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Board Members and Staff

2022 Board of Directors

Fanna Easter, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CSAT, CDBC | APDT Chair

Fanna Easter, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CSAT, CDBC

APDT Chair

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Fanna Easter, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CSAT, CDBC | APDT Chair

Fanna has been instructing group classes and in-home behavior consults for more than 29 years with a special focus on separation anxiety. She owns Positive Pooch Dog Training and Behavior, which offers virtual, in-home and off-property consultations in the Dallas, Texas area. Also, Fanna teaches reactive dog classes and offers private consultations with the only veterinarian, that specializes in behavior, in the North Texas area.

Because of her love to write, Fanna has written dog training class curricula and dog trainer courses for large pet box chains and nationally recognized dog training schools. Also, she’s authored several articles for Dogs Naturally, Animal Wellness, Chronicle of the Dog and numerous online magazines and blogs. When not working with clients and their dogs, Fanna volunteers at the Bridge, the only homeless shelter that allows dogs, where Fanna and her co-workers offer group classes and one-on-one training for pet guardians.

Fanna shares her home with Miss Stella Mae (Miniature Bull Terrier), Eli Joseph (Miniature Bull Terrier) and Rick, her “darling hubby.”

Benjamin Bennink, MS, CDBC, CPDT-KA | APDT Vice Chair

Benjamin Bennink, MS, CDBC, CPDT-KA

APDT Vice Chair

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Benjamin Bennink, MS, CDBC, CPDT-KA | APDT Vice Chair

Ben has been training dogs professionally since 2010, certified CPDT-KA since 2012, and CDBC since 2018. He has served on the APDT membership task force, education committee, and legislative task force. He is a veteran of the US Navy and currently owns and operates Good Doggy Saratoga in upstate New York.

Ben is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in neurobiology, having completed an MS in neurobiology and undergraduate work in biology and psychology at the University at Albany. His intent is to seek CAAB certification upon completion of his graduate studies. He is passionate about spreading science literacy and science-based ethical dog training to improve the industry for dog trainers and dog owners everywhere.

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KSA, CNWI | APDT Secretary/Tresurer

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KSA, CNWI

APDT Secretary/Tresurer

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Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KSA, CNWI | APDT Secretary/Tresurer

Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KSA, CNWI is an attorney focusing on animal law and the pet care industry. She serves on the boards of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Heidi has her CPDT-KSA and CNWI certifications, and teaches K9 Nose Work® in Northern Virginia. She recently had to say goodbye to her beautiful German Shepherd, Sophie, who overcame reactivity and confidence issues to be a wonderful companion and the motivating force for Heidi to pursue becoming a trainer. Heidi lives in Alexandria, Virginia and competes in K9 Nose Work® with an adorable black lab, Boomer, who did manage to nab his Elite Champion title in 2020.

Sandy Modell, B.S., CPDT-KA | APDT Director

Sandy Modell, B.S., CPDT-KA

APDT Director

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Sandy Modell, B.S., CPDT-KA | APDT Director

For over 20 years, Sandy has been training dogs using rewards-based, positive reinforcement methods. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), an AKC CGC/CGCA Approved Evaluator, a Mentor Trainer for the Animal Behavior College, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), a licensed certified Family Paws Parent Educator (FPPE), a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), and on the list of national Truly Dog-Friendly Trainers. Her mentors include some of our industry’s pioneers of positive training such as, Patty Ruzzo, Leslie Nelson, Sue Sternberg, Pat Miller, Kathy Sdao, Robin Bennett and others.

In June 2017, Sandy opened Alexandria Virginia’s first and only, and now award-winning premier training and learning center for people and their dogs. The Academy offers programs and activities for pet dog owners and their dogs, pet care professionals, and other professional dog trainers. Sandy’s mission includes empowering her clients by teaching them how to communicate with their dogs, how to reinforce the behaviors that they want, and how to respond to both their dog’s good and the bad behaviors. One of her goals is to teach people how to train their dogs to make incredibly brilliant choices, so that they can both live better, happier, and easier lives together. In June 2018, Wholistic Hound Academy was voted the Best Dog Trainers in Northern Virginia by Northern Virginia Magazine. Earlier this month, the Academy was selected as a finalist in the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Best in Business Award in the Small Business category.

Inga From, CDBC, CPDT-KSA | APDT Director

Inga From, CDBC, CPDT-KSA

APDT Director

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Inga From, CDBC, CPDT-KSA | APDT Director

Inga From, CDBC, CPDT-KSA, was a national recipient of the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s Premier Shelter Staff Award several years ago. She runs two very different training and behavior businesses. Positive Gun Dogs of Minnesota which includes shed dog & positive gun dog training as well as Hippie Dog which focuses on dog behavior. She also does pet behavior consulting work for local businesses & municipalities. Inga enjoys speaking and hosting seminars locally and nationally.

Heather Mishefske, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA | APDT Director

Heather Mishefske, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

APDT Director

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Heather Mishefske, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA | APDT Director

Heather opened emBARK and began serving dogs and their owners in 2005, but the journey that led to this labor of love began long before that. In 1983, Heather stepped into a simple 4H project and began sharing life with an English Springer Spaniel. That special relationship became the driving force behind emBARK many years later. While Heather has a degree in Dietetics from UW-Madison, her love for all things dog conquered her career goals, and in December of 2005, she left the healthcare field to pursue her vision of working with dogs. The business, which has grown in the past 15 years from a single proprietor (Heather) to employing 26 dog care professionals, offers daycare, training classes, grooming, massage, and behavior consulting. It didn’t take long before Heather racked up dog training credentials: CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Living and Learning with Animals Applied Behavior Analysis course certificate of completion, is a certified level II Canine Sports Massage provider and hosts her own podcast. She is a member of APDT (premium professional), IAABC, Upper Midwest Flat-Coated Retriever Club vice president, Flat Coated Retriever Club of America and has served as a Learning Theory and Behavior guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and presented a lecture on body language to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Heather is a steward of her farm and acreage in west central Wisconsin with her husband and her Flat Coated Retrievers. She is an avid hiker, a certified Master Naturalist, cyclist, mountain biker, backpacker, cross country skier, gardener, reader, and curious observer of the natural world. She has shown and competed with her dogs in multiple venues since the age of 13. Her passion for learning in all things is endless, and there is a huge force within her heart to do good for all creatures.

Curtis Kelley, CPDT-KA | APDT Director

Curtis Kelley, CPDT-KA

APDT Director

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Curtis Kelley, CPDT-KA | APDT Director

Curtis has been working in the pet industry since 2013. Curtis taught group obedience and agility classes, worked in big box stores and neighborhood businesses and taught independently. He has experience working in shelters and as a veterinary technician. He has mentored dozens of young professionals to enter the pet care industry throughout his career. Curtis started Pet Parent Allies in 2018 and currently offers private training sessions around the Philadelphia area. Curtis is certified CPDT-KA and works with reactive, aggressive, and fearful dogs in urban environments. He utilizes positive reinforcement, science-backed methods to enhance dog and human relationships and takes a holistic approach to each family he trains.

Curtis is passionate about bringing positive reinforcement training to underserved communities. He sees the importance of reaching communities not previously granted access to force-free training. He strives to impact the positive reinforcement training community to become more inclusive and increase educational opportunities.

Mark Forrest Patrick, CDT, VA, CMT | APDT Immediate Past Chair

Mark Forrest Patrick, CDT, VA, CMT

APDT Immediate Past Chair

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Mark Forrest Patrick, CDT, VA, CMT | APDT Immediate Past Chair

Mark Forrest Patrick left a corporate customer service management role in the fall of 2008 to live the dream of working with animals. In 2009 that dream became reality when Mark opened a dog training, day care and boarding facility in Rochester, New York. He conducts several levels of training classes in a group class setting or private in-home sessions. Today, the facility continues to grow with a focus on a 24-hour a day staffed operation.

Mark’s goal is to expand his business to a second location focusing on training for shelter and rescue organizations and adoptions. His motto: “Always keep your eyes open to new opportunities because they may be right before you.”

Continuing education has always been important for Mark to keep up-to-date on training, behavior, and clinical studies. He has attended seminars at Service Dogs, Inc., and continues to attend seminars at Alfred University, Cornell University and several webinars a year.. As part of Mark’s training toolbox, he uses massage, essential oils and TAGteach. He also has served his community as a volunteer to assist local rescues and shelters with behavioral and training classes.

Mark enjoys spending time working with the behavior team at the Monroe County Humane Society developing enrichment and training plans for the dogs prior to going into their foster program or being adopted.
Mark owns nine dogs—of which three came to him through client hardships. His family consists of five Tibetan Spaniels, an English Labrador Retriever a Pomeranian mix, Rat Terrier and a Bichon. He is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen evaluator, published author in two local pet publications and sponsors a pet corner for an online publication. His business has received Angie’s List Super Service Award four years in a row.

APDT Staff

David Feldner
David Feldner
Executive Director 
Mandy Roberts
Mandy Roberts
Marketing, Communications & Project Manager
Nita Briscoe
Nita Briscoe
Exhibitor Relations Manager 
Jennifer Franco
Jennifer Franco
Director Of Educational Programs 
Devon Hubbard
Devon Hubbard
Chronicle Of The Dog Editor
Abby Davis
Abby Davis
Events Manager

Board Meetings

All APDT members are welcome to attend the Board meetings – we just ask that you notify us ten days in advance so that we can arrange for an appropriate-sized room for the meeting. Please contact the President and CEO to announce your intent to attend the meeting.

Interested in Serving on the Board of Directors?

Interested candidates should contact the Nomination Committee at nominatingchair@apdt.com for more information.

Suggestions?

Contact the board at board@apdt.com. Your message will be received and responded by the board of trustees.

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