AASV vice-presidential candidates

Kerry KeffaberKerry Keffaber

I have found that AASV members are the best people anywhere. They sincerely desire to help people be successful, whether beneficiaries are producers, other practitioners, or the pig industry. They want to make a difference, bring clarity to confusion, and gain answers to the tough questions. Most importantly, they want to do the right thing with honesty, integrity, and professionalism. I have felt and been impacted by all of these strengths from fellow members.

Whatever I might do to give back to AASV dwarfs in comparison to what the organization and the members have done for me. With this belief, I approach being a candidate for vice president with humble confidence: humbled by the vision and efforts of past leaders and the awareness of many capable leaders among our present ranks, and confident that my background and experience can offer some unique value to the role of officer. If elected, I would be guided by the strength of the organization - its members.

My most important role has been in helping my special wife of 27 years to raise three wonderful children who are now in or graduated from college. This includes assuming the responsibility of being involved in the community: working with groups to make the sometimes tough decisions and bringing people together to take school, 4-H, sports, civic, and church projects forward.

I was in private practice for 21 years, helping my clients achieve their goals, enjoying their successes, and agonizing over their difficulties. My practice experience, serving producers whose systems and facilities encompassed the full range of sizes and designs, included being there during the anxious times when PRRS was still "Mystery Pig Disease." In addition, these were years of active transformation of the pig industry. Three years ago, I sold my practice to my associate and assumed a position in swine technical support for Elanco. This has expanded my exposure to practicing veterinarians in varied roles, researchers, educators, regulators, and students.

This next AASV meeting will be the 26th that I have attended as a veterinarian. I have presented at previous meetings as well as at other local, state, national, and international events. I have helped author peer-reviewed papers, served as a member and chairman of AASV committees, been on the Program Planning Committee in different decades, was part of the Pioneer Class of the Illinois Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management, and will be completing 6 years on the AASV Board of Directors.

I have been fortunate to see and appreciate the pig industry and life from many different viewpoints. From this perspective, here are what I believe are the key goals for AASV:

  • Provide the tools necessary for veterinarians who want to succeed in swine practice. Member education should remain the number one mission.
  • Recruit and develop young people to be part of the industry, with not just jobs, but rewarding professional careers in leadership positions.
  • Expand involvement by tapping into more members. Individual strategic activity has led to our organizational advancement. Enable and empower more members to pursue their passion and gifts.
  • Promote unity and expansion. Our members fill a wide range of roles that will become more diverse. Veterinarians working in all aspects of swine medicine should find a home and be welcome under the AASV umbrella. The majority of this expanded group will be current members pursuing new directions. I would prefer that the future changing needs of the industry be filled by veterinarians and that these veterinarians be AASV members.
  • Develop a consensus with allied groups. The only way to have clout is to work with other veterinary and producer groups. We must realize that our goals may not always align, and we must be at the table to educate these groups, working together to educate others.
  • Remain a science-based organization. We must not succumb to a popular compromise based on emotional and political pressure. This is a stance that is nearly impossible to reverse. We must maintain high standards on key issues, as this is critical for our creditability and trust, but maintaining these standards may be a double-edged sword. We must move in the direction of data and science even if this has a negative economic impact on our clients or on us.

There is a cliché that life is not a sprint but a marathon. Life is really a relay. Progress is realized by building on what many together have done and shared. We owe it to the people who have come before us and to those who will follow us to stay involved and not drop the baton. That would be my request from members. Stay involved: you may not realize the difference you can make. As part of this involvement, please vote for your choice for the next vice president of AASV. Feel free to call me to discuss ideas and goals for the AASV as you make this decision.


Michael SheridanMichael Sheridan

I would like to thank those who nominated me for AASV vice president. I have been an AASV member for many years and have always respected and admired the association for its "big picture" vision and attention to the issues that impact our industry and profession. I hope that if elected, I can uphold the vision of AASV and competently deal with the issues that might arise.

I come from the practitioner side of the swine veterinary medicine spectrum, and thank my three partners and five associates at Sheridan Heuser Provis for their support in this bid. I am a product of the Al Leman era and hope that, like him, I am able to meet the needs of all who ask for help. My first call to Al was to discuss a case, which I later presented at his herd health program. I soon realized that in swine veterinary medicine, I was part of a close group of friends and colleagues dedicated to professional and human development.

I served for 6 years as AASV board member for the Canadian district, and observing the working of the executive drew me closer to the AASV and its vision. I was there when the current mission statement was sculpted, and while I agree with this focus completely, I know that more action will be needed in some areas as the challenges of the future develop. I see the following issues arising with an ever increasing intensity in the future.

Welfare. I believe we have to address this head on. We may not have the future template clearly identified, so steady improvement is in order. I encourage discussion and debate as to the best future model for our industry.

Manpower. Encouraging student focus on food animal medicine is a current passion that I plan to keep clearly in my sights, regardless of my position within the AASV.

Pharmaceutical use. In Canada, food animal practitioners face a challenge to our prescribing privileges. We feel strongly that, as health-care professionals, we should be directing these decisions. We have learned, from watching other jurisdictions, the risk we face. Food animal veterinarians are in the best position to ensure prudent drug use and to deal with antimicrobial-resistance and food-safety issues. As a member of the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians and as Manitoba's representative in the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, I hope to bring my insights to the table when addressing these issues.

I am a keen life-long learner, an outside-the-box thinker, and a team player. I have an interest in national and international issues and events and enjoy being involved in developing strategies to deal with these. As an AASV board member, I was always interested not only in the issue but the facts behind the issue. During that tenure, one person I turned to for clarification was Dr Kerry Keffaber. I wish him well in this election, and win or lose, I will be confident in the choice made.

A fellow food animal practitioner, who had recently attended a swine veterinarian meeting, asked me "Why can't other practitioners be like the swine practitioners in their openness to share and willingness to work as a team?" I smiled and said I was not sure, though deep down I knew in part it was because they do not have an association like the AASV.

Vote as you see fit, but please vote.