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VetBilling Board of Advisors

Carrie Bowgren

Veterinary Practice Manager
Lake Road Animal Hospital & Kennel, Horseheads, NY

Carrie Bowgren is a Veterinary Practice Manager at Lake Road Animal Hospital & Kennel in Horseheads, NY. Lake Road Animal Hospital is a 3 doctor, small animal, privately owned veterinary practice located about 45 minutes south of Cornell University.

In her role, she is responsible for bringing her Practice Owner’s vision of the practice to life. Their goal is to provide an elevated standard of veterinary care to every patient, and Disney-level customer service to every client.

Carrie’s personal passion has been to develop veterinary staff. Over the past twelve years, Carrie has created a work environment and built a team that allows Lake Road Animal Hospital to pamper their patients, clients, and one another.

Carrie grew up in Owego, NY, which was named the “Coolest Small Town in America” in 2009 by Budget Travel Magazine. She graduated from Binghamton University and returned to Elmira College to earn her provisional certification in Secondary Education (Biology).

While attending Elmira College, she worked as a veterinary receptionist. After teaching for a single year, Carrie returned to the veterinary world she had fallen in love with prior to teaching. She has now been managing veterinary practices for 22 years.

Outside of the veterinary world, Carrie and her fiancé (a chemist and home brewer) are avid craft “beer-cationers” visiting craft breweries all over New England. They share their home with Carrie’s daughter Lauren (a business economics major), two dogs (Porter and Taylor), and a tiny cat (Mia).

Mike Brewer

Veterinary Practice Manager
Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic, Madison, WI

Mike Brewer has been the Veterinary Practice Manager for Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin for the past seven years. 

Prior to working in veterinary medicine, Mike was a Firefighter/EMT, 911 communicator and police and fire dispatcher for over 17 years.  He also worked in the restaurant industry, where he was a General Manager for his company’s busiest restaurant. 

Mike, who is married to a veterinarian, joined the veterinary profession when he noticed that his wife was having difficulty keeping up with the seemingly endless administrative demands of running her busy practice. After Mike came on board, his wife was able to focus on what she loved most — being a doctor and taking care of her patients. 

Since Mike joined the practice, Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic has more than doubled their yearly gross revenue and moved into a beautiful new facility.  

The busy four doctor practice focuses on client education and forging long-lasting relationships with pet owners. The overarching philosophy for all their client interactions is, “We’re here for you.”  The team’s genuine desire for achieving the best medical outcome, along with providing clients with effective financial solutions for managing veterinary costs, has proved extremely successful and has helped grow the practice substantially.

Mike’s practice partnered with VetBilling three years ago, and they have found it to be a very popular payment option.  Giving their clients the ability to spread out costs over time has improved the quality of life for numerous pets whose owners could not have afforded a single lump sum payment for unforeseen medical care.  

Mike has been a strong advocate for VetBilling on many platforms, and he was proud to be given the opportunity to be part of the VetBilling Board of Advisors.

Michael Dicks, PhD

President
AEConsulting, Arvada, CO

Dr. Michael Dicks has been providing economic and business analytics consulting and expert witness services as president of AEConsulting (a group of university faculty) since 1996.  He joined Erupt LLC, a veterinary research and outreach firm, in April 2018 as Chief Data Human, to assist in the development of tools for veterinary students, practitioners and consultants to aid in the enhancement of personal and business financial performance. He also joined Calico Financial as Chief Economic Advisor in June of 2018 to assist in the development of financial tools for the improvement of veterinary practice financial performance.

Dr. Dicks earned a BS in biochemistry and animal science from California Polytechnic State University, and MS and Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. His PhD research launched the Conservation Reserve Program.

Between undergraduate and graduate degrees, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, a high school chemistry teacher who started a rural cooperative to develop appropriate energy and water systems in rural areas of Kenya.

After completing his Ph.D. he was employed by the USDA’s Economic Research Service as a conservation and environmental policy analyst and started the USDA’s aquaculture and new crops and products research programs.

Dr. Dicks was hired by Oklahoma State University in 1989 to teach, conduct research and provide extension services in food and agricultural policy.  He started and was the Director of the Great Plains Policy Center and retired from OSU in 2013 as the Wes and Lou Watkins Chair of International Trade and Development and Director of the Center for International Trade and Development.

Dr. Dicks served as the Director of Veterinary Economics at the American Veterinary Medical Association from 2013 to 2018.  At AVMA he developed an extensive data analytics program in the veterinary profession to improve the performance of the veterinary markets, the profitability of veterinary practices and the care provided to all animals.  He created the AVMA Veterinary Economic Summit to provide an annual summary of the most recent research in economic analysis related to the veterinary profession. His most important contribution was bringing stakeholders together to cooperate on data collection and analysis.

Dr. Dicks has produced over 500 written documents including journal articles, congressional testimonies and research reports. He has been a sought-after speaker both domestically and internationally and has made well over 1000 presentations.  He is also the owner of a livestock operation (Cimarron Dunes) and a real estate firm (Little Dickens Properties).

Rayma Hagen

Accounts Receivable Manager
PVMG (Professional Veterinary Management Group), Colorado Springs, CO

Rayma Hagen’s background in finance has allowed her to progress into her current position as Accounts Receivable Manager for PVMG (Professional Veterinary Management Group based in Colorado Springs), which manages 6 Colorado veterinary hospitals: Powers Pet Emergency & Specialty; Uintah Pet Emergency; Tri-Lakes Animal Emergency Care; Belcrest Animal Clinic; Carefree Cats Veterinary Hospital; and Animal Hospital of Falcon, CO.

Originally from Las Vegas, Rayma Hagen is a Colorado transplant. In 2007 the Rockies began calling her name and she has been in Colorado ever since. She has enjoyed her time on the front range, taking advantage of all things Colorado. In her free time Rayma enjoys taking her two kids sledding, hiking, swimming and a variety of other activities.

Rayma’s passion for preserving the bond between people and their animals is what led her to join VetBilling’s Board of Advisors.

John E. Owens, M.A., J.D.

Attorney
Law Offices of John Owens, LLC, Gambrills, MD

John Owens graduated from the University of Florida in 1991 with a degree in Zoology. After graduation he worked as a research technician in the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Zoo and Wildlife Division while his wife completed her veterinary degree.

In 1997, he received a Master of Arts degree in education and spent seven years as a high school science teacher and coach. Mr. Owens then attended Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, graduating in 2007 and is admitted to the Bar in Florida and Maryland. 

Mr. Owens operates a solo practice concentrating on Veterinary Law, and Entrepreneurial and Small Business Law. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Owens has held leadership positions in VetPartners and the American Veterinary Medical Law Association.

Susan Rook

Writer
Consultant & Communications Expert

Susan Rook is a communications expert. Formerly a CNN news anchor and a moderator of the 1992 Presidential Debate, she currently works with organizations and individuals to help them fine-tune their communications skills.

She is a strong advocate for the animal rescue community in her hometown of Rochester, NY.

Susan has testified before Congress, received an honorary Doctorate from National University, and been named Alumna of the Year by George Mason University. She has interviewed such prominent Americans as astronaut Buzz Aldrin, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

Christine Sandberg

Founder
RescueWell

Christine Sandberg is the Founder of the Maryland-based non-profit Rescue Well. Together with her team, they have answered over 100,000 crisis calls and over 25,000 re-home requests from pet owners, many of whom face economic euthanasia or surrendering their pets because they lack the resources to keep them. Outside of this work, Rescue Well partners with area Crisis Teams and first responders to provide interim support for owners as they manage through crisis.

Christine is also the Founder of the Coalition of Outreach and Rescues (CORE), a collective of over 125 organizations that serve to place and keep pets in safe and healthy homes. She also offers workshops to animal rescues and shelters to share insights she’s gleaned from her past 12 years managing their high- volume Crisis Hotline.

In addition to her own organizations, Christine is the Vice President of the Senior Dog Sanctuary of Maryland’s Board of Directors. 

In addition to her nonprofit work, Christine has worked in the telecom industry for over 25 years, where she’s held positions in sales, training, and performance management.

Shani Scherr, DVM

Owner
Valley Dog and Cat Hospital, Owings Mills, MD

Dr. Shani Scherr was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 2005. After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Scherr moved to Rochester, New York where she practiced for two years. She then moved back to Maryland00, where she worked for two years at a private practice, before joining the team at a large corporate veterinary hospital. In April of 2015, Dr. Scherr opened Valley Dog and Cat Hospital, in Owings Mills, MD. 

Dr. Scherr and her husband welcomed their first child, a little girl, in July 2019. Proud, furry, siblings include a 9 year old beagle mix, a 2 year old Shepherd mix, and a 13 year old cat. 

As a vet, Dr. Scherr feels that it is her responsibility to be the voice of her patients. She prides herself on her ability to “read” dogs and cats and understand what they are trying to say. Dr. Scherr believes that communication and client education are essential to building a lifetime relationship with pets and their families, so she is always willing to set aside time to make sure every client fully understands what is going on with their pet. Dr. Scherr enjoys soft tissue surgery and complicated internal medicine cases, as well as routine preventive care. However, her favorite part of her job, is forming relationships with clients and their pets.

Carol Smock

Founder
Brown Dog Foundation, Inc., Carlsbad, CA

By day, Carol Smock is a CRM Manager at RSM US, a Microsoft Partner. Her role encompasses evangelizing Microsoft’s Customer Engagement platform and growing the San Diego office.

In her spare time, Carol leads Brown Dog Foundation, a small non-profit dedicated to ending economic euthanasia by bridging the gap between the cost of medical care and saving the family pet. The Foundation is 13 years old and has supported more than 1200 families during that time. 

Through the work that she does with Brown Dog, Carol is dedicated to creating a program that will live beyond her lifetime.

VetBilling and Brown Dog Foundation joined forces in 2016, because the two organizations have a similar mission. Brown Dog began testing the VetBilling program in late 2016 by extending payment plans to just 3 families.  In 2017 and 2018, payment plans were offered to 8 more families, and after seeing satisfactory repayment rates, Brown Dog once again expanded the payment plan program. 

In 2019, Brown Dog expects to help as many as 20 families by allowing them to re-pay grant money through the VetBilling platform.

Julie Squires, BA, CCFS

Founder
Rekindle LLC, Kingston, NY

Julie Squires is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Certified Life Coach who brings a unique perspective and approach to support the sustained energy and passion of those exposed to the highly stressful and emotionally charged environment of veterinary medicine.

Julie has over twenty-five years of experience within the veterinary industry both in practice as a veterinary assistant and hospital administrator and outside of practice leading organizations, developing and executing training and workshops most notably for Nestlé Purina, Bayer Animal Health and IDEXX Laboratories. 

Her company, Rekindle LLC, offers on-site seminars, workshops, online courses and private 1:1 coaching and is the result of the need Julie saw to help those that work in veterinary medicine maintain their well-being and mental health.

Julie lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband John, pugs Ernie & Mabel and Gregg & Duane, their two cats. Julie is also the host of the popular podcast Rekindling: Compassion Fatigue Solutions for Animal Workers.

Aimee St. Arnaud

Director
National Veterinary Outreach, Best Friends Animal Society, Toledo, OH

Aimee St. Arnaud is the Director of National Veterinary Outreach for Best Friends Animal Society, focusing on how to increase access to spay/neuter and veterinary care in underserved communities.

Most recently, Aimee was Director of Programs at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance, where she handled curriculum design and program oversight that trained 1,000 veterinary medical professionals a year.

Previously she worked as a Program Manager at PetSmart Charities where she gave out $15 million a year to organizations helping dogs and cats. She also was a co-founder of Ohio Pet Fund that provides grant funds through specialty license plate funding.

Aimee has experienced the opening of a spay/neuter clinic from both sides, having founded Humane Ohio, a low cost spay/neuter clinic performing 19,000 surgeries annually.

Seeing the need for increasing access to veterinary care, Aimee is a business partner in two full-service veterinary clinics in Ohio and North Carolina that focus on removing barriers to care and building community partnerships.

Aimee is excited to join the VetBilling Advisory Board because of a shared vision for finding creative solutions to the rising cost of veterinary medicine.  She loves VetBilling’s fresh approach to helping veterinary clinics not have to turn clients away.  Aimee believes that VetBilling is a valuable, authentic partner for veterinary clinics and pet owners alike.

In her spare time, Aimee enjoys helping rescue wildlife and being in nature whenever she can, whether it’s biking, hiking, or kayaking.