Meet your guides.

Our coaches are renown for their medical skills, business acumen, and clear thinking. We are small animal, mixed animal, and emergency veterinarians, hospital administrators, industry professionals, and more. It is this intellectual and experiential diversity that allows us to understand, support, and coach virtually any practice.

Now, meet the team that lives for your Why.

Founders

Stith Keiser

Stith Keiser

Chief Executive Officer

Prior to his role at BHC, Stith was the founder and CEO of My Veterinary Career (MVC) which he sold to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) in 2011 and managed until 2016. His industry experience includes facilitating workshops at national and state veterinary conferences as well as writing for Today’s Veterinary Business, AAHA’s Trends Magazine, Veterinary Team Brief, and Veterinarian’s Money Digest. Stith also conducts professional skills workshops for student clubs and organizations at veterinary schools across the country. Stith currently collaborates on the development and delivery of professional development curriculum at several veterinary schools where he serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member. He is also part of a team through Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences working under a federal grant to explore and design strategies for successful rural veterinary practice ownership.

Stith’s volunteer experience includes serving as President of VetCAN (Veterinary Career Advisory Network), terms as President of VetPartner’s Career Development and Practice Management Special Interest Groups, participation in Washington State University’s CVM “Diagnostic Challenge” and a seat on the AVMA’s Economics Advisory Research Council Financial Literacy task force.

His passion for our profession extends into his role as managing partner in a handful of privately owned veterinary practices. In partnering with veterinarians hungering for successful practice ownership and wishing to build a legacy, Stith enables them to achieve their goals through his role overseeing team development and leverage, operations and financial management.

In his free time, Stith enjoys adventuring in the outdoors with his wife, a small animal veterinarian, their daughter and their dogs and horses.

Dusty Bonner

Dusty Bonner

Partner

While attending college at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Business, Dusty Bonner joined the United States Marine Corps. During this time, he gravitated toward three things – leadership, management, and finance. He has been blessed with the privilege to lead some of the toughest Marines through some of the most unique situations throughout his nearly ten years as a leader while serving his country. While in charge of groups that have included over 500 Marines, he has fine-tuned his skills in teaching others how to lead and develop their staff with the necessary skills to meet any challenge. Dusty was also assigned as the Financial Officer managing over 120 million dollars in assets and the expenditure of over 50 million dollars annually. Developing responsible and realistic financial goals while managing day to day operations has been his key to success.

His interest in the veterinary community, along with his friendship with business partner Stith Keiser, led him to jump into the veterinary community. Joining Blue Heron Consulting has allowed him the opportunity to tie his experience in finance and management from the Marines with his interest in the business of veterinary medicine. His love for animals and the joy of developing successful leaders makes this an ideal team for Dusty to be a part of.

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.”

-Simon Sinek

Headquarters

Jason Maag

Jason Maag

Chief Operating Officer

Jason has an accomplished record of working with people and pets. For more than 20 years he has developed successful business leaders across several venues. He ran business operations for a variety of retailers including Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, Staples and Petco prior to joining Blue Heron Consulting.

During his 11 years working with Petco, Jason held several positions including District Manager of 2 separate markets in the upper mid-west. He was able to successfully expand those markets as well as nurture a love for strengthening the human animal bond. Alsoduring this time, Jason was a founding board member of a successful non-profit Spay and Neuter clinic, providing low cost (and sometimes free) spay and neuter services in his community.

When not at work, Jason spends time outdoors golfing, fishing, hiking and spending time with his wife; Christine, his 3 daughters; Hannah, Makenna and Ashlyn and their four legged Black Labrador Retriever brother; Oliver.

Jeannie Bellsmith

Jeannie Bellsmith

Director of Finance

Jeannie Bellsmith comes to Blue Heron Consulting with over 18 years of ownership, management, customer service, business and veterinary experience. She has owned and operated her own business and worked as a practice manager for over 10 years in an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital where she was one of three founding practice managers of the original North American Business Association (NABA). Following her career in veterinary medicine, she became the Administrative Assistant and Client Service Specialist for a financial advising office focused on comprehensive financial planning and asset management.

Jeannie joined our team in June of 2016, as the Executive Administrator and enjoys doing her part in helping our coaches, hospital owners, practice managers and their team members develop their plans for success. The common thread throughout Jeannie’s professional career has always been client service and she strives to continue providing the highest standard of service to our clients at Blue Heron Consulting.

Jeannie enjoys being involved in her community and was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel for her efforts in providing local canine officers with bullet proof vests in 2008.

In Jeannie’s spare time she enjoys gardening, traveling, exercising, hiking, “facetiming” her children, porch time with her husband and morning walks with her German Shepherd, Fiona.

Cassidy Matano, M.Ed

Cassidy Matano, M.Ed

Director of Marketing & Client Relations

Cassidy Matano developed a passion for animals and an appreciation of the behind-the-scenes contributions to their care at a young age. A local AAHA accredited veterinary hospital doubled as her school bus stop and her weekday afternoons were spent playing with animals, actively avoiding kennel duty, and observing hospital procedures and client interactions whenever she could.

Her professional career briefly took her away from the industry following her graduation from Centre College and The Pennsylvania State University. Upon graduation, she pursued a career in higher education where she could leverage her expertise in organizational leadership, customer service, project management, marketing and creative design. Fortunately for Blue Heron, Cassidy is returning to our profession as the Director of Marketing and Client Relations and looks forward to serving our team and clients.

Cassidy resides in Easton, Pennsylvania with her fiancé, John and their cat, Wrigley. In her free time she enjoys baseball games, thunderstorms, and trying new recipes.

Erin Keiser, DVM

Erin Keiser, DVM

Director of Continuing Education

Dr. Erin Keiser’s Why is rooted in improving the lives of her colleagues by combining continuing education that will truly make a difference with once-in-a-lifetime experiences

Dr. Erin Keiser is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah and attended Utah State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s in Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences. She graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine with her DVM in 2018 as part of the third class to participate in the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU) regional program. She began her career as a small animal general practitioner in rural Kentucky where she currently still practices.

Erin has always had a passion for personal and professional development. She attended her first veterinary conference as part of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) as a first-year veterinary student and knew she couldn’t stay away from the invigorating atmosphere.

When she isn’t practicing, working with numbers, or planning the next CE adventure, Erin enjoys hiking and horseback riding with her husband, daughter, and their dogs on the family farm in Kentucky.

Katey Keeton

Katey Keeton

Administrator

Katey Keeton joins the team as an administrator helping assist the Field Consultant Division. As well as possessing a vast understanding of customer service, Katey has a legal and insurance background making her a great addition to the BHC team.

Katey was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in sociology. Katey played two years of collegiate basketball which instilled in her the importance of teamwork. Her interests include photography, being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Katey and her husband, Noah, now reside in Stanford, Kentucky with their children, Knox and Quinn, and their two dogs, Rupp and Cali.

Becca Keiser, MSc

Becca Keiser, MSc

Director of Hiring

Becca Keiser has over a decade of experience in organizational development, people management, and recruitment strategy and has worked with corporations and non-profits including Audi AG, the Centre for Organizational Reform, My Veterinary Career, The College of Wooster, and American University. She holds a Master of Science in Intercultural Communication from the University of Warwick in England and a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Denison University. Becca’s professional mission is to improve employees’ lives through establishing and promoting healthy workplace cultures. With a focus on people, communication, and efficiency, Becca enjoys assisting Blue Heron Consulting and their clients with organizational effectiveness, recruitment and retention strategies, and team productivity. Becca established Blue Heron Consulting’s organizational development program and the Hiring Services cylinder.

In an effort to achieve Blue Heron Consulting’s mission of improving lives of veterinary professionals, Becca currently focuses her time on leading the Hiring Services cylinder and managing our company’s hiring process. Formerly, the Director of Organizational Development, Becca currently serves as the Director of Hiring Services and Director of Hiring.

Becca lives with her husband and son in Northern Virginia. In her free time, she loves traveling, afternoon tea parties, and hiking.

Susan Bradshaw

Susan Bradshaw

Human Resource Manager

Susan was born and raised in Upstate New York, the daughter of an architect and a chemist. She explored interesting structures new and old with her father as far back as she can remember, learning about what made them “right” as well as how and why they could be improved. Susan expected she would be an architect when she grew up until a course in Psychology shifted her direction. She found passion in the study of the mind, and how people behave, think, and feel. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam. She has over 20 years of extensive experience in human resources leadership for private companies and institutions as well as for not-for-profit organizations.

Susan was blessed with amazing Old English Sheepdogs — Jake, Cooper and Finnegan — and an interest in understanding them and those who cared for them began. She believes the fantastic energy of a strong, exceptionally qualified team working together in alignment with their mission makes for a thriving, impactful workplace. She enjoys supporting the people and the mission of BHC and looks forward to growing with this incredible team.

Susan lives with her Great Pyrenees, Buddy, and boyfriend, Tom, in Upstate New York, and daughter, Sarah, visits often from downstate. In her free time, Susan loves working on her home, cooking, and traveling.

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.”

-Simon Sinek

Medical Team Coaches

Chuck Keiser, DVM

Chuck Keiser, DVM

Chief Visionary Officer

Dr. Chuck Keiser is a graduate of Centre College and Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

His career in veterinary medicine started with a truck and the desire to serve rural Kentuckians. That soon morphed into a brick and mortar hospital, which grew to ownership of three mixed animal practices and ended with the sale of several million dollar plus, small animal, AAHA accredited practices. The sale was to three young doctors that had been mentored and coached by him and who then retained him to continue as a consultant to them and to actively find and assist with the purchase of additional hospitals. While practicing in and running, with the help of a phenomenal team, his own core hospitals, he had the opportunity to buy, sell and manage several other hospitals.

Beyond the practice and management of veterinary hospitals, Dr. Keiser has been involved in other aspects of veterinary medicine and business in general. He chaired the large animal advisory council that raised over 33 million dollars for the new Auburn University Large Animal Teaching Hospital, has been a member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) since 1988, and served as a chair on the Practice Management Advisory Committee for AAHA. He is one of the founders of the North American Business Association, a group of hospital owners and their practice administrators, and helped grow it to the point where it was gifted to the Veterinary Study Groups (parent organization of VMG).

Dr. Keiser’s community involvement includes serving as an elder in his local Presbyterian church and on mission trips. He has served AAHA as a past board member, and past chair of LINC (Leadership Identification Nominating Committee). Dr. Keiser has also been past chair of the local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, and United Way campaign. He has been a board member of the health department board, multiple foundations, and several banks. He currently serves on the business development board of First Southern National Bank.

For fun, Dr. Keiser enjoys horseback riding, fishing, camping, and traveling with his wife, kids and grandkids.

Missy Tasky, DVM

Missy Tasky, DVM

Lead Medical Team Coach

Dr. Missy Tasky obtained her undergraduate degree in Animal Science at Virginia Tech. She graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. She moved to Denver, Colorado after graduation and worked as an emergency doctor for 4 years, and then managed a single doctor practice for 5 years. She opened Gentle Touch Animal Hospital in 2000. Her passions include dentistry, client education and business management. Dr. Tasky has taken numerous courses on conflict resolution and emotional intelligence, and has implemented much of what she has learned within her own practice. Her practice is AAHA accredited, and she is a member of the AAHA Accredited VMG Groups. Dr. Tasky’s experiences growing and managing her own business as well as her experience as a Blue Heron client, offer great insight into how she can help practice owners and managers achieve their “why”.

In her “free time”, Dr Tasky enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, scuba diving, and skiing. She also jokes that her next career will be as a travel photographer.

Kate Crumley, DVM, MS

Kate Crumley, DVM, MS

Medical Team Coach

Dr. Kate Crumley graduated from North Carolina State University with her DVM degree in 1992 and she also holds an MS degree in Biochemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her veterinary career path includes 7 years of mixed practice experience, companion animal medicine and surgery, and practice ownership in the roles of partner and as a sole owner. She has been active with AAHA beginning in veterinary school and has participated in a number of volunteer roles as well as serving on the Board of Directors and as AAHA President 2014-1015. She is passionate about top-notch veterinary medical care and about developing people into leaders who can make their practices thrive.

She founded Heartwood Animal Hospital which serves the rural North Carolina community of Youngsville, just north of Raleigh. Dr. Crumley built the hospital from the ground up, first opening the doors in 2000. Team development has always been a priority for her. Numerous team players have advanced through AAHA’s distance education veterinary technician program (DEVTP) with Dr Crumley as preceptor. In 2019 she sold the practice to her partner who took the reins only 4 years after graduating. She has especially enjoyed coaching and watching his professional development flourish both medically and from a business perspective since he joined the practice as a freshly minted graduate.

Dr. Crumley is quick to give credit to Blue Heron for helping Heartwood succeed; she has been a client and has personally experienced the challenges and victories that come with working ON your practice while at the same time working IN it. She loves working with other veterinarians to help them achieve their best; working together to create a practice that provides financial security, a fun work environment, and excellent service and care. Her goal as a part of the Blue Heron team is to inspire veterinarians to feel fantastic about their legacy.

Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr Crumley enjoys recreational road biking, gardening, travel, and listening to audiobooks. She and her husband Steve live on the quiet backroads of beautiful North Carolina. Of course, their dogs, Spock (Papillon) and Bucky (Bernese Mt Dog), and the cat, Neko (camera shy) all get their fair share of attention, too.

Allen Craig, DVM

Allen Craig, DVM

Medical Team Coach

Dr. Allen Craig grew up in Knoxville, TN, in a home that fostered his love for small animals. During his childhood, a passion to serve pets and their humans began to grow. This dream became a reality in 1999 when he graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine with his doctorate degree and began working at the Lebanon Animal Hospital. Dr. Craig remained an associate at this hospital until 2012 when an opportunity arose for him to become an owner with the help of Blue Heron’s Chuck and Stith Keiser. Under his leadership, the hospital progressed from a near No-Lo practice to a productive and profitable one that is recognized as a leader in quality care for the middle TN area. The practice became AAHA accredited in 2014, is a clinical teaching affiliate with the Lincoln Memorial Veterinary School and now provides a Fear Free experience for patients.

Dr. Craig is married to Valerie, his bride of 20 years. Together, they celebrate the lives of their three children, Isaac, Isabella, and Eli, and the furry friends that continue to make their family complete. Dr. Craig is a member of Veterinary Management Groups (VMG) and is the membership chair for VMG 42. He is a past member and chair of the AAHA Leadership Identification and Nominating Committee. His favorite areas of practice are internal medicine, ultrasound and educating parents to help them better understand their four-legged babies. In his free time, Dr. Craig enjoys gardening, coaching basketball, scouting, and spending time with family.

Dr. Craig is excited to be part of the Blue Heron team. This is his time to pay it forward in veterinary medicine with the knowledge and mentorship that has been shared with him.

Tony Luchetti, DVM

Tony Luchetti, DVM

Medical Team Coach

After his undergraduate studies at the University of Idaho and University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Tony Luchetti received his DVM from Colorado State University in 2000. Dr. Luchetti’s veterinary career path has been quite diverse. Immediately after receiving his DVM, he practiced for five years in a mixed animal practice in rural Nevada. His career then led him to work in a sixteen veterinarian, AAHA accredited, small animal exclusive practice for fifteen years in the Reno area. For a portion of this time, he served as Surgical Director and was a partner for seven years, with the practice eventually transitioning to corporate.

Since 2007, Dr. Luchetti has been a shareholder at a local 24/7 emergency practice, as well as serving on the board for a portion of this time. During this period, the practice transitioned to a 24/7 specialty referral hospital. Currently, Dr. Luchetti is a Field Professional Services Veterinarian for a major company and keeps his clinical skills sharp by performing relief work at his prior practice and the emergency hospital. In addition to his clinical experience, he has served as both a board member and an officer in the Nevada VMA, culminating as president of the Nevada VMA in 2015.

Through his love of the profession and diverse career path, he looks forward to offering a unique perspective to practice owners and managers, in addition to the rest of the Blue Heron Team.

Dr. Luchetti is married to Jennifer, his bride of over twenty years. Together they have two teenage boys who keep them busy along with their young German Shorthair Pointer. In his free time, Dr. Luchetti enjoys spending time outdoors, whether that is camping, snow or water skiing, or dirt bike riding.

Anita Dennison, DVM

Anita Dennison, DVM

Medical Team Coach

Dr. Anita Dennison joins the Blue Heron Consulting team as a Medical Team Coach. A third-generation veterinarian, she completed her undergraduate studies at Pepperdine University and Colorado State University in the areas of Microbiology, Biology, Anatomy and Neurobiology before graduating from the Colorado State University Veterinary School program in 2000. She went on to continue her studies at through an internship in large animal medicine as well as a Master of Science degree through the CSU’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. Through a partial residency in Food Animal Medicine and Surgery, her work at CSU became the basis for a vaccine now used in the U.S. cattle industry.

Throughout her career, Dr. Dennison has owned and operated an equine and livestock medical and surgical center, a private mixed-animal practice, an online veterinary supply company, and a large-animal ambulatory practice. She has also served as an adjunct professor for Western University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Dennison practiced for 5 years as a small-animal animal emergency veterinarian and as a relief veterinarian throughout the western United States. She has been the on-site veterinarian for the Colorado State Fair and the Mesa County Fair. In addition, Dr. Dennison has served as a consultant and attending veterinarian for multiple human trauma medicine training companies, ranging from paramedics and law enforcement to the U.S. Military and its allies. She has recently facilitated development and AVMA accreditation of the Western Colorado Community College Veterinary Technology Program.

Dr. Dennison is excited to be in a position where she can use her diverse veterinary experience to positively impact the profession for future generations of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, ranchers, animal owners and their furry companions.

In her free time, Dr. Dennison raises beef cattle and maintains the family homestead ranch, preserving ranching traditions in the West. She has 2 daughters, who she spends her time with enjoying 4H, FFA, cattle, horses, sports, travel, and the outdoors. They just might be the fourth generation of veterinarians in her family.

Mel Striyle, DVM

Mel Striyle, DVM

Medical Team Coach

Dr. Melinda Striyle grew up in Kansas City, KS and knew from the age of five that she wanted to work with animals. She got her first job as a kennel assistant right out of high school later earned her DVM from Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. After practicing in Lake Havasu, AZ for several years, Dr. Striyle met her husband and relocated to Phoenix in 1999. She has been working at 43rd Avenue Animal Hospital ever since.

In 2007, she bought the practice and, in her tenure, has guided it through a transformation from a No-Lo practice with a challenging culture to a profitable practice where the team truly enjoys working together. She attributes much of this transformation to her relationship with Blue Heron Consulting. The practice became AAHA accredited in 2009 and became a preceptor hospital for Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.

Dr. Striyle is a member of Veterinary Management Groups (VMG) and enjoys serving various roles in the group, including their Excomm Chair position of VMG 42. She also is passionate about giving back to the profession by teaching veterinary students at Midwestern in surgery and communications labs, as well as mentoring veterinary students. She also mentors associate veterinarians and support staff at 43rd AAH through one-on-one sessions as well as group learning at their weekly team meetings.

Dr. Striyle married her best friend, Gary, over 20 years ago and together they have one son, Gage and, of course, several pets. In her free time, Dr. Striyle enjoys spending time with her boys traveling, building Lego models and attending school and sports activities. She also is an avid runner and embraces being at the “back of the pack” during races.

“One small cat changes coming home to an empty house to coming home.”

-Pam Bro

Operational Coaches

Nick Biermaier

Nick Biermaier

Director of Hospital Operations

Nick was introduced to veterinary medicine as his wife, Taylor, was going through veterinary school and using the family’s dining room for study sessions with her classmates. Nick cooked for the study group, and listened to more conversations about pathology, anatomy and too many other “ologies” to count. Nick’s first ‘official’ foray into veterinary medicine occurred through a company he and his wife started, Checkpoint Veterinary (CPV). CPV was designed as traveling veterinary exam trailer providing a heated, clean area for veterinary care at sled dog races across the Midwest. Experience working closely with veterinarians during races, coupled with watching his wife navigate the rewards and challenges of her career, helped him realize the impact of a practice’s quality of medicine, client service, culture and profitability.

Nick began his BHC quest, working alongside CEO Stith Keiser, helping facilitate the company’s “Wilderness CE Series” in the mountains of Idaho. Since that time, Nick fully immersed himself in the profession becoming a private practice owner himself as well as joining BHC fulltime. During the last few years, Nick has been blessed to serve hospitals of all sizes across the country as an Operational Coach. In addition to operational coaching, he has helped develop the company’s Start-Up Division, helping aspiring owners navigate the challenges of launching their own hospital. One of Nick’s greatest professional accomplishments is his role in helping design and lead strategic planning retreats for hospitals seeking to grow with a purpose and plan.

In his spare time Nick loves spending time on his hobby farm with his wife and son, Jack, surrounded by their menagerie of pets – 2 steer calves, 2 pygmy goats, 30 chickens, 2 garage cats, 1 indoor cat, and a 3-year old springer spaniel named Evie. They also love spending time in the outdoors with their families pursuing a range of activities.

Kelli Kerwin, CVPM

Kelli Kerwin, CVPM

Operational Coach

Kelli was born an animal lover. While most little girls played with dolls, she preferred stuffed animals. When her first dog, Tiny, was hit by a car and survived against all odds, she knew she wanted to work in veterinary medicine. Her journey started with volunteering several times per week at a local animal shelter, despite having to walk a half mile to and from the shelter each day. Once she could drive, she began working for the same veterinarian that had saved Tiny’s life years earlier.

Kelli’s early experience in medicine and management originated in human healthcare, at the world renown, Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Beginning with a receptionist role, she pursued advancement at every opportunity and quickly moved through the company. She was ultimately tasked with overseeing the startup of a satellite. Despite her success, Kelli was still being pulled into her passion for pet care. In February of 1998, Kelli’s husband encouraged her to follow her dream, so she left the human side for veterinary medicine.

She began her ‘professional’ career in veterinary medicine as the Office Manager with Animal Hospital Inc. The small animal practice grew very quickly and in 2004 she managed the remodel and expansion that doubled their facility size to 14,500 sq. ft. In 2005, Kelli earned her Certified Veterinary Practice Manager distinction and continued to receive a certificate in Veterinary Practice Management from Purdue University in 2009.

In 2016, AHI hired BHC for a diagnostic site visit, bringing a breath of fresh air to Kelli and the practice. It reminded Kelli of her “why,” which has always been educating and mentoring people. In 2018, AHI opened their first satellite clinic, and with its expansion, Kelli became their CEO and realized her dream of becoming a practice owner.

Kelli joined the BHC team in 2019 so she could share this Why along with lessons learned from over 20 years in the industry. She is a Past Board President of Lake Humane Society and a member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, American Animal Hospital Association and The Society of Human Resource Managers. She is also Fear Free Certified, an advisory board member for a local Registered Veterinary Technician program. She is currently working towards her Human-Animal Bond Certification.

When Kelli has down time, she loves spending time with her husband RJ and their two adult children John and Lisa and now her first grandchild Kayden. Their family would not be complete without their beagles and cats! Together their family enjoys the outdoors, working on their log cabin and passionately cheering on Cleveland sports teams and THE Ohio State Buckeyes.

Mary LeMay

Mary LeMay

Operational Coach

Mary LeMay’s passion for leading teams started many years ago. After obtaining her Associates Degree in Management, her journey into veterinary medicine started with an externship at Animal Hospital, Inc (AHI). Halfway through the externship program, Mary realized she had found her new home and joined AHI’s reception team. This new adventure began just as Blue Heron Consulting started their coaching journey with the practice. Over the next several years, and while receiving Blue Heron coaching, Mary accepted a variety of positions within AHI, working to tackle some of the most challenging aspects of the clinic such as inventory, management, and human resources.

After years at AHI, Mary realized she wanted to make a larger impact on the veterinary community. She found herself inspired to study the processes behind coaching and the pillars to achieving work-life balance and well-being. Mary is currently pursuing a certificate in Health and Wellness coaching. She aims to aide clinics in identifying future goals, developing systems to streamline day-to-day operations, and generate a culture that fosters growth and well-being. She is excited to combine her veterinary knowledge and love for coaching to support veterinary practice owners in creating profitable practices with high functioning teams.

When she is not working or studying, Mary likes to go boxing and spend time outdoors hiking, running, or paddle boarding. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Mike, riding their Harley and taking vacations to Florida. Their six children and American Bulldog, Zoey, fill their home with an incredible amount of love…and laundry!

Neda Panuska, MBA, LVT

Neda Panuska, MBA, LVT

Operational Coach

Neda joins the Blue Heron Consulting team with over a decade of experience improving the lives of animals. She holds a Bachelor of Science in management from the University of Phoenix and an MBA from Fitchburg State University, in addition to an AAS in Veterinary Technologies. Neda put her education into practice with a career as an LVT in Virginia for over ten years in addition to owning a veterinary practice with a business partner. She also married a veterinarian and practice owner, and since then, dinner discussions always seem to revolve around some aspect of the profession.

After working in various aspects of the veterinary industry including customer service and technical support, she is getting back to her passion: improving patient lives. She says she has gone from helping one patient at a time, to one product at a time, to one practice at a time! Neda is looking forward her journey with Blue Heron Consulting and helping veterinary professionals achieve their vision.

Neda grew up in Hampton Roads, VA and now lives in South Carolina with her husband, two cats (Ringo and Tucker), and flock of chickens. In her free time, Neda likes to garden and do yoga.

Sara Doggett, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)

Sara Doggett, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)

Operational Coach

Dr. Sara Doggett grew up in Chehalis, WA and went to college at Washington State University where completed her B.S. in Animal Sciences with minors in music performance and Danish language, and then graduated from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005.  In 2010, she completed an internship at The Cat Clinic, a large feline referral center in Brisbane, Australia, and later earned ABVP (American Board of Veterinary Practitioners) diplomate status in Feline Practice in 2020. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Boston University Questrom School of Business.  

After graduation in 2005, dreams of city-living and food delivery lured her and her husband to Boston, Massachusetts in 2005. She has worked in various private and corporate practices, spent a decade as a Chief of Staff Veterinarian in multiple feline hospitals, and has since been practicing as a feline-specific relief veterinarian in the Boston area. Sara has experienced the great joys and difficult struggles of being a veterinarian and a hospital leader. From this came her passion to help others discover ways to work smarter, not harder, to create a healthy hospital with thriving teams. She whole-heartedly desires to make a difference in the veterinary profession through coaching, supporting, and challenging each hospital to achieve their goals.  

Sara has a wide range of hobbies and interests which include live music shows, historic home restoration, triathlon racing, and all things ocean-related (swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling!). She lives with her husband and three awesome cats, Enzo Furrari, Earl Grey, and French Roast, in a 180-year-old historic home in Boston.  

Devin Corban

Devin Corban

Operational Coach

Devin has had a lifelong love for education and learning, graduating from high school at just twelve years old before continuing his education in religious studies until the age of sixteen. Later, Devin received a degree in Business Process Management through Capital One via Harvard University before starting his professional career. 

Devin comes to our team most recently from serving as Practice Manager for a privately owned veterinary hospital. Prior to that, Devin worked for several large corporations such as Netflix, Capital One, and Banfield Pet Hospital. From business development and process improvement to client retention and practice management, he brings a wide range of experiences and expertise to the Blue Heron Consulting team, including management of different teams ranging in size, personalities, and backgrounds.  

Devin recalls advice from a previous mentor encouraging him to “Find something that you can really ‘get behind.’ When you do, you will work with a passion that you may not even know you had.” His love of business and pets (and lack of desire to be a veterinarian!) led him to our team where he is able to use his skillset and passion to help businesses thrive. 

On a more personal level, Devin is husband to his beautiful wife, Kala, and father to their daughter, Olivia. They have two fur babies, Cooper and Tucker. In his free time, Devin loves to go camping in the mountains of Wyoming during the summer travel with his wife to new places, fish, and play the guitar. When he’s at home, he has been known to play some video games from time to time, too. 

Cyndi Valerio, CVT, CVPM

Cyndi Valerio, CVT, CVPM

Operational Coach

Cyndi Valerio has always known a love for animals. Her journey began as a Pre-Vet student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, after years on the pre-vet track, she started working in an animal hospital as a Veterinary Assistant. Soon after, she realized her passion and set her sights on becoming a Certified Veterinary Technician. In 1998, she joined Hallett Veterinary Hospital as a Certified Veterinary Technician and quickly progressed to the Inventory Manager.

After spending years working with an amazing veterinarian, his mentorship led Cyndi to realize her strong leadership skills and great management potential. Cyndi was sent to the Purdue Veterinary Management Institute and, soon after, became a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager.

In addition to a CVT and CVPM, Cyndi is proud to be part owner of Hallett Veterinary Hospital where they believe in improving the lives of pets, their families, staff, and the communities they live in through advocacy, compassionate care and education.

In 2022, Cyndi joined the Blue Heron Consulting team as an Operational Coach. After her own personal experience with BHC in 2016, she has grown to love and respect the entire team and their commitment to improving the lives of veterinary professionals.

Faith and family are the two most important things in Cyndi’s life. Camping with her husband, two daughters, parents, and four sisters and their husbands – along with all her nieces and nephews – is her absolute favorite past time.

Stacy Gentry

Stacy Gentry

Operational Coach

Stacy Gentry joins the Blue Heron Consulting team as an Operational Coach, bringing over twenty years of veterinary experience to our clients. She started as a Client Service Representative at Wellington Veterinary Hospital (WVH) in 2001. From the beginning, she has grown there, moving into new positions as opportunities arose, always focusing on her Why ­– connecting with and caring for animals.  In 2016, Stacy become the practice manager and, through this position, was able to make valuable changes to both the hospital and culture. These changes propelled WVH into a four-doctor hospital. In 2018, she became a practice owner, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Along the way, Stacy attended Veterinary Management Institute and coached communications to third-year veterinary students at Colorado State University.

WVH was purchased in 2020 and Stacy found a new opportunity coaching other practice managers. This eye-opening experience allowed her to help cultivate an environment that allowed leadership teams and hospitals to shine.  Stacy knew this was her new path – her new Why.

When Stacy is not coaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Vince, her children, and their numerous pets. She is an avid hiker and loves kayaking and camping in the beautiful Rocky Mountains; and she is always on the hunt for the next great beer at the many breweries in Colorado!

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

-Mark Twain

Start-Up & Acquisition Coaches

Nick Biermaier

Nick Biermaier

Director of Start-Ups & Acquisitions

Nick was introduced to veterinary medicine as his wife, Taylor, was going through veterinary school and using the family’s dining room for study sessions with her classmates. Nick cooked for the study group, and listened to more conversations about pathology, anatomy and too many other “ologies” to count. Nick’s first ‘official’ foray into veterinary medicine occurred through a company he and his wife started, Checkpoint Veterinary (CPV). CPV was designed as traveling veterinary exam trailer providing a heated, clean area for veterinary care at sled dog races across the Midwest. Experience working closely with veterinarians during races, coupled with watching his wife navigate the rewards and challenges of her career, helped him realize the impact of a practice’s quality of medicine, client service, culture and profitability.

Nick began his BHC quest, working alongside CEO Stith Keiser, helping facilitate the company’s “Wilderness CE Series” in the mountains of Idaho. Since that time, Nick fully immersed himself in the profession becoming a private practice owner himself as well as joining BHC fulltime. During the last few years, Nick has been blessed to serve hospitals of all sizes across the country as an Operational Coach. In addition to operational coaching, he has helped develop the company’s Start-Up Division, helping aspiring owners navigate the challenges of launching their own hospital. One of Nick’s greatest professional accomplishments is his role in helping design and lead strategic planning retreats for hospitals seeking to grow with a purpose and plan.

In his spare time Nick loves spending time on his hobby farm with his wife and son, Jack, surrounded by their menagerie of pets – 2 steer calves, 2 pygmy goats, 30 chickens, 2 garage cats, 1 indoor cat, and a 3-year old springer spaniel named Evie. They also love spending time in the outdoors with their families pursuing a range of activities.

Kate Crumley, DVM

Kate Crumley, DVM

Start-Up & Acquisition Coach

Dr. Kate Crumley graduated from North Carolina State University with her DVM degree in 1992 and she also holds an MS degree in Biochemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her veterinary career path includes 7 years of mixed practice experience, companion animal medicine and surgery, and practice ownership in the roles of partner and as a sole owner. She has been active with AAHA beginning in veterinary school and has participated in a number of volunteer roles as well as serving on the Board of Directors and as AAHA President 2014-1015. She is passionate about top-notch veterinary medical care and about developing people into leaders who can make their practices thrive.

She founded Heartwood Animal Hospital which serves the rural North Carolina community of Youngsville, just north of Raleigh. Dr. Crumley built the hospital from the ground up, first opening the doors in 2000. Team development has always been a priority for her. Numerous team players have advanced through AAHA’s distance education veterinary technician program (DEVTP) with Dr Crumley as preceptor. In 2019 she sold the practice to her partner who took the reins only 4 years after graduating. She has especially enjoyed coaching and watching his professional development flourish both medically and from a business perspective since he joined the practice as a freshly minted graduate.

Dr. Crumley is quick to give credit to Blue Heron for helping Heartwood succeed; she has been a client and has personally experienced the challenges and victories that come with working ON your practice while at the same time working IN it. She loves working with other veterinarians to help them achieve their best; working together to create a practice that provides financial security, a fun work environment, and excellent service and care. Her goal as a part of the Blue Heron team is to inspire veterinarians to feel fantastic about their legacy.

Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr Crumley enjoys recreational road biking, gardening, travel, and listening to audiobooks. She and her husband Steve live on the quiet backroads of beautiful North Carolina. Of course, their dogs, Spock (Papillon) and Bucky (Bernese Mt Dog), and the cat, Neko (camera shy) all get their fair share of attention, too.

Amber Howarth, DVM

Amber Howarth, DVM

Start-Up & Acquisition Coach

Dr. Amber Howarth was born and raised in Arizona. Her passion for animals began at a very young age when she “doctored” the family pets and eagerly asked her family veterinarian lots of questions. Her desire to become a veterinarian led her to Arizona State University where she received a bachelor’s degree with honors in Biological Sciences and a minor in Business. Dr. Howarth then moved to Pullman, Washington and obtained her doctorate at Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2020.

While earning her undergraduate degree, Dr. Howarth founded a program called “Wandering PAWS,” which strengthened the idea of the human-animal bond. She partnered with Arizona State University, the Arizona Humane Society, and Central Arizona Shelter Services in Phoenix to help the homeless population obtain healthcare for themselves and their animals. It was during this time that Dr. Howarth was able to see first-hand how she can positively affect the quality of life for animals and their owners. She also, started working for Stith as an intern, while in veterinary school, helping him analyze the financial side of acquiring new practices.

Dr. Howarth’s interests include soft tissue surgery, pain management, preventative medicine, business, and finance. Through an internship, Dr. Howarth grew interested in analyzing the financial side of acquiring new practices. She continues to research personal finance and how to become financially independent and hopes to inspire others to become financially independent as well.

Outside of work, Dr. Howarth enjoys traveling, hiking, riding horses, paddle boarding, and going on new adventures. Her most recent interests are photographing nature and listening to personal finance podcasts.

Erin Keiser, DVM

Erin Keiser, DVM

Valuation Coach

Dr. Erin Keiser is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah and attended Utah State University where she obtained her Bachelor’s in Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences. She graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine with her DVM in 2018 as part of the third class to participate in the Washington-Idaho-Montana-Utah (WIMU) regional program. She began her career as a small animal general practitioner in rural Kentucky where she currently still practices.

Dr. Keiser’s passion for numbers and medicine merged when she became part of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) where she learned the basics and importance of understanding hospital financial statements. She continued her education on the subject as a VBMA officer and by attending conferences that specialized in practice management, finance, and valuation CE.

Erin’s Why is rooted in improving the lives of her colleagues through helping them understand the story their hospital’s numbers tell and then using that knowledge to guide their transitioning planning.

When she isn’t practicing or working with numbers, Dr. Keiser enjoys hiking and horseback riding with her husband, daughter, and their dogs on the family farm in Kentucky.

Sarah McFadden-Palmer, DVM, MBA

Sarah McFadden-Palmer, DVM, MBA

Valuation Coach

Dr. Sarah McFadden-Palmer is a native Coloradoan raised in Golden, Colorado at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She graduated from the dual DVM and MBA program at Colorado state University and resides in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband Eric and her two dogs, Penguin and Marlon Brandog. As a student, she attended the Blue Heron externship which confirmed her desire to help the veterinary industry and fellow veterinarians with her unique blend of medical and business knowledge. She enjoys data analytics and putting a story to numbers, utilizing those puzzle pieces to develop strategies for business owners to help them understand their competitive advantage and achieve short- and long-term financial goals.

Outside of valuations, Dr. Sarah McFadden-Palmer enjoys her work as a small animal general practice veterinarian within her community and enjoys the close knit bond she shares with her local pets and people. When she isn’t working, she is out adventuring with her dogs and husband skiing, hiking, and climbing in the backcountry.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

-Henry Ford

Industry Consultants

Derek Tyson

Derek Tyson

Director of Industry Consultants

Derek Tyson brings to the team extensive experience in the animal health profession with his experience in veterinary practice management and sales. Derek led a team of employees at one of largest clinics in Jacksonville, FL. From there, Derek worked as a national sales representative at Sneakers Software, the producers of DVMax practice management software, before eventually joining Trupanion as a Regional Director.

Prior to starting with Blue Heron Consulting, Derek decided to pursue a dream of his to become a sports reporter which he accomplished by working for two different companies including ESPN from 2011 through 2017 as a college football writer. Derek has his Business Management degree from Northwood University in Midland, MI. In his spare time, Derek enjoys traveling, playing golf, and spending time with his wife Amanda and their son.

Adam Grecco

Adam Grecco

Senior Industry Consultant

Adam Grecco brings 15 years of veterinary hospital management and veterinary sales experience to Blue Heron Consulting. He has an understanding of managing practices, the importance of the hospital-patient bond, and extensive knowledge growing the practice from a business standpoint. Prior to joining BHC, Adam spent 7 years working in a veterinary hospital. He spent a couple years as a Customer Service Manager and was then promoted to Practice Manager. After leaving the practice, he joined Patterson Veterinary Supply, an industry leading distributor of animal health products and technology. Adam started as a Technology Specialist and then served as a Territory Manager. He then went on to become a Regional Director with Trupanion, where he helped to coach and mentor Trupanion representatives in western United States and Canada.

Ryan Allison

Ryan Allison

Senior Industry Consultant

Ryan brings over 25 years of building successful cultures and developing leaders to Blue Heron Consulting. Ryan has held numerous leadership positions in a variety of retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, and Petco. With an affinity for people development, Ryan has mentored numerous leaders throughout his career.

Ryan was raised an animal lover and grew up with multiple family dogs. Their impact on his childhood continued into his career. His time as a district manager at Petco helped him understand the need for educating pet parents. He realized there was a large knowledge gap within pet health; filling that gap gave him the sense of purpose that was missing in his career. Ryan was able to grow his market by offering products and services that pets need to live a healthier lifestyle, so that they have a better chance of living a longer life alongside those who cherish them. Having the opportunity to work in the veterinary industry has allowed Ryan to continue his passion for animal care in a more substantial capacity.

When not at work Ryan enjoys golfing, live music, and spending time with his family and his cats, Iris, Leia and Vader.

Scott Huggins, DVM, MBA

Scott Huggins, DVM, MBA

Veterinary Industry Consultant

Scott Huggins, DVM, MBA grew up in Raleigh, NC and earned his BS degree in Biology with Honors from the University of North Carolina and his DVM degree from the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Huggins worked in private practice for 10 years in small animal clinics in NC, UT, and NV before coming back home to work for Novartis Animal Health as a field veterinarian based out of Charlotte. Dr. Huggins then moved to the Novartis home office in Greensboro, NC and served as the Manager of Marketing Operations for 7 years, overseeing market research, e-business, corporate trade shows, and competitive intelligence, while simultaneously serving as a technical advisor to the entire marketing team and other home office departments.

Dr. Huggins returned to school to complete an MBA at the Bryan School of Business and Economics at UNC-Greensboro where he was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business students. While completing his MBA, Dr. Huggins taught college-level courses in Anatomy and Physiology as well as high school biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science, earning a lateral-entry NC teacher license.

After completing his MBA, Dr. Huggins worked for Nutramax Laboratories as the Manager of Field Professional Services, growing the unit from one full-time field veterinarian to a team of seven. In this role, Dr. Huggins also collaborated with sales management in the training of field-based sales representatives, worked side-by-side with sales reps, and gave over 250 presentations to veterinarians and staff, providing over 500 hours of RACE-approved CE content.

Dr. Huggins is excited to bring his broad experience in veterinary medicine to Blue Heron Consulting as of October 2020, and looks forward to assisting his veterinary colleagues in reaching their dreams and fulfilling their Why. In his spare time, Dr. Huggins has a passion for history and traveling, two pursuits that often coincide on his many adventures around the country and, when opportunities arise, the globe.

Michelle Bellville, DVM

Michelle Bellville, DVM

Veterinary Industry Consultant

Michelle’s love of animals started very early, with her first word being “duck.” She grew up in Clearwater, FL where there was never a shortage of creatures to catch, foster, or just admire –from marine life to lizards and frogs to orphaned kittens. She became interested in science and medicine as a teenager and began to set her sights on veterinary medicine. After spending two years of undergraduate studies at Cincinnati Bible College, she moved back to Florida to pursue that dream. She began working at a local veterinary hospital and learned quickly that she not only loved to care for animals, but she loved being able to teach pet parents and help them to provide the best life possible to their pets. She finished her undergraduate studies in Zoology and obtained her DVM at University of Florida, where she focused on international veterinary medicine and exotic/zoo/wildlife medicine.  

She pursued her love of exotic animals and canine/feline medicine in the central Florida area following graduation in 2009, and worked at several small animal practices, including a large 6 doctor practice in Winter Park, FL. Michelle’s love of teaching carried over into helping her veterinary technicians gain skills and knowledge, such as training on exotic species blood draw or microscope evaluation of a sample. This skill set was recognized, and soon she was creating the hospital’s technician and technician assistant training manuals.  

In 2017, Michelle felt a calling to teach and train in other ways and began work as a Professional Services Field Veterinarian for a veterinary nutritional supplement company. During her time in that position, she traveled the country providing continuing education to veterinarians and technicians about various disease conditions and supplementary management options. She also helped train and improve the skill sets of the regional sales managers, allowing them to help more pets in their areas by extending that knowledge to their local hospitals. Michelle still practices at her local emergency clinic on some weekends.  

In her free time, Michelle keeps active by open water swimming and training for long distance runs among other activities. She is a singer at her local church and loves going to live music events. Michelle loves football, soccer, and hockey and loves to travel – for sporting events and seeing our incredible world. She shares her home with littermate Yorkie-poodles Tigger and Pooh Bear, as well as a blue-tongue skink, Spike.  

Anthony Giffen

Anthony Giffen

Learning & Development Manager

Anthony Giffen comes to the Blue Heron Consulting team as our Learning & Development Manager with an impressive background in leadership and development. Anthony was a fifteen-year team member at the Walt Disney World Resort where he held a diverse variety of operational leadership, leadership development, and learning & development roles, including leading the day-one orientation program, “Traditions.” He further refined his leadership, consulting, and learning & development skills with Heart of Florida United Way, Insperity, and Wyndham Destinations before moving on to a role with National Veterinary Associates. At NVA, he was able to combine his lifelong love of animals with his passion for learning & development as he provided support for hospital managers and veterinarians.

Prior to these experiences, Anthony graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and spent the next few years performing and teaching improvisational theater in the area. These two experiences would provide the foundation for Anthony’s approach to learning & development throughout his career: from education, a focus on who our learner is, what our specific objectives are, and how we can best achieve our desired outcomes; and from improvisation, a passion for creating something new and exciting together that we could never even imagine separately.

When not at work, Anthony and his wife Melissa enjoy traveling, running, cycling, going to sporting events, and dining out whenever their greyhound, Tico, will allow them to leave the house without him.

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ascend Student Program

Kelley Lay, DVM

Kelley Lay, DVM

Director of Ascend Student Program

A lifelong Tennessee native, Dr. Kelley Lay grew up on a family farm tucked into the hills of a small town just down the road from the one and only Jack Daniel’s Distillery. There she was surrounded by an array of beef cattle, chickens, an ever-evolving population of stray cats and dogs, the occasional lost baby animal, and some of the smoothest, gaited trail-riding horses one could ride. Taking care of those animals and growing up amidst nature instilled in her a love for the natural world, but surprisingly, veterinary medicine was not her first calling. She spent over a decade of her school years, and a couple in college, surrounded by teammates on the basketball court. Many people grow up focused on sports, but what Kelley loved more than the game, was a constant theme of camaraderie, teamwork, perseverance for a cause, and selfless leadership. Because of the fulfillment and passion for those things, she first sought a degree in Physical Therapy. However, while finishing her Bachelor’s in Biology, fate and a couple of influential people, would change her course to pursue medicine for other species. She graduated with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee four years later. During her time at UT, she realized there was a general deficit of business knowledge and leadership skills in the curriculum, so she served in a lead capacity of several student organizations such as President of the Veterinary Business Management Association, Student Leader of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and Director of Professional Development on the AAHA Student North American Business Association’s National Leadership Team.

After graduation, Dr. Lay moved to Nashville and now calls Music City home. She has worked in numerous small animal and emergency settings, often mixing it up with relief work and finding ways to help teams all over Nashville. This has opened her eyes to different environments, enabled a vision for what works and what doesn’t, as well as solidified a belief that the culture of a practice is its greatest asset and that without the framework of a great team around us, we are all less successful than we could be. She also never lost sight of her passion to guide and encourage others. While still practicing, she joined the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association’s Power of Ten Leadership Program and Blue Heron Consulting’s team of coaching experts. Kelley is not only one of Blue Heron Consulting’s Operational Coaches but is also our Director of Student and Early Career Programs. In this role, she lectures to students and young veterinarians at schools and conferences across the U.S. Thanks to her own personal experiences, she believes passionately that the next generation should be empowered to control their destiny, navigate their career through early challenges and unknowns, find well-being and fulfillment, and pursue dreams of practice ownership. She is helping to develop more business leaders, regardless of their background or the evolution of the profession, and by doing so, believes we can form a profession of people who take care of each other even better than we take care of our clients and patients.

She and her husband, Nathaniel, recently welcomed their first child and share their home with their sweet pit bull mix, Cade, and a sassy tabby named Allie. From her background, it will come as no surprise that she loves fitness and nutrition, outdoor recreation, and attending an array of sporting events and concerts in her free time.

Carley Baum, M.Ed

Carley Baum, M.Ed

Ascend Student Program Manager

Carley joins the Blue Heron Consulting team as the Program Manager for the Ascend Student Program. With her years of experience and her passion for animals and those who care for them, she hopes to encourage those entering the profession and offer an empowering perspective in changing the field for the better.

Carley first learned of her love for animals in her hometown of San Diego, CA where she grew up rescuing animals with her family (and tried to sneak plenty home as well!). Fast-forward to her college years and Carley’s love for animals continued through her efforts in raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Nevada – Reno. Her education solidified her love for the field and her desire to find her niche in the animal world where she could make the most impact. Carley later earned her Masters degree in Education and worked in a variety of animal hospitals, gaining experience and applying her knowledge to help those who came through their doors, both pets and clients alike.

Carley resides in Washington with her husband, Mike, their dogs, Collins, Bo, and Mac, and recently welcomed their first child in the summer of 2021. In her free time, Carley enjoys hiking, swimming, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Abigail Farrow, DVM

Abigail Farrow, DVM

Social Media Strategist

Dr. Abigail Farrow joins the Blue Heron Consulting team as a Social Media Strategist for the Ascend Student Program. Dr. Farrow grew up in Alabama and later earned a Bachelors of Science in Biology at Florida Southern College. Her journey toward veterinary medicine led her to Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. During veterinary school, Dr. Farrow also began investing in her other interests, leading her to earn a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Minnesota.

Throughout her education, Dr. Farrow has worked to engage in many different areas of study, such as business, marketing, event planning, and programing. This includes a position on the National Board of the Veterinary Business Management Association, an internship in Convention and Meeting Planning at the AVMA, and a role as a Student Ambassador for Royal Canin. All of these experiences have helped strengthen her ability to think creatively, communicate effectively, and fulfill her passion of connecting with other people in business and life to help enrich the experiences of others.

Dr. Farrow resides and practices in Tampa, FL with her Italian Greyhound, Figment, and her cat, Luxo. In her free time, you can find Dr. Farrow out for a run. Fun fact: She is pursuing the ’50 before 50’ challenge, where she will be running a marathon in all 50 states before turning 50. She is currently at twelve!

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

-John F. Kennedy

Hiring Services

Becca Keiser, MSc

Becca Keiser, MSc

Director of Hiring Services

Becca Keiser has over a decade of experience in organizational development, people management, and recruitment strategy and has worked with corporations and non-profits including Audi AG, the Centre for Organizational Reform, My Veterinary Career, The College of Wooster, and American University. She holds a Master of Science in Intercultural Communication from the University of Warwick in England and a BA in Psychology and Spanish from Denison University. Becca’s professional mission is to improve employees’ lives through establishing and promoting healthy workplace cultures. With a focus on people, communication, and efficiency, Becca enjoys assisting Blue Heron Consulting and their clients with organizational effectiveness, recruitment and retention strategies, and team productivity. Becca established Blue Heron Consulting’s organizational development program and the Hiring Services cylinder.

In an effort to achieve Blue Heron Consulting’s mission of improving lives of veterinary professionals, Becca currently focuses her time on leading the Hiring Services cylinder and managing our company’s hiring process. Formerly, the Director of Organizational Development, Becca currently serves as the Director of Hiring Services and Director of Hiring.

Becca lives with her husband and son in Northern Virginia. In her free time, she loves traveling, afternoon tea parties, and hiking.

Neda Panuska, MBA, LVT

Neda Panuska, MBA, LVT

Talent Acquisition Specialist

Neda joins the Blue Heron Consulting team with over a decade of experience improving the lives of animals. She holds a Bachelor of Science in management from the University of Phoenix and an MBA from Fitchburg State University, in addition to an AAS in Veterinary Technologies. Neda put her education into practice with a career as an LVT in Virginia for over ten years in addition to owning a veterinary practice with a business partner. She also married a veterinarian and practice owner, and since then, dinner discussions always seem to revolve around some aspect of the profession.

After working in various aspects of the veterinary industry including customer service and technical support, she is getting back to her passion: improving patient lives. She says she has gone from helping one patient at a time, to one product at a time, to one practice at a time! Neda is looking forward her journey with Blue Heron Consulting and helping veterinary professionals achieve their vision.

Neda grew up in Hampton Roads, VA and now lives in South Carolina with her husband, two cats (Ringo and Tucker), and flock of chickens. In her free time, Neda likes to garden and do yoga.

Esther Rugerio

Esther Rugerio

Advertising Designer

Esther Rugerio joins the Blue Heron Consulting team with over 10 years of experience in customer service and project management. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from Eastern Kentucky University. As the Advertising Designer, Esther enjoys creating visuals to communicate the unique cultures, mission, and opportunities our Hiring Services clients offer candidates and developing advertising strategies.

Outside of work, Esther’s love for others shows in her deep involvement with the community. She serves as the President of the Arts Commission of Danville and Boyle County, serves on the Danville Independent School board, has been an active member of the American Red Cross for over 9 years, and volunteers time with Restore for Habitat for Humanity, Make A Wish, and the Humane Society. She loves to spend time with her daughter, Isabel, dogs, Mia and Rosie, and bunny, Mr. BunBun. She enjoys baking, painting, and taking her pets for a walk. She is also a proud Dance Mom and enjoys traveling with her daughter to her many competitions.

Carissa Welsh

Carissa Welsh

Communication Specialist

Carissa Welsh joins the Blue Heron Consulting team as a Communication Specialist for the Hiring Services department. Carissa is originally from Las Vegas, NV and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Utah State University. She brings over 8 years of administrative experience in both veterinary and human medicine to our team.

Carissa loves creating connections with others to ensure that clients feel heard and cared for throughout the hiring process. She enjoys the challenge of thinking strategically to help clients achieve their goals for their practice while building meaningful relationships. Her husband is a veterinarian and together they have enjoyed sharing a passion and love for animals and the care that they receive.

Carissa and her husband, Peter, welcomed their first baby boy, Revan, this past year and love doing anything that involves getting outdoors as a family. You can find them mountain biking, trail running, or cross-country skiing during the year and they look forward to having Revan join in on these adventures soon. In her free time, Carissa also teaches indoor spin group fitness classes as a fun hobby in the early mornings.

“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.”

-AD Williams

Student Interns

Graham DiPinto

Graham DiPinto

Veterinary Student Intern

Graham DiPinto is from the Wilmington, North Carolina area and has always loved the beaches,  marshes and the wildlife that comes with them. Growing up with an Italian immigrant for a father and hog farmer’s daughter for a mother, he learned from a young age what hard work is as both his parents built multiple businesses from the ground up. He got his taste of veterinary medicine through his American grandfather, “Buck” who raised horses, small livestock and bred purebred Treeing Walkers for hunting. Being isolated in the swamps of coastal North Carolina, veterinary care wasn’t the most accessible so most of the work was done by his grandfather who taught Graham many tricks that previous veterinarians had passed down to “Buck”. Graham has had a desire to become a veterinarian since age six and began working at local hospital at age 12 until he left for his undergraduate studies. After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in Animal Science: Veterinary Bioscience, he was accepted into Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine and is a member of the class of 2022. Graham has a passion for both orthopedic/soft tissue surgery as well as practice management and financial operations. He also has a passion for one of the most important aspects of veterinary medicine: the people that are at the other end of the leash. Developing relationships and building trust between pet parents is extremely crucial to Graham and he hopes to carry that over in his future practices. Learning of BHC through financial literacy classes through LMU-CVM, Graham was quickly interested in becoming an intern for BHC to be able to put the passion for business along aside the skill set that it takes to run successful practices.

In his down time, Graham enjoys spending time with his wife, Elizabeth and their two cocker spaniels, Hattie and George.

Libby Czapor

Libby Czapor

Veterinary Student Intern

Libby Czapor is originally from Waterbury, Connecticut and completed her Honors Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Biosciences degree at the University of Delaware. The program at UD offered a plethora of hands-on experiences and connected Libby to her veterinary assistant job, overall contributing greatly to her success in applying to veterinary school. Libby is a member of Mississippi State University’s Class of 2022, where she served a year as the school’s Veterinary Business Management Association president. Libby learned of BHC during her time at the 2020 Veterinary Leadership Conference and immediately knew she wanted to become more involved. One of the main aspects of veterinary medicine that attracted her was the puzzle-like nature of the career, and the BHC internship fits perfectly in line with that mindset! Assessing financial profiles and finding the “piece of the puzzle” that could allow for clinic improvement is exciting, and the knowledge Libby continues to gain will undoubtedly help in her goal of practice ownership. Libby is interested in emergency medicine and small animal and exotic general practice. Though she does not want to specialize, she is also strongly interested in radiology! Libby has a passion for preventive pet care and hopes to highlight wellness and prevention with her clients in the future. Libby firmly believes in a veterinarian’s role as a teacher within the community and looks forward to serving in this role following graduation.

Libby loves being near the water and cherishes the memories of going to Cape Cod each summer growing up. Her free time is best spent with friends and family especially if it involves an adventure! Her favorite adventure buddy is her cat, Apollo, whom she adopted once beginning veterinary school.

Tiffany Galen

Tiffany Galen

Veterinary Student Intern

Tiffany Galen grew up in China before moving to Seattle, Washington at 11 years old. Watching pets treated as family members in America strengthened Tiffany’s motivation to become a veterinarian and improve companion animal welfare across the world.

Tiffany earned a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Psychology from the University of Washington before transitioning to Colorado State University’s veterinary prep program, where she earned an MS in Toxicology. Tiffany is currently a rising second-year veterinary student at Colorado State University. Her interests include business ownership, small animal general practice, and emergency care.

Aside from a strong interest in companion animal emergency medicine, Tiffany is incredibly passionate about business and technology. She hopes to channel her passions into owning a successful veterinary practice in the future, using her story and experience to give back to the field of veterinary medicine.

When not in school, Tiffany loves to travel the world with her pup, Cinnamon, and eat great food.