As Dogtopians, we’re a unique breed! We love and care for your pup like our own furry family, and we’re your village of knowledge for raising a happy, healthy dog. Our pledge to you is that your pup will always be in great hands with us.
Neil Gill, CEO/President
Neil Gill is CEO and President of Dogtopia Enterprises. Neil has spent more than 35 years in franchising with international brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Brinker International and more than 11 years at Gloria Jean’s Coffees International as CEO, opening more than 1,000 stores across 39 countries.
He has experience in taking franchise brands through IPOs and worked in a variety of sectors from on-line education, weight loss, bakery and Asian tea.
Neil has a love of franchising and the entrepreneurial spirit it enables in everyone involved.
Alex Samios, Vice President – Franchise Development
Alex has been in the franchise industry for 24 years. He began his career in Operations, opening and running restaurants for Papa John’s Pizza before becoming a franchisee in 1996. He was a franchisee for a total of 11 years: building opening and operating 34 restaurants in 4 years (nominated “Franchisee of the Year” three times). In 2000, Alex was also the first franchisee for a mobile pet grooming concept and started his own franchise in the health & wellness industry in 2010. Before joining Dogtopia in January2016, Alex had been an investor and consultant to emerging brands while serving on several Boards. Mr. Samios grew up in and around the franchise industry – his father was the first franchisee for Jiffy Lube.
Shelley Parnell, Vice President – Marketing
As Vice President of Marketing, Shelley Parnell manages Dogtopia’s external agencies and sets the strategic direction of the Company’s marketing and communications. Shelley began her career with 10 years in the agency world, servicing a broad range of clients including Starbucks, Quiznos, Safeway, Mercedes-Benz, Sheraton and America West Airlines. She has since owned her own PR & marketing consulting company, served as vice president of marketing at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and managed marketing and investor relations in the biotechnology space. She lives in Phoenix with her husband Andy, two kids and Murphy the Golden Retriever.
Kathy Halter, Vice President – New Center Development
As Vice President of New Center Development, Kathy Halter drives new store construction and implements strategic growth initiatives. While fostering design innovation and managing vendor relationships, Kathy’s sole mission is to produce best in class dog daycare centers for pet parents and Dogtopians. Her career began as a multi-unit operator with KinderCare before she moved up through the company over the course of 20+ years. She developed and delivered on new school growth strategies through new builds, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate onsite solutions to produce more than 200 centers during her tenure. Kathy attended college in North Carolina at Appalachian State University and then relocated back to her hometown of Phoenix with her daughter Emmie and two awesome Doodles, Mabel and Mimi.
Jeff Farnell, Senior Director of Operations
Mr. Farnell has been Dogtopia’s Senior Director of Operations since February of 2018. He has served in director and executive positions with franchise companies for the last 19 years. In that time he led teams and the opening of more than 100 units and supporting more than 165 existing units.
Chris Kempner, Chairman
Chris Kempner has been involved with Dogtopia for the past few years. Red Barn Dog Holdings LLC acquired the largest Dogtopia franchise territory with plans to open more than 30 daycares across the East Coast. Prior to founding Red Barn Equity partners, Chris was vice president at Private Equity Firm Metalmark Capital. Chris has experience in both investing and private equity and has worked in numerous financial positions, including as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. He was born and raised in New York. He and his wife Kelly have one furry family member named Maisie.
Peter Thomas, Chairman Emeritus
Peter Thomas was one of the leading real estate developers and lenders of his time in North America, developing several billion dollars of projects, including shopping centers, apartments and condominiums, land assembly, and golf courses. He brought the franchising rights of Century 21 Real Estate to Canada, founded Samoth Capital Corporation (now known as Sterling Centrecorp Inc.), and developed the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Thomas and his team at Thomas Pride International continue to be actively involved in real estate acquisitions and developments in the Phoenix and Seattle markets
After the tragic loss of his son in 2000, Thomas decided to focus his time and energy on social entrepreneurship, and to share his experience and philosophy of values-based living and leadership with others. He is currently the Founder and Chairman of Thomas Franchise Solutions Ltd, LifePilot, The Todd Thomas Institute for Values-Based Leadership at Royal Roads University in BC, Canada, and Chairman Emeritus of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).
Business Planning Manager
Director of New Franchisee Support
Canine Coach Trainer
Financial Services and Integration Administrator
Director of Facilities Management
Dr. Antje Joslin
New Store Opening Manager
Operations Training Manager
Director of Design & Construction
Senior Marketing Manager
Operations Project Manager
Director of Marketing
Director of New Store Operations