Board Members

Executive Committee

Ashley Byrne, LVT

Ashley Byrne, LVT - President

Ashley Byrne is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Washington State. She started at PIMA Medical Institute and obtained her Veterinary Assistant Certificate in 2005. She began working at VCA Animal Medical Center of Marysville and returned to PIMA Medical Institute in 2007 to be a part of the Seattle Campus’s first Veterinary Technician class. She was part of the first VCA Technician Development Team and is currently the Regional Technician Director for VCA’s Northwest & Hawaii Group. Ashley has worked in several private practices, and enjoys meeting technicians and seeing new practices. She joined the WSAVT in 2019 as the Communications Chair, spent a year in the President-Elect role, and will step into the President position in July of 2021. Moving into her term, she hopes to expand the executive board, bolster board volunteers, and increase member benefits. When she is not working on empowering veterinary teams, she can be found gardening or enjoying time with her family on Camano Island, Washington. 

Jade Velasquez LVT

Jade Velasquez LVT - Past President

Jade Velasquez is an LVT and Practice Manager who works at a general practice in Gig Harbor, Washington. She has been the President-Elect, President and Past President of WSAVT. She also is the NAVTA PR committee chair and sits on the NAVTA membership committee. She also uses her writing and speaking to reach veterinary professionals with her unique view of veterinary medicine. In 2014, Jade created a Facebook group; Veterinary Support Staff Unleashed to boost positivity and create a dialogue to inspire open communication in the field. She also is a regular contributor to the NAVTA Journal and guest author at who has used her writing to generate some of the most viewed and well-received articles on their website. She enjoys reading, writing, horror movies, music and hanging out with her 12-year-old son, two crazy Basenji’s and her Siamese cat.

Amie Fisher, LVT

Amie Fisher, LVT - Vice President & Newsletter Editor

Amie received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Washington State University, Tri-Cities before deciding to pursue a degree in Veterinary Technology. She received her licensure in 2020 and is excited to begin a career as a Licensed Veterinary Technician. Amie thoroughly enjoys anesthesia, dentistry, and behavior, and is currently employed at a general practice. She has some work experience in shelter medicine as well. She is working toward her Certified Professional Dog Trainer Certification (CPDT-KA). Outside of work, Amie’s hobbies include gardening, reading, and backpacking with her husband and two dogs. She is very excited to join the WSAVT to learn more about the organization and help continue to empower and educate veterinary technicians and assistants!

Benita Altier LVT VTS (Dentistry)

Benita Altier LVT VTS (Dentistry) - Secretary

Benita Altier is a Licensed Veterinary Technician as well as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Dentistry. She began her career in veterinary technology in 1988 and has worked in small animal general medicine, ophthalmology, equine and llama neonatal care, canine reproduction, and dental specialty.

Benita is the current President-Elect for the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians and the Secretary for the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians. She has co-authored two textbooks on veterinary dentistry for technicians as well as published several articles on the subject in professional journals. Through her business, Pawsitive Dental Education LLC, she has provided professional dental instruction and consultation to veterinary hospitals and conferences across the US, Canada, and China since 2008. Giving back to the profession and helping veterinary technicians grow their careers in ways they never thought were possible, is something she is very passionate about.

Through her business, Pawsitive Dental Education, she provides dentistry instruction and consultations across the United States and Canada to veterinary professionals. Benita has published numerous articles on dentistry in veterinary journals as well as being a contributing author to a textbook for veterinary technicians and nurses on the subject of dental operatory, ergonomics, and safety.

Mary DenBoer, LVT

Mary DenBoer, LVT - Treasurer

Mary DenBoer and her husband reside in Snoqualmie with their cat Kahma. She has been working in veterinary medicine since 1968 and earned her veterinary technician licensure in 2001. Mary worked at small animal clinics in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, and for the last 42 years, she has worked at the same emergency/small animal clinic in Bellevue.  She gets the opportunity to improve the lives of her patients and takes pride when she is able to help save a life.  She has seen our job evolve into a real profession over the years and she is extremely proud to be a part of this elite group.

Mary has volunteered in several ways over the years. First, it was her son’s classrooms, then PTA president, then blood and platelet donations.  She was blessed to be a match and donated stem cells once.  A year after that donation, Mary learned that her recipient was a veterinarian who was an instructor at Cornell University.  (I’m still blown away by that coincidence). She also volunteers in her granddaughter’s classroom. Three years ago, she raised her hand and volunteered to be the treasurer of her neighborhood water association.

Mary says, “Since I’m over 10 years old in dog years, it’s highly unlikely that I will pursue a specialty in Emergency Medicine or Dentistry, but I wish I’d had that opportunity.  In the meantime, I hope I can be useful by volunteering for this association which watches out for us in Washington State. I’d urge everyone to take a little bit of their lives, give something back and volunteer with our WSAVT to keep it strong and vital for our profession.”


Lori Lutskas, LVT CCRP

Lori Lutskas, LVT CCRP - Finance Chair

Lori Lutskas is the treasurer for WSAVT.  She started this position around 2012, before this time she was on the executive board as finance chairperson and bylaws chairperson.  She has been a veterinary technician in the state of Washington since 1983 and a member of WSAVT since that time.  She has enjoyed a variety of practice types in her career; mix-animal, small animal, and lastly academia.   Since joining WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, she has been in small animal surgery, neurology, and integrative medicine.  She got her certification in Canine Rehabilitation in 2006; she has realized that this is what she really enjoys to help patients that need veterinary physical therapy.  She gets really excited to take a neurological patient and be able to re-train them to walk again.

Shari Hultberg, LVT

Shari Hultberg, LVT - Membership Chair

Shari Hultberg began in this industry in 2004 as a receptionist and instantly knew she wanted to become a licensed veterinary technician. Shari graduated from the online program, AAHA’s DEVTP, through Cedar Valley Community College in 2008 with Phi Theta Kappa honors. She has 1 dog (Olive),  and 1 cat (Spare Kitty). Born and raised in Washington State, Shari is currently located in beautiful Poulsbo.

During her first year as vice-president for WSAVT, Shari helped organize a very successful CE in Silverdale, WA. Now this CE has become an annual event on the peninsula during the fall.  She has served as Membership Chair for the last four years. She is focused on establishing easily accessible and informative CE’s. Shari’s long-term goal is to promote the recognition of tasks provided by licensed technicians and the importance these duties have in the veterinary community. Technicians are hard-working, passionate, and dedicated to the care of all species of animals. Veterinarians and their clientele should be aware of the vital role the veterinary technician plays in the veterinary team dynamic.


Ryan Frazier, LVT

Ryan Frazier, LVT - Program Chair

Ryan Frazier has been a Veterinary Technician since 2004. He graduated from Madison Area Technician College in Madison, Wisconsin. He has worked in emergency and specialty medicine since 2007 and made the move to Washington in September of 2014. His true passions include interventional radiology, internal medicine (love fecal transplants & laser therapy) & unpredictable trauma medicine. He has previously held the President position.. In his free time, he loves traveling far and wide and his dogs Bucky and Juniper. He also loves chilling at home with his fish and tortoise, Elsinore. 

Brandi Bane, LVT

Brandi Bane, LVT - Nominations Chair

Brandi has been working as a veterinary technician since 2009, starting off in radiology which is still her passion, but most recently in internal medicine.  She enjoy being an internal medicine technician because it allows her to combine her love of imaging modalities with the ongoing care of my patients.  She moved to Washington in 2016 to pursue another internal medicine position and to be closer to the outdoors that she love.  When not working you can find her outdoors exploring the world with my little pupster.


Teresa Stefan, LVT

Teresa Stefan, LVT - Government Affairs Liaison

Teresa Stefan is VCA's new Talent Acquisitions Manager in the Northwest Region.   She has 27 years experience in the veterinary industry with 25 years as an LVT.  During her career, she has worked in various roles in both general practice and specialty medicine, including being a Technician Manager at a large specialty and referral practice for 7 years. She is active in our states veterinary technician programs as a guest speaker, an advisory board member, mental health advocate and on the AVMA committee for Veterinary Technician Education and Activites.  She has a strong desire to educate the community to bring awareness of the important role veterinary technicians play in our industry. She would also like to empower our technicians to find their voice and take action for positive change for our profession. She enjoys mentoring students to prepare them for their externships, and their first job as an LVT.