the Allied ER Veterinary Service team
Our team as a whole carries multiple decades of Emergency Medicine experience and is equally passionate about being a part of exceptional patient care. Learn more about our team and why we love what we do so much.
Our Incredible Team
Kara Nelsen DVM, MPH
Jessica Towley BS, CVT, VTS (ECC)
Gianna Tuckner, CVT Anoka, Mn
Olivia Larson, CVT Eau Claire, WI
Leslie Epstein BSM, CVT - Minneapolis, MN
Diana Schaapveld, CVT Brooklyn Park, MN
People and Operations Director
Experienced Human Resources Manager with a demonstrated history of working with leadership to build strong, skilled, productive teams. Skilled in Career Development, Team Building, and Management. Strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Science focused in Management and Human Resources from University of Wisconsin-Madison – School of Business.
Kara Nelsen DVM, MPH
Emergency medicine has always been a passion of Dr. Nelsen’s, starting even before Veterinary School. In the past 20 years, she has enjoyed creating and maintaining relationships with specialists, emergency clinicians, and the referring community. I have also enjoyed creating and maintaining relationships with local veterinary colleges, technical schools, and faculty and students.
Dr. Nelsen has lived between the Twin Cities and Wisconsin her entire life with her husband, 4 wonderful sons, and 1 delightful daughter. They currently have 3 Devon Rex cats and hope to get a dog in our lives someday soon. Disney World is her favorite place, and she would love to work there in her “retirement.”
Jessica Towley BS, CVT, VTS (ECC)
Jessica has been a CVT for the past 20+ years and has helped manage ER and ER/Specialty clinics for the past 17 years. She also has advanced certification as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care: VTS (ECC). Jessica also has her Bachelor’s degree in Business w/Conc in Organizational Leadership. She was awarded the VECCS Practice Manager of the Year in 2017 and has been actively involved with state Practice Manager groups. Emergency Veterinary medicine and Leadership are Jessica’s biggest career passions.
In her spare time, Jessica loves the outdoors and camping. Jessica and her husband have 4 amazing children. She has a senior Labrador, a middle-aged one-eyed Pekingese, and a teenage deaf Great Dane. She also has a 3-legged tabby, tri-colored blood donor torti, and a tuxedo munchkin, along with a variety of egg-laying chickens. Jessica couldn’t be more thrilled to help provide Emergency Veterinary Care in the Eau Claire area!
Gianna Tuckner, CVT
Practice Manager – Anoka, MN
Gianna came into Veterinary Medicine 15 years ago when got out of the Marine Corps. Looking for her next career, Veterinary Medicine seemed like a very good fit and something she was always interested in. She started out working in General Practice as a technician then quickly moved into management. After a couple of years, Gianna was looking for something a little different when she caught the Emergency bug of working part-time. Soon she transitioned to full-time Emergency Veterinary Medicine and has not looked back. She loves the fast-paced environment, never knowing what is going to walk through the doors, and being able to help make a difference in emergency cases both for the pet and owner. She lives in Elk River with her 5-year-old Labrador, Teddy. During her downtime, she enjoys exploring new adventures with Teddy and hanging out with friends.
Olivia Larson, CVT
Practice Manager – Eau Claire, MN
Bio coming soon!
Leslie Epstein, BSM, CVT
Practice Manager – Minneapolis, MN & Brooklyn Park, WI
Out of high school, Leslie started working in mortgage banking customer service. When she was laid off in the mid-nineties, she decided to attend veterinary technology school because it sounded fun! Luckily, she found that veterinary medicine has turned out to be a fabulous career! She has been a certified veterinary technician since 1997.
Over the last two and half decades, Leslie has worked in day practice, research, and academia, with most of her time spent working in emergency medicine. After taking a position as a practice manager in 2005, she returned to school. She earned a certificate in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Business Management in 2009.
Leslie resides in Minneapolis with her husband and their pets. They have twin black kittens, Johnny Depp and Captain Jack Sparrow, Kiara the orange female tabby polydactyl (very unique girl), and Betty Nugs, their Old English Bulldog (so they say).
Diana Schaapveld, CVT
Practice Manager – Minneapolis, MN
Diana started in veterinary medicine over 20 years ago, and has been a Certified Veterinary Technician since 2003. As with most veterinary professionals, her love for animals started early. She grew up small hobby farm and it became her mission to find, tame, and care for each litter of kittens. Each injured or sick animal on the farm became a mission for her to save.
Veterinary medicine was a natural fit and Diana spent the majority of her career as a veterinary technician. As she grew in her career, the leadership path started calling to her and her focus shifted from savings animals to growing and leading people.
If you would have told this shy, country kid that someday she would be speaking in front of crowds of people and leading spectacular teams, she would have never believed it. And that growth is exactly what she likes to discover and cultivate within people.
Diana resides in Elk River with her husband, Justin, four boys: Henry, Maverick, Hawkins, and Rockwell, and two dogs, Dash and Jett. Downtime is rare, so if she can manage it, you will find Diana rock hunting, enjoying their seasonal camper at the lake, playing video games with her sons, or binge-watching the latest and greatest terrible show.