Leadership

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa depends on its small, dedicated staff to care for the thousands of pets that come through the ARL's doors each year. The ARL also relies on the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who help operate the shelter and care for the animals daily. The ARL is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

Board of Directors

  • Carol Griglione, President
  • Phil Akason
  • Chris Costa
  • Alex Duong
  • Rajee Harris
  • James Langeness
  • Bernard Lettington, Secretary 
  • Charlie Nichols
  • Dean Peyton
  • Chad Rasmussen, Vice President
  • Adam Shaikh
  • Kathleen Worth
  • Mark Zimmerman, Treasurer 

Staff Leadership

The following staff oversee the organization, animal veterinary care, animal behavior, operations, and communications.

Tom Colvin

Chief Executive Officer

Tom Colvin, CEOTom Colvin has been instrumental in the state of Iowa for animal protection work since 1974. He began his work as a Certified Veterinary Technician in Waterloo, Iowa. He went onto become the director of the Black Hawk Humane Society (now called Cedar Bend).

Tom moved to Des Moines in 1993 to become the shelter director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL). In 1995, he was appointed the ARL’s Executive Director, a position he has held since. Tom led the initiative to build a new 43,000 square foot shelter, which was completed in October 2008.

Tom has served as the President of the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies since 1981 and also currently serves on the Iowa State University External Stakeholders Advisory Group, on the boards of the Iowa Wildlife Center and Better Business Bureau, and previously on the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine. He is also a member of The Association of Animal Welfare Advancement (formerly Society of Animal Welfare Administrators) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, which promotes ethical fundraising practices. He has also been a wildlife rehabilitator and has served on Iowa deer taskforce committees.

Tom has worked tirelessly on legislation to strengthen Iowa’s laws for animal protection, including extensive work to address animal cruelty and puppy mills in Iowa. He has received awards for his efforts in legislation, including his work to enact the animal shelter mandatory spay/neuter law in 1992 and the felony animal abuse law in 2000. Recent successes in legislation have resulted in prohibiting giving pets as prizes, felony animal fighting laws, and in 2010, the passing of the Puppy Mill Bill.

Under Tom’s leadership and direction, the Animal Rescue of Iowa has repeatedly been honored with local “Best Non-Profit” awards, has been named a "Top-Rated Non-Profit" by Great NonProfits since 2013, and in 2015 was recognized nationally as the “Shelter of the Year”.


Dr. Dan Campbell

Director of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Campbell, ARL, Director of Veterinary MedicineDr. Dan Campbell is the Chief Staff Veterinarian at the ARL, overseeing the medical program at the ARL. Dr. Campbell has been a practicing veterinarian since 1987. After graduating from Iowa State University, he began his veterinary career in private practice at Village Veterinary Hospital in Johnston where he worked as one of the clinic veterinarians for 12 years. With the support of his former boss and friend Dr. Randy Mertens he began his relationship with the ARL by providing pro bono assistance to pets in need, from spay/neuter surgeries to emergency service.

In 2000 Dr. Campbell was approached by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) and asked to be the first on-staff veterinarian at the ARL and he accepted the position of Chief Staff Veterinarian. In 2011, Dr. Campbell celebrated a milestone by performing his 50,000th spay/neuter surgery of animals at the ARL. As an extremely skilled surgeon, Dr. Campbell has performed countless other surgeries to give animals of many species a chance for a healthy life. Additionally, Dr. Campbell went to Mississippi to help animals during Hurricane Katrina, and has been to hoarding and puppy mill cases all over Iowa.

He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, Iowa Veterinary Rapid Response Team, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and is on the Board of the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies.


Chris Henderson

General Counsel

Chris Henderson, General Cousel

Chris Henderson is the ARL’s General Counsel. Chris has been practicing law since his graduation from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1989. He came to the ARL after a 28-year career at Principal Financial Group, where he was Vice President and Associate General Counsel and led the legal team supporting Principal’s global asset management business.

Chris has also been involved in nonprofit support through his many years of service on the board of Balance Autism. He currently serves as Board President of Balance Autism.

Chris joined the ARL in January 2022 and is responsible for the ARL’s legal affairs.


Matt Levien

Director of Shelter Operations

Matt Levien, Director of Animal ServicesMatt came to the Animal Rescue League from the Denver Dumb Friends League where he was Director of Buddy Center 2014-2019. The Buddy Center is a full service animal shelter accepting strays, owner surrender and law enforcement animals. The facility handled between 4,000 – 6,000 cats and dogs a year with over 250 active volunteers a week and 17 employees.

Prior to being Director of Buddy Center, Matt earned his degree in Zoology, interned and worked in zoo field then moved into leadership roles at Target. After moving to Colorado with his wife, he joined the Dumb Friends League working in animal care, adoption and behavior. After a few years, he moved into a supervisor role at the Buddy Center where he worked to increase the volunteer program through engagement and support. In 2009, Matt transitioned to the Behavior department where he built cat behavior modification programs, classes and support, and improved dog behavior modification programs in shelter. In 2012, Matt became the Behavior Manager, and extended the program by supporting other shelters through education, as well as as writing and speaking for the public education regarding cat and dog behavior. When Matt became the director of the Buddy Center serving the Douglas County Residents in Colorado, he worked to decrease length of stay in shelter while striving for best outcomes for all animals. During his time as Director Matt also volunteered with the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies Development committee supporting the yearly educational conference.


Jessie Phillips

Director of Development and Communications

Jessie Phillips, Director of Development and CommunicationsJessie Phillips joined the ARL as Director of Development and Communications in April 2022. Prior to joining the ARL, Jessie was with Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, serving as Director of Philanthropy. Jessie brings with her a wide range of nonprofit experience, including work with the Education for the Children Foundation located in Jocotenango, Guatemala. As Director of Development and Communications Jessie provides vision and leadership for the ARL Development Team. She connects donors with the ARL mission and identifies opportunities to share the lifesaving work of the ARL.

Jessie is an Iowa native and a graduate of the University of Iowa. She received her Masters of Public Administration from Drake University. An active member of her community, Jessie is passionate about creating a culture of philanthropy. She currently serves on the leadership committee for a Des Moines-based giving circle, 100+ Women Who Care DSM.


Shelby Spiker

Director of Human Resources

Shelby Spiker, Director of Human Resources

Shelby Spiker is the ARL’s Director of Human Resources, bringing almost 6 years of experience. After graduating from Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business in 2015, Shelby went into business management, where she found her niche in systems and human resources.

Shelby spent the last four years with Des Moines Area Community College. Her work included HR compliance and recordkeeping, recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, health and safety, and offboarding. She also led a department of 15-40 employees that included 20+ international students from 12 different countries and five different continents. She was selected to attend the Emerging Leaders Series, a program for employees identified as having high potential for leadership positions.

Shelby is passionate about animal welfare and always knew she wanted her career to be aligned with that passion, so it’s fitting that she’s now at the ARL working with the team that helps animals in need.


Joe Stafford

Director of Animal Services

Joe Stafford, ARL, Director of Animal Control ServicesJoe joined the Animal Rescue League of Iowa team in March 2019 as the Director of Animal Services. In this role, Joe oversees the Des Moines Animal Services program, which includes working with a diverse staff that care for all of the homeless and unwanted animals of the City and the Animal Services Officers who are in the community advocating for public safety and animal welfare on a daily basis. Joe also is responsible for ARL’s Community Outreach programs, which includes the Animal Welfare Intervention (Animal Cruelty Investigations and Disaster Response), Trap Neuter and Return, Vet Assistance, Public Spay and Neuter, Crisis Foster, and low to no cost vaccination programs.

Joe came to the ARL from the Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region where he was the Director of Animal Law Enforcement from 2010 until 2019. With this role he directed and managed a staff of over 45 animal law enforcement officers (ACO’s) and others that served a 5,600 square mile area with approximately 1.3 million human residents and more than 700,000 companion animals. His division handled over 45,000 calls for service annually; which included over 4,250 cases of animal welfare concern.

Prior to Joe being at the Humane Society of Pikes Peak he was the Field Services Manager in Centennial, Colorado and Douglas County, Colorado. Joe was also the President of the Colorado Association of Animal Control Offices for seven years; served as a board member for the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund for three years and served on the Legislative Committee for the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies for two years.

Joe holds National and State certifications in numerous areas, such as:

  • Nationally Certified Animal Control Officer—National Animal Control Officers Association
  • Nationally Certified Humane Investigator—University of Missouri-Columbia Law Enforcement Training Institute
  • Nationally Certified Equine Investigator—University of Missouri-Columbia Law Enforcement Training Institute
  • Colorado Certified Animal Control Officer—Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers
  • Commissioned Companion, Small Animal, and Equine Investigator—Colorado Department of Agriculture
  • Technical Animal Rescue Specialist—Code 3 Associates
  • Pet First Aid—American Red Cross

Joe is also a veteran who served in the United States Air Force as a Law Enforcement Specialist and Training Manager. In this role, he provided law enforcement services as well as directed, planned, and conducted numerous training programs responsible for education and training of over 8,000 students annually from five military bases in the Pikes Peak Region and Air Force Cadets.