2020-2021 Board of Directors

President Jeff Netzel, O.D. 

Dr. Jeff Netzel was installed as President of the Arkansas Optometric Association on April 22, 2020.  A native of Northwest Arkansas, Dr. Netzel feels it is important to get involved in his community. He is a current member of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce as well as other service organizations. He is board certified in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease. Dr. Netzel resides in Springdale with his wife Jill and his three children, Kate, Caroline, and Will.






President-Elect Joe Sugg, O.D.

Dr. Joe Sugg serves as the President-Elect of the Arkansas Optometric Association.  Dr. Sugg’s involvement in the association includes serving as the previous AOP-PAC Chair, and as a member of the nominating, membership, and state legal legislative committees. Dr. Sugg received the 2013 Young OD of the Year Award from the Arkansas Optometric Association.  He participates in the Brandon Burlsworth Eyes of a Champion program and also helps provide eye exams at the Arkansas Special Olympics.  In 2015, Dr. Sugg and his staff received a Practice of Excellence Award presented by the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence at Southern College of Optometry. Dr. Sugg also serves on the exhibits committee at SECO International, and he is a diplomate of the American Board of Optometry.  Dr. Sugg and his wife, Ali, have two children, Spencer and Sydney. 



Vice-President Melia Robertson, O.D.

Dr. Melia Robertson was elected to the ArOA Board of Directors on April 24, 2015.  Dr. Robertson graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR in 2006 where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  She graduated from SCO in 2010 Magna Cum Laude with Beta Sigma Kappa Honors. She opened a private practice the following year in Russellville.  Dr. Robertson became active in the Arkansas Optometric Association as a student at SCO and served as Arkansas Optometric Student Association President.   She serves as chair of the Awards committee, on the Career Guidance Committee, the nominating committee and the convention committee.   Dr. Robertson was awarded the 2016 Young O.D. of the Year by the Arkansas Optometric Association. Dr. Robertson provides eye exams to children through the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation and volunteers time and services at the River Valley Christian Clinic. She and her family attend Victory Missionary Baptist Church in Russellville where her husband serves as a deacon.  Dr. Robertson is married to Justin, a certified public accountant, and they reside in Russellville with their two children, Emmarie and Evan.  

Secretary/Treasurer James Hertzog, O.D.

Dr. James Hertzog is the owner and optometric physician of Hertzog Family Eye Care in Cabot and Jacksonville.  He graduated from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, and the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn. He is a Past President of the Cabot Lions Club and a past Board Member of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce.  He currently serves on the Board for the Cabot Panther Foundation, and he is the ArOA Vision Consultant to Medicaid. Dr. Hertzog gives his time to Optometry by promoting public awareness through health fairs, social media and eye screenings with the Lions Club. Other accomplishments and awards include: Arkansas Democrat –Gazette’s “20 to Watch in 2013”; the Arkansas Optometric Association Young Optometrist of the Year in 2011; voted Best Practice/Optometrist by the Lonoke County Reader’s Choice several years running; the 2013 Cabot Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year; the 2014 ArOA Special Service award; and 2014 Cabot Panther Foundation's Hall of Fame. Of all of his accomplishments he is most proud to be the loving husband to Dr. Charity Hertzog and father to his three sons, Jacob, Jonah, and Isaac.


Immediate Past President Dan Hennessey, O.D.

Dr. Dan Hennessey serves as the Immediate Past President of the Arkansas Optometric Association.  Dan and his wife, Beth, live in Little Rock and have three sons, Daniel and wife Victoria, Jason and Michael. They are extremely proud of their grandchildren, Lynlee Elizabeth and Matthew James. The family attends St. Edward Catholic Church in Little Rock where Dan serves as deacon. He was ordained to the ministry in 1998.





Alex Bell, O.D., Director

A native of Rogers, Arkansas, Dr. Alex Bell received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Arkansas.  Dr. Bell went on to graduate Cum Laude from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.  He completed extensive training in ocular surgery co-management, glaucoma diagnosis/management, and contact lens and joined Parenti-Morris Eye Care in 2009.  He serves as the Convention chairman for the ArOA. He was voted Arkansas Young Optometrist of the Year in 2019 by the Arkansas Optometric Association.  Dr. Bell and his wife, Lauren, enjoy spending time with their four young children. They are active members of Fellowship Bible Church. They also enjoy attending Razorback sporting events, community, and church events




Rusty Simmons, O.D. Director

Dr. Rusty Simmons is in private practice in his hometown of Benton.  He joined the Arkansas Optometric Association Board in 2017.  He has chaired the Nominating and Awards Committees and served on the board in the past.  He received the Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and assisted in creating the Lifetime Achievement Award.  He is an avid supporter of Optometry Giving Sight and the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation. Rusty and his wife, Karol, have three children, Bradley, Will and Brynne.  They attend First Baptist Church in Benton and in his free time he enjoys fishing and finding new restaurants.




Katie Brown, O.D. Director

Dr. Katie Brown was elected as director of the Arkansas Optometric Association in 2018.  She graduated from Southern College of Optometry in 2012 and found her home in academics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as Assistant Professor of the College of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology.   Dr. Brown was named the 2018 ArOA Young Optometrist of the Year and has been awarded the 5 Star Medical Student Teaching Award from the UAMS College of Medicine in 2016.  Dr. Brown enjoys community service and is the Little Rock Shepherd’s Hope Free Eye Clinic Coordinator as well as a regular clinic volunteer.  She is a founding board member of ROOTS (Rural Ophthalmology Optometry Treatment and Screening), a non-profit organization, formed by a first year UAMS medical student under her mentorship.  ROOTS has been heavily involved in community events such as the MLK Day Pediatric Free Clinic for the past 3 years.  Dr. Brown serves as the Membership Committee Chair and serves on the convention committee, awards committee, and helps coordinate the LEAD program.   


Julie M. Dolven, O.D. Director

Dr. Julie M. Dolven was elected to the Arkansas Optometric Association board of directors in 2018.  Dr. Dolven is originally from Gosnell, a small town in Northeastern Arkansas. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and graduated Cum Laude from Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Dr. Dolven is the owner and Optometric Physician at James Eyecare & Optics Gallery in West Little Rock.  Dr. Dolven is on the convention and membership committees, serves as the chair of the JC Beane golf tournament and chair of the mentor program, and recently completed the LEAD Leadership program that graduated an inaugural class in 2019. Outside of the office, Dr. Dolven enjoys keeping active with her two daughters, Abigail and Elizabeth, hiking, hot yoga, and is a self-proclaimed "foodie".  She is an active member of New Life Church West Little Rock, and spends her time volunteering for NLC Little Life, volunteering as a wish granter for Make-a-Wish, providing eye examinations for the women of the Dorcas house and the children of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation through the Eyes of the Champion program.


Allison Hall, O.D. Director

 Dr. Ali Hall was elected as a director in 2020. Dr. Allison Hall is a 1997 graduate of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Missouri--St. Louis College of Optometry in 2003 with Beta Sigma Kappa honors. An active member of the American Optometric Association and the Arkansas Optometric Association, she serves on the ArOA Membership Committee and Convention Committee as Exhibit Hall Chair and is a graduate of the inaugural LEAD class. Dr. Hall serves on board of directors of Vision Arkansas, the charitable foundation of the Arkansas Optometric Association. She serves on the Arkansas State Board of Dispensing Opticians, is an associate member of College of Optometrist in Vision Development, an InfantSEE provider, and a life-member of the Junior Auxiliary of Clarksville. Dr. Hall started Hall Eye Care Center, L.L.C. (Clarksville) in April of 2004. She and her husband, Mel, and their daughter, Hannah are members of Victory Missionary Baptist Church in Russellville.


Justin Beavers, O.D. Director

Dr. Justin Beavers was elected to the Arkansas Optometric Association board of directors in 2020.  Dr. Beavers lives in Fayetteville with his wife Kristen and their two children Ryan Anna and Hendrix.  He is originally from Blytheville, Arkansas. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Arkansas in 2003. After graduating from the UofA,  he attended Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee where he earned his Doctor of Optometry degree in 2007. Dr. Beavers is the owner of Beavers Eye Care in Rogers and Ozark Eyes in Springdale. He currently serves on the Membership and Convention Committees.