A Family-Owned Operation
Meet Our Team
At Vermillion Veterinary Clinic, we treat you and your pets like our family! Get to know our exceptional team below.
Doctors & Leadership
Dr. Aaron Bessmer
Veterinarian & Practice Owner
Dr. Aaron Bessmer has always had a passion for taking care of animals. Growing up in nearby Pender, Nebraska, he had a wide variety of animals. After graduating from high school in Pender, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska. He then went on to study veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, earning his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Dr. Bessmer moved to Hartley, Iowa, where he practiced for one year before moving back to Sioux City. He joined the team at Roach Animal Hospital, where he practiced for nearly four years. In 2012 Aaron and his wife Rachel purchased Elk Creek Animal Hospital. Then in 2020, the Bessmer’s purchased Vermillion Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Bessmer and Rachel split their time between the two clinics and enjoy working with all their clients in the tri-state area. Dr. Bessmer and his wife Rachel have three girls, two dogs, and four barn cats that keep them busy in their spare time. Dr. Bessmer also enjoys being outdoors, hunting, fishing, and watching the Huskers play football.
Dr. Kalene Gross
Dr. Kalene Gross grew up on a farm in Rosalie, Nebraska. She always loved caring for the farm animals, especially the farm cats. Being on a pig farm, Dr. Gross also took care of numerous dogs and a wide variety of farm animals. After attending Bancroft Rosalie High School, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree at Morningside College and was a part of the women’s basketball program. Dr. Gross continued her education in the UNL/ISU veterinary program earning her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University in May 2018. Dr. Gross and her husband live in Sioux City and enjoy all the things to see and do in the Siouxland area. She enjoys playing basketball, golfing, visiting family and friends, and spending time with her dog, Zeke, and cat, Jaylon, in her free time. She is looking forward to meeting you and all your four-legged friends!
Office Manager & Practice Owner
Rachel was born and raised in Nebraska. Her passion for animals began at an early age when she would accompany her Dad while calling on farmers. She graduated from Wayne State College with a degree in business management. After Dr. Bessmer and Rachel married, they purchased Vermillion Veterinary Clinic with the goal of providing the best customer service and patient care to their clients and creating the best possible workplace environment for their employees. The duo works well together with their two degrees, and although Dr. Bessmer’s main focus is the animals and Rachel’s main focus is the business side, running a vet clinic is a family affair, and they both work in all parts of the clinic. You will often find their daughters helping as well.
Dr. Elizabeth Schmit
Dr. Elizabeth Schmit is originally from Rapid City, SD where she grew up exploring the Black Hills, rescuing turtles that crossed the street, walking dogs, and developing a love of continuous learning. Dogs, cats, pocket pets, and reptiles were just a few of her favorite animals. Her parents fostered a love of animals, outdoors, and science, so she pursued and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in (Go Huskers!).
Dr. Elizabeth earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine in May of 2021. While she studied all species through her education, she focused on small animals like dogs and cats and hopes to expand her work with small mammals and exotics. Dr. Elizabeth lives in Elk Point with her husband Dr. Nick and their cat, Zazu. She enjoys being active outside, growing vegetables in the garden, and helping in their first house flipping experience. She is ready to turn her passion for animals into her career and serve the surrounding community of people and animals!
Dr. Nick Schmit
Dr. Nick Schmit was raised on his family farm in Randolph, NE where he helped care for cattle and pigs. His interest in animals continued to grow, and he frequently enjoyed raising chickens, sheep, rabbits, his own cattle, geese and had several pet dogs and cats. After graduating from Randolph High School, he attended Wayne State College where he majored in biology. He also ran Cross Country and Track for the Wildcats.
Dr. Nick continued his education in the UNL/ISU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine, and graduated with his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 2020. Dr. Nick practiced as a small animal veterinarian in central Iowa before joining the Vermillion and Elk Creek hospital team. Dr. Nick met his wife, Dr. Elizabeth, while in school, and they were married in December 2019. They recently moved to Elk Point, SD where they are remodeling their first home. Dr. Nick enjoys many hobbies including running, house renovation, and playing fetch with their cat, Zazu.
Dr. Shaena Hanson
Bio coming soon!
Lydia has been working at Elk Creek Animal Hospital and Vermillion Veterinary Clinic since March 2019. She was born in Spearfish, South Dakota, and raised in Storm Lake, Iowa. She graduated from Western Iowa Tech Community College with an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate of Science degree. She hopes to continue her education in the veterinary field and would one day love to have a little farm where she could have many kinds of animals. When she is not at work, Lydia likes to spend time with her two dogs, whom she loves to spoil and treat like her kids.
Clay was born and raised in Homer, NE. After graduating high school, he went to college at Wayne State University, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in exercise science. A dedicated athlete his whole life, Clay set three different track and field records during his time at Wayne State, a fitting achievement considering his fitness passion.
Since a young age, Clay has also had a passion for animals, which eventually led him to work for us here at Elk Creek Animal Hospital starting in 2019. Clay has been an indispensable part of the Elk Creek family since the day he started. He is always there to anchor the rest of us and keep us motivated. If there is a stressful situation or a difficult case, Clay can maintain a positive attitude, and that positive attitude is always infectious.
Clay and his girlfriend, Melissa, have a rambunctious Alaskan Malamute named Layla that keeps them busy and entertained. When he’s not playing fetch with Layla, Clay likes to play the guitar, exercise, and spend time with his friends and family.
From a young age, Mackenzie has had a desire to help animals in need. Both her mother and grandmother were veterinarian technicians, which influenced Mackenzie’s passion for animals. This eventually led Mackenzie to work here at Vermillion Veterinary Clinic starting in 2021. While working at the clinic, Mackenzie is continuing her education to earn her veterinary technician’s degree.
Mackenzie and her boyfriend, Grant, have two curious cats, Ares and Chungus. When she is not playing with her cats, Mackenzie likes to hunt, exercise, and spend time with family.
Brooklyn was raised on a farm outside of Allen, NE. This rural upbringing instilled in her a passion for caring for animals. After graduating high school, Brooklyn attended college at Northeast Community College, where she received a associate of animal science. After graduating college she moved back home and joined the Vermillion Vet Clinic team in 2021. Brooklyn and her fiancé, Steven, live back on the farm with 3 dogs and a whole assortment of other animals.
Bio coming soon!
Alyssa has always had a soft spot for animals and grew up with a black lab named Sam, who her entire family loved very much. While volunteering with the Heartland Humane Society in Yankton, SD, Alyssa fell in love with a very sweet cat named Pumpkin and had to take her home! Her favorite part of kennel assisting so far has been getting to know all of the furry friends and their different personalities!
In her free time, Alyssa enjoys watching true crime documentaries, snuggling with Pumpkin, and going on coffee runs!
Client Service Coordinator
Hailey was born and raised in Norfolk, Nebraska. She has always loved animals and grew up with a dog and a rabbit. Hailey recently graduated from The University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. She enjoys living in Vermillion with her cat, Luna. Her favorite thing about working at Vermillion Veterinary Clinic is that she gets to meet lots of great people and interact with many kinds of animals.
Client Service Coordinator
Tara has been working off and on in veterinary clinics since 2004. She has always enjoyed the fast pace and unpredictability each workday has to offer. She also loves to meet all the patients and help them, and their owners get their needs met.
When she is not working, she enjoys crafting, working on home projects, gardening, and spending time with all her animals.
Client Service Coordinator
Kiera has always loved animals and has always had at least one critter running around. She currently has two horses, a pony, two cats, two dogs, and two leopard geckos. When she isn’t at work, you can surely find her with her children out at the barn.
Client Service Coordinator
When she’s not spending time with her animals at home, Olivia studies at the University of South Dakota to obtain a secondary education degree. She has also been working at Vermillion Vet Clinic as a client service coordinator since January 2021, and she couldn’t have asked for a better place to work! She loves getting to know all of the clients and pets that come into the clinic, and she is happy to have met many lifelong friends during her time at VVC!