Schedule: Veterinary Business and Economic Forum

AVMA Veterinary Business and Economic Forum: Sharing solutions to shape success
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2023 schedule

Note: All times are listed in Central Time. Schedule is subject to change.

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Meet the presenters

Dr. Jim Adams

Dr. Jim Adams dreamed of being a veterinarian after reading James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small" and is grateful now for the gift of serving the community as a veterinarian for over 38 years. His highest calling is helping people by caring for their animals.

Dr. Adams graduated from Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984, then moved to Virginia and worked in a large animal practice with a primary interest in bovine herd health. He joined Carroll Veterinary Clinic in 1986 and continued to work primarily with large animals for the next 20 years, while also developing his small animal skills in this rapidly growing mixed practice. He was a founding partner of Foothills Pet Healthcare Clinic in 2000 and worked as a medical director in both practices until 2022, when he began to focus all his professional time at Carroll Veterinary Clinic. His professional interests include internal medicine, endocrinology, dermatology, and emergency practice.

Dr. Adams was raised in Winston-Salem, N.C., and spent summers on his extended family's farm in Russell County, Virginia. He attended North Carolina State University as an undergraduate. There, was a member of the NC Fellows Leadership Development Program, was active in student government, and met his wife of 42 years, Lisa.

Summer Burke-Irmiter, MBA

Summer Burke-Irmiter has over 28 years of experience in the veterinary field. For the last 15 years, she has been a hospital administrator, owner, and president of two hospitals with over 25 doctors, 150 team members, and an open hospital design in California's Bay Area. She is no stranger to the pains of short staffing, which is why she started looking for ways to use technology to help her team and clients. With the help of her team, she developed her first remote staff member in 2016, initiated chat on her website in 2018, started video visits in 2019, and developed virtual customer representatives in 2021.

By 2023, she had a remote staff of over 30 people, covering almost a dozen different services for both hospitals and fully staffing the front desk at one location. She is so passionate that remote staff and technology are the way to help our teams that she is dedicating the next stage of her career to developing and bringing these advancements to hospitals around the country.

Andrew Busch

Andrew Busch was the first chief market intelligence officer for the U.S. government at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), charged with improving and enhancing the government's understanding of the markets. He provided briefings to White House and congressional staff on a wide range of issues including extreme market volatility, China's influence on the global commodity markets, and the impact of financial technology and virtual currencies on market dynamics.

Busch's job was to provide objective research on the financial markets to the CFTC and other agencies, and he created and directed a new research group, Market Intelligence Branch. Among its areas of research were energy, agriculture, interest rates, and technology (Bitcoin, blockchain, artificial intelligence). Each week, he led the agency on a market and economic roundtable discussion with staff from the White House, U.S. Treasury Department, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Federal Reserve Board.

Prior to joining the CFTC, Busch was CEO and founder of a boutique financial markets and policy research firm, Bering Productions, Inc. Before that, he was the global currency and public policy strategist for Bank of Montreal in Chicago. He is author of the book "World Event Trading," covering large crises like infectious disease outbreaks and their impact on the markets. Today, he's a consultant and keynote speaker with a wide range of clients including financial services, energy, manufacturing, and construction.

Dr. Christopher Doherty

Christopher Doherty, CBV, MBA, is assistant director for strategic business research and outreach at the AVMA. He earned his DVM at the Ontario Veterinary College and his MBA at McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business, and is a chartered business valuator. In his role with the AVMA, he analyzes data related to new and early-career veterinarians, and works with the rest of the economics team to help translate research findings into tools, resources, and actionable insights for practicing veterinarians.

Dr. Katie Eick

Dr. Katie Eick, founder and CEO of Rockin' Pets, Rollin' Vets, is a 1998 graduate of Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received the Gentle Doctor Award, given to a student who demonstrated exceptional and compassionate patient care. Dr. Eick initially practiced in Virginia, where she established and developed a brick-and-mortar veterinary practice before relocating to Alabama, where she engaged in relief work. She landed in Texas, where she worked in a no-kill shelter in Austin before finally settling down in Houston in 2013.

With extensive experience across various facets of veterinary medicine, Dr. Eick recognized a significant demand for in-home mobile veterinary care. In 2016, she launched full-service mobile veterinary practice called South By South Vets, which has since evolved into Rockin' Pets, Rollin' Vets. Dr. Eick lives in Houston with her husband, Mike, and their companions: Cooper, Raoul, Flower, Gladys, Rocky, Felipe, Pax and Petunia.

Dr. Karen Felsted

Dr. Karen E. Felsted, MS, CVPM, CPA, is founder and president of PantheraT (formerly known as Felsted Veterinary Consultants, Inc.). Dr. Felsted graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in marketing and spent 12 years in accounting and business management, including six years with the “Big Eight” accounting firm of Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young) before pursuing her veterinary degree. During this time, she also obtained a master's degree in management and administrative science from the University of Texas at Dallas. She earned her veterinary degree at Texas A&M University and graduated in 1996. After returning to Dallas, she practiced both small animal and emergency medicine on a full-time basis while maintaining a veterinary accounting and consulting practice. In 1999 she opened and became manager-in-charge of the Dallas office of Owen E. McCafferty, CPA, Inc., a national public accounting firm specializing in tax, accounting, and practice management services for veterinarians. During this time, she received her certified veterinary practice manager certificate.

In June of 2001, Dr. Felsted opened her own accounting firm specializing in financial services for veterinarians and also joined Brakke Consulting, Inc., where she continued to offer practice management consulting services to veterinarians. In January 2007, she relocated to Los Angeles and joined Gatto McFerson CPAs, a veterinary-focused financial and consulting firm.

In 2008 Dr. Felsted joined the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) as CEO and spent over three years there before returning to business consulting, both with private practices and the animal health industry. Most recently she became a certified valuation analyst. Dr. Felsted is currently a member of the Veterinary Economics' Editorial Advisory Board and has also served on the boards of VetPartners and the CATalyst Council. She has been published in numerous national and international veterinary journals and spoken at many local, national, and international veterinary meetings. In 2011, she was named Western Veterinary Conference Practice Management Continuing Educator of the Year, and in 2014 she received the VetPartners Distinguished Life Member Award.

Jenni George, CVPM

Jenni met her husband Dr. Simon George in Colorado in 1996 and her eyes were opened to the veterinary profession. She began as a receptionist and has worked many other jobs all around hospitals to learn the ins and outs of the field. When Deerfield Veterinary Clinic was started, she quickly learned how much work it takes to run a practice. She became a certified veterinary practice manager in 2018z, and has made it her life goal to take care of her team and be sure they feel valued, cared for, and loved. She believes that if she takes care of her team, they will take care of the practice’s clients and patients.

Dr. Simon George

Dr. Simon George knew at age 13 he wanted to own his own mixed animal veterinary practice. He graduated from Colorado State University's School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003 and started Deerfield Veterinary Clinic in 2007 in Deerfield, New Hampshire. His goal will always be to practice high-quality medicine in a caring, compassionate atmosphere with the best team around. Deerfield Veterinary Clinic is now a five-doctor practice with 25 team members who are helping to make his dreams come true.

Tom Gibbings, MBA

Tom Gibbings is from San Diego and has a background in technology. In addition to an MBA from USC, he holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from UC-Davis. For the first 10 years of his career, Gibbings had technical roles in healthcare IT, specializing in radiology software. In 2010 he transitioned to the business side of the software industry, working for several companies as a software product manager. In 2017 he and his wife, Dr. Megan Gibbings, opened West Coast Animal Hospital, where they have built a practice from the ground up. He is responsible for business operations, technology, and marketing.

Sheri Gilmartin

Sheri Gilmartin is a credentialed veterinary technician and vice president of sales and marketing at Vetsource. She began her career in the veterinary profession over 26 years ago at a small animal practice outside of Boston. Since then, she's held various positions in both sales and marketing at Hill's Pet Nutrition, Vetsource, and Patterson Veterinary. She is committed to helping veterinary practices be more successful.

Kayla Lyn Guay

Kayla Lyn Guay joined Deerfield Veterinary Clinic in 2018 and proved to be a solutions-based thinker immediately. As a customer service representative, she loves to solve problems and help wherever she can in the clinic. She helps make the policies and procedures for the front desk team and is always looking for new and efficient ways to make the team better.

Kayla Kane, CVT

Kayla Kane began volunteering at Deerfield Veterinary Clinic in 2007. The practice owners, Dr. Simon George and Jenni George, saw potential in her, hired her, and encouraged her to become a certified veterinary technician. She graduated and passed the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE®) in 2010. She enjoys all aspects of emergency and critical care as well as small animal dental care. She is a head technician and helps make policies and procedures, hires new technical team members, and runs the internship program.

Lina Khan

Lina M. Khan was sworn in as chair of the Federal Trade Commission on June 15, 2021. Prior to becoming head of the FTC, Khan was an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School. She also previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law; legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra; and legal director at the Open Markets Institute.

Khan's scholarship on antitrust and competition policy has been published in the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, and Yale Law Journal. She is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School.

Dr. Brendon Laing

Dr. Brendon Laing is a small animal veterinarian with an entrepreneurial spirit who constantly looks for new ways to serve clients and his community. Dr. Laing received his veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2013, where he received the prestigious Small Animal Surgery Award from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

When he isn't caring for patients, Dr. Laing is actively advocating for the future of the profession as president-elect for the Ontario VMA and chair of the Canadian VMA's Professional Development Committee. A technophile by nature, he believes technology is the key to enabling veterinarians to surpass the expectations of today's well-educated and service-minded clients.

For his dedication to the betterment of companion animals, the veterinary profession and society at large, Dr. Laing was recently awarded the 2023 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Future Leader Award.

Dr. Dan Markwalder

Dr. Dan Markwalder is the chief veterinary officer of Mission Veterinary Partners. In this role, he leads vision and strategy for training, mentorship, and clinical recruiting. He is a graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and has been a practicing veterinarian for 26 years. He established Animal Care Clinic in Algonquin, Illinois, in 1994, Dr. Markwalder has a passion to partner with clients in providing the best care for their pets. He attends over 80 hours of continuing education each year; skydived on his 50th birthday, is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, grew up in Indiana, and has an extensive baseball card collection. He is married to his college sweetheart, and they have four sons and a daughter, along with a mini goldendoodle named Maggie, a parakeet, and one bearded dragon.

Anthony Mazzarelli, MD

Anthony Mazzarelli is a doctor, healthcare executive, lawyer, bioethicist, and associate professor. He uses this unique background to engage audiences of all types, including hospital leaders, health system boards, hospital staff, medical groups, physician leaders, and nonmedical groups. His clinical, academic, and leadership experiences shape all of his talks, making them informative as well as entertaining. He is a regular guest on local and national media outlets and a regular fill-in host on CBS radio, where his nonpartisan approach to current events has reached 38 states and Canada. Dr. Mazzarelli is the author of two bestselling books, "Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference" and "Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways that Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself." Along with his responsibilities as an executive in a health system, Dr. Mazzarelli continues to practice emergency medicine at a level 1 academic medical center in Camden, New Jersey—an urban community previously known for its challenges with poverty and crime. This helps him remain close to the practice of medicine and how it impacts patients, staff, and physicians.

Charlotte McKay, MS

Charlotte McKay is a senior economist and associate director of statistical and geospatial analysis at the AVMA. She leads and executes the organization's geospatial activities, and oversees data collection and statistical and data analysis activities. She holds a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky. Her areas of specialty include veterinary economics, equine economics, and geospatial analysis.

Dr. Travis Meredith, MBA

Dr. Travis Meredith, a senior consultant with Axxiom Consulting, has unique insight into the animal health market, with 20 years of experience spanning the scope of the animal health supply chain. He has successfully launched new products into the companion animal, equine, and cattle markets for companies ranging from venture-backed startups to global manufacturers. He has effectively guided several new-stage animal health ventures through both the investment and product development processes. He also has owned and operated multiple companion animal and equine veterinary practices. Dr. Meredith holds a DVM from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Amanda Mickelson

Dr. Amanda Mickelson is the medical director at All Paws Animal Hospital, a general practice small animal clinic in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. She is a second-career veterinarian, earning her DVM at the University of Minnesota after a business career that began at the Carlson School of Management and continued at Target Corporation. She spent almost 10 years at Target, leaving as the director of revenue cycle and operations for Target’s then 84 health care clinics across seven states. During veterinary school, she was highly involved in the Veterinary Business Management Association, serving as president-elect and president of the Minnesota chapter, which was named the National VBMA Chapter of the Year. After graduating, Dr. Mickelson joined Mission Veterinary Partners and has worked at three of their Minnesota locations. In addition to her position with All Paws Animal Hospital, she serves on Mission’s Medical Advisory Board, supporting the national network of hospitals. Areas of veterinary medicine that she particularly enjoys include nutrition, dentistry, internal medicine, behavior, cardiology, senior pets, and team and clinic leadership. She has a genuine love for supporting the human-animal bond and is a fear-free certified provider with a soft spot for finicky felines.

Clint Neill, PhD

Clinton Neill, PhD, is a senior economist and associate director for strategic business research and outreach at the AVMA. His role is to assist in translating the work of the Veterinary Economics Division and others into actionable items for veterinary teams and clinics. He also is an assistant professor in veterinary economics for the Cornell Center of Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship. His research focuses on the broad scope of issues that face the veterinary industry.

Frederic Ouedraogo, PhD

Frederic Ouedraogo, PhD, is a senior economist and associate director of economics at the AVMA. In this role, he analyzes a breadth of data to understand the veterinary workforce and assess the condition and performance of the veterinary industry. He earned his PhD in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Paula Parker, MBA

Dr. Paula Parker is chief of professional relationships and strategic initiatives at the AVMA. She obtained her veterinary degree from the University of Queensland in 2008, a master's degree in small animal clinical practice from Murdoch University in 2013, and an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business in 2019. She is a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Emergency and Critical Care, and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr. Parker has worked across the animal health sector in large animal, mixed animal, and referral practice, as well as in veterinary corporate management. She joined the AVMA in 2020, working in veterinary education accreditation before taking on her current role as part of the AVMA's leadership team in 2022.

Dr. Parker has been involved in organized veterinary medicine throughout her career, most notably as the president and board chair of the Australian Veterinary Association from 2017-2019. She also served as chair of the Australian Veterinary Association's Veterinary Business Group and convener of the Veterinary Business Summit. In 2019, Dr. Parker was recognized as Young Alumni of the Year by the University of Queensland.

Abby ShalekBriski, MS

Abby ShalekBriski is an economist with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the assistant director of statistical and data analysis. Her role is to build and maintain datasets, conduct statistical analysis, and assist with survey methods. She holds a master's degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University and is a doctoral candidate in the Oklahoma State University agricultural economics program while also working to complete a master's degree in statistics.

Dr. Julie Smith, MBA

Dr. Julie Smith graduated from the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. She went on to do an internship at North Carolina State University, then a residency in surgery at the University of Georgia. She was an associate professor at Kansas State University in soft-tissue surgery prior to starting in 1997 as an associate surgeon for Veterinary Surgical Associates, which later became SAGE Veterinary Centers. She became board-certified in surgery in 1997 and one of the practice owners in 1999.

Dr. Smith became a managing partner for SAGE Veterinary Centers in 2010, received an MBA from Saint Mary's College in 2013, and served as medical director at SAGE from 2013 to 2018. In 2018, she became a SAGE board member and worked directly with the executive and leadership teams as chief strategy officer. She retired from SAGE in 2022 after a 25-year career.

Dr. Smith now serves as treasurer for the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and chair of the AVMA's Veterinary Economic Strategy Committee. She also serves on the Leadership Council for the Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit whose goal is to change culture and behavior throughout youth sports.

In 2019, Dr. Smith began work to form SAGE Compassion for Animals (SAGEC4A), a nonprofit that strives to prevent suffering and euthanasia by providing financial assistance to families with companion animals in medical crisis. She serves as its executive director. Earlier this year she received a coaching certificate from the Hudson Institute of Coaching, and she provides career and leadership coaching to individuals.

Dr. Jason Szumski

Dr. Jason Szumski is a 2023 DVM graduate from the University of Illinois who now works at Golf Rose Animal Services in Schaumburg, Illinois. He was the SAVMA class president and president of the Veterinary Business Management Association at the University of Illinois. His special interests are leadership development, financial literacy, and communication training.

Dr. Peter Weinstein, MBA

Dr. Peter Weinstein is a former chair of the AVMA Veterinary Economic Strategy Committee. He earned his DVM from the University of Illinois and worked as an associate veterinarian for three years before opening his own practice. While running his practice, he identified the need for increased business acumen to make the practice successful, so he earned his MBA from the University of Redlands while continuing to manage his business and practice full time. He then relocated, expanded, and sold his practice to a corporate consolidator.

Dr. Weinstein has provided small business and corporate consulting via his company, PAW Consulting. He also has acted as medical director overseeing the claims department for Veterinary Pet Insurance.

He has served as both president and executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, president of the California Veterinary Medical Association, and president for VetPartners.