Galaxy Vets Presents Its Leadership Team, Enhances the Integrated Services Model

team press release

The first employee-owned veterinary group in the U.S. expands its team with industry veterans to build a vertically integrated healthcare system consisting of general practices, emergency and specialty hospitals enhanced by retail diagnostic centers, virtual care, and a membership services model

Galaxy Vets, the first employee-owned veterinary healthcare system in the U.S., continues to strengthen its leadership team with key appointments in medical operations, telehealth, retail diagnostics, membership services, hospital integrations, and learning and development. 

The company announced Lowell Ackerman, DVM, MBA, joining Galaxy Vets as Head of Global Veterinary Strategy. With deep knowledge of global veterinary needs and markets, and extensive experience in primary care practice, specialty medicine, industry, and academia, Lowell will be responsible for developing and improving medical policies, processes, and procedures to ensure quality, consistency, and alignment in medical standards across all verticals in the Galaxy Vets healthcare system. These include general practices, emergency and specialty hospitals, and virtual care services. 

The operations team is led by Emmitt Nantz, MBA, Chief Operating Officer. Emmit spent nearly two decades in the veterinary industry as part of Banfield Pet Hospital, SmartFlow, and IDEXX. Emmitt uses his experience of creating large-scale operational improvements to increase hospital performance, enhance the employee experience, and leverage processes to relieve burnout. 

Diagnostic Operations is headed by Dean Cornwell, DVM, Ph.D., a veterinary industry veteran specializing in medical technology and clinical pathology. After 23 years at IDEXX, Dean joined Galaxy Vets to set up a network of retail diagnostic centers — an integral part of its business model.  

Sarah Wallace, DVM, is driving the development of Galaxy Vets’ virtual care model as VP of Telehealth. With a background in growing virtual care platforms at Fuzzy Pet Health and Modern Animal, Sarah is committed to increasing the use of telehealth to improve access to care and mitigate workload for veterinary teams.

Membership Services is led by Tina Stofiel. After 21 years of designing and growing wellness plan programs at Banfield Pet Hospital, Tina brings her expertise and deep market insights to build out a membership services platform at Galaxy Vets with the goal to improve lifetime care for pets, improve access to care for pet owners, and ultimately achieve zero economic euthanasia. 

Steve Kemph, VP of Field Operations, and Shannon Gervais, RVT, Director of Hospital Integrations, are responsible for designing a stabilization phase for veterinary practices and ensuring smooth integration into Galaxy Vets. Steve has over a decade of field leadership in the veterinary space, including work as a Region Manager at Banfield Pet Hospital and Vice President of Operations at Pet Vet Care Centers. Shannon has held multiple positions in the veterinary industry, from practicing medicine and field management to sales, marketing, and recruiting. In her previous capacity, she was in charge of veterinary technologist learning and development at VCA Canada.

Rory Lubold Sr. joined Galaxy Vets as VP of Information Technology and is in charge of IT systems, cybersecurity, and data protection. Rory is a multi-disciplined engineer with a vast background in aeronautical, electrical, mechanical, and software and hardware development in various settings — from the military to Hollywood. 

Jennifer Keller, M.Ed, oversees Learning and Development. She has nearly two decades of experience in the talent development space with Columbia Sportswear Company, Banfield Pet Hospital, and others. She is passionate about creating a culture of continuous learning, prioritizing employee well-being, and creating tools and resources that help employees do their best work and reach their career goals.

Head of Finance is RJ Peters, MBA, a finance leader with over 25 years of experience across multiple industries, including veterinary, financial services, and child care. He has led M&A projects and built FP&A teams at Cash America, EZCorp, and Lakefield Veterinary.  His focus is on building high-performance teams with strong cultures, by putting people first. 

“Only eight months since the inception, and Galaxy Vets is already a highly mature organization with a strong team, established business processes, systems, and a data-driven value creation plan for 2022 and five years beyond that. Our healthcare system is thoughtfully devised to increase access to care for pet owners and deliver a lifetime of quality care to their pets while providing financial security, flexibility, and task variety to the veterinary teams. We are excited to see that our purpose of reducing burnout in the industry is attracting so much support and talent.”

Dr. Ivan Zak, Galaxy Vets CEO

Led by Ivan Zak, DVM, MBA, the Galaxy Vets team has expanded to over 55 specialists in veterinary medicine, business, marketing, enterprise support, software engineering, data management, and design. Find the full list and bios at

Galaxy Vets partners with general practices within small regions across the U.S. to build new surgical and emergency specialty hospitals with their own reference laboratories, creating a unique, vertically integrated veterinary healthcare system. Galaxy Vets will develop a network of retail diagnostic centers and leverage the virtual care model to accommodate the growing demand for veterinary services, effectively distribute the caseload through tele-triage and tele-consulting, provide more flexibility and task variety to the veterinary teams, and improve client experience.

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