Our Team

Our executive team brings over 100 years of collective experience within all aspects of the veterinary industry – clinical, marketing, hospital operations, training, and administrative functions.


Craig Niebur

Craig Niebur

CEO

Craig has spent his entire career working in human and veterinary healthcare services companies with high growth profiles, serving in a variety of roles including finance, operations, and executive leadership. These experiences have continually reinforced his view of the importance of placing clinical excellence and patient interaction at the forefront of daily operations and development efforts. Most recently, Craig helped expand a veterinary services provider from operations in six states generating $9 million in annual revenues, to operations in 34 states across the United States and nearly $70 million in revenue over a six-year period. Craig spends his free time with his wife and the busy schedules of twin daughters.


Jim Herring

Jim Herring

Chief Development Officer

Jim has worked in the Animal Health Industry since 1974 for manufacturers, distributors, and also owned his own veterinary distribution company during this time frame. He worked in many leadership roles throughout the years, including Sales Representative, Branch Manager, Regional Sales Director, Vice President of Sales and, most recently, Vice President of Business Development. Jim helped build Webster Veterinary Supply from a regional distributor to the largest animal health company in the world (Patterson Animal Health). He also developed the Patterson University educational program in order to help the veterinary profession manage their practices more effectively, now and in the future.

Jim and his wife, Carletta, have three children and six grandchildren that keep him busy when he is not working.


Christopher Smith DVM

Christopher Smith, DVM

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Christopher Smith obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Agribusiness degree from the University of Florida and has worked in the veterinary profession for the past 18 years. Dr. Smith’s clinic practice focuses on small animal medicine and surgery, with a special interest in exotic species. His style of clinic practice aims to provide excellent patient care while meeting the unique needs of individual clients. During his spare time, Dr. Smith volunteers with several state agencies as a consultant on wildlife issues unique to Florida. This includes monitoring the health of the threatened American crocodile population, as well as ongoing research on the invasive Burmese Python and Argentine Tegu. Dr. Smith and his wife, also a veterinarian, share their home with multiple rescue animals: three dogs, two cats, a sulfur-crested cockatoo, rabbit, guinea pigs, leopard tortoises, iguana, and turtles.


Fred Weidig

Fred Weidig

Chief Financial Officer

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Chuck Moore

Chuck Moore

Vice President, Business Development

Chuck began his Animal Health career in January 1987, with concentrations in sales and sales management roles in both the manufacturer and distribution business channels. He spent the last 19 plus years at Patterson Animal Health and was involved in the development and implementation of key company initiatives and served in leadership roles, most recently as Central Region President – Companion Animal. In his career, Chuck had geographical responsibilities at a territory, district, region and national level working closely with internal and external partners to mutually grow the practice client-patient experience.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business. Chuck and his wife Norma live in Hoover, AL, and have one daughter, Meredith. The family enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, college sports, and their pet Sheltie, Ellie.


Julie Stern

Julie Stern

Director of Marketing

Julie has spent the last 20 years in marketing leadership positions in the veterinary, real estate & business consulting industries. She is passionate about helping businesses build life-long relationships with clients, delivering exceptional experiences at every step in the process. For nine years, Julie helped grow a veterinary services provider into a national brand presence with prominent online visibility. Later, she developed formalized marketing & training programs, enabling over 700 veterinary support staff to deliver the highest standards of care to pets and their parents.

Julie holds an MBA from Yale University’s School of Management, with a concentration in Marketing. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In her spare time, Julie enjoys spending time with her husband, 5-year-old twins and their dog, Stormy. She is a competitive tennis player, voracious reader, and loves to travel.


Laura Rust

Laura Rust

Director of Recruiting

Laura Rust believes that one of the most essential elements to any successful organization is its people. As the Director of Recruiting for the American Veterinary Group, she focuses on attracting the best veterinary talent to hospital teams. Prior to joining AVG, she spent over a decade working in people-centric roles in recruiting, event planning, and secondary education and has recruited general practice and emergency veterinarians for some of the largest veterinary acquisition companies in the country. Her accomplishments include spearheading a nationwide campus recruiting strategy to support over 500 hospitals and create a pipeline of top talent to the company.

With her background in education, she enjoys partnering with the colleges of veterinary medicine to offer educational programs to students to guide them through the seemingly overwhelming job search process. She also enjoys the fulfillment that comes with hiring the perfect team member for practice and watching them flourish in their new role.

Laura holds a Master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Simmons University in Boston, MA as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. In her spare time, Laura loves to spend time with her husband and their Labrador retrievers.


Kevin Puma

Kevin Puma

Director of Training & Talent

Kevin has spent over 15 years in learning and development for several companies across a variety of industries. He has a passion for driving employee performance and cultivating organizational talent to develop future leaders. By leveraging adult learning principles and a comprehensive and interactive blended learning approach, he has demonstrated a proven record of elevating employee performance through engagement and application. Kevin’s main objective is to equip associates with the tools necessary to foster positive, memorable interactions for our clients that exceeds or is commensurate with their expectations.

Kevin spends his free time with his wife and four children. He coaches two soccer teams and loves watching sports!


Raul Cardona

Raul Cardona

Regional Director of Operations

Raul has worked in the veterinary healthcare industry for 9 years, serving as Practice Manager and Field Trainer for multiple locations. He has supported the opening of 25 locations throughout the Southeast and was Brand Ambassador for MARS in Puerto Rico. Previously, Raul gained experience in the hospitality industry, where he learned the importance of service and people. Understanding leadership dynamics, keeping a team engaged and motivated, integrating functional strategies to reach financial and operational objectives, and looking onward in growing the business are key factors on Raul’s daily agenda.

Outside of work, if Raul is not talking about sports, he’s playing sports! His two kids and boxer, Papo, also keep him busy.


Dana Joyce

Dana Joyce

Regional Director of Operations

Dana has worked in various roles in the veterinary healthcare field for over 30 years. Her passion for the veterinary healthcare field began when she started working during middle school as a kennel attendant in her local veterinary hospital. From there, her career included working in all facets of the veterinary clinic, including the opportunity to be a practice manager of multi-doctor veterinary clinics. In addition to her work directly in hospitals, Dana has served as a territory manager for both a national pharmaceutical manufacturer and a national pharmaceutical distributor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With her deep love of pets and commitment to the veterinary industry, Dana enjoys working closely with veterinary hospitals to empower their staff to provide top-quality veterinary care, exceptional customer service, and efficient operations. In her free time, Dana enjoys spending time with her husband, teenage daughter and son, and four dogs.


Al Nunez

Al Nunez

Regional Director of Operations

Al has worked in the veterinary healthcare industry for over 20 years, working in all support roles inside a hospital. After working as a Practice Manager, Al has worked in multi-site operations for 12 years across 10 states. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

In his spare time, Al loves to travel, read, spend time with family, and is an avid sports fan (football, basketball, baseball). He has a deep passion for animals, currently has three dogs, fish, and reptiles.


Christina Ruffer

Christina Ruffer

Regional Director of Operations

Christina started working in the veterinary industry 17 years ago, and her passion for pets and people flourished the moment she walked in the door at her first veterinary job. She enjoyed the daily routine of working in the kennel, assisting clients and pets, working at the front desk, managing inventory and managing staff at her local veterinary hospital. After learning multiple veterinary software systems, Christina started to consult and work with other veterinary hospitals to teach them how to properly set up and use their systems. Christina started with American Veterinary Group in May 2016 and has quickly developed bonds with each hospital, working hand in hand with each team. It is difficult to learn a new software system, but Christina makes sure each staff is confident in their training and their ability to provide excellent customer service in the process.


Jason Ruiz

Jason Ruiz

Regional Director of Operations

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Stacey Knight

Stacey Knight

Integration Specialist

Stacey brings over 20 years of operations leadership and management experience to the American Veterinary Group team, with 15 of those years in veterinary medicine. She started in the kennel and quickly realized she wanted to make this industry her life’s work. She has served in all positions of the veterinary hospital, working with exotics, zoo animals and farm animals, as well as cats and dogs. As she progressed in her career into regional operations management positions, Stacey realized she loves the animals (of course!), but her true passion lies in developing people and helping them achieve their goals.

Mom to two grown children and grandma to 5 pups, Stacey and her husband live in Dallas, Georgia. They have recently completed the renovation of a 200+ year-old farmhouse, performing 95% of the work themselves. They serve at the pleasure of 2 amazing dogs, 2 entitled cats, 4 aquatic turtles, 8 chickens, and approximately 750,000 honeybees.


Melanie Gierbolini

Melanie Gierbolini

Practice Manager Pro

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