Leadership Bios

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas
Executive Director

In 2018, Mark began volunteering at 4Paws for Ability and was immediately drawn to its mission and the people who accomplish it, and of course the dogs. He volunteered in many ways, but felt a calling to use his experience to help 4 Paws with the campus development, demolition and building remodeling.

Mark brings tremendous experience to his role at 4 Paws. He is a retired Fire Chief from Beavercreek Township Fire Department after a lifetime of service as a first responder. He has a wide variety of safety certifications and has served as a fire safety educator at Sinclair Community College, and has also obtained a commercial real estate license. He shares his wealth of knowledge with 4 Paws as our campus expansion project manager, having served in the same capacity for multiple municipal building projects.

In March 2019, Mark was appointed to the 4 Paws Board of Directors and continues to manage the campus development and construction of future training buildings. Mark lives in Beavercreek with his wife, Betsy, and their Fabulous Flunky, Talbott.

MarkThomas@4PawsForAbility.org

Jennifer Lutes

Jennifer Lutes
Associate Director

Jennifer has been a part of 4 Paws since she started volunteering at age 14. Her passion for the 4 Paws mission led her to begin a career with the organization; she started as a part-time trainer, and in 2015 moved to administration as Associate Director. She works closely with client families to support them through the entire service dog placement process, from the initial application to assistance after the dog is settled in the client’s home. Jennifer lives in Xenia with her husband, Bryan, and her two children.

Jennifer@4PawsForAbility.org

Brian Arney

Brian Arney
HR/Operations Director

Brian found 4 Paws for Ability by chance while looking for a full-time job after graduating from Wright State University with a B.S. in Business Management. He loved how much of a positive impact a service dog could make in a child's or veteran's life. Having years of experience volunteering at SICSA, a local shelter that promotes the welfare and adoption of companion animals, Brian thought 4 Paws for Ability would be an exciting opportunity and was hired as a Kennel Manager in November 2012.

Brian assumed the role of Operations Director in 2015.

Brian lives with his wife, Daniele and son, Liam in Centerville. They have two dogs, Oliver and Finn and three cats, Jackie, Spooky and Nemo. Brian is a big sports fan, with football and basketball being his two favorites! Brian enjoys traveling, fishing, exercising, playing video games and most of all, spending time with his family.

Erin Bittner

Erin Bittner
Genetics and Socialization Director

Erin is a Dayton, Ohio, native who fell in love with 4 Paws as a volunteer trainer during her college years. Instead of following a career path with her history degree, she joined the 4 Paws team immediately after graduation. Erin oversees the in-house 4 Paws breeding program, which ensures our future service dogs have the health and temperament necessary to be successful when placed with a client family. Her in-depth knowledge of the dogs in the program aids her when evaluating dogs for our advanced training program. As a result, a high percentage of our dogs are successfully placed as task-trained service animals.

Kelly Camm

Kelly Camm
Development Director

Kelly Camm oversees the identification, solicitation, and development of community, corporate, local, and national funding sources. She manages fundraising, cause-related marketing, and completes grant research and proposals.

Kelly first encountered 4 Paws in 2006 while working on her MBA at Thomas More College. After graduation, she started volunteering as a fundraiser for 4 Paws, primarily working on a cause marketing plan she had developed during her studies. She then joined the board of trustees and eventually became vice president and then president of the board. In 2010, she left the board and became an employee of 4 Paws.

Kelly has over 20 years of experience in marketing, brand management, product development, planning, communications, cause marketing, and public relations.

Kelly@4PawsForAbility.org

KaLynn Clark

KaLynn Clark
Director of Volunteer Engagement

KaLynn joined 4 Paws to combine her three passions: working with dogs, helping children, and volunteering. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in counseling at Grace College, she began working in volunteer management at nonprofits such as the Appalachia Service Project, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley. KaLynn loves engaging people in a rewarding volunteer experience.

When KaLynn is not working, she loves to play board games, go hiking, and spend time with her husband, family, and friends. KaLynn is also a Volunteer Trainer and loves socializing service dogs in the 4 Paws training program.

Ruth Keller

Dr. Ruth Keller, DVM
Veterinarian

Dr. Keller joined the 4 Paws family in November 2015. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Valparaiso University in 2007 and she graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. After graduation she worked in a few different small animal clinics in both Illinois and Ohio before joining the 4 Paws team. Dr. Keller lives near Columbus, OH with her husband Zach, their cat, and their fabulous 4 Paws flunky. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her husband playing tennis and she is very active in her church. She also enjoys rooting for the New York Yankees and the Green Bay Packers. She always knew she wanted to be a veterinarian for most of her life because of her love for animals. Dr. Keller thought that 4 Paws was the perfect combination of her veterinarian career and giving back both to animals and people.

Jessa Kenworthy

Jessa Kenworthy
Training Director

Jessa stepped into the position of Training Director in mid-2020 after 12 years with 4 Paws. An Ohio native, Jessa spent her formative years on her parent’s horse farm and has spent her life surrounded by, and working with, a variety of animals. Jessa helped develop the rapidly-growing university program at 4 Paws, working with two dozen local universities to pair students with service dogs in training for socialization and basic obedience.

Jessa lives in Xenia with her husband and menagerie of animals – including dogs, of course.

Jessa@4PawsForAbility.org

Peg Bernert

Peg Bernert
Training Director, 4 Paws Alaska

Peg Walsh Bernert has had a lifetime passion for all things pertaining to dogs, but it wasn’t until her 3-year-old autistic son Leo was lost and presumed drowned that she entered the service dog world.

That day, after her son was found safe and her heart had recovered, she realized that a trained dog could have tracked her son.

That’s the day she found 4 Paws for Ability. Since receiving her son’s service dog in 2007 Peg has been affiliated with 4 Paws as a client, foster puppy parent, and finally completed a training internship at 4 Paws in August of 2011. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband Dave, her four kids, and, of course, many dogs.

Peg@4PawsForAbility.org