Champion of the Lake Donor Spotlight: PetPlex Animal Hospital

Owner Doug Poorman Credits Community Support for Business’s Success

Doug Poorman, DVM, has had a love for animals, nature and community from a young age. “I grew up in a rural community similar to Buckeye Lake and enjoyed spending time in the summer on my grandparents’ farm,” said Doug. “I have always had a variety of pets and I spent a good deal of my childhood working with livestock and horses. These experiences have always drawn me toward the field of veterinary medicine and helped me appreciate the human animal bond.”

Doug entered the veterinary field after graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. He started out at a practice in Mt. Gilead, Ohio and then moved onto Feeder Creek Veterinary Services. Doug opened PetPlex Animal Hospital in November 2003; the practice started out as a low-cost vaccine practice but now operates as a general practice and a referral practice for smaller clinics in the area.

“We moved into our current facility in Buckeye Lake in March of 2010 and have been excited to be able to offer our clientele improved services because of the additional space in the new hospital. We offer diagnostic services and we have the ability to care for more complex cases,” Doug notes. PetPlex has about 30,000 clients (pet owners) and averages about 18,000 appointments in a year. As a full-service veterinary service, PetPlex provides medical, surgical, and dental care as well as on-site grooming, boarding and obedience and behavior training.


“I have enjoyed the generous support of the Buckeye Lake community and I believe the Buckeye Lake region has a tremendous amount of potential; there are wonderful people that live and work here,” says Doug. “I’m interested in helping to make the community the best it can be and that’s why getting involved with the Buckeye Lake Region Community Foundation and the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation appealed to me – both personally and as a business owner.”

Like most business owners, Doug is very community orientated and PetPlex owes much of it’s success because of the community support the business has received. “I believe the Buckeye Lake 2036 Community Vision fits perfectly with the vision that small businesses share. I would encourage other business owners to explore how they can get involved and help their resources go further by working with their peers.”

Through his involvement with the BLRC, Doug met former OSU professor Bill Mitch. Together the two have started a wetlands project on the property at PetPlex. The project is focused on helping to address and reduce runoff from local farmers’ fields, which can lead to blue green algae in the watershed. Doug has secured grants and other means of funding to support the project and Bill has engaged area grad students to assist.

Doug’s commitment to the Buckeye Lake community goes beyond providing exceptional care to the region’s pets and pet owners. He is actively involved the Buckeye Lake Civic Association, as well as working with the Harbor Community Center.

To learn more about Doug and PetPlex Animal Hospital, visit:

BLRC Winter Update 2019/2020


Lake Affect: Winter Update 2019/2020

The Buckeye Lake Region Corporation is actively pursuing many activities and intiatives that have an impact on our Region.

The latest issue of the Lake Affect newsletter includes a run-down of the most up-to-date action items the BLRC is pursuing. Including:

  • Ohio Capital Budget Requests
  • Drainage Improvement
  • Logjam Remediation
  • Hospitality Study
  • Crystal Lakes

To view the Lake Affect Winter Update in it’s entirety click on the link below:


Aces of Trades: Mike Fornataro grew up on Buckeye Lake


Drew Bracken, Correspondent, Newark Advocate

BUCKEYE LAKE – He may be Buckeye Lake’s head cheerleader. Mike Fornataro grew up in the area, lives to this day along the shoreline, and has been the executive director of the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation since its inception in 2017.

“I get a deep satisfaction from giving back to the community,” he explained.

Fornataro’s time at the lake dates back to the days his parents purchased a cottage on Honey Creek.

“My family had a summer cottage on the water,” he remembered, “and growing up around the lake was awesome, spending days skiing, fishing and swimming from the boat. I spent all the time I could on or near the lake.”

“There was a grocery in Thornport I could get to in the boat,” he added. “My folks would go to work and leave a note and some money, and I’d drive the boat to the store. That was pretty stinkin’ cool.”

“The lake,” he continued after a pause, “has been central to so many memories and important moments in my life that I can’t think of one that stands out.”

“It was,” he added, “a fantastic place to grow up.”

Fornataro, now 58, graduated from Newark High School in 1978. After attending OSU, he worked in the newspaper industry for 15 years. At the same time, he was a syndicated automotive journalist. He spent 17 years full-time in the sport of drag racing, 15 of those with the National Hot Rod Association and as general manager of National Trail Raceway.

“I was not drawn to team sports as a kid,” he remembered. “But I loved motor sports. My brother was 10 years older and had all the coolest, fastest muscle cars. My dad owned a few really unusual foreign cars. I always thought I would end up working in the car world in some capacity, and I did for a long time.”

“I really love the sport but after nearly two decades, that was long enough,” he continued. “You can’t do anything that long and not be drawn to it. We’re in the land of opportunity after all. But running a racetrack is not necessarily what people think it is. You’re also running a retail store, food service, an EMS service and so much more. There are many needs that have to be met. It’s actually a very difficult job.”

Now, as the only paid employee of the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation, Fornataro puts on informational presentations and arranges the details of the board and community meetings, among other things.

“I’ve known Mike for a number of years,” said Tim Ryan, president of the Buckeye Lake Region Chamber of Commerce, “and he is quick to help our community and our region. We need more people like that.”

“I’m a little surprised where life has taken me,” Fornataro responded. “I’m very surprised I find myself an advocate for the lake as a paid employee. But I’m happy to be here. I can’t think of anywhere else in Ohio I’d want to live.”

“This,” he concluded, “is a special place.”

For more
For more information about the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation, call 740-964-4520 or log on

Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at or 740-328-8821.