Vicky Keahey – President & CEO of In-Sync Exotics

vickyVicky has been working with animals for over 35 years. She first started with Afghan Hounds as a breeder and handler at dog shows. At the age of 20 she started her own grooming business and groomed dogs for 27 years. In addition to working with domestic dogs and cats, she has also worked horses for pole bending and barrel racing for playday activities. In 1990, while working as a veterinary technician, Vicky rescued her first cougar that was abandoned at the vet clinic where she worked. Eight years and two cats later, Vicky founded In-Sync Exotics and opened her door and her heart to many unwanted exotic cats. Vicky lives with her husband, over 50 exotic cats, a coatimundi, two lemurs, two horses, a dog and a whole bunch of house cats. Vicky’s son Justin has been a great help with the cats since he was 10.

Eddie Keahey – Vice President

eddieEddie owned and operated his own air-conditioning business and had just started his own pipe fencing business when he met Vicky. Since then he has worked with all aspects of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, construction and welding here at In-Sync. Eddie spent a year in Baghdad working as a civilian to install and repair air-conditioning units for the troops that were stationed at the palace. Much of the money he earned while he was there went towards the care of the cats of In-Sync. He now works as a conductor for the Kansas City Southern Railroad while still heading up the construction that goes on at In-Sync. In what little spare time Eddie has, he loves to sail.

Helen Truman – Secretary

helen

Helen joined the In-Sync family in 2007 as a volunteer to clean enclosures.  She is a former feeder and has been the Board Secretary for several years.  Besides her duties as Secretary she is also Enrichment Coordinator and Kids 4 Cats Coordinator.  Helen retired January 2016 after 25 years with Exxon Mobil Corporation as Sr. Staff Assistant in the Treasurers Department.  She now spends time with her family which includes 4 beautiful granddaughters, two rescued house cats and several feral cats. She is also a member of the IACUC committee.

Robin Funkhouser – Treasurer

Robin began volunteering at In-Sync in 2018. Her first visit to In-Sync was the Easter egg hunt with a friend who had been a fan for years already. During that visit Robin fell in love with the cats and decided she needed to help and start volunteering. By the end of May 2018, she was volunteering and loving every minute. Almost every Sunday she can be found cleaning one of the enclosures and feeding every other Saturday night. Robin lives in Garland with her family including 4 dogs, 2 cats and 1 rat, and works full +me during the week in corporate accounting

Valerie KayValerie Kay – Volunteer Coordinator

Valerie has been volunteering at In-Sync since Feb 2013.  Her love for animals goes back to her early childhood growing up with having animal around all the time.   In addition to volunteering, Valerie has a full-time job and she also Pet Sits part-time.  Making the decision to volunteer with animal was easy but knowing that she wouldn’t be able to volunteer for a small animal facility was key because she would take them all home.  She has always been fascinated with Big Cats, so it was the purrfect choice to join the In-Sync family.  Valerie current has a large 4-legged family that live with her in Wylie.  They like to spend as much time outdoors as they can.  She is also looking forward to spending some time kayaking.

Stephen Austin – Construction & Site Planning

stephenStephen volunteered to help build our leopard enclosure in 2006 and has been an integral part of our construction team ever since. He works closely with Eddie in all aspects of construction and maintenance. Stephen earns his living as a Building Engineer and has also volunteered his construction talents with other charitable organizations. He and his son Stephen, who are also volunteers at In-Sync, live in Wylie with their dog and 4 cats…all rescues.

Susan Adams – Donor Relations

Susan_A_picSusan has been volunteering at In-Sync since the Fall of 2011. To her, the opportunity to love and help these cats is a tremendous honor. Susan is current job is caring for a loved on with dementia. In what seem like past lives she’s been a serious photography hobbyist, Information Systems security auditor, and that horrible person at your cardiologist that makes you get on the dreaded treadmill. As you can see, she’s never been sure what she wanted to do be when she grew up, but one thing is for sure, she adores the cats of In-Sync!

Judy Chapla – Director of Grants

Before Moving to the Dallas area, Judy volunteered for 15 years with a Fire Department obtaining certifications as a CPR instructor, Emergency Medical Technician, Certified Texas Firefighter, Communications specialist and certified driver.

She started volunteering at ISE in the fall of 2010 to clean enclosures and for several years has been working in the commissary. Judy also trains people to work in the commissary, gift shop and is also a member of the IACUC committee.

Judy has been married to Chris Chapla for 46 years, is a mother on 1 and grandmother of 2. Her daughter and grand kids have lived next door to her for the last 15 years. Judy and Chris have 3 fur babies of their own. She plays lots of poker, love talking to people and is a big Dallas Cowboy fan.

Angela Culver – Media

angela_culverAngela has loved animals for as long as she can remember, and at age six she decided she wanted to be a zoologist just like her uncle. She is currently pursuing her degree in Wildlife Biology while working full time. Angela had been working with birds of prey when she spotted a flyer for In-Sync’s Big Cat Birthday Bash in the summer of 2010. She went out for a visit, and was soon volunteering. Besides working with the cats and all of the amazing people at In-Sync, she loves talking with the visitors, educating them about the cats as well as their wild cousins. Angela lives with her fiance, Jedi, and their four cats, all rescues. In her free time, Angela loves hiking, camping, spending time with friends, and working on indie films.

Michelle Allen – Events Coordinator

Michelle has always had a love for wildlife, especially  cats. In the spring of 2019 a project volunteer told her about In-Sync, after her first visit, she was in love.  Having just finished home schooling her youngest son, she needed something to do and In-Sync has been the perfect fit.  She cleans enclosures, works in the commissary and visitor center, she is also on the feeding team.  She calls In-Sync her “happy place”.  She has really enjoyed getting to know all these amazing cats & the people are pretty awesome too!!

Michelle & her husband Chip have been married 25 years, they have 2 grown sons & 4 fur babies.  She loves to read, garden, bird watching and antiquing with her mom.

Linda Bantz – Education

Prior to retiring, Linda spent her career working in government finance for cities and a community college.  She has always had a love of cats and has had many throughout her life.  She learned about In-Sync Exotics in 2009 and, after many visits, knew she wanted to volunteer there when she retired and had more time.  Linda began volunteering in April 2018 cleaning enclosures.  She also works occasionally in the commissary and gives guided tours.  In January 2020 Linda accepted the board position of Director of Education and enjoys sharing her love of In-Sync Exotics with others.  She and her husband have two grown daughters and a son that they enjoy spending time with along with a cat and dog.  She enjoys swimming, boating, reading, learning to play golf and spending time with friends.

Ryan Shaw – Animal Health

Ryan Shaw Ryan has been fascinated with animals since his first dog slept under his bassinet when he was a new born. Unfortunately, Ryan is also very allergic to domesticated animals.  However by being an animal care senior volunteer, he found out that he is not at all allergic to wild cats. Hallelujah!!  After visiting ISE several times and becoming a cat sponsor, he decided it was time to give of his time.  So he became a volunteer in 2014 and an member of the enrichment team in 2016.  Ryan lost his eldest son right after he started his volunteer orientation and quickly learned that ISE is a healing place & sanctuary for everyone.  He has been a RN for over 40 years and eagerly learning how to translate his human clinical care expertise into exotic feline clinical care.

Key Staff

Emily Wilson, D.V.M. – Vet

Ever since Emily’s first viewing of The Lion King at the young age of five, her interests have been primarily focused on lions and other big cats, with the ultimate goal of one day becoming a veterinarian. She accomplished that goal by completing her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015.

Emily spent many of her summers during her undergraduate years at Lee McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and throughout vet school, working as an animal keeper at Tiger Haven. This big cat sanctuary in Kingston, TN is home to 300 lions, tigers, and other big cats. She also completed internships at the Conservators’ Center in North Carolina, as well as the Nashville Zoo. Emily has traveled to South Africa for a wildlife conservation internship in Hoedspruit, and a summer with a veterinarian in Lephalale. On these trips, she participated in everything from collecting data on lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and various hoofstock, to assisting with immobilization of antelope and rhinos for relocation and veterinary care.

Emily enjoys all aspects of exotic cat medicine, and is especially interested in cancer and neurologic diseases affecting these felines. During her training UTCVM, she was privileged to contribute to research sponsored by the National Institute of Health, which she looks forward to continuing.

In her free time, Emily enjoys hanging out with her dog, Lulu, taking pictures, drawing, and collecting rocks/gemstones. She is very happy to be a part of the In-Sync family!

Andrea – Curator

Andrea first came to In-Sync as a volunteer in  2009. We knew in the first four months that Andrea was going to be a great asset to In-Sync. Andrea used to volunteer with the Kids wheelchair Basketball as a coaching assistant. She has always loved working with her own cats and wanted someday to work with and learn all she could about big cats. Andrea learned very quickly and showed that she could be very dependable. In 2012 we were able to hire Andrea as a keeper and we are very fortunate to have her on our staff. Andrea loves to read and feels it’s one of the best ways of learning about the cats she now cares for. She also likes to make jewelry and can play three instruments. Andrea wants to someday work with the big cats in Africa; we hope now, she is here to stay!

Jennifer Hatch – Keeper

Jennifer Hatch

Jennifer has always been drawn to animals, especially cats, reptiles, and raptors. Jennifer started volunteering in January 2016,  and knew that she wanted to work with big cats in the future.  Jennifer attends Tarrant County Collage and is working towards a degree in zoology.  She was hired as a staff member in October 2016, and is very thankful for her opportunity to work with these majestic animals. She really likes learning everything she can to help out the cats. Jennifer enjoys being with nature, going on hikes, and camping. She loves to see wild things in their natural state.  She wants to learn more about big cat species in the wild and hopes to see less harm to them all, one day.

Kyra Martakis – Keeper

Kyra Martakis

Kyra was born and raised in New York, and received a degree in Wildlife Conservation & Management from Delaware Valley University in May 2017. Kyra was raised to love and care for all animals from a very young age and knew that was where her career path would lead her. After doing internships at various facilities, Kyra knew she wanted to work with big cats. In February 2018 she was offered a keeper position at In-Sync Exotics and was only too happy to accept. From her first day she completely fell in love with the cats and has enjoyed every day since. Kyra also acts as the staff representative for our team building program keeping our volunteers connected with our staff members. Kyra is also on the feeding team for the cats and helps to feed out bones every Sunday. When she’s not working Kyra enjoys reading, swimming and horseback riding as well as spending time with her friends and family and her own kitties at home.

Sarah Madden – Keeper

Sarah Madden

Sarah grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago for most of her life. Ever since she was little she knew her career would revolve around animals. She went to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and got her degree in Natural Resource Management with a Concentration in Wildlife. From there she has participated in 2 internships in wildlife rehabilitation, one at Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center in Delphi, IN and one at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Hubert, NC. She has also interned at two sanctuaries. She was an intern here for 6 months and at Forest Animal Rescue in Silver Springs, Florida for 3. She has traveled across the country to take these internships and used the opportunities to take road trips with her family. She loves to travel and do outdoor activities in her free time. When she wants a lazy day off, she likes to stream movies and tv shows from her many accounts. She has two cats named Skittles and Coconut and she cant wait for them to meet one day.

Megan Beard- Keeper

From Kentucky, Megan graduated from Murray State University in 2019 with a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology and a track in Zoological Conservation. She has done two summer internships at Second Chances Wildlife Center in Louisville, KY where she worked with native wildlife to rehabilitate them to return to the wild. She came to In-Sync in February 2020 as an intern and stayed for six months. Ever since she was young, it has been a dream of hers to work with big cats so when given the incredible opportunity to intern and then work here, it was an easy yes. It is the experience of lifetime and she hopes to learn more about these amazing animals. When she’s not at the sanctuary, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and being outdoors.