Dr. Doug Spiker is a co-founder and President of Essentials PetCare. Our team knows him as our Intrepid Mastermind – the creator of our movement to expand veterinary care. Dr. Spiker is a small animal veterinarian, who realized the significant need for making basic pet care both affordable and accessible to all families after practicing for several years as a co-owner of a walk-in veterinary hospital.
Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he moved at a young age and grew up in New Port Richey, Florida. Dr. Spiker earned his doctorate from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Florida State University. He describes one of his greatest joys as “watching the organization grow from a concept into a mission-oriented company full of talented individuals.”
Favorite book? In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette. I found this book equal parts humbling and inspiring.
Hobbies? Swimming, watching The Simpsons episodes on endless repeat, finding ways to insert my favorite Simpsons quotes into my everyday life.
Personal motto? “Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like hell.” – Peter Brock
Christine Battista, MS
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
Christine Battista is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Essentials PetCare, a.k.a. The Maestro. Her professional experience includes marketing, merchandising and product development; working with small organizations, non-profits, and national retailers as well.
Christine comes from an entrepreneurial family, and was born and raised in Port Richey, Florida. She earned her master’s degree in Consumer Affairs from Auburn University, and double-majored in Merchandising and Apparel Design, earning her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. She takes pride in ensuring our team’s efforts always remain true to our mission--serving as an advocate on behalf of pet parents, and encouraging consumer transparency and education to enhance the lives of people and their beloved pets.
Best concert ever attended? Madonna: Rebel Heart tour – Brooklyn, NY
Skills or talents that most people don’t know about? Ballroom dancing, sewing and patternmaking
Personal motto? “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
Bruce Newman is a co-founder of Essentials PetCare and serves as our Executive Chairman, i.e. the Navigator. Bruce’s background includes 30 years of entrepreneur experience in developing and financing businesses in the area of B2B software, technology solutions for big box retailers, and investment banking.
Bruce grew up with his six brothers and sisters on Long Island in New York where he started his first business at the age of 21. Bruce enjoys working with determined people who have a shared vision of building an organization that can have meaningful impact.
If you were a superhero, which one would you be? Batman of course, beginning from when I was 7.
Skills or talents that most people don’t know about? I’m pretty good at riding a unicycle, although it’s been a few years. Good to have in my back pocket if I ever decide to join the circus!
Personal motto? Always do the right thing.
Stephen Godwin, JD, MA
Director of Talent Operations
Steve Godwin is our Director of Talent Operations, or as we refer to him behind his back, “Ditto.” Steve has over twenty years of human resources experience and service as counsel to senior management. Prior to joining Essentials PetCare, he called Tallahassee home, serving as legal counsel to several Florida executive branch agencies and most recently as Director of House Administration for the Florida House of Representatives.
He received a Juris Doctor degree, a master’s degree in Public Administration, and a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs & Political Science from Florida State University. Steve says he enjoys working for a company like Essentials PetCare that “offers a team management approach to performance and productivity, which provides a fun, exciting, and challenging work environment, and for which my contribution is meaningful to me, my employer and the public.”
If you were a superhero, which one would you be? Run Away From Danger Man
Personal motto? “Quondo Omni Flunkus Moritati”
If you could travel to one place, where would it be? 19.3947 N, 154.9291 W.
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Marie Umholtz is our Marketing and Communications Specialist, a.k.a. the Media Whisperer. She has a background in professional writing and digital media.
She grew up in Florida and received a bachelor’s degree in English with minors in art and multimedia management at Saint Leo University. She has a passion for helping people discover the best opportunities in pet care and educating clients, so they can make the best decisions for their pets.
Hobbies? I love art—both studying and creating it—in my spare time. I especially love drawing, painting, and sculpting.
Skills or talents that most people don’t know about? I was able to ace a biology lab practical once thanks to watching SpongeBob.
If you could travel to one place, where would it be? If it’s a real place, I’d love to visit Italy. If it could be anywhere, I’m going to Narnia.