In order to keep the Madison Area Herpetological Society running smoothly, there has to be people leading it. This is what our Board Members do. Each one runs a particular part of our organization in order to keep us moving in the right direction. These individuals are dedicated to educating the public and we appreciate all of the time they put in to help our cause. Below is contact info for each member, and a short bio. If you are interested in any position, elections are held at the last meeting of the year. If you’d just like to help out, feel free to contact a board member and find out how you can get involved!
Ryan founded the Madison Area Herpetological Society in 2010 to share his love of reptiles with all around him and help educate people on their proper care. Before then, Ryan had done school shows and worked in a pet store educating young kids about the wonders of the reptile world and how to keep them properly. His love of reptiles started when he was only 4 years old as he was always chasing and catching frogs, salamanders, and garter snakes. Ryan has been keeping and breeding reptiles for the past 25 years. Ryan currently holds positions as the Wisconsin Representative for the United States Association of Reptile Keepers, Director on the board for Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, Auction Coordinator with his wife Erica for the International Herpetological Symposium, holds a seat on the Reptile Subcommittee for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and works closely with many other reptile related conservation and educational non-profits. Ryan graduated with a Masters from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and worked until 2015 as a Project Engineer. From 2015 until the end of 2020, Ryan was the Marketing Brand Manager and driving force behind the Zilla Reptile Products brand, where he lead the innovation and direction of the brand and products created. Now, as a consultant for Zilla and other reptile product companies, he’s continuing to work on driving animal husbandry forward. As time goes on his love for these animals, spreading education about their captive care, and his passion for conservation continue to grow!
Erica Mede McVeigh
Erica Mede McVeigh is a certified veterinary technician with over a decade of experience in zoological companion species and wildlife veterinary medicine. Her background gives her a unique perspective and commitment to team building, prioritization, and drive to provide creative solutions. Erica serves or has served on the board for the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, International Herpetological Symposium, Madison Area Herpetological Society, Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, and works in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources in Wisconsin on Massasauga Rattlesnake surveys.
Born and raised in Illinois, Erica embodies the Midwestern tradition of work hard and play hard by continuing to lecture annually at various veterinary conferences and universities on zoological companion specie medicine, run a successful not-for-profit and business, and raise three children with her husband. All of these pursuits make her a supporter of mindful multi-tasking, protocols, and efficiency! She and her family enjoy their time together with their dogs, crocodilians, and plethora of reptiles and amphibians.
President – Madison*
Tanya has been interested in the outside world and all the amazing animals in it as kid. She would watch painted turtles and look for toads all summer long. Tanya first got into reptiles as pets through her husband, Matt. Matt got a pair of ball pythons from his cousin early in their marriage and the two of them never looked back. Since then their collection has grown and includes a variety of snakes, geckos, lizards, turtles, insects and more! In the last few years Tanya has started volunteering with MAHS and found that she loved educating people about reptiles too.
Vice President – Madison*
Hello, my name is Austin Krueger. I’ve been interested in animals for as long as I can remember. It all started with my mom taking me to the Milwaukee County Zoo frequently as a child. Growing up, I was always interested in the outdoors and enjoyed the local wildlife, especially the reptiles, amphibians, and inverts. I got my first pet reptile, a ball python, in high school after starting a job at a pet store. This interest grew to where I now have a few other snakes, geckos, frogs, and inverts. I started working with MAHS in 2012 when I was in college, where I graduated from UW-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s in Biology/Minor in Chemistry. I first met MAHS at the Great Lakes Pet Expo in Milwaukee. They only had a single table and a rack with a few ten gallons. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure to work with them doing many different events and watch our group grow. Now at the same event we have over a dozen tables and people with many display cages sharing our passion and educating the public.
Secretary – Madison*
Ginger joined the Madison Area Herpetological Society about two years ago. Their first meeting had a talk by Rob Carmichael in which they held a baby crocodile for the first time. The rest is history. Although they've loved animals their whole life, they hadn't considered keeping herps until the last few years. Most of the reptiles Ginger keeps personally are snakes, but they also have two geckos, a salamander, axolotls and African Clawed Frogs (along with an assortment of tarantulas). They have an ever growing fondess for garter snakes. One of Ginger's favorite things about herpetology are the endless opportunities to learn more. Outside of MAHS, their other interests include roller derby and plants.
Event Coordinator – Madison*
Sam Massey had to wait to move out of their parent's house to get their first snake, but it was one of the first things they did, and a bunch of other critters quickly followed. Sam got involved with MAHS in Spring of 2018, and they love doing outreach events and sharing their pets and their passion with as many people as possible. They're currently planning a sand boa breeding project and generally enjoying their personal zoo.
Publications Coordinator – Madison*
Eric graduated in December 2010 from UW Stevens Point with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis on herpetology. He has always liked and been interested in all animals in general, but particularly reptiles and amphibians, since the age of 5 or 6. For him, it all started when he caught his first wild garter snake at a petting zoo in northeastern Wisconsin, which kicked off his interest in reptiles. He has also always loved dinosaurs and Jurassic Park as well from an early age. From there, he had always wanted a snake of his own, and for his 6th birthday, finally got one. After that, he began reading any books on them he could find, going to local pet stores, and reptile shows, and of course, enjoyed finding them in the wild whenever he could. The thing he likes most about these animals is just the diversity of different species and always learning more about them. Eric is currently interested in, and has a wide range of knowledge and experience with a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, but is most interested in snakes, particularly the different boas, pythons, and colubrid species. He enjoys hiking, field herping, and spending time in the outdoors in different areas of Wisconsin and anywhere else he can every year, and also serves as an active state ambassador on local, state, and federal ordinances, legislation, and regulatory matters through USARK (United States Association of Reptile Keepers).
Young Explorers Coordinator – Madison*
Hi, my name is Katie Cataldo and I am the Young Explorers Coordinator for the Madison chapter. I have always been an animal lover and growing up watching Steve Irwin, Jeff Corwin, and Mark O’Shea gave me a fondness for reptiles. Working as a volunteer with the educational ambassador reptiles and amphibians at the Wildlife In Need Center and joining MAHS inspired me to get my own first reptile, a Pueblan milk snake. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with a Chemistry minor from Marquette University and work in a microbiology research lab at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am excited to share my love of science as I believe science education today helps create better citizens for tomorrow.
Member at Large – Madison*
My name is Kirk Robinson. My daughter, Megan, and I started going to MAHS about 10 years ago. Megan’s love of snakes is what got us into the hobby. We started with MAHS without any reptiles, but that has changed. We started volunteering for events, and soon my wife, Roxanne got her own ball python so she could join us. We are now a trio at events. I earned a living as a pharmacist for 33 years, but I’m currently a senior provider support specialist at Exact Sciences. I enjoy hiking, birding, field herping, biking…heck, just being outside. I like to travel, and we try to attend the International Herpetology Symposium yearly. So far we’ve been to St. Louis and Belize. (I said we try, I didn’t say we succeed.) We’re planning on going to HIS in Atlanta in 2021. We’re owned by 5 ball pythons, a western hognose, a red tailed boa, a Stimsons python, two cats and a crestie.
Member at Large - Madison*
Rebecca first got into reptiles while she was in college, she wasn’t allowed to have pets so she started looking for one she thought she could convince her landlord to let her have. She wasn’t able to convince her landlord to let her have a reptile while in college, but in October of 2010 she got her first ball python. Her reptile collection has since snowballed and she now has over 30 snakes and close to 20 geckos. She currently breeds ball pythons and crested geckos, but in the future will be adding fat tail geckos and boas to that list. Outside of reptiles, she works full time as a computer programmer.
President - Fox Valley*
Taylor works full time as a licensed sales agent with Unitedhealthcare insurance company. She has been with the Fox Valley chapter since its inception and loves doing events and meeting new people. She first got into reptiles in 2014 when she got her first bearded dragon. She also has experience working with snakes, iguanas, skinks, basilisks, and water dragons. Her passion is still with bearded dragons and loves to treat (spoil) her reptiles as her children.
Vice President - Fox Valley*
Richie’s love for reptiles started at a very young age. So young that he doesn’t truly remember what sparked his passion for these animals. It’s just always been something that has been apart of who he is. When he was a kid you could find him waist deep in the local lake catching turtles and bringing home snakes and hiding them in his room. His main focus since the beginning has always been venomous reptiles and has been focusing on that the last few years. When he’s not tattooing he is always out in the field herping and exploring.
Secretary - Fox Valley*
I first got into reptiles and amphibians when I got a pair of iguanas in college. Couple of years later in 2005, I bought Dumpy Whites for my kids. We then moved into geckos and ball pythons. I helped start the Fox Valley Chapter with Charles and Taylor in 2016. My degree is in Computer Science, but I work as an insurance agent for Liberty Mutual to support our reptile habit. Our current children include bearded dragons, an iguana, fire skink, hognose, ball pythons, Tessara Corns, Brazilian and Columbian Rainbows.
Event Coordinator- Fox Valley*
Hi, my name is Miranda Evans. I am the events coordinator for the Fox Valley area. During college, I worked with a couple of professors and students at the Animal House of UW-Platteville. We did education and outreach for unusual animals. I think reptiles are amazing animals that people just don't understand. When I held my 1st ball python, I was scared but then I felt how it moved and how cool it's scales were. Now I absolutely love them and want others to see how cool reptiles can be. I loved being active doing these kind of events and cant wait to continue with MAHS.
Young Explorers Coordinator – Fox Valley*
Gary Orner Jr.
Hello, my name is Gary Orner Jr. I have been keeping Reptiles for over 25 years. At 16 I bred my first snake species (corn snakes). Over the years I have kept and bred many species but by far Leopard Geckos are my favorite. I love to spread the joy that reptiles can bring. It can be Wildlife or captive, educating people about animals is the best feeling in the world. I also enjoy wildlife photography and videography. I spend a lot of time at the NEW Zoo taking photographs. My favorite projects I am working on currently are my many species of Leaf Tail Geckos. My Dream is to open a reptile zoo/park to educate people and show them how amazing these animals are. Remember, we do not own nature. We belong to it.
President – Milwaukee*
I am Bill Stewart, and I am the president of the Milwaukee Chapter of MAHS. I have acted as the vice president and events coordinator since the Milwaukee Chapter started, and have been an active member of MAHS since 2014. Aside from MAHS, I own a therapy clinic in Kenosha, WI. I am also a volunteer with Friends Of Scales Reptile Rescue, the Assistant Lab Tech at Zilla Brand, and the owner of WPS Reptiles in Kenosha, WI.
I started loving reptiles in the same manner as most. I was fascinated with dinosaurs as a kid, then found a garter snake when I was 5. I have been keeping since age 11, when I got my first anoles as pets.
Reptile care and proper husbandry is my major focus in this hobby, ensuring that we, as responsible keepers, are providing the best possible care for our animals. I also enjoy working with the general public regarding education and helping to dispel any myths about these amazing creatures.
Vice President – Milwaukee*
I'm Ron Nicklaus "RJ". I've been in the reptile community 14ish years. I started with keeping and breeding leos and corn snakes back in the day and moved to Burmese pythons. Then got out of the hobby for a few years. Now I work mostly with monitors, tegus, several species snakes, and geckos. I love this community and can't wait learn more and share knowledge. I just want to be a positive member in this community and help others in anyway I can.
Secretary – Milwaukee*
Hello, my name is Mariano Escobedo and I’m the secretary for the Milwaukee Herpetological Society. My passion for reptiles started in a very funny way. As a young child, my mom used to scare me with stories of a boogie man who would take me if I misbehaved, and “had lots of snakes” in his house. The story backfired since I started questioning what was so scary about snakes. This made me become fascinated with them. I asked a lot of questions and read a lot. By the age of 5, I was catching little lizards in my native San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I joined MAHS not just for the reptiles, but in order to find people who shared my interest and passion for reptiles, since I was always the oddball in my social circles. My main interests in herpetology are large varanids, as well as boids. Professionally, I hold a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and worked in the diagnostics, biotech and pharmaceutical industries for over 10 years. Eventually, I went back to school and became a certified teacher. I presently teach 8th Grade Dual Language, with a passion for STEM. I share my passion for science and particularly for herpetology with both my students and my children, Mariano and Esmeralda. My goal is to gain enough experience to one day work in the herpetology industry.
Publications Coordinator– Milwaukee*
While having countless interests and hobbies, Rex's earliest memory in life is being fascinated by all animals. Due to the fact that it is impractical and unlikely for children to keep rhinoceroses or giraffes Rex gravitated towards caring for reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates in order to satisfy his passion for the exotic and the unusual. This interest has led Rex on a life-long pursuit to be around and learn about animals as much as possible as well as share his profound interest with others. He has been fortunate enough to be a regular animal presenter at the Wehr Nature Center, the Mitchell Park Domes, and the Riveredge Nature Center. In the spring of 2014 Rex graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a degree in Biology , where he was also a member of and officer for the Stevens Point Herpetology Society. Along with maintaining a small menagerie and a feeder insect supply company, a constant area of focus (if not compulsion) for Rex has been expanding his personal zoological library. While some may find his enthusiasm for the printed word a tad alarming, he feels his eccentricities can easily be summed up under the term "Book Collector."
Event Coordinator – Milwaukee*
While Sarah Grannis always had an interest in reptiles, her true love for these animals evolved after seeing so many end up in animal rescue. She realized that there was a major need for education on captive care for reptiles and felt compelled to do something. After becoming a member of the Madison Area Herpetological Society in 2018, she began to volunteer for various community events. She has a strong passion for promoting responsible pet ownership and conservation. One of her favorite things about MAHS is how supportive this organization is with educating others in the hobby. Sarah is also active with Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, previously volunteering as their Adoption Coordinator and currently as their Social Media Manager.
Young Explorers Coordinator – Milwaukee*
Megan is currently a veterinary assistant to all kinds of animals, and although raised with dogs and cats, she received her first pet corn snake at 10 years of age! Herps have always brought about a child-like wonder in her and she’s always ready to learn more and teach about our scaley, slimey, and smooth friends. Her favorite herps to work with are her Australian varanidae and hognose snakes! Megan studied environmental sciences at university and focuses on the impact we have on herps and their habitats! She hopes to help encourage our young peers to appreciate herps, learn more of their wonderful peculiarities, and become interested in protecting their beautiful natural habitats.
Member at Large – Milwaukee*
Hello! I am Brooke Elder, and I am the new Member at Large for the Milwaukee Chapter of MAHS. I have been apart of the MAHS for 3 years now, trying to attend events as much as possible but I have been mostly behind the scenes. I work full time as a manager at Animal House Pet’s and Supplies in Mukwonago, WI. At Animal House I care for 100’s of different species and learn something new every day. I take pride in providing enrichment and activities for all of the animals at AH. Studying all of the animal’s behaviors and providing naturalistic environments are probably my main two passions in this hobby. I believe my love of reptiles began similar to a lot of others in the hobby. Since I could walk and talk, I have been intrigued by reptiles. My first birthday party where I had the decision on the theme I went with frogs. Never remember a day where I didn’t like reptiles! Presently, I have a variety of reptiles that I have chosen to work with for specific reasons. Fortunately, I am now able to work with the Mexican Red tail Indigo and I cannot wait to continue working with this species. Whether it’s spending personal time in my reptile room or spending the day at an educational expo… working with reptiles is my passion and helping others learn is always a priority. One of the greatest parts of this hobby is the constant flow of information. Information changes as we learn and grow, and we need to adapt to new information. You definitely learn something new every day in this hobby. I cannot wait to learn from everyone at the herpetological society and hopefully help teach others along the way.
Member at Large – Milwaukee*
My name is Justin Kubeck and I have been active with the milwaukee chapter of MAHS since the fall of 2019. My passion for reptiles started when I was nine and has lead me to work with many types of snakes, lizards, geckos, frogs and invertebrates. Along with keeping these animals I work with them and the public to encourage education and conservation. These animals have helped me realize my love for education and working with the public.
* Board Member Positions