Our leadership team is comprised of industry professionals who are equipped and highly experienced to support your growing needs as a practice. Click on the photos below to learn more about our team!
Rich Lester, Founder & CEO
Rich has spent his career working in human and veterinary healthcare services. His primary focus has been creating joint ventures with doctors at each of the organizations’ various locations. VPP is bringing together his years of experience and expertise to build a unique veterinary business.
Rich most recently spent almost three years as the President of BrightHeart Veterinary Centers. He built and centralized the administrative functions, including accounting, vendor contracting, and employee benefits. Additionally, Rich was responsible for identifying, negotiating and closing multiple acquisitions, supervising the integration of the newly acquired hospitals into the BrightHeart family of practices and overseeing their operations.
Before joining BrightHeart, Rich was Co-CEO & CFO of Pentec Health, a specialty pharmacy business in suburban Philadelphia focused on nutritional therapies for the dialysis industry. Prior to Pentec, he was CFO and Senior Vice President of operations at IntelliCare, Inc, a disease management and medical call center business based in Portland, Maine.
Earlier in his career, Rich spent over 7 years with DaVita, Inc., a leading dialysis provider. During this time he was directly responsible for establishing and managing many joint venture relationships with nephrologists that worked in DaVita’s dialysis centers. He held a variety of senior management positions including Vice President of Development and Operations for the New York region, VP of Investor Relations and a member of the Company’s Executive Committee.
Rich started his career at Bear Stearns & Co, Inc. in the corporate finance group. He earned an MBA at UCLA and Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in both Finance and American History.
Founder & CEOrlester@vetpartners.com
Len Podolsky, Vice President of Partnership Development
Len joined VPP in October 2015 to lead the company's Partnership Development efforts. In this role, Len engages with individual practice owners to understand the unique challenges and opportunities facing their businesses. Drawing on his extensive experience developing solutions to operational and financial issues of all shapes and sizes, he can provide a practice owner with a clear perspective into whether a partnership with VPP could provide financial and operational benefits.
Prior to joining VPP Len worked as a Director of Operations for Cotiviti, a leading healthcare payment accuracy firm. At Cotiviti Len led a team that provided service and process support to Cotiviti's health insurance clients, restructuring and growing the operation to provide service delivery on a significantly larger scale.
Prior to Cotiviti, Len spent 6 years in corporate finance at J.P. Morgan and Piper Jaffray. At J.P. Morgan, he worked with healthcare companies, including veterinary services businesses, helping evaluate strategic alternatives, mergers, acquisitions, and debt and equity financing options. At Piper Jaffray, Len evaluated investment opportunities in the healthcare information technology and services sectors.
Len began his career in pharmaceutical marketing, working in market research and analytics at GlaxoSmithKline and Health Strategies Group.
Len earned an MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics and Political Science from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
Vice President of Partnership Developmentlpodolsky@vetpartners.com
Douglas Aspros, DVM
Douglas Aspros, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer
Doug joined the VPP team in 2015 to help develop more successful practices and bring new partners into the VPP family. His extensive experience in practice and strong relationships in the wider veterinary community will help improve every aspect of our partnerships.
As the 2012-13 President of the AVMA, the largest member organization in veterinary medicine, he worked to make it more engaged and responsive to the profession and the needs of society. Respected by his peers, he chaired the Council on Education, was a member of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and is currently a member of the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine.
Doug has been an owner of two AAHA-accredited general practices and the managing partner of a group-owned emergency practice in the NYC suburbs.
Most recently, he has been a determined voice in promoting women into leadership roles in veterinary medicine - including practice ownership- as a speaker and founding board member of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.
He attended Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and received his DVM degree from their College of Veterinary Medicine. He and his wife are the proud pet parents of a Norfolk Terrier, an African Grey Parrot and one awesome cat.
Chief Veterinary Officerdaspros@vetpartners.com
Win Lippincott, Chief Marketing & Technology Officer
Win serves as VPP's in-house marketing expert, tasked with working with partner hospitals to drive new revenue growth through improved customer retention programs and new patient development initiatives. Additionally, he leads VPP's own marketing efforts to attract new partner hospitals and DVMs to the firm's growing network of partnerships.
Prior to VPP, Win spent five years as the Director of Marketing for Foresite Sports, Inc., a leading specialty insurance provider, where he oversaw the company's marketing strategy development and implementation. During his tenure, Foresite was recognized as one of the fastest-growing firms in the tri-state region through its inclusion in the Philadelphia 100 rankings. Additionally, Win spent two years as a Senior Associate at Centerwood Partners, LLC, an alternative investment company where he co-led both its analytical equity research and business development efforts.
Win received his MBA with a concentration in Financial Analysis from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and a B.S. in Economics with concentrations in Entrepreneurial Marketing and Strategic Management from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
Chief Marketing & Technology Officerwlippincott@vetpartners.com
Gary Behler, Vice President of Operations
Gary joined VPP in December 2012 to provide direct support to our partner hospitals. His focus is on training our practice managers, ensuring the hospitals maintain a positive culture, and helping ensure high quality cost-effective care is delivered to patients.
Most recently, Gary had spent five years in the veterinary industry providing support and development to hospital teams in the Central Florida area. He successfully built a strong diverse team of doctors, practice managers, and staff delivering quality pet care and an excellent client experience while delivering exceptional financial results. Gary’s leadership skills have proven to help hospital teams develop best practices to improve the client experience.
Gary also served various roles with Hertz at the district, territory, and region levels including Director of Real Estate and Director of Operations. He was tasked with leading the growth and development of a new division of the business serving the local rental car needs and had a part in opening more than 125 locations. Early in his career, Gary spent more than four years with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in various management and sales roles. He has also owned and operated multiple restaurant locations.
Gary earned his Bachelor's degree from Kutztown University in Business Management.
Vice President of Operationsgbehler@vetpartners.com
Hannah Casey, Director of Partnership Development
Hannah joined VPP in March 2018, working closely with the VP of Partnership Development, engaging with individual practice owners to understand the unique challenges and opportunities facing their practices. Drawing on her extensive experience in veterinary acquisitions and relationship development, she can provide a practice owner with a valued perspective into whether a partnership with VPP could provide financial and operational benefits.
Most recently, Hannah worked in practice acquisitions for another veterinary management company, supporting growth efforts in the Southeastern US. She cultivated successful relationships with countless practice owners and was involved in the acquisition of a number of practices during her tenure with the company.
Prior to her three years in veterinary acquisitions, Hannah worked as a Business Development Associate for Kane, the largest Independent Captive Manager and the fourth largest Captive Manager in the world.
Hannah attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives just outside Charlotte, NC, with her husband, Allen, and two dogs, Coco and Folly, and cat, Fripp.
Director of Partnership Developmenthcasey@vetpartners.com
Andrew DeFino, Director of Partnership Development
Andrew joined VPP in November 2016 as a Senior Business Development Analyst, and was promoted to the role of Director of Partnership Development soon after. Andrew works closely with the VP of Partnership Development, the senior management team, and engages with individual practice owners to understand the unique challenges and opportunities facing their practices.
Drawing on his extensive experience analyzing and evaluating corporate growth strategies, financial information, and making investment recommendations on public and private companies, Andrew provides practice owners with a clear, informative perspective into how a partnership with VPP can provide ample financial and strategic benefits.
Most recently, Andrew worked as a Portfolio Manager for Kalmar Investments, a leading financial asset management firm. At Kalmar Investments, Andrew was responsible for making informed investment decisions based on extensive research and analysis, focused on publicly traded companies who were executing significant growth strategies.
Prior to Kalmar Investments, Andrew spent eight years as a global fixed income and equity Financial Analyst at BlackRock. During his tenure, he focused primarily on the consumer and services oriented sectors evaluating industry fundamentals and the long-term projected financial impact of company strategic plans, mergers, and acquisitions.
Andrew earned a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, and went on to receive a MBA with a concentration in Investment Management from Lebow College of Business at Drexel University.
Director of Partnership Developmentadefino@vetpartners.com
David Wenger, Director of Partnership Development
Prior to joining VPP, David served as Director of Development for a large Dental Group (DSO) with over 220 practices in 17 states. He was responsible for all practice acquisitions from valuation to integration throughout 5 states in the Midwest region. Additionally, he has more than 10 years of sales and management experience in dentistry with a focus on products and services that improved practice performance.
Born and raised in Michigan, David spent nearly 20 years in Chicago before returning to Michigan 7 years ago to raise their children in a setting he and his wife remember fondly. David and his wife, Megan, have three daughters and an impatient French Bulldog named Vern. They enjoy spending time on and around Lake Michigan during the warmer months paddle boarding, sunset beach nights, having backyard barbecues with friends and family and riding bikes with Vern in a bike trailer. They also enjoy snowmobiling and snow skiing during the snow season.
Director of Partnership Developmentdwenger@vetpartners.com
Aura Mastraghin, Director of Marketing
Aura joined VPP in January of 2014 to provide direction and support to our partner hospitals’ marketing campaigns. Her focus is on online reputation management, client retention strategies and creative asset development. In addition, she will handle the promotion and publicity of VPP to foster recognition of our continued growth and tremendous potential.
In her previous positions, Aura led a variety of marketing campaigns, including analytical, research and creative projects. Aura has hands-on experience with web analytics, email campaigns, blogging and marketing collateral creation. She received a B.S. in Economics with concentrations in Marketing and Hispanic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Director of Marketingamastraghin@vetpartners.com
David Saulino, Controller
Dave joined VPP in 2015 and serves as Company Controller. He is responsible for the day-to-day accounting and reporting for VPP and its partner hospitals.
Dave brings over 15 years of accounting and leadership experience to VPP. Prior to joining VPP, he was the Controller of Quench, USA Inc. He also worked as the Director of Accounting for GPX Enterprises, overseeing the accounting and reporting functions for its various portfolio companies. Prior to that, Dave spent over 7 years at Airgas, Inc. in Internal Audit and Financial Operations focusing on Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance and Acquisition Accounting. He began his career in the Assurance Practice at KPMG.
Dave earned his B.S in Accounting and International Business from Drexel University.
Emily Buickerood, Marketing Manager
Emily Buickerood joined VPP in January of 2015 to aid in the design and direction of our partners' marketing campaigns. Her focus is on the design of websites, online and email campaigns, and printed marketing materials. Additionally, she will work to promote VPP for continued growth.
In previous positions, Emily worked with a similar model to VPP's, in the fitness and healthcare industry. With a heavy design background, she has worked on print, web and email campaigns, as well as large scale billboard and video pylon designs. Past partners include Robert Wood Johnson University Hospitals, Princeton Healthcare System, Hackensack University Medical Center and the New York Giants.
Emily received a B.S. in Graphic Design Communications from Philadelphia University, formerly known as the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.
Jeff Gambino, Director of Analytics and Business Intelligence
Jeff Gambino joined VPP in February 2017 as Director of Analytics and Business Intelligence. His role will be to lead the company’s strategic vision for operational growth by leveraging data to analyze marketing effectiveness and optimize the performance of our partner hospitals.
In addition, Jeff will focus on building high-performance teams at our partner hospitals by fostering strong professional relationships, understanding a hospital’s data needs, and providing reporting and analytics. Jeff will also be responsible for highlighting the benefits of VPP’s unique co-ownership business model.
Most recently, Jeff led the analytics effort at M3 USA, a firm servicing the human healthcare and life sciences industry. Through his team’s efforts, M3 increased operational efficiency, reduced labor cost, and increased customer satisfaction.
Prior to M3 USA, Jeff worked at Epocrates, a company that designs apps for physicians. Jeff was tapped on multiple occasions to build out new analytics and data functions in support of different products and services. His teams collaborated with business leaders throughout the organization to resolve marketing and sales questions through data.
Jeff obtained his B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He went on to receive his Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.
Director of Analytics and Business Intelligencejgambino@vetpartners.com
Jordynne Jarrett, Payroll & Benefits Supervisor
Jordynne joined VPP in December 2017 as the Payroll & Benefits Supervisor. She brings eight years of payroll and benefits experience, and a proven track record of success, to the VPP family and its partner hospitals.
Most recently, Jordynne spent 3 ½ years as a Payroll Processor supporting the payroll, benefits, and employee programs at Lake Region Medical. She was responsible for processing payroll for six multi state entities with approximately 2,500 full-time and part-time employees through Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Prior to Lake Region Medical, Jordynne held similar positions as Payroll Administrator, Payroll Coordinator, and Senior Payroll Specialist.
Jordynne also has extensive experience with employee benefit plans and is well-versed in payroll processing software.
Payroll & Benefits Supervisorjjarrett@vetpartners.com
Kim Casey, Regional Operations Manager
Kim joined VPP in February 2015 to provide direct support to our partner hospitals. She will focus on training and developing our practice managers, ensuring the hospitals maintain a positive culture, and helping ensure high quality cost-effective care is delivered to our patients.
Prior to joining VPP, Kim spent 11 years with Banfield. She started as a Veterinary Assistant and worked her way up to becoming a Practice Manager. As Practice Manager, she was looked upon from her peers as someone to help them and support them. She travelled to multiple locations throughout FL providing training and leadership to her peers.
Prior to Banfield, she worked at a private practice for 5 years where she started as a Kennel Technician and worked her way up to becoming a Veterinary Assistant. Kim has experience in all roles and aspects of the hospital and will be able to share those experiences and skills with our hospital teams.
Regional Operations Managerkcasey@vetpartners.com
Lakia Chandler, Accounting Manager
Lakia joined VPP in April of 2016 and serves as the Accounting Manager. She is responsible for the day-to-day accounting and reporting for VPP and its partner hospitals.
Lakia brings over 10 years of accounting and leadership experience to VPP. Prior to joining VPP, she was the Accounting Manager of Momentum Telecom, Inc. (Formerly known as Alteva, Inc.) She also worked as the Accounting Manager at Quench USA, Inc., where she was responsible for monthly financial close process, including supervision of staff in their individual responsibilities related to the process. Prior to that, Lakia spent over 4 years at UGI Corporation in various positions such a Senior Internal Auditor, the SOX 404 Coordinator, Supervisor of Payroll/HRIS, and a Senior Analyst in the Revenue Accounting Department. She began her career in the Assurance Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP.
Lakia earned her B.S in Accounting and Minor in Business Administration from King’s College.
Dayton, Chief Office Pup
Dayton has the important role of strolling through the office and receiving treats and pets. She is highly skilled in fetch, catching treats out of mid air, and napping. Her previous roles include Best Big Sis to her 2 human sisters, and Chief Begging Strategist at dinnertime.
Chief Office Pup
Lindsay Kennedy, Brand Manager
Lindsay joined VPP in February 2017 as the company’s first Brand Manager. Her focus is on developing marketing initiatives that will positively reflect VPP’s image and one-of-a-kind business model. Lindsay also has the role of monitoring current marketing trends and conducting consumer research that is key to the company’s success.
In Lindsay's previous roles, she creatively crafted, executed, and managed dynamic marketing plans to drive significant revenue growth and lead generation. She is also skilled in online & onsite event planning and execution.
Lindsay obtained a B.A. in Marketing and Public Relations from the University of Dayton in Ohio. She lives in Chester County, PA with her husband, two little girls, and her black lab, Dayton.
Michele Bouwman, Regional Operations Manager, Midwest
Michele joined VPP in February 2017 to provide direct support to our partner hospitals. She will focus on training and developing our practice managers, ensuring the hospitals maintain a positive culture, and helping ensure high quality cost-effective care is delivered to our patients.
Most recently, Michele spent over 8 years with Banfield Pet Hospital as Field Operations Director. During this time, she supported veterinary hospitals over a wide geographical area spanning from Florida to Illinois. Michele’s empowering leadership qualities helped build strong teams of doctors, managers, and staff that improved the culture and quality of care offered at hospital locations.
Prior to Banfield, Michele worked with The Hertz Corporation. Her career began in Los Angeles as a Branch Development Manager, and her ambition and exceptional management skills quickly promoted her to District Manager. Michele continued to prove herself as a leader and became a City Manager. In this position, she was responsible for the management of numerous airport sites. Her ability to coach teams, generate effective sales, and ensure quality service promoted Michele to the role of Midwest Regional Off Airport Director. Finally, Michele moved up to General Manager where she was tasked with all facets of business growth, from marketing and business negotiations to staff development and team productivity.
Michele earned a B.A. in Studio Arts with a Minor in Business from Loyola Marymount University.
Regional Operations Manager, Midwestmbouwman@vetpartners.com
Tosha Zimmerman, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Tosha joined VPP in September 2016 as the company’s first Talent Acquisition Specialist. Her primary role is to lead recruiting efforts that will further support the growing VPP team and its partner hospitals. Coaching staff members, especially veterinary technicians, to reach their highest potential is her passion.
Most recently, Tosha spent two years at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa, FL as the first technician recruiter. Her enthusiastic leadership and strong interpersonal skills successfully supported the hiring efforts of over fifty hospitals. In 2003, she became a Certified Veterinary Technician, which provided years of first-hand experience in a hospital setting. She also worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists, and a Licensed Veterinary Technician at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Manhattan. Tosha is the past President of the Florida Veterinary Technician Association.
Prior to earning certification as a veterinary technician, Tosha was responsible for client service at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists, and worked in the restaurant industry specializing in catering.
Tosha earned her A.S. in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College in 2002.
Talent Acquisition Specialisttzimmerman@vetpartners.com
Vince Agnone, Senior Associate, Partnership Development
Vince joined the VPP team in 2016 as a Business Development Associate, a role that is integral to partnership development efforts. Vince is responsible for forming meaningful relationships with prospective partners by effectively communicating the advantages of VPP’s co-ownership approach and how VPP can help a practice reach its fullest potential.
Most recently, Vince worked as Field Energy Specialist at SolarCity, a company dedicated to clean energy services. In this position, Vince focused on expanding the company’s market reach in Philadelphia, generated quality leads with customers and properties, and fostered productive relationships with sales partners.
Prior to SolarCity, Vince was a Personal Banker with Bank of America. His strong communication skills, adept listening abilities, and enthusiasm for culturing profitable relationships allowed Vince to make continual sales, drive revenue, and meet service goals.
Vince earned a B.S. in Business Management from Penn State University.
Senior Associate, Partnership Developmentvagnone@vetpartners.com