Our Team

Many of our dedicated team and Board of Directors have been with us since the early days of Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) and have evolved with us to support the change to the National Institute of Canine Service and Training (NICST), a trailblazer in the field of medical, detection, and wellness services dogs.

  • Kim Denton Director of Finance

    “Giving back to the community that has given me a wonderful peace of mind through Troy is an added plus to working with such an amazing team of people at D4D!”

  • Carrie Treggett Programs Manager

    “I’m so glad that my career has me now focusing on working directly with clients to provide them with the support and training to be successful with their service dogs.”

  • Hayley Sevilla Lead Trainer

    “Training dogs is my passion and being a part of a community-based service organization like NICST has been my goal since I first put my hands on a leash.”

Board of Directors

Mark Ruefenacht, Founder, President

Mark is internationally recognized for training the first dog in the world to detect and alert to blood sugar changes in diabetics. He went on to pioneer medical-alert service dogs and continues to research the various ways that dogs can profoundly improve the lives of people. Mark continues to champion NICST’s high standards of quality and ethics by speaking at international conferences and helping other organizations innovate and implement service dog training. Mark has assisted service dog programs around the world, including Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and more.

Mark’s professional background is in Forensic Metrology. He is an expert in forensic sciences and measurement science. He continues to work part time at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by teaching, researching, and developing standards related to quality and measurements.

Spenser Paul, Board Chairman

Spenser Paul is a native of Great Falls, Montana and currently calls San Francisco home.  He serves as GM for a cloud fin-ops platform, and has worked in the public cloud sector for the past 12 years.  In his spare time he enjoys surfing, hiking, and jogging around the bay area.  Spenser has been a client of NICST for the past 9 years, and is forever grateful for the presence and health of his service dog, Milton.

Jeannie Hickey, Co-founder & Board Member

Jeannie Hickey RN, CDE, BSN, is a registered nurse and retired diabetes educator with Kaiser Permanente. She is an active volunteer with NICST, assisting in evaluating client applications, managing our support groups, and performing outreach to the general public and medical community. Jeannie has worked with NICST since its initial days as a D4D research project.

Kim Denton, Board Member & Treasurer

Kim Denton who volunteers in our training room and as NICST’s Outreach Coordinator additionally assumed the responsibilities of the Director of Finance and the Board’s Treasurer in November 2019.  As a client of D4D since 2014, Kim values the amazing support NICST offers its clients both through providing life-saving dogs as well as a non-judgmental environment for diabetics to gather. Troy is Kim’s adorable Golden Retriever-Guardian Angel and they have been inseparable since they were placed together in April 2018. Kim has been serving as the elected City Treasurer for the City of Albany since April 1988.

Richard Tong, Board Member

Richard is Executive Vice President With over 30 years of experience, Richard is well-known in the East Bay community for building strong business relationships and growing companies’ financial futures. Since 2015, Richard and his wife Jennifer have volunteered as Canine Training Partners for D4D, playing a vital role in creating our life-saving partnerships. A passionate volunteer, Richard also serves on the Board for Rebuilding Together Oakland | East Bay and the Walnut Creek Library Foundation.

Steve Wolf, MD, Board Member, Program Physician

Dr. Wolf is a family physician with the Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods in Santa Rosa as well as an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 22, Dr. Wolf believes that he needs to lead by example, managing his own diabetes with the same care that he advocates for his patients. He serves on the Board of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation of the North Bay and runs their Teen Diabetic Support Group. He also supports fellow board member, Jeannie Hickey in running our support programs. He is a client of D4D and is teamed with a handsome yellow Labrador Retriever named Kermit.

Board of Advisors

Ralph Hendrix, Advisor

Ralph has generously volunteered with D4D since his retirement in 2006, serving in many roles for the organization. He is a member of our Board of Directors, was Vice President, and most recently Executive Director before assuming the responsibility of Director of Finance. In his career, Ralph served as a regulator and banker for the US Treasury Department and retired from the Zions Bancorporation as Senior Vice President & Chief Credit Examiner.

Kevin Fick, Board Advisor

Kevin is the Chief Executive Officer of Worldwise, Inc., a leader in eco-friendly pet products. Kevin became involved with D4D in its early days, helping to develop our logo and initial marketing information. As a parent of a Type 1 Diabetic, he is familiar with the impact of diabetes as it progresses from childhood to adulthood. Though Kevin has moved around the country for his work, he remains supportive of NICST and advises our board on business and marketing issues.

Carissa Brader, Board Advisor

Carissa is co-founder of the Lagunitas Brewing Company with her husband, Tony Magee. Lagunitas is the fastest growing craft brewer in the United States and recently entered into a joint partnership with Heineken to distribute their beer around the world. She and her husband were introduced to us by a former Board Member, who recognized our mutual love of dogs, people, and quality. The Lagunitas brand represents the best of its products and people, and Carissa’s participation on NICST’s Board supports our reputation for providing the best service dogs in the world.