Lukas Franck (Committee Chair)
Lukas Franck has recently retired from his role as a Senior Consultant for Special Projects with the Seeing Eye, USA. He graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology. He began working at the Seeing Eye as an apprentice in 1978.
Eight years after joining the Seeing Eye, he left to attended Western Michigan University and earned a Masters in Orientation and Mobility in 1987. He re-joined the Seeing Eye’s staff shortly after completing his degree. In 1993 he became a ‘community instructor’, traveling full time across the United States and Canada working to enhance the working relationships between Seeing Eye graduates and their dogs. As a result of his experiences in this capacity he became interested in Environmental Access for people who are visually impaired.
He served as Chair of the Environmental Access Committee of Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) and is still active on that committee. He has worked with the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to create language leading towards a United States Standard Accessible Pedestrian Signal and has worked to create and enhance communication and understanding between Orientation and Mobility Specialists, people who are blind or visually impaired, and traffic engineers.
Lukas is a past winner of the Orientation and Mobility Division’s Sandy Kronick Distinguished Service Award; the American Foundation for the Blind’s Access Award and most recently, the IGDF’s Ken Lord award. He is proudest however, of having twice received the Ethel Bender award from Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Manager Puppy Development, National Programs
Jane began her career in Guide Dogs UK in 1997 and worked as a GDMI for many years before moving to Australia to follow New Zealand family and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.
Jane has worked in various leadership roles, and learned about each area of the dog guide service along the way, including many lessons from clients, volunteers and donors. She is currently National Puppy Development Manager at Vision Australia where she is collaborating with other schools to help with improved breeding selection and genetic exchange, staff education and program improvements.
Jane has a passion for behavioural data and systems thinking which led to post graduate study in human excellence behaviour based psychology. She has co-designed research partnerships with universities to help inform and improve education and training in our client and volunteer relationships and in welfare outcomes for our dogs. As B.F Skinner said “what is love but another name for positive reinforcement.”
A strong believer in giving back and paying forward, Jane currently serves as an IGDF Assessor, on the ADI Standards Committee, ADI Education Committee and volunteers as an instructor for first responders and military veterans with PTSD. She is also a KPA Certified Training Partner and is honoured to learn from others before her and serve on this committee.
Jane was appointed to the Development Committee in 2021.
Julijana György Matešić
Training and Services Director
Huikuang Guide Dog Foundation, Taiwan
Julijana György Matešić is a DVM and Guide Dog and Mobility Instructor. She joined the guide dog movement in 1991. She was a part of a small group of enthusiasts who were dreaming and working hard to establish the first guide dog school in Croatia. She was fortunate to be an apprentice at Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind and became one of the first GDMIs in Croatia.
Besides GDMI assignments, she worked on planning and developing organizations’ “dog-related” activities and cadets’ training.
She was fortunate to learn from the best experts in the field of breeding, dog assessments, positive reinforcement training, response/alert service dog training, and facility dog training. Although knowledge is a foundation for improvement and development, she realized that “only” knowledge is not enough if you work in a small or isolated school. Her goal has become to provide better quality guide dogs for VIP Clients through developing partnerships/collaborations between the schools where she worked and IGDF member schools.
She used to work for the Croatian Guide Dog and Mobility Association, The Rehabilitation Centre Silver (Croatia), and Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association.
She participates in AGBN and is an IGDF Assessor.
Currently, Julijana is the Training and Services Director at Huikuang Guide Dog Foundation Taiwan.
Julijana was appointed to the Development Committee in 2021.
Additional Needs Development Lead
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK)
Lee has worked for Guide Dogs UK for over 30 years, working as a guide dog mobility instructor before going on to manage various teams as supervisor and manager. Lee has a particular interest in working with people with additional disabilities and this led to him taking qualifications in British Sign Language and Deafblind Studies. He also enjoys working with other organisations to collaborate on different projects and starting in 2003, the first dual assistance/ guide dog was trained in the UK in partnership with Hearing Dogs UK. Over time, Lee was closely involved in progressing other similar dual dog partnerships. This included being involved with Guide Dogs UK’s first wheelchair guiding programme that commenced in 2009. Lee also enjoys meeting other people from around the world, sharing ideas and learning from others at IGDF conferences. He attended his first one in Warwick, UK in 2000 and has been to most of the IGDF conferences ever since. He later became an IGDF Assessor in 2010 and is now a member of the IGDF Development Committee.
Lee’s current role in Guide Dogs UK involves leading on the development of a range of services for people with additional needs. As a father of seven children and grandfather to three grandchildren, he enjoys spending time with his family, walking, cycling, and playing the guitar.
Director, Genetics, Reproduction, & Puppy Care
Southeastern Guide Dogs (USA)
Zuhey Medina-Gonzalez is the Director of Genetics, Reproduction and Puppy Care at Southeastern Guide Dogs. She has been with SEGD since September 2013 and has experience in breeding, whelping, puppy education and production management. During her tenure as director, she has created a team to elevate breeding techniques at SEGD and has helped create a high quality puppy education program.
Before she joined the assistance dog world, she worked at Nestle Purina at their Product Technology Center in Missouri. There, she worked with cats and dogs and developed a passion for nutrition and puppy development. Zuhey has a B.S. in Animal Science from New Mexico State University and has experience working in different kennel settings and veterinary clinics.