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
Practice Manager and 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 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. Their daughter Cecelia was born in 2022. 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.
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.
Jake was born and raised in Las Vegas but moved to South Dakota for his lovely wife a few years ago. He has been working in the vet industry since his first job as a kennel staff at age 17 and has been a vet assistant since he was 18. Jake has aspirations of continuing his education to become a licensed tech! When asked about his favorite thing about working in veterinary medicine, Jake said,
“I love getting to experience the wide variety of personalities that our furry friends have to offer! Every dog and cat that we see is so different from one another and I love getting to be a part of that.”
In his free time, Jake plays the guitar, plays video games, and watches horror movies with his wife and their four cats!
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
Client Service Coordinator
Vanessa grew up in Scandia, Minnesota just north of the Twin Cities. She was raised in an animal loving family where the household was never short of furry or scaly friends. From turtles and frogs, to rats and cats there was always a critter nearby. She finished high-school and moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, where she attended USD for conservation biology. There she met her husband Jared, who she married in July of 2022. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, minoring in Spanish and Sustainability in the Spring of 2022. She starting working at the Vermillion Vet Clinic in January 2023, and absolutely adores the clinic. She loves being able to help in any way that she can. She stated “I just love the environment. Everyone is so friendly and works so well as a team! I’m so thankful to work here.” She currently lives in Vermillion with her husband and their three cats Olive, Baloo and Kietan. She also has a tiger salamander and a three toed box turtle. When not working, Vanessa enjoys hanging out with friends, playing with her cats, and spending time with her husband.
Client Service Coordinator