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Meet the APDT staff. We’re here to help!

Matt Varney | Executive Director

Matt Varney

Executive Director

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Matt Varney | Executive Director

Contact Matt: david.feldner@apdt.com

Matt has a passion for making a positive impact on communities. He came to APDT’s Executive Director role in 2023 after leading nonprofits and membership associations for over 12 years.
Before APDT, he acted as a Director at Entrepreneurs' Organization, supporting a global community of 18,000 entrepreneurs in expanding leadership and personal development. Prior to that Matt was a Director with the International Coaching Federation, supporting the advancement of professional coaching around the world.

Born and raised in Southern California, Matt left home at 18 to serve in the US Army. He currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Rachel, daughters Ruby and Sophia, and their recently rescued 2yr old twins, a Boston Terrier named Sandy and Pug named Banksy.

Matt holds an MSc in Global Economics, a BA in International/Global Studies, with certification and training in Project Management, Agile Leadership and Organizational Systems Relationship Coaching.

Tricia Louque | Director of Marketing and Communications

Tricia Louque

Director of Marketing and Communications

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Tricia Louque | Director of Marketing and Communications

Contact Tricia: tricia.louque@apdt.com

Nita Briscoe | Exhibitor Relations Manager

Nita Briscoe

Exhibitor Relations Manager

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Nita Briscoe | Exhibitor Relations Manager

Contact Nita: nita.briscoe@apdt.com

Nita Briscoe is the exhibitor relations manager for APDT. She graduated from Towson University with a B.A. in Mass Communications, with a concentration in Advertising. Nita has many stories from her twenty years in radio advertising with Clear Channel Radio/iheartmedia. (Most she can actually tell you!) She also sold University of Kentucky sports sponsorships and event advertising during her tenure.

After a year with another association, Quest International Users Group, an amazing opportunity with APDT presented itself. Nita is grateful to use her sales, sponsorship, conference experience and the love for dogs in one career. Nita has two, four-legged children: Sherman (a twelve year old Pit Bull rescued during Hurricane Katrina), and Tank (a two year old English Bulldog/Boxer mix, rescued from a shelter in Ohio.) Nita is a foster mom and volunteer with Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue. Tank was one of her foster dogs who never left her house once he stole her heart.

Other volunteer work includes the American Cancer Society and production work with her church. Nita is a big supporter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and has run a few half marathons with Team in Training. Her mother was one of the first bone marrow donors in 1989.

Sherman is a 12-year-old Pit Bull. He was found on a window ledge in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Nita adopted him through Casa Del Toro Rescue in Indianapolis, Ind. He had six months of training including a water therapist in New Orleans. Nita continued his training with Jason Mann, who specialized in Pit Bulls and rescue dogs.

Tank (not pictured) is a two-year-old English Bulldog/Boxer Mix. He was in a shelter in Ohio, and Nita fostered (and failed- as in adopted) him through Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue. He will soon be working with an APDT trainer. "He can't wait, and neither can I!" says Nita.

Jennifer Franco | Director of Education

Jennifer Franco

Director of Education

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Jennifer Franco | Director of Education

Contact Jennifer: jennifer.franco@apdt.com

Jennifer Franco, director of education, is an educator, a communicator, an accomplished equestrian and an aviator. She is committed to increasing learning opportunities by providing the membership a variety of multimedia outlets and options. Jennifer believes input and feedback from you is the key to supplying information you can use in enhancing your training, your business relationships and your professional growth. Her plan includes developing useful material and information to support your creativity and innovation as dog trainers.

There are many ways to learn, according to Jennifer. Taking advantage of APDT, your professional association is central. One of the most accessible ways is to take advantage of meetings and CE offerings. A good guide to the pertinent internet opportunities can save time and provide valid information. She is currently working on new material on CD, webinars, and video. School is never out for the professional.

Jennifer grew up on Long Island, N.Y.; holds a teaching degree and an MBA from Dowling College. She has worked in alumni relations for the State University of New York; served as director of Racing Officials for the Jockey Club; and director of KCTF, Chris McCarron's jockey school.

Jennifer lives on a farm in Lexington, Ky., with various creatures great and small: her husband, Brian; son Lucas; Cocker Spaniel, Milo, and three horses.

Milo is a 14-year-old parti-color Cocker spaniel. He was adopted from the local shelter when he was a year old. Milo loves being outside doing chores with us on the farm and he can always be found hanging out at the pond looking for birds!

Devon Hubbard | Chronicle of the Dog Editor

Devon Hubbard

Chronicle of the Dog Editor

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Devon Hubbard | Chronicle of the Dog Editor

Contact Devon: editor@apdt.com

Devon Hubbard Sorlie just joined the APDT staff as the editor of The Chronicle of the Dog, APDT's quarterly magazine. Devon graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor's degree in Public Relations with an emphasis on journalism. Her career has taken her from Kentucky, where she first worked at the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise and The Winchester Sun, to The Miami Herald in Florida, as editor of a monthly chamber of commerce newsletter in Gilroy, Calif., to owning her own weekly newspaper with her late husband in Belgrade, Mont. After her son graduated from high school, the family moved closer to family in Virginia, where Devon covered the military for a weekly newspaper owned by Military Newspapers of Virginia. Shed then became the Suburban Team's assistant editor, which covered Chesapeake for The Virginian-Pilot, and editor of its community twice-weekly publication, the Chesapeake Clipper. After moving to northern Virginia in 2013, Devon was an editor for the Air Force Times before transitioning back into public relations producing articles, blogs and feature stories for the Naval History and Heritage Command located at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Devon recently returned back to Kentucky to be closer to her mother in Winchester.

Devon has a son, Cameron. She plays handbells and sings in the choir at the First United Methodist Church in Winchester.

Devon's love of animals began early, trying to save or keep the critters the family's cats would bring home. She often brought home strays for her family to adopt. She has a soft heart for Golden retrievers, having shared her home with several, along with her cats and a few horses while living in Montana. Her last two Goldens were adopted from a Golden Retriever rescue in the Hampton Roads area, Chessie and Charlee. She is currently without a doggy friend, but hopes to rectify that after she purchases a home in Winchester.

Abby Davis | Events Manager

Abby Davis

Events Manager

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Abby Davis | Events Manager

Abby Davis serves as Events Manager for APDT. She brings more than 15 years of experience developing, launching and running multi-tiered national and international events across an array of clients and markets. Abby is passionate about animals and has rescued everything from dogs and cats to ducks and other farm animals. In her free time, she enjoys spending time on the lake with her husband and two children in Corbin, KY.

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