Meet the Team
Rob ShewmakeOwner / K9 Handler
The love and affection that Rob shows to his dogs are beyond impressive. There is no better example of what a good clear-headed obedient sport dog is if you were to meet his beloved Ado. Rob has always had a love of dogs and this drew him into the K9 world. He is a good handler and takes the time to travel the country to attend as many seminars as he can to continue learning different techniques and current training methods to keep his dogs on their toes. Competing in Protection Competitions has become a passion for Rob and his dogs. Rob served an honorable 4 years in the Army as Military Police. following that Rob served an additional 3 years in the civilian law enforcement sector.
Mike HayesLead Trainer
Nick SmithPolice K9 Trainer
Nick grew up with a passion for dogs, always wanting to be around them and work with them. Nick served 9 honorable years in the Air Force and ANG. He got out after spending some time as an AGR. While in the Air Force he got certified as a Police Officer level 2.
After discharge from the Air Force, he went to work as a DOD government contractor PSS and site security manager. During that time he spoke to another government contractor who was an explosive K9 Handler. Nick then pursued instruction on how to become one himself. Nick graduated and started working with AK9i and obtained Trainer/Handler certifications, successfully training and certifying multiple NAPWDA law enforcement K9 Teams.
Taking green dogs and fully certifying them per NAPWDA certification. Specializing in scent detection for narcotics, explosives, tracking, patrol, building searches and decoy work.
Alicia PotenzaMaster Dog Trainer
Hi, my name is Alicia! I’m originally from Carver, Massachusetts where I was a dog daycare attendant for two and a half years. It was around two years into that job that I realized, dog training can really be someone’s career?
I looked into dog training schools in the country and found Highland Canine Training, LLC in North Carolina and enrolled in their extensive Master Dog Trainer Program for six months. I learned and experienced many aspects of dog training, including dog body language, how to teach new behaviors, obedience, behavior modification, trick training, dual purpose police K9s and service dogs. After six months, I interned with Highland Canine Training for another five months. I was able to get even more extensive training and hands on experience than I could have ever imagined!
Over a year ago, I fostered and adopted a Red Heeler named Johnny. He had some major aggression issues with humans that we are still working on to this day. I truly understand what it’s like to have a tough dog and to feel all the pain that comes along with it. My goal is to help people enjoy their time with their dogs, to have a better relationship with them and to make a difference in human and canine lives.
Mykelti RhodesDog Trainer and Behavior Specialist
Mykelti grew up in the Texas panhandle and through her involvement with FFA as a child, she developed a passion for animal wellbeing early on. Mykelti’s interest in canine behavior was heightened when she adopted her beloved companion Ruca while attending West Texas A&M University.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance, Mykelti decided she wanted to pursue a career in the dog training industry instead. She went to Starmark Academy where she became a Certified Canine Trainer and Behavior Specialist. Mykelti is diligent about researching different training methods and is eager to share her knowledge with pet owners.
Mykelti is committed to helping owners improve their relationships with their dogs, and is grateful to be a part of the Joint Forces K9 team with the like-minded and devoted staff
Bryan GibbyDog Trainer
Bryan is an Oklahoma native who has spent most of his life in Arkansas. His passion for dogs has led him to a 5 year career immersing himself in animal health. This intense drive has only grown his love for them and has inspired him to pursue a lifelong commitment in mastering and training dogs. Bryan has joined the Joint Forces K9 team and is excited to become proficient in all aspects of training dogs for your every need.
Jace MacDonaldHunting Dog Trainer
Jace is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native. He graduated with a BA in Business while also obtaining a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies from Alderson Broaddus University. He comes to the Joint Force K9 team with thousands of hours in hands-on training, group class instruction, one on one sessions and over 6 years’ experience in the field training under some of the most experienced Dog Trainers on the East Coast. His specialty is the ability to work with and train Pointing breeds to become Master Hunt Dogs.
Jace loves working with people and their dogs. His goal is always to make your goal a reality! Whether that be creating the best hunting partner, teaching your dog basic to advanced obedience, or even just simply potty training. He does it all and will do everything he can so you and your dog can succeed.
Bryant BarnesKennel Technician
Bryant Barnes grew up in Southern California and joined the Army shortly after high school. Dogs have always been a part of his life even in childhood and his compassion for animals is unmatched.
He hopes the determination and discipline learned during his service will be an asset to the Joint Forces Team. Bryant currently has 3 dogs; a heeler/dachshund mix, a rescue rat terrier, and a Corgi.
Elaine GonzalezKennel Technician
Elaine Gonzalez grew up all over California and Arkansas and joined the Air Force at the age of 22. Elaine grew up with dogs since childhood and her love for animals had always played a large part in her life. Elaine currently has 2 dogs; a 5 year old dachshund/ Beagle mix named Zues, and a 4 year old Great Dane named Asoka.
Tonya HopkinsKennel Technician
Tonya was born and raised on a small farm in Oklahoma. When she was 6 years of age, she was given her first set of animals to care for. Her parents taught her the value and caring of animals and the hard work it entails. Tonya continues to carry these values with her to this day. Her search for a change of pace in a field that she can enjoy has lead her to Joint Forces as a Kennel Technician. She is shown above alongside her dog Tyler, a pup of American/ Turkish origin.