Home >> Who We Are >> Who We Are
 

Who We Are

Who We Are

We set out to redefine better

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.

FEED WHAT’S REAL®

Fresh Pet Food Ingredients
Our responsibility as the Raw Brand™
01
Lead with raw

It all started with our raw pet food. Since the beginning, we’ve led with raw because we know the good it can do. We’re rewriting the rules of pet food and championing raw nutrition to bring its superior benefits to all that we do.

02
Keep it real

Delicious and nutritious pet food should only use real ingredients. To us this means all natural real meat, fruits and vegetables, with nothing artificial.

03
Make it simple

We think feeding raw should be simple and fit into our – and your – everyday habits more easily. We exist because we believe raw should be accessible to everyone so every pet can experience the benefits of raw nutrition.

04
Do It Together

Instinct believes in the power of raw nutrition. It only makes sense to share it. Together with local shelters and volunteer efforts nationwide we're on a mission to transform the lives of all pets.

05
Make it better

We’ve never been afraid to challenge the status-quo of pet nutrition. We’ve accepted the open-ended challenge to continuously redefine what better means – always pushing our standards and nutrition to raise the bar in pet food.

Proudly made in Lincoln, Nebraska

It all started with our raw diets. And since day one, our raw foods have been crafted by our team in Lincoln, Nebraska. Made in small batches in our company-owned facilities, our raw foods are minimally processed and held to the highest quality standards.

Lincoln, Nebraska Skyline
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