From the Executive Director

The 32nd Annual Meeting of the AASV is done! I say that with mixed feelings. Relief that it is over and that there were no major disruptions or disappointments. Sadness that I have to wait for a year to pass before I can enjoy the interaction with our members. Anticipation for the coming 33rd Annual Meeting and the great experience of watching a plan come together. Every annual meeting is exhausting and stressful, but also great fun!

The management of a meeting such as ours is an ongoing task. The planning process for the upcoming 2002 Annual Meeting actually started in 1998 when the city was selected and the hotel contract was finalized and signed. The planning for 2002 really kicked into high gear during this year's meeting, as program chair Lisa Tokach went about selecting her planning committee. The committee will meet in June to plan the education that will take place on March 2 - 5, 2002 in Kansas City, Missouri.

I have to admit that I am amazed by the accomplishments of the planning committees. Twenty or so members get together for a day to lay out an educational event that some have simply described as "intense". These committee members come from diverse backgrounds, but all have a common interest in providing the best program for the attendees of the annual meeting.

Every year the same thing happens: the committee goes through a creative process in which the members build on each other's ideas and strengths. This synergy, hard work, and commitment is reflected in the high quality of education that takes place at the meeting. This quality is also reflected in the proceedings mailed to every member who did not attend the meeting. This year's proceedings contains 604 pages.

Of course, the work of the planning committee does not stop at the June meeting. Committee members provide further service as workshop and break-out session chairs who are responsible for selecting the topics, contacting the speakers¸ and acting as moderators of the workshops or sessions. They must deal with all the details of introductions, audio-visual needs, and whatever else is needed for the event. Sometimes they even have to improvise around a speaker who can not make it to the meeting due to a snowstorm back in Iowa.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is watching the program come together. The process is not always smooth and error free. It can be challenging at times, but it is always educational and often inspirational. One of the benefits is the opportunity to become better acquainted with AASV members. Nothing bonds a working relationship like sharing frustration over a speaker who has not turned in a proceedings paper, even after repeated requests and threats!

Please take time to thank Dave Madsen and the members of the 2001 program planning committee. They worked very hard for the other members of the AASV. As is often said about volunteering with non-profit organizations: "The hours are long, but the pay is low." Their only compensation is their feeling of accomplishment for a good program and the thanks that you give them.

Another vital part of AASV, that makes much of our programming possible, is our partnership with commercial companies. We are able to provide the level of programming that exists today because we leveragethe dues and registration fees of members with the financial support of these companies.

The Technical Promotion portion of our 2001 Annual Meeting attracted 46 companies and 4 non-profit organizations. These technical tables provide an opportunity for interaction and mutual access between attendeesand company representatives. The companies appreciate the access to AASV members. I hope that AASV members appreciate the access to the companies, as well as the support they provide.

In addition, there are companies who provide an additional and significant level of financial support to the AASV Annual Meeting. I offer a special thanks to these companies:

  • Pfizer, for sponsorship of the Saturday evening reception and the Monday evening reception and banquet;
  • Dekalb, for sponsorship of the Saturday evening reception;
  • ALPHARMA, for sponsorship of a $5,000 student scholarship, the student seminar session, and the award plaques;
  • Intervet, for sponsorship of the Sunday evening student reception;
  • Pharmacia, for sponsorship of the Monday noon luncheon; and
  • Elanco, for sponsorship of the Monday evening reception and banquet, and the five $2000 student scholarships.

There was one disappointment during the Annual Meeting. The attendance at the Monday evening banquet was the lowest in several years. There were a number of empty tables. Those that did not attend missed a great opportunity to honor the student award winners and the winners of the Howard Dunne Memorial Award, the Meritorious Service Award, and the Swine Practitioner of the Year Award. I know that we can not "force" members to attend, but I urge you to reflect upon the significance of your attendance at the banquet compared to alternative activities for the evening.

My thanks go out to each person who contributed their time and efforts to the 32nd Annual Meeting. Special thanks to Sue Schulteis for her dedication and long hours preparing for the meeting. Sue has assumed an increasing level of responsibility for the annual meeting. She contributes an incredible level of professionalism and value to the AASV.

Remember to mark March 2 - 5, 2002 on your calendars for the 33rd Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.

-- Tom Burkgren