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Board of Directors

Dave Desmarais


Dave has been with the Center since its inception in 2004, as one of the original founders. He is a retired Deputy Fire Chief of West Hartford FD, and former Bristol resident for over 35 years. He is a craftsman and our in-house facilities expert!

Larry Gonzalez, Esq.

Vice President

A native Floridian, Larry and his wife Jennifer moved to Connecticut to attend graduate school. They became involved in the farm through their involvement in the thoroughbred industry. He’s an attorney who works for Allied World Assurance Company in Farmington, and has lived in Bristol for more than 15 years.

Brett Krohl


Brett holds a Master’s in Accounting and is a C.P.A. candidate. He became involved with Shepard Meadows in the fall of 2018 and has been a tremendous resource as we set our strategic plan in place. He is employed by Adams Samartino, Certified Public Accountants.

Daniel Zakin


Daniel became involved with Shepard Meadows as a volunteer with facilities, then program, as a rider and finally as Board Secretary. A resident of West Hartford, he’s an engineer at Pratt & Whitney.

Liz Lefrancois


Liz was awarded the 2020 Volunteer of the Year for PATH, Intl. Region 1 which covers the U.S. Northeast and Eastern Canada. A Bristol native, Liz is a retired Guidance Counselor from the Bristol School District. She has been volunteering at the center for over 10 years in a variety of capacities. She helps with facilities, program and even takes riding lessons under our volunteer/community riding program.

Jon Rondeau


Jon is the President and CEO of New Wave Industries, Inc. He and his wife Shelby live in Burlington, and in his spare time he swings the mallet and plays some polo. Jon always has apples for his favorite equine, Moses.

Jason Warnke


Jason became involved in the farm in 2019. He’s a Private Wealth Advisor and founder of The OakBridge Group in Farmington.  In his spare time he stays active, even completing a marathon. He and his family live in Avon, CT.

P. Pearl O’Rourke, M.D.


(Patricia) Pearl O’Rourke grew up in Bristol, attended Bristol Eastern High School before going to college and Harvard Medical School. She worked as a pediatric intensive care doctor in Boston and Seattle until 1998 at which time she accepted a position at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) in health policy. In 2001 she returned to Partners Healthcare in Boston as the director of the legal and ethical oversight of research involving human participants. She recently retired from Partners and is splitting her time between Boston and Plymouth, CT. She comes to the board with a long-held interest in horses and experience in healthcare and research.

Matthew Ragone

Advisory Board

Former Treasurer of the Board, Matt is recently retired from the family real estate business in Manhattan. He is a resident of Westchester County who provides strategic guidance to the organization.

Christopher Weber, D.V.M.

Advisory Board

Dr. Weber practices out of Salmon Brook Veterinary, he and the practice have cared for our therapy herd since our inception. A graduate of Tufts Veterinary School, Dr. Weber is the 2021 PATH, Intl. Veterinarian of the Year for Region One, and we couldn’t be more proud!

Bryan Cassidy

Advisory Board

Bryan is the Chief Information Officer at Torrington Savings Bank.  He became involved with Shepard Meadows in 2019 by helping to redesign the website.  In his spare time he stays active with running, photography, and chasing his toddler around the house.  He and his family live in Bristol, CT.