AASV vice-presidential candidate

Daryl Olsen

Daryl OlsenWhen several colleagues approached me to run for vice president of the AASV, I questioned whether or not I was the right person for the job. Do I have the skills required to help lead an association as prestigious as AASV? I reviewed the list of past presidents, and the list can be very intimidating. The AASV has been blessed with a great membership and great leaders who have been committed to promoting our association and our profession. The swine industry and our association will have many important issues to face in the near future. Antibiotic usage, swine welfare, a dwindling membership, a growing dissention among members of our profession on many key issues, and a greatly reduced number of veterinary students with an interest in swine medicine are just a few of the very important issues that face our profession today. The new AASV vice president must have the experience, an understanding of the industry, the respect of his or her peers, and the ability to represent the association. After careful consideration, I believe that I am the right person for the job.

I was born and raised on a livestock and grain farm in southeastern South Dakota. I graduated from South Dakota State University in 1978 with a degree in microbiology, then attended Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1982. I have been involved in private practice in Audubon, Iowa, since graduation. The Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic (AMVC) has grown into a clinic that includes six veterinarians and a staff of 38 full-time employees. The AMVC has been instrumental in providing new and traditional services to swine clients that allow them to compete in today's dynamic swine industry.

I am active in numerous professional organizations, including the AASV, the AVMA, and the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA). I currently serve on the AASV's Pharmaceutical Issues Committee. I was recently appointed one of AASV's representatives on the board of directors of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. I actively support the AASV Foundation in fund-raising efforts. I am currently serving on the board of directors of the Audubon State Bank and have served on the board of Professional Veterinary Products Ltd (Chairman of the Board in 1998-1999). I am an active member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, having served on the church council for 6 years, as president for 2 years. My wife, Nancy, and I have two daughters. Erika graduated from the University of Nebraska, is married, and lives in Des Moines, Iowa. Dena attends the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and will graduate in 2005 with a BSN.

Last year, Scott Dee ran for vice president with a very specific agenda (PRRS control). My agenda is less specific. I want to strongly support the mission of AASV. Our profession needs AASV to be a strong organization. I am concerned with the apparent division of the veterinary profession on key issues that swine veterinarians face today. I distinctly remember a conversation with Pat Halbur (then the IVMA president) concerning a sow welfare issue. Pat indicated that the IVMA membership itself is very evenly split in its position on sow welfare. A recent New York Times advertisement attacking the AVMA on sow welfare only confirms that our association must continually address this issue.

I want to help AASV stay united as an association. The membership of AASV has many diverse backgrounds, representing academia and corporate, industry, and private practice. Many members feel that the division is becoming more distinct. Private practitioners question where they will fit into the association. Corporate veterinarians are sometimes restricted by company owners. Academia and industry veterinarians need an active membership for their survival. I would work diligently to provide means for the various groups to work together. My background as a private practitioner and my understanding of large production systems should be assets in developing an understanding among different members.

Questionable ethical behavior in corporate America (eg, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom) has created a public that now questions behaviors of all professionals. Veterinarians have enjoyed one of the highest levels of client trust among professions. Developing guidelines and being transparent in all transactions is essential. The ethical issue is difficult, but must be addressed if we are to retain the trust and respect we currently enjoy with our clients and the public.

As a profession, we must develop a demand for skilled swine veterinarians. Private practice internships, new opportunities for swine veterinarians, and a commitment to increase practitioner membership within AASV are specifics goals I would pursue.

The job of an AASV officer becomes a little less daunting with the support of the skilled staff at the AASV office and the many members of AASV who commit their time and abilities to the association. I feel that I have the background in private practice and the understanding of the industry to allow me to help provide leadership for AASV. I would be honored to represent our association as an officer and would ask for your support.

--Daryl Olsen

Please also see candidate information for Bob Friendship