Meet the Crew!
Owner and CEO, Brad Patton
Brad’s love for animals and exposure to working with them has come in many forms, and spanned decades. From volunteer work, that includes 5 years with the Denver Dumb Friends League, to countless hours being a victim for Search and Rescue dogs, or a chew toy for police dogs, he has a passion for working with animals. In college, Brad worked for a small, three-doctor practice cleaning kennels. Before starting VSS, he spent almost 10 years as an inventory manager for one of the state’s largest animal hospitals. He has seen this industry from many angles.
Education and fellowship
Brad graduated from the Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, with an emphasis on entrepreneurial management. During the final year of his degree, he was awarded a fellowship with the US West Center for Business Success. This was a program that brought growing businesses of the community together with students to overcome issues of growth. The center helped between 8 and 12 companies make a step to the next level that year. These were small businesses that seized an opportunity to further their own development. This program had such a successful way of tailoring solutions for each business that he used that for inspiration when creating some of the services of VSS.
From the retail world to veterinary inventory management
After completing his degree, Brad became an inventory manager for a large retail liquor store. He spent two years learning the purchasing and merchandising process of a product based industry in a retail environment. Working with billion dollar companies in a multi-billion dollar industry gave him a great base knowledge of distribution and stock. This was his second experience supervising the daily activities of 10 to 20 people, dealing with scheduling, and learning how to manage. Longing to not just spend his free time working with animals, Brad transitioned back to the veterinary industry.
Brad’s time as an inventory manager was for a general practice, specialty referral, and emergency animal hospital in the Denver area. He knows what it takes to keep more than 25 doctors happy, a 24/7 facility stocked, supplying multiple locations, all while keeping costs low. Brad has worked with the main purchaser for a human hospital pharmacy, multiple warehouse mangers for various veterinary and medical suppliers, and he understands the nuances of inventory for this industry. He has also orchestrated multi-million dollar bids and dealt with various purchasing contracts with all types of suppliers.
Operations Manager, Lanie Van Noordt
Lanie is a Colorado native. She went to Colorado State University and received a BS in Biology in 2006. Shortly after, she went to work at a large GP/ER/referral animal hospital starting as a client service representative. After 11 years of getting to see dogs and cats every day, she made the switch to working solely at VSS as the Operations Manager, but has been with the company since its inception in 2014. In 2017 she became a Certified Staffing Professional with the American Staffing Association. In her free time, she can be found spending time with family, enjoying the outdoors if the weather is sunny and warm, and giving her animals too much love.
Account Manager, Heather Hyatt
Heather has always known that she wanted to work with animals. While life took her on a few detours along the way, she did finally graduate from Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in 2016. She worked in General practice for about 2 years while going to school, but found her true passion working in Emergency and Critical Care after she graduated. After working relief and seeing the benefits of work life balance when making her own schedule, she knew she wanted to help others find that same balance and keep their passion for the field, making her Account Manager role the perfect fit. Outside of work she is a mother of 4 human babies, 2 dog babies, and 4 cat babies. She loves to work with horses, read and plan family activities in her free time.
Recruiter, Julie Lautermilch
Julie’s recruiting career began over 25 years ago when she started as a Staffing Manager at one of Denver’s top staffing firms. After her family made the decision to move out of the city and to acreage in rural Colorado, she started her own Executive Search firm, recruiting exclusively within the staffing industry. Julie has since recruited within the defense, legal, and oil and gas industries. 2020 brought a lot of changes and Julie relocated to the mountains to fulfill her dream of living in a tiny home on wheels. Julie had the extreme pleasure of joining the VSS team, a group of talented Veterinary professional, as their Recruiter. The opportunity to help CSRs, TAs, CVTs and DVMs in the veterinary industry find meaningful work is more rewarding than she ever imagined.
Personnel Manager, Heather Simpson
Heather’s career in management began in 2013, while she was obtaining her degrees from Missouri State University. Since graduating with her Masters in Health Administration, Heather has obtained an abundance of experience managing teams large and small. Heather took her skills to the veterinary industry in 2021 and hasn’t looked back. Since joining Veterinary System Services, Heather has worked to ensure the success of all of our employees. One aspect of the role that is most important to Heather is creating an environment that allows the employees to grow and thrive, while maintaining the work-life balance that relief employment provides. Shortly after joining our team, Heather became a Certified Staffing Professional with the American Staffing Association. Outside of work Heather enjoys spending time outdoors, being physically active, gardening, and traveling the world.
Account Manager, Meghan Fortner
Meghan is originally from the beautiful mountains of Asheville NC, where she graduated from AB-Tech in 2012 with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Working primarily in general practice her whole career she took a leap of faith and moved to Oregon to work as a lead veterinary technician at a humane society. Colorado has always had a special place in her heart due to her love of snowboarding and the outdoors, and after a very wet year in Oregon she decided to take another leap of faith and moved to Denver and has never looked back. Her love for veterinary medicine and the people who practice it is what called her to work for VSS, and she is so excited to be a part of such an amazing and inspiring group of people, both at VSS and in the veterinary community. Meghan shares her home with her partner Stephen, dogs Lila and Fern, and a cat-dog named Begley. In her free time she enjoys snowboarding, biking, camping, yoga, and music festivals.