Jack Advent is the executive director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, a post he has held since 1998. He previously worked for two Ohio trade associations prior to joining OVMA. Advent is a past president and board member of the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives and the Ohio Society of Association Executives. He earned his certified association executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives in 1994.
Dr. Ed Biggie grew up in a small coastal town in Maine and earned his B.S. in animal science at the University of Maine. He attended Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1990. Dr. Biggie is a mixed animal private practitioner, partner, and head surgeon at Feeder Creek Veterinary Services in Millersport. OVMA President for 2021-22, Dr. Biggie has also held the positions of District 9 Representative, Secretary, Vice President, and President-Elect during his tenure on the Board of Directors. In addition, he is involved in the AVMA, AASRP, and AABP, and he previously sat on the Ohio Animal Health Foundation Board of Directors. When not at the clinic, Dr. Biggie enjoys the great outdoors, sports photography, woodworking, and spending time with his family and critters.
Dr. Jen Brandt is the director of wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion initiatives at the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is a licensed independent social worker and supervisor, experienced grief, bereavement, and trauma therapist, and healthcare team communications specialist. In 2016, she co-founded the Association of American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges' Veterinary Mental Health Professionals Group, which serves to enhance and build wellness and support programs at colleges of veterinary medicine, develop best practices in veterinary counseling and wellness agendas within colleges, and provide counsel and expertise to veterinary leadership. Dr. Brandt received her Ph.D. and Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and Sociology with a Minor in Spanish from the University of Indianapolis.
Dr. Ken is an associate veterinarian at Tipp City Veterinary Hospital (TCVH). Dr. Ken has been with TCVH since 2015. Prior to this, he worked at a mixed animal practice in southeast Indiana. Dr. Ken is a certified Cat Friendly Veterinarian, a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional, a graduate of OVMA’s Leadership Development Program, and a member of the OVMA Wellbeing Committee. Dr. Ken is a 2014 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a 2010 graduate from Ohio University. Outside of work, Dr. Ken is an avid runner and is currently preparing to run the Chicago Marathon.
Dr. Mia Cary, a 1999 University of Florida graduate, is a consultant, speaker, and workshop facilitator specializing in leadership, communication, strategy, teamwork, innovation, energy infusion, and wellbeing. Her purpose is to activate others to thrive. She is the former chief of professional development and strategic alliances for the AVMA, former chief innovation officer for the NAVC, and has also held various education and leadership roles at Boehringer Ingelheim and Novartis Animal Health. Dr. Cary serves on the Pet Peace of Mind board of directors, is a past president of the American Association of Industry Veterinarians, and is a member of the advisory board for the Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy. She can be reached at [email protected].
Dr. Kevin Corcoran has offered his veterinary expertise to a variety of organizations, including Procter & Gamble Co., the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, Central State University, 4 Paws for Ability, American Horse Shows Association, and Springborn Laboratories. An OVMA member since 1980, Dr. Corcoran has participated in a variety of committees as well as the Board of Directors, on which he currently serves as Treasurer. He has also held leadership positions with the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. In addition, Dr. Corcoran is active in AVMA, Miami Valley VMA, and American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners. Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Corcoran spends time judging school science fairs and is a 20+ year 4-H advisor. He also enjoys exploring the national parks with family, cheering the Scarlet and Gray, and beekeeping.
Anna holds a bachelor's degree in zoology and will earn her DVM from Ohio State in 2024. A passionate advocate of diversity initiatives, she serves as the 2021-22 president of OSU's chapter of Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) and is a past secretary of the Transracial Adoptees at Ohio State. Prior to veterinary school, she worked as a veterinary assistant in Pennsylvania and earned her Fear Free certification in 2020.
A 1993 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Cron is co-owner of Glenway Animal Hospital in Cincinnati and currently serves on the OVMA Board of Directors as secretary. Prior to veterinary school, she worked as a high school science teacher and a clinical chemist for the Cincinnati Health Department. With a special interest in treating small mammals, Dr. Cron is an educator at Large House Rabbit Society and previously served on the OSU Small Animal Veterinary Practitioner Board. She is a graduate of OVMA’s Leadership Development Program and a past president of Cincinnati VMA. She and her husband Brian, also a veterinarian, live in Cincinnati with their daughter Elizabeth and a menagerie of cats, dogs, birds, rabbits and fish.
Amanda Fark is the director of the Office of Career Management at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides career consultation and counseling to students and alumni and works with employers to assist with their hiring needs. She has more than five years of professional experience working with graduate students and 10 years of working with students in a professional advisement role. Before joining OSU, she was the assistant director of career services at Capital University Law School. She has also served as an academic advisor at Indiana University, where she assisted student athletes in their career development.
A 1997 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Eric Gordon is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and completed the Ohio Dairy Certificate Course in 2008. An active member of the veterinary community, he serves on the OVMA Board of Directors as the 2021-22 vice president and participates in the Midwest Veterinary Conference’s Small Ruminants and Food Animal education committees, the former of which he chairs. Prior to his current role as a clinical professor at OSU, he was a mixed-animal veterinarian and practice owner. An ardent supporter and mentor of students, Dr. Gordon is the coordinator for Ohio Dairy Veterinarians’ student externship and employment program, co-advisor of the OSU Food Animal Medicine Club, and is a 4-H volunteer and speaker.
Michael Guastella is the government relations director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association. He previously served as the deputy director of government and community relations at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. His legislative liaison experience includes working with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Commerce. Prior to his legislative work, he was a constituent aide for Gov. John Kasich and worked in various political campaigns. Michael graduated from Kent State with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.
Daniella is an economist and veterinary student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2022). She is pursuing a career in zoological medicine and is exploring an interest in public policy. Highly active in organized veterinary medicine, she is the 2020-21 president of the OSU chapter of VOICE and WLVDI, marketing director for National VOICE, AAZV Student Programs and Services Student Representative, WDA Wildlife Veterinary Section student representative, and holds various other leadership roles. In her spare time, Daniella enjoys taking her cat on walks in nature and painting pet portraits for her friends and family.
Inspired to become a veterinarian by her grandfather, Dr. Harcha received her bachelor’s and DVM degrees from The Ohio State University, after which she spent more than 10 years in Cincinnati as an emergency, relief, and small animal veterinarian. Wanting to better understand the business side of veterinary medicine, she completed a Master of Arts in business management at Antioch University McGregor in 2001. Her career took her to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, where she held a variety of positions over 12 years that included working with veterinarians, technicians, staff, faculty, and students in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In 2007, she returned to her alma mater and became the director of alumni services and professional development education. Developing curriculum to help students acquire leadership and communication skills helped her to see the next phase of her career, and in 2017, she formed LeadYourShip, LLC, which provides veterinary practices with training in leadership, emotional intelligence, and communication skills. Dr. Harcha has been a member of the OVMA since 1985 and currently serves as the District 5 Representative and is a member of the Animal Abuse Recognition & Reporting Task Force. A cancer survivor, she is a strong advocate for Pelotonia, the Stefanie Spielman Fund, The James at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, and the Komen Race for the Cure. She resides in Grove City, Ohio, with her yellow lab, Colby.
A native of Gahanna, Ohio, Dr. Harriman earned her bachelor’s in Wyoming and moved to Alaska for awhile before completing veterinary school at Colorado State. Along with a couple of two-legged and a few four-legged kids acquired along the way, she eventually returned to Ohio with the goal of building the kind of practice she’d want for her own family. As a solo practitioner at Happy Tails Veterinary Clinic in Johnstown, Dr. Harriman enjoys listening to her clients and partnering with them to help their animals—and vice versa. When she’s not at work, she spends time with her two children and their menagerie of cats, goats, and puppies. A staunch proponent of work-life balance and a globetrotter at heart, she hopes to find more time to travel in the near future.
The 2020-21 President of the OVMA, Dr. Hass is a 1992 graduate of The Ohio State University. He practiced mixed animal medicine at The Findlay Animal Hospital for two years before joining the faculty at the University of Findlay in 1994. Today he continues to provide care for the horses in the University’s equestrian programs and also teaches pre-veterinary, animal science, and equestrian courses. Along with his faculty responsibilities, he is involved in equine practice through University Equine Veterinary Services, Inc. Dr. Hass has previously served as president of the Hancock VMA; is a longtime member of the AVMA, OVMA, and AAEP; and serves on the Large Animal Practitioner Advisory Board at OSU. His professional interests include equine reproduction and broodmare practice. Dr. Hass thoroughly enjoys preparing students for success in veterinary school and their future veterinary careers. Outside of veterinary medicine, his interests include boating and fishing, traveling, staying physically active, following OSU sports, and spending time with his family and friends.
Dr. Robert Knapp is a third-generation small animal practitioner and owner of Knapp Veterinary Hospital, a seven-veterinarian practice founded by his grandfather in 1945. Upon completing his undergraduate and DVM degrees at The Ohio State University in 1986 and 1992 respectively, Dr. Knapp joined his father in the practice and became owner in 2007. He also holds a master’s in animal science from Texas A&M University. Dr. Knapp has also been active in the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), serving in various capacities during his 26-year membership, including as president in 2007. A staunch advocate of Ohio veterinarians, Dr. Knapp has testified on their behalf to state legislators on a variety of issues, including practice act revisions and commercial dog breeding. Dr. Knapp’s dedication to the profession has been recognized with a number of prestigious awards, including the OVMA’s Meritorious Service Award in 1999, Ohio Veterinarian of the Year Award in 2014, and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni in 2015. Most recently, he was honored with the National Gamma Award by Omega Tau Sigma, Gamma Chapter in 2018.
A 2010 graduate of Stautzenberger College, Tabitha Kucera is the owner of Chirrups and Chatter cat and dog behavior consulting and training in Cleveland. Prior to this, she worked with animal rescue organizations and in general practice. Tabitha is an IABC-certified cat behavior consultant, a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, and an elite Fear Free and Low-Stress Handling Certified registered veterinary technician. Additionally, she is working toward her veterinary technician specialty in behavior. She offers educational lectures, workshops, and training seminars to the general public, veterinary staff, and shelter professionals on a wide variety of subjects, including cat and dog behavior, reducing fear and stress, and compassion fatigue.
Dr. Allison Lash is the medical director at the Cleveland Animal Protective League, where she has worked for the past 12 years. She oversees the medical and surgical care of the more than 14,000 animals that come to the APL each year for placement or other assistance: from basic and preventive shelter care and spay/neuter to handling issues specific to animal transport and treating major medical and emergency conditions. Dr. Lash’s extensive experience in shelter medicine has been critical to the success of the APL’s evolution from an organization where only basic routine veterinary care could be provided to an animal care center where extensive treatment is provided to its shelter animals. More recently, she has played a major role in implementing and expanding project CARE, a progressive community outreach program through which the APL provides veterinary care to animals owned by people with limited resources. Dr. Lash works closely with the Cleveland APL’s humane investigations team and prosecutors to provide forensic exams and evaluation of animal victims, detailed reporting, and expert witness testimony for small- to large-scale cases. She is chair of the Shelter Animal Education Committee for the Midwest Veterinary Conference and serves on the OVMA’s Animal Abuse and Reporting Task Force. In addition, she serves on the Education Committee for the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) and serves as a veterinary mentor through ASV. Prior to joining the Cleveland APL, Dr. Lash worked in private practice for six years. She shares her home with her 8-year-old twins, five cats, a guinea pig, chickens, and honey bees.
A 2020 graduate of THE Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Antoinette always had a focus on business and technology during her time in veterinary school. Throughout all four years, she was involved in the VBMA, earning her Business Certificate with Honors. As OVMA Class of 2020 Student Representative, she assisted in the development of programming focused on wellness, leadership, and telehealth at both the university and at the Midwest Veterinary Conference. She traveled each year to the Texas A&M Innovation Summit and was a competitor in the IDEA competition. Antoinette’s passion for technology in veterinary medicine grew into TeleTechnology Consulting, where she looks forward to helping veterinary businesses grow, thrive, and adapt to ever-changing landscapes.
Becca is a 2021 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. While in veterinary school, she concurrently held up to three part-time jobs, completed her master’s in comparative veterinary medicine and a graduate minor in business, held executive board positions in several student organizations, and still found time for her hobbies of rock climbing, camping, and mountain biking. Her goals include pursuing anatomic pathology and comparative research.
A 1995 Ohio State graduate, Dr. McFadden is an exclusive small animal general practitioner and owner of the Akron Peninsula Veterinary Office. She is the OVMA District 7 Representative and sits on the Ohio Animal Health Foundation Board of Directors, previously serving as president. She is also the vice president of the Board of the Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital and treasurer of the Summit County Veterinary Medical Association. In her free time, Dr. McFadden enjoys "adopting" art from flea markets and yard sales.
Dr. Melinda Merck is the owner of Veterinary Forensics Consulting in Austin, Texas. She chairs the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science. A frequent contributor to and lecturer on animal cruelty investigations and forensics, she is also the editor and contributing author of “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigation, 2nd edition” by Wiley publishing. Dr. Merck is a member of the International Association of Blood Stain Analysts and serves on the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys’ Animal Cruelty Advisory Council, which recognized her with the Champion of Justice award. She was also honored with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s Outstanding Investigation and Case Award, as well as the Public Service Award and Award of Excellence from the United States Attorney’s Office, in recognition of her work on the Michael Vick dogfighting case.
Dr. Musolf began her career at a mixed animal practice in Pennsylvania. Later, she returned home and performed primarily small animal emergency medicine and surgery duties as an employee of DVM Associates. In 1988, she became the first program manager of veterinary technology at Cuyahoga Community College. In 1996, she spearheaded the development and implementation of a two-year veterinary technician associate degree program at the college. Her teaching responsibilities included food animal, equine, and small animal classes. During summers, she worked on her own farm as well as at a race track equine practice. After retirement in 2013, she formed her own veterinary relief service. Currently the OVMA’s President-Elect (2021-22), Dr. Musolf has also served on the Board of Directors as Vice President, Secretary, and District 7 Representative, and she is also a member of the AVMA, the Cleveland Academy of Veterinary Medicine, and the Northeastern Ohio Equine Practitioners Association. Dr. Musolf has served for many years as an item writer and reviewer for the AAVSB. She is an active member of the Lorain County Chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Council and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Thamires Nunes is a veterinary student at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2023. She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and grew up in Massachusetts in a small business-oriented family. She frequently is seen helping out at the family pizzeria during breaks from school. Thamires received her B.S. in veterinary science from Becker College. Prior to veterinary school, she worked with laboratory animals and as a certified veterinary technician for three years before moving to Ohio. She is a student ambassador for Harbor.Vet and a founding member of WAVE (We Appreciate Veterinarians Everywhere). Her passions include cats, fear-free medicine, and emergency veterinary medicine.
Nancy O’Connor graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990, after which she completed a one-year rotating internship at the Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron. After working as a small animal/exotics associate veterinarian for 10 years, she started the Highland Veterinary Clinic in Akron in 2002. Nancy currently serves on the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, is a member of the AAVSB’s RACE committee, and previously served on the OVMA Board of Directors. In her free time, she likes to swim, ski, hike, read, and write.
As wellness director of the Ohio Physicians Health Program, Dr. Opremcak oversees all of OPHP’s wellness initiatives including actively participating in the Ohio Physician Wellness Coalition and facilitating OPHP’s Wellness & Resiliency Program. She completes behavioral health assessments and provides oversight to participants in the Monitoring and Advocacy Program for behavioral health and/or mental health disorders. Dr. Opremcak ran the OhioHealth Practitioner Health and Wellness Program for more than 10 years and has extensive knowledge in improving practitioner wellness and resiliency. She holds a master’s in dietetics and nutrition and a Medical Degree from The Ohio State University. She completed her residency training at OSU’s Department of Psychiatry and her fellowship in psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Subspecialty Certification in Psychosomatic Medicine.
A lifelong animal lover, Kayla Orso has always wanted to be a veterinarian. She is a member of the Class of 2022 at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at OSU as well. A passionate advocate for diversity and equity in the veterinary community, Kayla is president of the J.H. Bias Black Affinity Group at OSU and an active member of the OVMA’s Black Doctors Working Group. She hails from Cincinnati.
A 1989 graduate of Ohio State, Dr. Pendleton practiced large animal medicine for 30 years before retiring to become a small animal-exclusive practitioner in 2019. He currently serves on the OVMA Board of Directors as AVMA Alternate Delegate and is the 2015-16 President. An active member of the community, he has been involved in 4-H and Boy Scouts of America, is the president of the Harrison County Historical Society, and serves as county health commissioner. In his free time, Dr. Pendleton enjoys hiking, birdwatching, and stamp collecting. He lives in Cadiz with his wife Donna.
A 1996 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Jamie Pursell has been a small animal practitioner in Tiffin at Edenwood Veterinary Clinic, which she purchased in 2004, for 21 years. She has been an active member of OVMA since her graduation, including participation in the Leadership Development Program, and she currently serves as District 4 Representative. Dr. Pursell is a past president of the North Central VMA. She also serves as treasurer of the Ohio Region 1 Disaster Animal Response Team, which cares for displaced animals in north- west Ohio during emergency situations, and Friends of the Tiffin Bark Park, which built the first dog park in the city. She is beginning her fourth year as the veterinary liaison and trustee for the Seneca County Farm Bureau and is a past president of North Central VMA.
Emma is the OVMA Student Representative for The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2022. An Ohio native, she is the daughter of two veterinarians and has a strong interest in theriogenology. She previously served on the OVMA Board of Directors as a representative to the student body.
Dr. Sue Savage earned her Bachelor of Science in zoology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from The Ohio State University. Upon graduation in 1988, she joined the team at Reynolds Road Animal Hospital in Toledo, where she became a partner in 1995. In addition to serving as District 1 Representative on the OVMA Board of Directors, Dr. Savage is a two-time president of the Toledo VMA. Her areas of interest in veterinary medicine include surgery, dentistry, and internal medicine; outside of work, she enjoys sailing, swimming, home remodeling, and OSU sports. She and her husband of 22 years, Dan, live in Toldeo with their two cats, Atticus and Thurber.
Dr. Aaron Smiley practices small animal medicine in central Indiana, where he leads two practices for Vetcor. He is a past president of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association and serves on the University of Illinois Veterinary Alumni Board. Dr. Smiley is an early adopter of telemedicine technology and has completed more than 1,500 cases. He is an expert on the incorporation of virtual care into practice and has lectured on the topic at national meetings. Dr. Smiley is also the co-founder of VetMed2.0, a think tank focused on discovering divergent ideas in veterinary medicine. The company organized the first annual Hackathon at the University of Illinois and is currently developing a technology to match veterinary mentors and mentees.
Dr. Summers was born and raised in Muskingum County, Ohio, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University (OSU). Upon graduating, he spent nearly nine years as a private large animal practitioner in Vermont, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In 2014, he joined the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), where he has since worked as a field veterinarian, assistant state veterinarian, and acting chief of the Division of Meat Inspection. In 2021, Dr. Summers also took on the role of interim state veterinarian. In addition, he is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a captain in the United States Army Reserve Veterinary Corp. Outside of work, Dr. Summers is active in his church and enjoys exercising, hiking, camping, swimming, and boating with his wife, Angela, and their three children.
Ms. Denise Tumblin, owner of WTA Veterinary Consultants, provides management, valuation, and transition services to independently owned veterinary practices across the U.S. Her company co-authors the Well-Managed Practice® Benchmarks Study, and she is the co-founder and facilitator of the WellMP® Management Groups. Denise speaks regularly at national and regional meetings on valuation and management topics and has authored numerous veterinary management articles. A graduate of The Ohio State University, she is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts, AAHA, Columbus Humane, and VetPartners, for which she serves on the Valuation Council and is a past board member.
Dr. Amanda Wagner works at Tri-County Veterinary Service, a mixed animal practice serving in Anna. She received her B.S. in biology from The University of Findlay in 2009 and her DVM from The Ohio State University in 2013. Dr. Wagner currently serves as the District 2 Representative on the OVMA Board of Directors, chairs the Midwest Veterinary Conference Food Animal Education Committee, volunteers at the OVMA Veterinary Education Center at the Ohio State Fair, and is a member of the Upper Valley Career Center Veterinary Science Advisory Committee. In 2016, Dr. Wagner represented the OVMA as a future leader at the Veterinary Leadership Conference and recently graduated from OVMA’s Leadership Development program. She is also a member of AVMA, AABP, and Ohio Dairy Veterinarians. Outside of veterinary medicine, Dr. Wagner enjoys spending time with her dogs, playing softball, and training for mud runs and triathlons. She is also a “big sister” with Big Brothers Big Sisters and is active in her church, Lima Baptist Temple.
A third-generation veterinarian, Dr. Yoakam works at the Ohio Department of Agriculture and served as the 2019-20 OVMA President. As an OVMA member, she has served on the Board of Directors for a number of years, as well as the Nominating, Finance & Audit, and Midwest Veterinary Conference Food Animal Education committees and several task forces. She is also a participant in the OVMA Grassroots Club and is a VPAC contributor. As president of the Ashland County VMA, Dr. Yoakam helped re-form the previously dissolved organization. She is also a member of AVMA, AABP, VIN and Ohio Dairy Veterinarians. Outside of veterinary medicine, she is active in her local church, the Crossroads Community Church. She and her husband Mark have two young children that keep them busy.