Star City Six – Dr. John Lionberger
Polaris Veterinary Center (formerly Bethany Animal Clinic) (polarisveterinarycenter.com) is set to open this month at its brand new location, 2000 N. 112th Street! Dr. John Lionberger is one of the veterinarians on staff at Polaris Veterinary Center and is also co-owner of the practice.
Tell us a little about your business.
We provide veterinary care to family pets, mostly dogs and cats, including preventative care, surgery, and dentistry. We also offer boarding and daycare services.
How did you get started in the business?
I always knew I would be a veterinarian. When I started school at UNL, I got a job as a veterinary assistant at Bethany Animal Clinic. I worked there until I moved to Iowa to attend vet school at ISU. My senior year, Dr. Hoops contacted me about coming back as a veterinarian, and I was honored to return in that capacity.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
The process we’ve gone through with purchasing Trude’s Dog Motel and the property the business is located on, then building our new veterinary facility there. It has really required me to learn and do things outside of my comfort zone.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Caring for the pets here in the Lincoln area throughout the years has been such a rewarding experience. I also take pride in the number of students who have worked with me and gone on to become veterinarians themselves, just as I did.
Tell us a little about your family.
My wife Kaz is also a veterinarian; she is my life partner and business partner. Our daughter Jasmine has made a career for herself in Human Resources and our son, James, is an event deejay and also provides I.T. support for our business.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
When I found out I was accepted into vet school. My dad passed away about three weeks prior. I felt like I needed to ‘grow up’ and at that point, I started taking things more seriously.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I have several. I enjoy working in the garden, bicycling, woodworking, going to flea markets, or just driving somewhere to see the countryside.
What are you the most proud of?
My kids, hands down. There are times each of them has driven me crazy, but they constantly amaze me with their individuality, drive, and originality.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life?
I sing, mostly for myself, to relieve stress. My wife is often impressed with my memory of song lyrics; I do know quite a few!
Which talent would you most like to have?
I really would like to be more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. If I have to present a speech to more than several people, I get terribly nervous.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I have a lot of respect for Sadie Dog Fund and the Nebraska No-Kill Canine Rescue. They are two organizations that quietly do a lot of good.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Mazatlan; we’ve eaten there 3-4 times a month for years.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?