Meet the Team

Meet the Team




The Team

Our Advisors

You're one step away from enhancing your dog's life.

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Porter Square Station Arumugham

QA Tester

Porter Square Station Arumugham, CGC* is a field-bred Labrador retriever with an impressive resume of experience and skills. Porter has expertise in excavation, transportation of natural materials, demolition of toys, and scent work.  He is also an impressive athlete, as well as a superior problem solver.  In his role as our tireless and detail-oriented QA tester, Porter has been essential to the troubleshooting and improvement of PupStation.

*The letters CGC indicate that Porter has received a Canine Good Citizen title.

Karthik Arumugham

Founder, Chief Executive Officer

As a pet parent, Karthik understood the need for dog owners to empower their pets to make better choices. As an accomplished tech expert, he realized he could apply his extensive knowledge in software and network engineering to build a system to do just that. PupStation, the next-generation dog training and entertainment product he developed, uses artificial intelligence to adjust to the needs of every dog.

Irith Bloom

Founder, Chief Operating Officer

Irith is a certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant with decades of experience. She’s faculty at Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior and dogbiz’s Dog Walking Academy, and has spoken at dozens of dog training and behavior industry events. Irith realized the world needed an intuitive system that fosters better connections between dogs and their people. Partnering with a tech guru like Karthik was the obvious next step. Irith and Karthik are excited about transforming how people live with and train their pets.

Bill Haubold

VP, Business Development

Bill Haubold has been listening to and supporting customers for over twenty years in business development and sales leadership roles in the Bay area.  Bill has developed and led sales teams at companies ranging from startups to Fortune 100 corporations, with an emphasis on a customer first philosophy throughout. An engineer by training, Bill is motivated by understanding core issues and needs, as well as directing the design of solutions that benefit and provide a learning experience for the end user.

Bill and his wife, Adrienne Brooks, moved to California in 2000 while Bill was working on business development with global telecommunication providers and software startups. In May 2004, they moved from San Francisco to Napa, where they have lived ever since.  When not engaged in a constant quest to improve his golf game, Bill volunteers his time as Board Chair of the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, as well as on the Napa High School athletic boosters committee. Bill also coaches high school track and field.

Lorena León Patti

Team Member

Lorena Patti is originally from Venezuela, but has lived in the States since she was 16, and currently lives in Orlando, FL. She’s been training dogs professionally since 2004 at her company, Waggers Dog Works LLC. She has been a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) since 2012, and a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) since 2013. She’s also certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers as a CPDT-KA.

Lorena recently received her certification as a Certified Scent Instructor with the UK College of Scent Dogs in November of 2019, and her most recent certification as a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) in 2021. She has also attended, via instructor invitation, the North American Veterinary Conference Institute for Clinical Animal Behavior. This has fueled a passion to partner with veterinary behavior professionals in the interest of dogs’ overall wellness. Lorena, along with her own dog, enjoyed being a “practice client” with a demo patient for veterinarians earning their Fear Free® certification at VMX for several years. As a behavior geek, Lorena is constantly attending either conferences, webinars, or workshops to keep her up to date in her field.

Lorena holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Aeronautical Science. She holds herself to a standard of the application of education that is evidence-based in dog training and behavior modification.

Lorena shares her life and joy with her husband, their son, and their amazing golden retriever “daughter”, Neecie.


Emelie Johnson Vegh


Emelie Johnson Vegh is an amazing teacher of people and trainer of animals. She is educated in the Nordic languages, children’s literature, and education, and has a degree as a high school teacher in English and Swedish. Emelie is a successful competitor and coach in a variety of dog sports, ranging from agility and obedience to freestyle and mushing (to mention just a few). A sought-out presenter, Emelie teaches seminars on the principles of behavior and learning, and coaches trainers worldwide to help them improve their training skills and get better results for themselves and their clients. Emelie is also a published author.


Michelle Elmquist

Team Member

Michelle Elmquist is a jack of all trades. A month after graduating from university, she enrolled in a woodworking course and spent whole afternoons learning about glue. She enjoys the hands-on process of creating and thrives on learning new skills, solving practical problems, and supporting positive people who are changing the world. Michelle has built houses with Habitat for Humanity, worked in technology support for a small nonprofit, led an architectural salvage team, and helped manage the construction site for a large multifamily project. She is a flexible troubleshooter with a knack for figuring things out, making it work, and getting stuff done. She lives in Portland and undertakes a ten-day silent meditation course every year.

Scarlett Trillia

VP, Communication and Culture

Over the course of her career, Scarlett Trillia has worked with start-ups and on new ventures (adventures!) across industries ranging from media production, to biotech, to logistics technology and high end, technology-supported furniture fabrication. She brings a wealth of administrative and operational skills as well as a passion for teamwork, a knack for strategy, and a long view into the future.

Scarlett’s interdisciplinary background began with an Honors degree in Human Services Administration at Northeastern University, extensive international travel for academic research, and an early career in non-profit development. Moving between industrial sectors later in her career broadened Scarlett’s view of business and finance, business ethics, and the interplay between humans, our natural environment, our communities, and the way that we work and develop new technologies in the 21st century.

Outside the office, Scarlett is a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher who has dedicated thousands of hours to the study of Vedic wisdom teachings. She brings a foundation of ancient Eastern philosophy and science to the modern Western working environment, a kind of peaceful super power when it comes to weathering the uncertainty of startup life.

Scarlett is based in Oakland and Mendocino, California where she has raised a very, very good dog named Luz. Together they enjoy digging in the garden, long walks on the beach, and swimming in the river whenever they get a chance!

Michael Shikashio


Michael Shikashio, CDBC, is the founder of and focuses on teaching other professionals from around the world on how to successfully work aggression cases. He is a five-term president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and was the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Member of the Year in 2020.

Michael is sought after for his expert opinion by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, New York Post, Fox News, The List TV, Baltimore Sun, WebMD, Women’s Health Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, SiriusXM Radio, The Chronicle of the Dog, and Steve Dale’s Pet World. He also hosts the popular podcast show “The Bitey End of the Dog” where he chats with the foremost experts on dog aggression.

He has been a featured keynote speaker at conferences, universities, and seminars in more than 200 cities and 14 different countries around the world, and offers a variety of educational opportunities on the topic of canine aggression, including the Aggression in Dogs Master Course and the annual Aggression in Dogs Conference.


Dr. Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVB


Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC is the owner and lead clinician at the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, OR. He received his veterinary degree from the University of MN in 2002 and became board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2010. He has operated house-call, office-based, and telemedicine-focused behavior practices. Dr. Pachel lectures throughout the world, teaches courses annually at multiple veterinary schools in the US, and has authored articles and book chapters on topics such as Intercat aggression, Behavioral Euthanasia, and Pet selection for animal-assisted therapy. He is a sought-after expert witness for legal cases involving animal behavior and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for dvm360. Dr. Pachel is a Vice-president of Veterinary Behavior on the executive leadership team for the Instinct Dog Behavior and Training franchise, as well as co-owner of Instinct Dog Behavior and Training Portland. Dr. Pachel is also a specialist consultant for Dutch Pet (a veterinary telemedicine platform), a veterinary behavior expert for The Vets (a nationwide housecall-based veterinary care provider), and a veterinary behavior expert for AnyQuestion (an app-based information service launched in 2022).


Eva Bertilsson


Eva Bertilsson is an internationally renowned educator and behavior specialist with a master’s degree in behavior analysis. She has spent her life learning about animal behavior and training, and has been an avid teacher of animal-friendly approaches based in science and best-practice since she started volunteering at her local dog club in 1994. Eva’s home base is in Ljungskile on Sweden’s west coast, but she spends much of her time travelling and teaching. She works as a teacher, coach and mentor in a wide range of settings and with a variety of species, helping individuals and organizations apply behavioral principles to teach skills and enhance quality of life for the individuals in their care. Eva is also a published author.


Dr. Kristina Spaulding, CAAB


Dr. Kristina Spaulding has been in the dog training and behavior profession for over 20 years. She owns Science Matters Academy of Animal Behavior LLC. She has a B.S. in wildlife ecology and a PhD in biopsychology—the study of the biological basis of behavior—and is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. As part of her graduate training, Dr. Spaulding was formally trained in effective teaching techniques. In graduate school, she received an award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. She is currently a co-instructor for the graduate level course in animal behavior consulting at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Spaulding’s interest in teaching has carried over to her applied behavior work where she teaches a variety of online courses and webinars on the science of behavior through her website,  Dr. Spaulding also regularly presents on canine behavior science at conferences and other events. She is the author of The Stress Factor in Dogs: Unlocking Resiliency and Enhancing Well-Being.

She is particularly interested in stress, neurobiology, cognition, emotion, and well-being and how to apply these concepts to the prevention, early intervention, and treatment of behavior problems in dogs.

In 2019, Dr. Spaulding received the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s (APDT’s) Member of the Year Award. She currently serves on the IAABC Foundation Board.


Steve White


Although he was raised with dogs, Steve White’s love of working dogs began in 1974 when his obedience instructor introduced him to the world of K9 Search and Rescue. Steve was hooked and soon joined the US Army as a Military Police working dog handler, since then most of Steve law enforcement career has been devoted K9. He is the only person to have served as a handler, trainer, and training supervisor for the largest patrol dog unit the state of Washington.

First accredited as a Master Trainer in 1993 by the Washington State Police Canine Association, Steve is also a past Executive Board Member of that body. He served as Vice President of the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers, (now called the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) and has been an instructor for the K9 Academy for Law Enforcement. Steve has instructed at seminars in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, Mexico, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. He was a founding instructor at Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpo. He has taught obedience classes in a variety of venues and provided animal behavior consultation services.

Steve’s articles have appeared in police K9 and dog training publications in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, and New Zealand. He specializes in teaching behavior modification, urban tracking, and scentwork through the use of positive reinforcement-based methods. He provides consultation, training, and audit services to K9 units, and has been recognized as an expert witness by Washington and Federal courts in Police K9 and dog behavior matters.


Victoria Stilwell


Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the international hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog. Through that show (and many others since), Stilwell has reached audiences in over 120 countries with her philosophy of positive training methods.

A passionate advocate for positive reinforcement dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of which features a roster of leading veterinary behaviorists, dog trainers, and behavioral scientists. She is a vocal opponent of punitive, dominance-based training techniques which often result in ‘quick fixes’ but ultimately cause more long-term harm than good while damaging the owner-dog relationship.

Stilwell is the CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT) as well as the Founder and President of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior, which is creating new generations of positive dog trainers and enhancing “The Future of Dog Training.” She is also the author of five best-selling books, and a regular guest on talk shows, news broadcasts and radio programs in the US, Europe and Asia.

Stilwell has been the recipient of multiple international awards and honors including Dog Trainer of the Year at the Purina ProPlan Dog awards and the prestigious Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.  She is also the resident pet expert on CNN’s HLN and the BBC’s One Show, and has been a regular columnist for several magazines including The Bark, American Dog, Dogster and Dogs Today. In addition, she is regularly featured in numerous journals, magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, Time Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Rachael Ray Everyday,, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, The Daily Mail, the Sunday Times, The Mirror, and The Sun.


Van Zeiler


Van Zeiler serves as the Director of Marketing and Business Development for the Victoria Stilwell Positively brand in his role as Vice President of various Victoria Stilwell entities and as CEO of the Victoria Stilwell Academy.

Formerly a successful actor, Van oversees the ongoing development of the Victoria Stilwell brand across many platforms including products, licensing, digital, television and video.


Zack Zullick


Zack Zullick is a seasoned technologist and a natural leader with a passion for building teams and products. Zack has extensive experience in building and scaling technology organizations, guiding cross-cutting technology strategies, and making analytically-driven product or business decisions. He has founded multiple companies, including Praise and Allma where he served as CEO and CTO respectively. Prior to becoming a founder, Zack worked at DraftKings in various engineering management roles, having led the engineering teams responsible for the Daily Fantasy Sports product and built a brand new engineering team to develop a scalable real-money gaming compliance system. Zack has a proven track record of building amazing teams and solving hard technical, organizational, and people problems.


Jason Simas


Jason Simas is an entrepreneur, engineering professional, and advisor with over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He has worked with startups in the aerospace and pet technology industries performing startup operations, dilutive / non-dilutive funding and financial strategy, business development, and product commercialization / design. Jason is passionate about advising early-stage startups on how to build foundations for success to overcome the extreme hurdles and uncertainty that accompany early-stage growth.

Kathir Ramaswami


Kathir Ramaswami is a product management professional with over 17 years of experience working across a wide array of industries. He has degrees in engineering and business management. Kathir has a strong proclivity for technical minutiae, as well as a proven track record of understanding big picture initiatives and executing major projects to completion. He excels at providing executive-level analysis, communicates effectively across internal and external audiences, and is highly adept at working across globally distributed cross-functional teams to deliver on high impact endeavors with clearly measurable results.

Kathir has architected a modern platform for the distribution of high volume digital streaming video for military users. He has also directed global launches for several major video game titles on an enterprise digital gaming platform, as well as a startup business VoIP service built on a highly scalable SaaS cloud platform. In addition, Kathir has been the product manager for products ranging from a global voice network and platform to features that helped drive a strategic partner migration to a specific UCaaS platform.

Mark Calkins

VP, Hardware Engineering

Mark is an accomplished technologist with a deep-rooted passion for digital innovation and dogs. With over 25 years of experience in large-scale systems and service provider networks, Mark brings a unique blend of expertise and dedication to Porter Labs.

One of Mark’s major achievements was during his tenure as a Principal Engineer at ViaSat. He played a vital role in developing the ground networks and automation for high-speed KA satellite Wi-Fi in planes, enhancing connectivity for numerous travelers.

At PacketFabric, Mark rapidly ascended from an early-stage employee engineer to VP of Global Network Engineering, showcasing his leadership skills and commitment to delivering the cutting edge in automated network solutions.

Mark is also co-founder and board president of IX-Denver, a volunteer-run non-profit that has become the Rocky Mountain region’s largest Internet Exchange. This venture highlights Mark’s innovative and committed spirit to drive digital enrichment in his community.

Mark spends much of his time hanging out with a three-legged Husky named Donnie Barko and a Shiba Inu named Stevie Licks, who love helping Mark test PupStation prototypes. Mark is excited to leverage his technology expertise to help us revolutionize dog training and enhance the bond between pets and their owners.

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