Simon was raised on a farm with cattle, sheep and wheat farming in the Sunshine State of Queensland, Australia. At a young age, he grew to love and nurture animals. He decided to set the ‘Gold’ standard in superior pet care/boarding services and pet transportation as a life goal.
Pet Care and Boarding Facilities: As part of a variety of animal-related businesses, Simon owns and runs four pet care/boarding facilities in Queensland, Australia with facilities on hundreds of acres of land, capable of caring for 900+ dogs and 400+ cats on a daily basis.
Pet Transport Companies: Simon owns and runs the largest franchise operation in pet transport in Australia and New Zealand, transporting over 1,000 animals each week, both interstate and internationally, through its 15 offices. Currently, CEO responsibilities for the 15 Dogtainers offices finds Simon mixing pet transportation with the management of the business and the team of 70 staff Australia/New Zealand wide. Dogtainers Pet Transport is a 47-year-old company that is a market leader and one of the most experienced companies in Australia in the safe global relocation of pets.
Livestock Logistics: Stockair - Simon’s livestock logistics business - created in 2003 to achieve the same focus of “GOLD STANDARD” care and relocation, Stockair has become Australia’s largest facilitator of export of livestock by air, currently exporting approximately 50,000 goats, 20,000 sheep, 9,000 dairy and beef cattle, 250 equines (horses/donkeys), 2000 alpaca and 50 camels annually.
Pet Crate Manufacturing: JSJ Group, a plastic pet crate production/manufacturing business based in Queensland has been making quality commercial grade pet crates for pet transport for 15 years and supports many pet transport companies around the world to relocate animals safely.
Simon’s passion and commitment to the safe relocation of animals is how his businesses have risen to well-respected industry leaders globally.
Derek was born and raised in New York City but moved to Maryland in 1986. He attended college at Howard Community in Columbia, MD in pursuit of a degree in Music Education. In 1994, he came to the pet care industry and started as a driver, transporting pets to and from residences and airports. During this time, he also started showing Dalmatians after he adopted his first dog, “Sterling”, from the breeder/owner of Shady Spring Kennels.
In 2002, he became active in pet and animal relocation and attended his first IPATA conference in Washington DC. Following that, he began attending the IPATA conferences annually to continue learning. As the pet travel industry became busier, he recognized a need for an agent in the Washington DC area and began creating Capital Pet Movers. Derek was elected to the IPATA Board of Directors in 2008 and as IPATA President from 2015-2018.
Some of his goals are to promote safe air travel while educating the public, dispelling some of the myths of air travel, and providing good tools of education for IPATA members. Working together and understanding shipping worldwide is paramount to success.
What started out as a school holiday job in 1995, helping out at her mom's pet transportation business in Durban, turned into the discovery of a lifelong passion and dedication toward growth and development within the pet relocation industry. It was here Hazel began learning how to deal with clients, working out quotes and truly discovering the foundations of the building blocks of pet relocation and all it encompasses.
Armed with a wealth of knowledge passed down through generations, as well as her strong corporate background established while living in London for nine years, the creation of PETport and its vision to ensure pets and owners are reunited through the course of their relocation, was born.
Hazel has a deeply ingrained commitment to growth and development. She strongly believes in the goals and vision that started her on this journey and continues to share with and educate her staff members on excellence in delivery and certified experience within the industry, thereby guaranteeing the best experience to both humans and pets alike. As her slogan says... “It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal!”
She has always been involved in pet rescue and has been a "failed foster mom" to many a needy animal, always welcoming a new soul into her home. This passion and care are also shown in her company PETport. Their constant work with assisting various rescue centers to place pets in their new forever homes throughout South Africa is one of the ways Hazel gives back to the community whilst setting PETport apart.
PETport has branches in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and many strongholds within the African Continent; PETport continues to be a provider of excellence in pet relocation through-out Africa and the globe.
Dr. Gerry Pahl is a professional veterinarian with over 25 years of experience and is also the Managing Director of one of Hong Kong's leading veterinary clinic chains. Raised on a farm in rural Victoria, Australia and surrounded by animals and family pets from a young age, his love of animals naturally influenced his career choice.
Dr. Pahl graduated from the University of Sydney in 1986 and has since worked as a veterinary surgeon in Australia and the United Kingdom, and has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1997.
After more than a decade of providing Hong Kong pet relocation companies with professional veterinary services as an integral part of pet relocation, the time came for Dr. Pahl’s own family pet to temporarily relocate to Australia. Naturally, he handled the relocation of his pet Dalmatian “Speckles” personally and with minimal impact on his family’s beloved pet. Very soon friends and acquaintances of friends began to use his services for pet relocation to and from Hong Kong. Buoyed by the wonderful feedback, Dr. Pahl began PetExportVet in 2010 and has been offering pet relocation services ever since.
He actively participates in vet panels at International IPATA conferences as well as contributes as a member of the Snub-nosed dog Taskforce. Gerry has served on IPATA’S Board of Directors and is actively involved in ongoing professional development and education.
Dr. Gerry has a unique perspective on the pet industry, particularly in the Asian region, and feels his experience and knowledge make a great contribution to IPATA’s future goals.
Dr. Landers knew from the young age of three that he had a passion for animals. His dream of working with animals was set in motion when he declared he was going to be a zoologist. This dream was a short-lived, only lasting one year, as he decided at the ripe old age of four to become a veterinarian. The rest is history, as David’s childhood was filled with many dogs, cats, reptiles, fish, sheep, goats, and pigs.
As a teenager, he worked for veterinary clinics in his small town with the plan to move back one day and set up his own shingle. This didn’t happen, however, and he found himself moving to Fort Worth, Texas where he worked in a seven-doctor practice, seeing all manner of animals from dogs and cats to monkeys, miniature pigs, and camels!
From the time he graduated from vet school he had an aptitude for doing international health certificates. Little did he know that there was an entire industry of moving pets around the world. Once he discovered the international pet shipping business, he was hooked.
Dr. Landers purchased his first clinic in July 2006 and then merged that clinic with his current one to create AirVets Pet Relocation in 2009.
Dr. David Landers is a 2003 graduate of Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. His practice has a special interest in international import/export medicine, humanitarian medicine, feline medicine, and exotic animal medicine which includes a large number of species such as birds, small mammals, reptiles, primates, large cats, and occasionally hoofstock such as zebra and camels.
Dr. Landers currently lives in Dallas, Texas with his stunning, talented wife, Jenn (guess who edited this bio) and son Ethan. He serves in the state military, the Texas State Guard and spends his spare time as the consulting veterinarian for Sea Life Aquariums in Grapevine, Texas as well as Air Canada.
In addition to his veterinary practice, Dr. Landers owns AirVets Pet Relocation, a Dallas, Texas-based company near DFW Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport that specializes in international relocation of pets and other animals.
IPATA Regional Directors
Working with animals has always been Joanne's calling from the moment she was old enough to differentiate a puppy from a kitten. Since she was ten, she earned pocket money cleaning boarding kennels for her father. She grew up among animals at a rustic and laid back farm. The first Ricted Kennels headquarters was situated on the farm - not the usual childhood of an average Singaporean kid. She was able to spend hours playing with or just hanging out with the pets that were boarding at our pet boarding facilities - an integral part of her education of truly understanding and caring for them. It has also deepened her lifelong love for animals, thus converting her into a firm believer in her company's mission - “Your Pet is Our Priority”.
She began her career in pet relocation more than five years ago. And has had a crazy wonderful journey full of challenging relocation assignments, back-to-back deliveries, and 24/7 customer relationship management, none of which have lacked in bizarre pet owners with incredibly adorable pets.
From running errands for the founder to orchestrating hundreds of moves a year; from a few basic sheds to 30 kennels and 17 catteries across Singapore and Bangkok offices, she has seen growth in herself and her company. She is devoted to expanding a footprint across the region with her team and staff.
Her team and fellow colleagues in the industry generally know me her as a person who is genuine, always on the ball and fun-loving. She loves to play Mahjong (Chinese card game) and Monopoly for leisure, both of which hone good strategic thinking, acute situational awareness and accurate judgment in the timing and placement of resources to win the game.
She feels that this helps develop the skills which allow her to bring value to the IPATA members in the Asia and Oceania Region.
Riekie Fourie was born into a newly established company started by her parents in 1979. Riekie always likes to refer to Animal Travel Services as her sibling.
Riekie grew up with Animal Travel Services and the company became part of her everyday life and still is. She spent most of her afternoons either in the delivery vehicle with her mom or at the cargo section of Cape Town International Airport.
As a young girl she played her part from “helping” her dad build travel crates to taking full responsibility for the care and wellbeing of Animal Travel Services clients’ smaller pets who she insisted had to share her bedroom. There was always a hamster, goldfish or bird sharing her bedroom who, during their visit, received her undivided love and attention.
Riekie and her sister were always pulled in over school holidays to help out with the cleaning of boarding kennels or preparing pets and their travel crates for flights.
She officially joined Animal Travel Services fresh out of school in 1999 as a pet chauffeur, collecting and delivering pets all over the Western Cape. From there she gradually worked her way up the ranks.
She also competed at an international level with her dog Gambol and travelled abroad with him so found herself in the shoes of the clients who entrusted their pets with Animal Travel Services.
She was groomed by Estelle Fourie from a young age and was taught the importance of operating an honest business with good ethics putting the client and most importantly their beloved pet’s wellbeing first. Together they ran Animal Travel Services successfully.
After her Mom’s sudden passing she had to grab both reigns to take full control of Animal Travel Services with the support and backing of a fantastic team who stand strong behind her.
Her absolute love and obsession for any animal did not fade over the years. Riekie and her family currently share their home with five dogs, seven cats, nine chickens, three bunnies and a fish (there’s always room for more).
New England native Mandy O'Connell has an 18-year career working in the world of travel planning and logistics, beginning with her adventures leading college students on arduous, 3-month walking tours of Europe. She was the youngest and only the second woman to be appointed as a leader in the 35-year history of Franklin Pierce University's Walk in Europe program - and from there, she was hooked on travel.
Mandy took her logistics coordination skills to the next level as the Associate Director of Operations for a private jet company, where she coordinated travel for musicians, sports teams, and politicians. She often accompanied the clients on international journeys (ask her about her tour of South America with the WWE), but it was her seasons with the University of Texas basketball team that lead her to a new life of sunshine and tacos in Austin, Texas.
There Mandy found PetRelocation. Admittedly, she was surprised to learn of the vibrant pet shipping industry. It seemed too good to be true; melding her love of animals (her partner in crime at the time was her beloved chocolate lab, Jackson) with her love of logistics and problem solving was something she never thought would be possible.
In the eight years at PetRelocation, she has helped hundreds of families relocate their pets all over the world, specializing in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Mandy took on some of PetRelocation’s most complex moves and became the first Relocation Manager at PetRelocation.
Mandy now oversees a team of Coordinators, working behind the scenes to help train, mentor, and problem solve (especially during this difficult pandemic). As part of the management team at PetRelocation, Mandy helps find new ways to improve how we serve our clients, work with partners, and innovate processes internally, and make pet relocation safe and sustainable.
When Mandy is not spending her time helping her team manage the demands of their customers, she continues her adventures with her family and their two kitties, Slash and Trey. She also participates in triathlons and is hoping to race again one day, post-pandemic, and is daydreaming of her next travel adventure.
Born and raised in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina the idea of animal transportation was unknown to Faruk. It was only after moving to Germany that he became exposed to this industry.
In October 2005, he began working for Gradlyn where he realized others were not aware of the importance of the pet shipping industry. He committed years of working in animal transportation to fully understand the extent.
In 2019, Fauk took the role of Import Director at Pet Air GmbH, in Frankfurt Germany.
As a dog owner, he knows all too well how important pets are, and how much trust is placed by pet owners in those who arrange for them to fly from one part of the world to another. Faruk knows to work in this business is much more than simply arranging a flight - the word “transportation” takes on a completely different meaning.
Over time, as shipments have become bigger, more complex, and included more responsibility he's felt it important to justify the trust placed in pet-shippers. After countless shipments, Faruk feels the beauty of the industry lies in the fact that you can never say you have learned everything. You will be faced with something new and unique daily.
His job has taken him all over the world where he has met many different people with common interests in transporting animals; these are the people who are bringing families together. Witnessing the beautiful moment when pets and their owners see one another after spending time apart is what motivates him to, not only to do his job, but to do that job to the best of his ability. He is always looking for ways to improve the pet shipping services he provides and the conditions of the animals during transport.
Faruk has spent over fourteen years in animal transportation and says he can't imagine doing anything else.
Human relationships are a hard aspect of life. Forming relationships with other cultures is even harder. However, the curiosity to meet people from overseas and understand how the world works led Luz Maria to study International Commerce. She had been involved in the field of general cargo international logistics for more than five years prior and had realized the scarcity of information about animal shipping in her own country of Chile, and how mistakes concerning protocols resulted in delays affecting negatively animal welfare.
With that in mind, and after researching and studying the field, the idea of creating a company exclusively devoted to pets and live animal shipping was born. An aim to continue learning and an interest to get more experience drove INTERFAMILY to become part of IPATA. Not long after, a handful of Latin American agents with the same concerns met with them to boost the region. Today there are even more pet shippers who have observed many changes, and continually face new challenges with higher expectations.
Safeguarding what has been achieved in the region is a priority, along with professional development and growth. One of her goals is looking after each new associate, whether a company, agent, partner, airline, staff or official to make them aware that pet welfare is of the utmost importance. She believes this is how to prevent businesses from being harmed by entities who do not comprehend the sensitivity and operation of the pet shipping industry.
Luz Maria strives to work hard and ensure her endeavors are done with the highest professionalism and dedication. The responsibility to organize, plan and fulfill the international movement of a living being is a labor of extreme concern and seriousness, and to carry out this task to the best of her ability is her passion. She is always ready to share her experience and knowledge to all those who need it.
Luz Maria is always willing to learn from other partners, and strengthen expertise and competence to provide reliability to clients while providing the most comfort to animals. She believes there are many goals to be reached and will work with the support of all regional and international members who are willing to reach them through cooperation.
IPATA Directors at Large
Nick Foden Ellis
Pet-mad from an early age, Nick finally moved into pet relocation in 2011 and immediately attended IPATA Hong Kong to learn as much as he could as quickly as possible. Nick joined Starwood Animal Transport Ltd (UK) in May 2014 as co-owner and chief dog runner!
Gina is a mom to five cats and five dogs, and sometimes called a crazy lady in Korea!
Right before graduation of college, she was looking for a job related to animals but her country was not as developed for the pet industry and the choices were limited. She was hired by a large pet food company but it was not the job of her dreams.
She kept job searching for companies that deal with pets, but it was not easy. She was hopeless, and eventually, gave up trying to find a pet company wiht which she truly wanted to work. Then one day she went for an interview, thinking that this was going to be her last before my graduation. The company was a freight forwarding company and when they opened the door, she saw a little poodle! She asked one of the employees if the dog belonged to the company and was told, “We even ship pets overseas.” She thought, “YAY! God bless me! This must be the job I dreamed of!”
She was really excited to hear that, interviewed well, and finally was hired. She happily worked for that company as a team manager for about seven years, but since the company was a freight forwarding company, she could not only focus just on pets.
After years of gaining knowledge and experience, she established her own business, The First Class Pet in January of 2011, to focus only on pet travel. She currently works on the US military base in Seoul for pet boarding and travel arrangements. She received a great opportunity to work for IPATA from 2014, and has served the members in her region!
Her first IPATA conference was in 2006, in San Francisco. There were only three members from the Asia region, but now it is one of the biggest regions in IPATA! Gina is glad to see the growth and hopes to keep this good relationship to make the pet shipping industry better together.
Born in Germany and raised as an army brat, Karoline has traveled all over the world and to most of the 50 United States. As a child she wanted to be a veterinarian and would bring home every manner of rescued stray animal. Her family treated their dogs and cats as part of the family and they always traveled to our next destination with us. As she grew, she realized she couldn’t stand seeing an injured or suffering animal, so the idea of vet school diminished.
After high school in Northern Japan, she vowed to live in a warm climate and attended college in Arizona for my Bachelor’s degree then moved to Florida after graduation. She spent the next 15 years building a career in the real estate industry, advancing her education and continuing to travel for work.
She never lost her passion for animals and has always owned rescued cats and dogs. In 2001, she discovered doggie daycare for her pooch Peanut and fell in love with the industry. After that, she had her goal. She saved money and made a plan. In 2008, she married a wonderful man who supported and encouraged her dreams and they moved to Texas to be close to family and raise children.
She met Past IPATA President Dr. Dale Hodgson in 2009 while looking to either buy or start a pet boarding facility that would fulfill her dream of working with animals. They soon became fast friends and she purchased the boarding and pet transportation business from him. He had opened the boarding facility in 1980 and started shipping pets in 2003, so he became her mentor and taught her about running a boarding facility and transporting pets.
She joined IPATA in May of 2009 when she purchased Airpets America and found herself traveling to Dublin in September. So many people welcomed her with open arms and helped her understand the true value of IPATA. She was in awe of the organization and the amazing people involved and continues to be astounded by the growth and progress she sees.
She has a passion for knowledge and a good head for business and feels the experience and education she has acquired in the industry will help further the goals of IPATA.