Founder & President:
Matt Akenhead began his passion for dogs early in life. He won his first AKC obedience title in 1980. He has since attended Ohio State University, and has been certified as a professional dog trainer with expertise in: Search and Rescue, Police Dog Training, Tracking, Behavior & Problem Solving, Detection, and Training Assistance for the Handicapped. To round out his on-the-line experience, he competed as a mid distance sled dog racer for 4 years. He has been a professional trainer since 1996. He has owned and operated Boarding Kennels and full service Training Centers.
An ardent and committed trainer, Matt has taken his professional passion to the field. Competing in seven national championships, with four different dogs, from 2001 through 2005, Matt has placed in the top five dogs on four different occasions. He has won 40 titles with 8 different dogs in three different venues, including Service Dogs of America to Schutzhund.
Matt was one of the first four working dog judges to be certified by the United Kennel Club (UKC). He is also the youngest judge to be certified in that division. His professional memberships include: WDA, DVG, USA, and ADA training organizations. As Training Director for the Keystone-Buckeye Training Club, Matt worked with both Schutzhund competitors and Police dog handlers. Four members of this club were successful as national competitors in working dog sports.
Continuous education and mentor relationships with some of the best trainers and decoys in North America and Europe have sharpened Matt's knowledge and experience. He is a frequent contributor at canine behavior seminars, and has given Decoy seminars for police training groups. He is also a certified Decoy for working dog sports. In his capacity as trainer, Matt has participated in acquisition, training and certification of police dogs.
Dave Colborn has been training nd handling working dogs for the United States Army and civilian contract companies since completing the DoD Working Dog School in 1995. He has had several assignments in the US and overseas as a patrol dog handler, narcotic detector dog handler, explosive detector dog handler, trainer, and kennel master. He has trained and certified seven different Military Working Dogs to Department of the Army standards.
Most recently he has been working as the sales manager of Signature K9, LLC.
He has employed dogs as a handler, and dog teams as a supervisor, in demanding situations involving all facets of police, prison and military K9 work. He was instrumental in the planning and distribution of K9 assets in the Afghanistan/Middle Eastern theatre in 2002, while working as an explosive detector dog handler and kennel master concurrently. Dave has been involved in the training of hundreds of working dog teams in preparation for their Department of the Army certification Dave has provided explosive detector support to high profile dignitaries such as the President and Vice President of the United States, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, U.S. Secretaries of State, military officials, and foreign dignitaries with no incidents. He completed work in Iraq as a civilian contract EDD Handler providing service to the US State Department. His assignments providing EDD coverage and security took him all over Iraq, including Ramadi, Mosul, Basrah, and Baghdad. During his work at Tarheel Canine, he trained green dogs and handlers, preparing them for successful certification and more importantly utilization. A great number of teams had finds within days of going to work after his teaching. His dedication to excellence and desire to learn has led him to train with many different local police departments and federal agencies.
If you’ve given us a call in the past couple of years, odds are pretty good that you’re already familiar with Matt Cox. Joining SignatureK9 in June of 2006 as an equipment maker and as computer support, he quickly learned the business and the members of the Canine Community. Taking over the roles of customer service and warehouse operations in January of 2007, Matt has played an important role in us becoming the efficient, service oriented, and proudest manufacturer in the business.
Matt’s background lies outside the dog world. Before joining our team and moving from Michigan to Virginia, he gained valuable experience in several different fields that now benefit us all. 4 years in wholesale warehouse operations, six years in retail sales, mix in becoming a licensed financial advisor (now reformed!) and having a run at his own real estate business and you’ve got the complete picture.
Despite our best efforts to get him to sleep at the warehouse, he also currently works part time nights and weekends for a furniture store. We sure hope they know what they’ve got!
Tammy Gordon started working with Signature K9 in October 2007. Before that she was going to school at Central Virginia Community Collegefor a paralegal degree. She graduated in May of 2007 and worked for an attorney until September 2007.
At Signature K9 Tammy is a valuable member of the team. She is an office manager and also works as a seamstress. She can often times be found in the warehouse lightening the mood during a hard day.
Tammy has a passion for dogs as well. She has three Chihuahuas of her own at home and can often times be found showing off pictures of her dogs or relating stories about them. Her love of her own dogs translates into her work here at Signature.
Instead of pursuing a career in the legal field at this time in her life she is quite comfortable here in a more relaxed environment. She also enjoys the knowledge and experience that is shared between the employees every day at the warehouse.