Director of Training and Operations
Rock has been training and working with canines since he earned his first dog sport title at the age of 14. In his early years, Rock worked as an obedience trainer and veterinarian technician before training in Germany. After that he moved into law enforcement where he was a police K-9 handler, working 13 patrol, narcotic, bomb, and cadaver dogs during his 28 years of law enforcement. Rock held positions including K-9 handler and K-9 line supervisor all the way through K-9 Commander.
After retiring from law enforcement, Rock became a Kennel Master and Canine Instructor in Afghanistan. Rock is a graduate of Command Officers Development Course, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Criminal Justice, and a Sports Security Management Certificate from U.S.M. He is also a graduate of “Train the Trainer” from Rollins College. Rock is a Certified Law Enforcement Evaluator, General, and High Liability Instructor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and specializes in problem solving and dog psychology. He is an evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC) and has appeared on local and national T.V. programs, as well as radio talk shows. He enjoys assisting owners across the country with problem solving and foundation work.
K-9 Instructor: Advanced Programs
As a small child, Rina Sullivan had a bond with a dog that forever changed her life. She knew working with dogs is what she wanted to do. Rina graduated from the University of Maryland with an Animal Management; Pre-Veterinary degree.
For the past 15+ years she has consistently worked with animals in the following fields including caretaking, veterinary technician, director of a rescue and a dog training center. She has trained therapy, service and personal protection K-9s.
Throughout her years of dedication to animals Rina has had unique experiences including rehabbing many wild animals, some bottle fed from birth. These once-in-a-lifetime experiences have given her the appreciation of all animals.
Rina believes training builds a strong relationship between dog and owner and that consistency and exercise are key in maintaining that bond. We are excited to have Rina join the team and we, along with our clients look forward to learning from both her experience and educational background.
K-9 Instructor: Personal Protection, Scent Work and Advanced Programs
Steven was certain of two things at a very young age: He wanted to be G.I. Joe and wanted a dog farm! He accomplished the first with 15 years active duty in the U.S. Army as Cavalry Scout. He was among the first group to be deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division and was also deployed for the invasion of Iraq. While on his way to secure Baghdad International Airport, a rocket propelled grenade struck his vehicle, seriously injuring him and ending his military career.
In October 2005, he began pursuit of his lifelong dream of working with dogs. He attended Triple Crown Academy in Hutto, Texas and earned his certification as a Master Dog Trainer and a Police/Protection K-9 Specialist. He has trained narcotics detection dogs, explosive detection dogs, wilderness search and rescue, cadaver, and patrol dogs. He is also skilled at protection work and Schutzhund.
Steven is a certified Behavior Modification Specialist with his primary area of study in dealing with aggression issues in dogs.
K-9 Instructor: Service and therapy Dog Programs
Melissa holds a Bachelor’s in Animal Science with a major in Biology from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. She has a passion for working with animals. She has experience as a vet tech and 13 years of service dog training. Most recently she was a senior instructor at Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). During her time at CCI she started as apprentice working her way up the ranks to senior instructor learning about how to train service dogs to a highly advanced level and how to serve individuals with disabilities. Part of Melissa’s repertoire includes certification as an Assistance Dogs International Instructor earned in 2005.
There are three types of service dogs to meet the needs of unique individuals at CCI. This included full service, facility, and skilled companions. At Central Florida K9 she will bring her experience and skills to serve a new set of clients and their needs. Her passion for working with people with disabilities and service dogs is at the root of her mission. Finally, in 2016 she adopted a small dog from Polka Dogs pet rescue of Winter Garden, FL. As a hobby, she is their contract trainer and behaviorist, helping dogs adjust into their new forever home. She has two beautiful children and two furry ones at home and loves to spend time with her family.
K-9 Instructor: Puppy Programs
Sarah holds a double major in Biology and Psychology from the University of Central Florida. Her studies included Animal Behavior, Herpetology, Conservation Bio, GIS and Advanced Animal Behavior. At age 11 when most girls would want a trip to Disney, Sarah asked for a Christmas present to the International Wolf Center for dog sledding and learning about wolf behavior. Sarah had found her passion and quickly entered internship programs with the International Wolf Center and trained under Dr. David Mech as a wolf educator. She also received internships at Central Florida Zoo as a Carnivore Keeper, Central Florida Animal Reserve and In Harmony with Nature. Sarah has also worked as a Sea World Educator and is currently a Board member and Trainer for The Renegade Dog Club. Sarah joined CFK9/NCT and quickly showed not only a passion but a real understanding of dog behavior and how it relates to our canine and puppy programs. We are excited to have Sarah join our training team as lead trainer over puppy programs.
Dr. Patty Palumbo
Veterinarian Care Manager
Dr. Patty Palumbo graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993,
the same Veterinary School her father graduated from in 1965.
She moved to Orlando after graduation and began practicing small animal medicine. Especially fond of surgery, allergy treatment and wound care, she has been practicing at McAbee Veterinary Hospital for the last 22 years.
Dr Palumbo loves to run, read and fish, as well as work with her dog, Izzy. She lives in Sanford with her husband, children and 3 dogs.
The role of Business Manager requires a broad range of skills including planning, organization, communication and decision making. NCT-CFK9 found a perfect fit for Business Manager in Amy Morrell whose Master’s Degree and experience as an educator and in the private sector prepared her for the challenges of the role. Together with the Training/Kennel Manager and the Special Projects Manager, the team efficiently and effectively promotes the company’s mission, goals and objectives. If you need assistance regarding Business Relations, Human Resources, Marketing, Billing and Payment information please contact Amy at 407-926-8100 x3.