Award Recipients Honored at AASV Annual Meeting

The AASV honored five members for their contributions to the association and the swine industry. Dr. Tom Gillespie, 2005 AASV president, presented the awards at the association's annual meeting in Dallas, Texas, March 9.

Dr. Michael Pierdon (PENN '05) received the Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award. Established in 2008, the award is given annually to an AASV member five or less years post graduation who has demonstrated the ideals of exemplary service and proficiency early in his or her career. Dr. Pierdon was born in Michigan, moving to Pennsylvania when he was five years old. Not having been exposed to animal agriculture as a child, he became interested in animal agriculture and husbandry while he was an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. During his third-year in veterinary college he was named "top presenter" in the 2004 AASV Student Seminar.

After graduation, Dr. Pierdon conducted research with Dr. Gary Althouse on bacterial growth curves and semen extenders. In 2006, he joined the Swine Vet Center in Minnesota, where he worked for a year. Coming back to Pennsylvania, Dr. Pierdon had the opportunity to purchase a swine-exclusive veterinary practice. He has owned and operated Pierdon Swine Veterinary Services since that time.

Dr. Al Scheidt (PUR '76) was recognized as the Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year. Established this year, the award recognizes swine industry veterinarians who have demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in delivery of veterinary service to their companies and their clients as well as given tirelessly in service to the AASV and the swine industry. Dr. Scheidt is the manager of swine technical services for Pfizer Animal Health. In his position, he focuses on the largest swine accounts in the southeastern area of the United States, providing technical support for Pfizer products and providing disease diagnostic services and training. Dr. Scheidt is also an adjunct professor at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Active in the AASV since 1976, Dr. Scheidt served as the association's president in 1999. From 1994-1997, he was the vice-chair of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Swine Health Management Credentials Committee. Dr. Scheidt is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Swine Health Management.

Dr. Rodney Johnson (MINN '70) received the Meritorious Service Award. The award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to the association. Dr. Johnson is the chief executive officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Professional Liability Trust Association. For nearly 40 years, Dr. Johnson has been an active member and volunteer in the association, serving in a number of leadership positions. In 1985, he was the president of the AASV, having risen through the officer ranks. He was the chair of the program committee in 1984. He was the 1982 Swine Practitioner of the Year and the 1995 Howard Dunne Memorial Lecturer. He is best known for his efforts on behalf of the AASV Foundation where he has been instrumental in raising funds through the annual auctions and golf outings. His zeal and passion for the Foundation fostered the same among the association membership. A tireless volunteer, he and his wife Jean increased the visibility of the Foundation. In 1995 he completed the Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management at the University of Illinois. He is a former private practitioner and consultant in the swine industry. He was an adjunct clinical professor for seven years at the veterinary college at the University of Illinois and an associate clinical professor for 10 years at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Kent Schwartz (ISU '78) was presented with the Howard Dunne Memorial Award, recognizing AASV members who have made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and the swine industry. Since 1989, Dr. Schwartz has been a veterinary diagnostician at Iowa State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Each year he reviews 2,500 submissions from veterinarians, providing test results interpretation and consultation. He also instructs and mentors fourth-year veterinary students, conducts field investigations and research, and continuing education. As part of his outreach and service to the pork industry, Dr. Schwartz has published numerous audio/visual educational materials including an AASV necropsy guide and video, the Swine Disease Manual, and a Purdue Pork Industry Handbook. He has authored over 75 articles and proceedings papers in veterinary and producer publications. Dr. Schwartz is a district director representing Iowa on the AASV Board of Directors, and is a member of the AASV Swine Health Committee.

Dr. John Waddell (ILL '81) was named the Swine Practitioner of the Year. The award, given annually since 1977, recognizes swine practitioners who demonstrate exceptional service to their veterinary clients. It is the association's highest honor. Dr. Waddell is a food animal practitioner in Sutton, Neb., where he has practiced since 1981. He has held a number of leadership positions in the AASV. He is the alternate delegate representing the association on the AVMA Legislative Action Committee. In 2004, he was president of the AASV. He also served three years on the association's Board of Directors representing Nebraska and South Dakota, and chaired both the Public Relations Committee and the Pharmaceutical Issues Committee. In 1998, Dr. Waddell received the association's Meritorious Service Award for his leadership on several important issues affecting swine practitioners. Dr. Waddell has been an active member in organized veterinary medicine at the national level. He currently represents food animal medicine on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and he is the vice-chair of the Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee. He formerly chaired the AVMA's Steering Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance. Currently he is enrolled in the University of Illinois Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management and will complete the program in April 2009.