Veterinary Medical Association Executives – July 29, 2022

September 27, 2022

Updated October 6, 2022


Annual meeting, July 29, Philadelphia


Heather O’Steen
Heather O’Steen

Executive of the Year
Heather O’Steen, Bridgewater, New Jersey, for exemplifying the best in association management and continually bringing credit to the association executive profession and the association community. O’Steen owns an association management company and is chief executive officer of the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Under her leadership, the association has seen an increase in membership of 234% and an increase in annual convention attendance of 500% over the past 11 years, received the American Society of Association Executives’ Gold Circle Award for its Cat Friendly Certificate Program, and created a successful brand awareness campaign that has extended the association’s reach to become a go-to resource in the industry with regard to feline health and welfare.

Susan Blevins
Susan Blevins

Distinguished Service Award
Susan Blevins, Norcross, Georgia, for exceptional service to the VMAE, demonstrating initiative, integrity, and commitment in serving the veterinary profession and association colleagues. Blevins is the former executive director of the Georgia VMA. She is a past president and a past director of the VMAE.

Best in Business Award, annual budget under $750,000
Registered Technologists and Technicians of Canada. The RVTTC was honored for its RVT Career Navigator, a career planning and advancement website for registered veterinary technologists and technicians. The navigator, launched in December 2021, serves as a resource in identifying the diversity of the profession with a goal to increase retention. The interactive website allows RVTs to investigate, explore, personalize, and create a career pathway on the basis of skills, experience, education, interests, and professional goals.

Best in Business Award, annual budget above $750,000
Texas VMA. The Texas VMA’s advocacy program was instrumental in launching the Rural Veterinarian Incentive Program, a loan repayment program for veterinarians who commit to practice in underserved areas of the state. The association also succeeded in getting four veterinarians elected to the Texas House of Representatives, who helped secure $1 million in funding for the program. The Texas VMA is working with the Texas Animal Health Commission to draft rules for the program, with a goal of selecting loan repayment recipients as early as next year.


Tim Atkinson
Tim Atkinson
Christine Shupe
Christine Shupe

Tim Atkinson, Albany, New York, president; Christine Shupe, Alachua, Florida, president-elect; Tamara Spooner, Placitas, New Mexico, secretary; Debra Hamelback, Frankfort, Kentucky, treasurer; and Dr. Randy Wheeler, Ankeny, Iowa, immediate past president

Correction: An earlier version of this article provided some incorrect information about Heather O’Steen.

A version of this article appears in the November 2022 print issue of JAVMA.