Meet Our Veterinarians and Staff
Craig B. Hempel, DVM
Owner and CEO of Mountainview
Dr. Hempel, a native Californian who was born and raised in San Diego, graduated from SDSU with a BS in Zoology. He then graduated with honors, as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Since that time, Dr. Hempel has been practicing medicine in Lake Elsinore for over 29 years. In 1988, he became a 50% owner of Mountainview Small Animal Hospital with Dr. Thomas Jessup, and in 2012 he became the sole owner of the practice. Early in his career, Dr. Hempel found he had a natural aptitude for surgery and as a result of his interest and skill in this area, he is our primary surgeon. Additionally, his advanced training and interest in ultrasound technology allow for a broader range of diagnostic medicine, which he enjoys.
Dr. Hempel’s wife Monica is an elementary school teacher, and together they have two grown children, Jenna and Christopher, and one wonderful little granddaughter, Tessa; not to mention a handful of rescued dogs running around his house. When he finds free time, Dr. Hempel enjoys deep-sea fishing, distance running, tennis, camping, auto mechanics and working on home-improvement or other “fix it” projects.
Erin McConnell, DVM
Meet Dr. Erin!
Dr. Erin McConnell graduated from Humboldt State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a minor in Philosophy. In May, 2020 she received her Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Midwestern University in Arizona and while her rotation was originally geared towards the mixed animal track, she found herself gravitating towards the small animal track with an emphasis on Feline Medicine…which brought her to Mountainview in July of 2020.
While it’s obvious she has a love for dogs and cats, she also loves some of nature’s more interesting creatures, like the Praying Mantis or the Opossum. She volunteered for the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife where she worked with bats as well as working with Exotic Felines at a Conservation Center in CA.
Her personal interests include riding motorcycles, playing video games, getting tattoos, and playing with hair color and make up. Always very stylish, it’s quite fun to see what pretty scarf or cool piece of jewelry she may have on to compliment a new hair color or makeup palette when she arrives to work. We are so happy to have Dr Erin on our team and we are sure our clients are going to appreciate the great care she provides for their pets.
Melanie Mitchell, DVM
Here is a face some of you already know, and others may occasionally see in the future. Dr Melanie Mitchell (Dr Mel) has been our relief veterinarian too far back to remember; and before that she worked here as a kennel attendant and then as a receptionist while going to college before she went off to UC Davis. We love having Dr Mel here with us and you can be sure your pet will be in good hands when you come in and see Dr Mel.
HEAD TECHNICIAN (RVT)
Kari was hired at Mountainview in 1989 as a kennel attendant. Over many years, and under the watchful eye of her mentor, Dr. Hempel, she became an exceptional veterinary technician who sat for and passed her CA State Board Exams in 2009. Kari is the glue that holds our hospital together—she is the go-to person when inventory needs ordering, or if medical equipment needs repair or replacing-she is on it. In her spare time Kari is an extremely competitive and skilled softball player, playing on teams that have made it to the World Series of Softball. She also enjoys camping, fishing and any other outdoorsy activity that where she can spend time with her husband and young son.
Karen began working in the veterinary field in 1997. She graduated from The Professional Veterinary Assistant School in Garden Grove, then sat for and passed, the California State Board exams in 2005. With 7 years’ experience working at a progressive veterinary facility in Orange County, we were excited when the opportunity to add Karen to our team of technicians arose in 2007. Karen is very popular with our clients, probably due to her approachable and caring nature and her desire to go above and beyond in helping when problems arise. In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time with her son James, and her dog, Lolly.
Jennifer has been with Mountainview since 2003. After serving four years in the Coast Guard and then working in the veterinary field in Washington, Jennifer moved to CA where we were lucky to have her join our team. She has been a solid technician from the get go and she takes exceptional care of our patients when she is on duty. She is married and has one grown son who followed in mom's footsteps by serving in the military.
Our self proclaimed shop-o-holic, Elise joined us in January 2019. She is currently working hard towards obtaining her RVT designation and we look forward to utilizing those RVT skills when she meets that goal. In the meantime, when she's not hitting the books, Elise enjoys krafting, Dungeons & Dragons, spending time with her fiance and her two big dogs, Kylo and Rey.
Yadira has worked in the veterinary field as both a Receptionist and as a Veterinary Assistant since 2010. Having worked for us temporarily in 2016, she accepted a permanent position with Mountainview at the Reception desk in August 2018. A San Diego native like Dr Hempel, she loves spending time at the beach and enjoys many outdoor activities with her adorable little boy.
Amanda joined us in June of 2020. Amanda has only worked with us since the COVID Pandemic shut down our lobby, so many of our clients have never had the chance to meet this lovely young lady in person. We are sure, once the world gets back to normal, our clients will enjoy Amanda's charming demeanor and fun personality as much as we do here in the office.
Maria (who came on board in 2000) has been taking excellent care of our hospitalized patients and boarders for over 20 years. Only Kari, our head RVT has been with the practice longer.
Even though Maria is a little bitty gal, she is able to handle the most rambunctious of pets with patience and kindness, and (having raised two amazing kids) the "mommy" tone of voice helps too.
Maria is easily one of the best cooks at Mountainview--the staff goes nuts when they know she's making tamales, and don't even get me started on her Posole.....
BIO TO COME....