About Dogtopia

Board of directors

Canine Coach holding a dog in her arms



  • Chairman, CEO & Executive Team with franchise experience
  • Environmental Biologist and Canine Behaviorist
  • Senior Instructional Designer
  • Certified Dog Trainers
  • New Store Opening Support Team
  • Franchise Retail and Operations Specialists
  • Real Estate Professionals
  • Marketing/Branding/Digital/PR Experts
  • Industry-Specific Cleaning Protocols
  • Leading-Edge Technology Providers


Neil Gill, CEO and President of Dogtopia Enterprises

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 . 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.

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 fiancé Kelly have one furry family member named Maisie.

Peter Thomas, Chairman of Dogtopia

PETER H. 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. He brought the franchising rights of Century 21 Real Estate to Canada and developed it into the largest franchise in the world.

Riaz Mamdani, Board Member

Riaz Mamdani, Board Member

Riaz Mamdani is the CEO of Strategic Group which was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Strategic Group owns, manages and develops office, retail and apartment properties across Canada. Real Estate is Strategic Group’s focus, however, it owns and operates businesses in other sectors including construction, building services, oilfield services, hospitality, pet care, agriculture, technology and corporate finance. Under Mr. Mamdani’s leadership, Strategic Group continues to grow and diversify.

Riaz Mamdani has a passion for improving community vibrancy and sustainability. He supports the arts, community programs and many charitable organizations in Alberta and beyond.

David K Lenhardt, Board Member

David K. Lenhardt, Board Member

David Lenhardt is a resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona and has been married to his wife Dawn for 11 years. They have a five-year- old son Cole who is in kindergarten at All Saint’s Episcopal Day School in Phoenix.

David is the former President & CEO of PetSmart, the largest US retailer of pet food, supplies, and services. He joined PetSmart in October 2000, as senior vice president of Services, Strategic Planning and Business Development. In June 2013, he was named chief executive officer and in April 2014 he was named president and chief executive officer.

David led the strategic review process of PetSmart in 2014, resulting in the sale of PetSmart to BC Partners for $8.7B, representing the highest equity valuation in the history of the company and the largest retail LBO in history. David stepped down as CEO in March, 2015 upon the closing of the transaction. He is currently enjoying time with his family while exploring future opportunities.

From 1996-2000, David was with Bain & Company, Inc., where he led consulting teams for retail, technology and e-commerce clients. Prior to that, he was an analyst in the corporate finance group of Merrill Lynch & Co.’s investment banking division.

David currently serves on the board of directors for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and on the board of trustees of All Saint’s Episcopal Day School.

Deanna Delyea, Board Member

Deanna Delyea, Board Member

Delyea Delyea is the Controller and Director of several Canadian corporations and charitable organizations including Thomas Franchise Solutions Ltd. and Thomas Franchise Solutions Concept Fund #1 Limited Partnership.  She is responsible for cash flow management, capital budget administration, financial reporting and analysis. She is the Executive Director of LifePilot, an organization that delivers programs that are a catalyst for positive personal change and growth.

Ms. Delyea is the former Controller of a tire recycling facility and was the Self-Employment Coordinator for a government agency providing business development assistance and loan funds to small businesses.  Ms. Delyea was responsible for coordinating training programs for prospective entrepreneurs as well as administering several business loan funds. Ms. Delyea has worked for a number of lending institutions as well as an international marketing company established to sell potash outside of North America on behalf of provincial potash producers.  She has recently accepted the appointment of Director of Dogtopia.

Joe Gantz, Board Member

Joe Gantz, Board Member

Joe Gantz has extensive experience in corporate senior management and is an experienced and successful investor. In 1996 and 1997, respectively, he played an integral role in the successful turnaround of Seymour Housewares Corp., a portfolio company of Chase Capital Partners, and Fitz & Floyd, Inc., a portfolio company of ML-Lee Acquisition Funds II, LP, a joint fund managed by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Merrill Lynch. He served as the chairman and/or CEO of Empire Brushes, Inc., Seymour Housewares Corp. and PECO Pallet. In 1998, he became a founding partner of an SBIC fund focused on investing in creative retail concepts, consumer products and financial services companies.

Foundation Logo

The Dogtopia Foundation enables dogs to positively change the world. To accomplish this, we currently are funding programs focused around three worthy causes: Service Dogs for Veterans, Youth Literacy Programs and Employment Initiatives for Adults with Autism.