Meet Our Team
Everyday our team of professional and caring veterinarians, technicians and support staff work together to treat your loved ones with compassion, respect, dignity and unsurpassed care. Our doctors and staff are trained and experienced specifically in emergency medical care and specialty veterinary medicine. Throughout your pet’s visit, our compassionate staff will work hard to provide comfort and constant attention to the needs of both you and your loved one.
Randy Wetzel, DVM
Medical Director & Emergency Veterinarian
From Pittsburgh, PA and a family of six, I graduated from Northland College in Ashland, WI. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry, I went on to study at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and spent my first year in a family practice in Lexington, KY.
Since 2000, I have dedicated my professional attention to emergency medicine and practice management here at REACH Veterinary Specialists. It has been thrilling to see and be a part of the medical advancements and improved nursing care at our hospital over the years.
Outside of the hospital I enjoy time with my family (wife, two children, two kitties and one dog), biking and spending time outdoors. I have a strong interest in preserving resources and the natural environment and finding ways to accomplish this in my professional and personal life. My motto is “Work hard, play hard, and never, never, never, never give up.” (Winston Churchill).
Jeff Johansson, DVM
I am a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. After earning my veterinary degree, I completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Washington State University. I worked as an emergency veterinarian in Columbia, SC for 6 years before relocating to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC in 2007.
I have been at REACH since July 2007 and have been part of many exciting changes over the past several years.
In my spare time, I enjoy writing and playing music, reading, traveling, and being outdoors with my wife, Kristin and daughter, Tess. I have recorded five “albums” of original music and have been a part of the live music scene in Asheville since moving here. We are proud to be raising our daughter in a beautiful area with such wonderful community.
Emergency medicine is many things – it can be fast-paced or slow on any given night, some cases can challenge every bit of knowledge gained over the years and still end in frustration, others can be more straightforward and ‘by the book,’ but no two animals are ever the same, and every day is a different set of challenges. I never tire of the ability to serve animals and owners in a time of need, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented and compassionate people.
Judi Krauskopf, DVM
I graduated in 1990 from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatchewan, Canada. I have worked in various locales over the years. I discovered a passion for emergency medicine while working in Boulder, Colorado then Tacoma, Washington. My other passions are the outdoors, exploring, and traveling.
I love the Appalachian mountain trails, the climate of Western North Carolina, and the many friends I have found here.
Rachel Horne, DVM
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Miami in 2001 and received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Florida in 2007. After completing a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center in 2008, I worked as an emergency veterinarian in the San Francisco Bay Area until coming to Asheville in the fall 2012.
While I enjoy all aspects of veterinary medicine, my special interests include shock resuscitation, trauma surgery, infectious disease, and nursing management of critically ill patients. I enjoy the outdoors with my husband, Noah, two daughters, Heron and Freya, and two dogs, Nari (spotty dog) and Madison (classic yellow lab).
Kristi Sowers, DVM
Originally from Winston-Salem, NC, I graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009 (Go Vols!). I have been in emergency medicine most of my career. After working in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, I returned to NC to join the R.E.A.C.H. team in 2013 to be closer to family and friends. I truly enjoy the excitement and challenge of emergency medicine. There is never a dull moment!
My interests include trauma, neurology, toxins and infectious disease. In addition to emergency medicine, I also have an interest in integrative medicine. I have special training in animal acupuncture and am excited to bring integrative medicine to REACH.
In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and camping with my two Siberian Huskies (Kirin and Takota), horseback riding, snowboarding, music/art events, sewing, and cooking.
Ersin Ulke, VMD
I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA and studied computer science at the University of Pittsburgh. I started my career in Philadelphia as a management consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2006, I turned to the veterinary profession to treat my dog for a severe autoimmune disease. I was so inspired by the veterinarians who cared for my dog that I made the decision to leave the corporate world and join them as a colleague.
I completed a pre-medical post-baccalaureate program at Temple University in 2008 and earned my veterinary medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. I completed a rotating internship at Pennsylvania Specialty and Emergency Associates in Philadelphia, during which I received training in emergency and critical care, surgery, internal medicine, radiology, cardiology, and dermatology. I developed a strong passion for emergency medicine and made it the focus of my veterinary career. After my internship, I continued working at the same hospital as an associated ER veterinarian.
My wife, a native of Asheville, introduced me to the area a few years ago. We both love the city and the beautiful countryside. We made it our goal to relocate to Asheville once we both completed our training in Philadelphia. I’m very excited to be joining the team at REACH and look forward to experiencing everything that Asheville has to offer.
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and our two dogs – an Anatolian Shepherd and a Cockapoo. My interests include cycling, hiking, camping, reading, and cooking.
Joshua Bentley, DVM
Originally from Seymour, Tennessee, I grew up on a farm with my mom, dad and brother. I spent much of my early years working around the veterinary clinic where my mother practiced, or on job sites doing electrical work with my father. I attended the University of Tennessee where I received my Bachelors of Science in Biology in 2005 and later graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.
After vet school, I moved to Georgia where I worked at a mixed animal practice in the mountains for a year followed by the past six years working at an emergency facility outside of Atlanta. The love of my life, Jenna, and I are excited to have relocated to Asheville, which brings us back in the Appalachian Mountains that we love so much. We are thrilled to get to raise our daughter, Delilah, in such a wonderful place. I am so happy to join the REACH team where I can continue to pursue my passion of emergency medicine while doing so in such a beautiful part of the country. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, and generally anything outdoors with our four-legged companions (Gigi, Hound dog, & Frankenstein).
Melissa Hawkins, DVM
Originally from southwestern Michigan, I earned my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 at Michigan State University. Go Spartans! I practiced small animal general medicine for 11 1/2 years in Pittsburgh, PA, Nacogdoches, TX, and Indianapolis, IN. My responsibilities included day emergency and overnight on-call services. In October 2016 I moved to practicing emergency medicine exclusively, and love it!
I have been fortunate to work with excellent surgeons and internal medicine specialists during this time. I have a special interest in small mammals and pocket pets, as well as trauma, renal disease, and infectious disease. I enjoy being a veterinarian. It is truly a pleasure and privilege for me to care for pets and their families.
My husband, Nate, and I enjoy mountain biking, canoeing, hiking, and camping. We have been frequent visitors to Western North Carolina for many years, and are very excited to be moving to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains! We share our home with two cats – Spooky (the Princess) and Stitch (Crazy Tornado Muffin Kitten Stomach), as well as our East Texas hound mix, Tex.
Sophy A. Jesty, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology)
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology)
I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University in 2001. I worked for the next 4 years with horses at the University of Pennsylvania, mainly interested in equine cardiology and its intersection with athletic performance. I received board certification in large animal internal medicine in 2006.
Immediately after this training, I completed a small animal cardiology residency at Cornell University and received board certification in 2008. I spent two additional years at Cornell University pursuing research in cardiac regenerative medicine. I, then, spent two years working in private practice as a cardiologist in New York City. I accepted a faculty position in Cardiology at the University of Tennessee. After four years in Knoxville, I left UT to go back into private practice. I began working at REACH in 2015.
Outside of work, I love exercising and being outdoors (especially at the beach). I enjoy home projects and yard work. I love spending time with my wife Val, young daughter Emi, 2 dogs Biscuit and Carlos, and three cats Scout, Olive, and Bug Bug.
Stephanie C. Bell, DVM, DACVO
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists
I am a native of North Carolina’s small-town friendly Rutherford County. I obtained my undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001. I graduated with Phi Zeta honors from the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. Following graduation, I spent three years in private practice in North Carolina.
I then completed a small animal rotating internship at the University of Tennessee 2009-2010. I joined the ophthalmology service at the University of California – Davis as an ophthalmology resident in August, 2010. I completed a three-year residency training program in comparative ophthalmology from 2010-2013. I received board certification and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 2015.
My clinical interests include immune-mediated ocular disease, corneal disease, microsurgery (corneal and cataract surgery), blepharoplasty and other adnexal surgery, ocular manifestations of systemic disease, and equine ophthalmology. My primary research focuses on novel therapeutics for Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU). As an ophthalmologist, I believe it is my duty to restore and/or maintain quality vision when possible, and comfort always. Providing therapies for visual, pain-free, cosmetic eyes to our patients is essential. I enjoy working closely with my clients and referring veterinarians to provide the absolute best care to my patients.
I am an avid music fan; my most influential musical inspiration is Waylon Jennings. I enjoy horseback riding, running, live music, songwriting, and spending time with my family, friends, and beloved animals. I have been known to perform duets with my Dad. I share my heart with my Golden Retriever mix June Carter, lab/pit/heeler/street dog mix Beaucephus Williams, long-haired dachshund Stoney Earle, and cat Lucinda Williams. I am often seen trying to stay atop my handsome off the track thoroughbred horse who goes by Wyatt P. Colton.
Gregory D. Herndon, DVM, DACVS
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons
I am a native of the Southeast, being originally from Virginia; however, I am no stranger to North Carolina, having pursued my undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University. It was here that I developed a love for ACC basketball. I went on to study veterinary medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. It was during my second year of veterinary school that I decided to pursue a career as a veterinary surgeon. I obtained my DVM in 1996 and went on to pursue a one-year small animal rotating internship at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. I then returned to Knoxville to complete a residency in small animal surgery in 2000. I went on to become a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2003 by passing a rigorous three-day exam.
I have spent most of my career as a small animal surgeon in private practice; however, in 2014 I decided to accept a position as associate professor of small animal surgery at the University of Montreal, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine where I was involved in the teaching of students in the veterinary program, as well as interns and surgical residents. After three and a half years living in Canada, I decided to return home to be closer to family and friends. I have vast experience with soft tissue, orthopedic and neurological surgery with special interest in thoracic and oncological surgery.
Noelle S. Bergman, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology)
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology)
I am a native of southwest Florida. I received my Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies. I completed my medical oncology residency and Masters of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences at Auburn University. I became board certified in Oncology in 2016.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, mountain biking, quilting, and paddle boarding. I am very excited to be relocating to the Asheville area with my fiancé, Brendan, and our son, Oscar. We have three furry family members including two dogs, Sierra and Chopper, and our cat, Dale.
I began working for REACH in June of 2000 as a veterinary assistant, slowly adding on responsibilities every few months. I am not involved with patient care any longer, which I do miss, but I am very content with my current position. Some of my duties have included inventory management, staff scheduling and quality control, but now as Operations Manager, I mostly deal with bookkeeping, human resources, regulatory compliance, IT maintenance and the day to day operations of a business.
I have watched REACH change in many ways and I am very proud of our hospital. I look forward to growing with REACH and to serving our community here in Western North Carolina.
My love for animals and medicine began on my family’s dairy farm when I was just a baby. As soon as I was old enough I was helping out in every way that I could. I was involved in all aspects of the dairy business and gained a vast knowledge of animal management. I attended NC State University where I graduated with a BS in Animal Science and a minor in Nutrition in 2000. My family and I now reside in Leicester on our farm where we enjoy spending time with our dogs, cats, chickens, donkeys, goats, and beef cattle. We also enjoy spending time at church, being involved with 4-H, playing sports, and being outdoors.
I am an Asheville transplant, having moved from Overland Park, KS in August 2014 with my husband. We wanted to explore the mountains and thought Asheville sounded perfect. I have worked in veterinary medicine on and off for the past ten years, only taking a break to receive a BA in Environmental Education from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA.
We love exploring the city and the mountains of WNC with our dogs, Franklin, a dachshund mix, and Finn, a French Bulldog. While we are out exploring, our apartment is ruled by an orange bob-tail cat named Marius.