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Who We Are

Who We Are

The Raw Brand®

Who we are

Woman petting a dog
Our Mission

We’re on a mission to transform the lives of pets. We believe that all pets deserve the best life possible. And if you ask us – it starts with food. Let’s satisfy our pets’ need for real food. Let’s stick with what’s natural and keep it simple. And as pure as possible. Let’s follow nature’s lead and give them more raw and stay free from filler, by-product and artificial preservatives. Let’s redefine better. And put the pure, real nutrition of raw into more bowls. Let’s do our part.

Fresh Pet Food Ingredients
Our promise as The Raw Brand®
01
Raw nutrition guides all that we do

Food and how it’s made — less processed, real, whole — has the power to transform lives. And raw food provides unmatched nutrition. That’s why we incorporate raw in everything we do; from our 100% raw frozen and freeze-dried recipes to freeze-dried raw toppers to kibble recipes boosted with raw nutrition, we’re helping pet parents find a variety of ways to include raw in their pet’s routine.

02
Science-proven raw nutrition

The science of raw food has always been at our core. Our first raw recipes were developed in partnership with the University of Nebraska and PhD level nutritionists. Today, our team of experts has over 50 years of combined experience in pet food and nutrition. In addition, we’ve also partnered with the University of Helsinki’s DogRisk research program, which is studying the impact of raw pet food on dogs’ health.

03
The highest quality & safety standards

Instinct recipes start with the highest quality ingredients from vendors we deeply trust, and our safety procedures are the best in the raw pet food industry. Our raw food is cold-pressured to ensure it’s free of pathogens. This natural process uses high pressure (rather than high heat) for safe raw food, with more nutrients intact than cooked pet food. As a final safety step, all our food is tested by an external lab prior to it leaving our facilities.

04
Life-changing benefits for pets

Raw food has the power to transform lives, leading to a happier, healthier pet. Pet parents who have switched to feeding raw have noticed positive changes in their pets’ digestion, overall energy, skin & coat health, help with food sensitivities, and increased mealtime excitement – even from the pickiest pets. Read transformation stories from real pet parents to see the true impact of raw! 

Who We Are Three Panel Image
Proudly made in Lincoln, Nebraska

Since day one, our raw recipes have been crafted in Lincoln, Nebraska. Made in small batches in our company-owned facilities, our raw food is minimally processed and held to the highest quality standards.

Our deep history in raw started when our founder started working with big cats at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo and then Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. A raw, meat-based diet led to positive changes in the animals, like softer, shinier coats, lean muscles, stronger body formation, better oral health, and better reproductive health. These transformative results inspired us to spread raw nutrition to dogs and cats. The rest is history!

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
Neil Thompson
Neil Thompson
Chief Executive Officer
Bernardo Coca
Bernardo Coca
Chief Strategy Officer
Bobby Harris
Bobby Harris
Chief Operating Officer
Debra McCracken
Debra McCracken
Director of HR
Gordon Dumesich
Gordon Dumesich
Chief Growth & Marketing Officer
Jason Von Rohr
Jason Von Rohr
Chief Financial Officer
Scott McLellan
Scott McLellan
Chief International Development Officer
Susy Tejayadi, PhD
Susy Tejayadi, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
OUR RAW NUTRITION EXPERTS

At Instinct, our raw recipes are meticulously formulated by our in-house team of food scientists and quality control experts.

Susy Tejayadi, PhD
Susy Tejayadi, PhD

Susy Tejayadi, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Along with my PhD in Food Science, I have 30 years of professional experience in research and development in human food and pet food – with 16 years specifically in pet food

As the Chief Scientific Officer at Instinct, I oversee the scientific operations within the company. In my position, I am responsible for overseeing scientific operations such as the HPP validation study, probiotics validation study, AAFCO feeding trials and other scientific studies which require collaboration with research institutions such as Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois, University of Nebraska in Lincoln, University of Helsinki to name a few. These research initiatives have allowed us to use cutting edge technology as the leader in raw and has set us apart from our competitors in terms of quality and food safety at Instinct.

Susy Tejayadi, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Susan G. Wynn, DVM, DACVN
Susan G. Wynn, DVM, DACVN

Susan G. Wynn, DVM, DACVN

Sr. Director of Scientific Affairs

Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionist™ (a credential that fewer than 100 people in the US have obtained) with 31 years of experience as a veterinarian in private practice.

I’m responsible for the education of staff on nutrition of dogs and cats to ensure that our sales and consumer engagement teams are the most well-informed and credible of any raw pet food company.  I also develop customer education so that consumers are shown the scientifically supported benefits of feeding Instinct products. I design, implement and monitor research projects related to raw pet foods in order to showcase the benefits of feeding raw.

Susan G. Wynn, DVM, DACVN
Sr. Director of Scientific Affairs
Helena Soedjak, PhD
Helena Soedjak, PhD

Helena Soedjak, PhD

Sr. Director, Product Safety & Quality

29 years in Microbiology, Food Safety and Quality, Regulatory

In my role I’m responsible for creating and sustaining a culture that empowers Instinct teammates to drive excellence in food safety & quality, ensuring the safety & quality of our products. I offer food safety & quality guidance while aligning with the company’s needs to grow the business and improve manufacturing efficiency. I’m also responsible for keeping up with emerging and future trends in science and technology to optimize our internal food safety & quality programs through collaboration with external resources.

Helena Soedjak, PhD
Sr. Director, Product Safety & Quality
Jason Meents
Jason Meents

Jason Meents

Director of Research & Development

15 years of research & development experience in the human food and pet food industry, with a primary focus on meat-based products

My responsibilities include new product development, commercialization & technical services for all raw frozen & freeze-dried products. I’ve developed & implemented several successful products such as raw frozen bites, raw boosted kibble, raw boost mixers, and raw boost functional mixers. I assist in the testing and implementation of pathogen interventions including the validation of our HPP process. I serve as Instinct’s subject matter expert on freeze drying and recently led the commissioning and validation of our new freeze-drying operation.

Jason Meents
Director of Research & Development
Jennifer Brickley
Jennifer Brickley

Jennifer Brickley

Director, Product Safety & Quality

23 years in Quality and Food Safety (21 years in human food)

It is my number one priority to make sure that at the manufacturing level we have programs in place and that are followed to ensure our pet food is safe for not only the pets but also the pet family who handle the pet food. It is also my responsibility to make sure we are producing a premium quality product that meets or exceeds our pet family’s expectations.

Jennifer Brickley
Director, Product Safety & Quality
Sean May
Sean May

Sean May

Director of Strategic Sourcing

17 years of Sourcing Experience

As Director of Co-Pack, my role is to manage our current co-packers for our wet and kibble products.  In my Strategic Sourcing role, I oversee finding and facilitating the qualifications of our approved Ingredient and Packaging Suppliers.  I make sure our suppliers are the best and meet all the quality safety standards of Instinct through collaboration with our R&D and Quality departments.

Sean May
Director of Strategic Sourcing
Robbie Swanson
Robbie Swanson

Robbie Swanson

Head of Production & Operations

20 years of experience

As the Director of Production, I am responsible for aligning our operations team and driving the food safety and quality standards which are the foundation by which we operate. We ensure that each teammate understands how their role impacts food safety/quality, building a food safety and quality culture.

Robbie Swanson
Head of Production & Operations
Eric Newgard
Eric Newgard

Eric Newgard

Process Improvement Manager

PhD in Engineering: Biological Systems with 9 years in food processing (human & pet)

My role at Instinct is to observe and document our business and manufacturing processes. I then lead efforts to improve the processes by reducing wastes and increasing efficiencies.

Eric Newgard
Process Improvement Manager