Many in the veterinary profession are mourning the loss June 5 of Linda Lacher, executive director of the Minnesota VMA for the past 15 years. Her influence on the profession extended beyond her own state.
The Minnesota VMA hired Lacher as executive director in 1986 to manage the association and serve as a registered lobbyist. Under Lacher's management, MVMA revenues have tripled in 10 years. Membership has doubled and includes student and corporate categories. Lacher was instrumental in creating a foundation and nonprofit corporation as adjuncts to the MVMA providing additional membership benefits. Public relations efforts have grown to include a surgery suite at the state fair and a variety of student initiatives. She also designed the MVMA's 100th anniversary celebration in 1997.
Leslie Grendahl, Wisconsin VMA executive director, said, "Linda's creativity, perseverance, and moxy will be missed."
In 1998, the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives (ASVMAE) honored Lacher as Jim LaGrone Executive of the Year.
A charter member of ASVMAE, Lacher was president in 1997-1998. Current executive director, Vicki Smith, said, "As a newcomer, I found her such a leader and strong mentor for other executive directors when she was president." In 1999 and 2000, Lacher served on an ASVMAE committee that built a mentor portfolio. Three years ago she began representing ASVMAE on the AVMA Council on Public Relations. Council chair, Dr. Sheldon B. Rubin of Chicago, said, "Linda was a joy to work with, and was always introducing and receptive to new ideas."
Memorials may be sent to the Minnesota VMA Foundation, 393 N. Dunlap St., Suite 400, St. Paul, MN 55104.