Our People

081E2CDA-7634-4223-8DBF-D64ED3A14F36.JPG

Nicole Meadowcroft
Executive Director / Board Member

While in high school, Nicole began to lose her eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. This degenerative eye disease gave her time to reflect over all the things she would miss when the pinhole she currently sees through finally dissolves.  In 2004, Nicole was introduced to a working guide dog team and although she had considerable experience raising, training and showing German Shepherds, she had not yet realized the independence and assistance a guide dog could provide to her personally. 

A brief demonstration was all it took for her to realize that she wanted to both travel with a canine partner herself, and help other visually impaired individuals gain access to the gift of independence and confidence a companion dog brings.  Custom Canines was born out of this dream. 

 

READ MORE...

Shannon Shea-Becker
Veteran Program Development

Shannon Becker has worked with Custom Canines Service Dog Academy since early 2011.  Over time, Shannon has transitioned from a puppy-raiser/volunteer for our Autism Service Dog Program, to working with our Veteran program and fundraising. Shannon helps present educational and fundraising programs to organizations whenever possible if requested.

Shannon served on active duty for the United States Navy from 1995 to 1999, and was honorably discharged at the end of her enlistment. Working with the military and veteran clients through CCSDA brings Shannon extreme satisfaction, and brings her back to her own military roots.

 

READ MORE...

Heidi Brehmer
Board Member

Heidi Brehmer began her career working with dog training in early 2001, when she founded Watertown Canine University. It was shortly thereafter, when she met Nicole Meadowcroft, that she helped develop and implement a Madison, WI, based guide dog training organization and held the Vice-President position for three years. Heidi also owned and operated AFP Pets Inc. in Watertown, which was a full line pet store. Through her business, she assisted with volunteering, training, educating the public, and fund raising for Custom Canines.  After selling AFP Pets, Inc. in 2009, Heidi took her skills of business operation and retail and began working as the Business Director for Candy Concepts Inc. In 2014, she founded her own retail consulting business, Candy Biz Coaching.

READ  MORE...

Frank Lopez
Community Education & Outreach

I began my retired position as a Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Instructor of Automotive Technology for the Gridley Unified School District in August of 2010. I also held the same position for the Sacramento County Office of Education for 16 years and in Southern California for one year. With the generous support of my employers, I was a presenter at local schools, agencies and organizations on various topics concerning students and adults with disabilities and how to comfortably interact with them.

I have had more than 25 years experience in the field of Automotive and Diesel Technology, much of which I gained while working for the Los Angeles County Fire Department as a fire equipment mechanic.  I have been legally blind all my life and eventually lost my sight completely in 1989.

 

READ  MORE...

Crystal Saxe Carter
Board Member

Crystal Saxe has 10 years worth of experience as a service dog trainer and working with people with disabilities. Through personal training and first-hand knowledge, she has extensive experience with dogs and training them to be at the service of people in need.   Crystal was diagnosed with MS in 1997 and is uniquely qualified to work with people that have special needs, and their daily challenges. Her passion for dog training came closely after she was diagnosed when she went to see a service dog demonstration.   The abilities of the dogs and the dedicated trainers convinced Crystal that she needed to be involved with the training and placement of these special service dogs. Crystal is a member of the APDT, well known and respected in the service dog community. Crystal has a special ability to train service dogs that can help support people to live a full life. She brings her unique talents and special abilities to work with CCSDA as an advisor, trainer, and board member. 

Custom Canines

West Coast Operations

Bob Wendler
Director of Canine Operations / Board Member

West Coast Operations

Bob Wendler began the career that would change the direction of his life while serving in Vietnam in the US Navy, Canine Handler, 1969-1970.  After returning from Vietnam, he continued to develop and expand his training skills by working with guard and police dogs until 1976, when he was California State Licensed and started training guide dogs.

In 1991, Bob became the co-director of training at Guide Dogs of the Desert, a position he held for two years.  In 1993, following a restructuring of staff at Guide Dogs of the Desert, Bob went to work for Guide Dogs of America where he was a senior instructor for 11 years.

 

READ MORE

Roccie Hill 
Corporate and Foundation Relations / Board Member

West Coast Operations

Roccie Hill is a career non-profit executive with many years of community-based
experience.

She began her non-profit career at a local California NPR production company,
Educational Media Associates. She worked in the farming community of the San
Joaquin Valley in the late 70s, representing farmworker members of the UFW and
community businesses in collaborative efforts.

In 1980, she moved to Paris where she worked as the Marketing Officer for the
Official French Committee for the Celebration of the Centennial of the Statue of
Liberty.

 

READ MORE

Alan Franks
Board Member

West Coast Operations

I was born and raised in Southern California, spending most of my free time on the beaches, body surfing, snorkeling, a skateboarding. My family always had a dog and I grew up working with and training these pets.

I come from a military family and have always had a passion to serve Veterans. My Father served in Korea as a fighter pilot flying the F86 Sabre. My adopted Father served as an Army Officer in WWII seeing combat in the Philippine islands.

My oldest Brother served in the Navy on an LST and is a Vietnam Veteran. I’m retired and use my time serving with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary as a flotilla staff officer. I also volunteer on several Honor Guard teams including the American Legion, VFW, and the Riverside National Cemetary, I also ride with the Patriot Guard Riders.

 

READ MORE

richardmosley.jpg

Richard Mosley
West Coast Instructor

West Coast Operations

Bio coming soon..