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Meet Our Team

Peter E. Rork, M.D.

Founder and President

Peter, “The Pilot”, is an East Coast refugee, who always believed that he was switched at birth with a kid from New Jersey. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, he practiced Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multiengine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo Cessna 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.

Kara Pollard

Executive Director

With her husband Mark Pollard, a Kiwi native and their daughter Olivia and son William, Kara has made Jackson home with two rescue dogs Sydney and Queenie. Animal welfare has always been a passion of hers, from rescuing the family pets at local animal shelters and volunteering for welfare agencies while growing up in Rhode Island. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2006 with a degree in Animal Science, she moved to Jackson, WY with her first rescue dog, Sydney a pit bull mix. Kara quickly became an active member in the Valley, working as a technician at a veterinary clinic and also volunteering for animal welfare agencies including Teton County Animal Shelter, Paws of Jackson Hole, and the Animal Adoption Center. In 2012, Kara became the Executive Director of the Animal Adoption Center- a nonprofit animal welfare organization. Kara is committed to pursuing her passion in animal welfare, and is grateful to be part of the Dog Is My CoPilot team!

Peter Rork

Peter E. Rork, M.D.

Founder and President

Peter, “The Pilot”, is an East Coast refugee, who always believed that he was switched at birth with a kid from New Jersey. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, he practiced Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multiengine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo Cessna 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.

Kara Pollard

Executive Director

With her husband Mark Pollard, a Kiwi native and their daughter Olivia and son William, Kara has made Jackson home with two rescue dogs Sydney and Queenie. Animal welfare has always been a passion of hers, from rescuing the family pets at local animal shelters and volunteering for welfare agencies while growing up in Rhode Island. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2006 with a degree in Animal Science, she moved to Jackson, WY with her first rescue dog, Sydney a pit bull mix. Kara quickly became an active member in the Valley, working as a technician at a veterinary clinic and also volunteering for animal welfare agencies including Teton County Animal Shelter, Paws of Jackson Hole, and the Animal Adoption Center. In 2012, Kara became the Executive Director of the Animal Adoption Center- a nonprofit animal welfare organization. Kara is committed to pursuing her passion in animal welfare, and is grateful to be part of the Dog Is My CoPilot team!

Lynette Duford

Rescue Flight Coordinator

Lynette’s passion for animal welfare began growing up on a dairy farm in Montana. Her parents encouraged her love of animals from an early age as she brought home every stray or abandoned animal that crossed her path…even baby mice! Although Lynette’s education and professional work has been in the health and fitness industry, she has always been an active volunteer with rescue groups. She spent the last 17 years part of Life Savers Animal Rescue (LSAR) where she and her husband Dana have fostered many animals focusing on seniors or dogs with medical issues at the end of their lives. They have five dogs of their own, several who have been passengers on Dog Is My CoPilot (DIMC)! Now that all four of her kids are adults, she finally has the opportunity to make rescue work her full time job. Lynette will join the DIMC team as Rescue Flight Coordinator where she will work with our volunteer pilots and shelter and rescue partners to coordinate our rescue flights.

Frank Maresca

Frank Maresca

Pilot Coordinator

Frank is a semi-retired mechanical engineer. Formerly the Technical Director for Clearwater Paper Consumer Products, structural design engineer at Boeing on the 757 and US Army Ordnance Officer, he is a CFII and spends winters working in the shop on equipment projects and giving flying lessons at the Lewiston, Idaho airport. Summers include fire patrol/air attack on Forest Service contracts and working with the family rock crushing business. Frank and his wife Margo have two children, Adrian and Ian as well as horses, cows, cats and Thor, the security dog.

Meet our Volunteer Pilots

Our volunteer pilots each donate hundreds of hours flying our rescue missions. We estimate that in 2021, our volunteer pilots will save the organization over $100,000.

Peter E. Rork, M.D.

Chief Pilot, President & Founder

Peter, “The Pilot”, is an East Coast refugee, who always believed that he was switched at birth with a kid from New Jersey. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, he practiced Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multiengine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo Cessna 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.

Jeff Carter

Volunteer Pilot

Jeff works as a Test pilot and instructor for a DOD aircraft manufacturer. He spends five to six months deployed overseas per year, supporting the US military programs. While stateside, he lives in Southern California with his wife of 30 years and their 5 rescue dogs. Jeff looks forward to helping DIMC save as many pets lives as possible.

Brent Blue

Dr. Brent Blue

Volunteer Pilot

Dr. Brent Blue is an Airline Transport Pilot rated aviator with over 9,000 hours of flight time. He practices medicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and has three adult children. His whole family has grown up with and currently have dogs of all types. He is a FAA designated Aviation Medical Examiner and consults for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. In addition to aviation, Dr. Blue skis, mountain bikes, travels, and photographs extensively. Dr. Blue is an original board member of DIMC and is an enthusiastic support of rescue dog missions. He stated “dogs are incredible animals and bring such great joy to people. How can we not rescue as many as possible?”

Daniel Wagner

Volunteer Pilot

Developing a love of airplanes was a natural progression for Daniel Wagner. Now, 31, he grew up in a home where his dad flew 767s and his mom was a flight attendant, both for a major airline.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree at Sam Houston State University and working in marketing, he became a flight attendant for United Airlines. He quickly realized that flying airplanes and ensuring the comfort of his passengers was in his blood. After completing his flight training, Daniel had the opportunity to work for Mokulele Airlines, transporting passengers in the Cessna Caravan from island to beautiful island in Hawaii for the next 18 months.

When not flying, Daniel loves to mentor young minorities to achieve their aviation dreams for OBAP (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals). His contagious love of aviation has fueled him to encourage many friends, family members, and even acquaintances to follow the path of aviation.

Daniel’s Cessna Caravan experience, love of animals, and his passion for helping others led him to find Dog Is My CoPilot. He looks forward to being part of the team and transporting these animals so they can ultimately find their forever homes.

Frank Maresca

Volunteer Pilot

Frank is a semi-retired mechanical engineer. Formerly the Technical Director for Clearwater Paper Consumer Products, structural design engineer at Boeing on the 757 and US Army Ordnance Officer, he is a CFII and spends winters working in the shop on equipment projects and giving flying lessons at the Lewiston, Idaho airport. Summers include fire patrol/air attack on Forest Service contracts and working with the family rock crushing business. Frank and his wife Margo have two children, Adrian and Ian as well as horses, cows, cats and Thor, the security dog.

Tim Riley

Volunteer Pilot

Tim is an avid pilot with Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor ratings who has been flying for over thirty years. He has owned a flight school where he enjoyed sharing his passion for flying with many new pilots. He is an active volunteer for a number of aviation-related organizations. He lives in Driggs, ID with his wife Janette and has two adult daughters. They enjoy all that the Tetons have to offer including flying, hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing. Tim is excited to be part of the DIMC crew and looks forward to flying with the dogs and getting them to new homes.

Jennifer Boman

Volunteer Pilot

Jennifer Boman is an Airline Transport Pilot at a major airline on the Airbus 320 based in Los Angeles, California. She was previously an instructor pilot on the KC135R in the USAFR at March ARB, California, and has served for over 17 years. She is a Colorado native and now lives with her husband Andrew in Carlsbad, CA. They lost their best friend Koru in June 2020 at 13 ½ years old who was Jennifer’s running, hiking, and cross country skiing buddy.  Jennifer is deeply grateful for this opportunity to be part of such a great organization serving these deserving animals!

Jason Wojteczko

Volunteer Pilot

Jason has been involved with aviation for over 30 years.  He is a pilot, mechanic, aircraft dealer/broker, skydiver, and Air Force veteran.  For his 23 years in the military, he lived many places overseas and served multiple combat tours to include Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).  Jason is now responsible for the day-to-day operations of his company Compass Rose Aviation which includes being a very active international aircraft delivery (ferry) pilot.

When he is not flying, or thinking about flying, Jason enjoys flying, traveling, and hanging with friends. He also confesses to being the biggest fan of his beautiful wife, Crystal.  Born in Texas and growing up in Florida, he now lives in Wichita, Kansas with Crystal and their four Chihuahuas…Rose, Iris, Lily, and Poppy (three are rescue dogs).  Jason is thrilled to be part of the Dog Is My Copilot team and will fly as many rescue missions as he can to allow these beautiful animals their forever homes!

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson

Volunteer Pilot

Bio coming soon.

Meet our Board of Directors & Volunteers

Peter Rork

Peter E. Rork, M.D.

President & Founder

Peter, “The Pilot”, is an East Coast refugee, who always believed that he was switched at birth with a kid from New Jersey. After working his way through medical school as a pilot, he practiced Orthopaedic Surgery for more than thirty years. Instead of retiring to a golf course, he has returned to the skies as our Chief Pilot. Peter holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating and is qualified to fly single and multiengine aircraft as well as seaplanes. He is also a certified flight instructor. Transporting animals to furever homes in a Cessna Turbo Cessna 206 Stationair and Cessna Grand Caravan, he says that the view from his new office beats any other.

Susan Bersticker Thorp, ND, RN

Board Member

Susan has a doctorate in nursing from Case Western Reserve, and is a nurse in the state of WY. She has worked in the orthopedic community for the past 14 yrs taking care of people, and a few dogs with broken bones along the way. Susan works for the Ossur America brace company, and is an international consultant to Cast Nylons Ltd., a manufacturer of cast nylon bearing materials, where Susan uses her fluency in Spanish to assist Cast Nylons in their expansion of sales to Mexico, Central and South America. Susan is the copilot in her husband’s Piper Meridian, that they fly around the US, Bahamas and Mexico with their two passengers, Tank, a yellow Labrador and Chamois, a Golden Retriever.

Brent A. Blue, M.D.

Board Member

Brent is a family practice and emergency medicine physician in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and is a recognized expert in aviation medicine. He founded Aeromedix, a medical aviation company, and has served on the Board of Lighthawk. Brent owns three aircraft and four dogs—two Bergamascos, a Golden Retriever, and a Lagotto Ramagnolo.

Ted Kerasote

Board Member

Ted Kerasote is the author of many books, including the national bestseller Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, Out There: In The Wild in a Wired Age, which won the National Outdoor Book Award, and Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, which has helped to change how people think about canine health. His essays and photographs have appeared in Audubon, Geo, Outside, Science, The New York Times, and more than sixty other periodicals. Ted lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Taylor Rork

Board Member

Taylor is an animal welfare advocate and attorney who serves as General Counsel to Dog Is My Copilot. Her involvement with saving and protecting animals started with the many she brought home and saved as a child. It was after she adopted her first rescue dog, Oslo, that she chose to attend law school in order to effect positive change for homeless animals, as well as farmed animals. When her father, Dr. Peter Rork, founded Dog Is My Copilot, Taylor was thrilled to be involved and has served the non-profit in a variety of capacities since its inception.

Taylor graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the University of Washington’s Tax Law LLM program and works as an estate planning attorney focused on pet trusts when she is not assisting Dog Is My Copilot. Taylor always advocates to pet parents to include their animals in their estate plans.

Taylor is also Cofounder of the pet protection company, Pet Notify. Pet Notify is a technology company offering pet parents a variety of services to keep their pets safe and out of shelters by giving pets a voice when they need it the most.

Ann Smith

Board Member

Ann moved to Jackson Hole with her two sons and then National Park service husband in 1981. An animal advocate since childhood, she always rescued homeless dogs, cats, birds and even an orphaned baby raccoon! Ann founded PAWS of Jackson Hole in 1999.  A wildlife photographer and huge fan of grizzly bear 399, Ann was one of the five founders of Shoot ‘Em With a Camera campaign that encouraged people to apply for a grizzly bear tag and shoot with a camera not a gun. Ultimately the grizzly bears were restored to the endangered species list.  Ann currently serves on the Board  of Jackson Hole  K-9 Auxiliary and Wyoming Untrapped. She shares her home in East Jackson with her beloved rescue pup Bandit and crazy kitty Ginny.

Karin Coopersmith

Gratitude Team

I have had a dog in my life for the last 40 years. Their special ability to brighten lives has made me passionate about brightening their lives as well. Several of my pups were rescues, including my current companion, Barley. I try to help organizations that rescue pups and give them forever homes. I am involved in my local humane association as a therapy team with Barley. DIMC reaches so many and helps fulfill my desire to brighten the lives of pups in a loving forever home.

Margie England

Gratitude Team

Growing up my family always had a dog. Jumping way ahead: my husband and I were both teachers and gone all day, so when our two sons were younger we had been through the fish and gerbil pets but decided we needed to get a “real” pet so we got….a cat!! Needless to say we fell in love with Zeke and since then have rescued five cats. The cat who has been an important part of my life the past five years has been Tora – my friend, my buddy, and my confidant. Since I now live in a retirement community helping the DIMC organization has become very important to me; I feel like I’m doing a part of helping more animals find loving homes. What a blessing!!

Past Board Members

Karen Ford

Karen Valenstein Ford

September 2018-September 2020

Buller Rork

August 2012-2016

Judy Zimet, Esq., Co-Founder

August 2012-August 2018

Mary Ann Parlin, Ph.D.

April 2017-2018

Martin Thall

Martin Thall

August 2014-2016