Elizabeth A. Schuette, President and CEO of The ARK Import Export Center, LLC oversees all day-to-day operations of JFK International Airport’s animal health, reception, and quarantine center – The ARK at JFK. The ARK provides safe and humane animal reception, accommodation, handling and transport services to airlines and their ground handling agents as well as shippers, forwarders, and individuals. Elizabeth works closely with senior TSA, CBP, USDA and CDC officers, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials, IATA representatives, as well as airline executives, public health officials and veterinary medical experts. Elizabeth is an active contributor to animal shipping trade organizations including the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (“IPATA”) and Animal Transportation Association (“ATA”).
Prior to taking on her responsibilities at The ARK, Elizabeth served as Managing Director with Racebrook Capital (Developer of The ARK) with strategic planning, compliance and oversight responsibilities. She is a licensed real estate broker in CT, FL and RI. In addition, Elizabeth is President of George Washington Mortgage & Investment Corp. – a closely held boutique firm that manages real estate assets in NY and MD and provides consulting services on asset portfolio acquisitions.
Earlier in her career, Elizabeth managed the operations division (credit analysis, servicing and asset disposition) of banks and equipment leasing companies including ICON Capital, HSBC/Concord Leasing, Household International, and Citytrust (acquired by Chase). She was a financial/portfolio analyst with Booz Allen and Hamilton and Kaplan Smith and Associates (acquired by Boston Consulting Group).
Elizabeth received her B.A. in Economics with High Honors from The College of William and Mary and a M.A. in Economics from The George Washington University.
Elizabeth is the proud pet parent of adorable Tucker, ARK Ambassador.
Chris Lapkowski studied at Juniata College, a small liberal arts college located in central Pennsylvania. There, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Wildlife Conservation with a minor in Education. During his time in college, he studied a wide array of fields from the broad study of Ecology, Botany, and Wildlife Management, to the more specific Plant Ecology, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and Vertebrate Zoology. He has experience in the field, catching and releasing all vertebrates (animals with a backbone), and can identify both plants and animals down to their Genus and species. The fields of Mammalogy and Herpetology (the study of mammals and reptiles/amphibians respectively) are his main interest. Chris has also worked with large mammals such as deer and bears.
Chris has experience teaching in the classroom through his minor in Education as well as his college employment at Science In Motion; a mobile education where teachers go to local middle and high schools and provide equipment and teach in the fields of Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science.
Prior to joining the team at ARK Pet Oasis, Chris gained managerial experience at the age of 23, where he was the Head Bartender in a restaurant located on Long Island. There, he learned to manage employees both older and younger than himself and handle the various situations that can arise within the customer service and restaurant industry. Chris joined the team at ARK Pet Oasis as an Animal Attendant and worked his way up to Manager and has since transitioned to The ARK at JFK as a Customer Experience Manager working with pet parents and other shippers around the world to coordinate inbound and outbound services for traveling pets. He is tasked with understanding the requirements for entry of various countries, completing international and domestic health certificates alongside an Accredited Veterinarian, communicating with airlines to book flights for pets, and follow country regulations to ensure a seamless experience for both the pet parent and their companions.
Chris has had a wide array of companions of his own ranging from dogs, cats, small mammals like gerbils/hamsters, reptiles, and some invertebrates like hermit crabs. Currently he is accompanied by his 2 and half year-old pup Sadie. She is a Shi Tzu, Bichon Frise mix which is actually called a “Teddy Bear”.
Hi, I’m Ben, a 1-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Sometimes my mom calls me “what-are-you-eating ” and “get back here”, I have a lot of nicknames! I love playing fetch and going to work with my mom, everyone is so nice here at ARK Pet Oasis. I get to watch all the animals that pass through The ARK, there are so many funny looking dogs - some even meow. After a long day of work, I like to take naps. Life is ruff when you’re this cute. I can be found playing outdoors in the ARK's dog run, making sure it's nice and clean, or begging for treats by our treat box!