BOARD MEMBERS & STAFF
MICHELLE WOERNER - CEO
Michelle Woerner: One of the founders of K9s 4 Mobility became an Assistance Dogs International Certified Instructor in 2002 after completing a three-year training program with an Assistance Dogs International Accredited Organization. She has been involved in the breeding, training and placement of Assistance Dogs since 1997. She has also served as a board member for the North American region to Assistance Dogs International since 2008. Michelle has continued to work with Assistance Dogs International as an Accreditation Assessor, traveling to many different organizations around the world. She is the CEO and Assistance Dogs International Certified Training Instructor for K9s 4 Mobility.
HEATHER ROE DAY - Board Chair
Heather Roe Day was raised in Laramie and has called Cheyenne home for over 23 years. She is the founder of Jewel Bridge Strategies, a marketing consulting firm, and she has a background in marketing and health information technology. With the help of her husband Don and daughter Kinsale, their family were puppy raisers for Gus, a rescued Mastiff/Chocolate Lab mix which they have adopted as a pet. In addition to their puppy raising work, they enjoy volunteering at the facility to help out where needed.
The family enjoys spending time in the mountains whenever they get a chance to get away.
CAROL RIESER- Board Vice Chair
Carol Rieser was born and raised on a farm in Wisconsin. She currently lives in Loveland Colorado with her husband AJ. Between them, they have 4 sons and three grandchildren. She is a registered nurse who worked at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for the past ten years. Her last role was Administrator of Specialty Services. She earned her Masters degree in Nursing from the University of Northern Colorado. Carol has a love of all animals and is especially fond of dogs.
JESS RYAN - Board Secretary
Jess Ryan is a fifth-generation Wyoming native from Lander and graduated from the University of Wyoming. Jess is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® and financial advisor with The Compass Wealth Group.
Jess is an avid community volunteer serving as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Cheyenne, board member of CASA Laramie County, and is on the Steering Committee for Leadership Cheyenne. Jess also serves as Chair for the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce Business Council and serves as a board member for the Frontier Society for Human Resource Management. He is also a member of the Southeast Wyoming Estate Planning Council
Jess is an avid fly fisherman and very amateur gardener. His family includes his wife, local Cheyenne native Dr. Danielle Jensen-Ryan, and their rescue dog, Jack Russell/Miniature Pinscher/Dachshund, Tuni.
DAWN CULPEPPER - Board Treasurer
Dawn is a native to the state of Wyoming. She graduated from Kelly Walsh High School, attend Casper College and the University of Wyoming. She moved to the Cheyenne area in 1998. Dawn joined Cheyenne LEADS as the Office Manager in October of 2016. Prior to that she worked for McGee, Hearne & Paiz, LLP as a Senior Accountant Technician for just shy of eleven years. She has a wide variety of bookkeeping experience including not for profit, medical office, retail and close to 10 years of financial institution experience.
Outside of work Dawn enjoys the outdoors, hiking, boating, fishing and camping. Between Dawn and her fiancée, Darryl they have 4 children and 6 grandchildren with another expected the summer of 2020.
DR. TRACIE CALLER
Dr. Tracie Caller is a native of Rock Springs, graduating from the University of Wyoming and attending medical school through the WWAMI program at the University of Washington. She works as a Neurologist at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. In her spare time, she enjoys running and hiking with her Belgian Tervuren.
Chris was born and raised in Kimball, NE, moving to Cheyenne in 1987. She is with the State of Wyoming working for The Division of Healthcare Financing within the Department of Health. Chris also has an LLC where she is a researcher conducting background searches for employment companies.
Mom to Aspen and Mattie and an avid animal lover, she enjoys traveling with her husband Tom, loving her new granddaughter and volunteering at the K9s 4 Mobility facility. Chris joined the K9s 4 Mobility board in January, 2020.
Laurie Farkas is a Wyoming native, graduated from Cheyenne’s East High School and then the University of Wyoming, majoring in Communication. Laurie began a career in broadcasting with CBS affiliate KGWN-TV-5. Laurie has also worked for EchoStar Corporation/DISH Network as the producer and anchor of DISH Network News, Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Marketing and Communication, and then later became Vice President of the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce.
Laurie is currently the Wyoming based Community Affairs Program Manager for Black Hills Energy. In her role with the company, she manages a service territory consisting of the south half of the state. She regularly works in the field, alongside natural gas and electric utility crews to provide information and communication materials to local media, the Wyoming Public Service Commission, contractors, and the public, regarding emergency issues and utility integrity and growth projects.
Through her role in community relations, Laurie has had the opportunity to work closely with the K9s 4 Mobility teams and understands the critically important role of the organization. Laurie is enthusiastically looking forward to serving on the Board of Directors, and continuing her work in supporting our local assistance dog industry.
Laurie and husband Steve have been married for 27 years, together, they are the parents of two grown children.
Joanna Vilos joined the K9s 4 Mobility board in January 2018. Joanna grew up in Worland, WY and received her B.A. from the University of Maryland and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She is Senior Legal Counsel for Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and was previously a partner with Holland & Hart LLP in Cheyenne, where she focused primarily on employment law. In her spare time, Joanna enjoys traveling and going to Wyoming Cowboys games with her two children, ages 8 and 13
Joanna was a huge part of the successful Service Dog Law passed in Wyoming in 2017, donating her time to K9s 4 Mobility!
Karen is originally from Ohio and lived in Texas for 14 years before moving to Cheyenne three years ago. While in Texas she was a Puppy Raiser for another ADI organization and had her Labrador Retriever Hunter as a Therapy Dog with hospitals in the area.
She started to volunteer with K9s 4 Mobility in 2016, has raised three puppies, one becoming the Ambassador Dog Drake. Karen became an Assistant Trainer at K9s 4 Mobility in January of 2018.
She and her husband Troy live in Cheyenne and keep busy with home projects and their dogs.
JUSTINE WOERNER - Apprentice Trainer
Justine graduated from Cheyenne East Highschool in 2019 and is now attending Laramie County Community College for Small Business. She began officially working for K9s 4 Mobility at the completion of the training facility in 2015 but has always been a very special volunteer. She has assisted in the raising of many dogs in training and currently has one retired Service Dog as her own pet. Justine loves getting to know all of the recipients of the Assistance Dogs and builds a relationship with them that last. While attending college classes, Justine often takes a dog in training with her.
When Justine is not assisting with dog training she enjoys spending time with her horse, taking photos of scenery and just being outside.