AASV Vice-Presidential candidates
I was born in Rochester, Minnesota, where I gained my first exposure to veterinary medicine working on the Mayo Clinic research farm. Here I experienced first hand the role of animal models in human disease research. The pig was used in a number of these models, and I quickly fell in love with this inquisitive, entertaining creature. After graduation, I received my BA in biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1981 and my MS in veterinary microbiology from the University of Minnesota in 1985. In 1987, I graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and spent the next 12 years in a swine-specific practice in Morris, Minnesota, working with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) in 33 US states and 22 countries. During my time in practice, I became board-certified in veterinary microbiology and obtained my PhD in veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota. In 1999, in an effort to further the knowledge on transmission and elimination of the PRRS virus, I left practice and joined the swine medicine faculty at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, where I am currently an Associate Professor in the Swine Disease Eradication Center. I also serve as Chair of the Committee on Admissions and Scholastic Standing and am a member of the Veterinary Medicine Graduate Program Advisory Committee. I have received the AASV Swine Practitioner of the Year award, the AD Leman Science in Practice award, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumnus award, and the AVMA Practitioner Research award. My wife Lisa and I have 2 children, Nicholas (age 6 years) and Ellen (age 3 years). I serve on my local church council and am active in the preveterinary program at Gustavus Adolphus College.
During the Leman Conference, I was asked to consider running for the office of the Vice President of the AASV. At first, I was unsure if I was qualified, for I was not confident that I possessed the proper set of skills to truly benefit the membership in this role. Prior to this discussion, I had thought that the best way for me to "give back" to our organization was by focusing all my time and effort on PRRS research. However, the more I considered the idea, the more appealing it became. As we all recognize, the North American swine industry is undergoing a dramatic paradigm shift in regards to its future with PRRS. New initiatives from the National Pork Board are calling for a cooperative effort among scientists, practitioners, industrial partners, and producers to explore the potential for widespread PRRS eradication. For the first time, governmental funding agencies such as the National Research Initiative are calling for cooperative proposals that focus on applied research in animal biosecurity, and the PRRS virus is a targeted pathogen. Finally, practitioners around the country are aggressively initiating their own PRRS eradication projects at the farm level.
On the basis of this sudden change in paradigm, I believe that during the next 2 to 3 years some very big decisions will be made that will shape the future of PRRS in North America. Clearly, the AASV needs to play a major role in influencing these outcomes. In the past, it has been difficult for us to speak about PRRS with a clear, unified voice, and this has shaken the confidence of the industry. We must rebuild this confidence. During these impending times of uncertainty and change, the AASV needs to present a unified front when it comes to topics concerning PRRS and the way the swine industry should proceed in the future. I believe that an effective way to achieve this goal, and at the same time identify and develop new opportunities, may be to elect an AASV officer who will represent our position on PRRS. This will require someone with unique talents and experiences. This person must be knowledgeable in regards to the inner workings of the PRRS world and must be capable of fulfilling a number of roles. For example, this person must be able to work with scientists and still keep in mind the needs of the practitioner. This person must speak from experience with a clear voice when explaining the importance of PRRS to potential funding agencies and legislators and, at the same time, must lead educational efforts to transfer the latest PRRS research data to the AASV membership. Finally, this individual must be a recognized and respected presence in the global PRRS arena and must always try to promote and protect the spirit of cooperation that for the first time is developing between PRRS researchers across the country.
As your Vice President, I want to represent our membership as we transition from an industry that is forced to live with PRRS to one that chooses to live without it. With my background, I feel I am qualified to serve in this role. I have the experience as a private practitioner who has dealt with PRRS on local, national, and global levels. I am, and will continue to be, an active PRRS researcher and can therefore critically evaluate whether research proposals, on-farm solutions, or strategic plans will be capable of achieving practical outcomes. I have an excellent relationship with many of our industrial partners and production companies. Finally, I have dealt with a number of PRRS-related issues in the courtroom and understand the workings of the legal profession.
If elected, my vision is to serve as the AASV PRRS liaison and promote the position of the organization throughout the swine industry. To succeed, I will need your input on the key PRRS issues and advice on how to deal with them. I want to work side by side with practitioners, the National Pork Board, industrial partners, and the NC-229 regional PRRS research team. I want to stimulate more interaction between these groups and our current AASV PRRS subcommittee. I also want to seek out new opportunities for large-scale funding of basic and applied PRRS research and promote collaboration between scientists, practitioners, and the industry. To do this, I will need to eliminate barriers currently existing within our industry that have impeded progress, and foster "win-win" relationships that produce effective results. So, as you see, I will need your help and we will need to cooperate.
I am aware that this is indeed a focused agenda; however, I believe that a lot of important events are going to take place in the near future. We need to proactively position our leadership in preparation for this change. Therefore, I am asking you for the opportunity to use my talents, experience, and resources to "give back" to the AASV through this unique PRRS platform. I believe that the timing is perfect. Thank you in advance for your support.
Harry graduated from the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. Following graduation, he entered the first Swine Medicine Internship co-sponsored by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Carroll's Foods, Inc. After completion of the internship program, he was hired as the swine veterinarian for Carroll's Foods, where he worked until accepting his current position as Manager, Swine Technical Services, for Schering-Plough Animal Health in September 2000.
In January 2000, Harry was one of five swine veterinarians selected to participate in the first Swine Emphasis Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician training course at the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island, New York. He spent the month of May 2001 in Wales, UK, working with the USDA and UK Ministry of Agriculture on the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease and has served as Chair of the AASV Foreign Animal Disease Committee since 2002. Harry also serves as the Foreign Animal Disease Section Editor for the AASV e-Letter.
He joined the AASV in 1987 and has served on the Board of Directors as the District #2 representative since 2000. He is also a long-time member of the US Animal Health Association and the National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA; formerly Livestock Conservation Institute) where he has participated on a number of committees involving foreign animal disease, pseudorabies eradication, swine health, and emerging diseases. He currently serves as the Vice Chair for the NIAA Production Animal Food Safety Committee.
Harry and Jan currently live in Burgaw, North Carolina. Jan has a thriving equine practice in eastern North Carolina. They enjoy boating, snow skiing, and playing with their three dogs.
When I entered veterinary school, my plan was to go into a mixed animal practice. I was not raised on a swine farm and had no previous experience with animal agriculture. During my first year, I was introduced to the opportunities available in swine medicine by the professors in the Food Animal Department. It has been a fascinating time to be involved in the swine industry. I have seen firsthand the tremendous changes in the industry and the evolution of the swine veterinary profession. When I began my career in 1990, Carroll's Foods was the second largest swine production company in the United States, with approximately 45,000 sows in two states. During the next 10 years, we grew as the industry did. When I left Carroll's, we had 175,000 sows and operations in five states and three foreign countries.
During the month I spent in Wales battling foot-and-mouth disease, I came to realize the devastating effects such an outbreak would have on US animal agriculture. The loss in animal numbers is staggering enough, but is just the tip of the iceberg. It would have a rippling effect throughout the economy. This has further heightened my interest in working to protect our industry to enable us to continue to produce the safest and most economical food in the world.
I have been fortunate to have worked for employers who have seen the value of allowing me to be active in the industry that supports my career. I have had incredible opportunities to work with many of the leaders in our profession, both domestically and internationally. It has been a pleasure to have been able to give a little something back to the profession and to the industry that has been much of my life for the last 13 years, by working with the AASV committees and Board of Directors.
Our profession and our industry have many challenges ahead. I would like to have the opportunity to continue to work to bring to our membership the tools necessary to make our careers successful, invigorating, and prosperous by serving as the Vice President of this organization. Through my tenure with the Board, we have attempted to manage the association in such a way as to promote the interests of the membership. We need to continue this leadership to address the issues our profession faces every day - issues that include animal welfare, antibiotic use, food safety, disease management, auditing, and a continued consolidation in our industry. Our membership numbers are declining, and so it becomes ever more important that we provide value to our members, aggressively address the issues that threaten our profession, and promote the professionalism and expertise of our membership.
I would welcome your vote for Vice President and thank you for the opportunities you have given me.