Four WVMA members were recognized for their 50 years of continued membership at the 99th Annual WVMA Annual Convention on October 10.
Robert W. Elkins, DVM Dr. Robert Elkins graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1956. He came to New Glarus to start a one man practice which was common in the 1950's and 60's. After several years, Dr. Elkins turned his one man practice into a
Dr. Elkins fondest memories over his 40 year career were relationships with farm families he served. Another fond memory is of UW veterinary students that were assigned to his practice each year. "These students added fresh thought and interesting conversation to each day," recalled Dr. Elkins.dynamic duo which eventually expanded to four veterinarians. In 1996, 40 years after Dr. Elkins hung up his diploma he hung up his practicing days too.
"The basic practice of veterinary medicine is much the same as it always was," says Dr. Elkin. "The client-vet relationship is much like that of James Herriot. The interaction with the dairymen and the farm family is a classic."
The greatest evolution he has seen in veterinary medicine is all of the technological advancements in medicine and equipment used today.
Wayne Siegfried, DVM Dr. Wayne Siegfried graduated from Auburn University in 1964. He started his career at Columbus Veterinary Hospital as a small animal veterinarian where he became a partner. In 1967, Dr. Siegfried left the Columbus Veterinary Hospital and started the Siegfried Small Animal Hospital in Beaver Dam, Wis. Since 2001, Dr. Siegfried has been practicing part-time.
Throughout his career, Dr. Siegfried has seen great evolution in veterinary medicine. Among this evolution are the continual technological advances in diagnostic equipment and in the operation of business.
Dr. Siegfried stays very involved in the veterinary medicine community. He is involved with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). He served on the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) Executive Board, president of the Dodge City Veterinary Medical Association and as the president of the Midwest Small Animal Association.
Richard Larsen, DVM Dr. Richard Larsen graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. He helped found Dairyland Animal Health in Weyauwega, Wis. where he spent his 30 year career practicing both large and small animal veterinary medicine before retiring in 1994. Dr. Larsen worked mostly as a large animal veterinarian, but he spent time examining small animals in between traveling from farm to farm.
The challenge of the profession, satisfaction of a job well done and all of the farm families are Dr. Larsen's fondest memories while practicing at Dairyland Animal Health. In those 30 years, Dr. Larsen had many amazing experiences traveling from farm to farm and much has changed from when he started practicing. The greatest change for him and the profession is herd size. Small and medium sized herds are disappearing or growing to larger herds and how small animal practices are continuing to increase. With many challenges and changes in the profession, Dr. Larsen says that he is very thankful for his veterinary career.
Wayne Barcus, DVM Dr. Wayne Barcus graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1952. He is a large and small animal veterinarian who predominantly practiced large animal veterinary medicine. Dr. Barcus said about his career, "I graduated at the right time."
He had a group practice that served many small and medium sized family farms. Dr. Barcus recalls how he was on a first name basis with all of his clients, their children and the family dog.
After a 62 year carrer, Dr. Barcus continues to practicing part-time. Of some small clients, Dr. Barcus said over the years he saw many of his clients sell their farms and retire or take jobs at the local industrial park driving semi. He also stated the fluctuating farm economy made it difficult to maintain a consistent income. In those 62 years of evolution, Dr. Barcus has seen a rise in small animal practices as well as the growth in veterinary medical schools.
Even with all of the change one constant remains, his love for the veterinary profession and mentoring veterinary students. Dr. Barcus said he received a letter last Christmas from an equine practitioner in Missouri expressing his appreciation for mentoring him during an internship. Dr. Barcus also takes great pride in his oldest son Kevin following in his footsteps.
Dr. Barcus said of his 62 year carrer so far, "There have been many great memories, but overall it has been the appreciation of my services by my clients."
i recently attended the Heartland Veterinary Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Clarke Price, former President of the Ohio Society of CPA's thoughtfully presented perspectives of volunteer leadership in organizations such as the Wisconsin VMA. His most impactful thought? "Cultivate leaders to follow you", what a concept!
We have a wealth of knowledge, experience, expertise and professional connections and networks within the WVMA membership. How can this incredible resource be leveraged to benefit the WVMA, to benefit Wisconsin's veterinarians? Mr. Price contends, the current WVMA leadership should cultivate our successors with inquiry and encouragement.
As summer passes by, the time of year for the WVMA to fill officer and board vacancies rolls around, sounds like the time to cultivate! Yes, serving in a leadership role is a significant time commitment, however I encourage you to have fun in a leadership role. Yes, there are challenges, but there is also prestige and personal growth.
My top ten list to be an effective volunteer leader -
1. Commit yourself to make a difference. 2. Don't avoid controversy and risk. 3. Don't drive your agenda, use your platform to drive your vision. 4. Don't underestimate resistance to change. 5. Don't waste time. 6. Be consistent. 7. Ask questions. 8. Come to meetings prepared. 9. Have a plan of priorities and actions. 10. Engage and maintain open communication with leaders up and down the line.
When leadership opportunities come calling, I encourage you to answer with enthusiasm, answer with passion, and answer to make the commitment! Volunteer leadership is a vehicle to have fun, to connect with the profession, to make an impact. I encourage you to have the attitude; we're going to try new things, we're going to innovate, realizing not everything is going to work. Remember, even Monopoly has a get out of jail free card!