Hello, I’m Dr. Michael Ward, the youngest of six children, born in southern New Jersey where I aspired to be a “Rodeo Star” and a veterinarian. Upon graduating from high school I moved to the Cowboy state of Wyoming to start college and to learn more about rodeo. After several bruises and broken bones, I decided that I would rather study hard and admit animals to the hospital instead of them putting me in there. Then I moved to the “Big Sky” country of Montana to get serious about my veterinary studies at Montana State University. In 1994, an opportunity arose to transfer to North Carolina State University to complete my studies. I took it and I have never looked back. I met my lovely wife, Kathy, who is also a veterinarian while attending NCSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and I graduated in 2000.
After graduation, I moved to Johnston County and I worked as a mixed animal veterinarian for the next eight years. In May of 2008, my family of four including Kathy, Brier, Ellie and I, drove to Alaska. I was privileged to work for the summer with sled dogs, reindeer, bears, and musk ox and also to enjoy the wonderful sights that Alaska has to offer. This adventure has allowed me and my wife to come closer to our goal of “50 by 50.” “50 by 50” means we want to travel to all 50 states by the time we are 50 years old. Feel free to come in and ask me which states we are missing!
Along with being a veterinarian, I am the principal, maintenance coordinator and one of the custodians of our school. My wife does all of the schooling but I help with periodic discipline and I try to keep our school clean and running well. Home school is great for us and allows us to travel, learn and do field trips together as a family.
I enjoy participating in Boy Scout adventures with my son, and helping and watching my daughter ride our horse Duncan. Also, we all enjoy 4-H. My hobbies include traveling with my family, backyard farming (I call this “diesel therapy”) and the outdoors. My interest in chickens began as a child and I still proudly display the Cape May County 4-H Fair Best Egg Award which I won in 1986.
We purchased Johnston Animal Hospital in February 2009 from Dr. Booker, the founder and long-time great veterinarian of Johnston County. I am serious about preventative health care and I believe in open communication with my clients about their pets. I enjoy challenging and complicated surgeries and difficult medical cases. I have fun meeting new people and talking to long-time friends during their appointments. Stop by to say hello, get a tour and see some interesting “Rodeo Star” pictures.
One last thing… People always say, “You must have a lot of pets since you are a vet!” In our home we have a Boykin Spaniel named Chara, a black medium- haired kitty named Emberpaw and a collection of pocket pets and fish my children have obtained. On our farm, we have a horse named Duncan, some cows, chickens, a periodic pig and a kennel of Foxhounds. Now you know what this vet has!
Hi, I’m Dr. Kathy Ward, Dr. Michael Ward’s wife and the inventory manager of Johnston Animal Hospital. I was born & raised in Northeastern North Carolina in the town of Ahoskie. My educational background includes an Associate of Arts degree from Peace College, a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from NC State & a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. I have worked as a private practice veterinarian and as an anatomy professor at the veterinary school. These jobs were enjoyable, but my best career move was becoming a stay-at-home Mom when our son, Brier, was born. Brier and our daughter, Ellie, are true blessings from God! Our 4-legged child is a geriatric Lab Mix named Grace who was adopted from the shelter.
We are a homeschooling family. I love to teach! After enjoying several years of training as a children’s leader in Bible Study Fellowship, my favorite thing to teach is the Bible. Other hobbies I enjoy are traveling, reading, gardening, raising laying chickens & picture framing. I owned & operated my own frame shop, Tranquility Framing. In 2008 our family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. While Dr. Ward worked his summer vet job the kids & I did a hands-on unit study of AK. When Dr. Ward was off we drove, hiked & camped our way around the largest state in the US. It was a grand adventure! I am a firm believer in the saying, “If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there.” I have several life goals. One of my goals is to have an organic beef farm. Another is to raise awareness of orphans and foster children. Also Dr. Ward & I share a goal of “50 by 50.” We want to travel to all 50 states by the time we are 50 years old. Currently, he’s in the lead. Be sure to suggest to him that he plans a family trip to Rhode Island so I can catch up!
Dr. Potter is a native of East Tennessee, where he attended East Tennessee State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Organic Chemistry. Upon graduation he was active duty service and achieving the rank of Major, Dr. Potter left the military and attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. He then attended the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2000 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. For the past 19 years, Dr. Potter has held positions as Associate Veterinarian, Managing Veterinarian, and Relief Veterinarian in East Tennessee and in the Carolinas. Dr. Potter lives in Dunn, NC with his wife Mona and their two dogs. He has two adult children, a son Jesse and a daughter Nikki. He enjoys outdoor activities, fishing, motorcycling, the beach, and spending time with his family and pets.
Julie – Practice Manager
Hello, my name is Julie Julian. I joined the team at Johnston Animal Hospital in March 2021. I was born and raised in the Midwest, relocating to the area from the Chicago suburbs. I have over 15 years of experience in Office Administration and Finance including 8 years in Practice Management. Additionally, I have 5 years of experience in Nature/Science based education which included wildlife native to the Midwest.
I live in Raleigh with my husband, Jenrek, and three of our children: Hannah, Zachary and Amy along with our cats: Rascal Flatts and Happy. We are excited to be in the area and close to our fourth child, Derek, and his growing family. In our free time, we enjoy hiking, browsing locally owned bookstores and spending time at music venues.
Ashley – Registered Veterinary Technician
Hi! My name is Ashley Worley. I am a 2010 graduate from Central Carolina Community College with a degree in Veterinary Medical Technology. I completed the national and state board exams to become a Registered Veterinary Technician and have been licensed in NC since 2011. I have been a team member at JAH since my college externship in 2010. I have always had a passion for helping animals, so I decided to turn my passion into a career by becoming a Registered Veterinary Technician.
I have been a Johnston County resident for most of my life. My husband and I recently moved to Smithfield from Angier in 2019. In our spare time, we enjoy listening to live music, traveling to tropical destinations, snorkeling and lounging on the beach. My goal is to fill up my passport by traveling to see the most clear, turquoise water in the world.
Lindsey – Registered Veterinary Technician
Hello, my name is Lindsey Ryder and I’m a Registered Veterinary Technician. I am a 2015 graduate of Central Carolina Community College’s Veterinary Medical Technology program. I originally started at JAH in August of 2015, and gained some great experience working with the Wards for a few years. After exploring other career opportunities, I’m so glad to be back with the JAH family that they truly are! I was born in Virginia but raised here in the Clayton/Smithfield area. I now live in Angier with my boyfriend and our fur family of 2 pups and a geriatric horse who we treat like our babies! Caring for animals has always been a life long passion of mine, and I love to help people help their pets. Other than hanging with my fur family, in my free time I love to be doing anything outdoors (beach going, gardening, horseback riding, kayaking), spending quality time with my loved ones, or relaxing with a good book!
Alania – Technician Assistant
Hey guys, I’m Alania and I’m a part-time animal caretaker and tech assistant here at JAH. I am currently attending NC State where I am double majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Business Management. Go Pack! My goal after college is to get more involved with the dairy industry or large animal medicine. I am originally from West Virginia, but have been living in Smithfield for most of my life. Some things I enjoy doing in my free time are quilting, reading, outdoor activities and playing with my pet rats!
Selena – Technician Assistant
Bilingual Team Member
Hi, I am Selena. I am a part-time animal caretaker here at JAH. I am happy to be able to work with animals and provide them with the care they deserve and need. I am also eager to spend time with the fur babies that are brought to JAH and learn from the skills and experiences of the team. I have hopes of entering the Veterinary Medical Technology program at Central Carolina Community College and to become a veterinary technician. In my spare time, I enjoy playing lots of volleyball, watching movies, or spending my time outdoors.
Lani – Animal Caretaker
Hey! My name is Lani. I am a part-time animal caretaker here at Johnston Animal Hospital. I have always had a huge spot in my heart for animals. I hope to one day become a Registered Vet Tech. I am a mother to 2 beautiful children and 1 fur baby, Rip. I was born and raised here in Johnston County. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family.
Michelle – Cross Trained
Hi! My name is Michelle Fenske. I originally joined the team at Johnston Animal Hospital in 2013. My husband’s Air Force career took us to Fairbanks, Alaska for the last few years but I am so happy to be back in North Carolina and working with some of my favorite people once again!
I grew up on small family farm in eastern Pennsylvania where my love for animals (especially goats) began. I attended college at Kutztown University and graduated in 2010 with a degree in sports management, professional writing, and public relations. I always dreamt of going into the sports media field, however since my husband is in the Air Force, I had to find a career that I could do wherever they sent us. When the veterinary field first found me, it was the perfect fit. Since graduation, I have lived all over the country, spending time in Colorado, Florida, and Alaska. I love being a part of the Air Force community and getting to experience so many different places and adventures.
In my spare time, I love spending time with my husband and our golden retrievers, Lyla and Nora. I am a huge Philadelphia sports fan and watch every Phillies, Sixers, and Eagles game that I possibly can. I also enjoy reading, running, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. I am beyond thrilled to be back “home” at JAH and can’t wait to see what this next chapter has in store!
Nicole – Head of Client Care
Hello, my name is Nicole Collier and I am the Head of Client Care. I originally joined the Johnston Animal Hospital team in 2009. I was born and raised in Johnston County and am a 2004 graduate of North Johnston High School. After graduation, I attended Johnston Community College. I married my childhood best friend in 2006 and we have two boys name Karson and Lucas who we love dearly. They keep us busy, mostly at the ball field. We also have two male Golden Doodles, Moose and Maui. It is safe to safe I am outnumbered with boys but I would not change if for anything.
God is a very important part of who I am and what my life is. I am a church going girl who loves the Lord. My family started attending Temple in Selma in 2016 and we have been going there ever since. I love going on adventures and trying new things. I absolutely love tropical places. I would be fine being stranded on a tropical island somewhere, with my family, of course! Since that might not be practical, I try to visit the beach as much as possible. I also enjoy listening to music, fishing and just enjoying time with my family. Family is very important to me and my kids are my world.
Cindy – Client Care
Bilingual Team Member
Hello, my name is Cindy Macias & I am a full-time Client Care Team member at Johnston Animal Hospital. I joined the JAH family in December 2018. I’m the middle child in a large family with 6 siblings. I was born in the “Windy City” of Chicago, Illinois, but my family relocated to Johnston County when I was 6 years old. I have family here, in Mexico, Illinois & South Carolina. You might say that I have plenty of places to travel to now!
I live in Four Oaks with my fiance, Richard, and our 3 fur babies. Suzy is our sassy Chihuahua, Sampson is our overprotective Chiweenie, and Nala is our friendly Pekingese. I can hardly recall a time growing up when I did not have a pet as a member of my family. I love seeing the difference personalities that a pet can bring into the household.
I graduated from South Johnston High School in 2012 and have taken some courses at Johnston Community College towards my Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. In my spare time, I enjoy visiting my family and friends, listening to “oldies” music, dancing, and creating makeup looks. I will forever be thankful in having the opportunity to work with the JAH team and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me!
Brier, PBT – Groundskeeper and Clerical
Hi, I’m Brier Ward! I’m chief groundskeeper and also help with clerical duties. I’m an ASCP Nationally Certified Phlebotomist, and I’m currently taking classes to earn my Associate in Science and Associate in Arts degrees at Johnston Community College. I’ve been running and climbing around JAH for the last ten years, and I’m happy to finally start working alongside my parents. In my free time I enjoy reading, paddle-boarding, and watching videos of whales. I’m currently working towards becoming a rehabilitative marine biologist, but who knows what the future holds.
Lauren – Animal Caretaker
Hey! My name is Lauren Phillips and I am a part-time animal caretaker at JAH. I am a junior at NC State majoring in animal science, hoping to go to veterinary school after graduation. I have always had a love for animals, having grown up with the sweetest dog, Gracie. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, doing anything from watching movies to going on hikes.
Rosa – Animal Caretaker
Bilingual Team Member
Hey! My name is Rosa Gamez and I am a full-time animal caretaker at JAH. I was born and raised in Harnett County. I have two sisters and two brothers. I am the second youngest. I live in Dunn where we have 3 dogs, 1 parrot, some cows, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens. Some things I love doing are traveling, playing a variety of sports, being outdoors, spending time with family and all of the animals.
I am happy to be able to become a part of such a great team! I can’t wait to meet all the fur babies at JAH.
Mariana Ortiz – Animal Caretaker
Bilingual Team Member
Hello, my name is Mariana Ortiz. I am a part-time animal caretaker here at Johnston Animal Hospital. I was born in Ellicott City, Maryland and in 2001 moved to my hometown of Selma. I graduated from North Johnston High School in 2014 and later attended Johnston Community College. I have always loved animals and am so grateful I am able to provide care to animals in need. I have a Yorkie of my own named Tobi, which I consider my full time job. In my free time I enjoy being in nature, traveling, and getting to meet new people!