Our Founders

Douglas J. Spiker, DVM

Founder & President, Board of Directors

Douglas J. Spiker, DVMDr. Spiker earned his Doctorate from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Florida State University. His current professional memberships include: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association and the Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Association.

In 2011, Dr. Spiker earned the Gold Star Award from the Florida Veterinary Medical Association for his dedication to the profession and the local community. He served as President (2010) and on the Board of Directors (2007-2009) for the Pinellas County Veterinary Medical Association. Since 2009, Dr. Spiker has been a Co-Owner of an established multi-doctor veterinary practice in Tampa Bay, FL.

Dr. Spiker was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and moved to New Port Richey, FL at the age of 2. He has always loved animals and his parents have even admitted on occasion that he was raised by wolves (Huskies). When his family first moved to Florida, their apartment was connected to a veterinarian’s office and as a toddler he was known for sneaking into the treatment area when the hospital was closed.

Dr. Spiker is married to Christine Battista (see below). They live in Tampa Bay with their 2 furry kids, Madison, aka Mad Maddie (a Boston Terrier), and Annie (All-American Mutt and Essentials PetCare mascot).

Christine A. Battista, MS

Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Board of Directors

Christine A. Battista, MSMs. Battista earned her Master of Science degree in Consumer Affairs from Auburn University. She double-majored in Merchandising and Apparel Design, earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University. Ms. Battista’s professional experience includes the product launch of Mad Maddie pet accessories, serving as a business consultant in marketing, merchandising and design, and product development for a major national retailer.

Christine was born and raised in Port Richey, FL. She grew up with a passion for creativity, and especially enjoyed finding ways to be thrifty, yet unique. She learned to sew at an early age and even made her own wedding dress from fabric remnants. In 2005, when she and Dr. Spiker decided to plant roots in Tampa Bay, Christine decided to combine her love of animals and design by creating a pet accessory line. Today she combines her passion for pets and consumer advocacy in the development of Essentials PetCare.

When Dr. Spiker and Christine are not working, they enjoy spending time with their 2 dogs and families, as well as biking and paddle boarding. Since 2007, they have been devoted mentors and were honored as the 2011 “Big Couple of the Year” by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas County for their commitment to “Little Brother”, Garion. Christine also mentors a “Little Sister”, Ayana.

Bruce Newman

Board of Directors

Mr. Newman is a merger and acquisition executive with over 25 years of entrepreneur experience in developing and financing a variety of technology, media, product and service companies. Bruce’s background includes the creation and rollout of multi-channel client revenue strategies, supplier partnership agreements, product launches, business acquisition plans, internal control procedures, and capital financings to build and run successful operations.

Bruce has structured nearly $50 million in venture capital and private equity investments for private and public early stage companies where he was founder and CEO. In addition, Mr. Newman has served as lead sell-side advisor to numerous lower middle market businesses that were sold to strategic and private equity buyers. Mr. Newman is an organizational expert who understands the startup, expansion and exit phases of a business.

Special Advisors

Laura Mahony, JD MBA

Tom Cawthon

Kristin Heatherly, DVM

Susan Roberts