Lua Oas Southard - CEO
Lua's publishing, marketing and advertising career started in 1969; in 1973 she helped launch what is now the largest English-riding national publication, Practical Horseman. For 11 years Lua was President and CEO of Southard & Associates, one of the nation's largest equine-oriented advertising agencies. In 1991 she was enticed to return to the publishing industry by Cowles Magazines. During her six-year tenure at Cowles, Lua was, among other things, the publisher of Practical Horseman. She also served as Director of Equine Marketing for all of Cowles equestrian titles and forged a joint marketing agreement between Cowles and the American Association of Equine Practitioners for a 400-page book, titled Hands-on Horse Care, published by Horse & Rider magazine.
Lua is a Past President of American Horse Publications, a national, non-profit association dedicated to promoting better understanding and communication within the equine publishing industry. In 2005 she was the winner of the AHP Chris Brune Spirit Award.
Lua served two terms on the National Western Heritage Month Board, is currently a member of the National Association of Professional Women where she was named a 2010/2011 Professional Woman of the Year, the Women’s Horse Industry Association, and is the Executive Director of the American Equestrian Trade Association.
Cassandra Lizza - Communications Director
Cassandra has been with Equine Resources International (ERI) since 2005, where she brings her talent for writing together with her love of all things equine. She graduated from Goucher College in Towson, MD, with degrees in English and business management. Prior to joining ERI, Cassandra worked to support PR, event planning and product development for Breyer Animal Creations. At ERI, she works hands-on with clients to provide the exact mix of tactics to meet their goals and objectives.
An avid equestrian, there isn’t much Cassandra hasn’t tried when it comes to riding. She initially learned to ride Saddle Seat on Arabian horses and eventually moved to Hunter Pleasure at breed shows. She took up dressage in the past three years and dabbled in eventing as well. She has also taken lessons in side saddle. When not in the saddle, Cassandra can be found running the trails, sans horse.
Rebecca Pitcher - Media and Communications Manager
Rebecca joined Equine Resources International (ERI) in July 2005. She has a B.P.S degree in Equine Business Management from Cazenovia College and a Minor in Journalism from the University of Maryland University College. During her time at ERI, Rebecca has helped manage projects for a variety of clients including Pfizer Animal Health, Outback Trading Company and Absorbine. Prior to working at ERI, she completed internships with Hoofprints magazine at Hooved Animal Humane Society, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Assocation (IHSA) and the National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Championship Horse Show. Rebecca has been an active member of the American Horse Publications organization for more than seven years. As a student member she was selected for a finalist in their annual awards contest. Now she gives back to the organization by serving as chairman of the Student Mentoring Committee and helping with the Equine Industry Vision Award and other projects as needed. Rebecca has ridden since the age of seven and competed successfully on the Quarter Horse Circuit. Now, in her spare time, she rides reining horses.
Alyce Denver – Administrative Assistant
Alyce Denver joined the ERI team in February 2010 and brings a diverse background to her passion for writing. After studying Library Science at Millersville University, Alyce purchased twenty-four acres in southern Chester County, PA in 1970 and thus began life as a country girl. The farm, now known as Blue Goose Stable, began life as an “Old MacDonald’s farm” complete with chickens, pigs, a herd of black angus beef cows and a Jersey milk cow named Victoria – who preferred to be milked by hand and who was a great source for all of her family's milk, butter and ice cream. Alyce learned about horses, mucking stalls, baling hay and how to back a horse trailer as her daughter Darcy was growing-up and who now is pursuing her own career in the equine industry. The skills necessary to keep an office running smoothly, a shipping department efficient, and participation at trade shows enjoyable were learned during eighteen years of operating a business, American Arborist Supplies, Inc., in the Green Industry with her husband. Other interests include teaching yoga, crewing on racing sailboats, hiking, camping and traveling. At age 61 Alyce trekked to the base camp of Mt. Everest and learned that any goal can be attained by taking one step at a time.
Mary Fisher - Art Director
Mary is the owner of Fisher Arts & Graphics in nearby West Chester, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Kutztown University with a B.F.A. in Communications Design, Mary started her graphics career with Lua Southard as a member of the Southard & Associates staff in 1986. She now has over 24 years of experience as a graphic artist and project coordinator, along with extensive experience working within a corporate graphics environment. Mary understands the need for creative work under tight deadlines and budgets. Along with her corporate graphic experience—which includes seven years with Pfizer Animal Health—Mary has taught courses at the Chester County Art Association and volunteered as an art instructor in Namibia, Africa. Her current clients include Pfizer Animal Health, Equine Resources International, Citadel Federal Credit Union and Brandywine Optics Inc.
Teresa Avery - Consultant
A marketing and public relations veteran, Teresa worked with ERI for more than 10 years as a full-time member of staff. Now a consultant, she brings not only her years of experience, but also an impressive set of business skills honed during the completion of her MBA at Pennsylvania State University's Smeal College of Business. Her advanced business degree complements her background and undergraduate degree in agricultural communications from The Ohio State University. A long-time horse woman, Teresa grew up riding Quarter horses in Ohio and now rides a warmblood on the east coast. No matter the horse, as long as she's in the saddle, she's happy!
Dean A. Hoffman, ERI Affiliate
Dean served as the Executive Editor of Hoof Beats, the largest Standardbred magazine, for 24 years, and recently formed Hoffman Communications LLC, an affiliate of ERI. Prior to taking over at Hoof Beats, he worked in advertising and public relations capacities in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio. He is an award-winning writer and photographer and he is past-president of American Horse Publications. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame Communicators Corner at the Harness Racing Museum in New York in July, 2007. In 2005, he won Harness Tracks of America's highest honor, the Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award for "exceptionally outstanding and meritorious service to the sport of harness racing and unparalleled contributions to its literature." He has traveled to numerous European countries and has addressed associations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program since 1981. His articles have appeared in equine publications around the world and he is the author of four books on horses.