The Washington State VMA (WSVMA) held its Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference from September 22-24 in Tacoma.
Veterinarian of the Year
Dr. Lesley Kovar (Tufts ’91), Bothell. Dr. Kovar serves as medical director at Bothell Pet Hospital, where she has worked for 30 years. During that time, she has fostered the hospital’s mentorship program. Dr. Kovar volunteers with the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center and World Vets and leads the hospital’s partnership efforts with Greyhound Pets Inc.
Outstanding Veterinary Service Award
Dr. Michelle Shoemaker (Oregon State ’04), Olympia. Dr. Shoemaker is chief veterinary officer at VetCor, a network of veterinary practices in the United States and Canada. She also practices at South Bay Veterinary Hospital in Olympia, where she has served as medical director. Earlier, Dr. Shoemaker was regional medical director and chief medical officer at People, Pets and Vets.
Washington State University Faculty Member of the Year
Dr. Craig McConnel (Washington State ’02), Pullman. Dr. McConnel is an associate professor of veterinary clinical sciences and director of veterinary medicine extension at Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine. Earlier in his career, he served on the veterinary faculties of Charles Sturt University in Australia and Colorado State University. He joined the veterinary college at WSU in 2016 as an assistant professor in veterinary medicine extension.
Distinguished Veterinary Staff
Ashley Hoyt, Pullman. Hoyt is the lead patient services coordinator at WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where she manages a sizeable caseload of patients. She is known for her professionalism, positive attitude, and compassion.
Humane-Animal Welfare Award
Dr. Stan Coe (Washington State ’57), Pullman, and the volunteers at the Doney Coe Pet Clinic in Seattle. A past president of the Washington State VMA, Dr. Coe owned Elliott Bay Animal Hospital in Seattle prior to retirement. In the mid-1980s, he took the reins of the former Doney Memorial Pet Clinic, a no-cost veterinary clinic for homeless and low-income pet owners in Seattle. The practice was later renamed the Doney Coe Pet Clinic. Dr. Coe and the legion of volunteers at the clinic, including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students, were honored for the compassionate care they provide.
Distinguished Achievement Award
Dr. Melanie Bowden (Washington State ’16), Redmond. Dr. Bowden is the medical director at Veterinary Emergency Group in Redmond. Earlier in her career, she practiced small animal medicine in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state, and emergency medicine in Maine, New York, and Washington state. Dr. Bowden authored the book “What the F**K Is This Vet Med?” a mentoring novel. She was recently elected as a director of the WSVMA.
Candace Joy, Redmond. Joy was honored for her contributions as chief executive officer of the WSVMA for 21 years. As CEO, she expanded the association and was committed to advancing and safeguarding the veterinary profession. Joy is a past president of the Veterinary Medical Association Executives.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the association’s strategic goals will center on increasing membership and protecting the veterinary profession through legislation and regulatory advocacy. The WSVMA will continue to focus on assisting members on issues created by the workforce crisis and on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Dr. Eddie Haigh, Shelton, president; Dr. Robert Mealey, Pullman, vice president; Dr. Brian Joseph, Gig Harbor, secretary; Dr. Sally Thompson-Iritani, Seattle, treasurer; Dr. Blair de Vries, Zillah, immediate past president; Candace Joy, Redmond, chief executive officer; and directors—Drs. Melanie Bowden, Redmond; Gary Marshall, Mercer Island; and Irene Yen, Renton