Kailas J. Rao, PhD - Chairman & CEO
In 1981, a time when personal computer systems were in their infancy, Dr. Rao founded Computers Unlimited of Wisconsin, doing business as Computer Bay, to sell personal computers, hard drives, printers, monitors and software to corporate business customers. Over the next eleven years, he developed a franchised network of 350 stores in 44 states and Canada, with annual network revenues of all the stores of over $500 million. Most of the franchises were value-added-resellers (VARS). Computer Bay marketed and distributed for industry leaders such as: IBM, Compaq, Epson, NEC, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and AT&T. He sold the business in 1992.
In 1993, with four partners, Rao established the boutique investment-banking firm GS2. GS2 specialized in asset management, brokerage, mergers and acquisitions, and investment banking for small to medium sized businesses. In 1995, he sold his ownership in GS2, which had grown to more than 60 employees and asset management level of more than $500 million.
Dr. Rao was a founder, Chairman and President of Industar Digital PCS, a digital cellular telecommunications company, established in March 1996. He partnered with Hughes Electronics, division of General Motors (US), Alcatel (France), Uniden (Japan) and Kanamatsu (Japan) with an investment over $135 million. He built wireless infrastructure in Wisconsin and introduced digital wireless technology. He later sold Industar to AT&T Wireless in 2000.
He founded Isle of Dogs in 2006 with his wife Becky to provide the first luxury dog grooming products to pet parents, grooming salons, and retail pet boutiques. Isle of Dogs offers products tailored to various dog skin and coat conditions and colors, just as human shampoos do.
Dr. Rao and his wife have hosted many fund-raising events benefiting charities and the performing arts, in Milwaukee, and provide 28 scholarships in four states for university student. As a member of the fund-raising committee for the Wisconsin Humane Society, Dr. Rao helped raise over ten million dollars for construction of a state-of-the-art facility, which was completed in 1999. The dog adoption wing of the Wisconsin Humane Society is named in honor of the Raos. Dr. Rao serves on various boards of philanthropic organizations as well as businesses, such as Children’s hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin, Boy’s and Girl’s Club, the Public Museum, and was honored as the civic hero of the year in 2011.
In the pet industry Kailas serves on the board of the World Pet Association and also the Petco Foundation board.
His interest in Veterinary Medicine, the Humane Society, pet parenting, and the Raos’ own stable of horses and kennel of Brittany show dogs, lead Dr. Rao to the establishment of Isle of Dogs Corp.
Becky Rao - Senior Vice President
Mrs. Rao holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sam Houston State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma in Administrative Leadership. Her professional career includes four years as AA to the Honorable Leo H. Whinery, Presiding Judge of the Municipal Court of Norman OK and Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma. In 1985 she left academia to join her husband Kailas at Computer Bay, moving from Warehouse Manager to Senior Vice President in six years. Mrs. Rao has been involved in dog and horse shows since childhood, and currently owns and operates Rao Farms LLC, a horse farm and professional dog kennel, where she raises Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, and Nationally competitive Brittany's.
Tim Ronan - Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Tim Ronan has been in Consumer Sales Management for over 35 years. His experience ranges from working at Fortune 200 Companies as well as family / privately owned companies. This exposure to the sales and marketing strategies at all levels has provided a vast amount of expertise and knowledge. Tim has been able to enhance the business in a multitude of product categories: Plastics/Housewares, OTC RX, Grocery and Household Chemicals. This expansion of business was achieved at all levels of accounts and distribution channels in the US and Canada. The past ten years have been specifically devoted to developing the business in the Pet Products Industry for companies such as Central Garden & Pet and Jakks Pacific/AKC Product Licenses.
Tim resides in Wauconda, IL, with his Fiancé, Mary Fran. He has two grown sons whom he is extremely proud of and he loves to sail in his spare time.
Erin Clemens - Director of Operations
Erin has been with Isle of Dogs since 2007. She has come to Isle of Dogs with a wealth of knowledge in an array of areas from customer retention, sales, operations, graphic design and website editing. Along with supporting Isle of Dogs in an operations capacity, Erin also heads our New Product Development and Marketing departments.
Monica Rear - Director of International Sales
Ms. Rear has been with the Isle of Dogs Corporation since 2006. She has been in retail sales and customer service all of her professional career. She began her own business right out of high school as a mobile groomer. Her skills and connections in the professional dog show world make her an industry expert when it comes to the care and well-being of dogs. She was a distributor of pet products for three years prior to joining the Isle of Dogs Corp. Ms. Rear has clients and colleagues all over the world who respect her knowledge and expertise in quality canine skin and coat care.
Mary Jo Stremlow - Director of Finance
Mary Jo is a graduate of Marquette University and a CPA with 30 years of experience in industries ranging from manufacturing and construction to national healthcare companies. Mary Jo brings the insight and perspective gained from large, publicly held companies but understands the complexities and challenges of a growing privately owned company. In this role, Mary Jo directs all financial aspects of the business including accounting practices, budgeting, financial planning and analysis, and monitoring of financial performance. Though a new comer to Isle of Dogs, Mary Jo looks forward to helping the company achieve its goals in her role as Director of Finance.
Heidi Joynt – Director of Salon and Retail Sales
Heidi Joynt, a Milwaukee native, started her work with Isle of Dogs (IOD) when the company was founded in 2006. She has built the client base at IOD from the ground up. Heidi can be credited for the over 2000 Salon & Retail Accounts that are currently maintained by the company. Heidi graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She has worked in the sales industry for over 10 plus years. Isle of Dogs can credit its success in the retail industry to Heidi's passion, drive and dedication to her work.
Colleen Collies - Customer Service Manager
Colleen has been in sales and customer service for 5 years prior to coming to Isle of Dogs. Colleen was hired by Isle of Dogs in 2009 as a customer service representative and continues to excel in that area. Colleen currently assists all sales channels with their customer service needs. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree at University of Phoenix in Business Administration.
Andrea Naber - Ecommerce Manager
Andrea was welcomed to the Isle of Dogs team in the spring of 2013. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater with a B.A. in marketing, Andrea has amassed over 12 years of product marketing and customer service experience. Andrea also brings professional experience and knowledge in the areas of website development and social media. Andrea is excited to develop Isle of Dogs’ brand awareness by utilizing the growing world of e-commerce.
Kevin Stock - Inventory Purchasing Manager
Kevin was welcomed to Isle of Dogs in September of 2013 and is a graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical College with an Associate Degree in Logistics-Materials and Supply Chain Management. With over 30 years' experience in purchasing and inventory control in industries ranging from Heavy Manufacturing to Healthcare, he brings a wealth of knowledge not only to the purchasing and inventory control departments but to operations as well.
Valerie Miller - Graphic Designer
Valerie Miller came to Isle of Dogs with 10 years of design experience in an agency setting. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2003 with a graphic design degree, and moved to Milwaukee 2 months later. She volunteers with Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) in her spare time. Valerie is thrilled to combine her passion for dogs with her design skills to further develop Isle of Dogs’ image and brand throughout a broad range of products and marketing materials.
Katie DeStefano - Account Manager
Katie joined the growing team in February 2014. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education she has been refining her business skills in sales, marketing, and product development. Katie prides herself on her people and communication skills and looks forward to creating lasting relationships with her customers.
Marie Audier D'Alessandris - Board Member
COACH – VP of Marketing
Ms. Marie Audier D’Alessandris has ten plus years as a beauty marketing executive within the L’Oreal Group, and now heads the international marketing department for COACH. She has broad multi-cultural expertise in strategic brand management, advertising and new product development. Marie received her Master of Science in Management in 1998 from Reims Management School, Sup de Co program in France.
Dr. Kanti Prasad - Board Member
Ph. D., Dean and Faculty Member, Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dr. Prasad has been Dean of the Lubar School of Business since the academic year, 2002-2003. He served as Interim Dean during the 2001-2002 academic year, and was Associate Dean of the School for 20 years, 1978-1998. Dr. Prasad is currently a Professor of Marketing and the Bostrom Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Michigan State University in 1970. Dr. Prasad has a long list of publications to his credit in market research. As leader of the Lubar School of Business, it has been his mission to help create a nationally recognized urban business school known for high quality teaching and research. Dr. Prasad brings much needed methodology and discipline in marketing and branding to the Isle of Dogs Corp.
Dr. DarylBuss - Board Member
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Veterinary MedicalEducation
Dean Emeritus, School of Veterinary Medicine,University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr.Buss serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education,an international journal focused on advances in veterinary medicaleducation. He served as Dean of theSchool of Veterinary Medicine, recognized as one of the pre-eminent schools ofveterinary medicine in the nation, from 1994-2012. His principal researchinterests are related to coronary blood flow to the heart and the consequencesof interruption of coronary blood flow.Dr. Buss’ commitment to teaching and education were reflected in hiscontinuing to teach, throughout his service as Dean, cardiovascular physiologyto veterinary medical students. Hisservice as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Veterinary Medical Educationcontinues his history of leadership and contributions to veterinary medicineand veterinary medical research.
Bruce Hall - Board Member
Former President of PETCO
Mr. Bruce Hall is an energetic, passionate, decisive and creative operator with 45 years of progressive, hands-on tactical and strategic contribution in building two premier US retailing brands, Toys 'R' Us and PETCO, respectively. He has deep experience in all aspects of retail operations and customer-facing activities used to drive sales, heighten brand awareness, create exceptional customer satisfaction and loyalty, and increase bottom-line profitability. Bruce's business and personal successes were achieved by leading with integrity and adhering to high ethical standards, treating everyone with respect and putting the customer first.
Peter Sommerhauser - Board Member
Senior Attorney and Shareholder, Corporate Practice Group, Godfrey and Kahn Attorneys at Law
Mr. Sommerhauser’s experience in corporate law covers a broad range of areas, including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, business succession, and the structure of business financing. He provides Isle of Dogs Corp. with business and financial guidance, including but not limited to short and long term planning, personnel management, and corporate structuring. Mr. Sommerhauser has been with Godfrey and Kahn since 1969 and has served on its management committee for 25 years. He has been honored by The Best Lawyers in America, Corporate Law Category; Who’s Who in American Law; recognized as one of the best merger and acquisition attorneys in Wisconsin by Chambers and Partners in its Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers; listed as a to corporate attorney in Milwaukee Magazine’s “Top 75 Lawyers”.
Eric Butlein - Board Member
Business Executive and Entrepreneur
Eric Butlein has held senior positions in the Information Technology, Banking, Home Technology and Healthcare Industries. He has also been involved in a number of business start-ups and has specific expertise in sales and sales management, marketing, financial management, operations management, and strategic planning. After spending 15 years with IBM, and three years with First Wisconsin Bank, in 1984 Mr. Butlein co-founded Computer People Unlimited, Inc., (CPU), a software consulting company. He served as a Regional Vice President for five years at the Compuware Corporation after they purchased CPU in 1994. Mr. Butlein is currently the Co-Chairman of Health Payment Systems (HSP), a company involved in healthcare claims payments. Mr. Butlein’s expertise in personnel matters, marketing strategies and management has proved invaluable to Isle of Dogs Corp.