AASV Vice-Presidential candidate
Larry Firkins was born and raised in rural northern Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1980 with a BS in agricultural economics. After working in marketing for Monsanto, he returned to the University of Illinois and received his DVM in 1986. At that time, he joined a food animal practice in Wyoming, Illinois, and practiced there as a partner for the next 9 years. In 1995, he returned to the University of Illinois to obtain a master's degree in epidemiology. Since completion of this degree, Firkins has remained at the University of Illinois as the Swine Extension Veterinarian and the Associate Director of Research Stations while also teaching and conducting research in the area of swine medicine and production. He has also been the coordinator of the Executive Veterinary Program (EVP) for the past 5 years. Recently, Firkins completed an MBA. Larry and his wife, Ann, have two teenage children, Andrew and Sarah.
Firkins' involvement in the AASV includes serving on the Board of Directors from 1999 to 2002, as a member of the Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship Committee since 1999, on the Strategic Planning Committee in 2000, and on the Veterinary Medicine Education Task Force (2001-2002). He currently serves as the AASV faculty advisor for the 30 student members at the University of Illinois. He has served on AASV annual meeting program committees, chaired and been asked to speak at pre-conference seminars, and is currently chairing the pre-conference seminar designated specifically for AASV student members.
The challenges facing the swine industry and our organization are numerous and complex. Animal welfare, antibiotic resistance, ensuring a safe product, consolidation of the industry, the threat of bioterrorism, environmental stewardship, severely suppressed market conditions, and a decline in membership are just some of the issues that currently confront us.
My desire is for the AASV to continue to be the source of science-based solutions - the organization the industry comes to for answers. We can accomplish this by concentrating on our mission of educating members and cultivating students.
The cornerstone of the AASV mission is "to increase the knowledge of swine veterinarians." To do this, we must anticipate arising issues, develop useful resources, and put them in the hands of our members. I believe my educational and marketing background, especially my leadership in the Executive Veterinary Program, will be an asset to fulfilling this charge to provide members with opportunities for personal as well as professional growth.
Mentoring students and encouraging life-long careers as swine veterinarians are additional objectives of the AASV. Veterinary students represent the future of our organization, but are largely unaware of the opportunities available, the set of skills that are required, and how to obtain those skills. Because of my involvement as the AASV advisor at a veterinary college, I bring an informed perspective on how AASV can shape and participate in the education of these future swine veterinarians.
My background encompasses a unique blend of practice and academic experience, scientific and business training, and continuing education development. I would be honored to serve the members of AASV through this leadership role. If elected, I will do my best to advance our organization in its mission.