Janet Olson, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology) President
Dr. Janet Olson founded the BART organization in 2004 when she recognized a gap in preparing and responding to pets encountered in emergencies and disasters. She is a veterinary cardiologist by trade. Dr. Olson graduated in 1996 from the University of Minnesota – College of Veterinary Medicine and then completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery internship in 1997 at the University of Missouri – College of Veterinary Medicine. She worked for 9 + years in private practice primarily at an internal medicine veterinary referral practice in the Twin Cities. In 2007 she returned to the University of Minnesota – College of Veterinary Medicine for a 3 year cardiology residency program. She is now the owner of Veterinary Cardiology Specialists, a mobile veterinary cardiology consulting business offering her services to veterinary hospitals and their patients in Minnesota and Iowa.
Dr. Olson received the prestigious Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association’s “Veterinary Service Award” in 2007 as well as the University of Wisconsin’s “Forward under Forty” award in 2008 in recognition of her accomplishments developing and leading the Basic Animal Rescue Training organization. Janet’s husband, Brian Olson, is a firefighter on the New Brighton Fire Department. They have 2 daughters and a dog, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, “Toby”.
Michelle Ugurlu, CVT, Secretary
Michelle has been a technician since 2002. She received her B.S. degree in Public Health from Mankato State University in Minnesota and her A.S. degree in Veterinary Technology from St. Petersburg College in Florida. Michelle did an internship at The Animal Medical Center in New York before joining the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center’s oncology department, where she worked for over 5 years.
Michelle has been involved with BART in several capacities and has been on the board since 2012. Currently she leads the Special Events Committee which plans and executes the “Run with the Pack” dog duathlon and 5K events.
Outside of BART, Michelle enjoys running, gardening and reading. She and her husband have 3 young children, a dog and 2 cats that keep them very busy.
Hugh Thibodeau, Treasurer
After a tour of duty with the Air Force, Hugh attended the University of Minnesota Institute of technology, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Hugh had a 33-Year career at the University of Minnesota as an Electrical Design Engineer, and retired from the Engineering and Architecture Division of the Planning Office.Since retirement, Hugh has devoted efforts and resources to improving animal’s lives. As a supporter of the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine, the U of M Veterinary Medical Center, the Raptor Center, and the Humane Society, and as a Director of BART, Hugh intends to continue having a positive impact on the welfare of animals. Hugh’s wife Julie shares this commitment.
Hugh and Julie share their Roseville home with their two dogs, Tasha and Taco.
Christina Rich, Director
Christina is a consultant in financial services with a focus on training and organizational change management activities. She received her B.A. degree from University of Minnesota – Duluth and her M.S. degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, where she was a member of the Alumni Board. She is also an active member of the Association of Talent Development.
Christina has been involved with BART since May 2016. She has a passion for animals and has previously been on the Board of Directors and Board Secretary for The Wildcat Sanctuary.
Outside of BART, Christina is a fitness and tennis enthusiast. She is a member of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and has sat on various committees. She also enjoys traveling and attending local charity events. She and her boyfriend have one cat, Shadow.
Jeff Wessel, Director
Jeff has been working in the marketing and IT field since 2011. He received his bachelors degree from Iowa State University and has a wide range of experience working within the marketing and IT industry at small, medium and large companies. Jeff joined the BART board of directors in 2016 and is looking forward to working with all the great people, community, and supporters within the BART organization.
In his free time, Jeff loves being active outside participating in just about any sport but his favorites are hockey, volleyball and golf. He lives in Burnsville with his wife Kristy, dog Watson, and two cats Yoda and Kai.
Sara Williams, DVM
Dr. Sara Williams is a small animal veterinarian at Northwest Animal Hospital in Plymouth, Minnesota. Dr. Williams graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and then attended the University of Minnesota School of Public Health to complete her Master of Public Health degree. Her specialty is infectious disease epidemiology and diseases that affect both humans and animals. Dr. Sara worked for the state government, interned at the Center for Disease Control and has completed advanced training in the Incident Command System for large scale emergency response prior to working in private practice. She also has training as an Emergency Medical Technician and experience teaching American Red Cross First Aid and CPR courses to human health professionals.
Dr. Sara lives in the west metro suburbs with her husband Rob, who is a North Memorial Paramedic, and three young children. In her free time, she enjoys running, yoga and volunteer activities.
Greg Peterson, Director
Welcome to our new BART director, Greg Peterson. We will have his bio up soon.