2016-17 Executive Board




Ryan Frazier, LVT - has been a Veterinary Technician since 2004. He graduated from Madison Area Technician College in Madison, Wisconsin. He has worked in emergency and specialty medicine since 2007 and made the move to Washington in September of 2014. He is actively working on his Veterinary Technician Specialty in Emergency and Critical Care. His true passions include unpredictable trauma medicine, traveling far and wide and his old little beagle Remington. 

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Jade Velasquez, LVT -has been involved with veterinary medicine for 14 years; working as a licensed veterinary technician for 9. Most of her careers has been working in emergency medicine, but she has since found her niche in a busy general practice. In 2014, she created Veterinary Support Staff Unleashed on Facebook which has gathered 3,800 members due to its strong focus on providing emotional and professional support. She has recently been fortunate enough to have several articles published by Dr. Andy Roark's website. As president elect, she is excited about working with the esteemed board members and hearing what is important to the WSAVT membership. Currently she works at Woodside Animal Hospital in Port Orchard, Washington. She enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her family. She also has done work with Basenji rescue and has acquired a few foster failures to add to her furry family members. She hopes to eventually branch out into practice management with intentions of focusing on promoting the human/animal bond and creating a positive and cohesive team environment.

 Shari Hultberg, LVT - began in this industry in 2004 as a receptionist and instantly knew she wanted to become a licensed veterinary technician. Shari graduated from the online program, AAHA’s DEVTP, through Cedar Valley Community College in 2008 with Phi Theta Kappa honors. She has 2 senior dogs (Abby and Peanut), 2 cats (Hamster and Spare Kitty and 3 goats (Tyche, Jewel and Bucky Boy). Born and raised in Washington State, Shari is currently located in beautiful Poulsbo.

During her first year as vice-president for WSAVT, Shari helped organize a very successful CE in Silverdale, WA. Now this CE has become an annual event on the peninsula during the fall.  She is focused on establishing easily accessible and informative CE’s. Shari’s long-term goal is to promote the recognition of tasks provided by licensed technicians and the importance these duties have in the veterinary community. Technicians are hard-working, passionate and dedicated to the care of all species of animals. Veterinarians and their clientele should be aware of the vital role the veterinary technician plays in the veterinary team dynamic.


Benita Altier, LVT VTS (Dentistry) - Through her business, Pawsitive Dental Education, she provides dentistry instruction and consultations across the United States and Canada to veterinary professionals.

Benita has published numerous articles on dentistry in veterinary journals as well as being a contributing author to a textbook for veterinary technicians and nurses on the subject of the dental operatory, ergonomics and safety.


Lori Lutskas, LVT CCRP is the treasurer for WSAVT.  She started this position around 2012, before this time she was on the executive board as finance chairperson and bylaws chairperson.  She has been a veterinary technician in the state of Washington since 1983 and a member of WSAVT since that time.  She has enjoyed a variety of practice types in her career; mix-animal, small animal, and lastly academia.   Since joining WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, she has been in small animal surgery, neurology, and integrative medicine.  She got her certification in Canine Rehabilitation in 2006; she has realized that this is what she really enjoys to help patients that need veterinary physical therapy.  She gets really excited to take a neurological patient and be able to re-train them to walk again.


April Panpipat, LVT


Shirley Sandoval, BAS, LVT - VTS (Large Animal Internal Medicine) has been a member of the WSAVT since 1981.  She has served as a board member off and on since the mid '80s. Shirley has also been a board member with NAVTA and currently represents them on the Veterinary Technician Testing committee where she assists in the validation of the VT National Exam.   She holds a VTS in large animal internal medicine and has been a wildlife rehabilitator for many years.  She recently retired from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine after 32 years as a veterinary and instructional technician. She has a major interest in neonatology of all large animal species and enjoys the challenges of working in a state of the art, fast paced environment.  

Shirley has had a variety of animals from reptiles, pocket pets, and fish to horses, cattle, goats, sheep and alpacas.  Currently the menagerie consists of parrots, dogs, cats and pond carp.

 MEMBERSHIP  Markiva Contris, BA, LVT, CCRP    
 PROGRAM  Laura Tautz- Hair, LVT, VTS (Emergency and Critical Care) joined Seattle Veterinary Specialists in 2007.  She is a technician in the emergency department, the veterinary technician manager, and education coordinator at Seattle Veterinary Specialists.  Laura is a 1998 graduate of the veterinary technology program at Pierce College.  Her experience began in small animal practice in 1991.  In 1995 Laura began focusing on emergency and critical care.  In 2003 Laura became a member of the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians.  Laura has also been an instructor of veterinary technology at PIMA medical institute, teaching anatomy and physiology, laboratory procedures, and pharmacology.  Currently Laura volunteers on the advisory board for the Veterinary Technician program for PIMA Medical Institute.  Laura contributed to the emergency chapter of the Veterinary Technicians Daily Reference Guide and contributes to the publications of the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians, where she is the program chair.  Laura has also presented at continuing education conferences regionally and nationally including the WSAVT, WSVMA, and AVMA.
Sheila Miller, LVT is the Career Center Coordinator for the WSAVT. She has worked in veterinary medicine since 1985, and has been a Licensed Veterinary Technician since her graduation from Pierce College in 1988. Sheila joined the WSAVT as a student member while attending Pierce College, and has been a member since. Sheila has worked in small animal, ER, and mixed animal practices, and also worked for several years as an Animal Control Officer for Thurston County. She currently works from home in the management side her husband's small animal veterinary clinic which is located in Federal Way.  Sheila has volunteered for the position of WSAVT Career Center Coordinator since October 2013.



Christina Ojanen, BS, LVT- VTS (Surgery) is a 2005 graduate of the Yakima Valley Community College Veterinary Technology program.  She received her veterinary technician license in 2005.  She graduated in 2007 with a bachelor in zoology from Washington State University.  She earned her VTS in surgery in October, 2013.  Christina has been the Small Animal Orthopedic Technician at the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital since 2007.  She has been a WSAVT member since 2007 and a NAVTA member since 2006.  She has been the WSAVT newsletter editor since July 2014.  She is currently on the Credentialing Committee for the AVST and is the Nomination Chair. She has written an article for the NAVTA Journal.  In her spare time Christina enjoys reading, watching movies, gardening, and hanging out with her one dog and one cat.