and Evidence Based Decision Making.

Chuck considers his greatest professional achievement as helping students and colleagues alike navigate the formidable cognitive challenges of becoming and remaining expert CRNAs.

Katie Carnes

Operations Manager

Katie Carnes is a dedicated professional with 13 years of experience in operations management, business development, data analysis, and customer service. She has carved a niche for herself while accumulating in-depth knowledge of the needs of our clientele and expanding operational goals. Katie possesses extensive business acumen and SaaS experience, along with a comprehensive understanding of legal compliance and internal process auditing. She is a highly structured professional with excellent leadership and communication skills, and her work ethic distinguishes her from her peers.

At APEX, Katie is entrusted with strategizing process improvement and fostering long-term relationships with all clients. Her collaborative management style and analytical mindset enable her to successfully interact with people and derive interdepartmental coordination. These strengths allow Katie to ensure that all project deliverables align with the mission and core values of APEX. With a young, creative mind, she loves developing innovative solutions that create value for our clients. She thrives in challenging environments that allow her to utilize her strengths to add value to our organization.

Katie is a loving wife and mother to 4 children. In her spare time, she enjoys working with children and animals. During the Summer, Katie volunteers her time to teach community children how to swim, and she served many years as the head swim coach for a local swim team. Katie is also a mentor for victims and survivors of domestic violence, and she is a medical foster with a local animal rescue for dogs with medical needs.

Taylor Simpson MS, CMI

Medical Illustrator & Animator

Taylor earned her B.A. in Biological and Pre-Medical Illustration at Iowa State University as well as an M.S. in Medical Illustration from Augusta University. Taylor has been a practicing professional medical illustrator since 2016. Taylor finds meaning in her work by combining her passion for science and art to help others learn and understand scientific and medical concepts. Aside from work, she enjoys traveling, nature photography, volleyball, and spoiling her cat, Tonnie. She’s excited to be working for a company which places such high value on education and continued learning.


Christian Falyar DNAP, CRNA

Contributing Content Creator

Christian is an assistant professor in the Nurse Anesthesia program at Duke University. He also serves as adjunct faculty for the University of Iowa Department of Nurse Anesthesia program and the Middle Tennessee School Nurse Anesthesia Acute Pain Fellowship.

Christian has coordinated the open ultrasound scanning labs at the AANA Annual Congress. He lectures locally, regionally and nationally, and has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including the AANA Journal, the Journal of Clinical Ultrasound, and the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing. In August of 2018, Christian started new chapter in his anesthesia career as an Assistant Professor at Duke University, in Durham, NC. In his spare time, Christian likes to listen to Dylan and ride his Triumph.


Penelope Z. Strauss PhD, CRNA

Contributing Content Creator

Penelope has been a CRNA since 1996. Prior to nurse anesthesia, she had a career in respiratory care (RRT 1982) in both clinical practice and management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Cardiopulmonary Science, a BSN, an MSN-Nurse Anesthesia, and a PhD with a dissertation based on original research in respiratory physiology and obesity.

Penelope brings to APEX extensive experience with 8 years of service on the CCNE Exam Committee and as the National Certification Exam Editor from 2008-2011. She has over 10 years of experience in nurse anesthesia education at the MSN and DNP level teaching primarily advanced anatomy, physiology, and other sciences. Along with many previous honors and awards, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2016 from UTHSC School of Nursing. She particularly enjoys the challenge of connecting the basic sciences to clinical practice, and believes that her skill set is a great match for the programs provided by APEX.

Penelope has been published broadly in anesthesia, respiratory and critical care journals, including both invited and peer-reviewed articles. She is a regular reviewer for journals such as JoPAN, BMJ Case Reports, and Respiratory Care among others.

Penelope lives in New Mexico, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and enjoys the clean air, four seasons, art, and music of the southwest.

Get started today.

Join over 15,000 busy students and CRNAs who trust APEX to help them pass boards and stay certified.