Leadership
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PRESIDENT
Brian Conrad, CVPM

Brian had been the Practice Manager for Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, WA since 1999. During his tenure at Meadow Hills, the clinic received awards for the Hospital Design of the Year in 2001 from Veterinary Economics magazine and the 2004 Mid-Columbia Small Business of the Year. In 2009, Meadow Hills opened their second location. Brian lectures on a wide variety of topics challenging the veterinary industry using practice and “real-life” examples that keep the audiences engaged and enthused. Brian has been a frequent  contributor to Veterinary Economics and Firstline and lecturer for several of the national conferences. Brian has been a member of the VHMA since 2002, and earned his CVPM designation in 2003 and has served on the VHMA Board of Directors as Director since 2009.   His first Educational DVD launched in 2012 titled “Listen Up! How to Profit from Client Feedback.” Brian and his wife Taryn have three children. They enjoy spending time together outdoors, are huge sports fanatics always rooting for their favorite teams, and enjoy taking advantage of the nearly 110 wineries within a 60 mile radius of their home.

VICE PRESIDENT
James Nash, MHA, CVPM

Like many managers, Jim started his leadership career a long way from veterinary medicine. He served as a Warrant Officer and Aviator during Desert Storm where he flew OH-58 Scout helicopters in an armored cavalry squadron. Jim believes that being a good leader is about being a great team member first. He also feels that the loyalty, dedication, and commitment that he learned in the military are the fundamental transferable skills that lead to success.
 
After completing his military service, he attended the University of Florida where he completed    a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in three years. He then began working in the human healthcare field and had the opportunity to learn about all aspects of hospital business operations including: billing, collections, insurance contracting, reimbursement, and patient service. He decided to pursue his goal of a graduate degree while working for HCA and earned his Masters in Healthcare Administration through an executive program at the University of Florida.

After graduation, Jim moved to Colorado where he was the liaison between the Patient Account Service Center in Denver and hospital administration of a Level 1 trauma center. Even though he enjoyed living in Colorado, he began to feel stagnant with HCA and decided to make a change. This was the catalyst for his transition to veterinary medicine. He accepted a position as the Hospital Administrator at a five-DVM general practice. Over the next four years, he helped grow and develop this hospital into a 10-DVM, 24-hour, three location, general, and emergency hospital.

Jim has recently moved back to Florida, where he currently owns and leads two practices. Jim also enjoys supporting other practices through consulting and speaking. Jim has been a VHMA member since 2004 and completed the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) process in 2008. He has had the privilege of serving on the VHMA Board of Directors since 2008 in the role of Director and Treasurer.

 

SECRETARY
Mathieu Doyon, LLB, MBA, CVPM

Mathieu has been involved in veterinary practice management since 2001 when he was hired to manage a 15-doctor companion animal practice as the Hospital Administrator, right after completing his graduate studies. Three years later, he founded his consulting business with the intention to help as many veterinary practices as possible achieve better results in all aspects of their business. He is currently involved on a day-to-day basis with eight different practices, as well as consulting with 30 veterinary practice owners. He has gained experience in diversified environments ranging from huge Referral and Emergency Hospitals with over 150 employees to small exotic animal clinics, as well as the run-of-the-mill one-and-a-half doctor to larger 12 doctor general practices. Trained as a lawyer, his undergraduate studies complement his business training (MBA) by improving the legal compliance of veterinary practices in Human Resources, ownership transitions, corporate structures, and contracts. His past experience in the field of computer business development has recently led him to collaborate closely with practice management software developers throughout Eastern Canada in order to disseminate management and operations best practices faster and more efficiently. Mathieu currently co-owns 5 practices in the Montréal Metro area where he serves as Hospital Administrator and VP, Business Development and Innovation..

TREASURER
​Michelle Gonzales, CVPM

Michelle began her veterinary career 20 years ago. With her Veterinary Assistant certification in hand she spent the first two years as a surgery technician. She spent the last 18 years working for University Animal Hospital in Tempe, AZ where she currently serves as the Assistant  Hospital Manager and also the Kennel Supervisor. University Animal Hospital is a small animal practice with 11 doctors and 50+ staff members.

Michelle is a current Board Member of the Veterinary Health Care Team of Arizona (VHCTAZ), a local managers group. She currently serves on VHCTAZ Membership Committee and is the
Chair for the Vet 2011 Committee.

In 2009 Michelle was named Arizona’s Hospital Manager of the year.

Michelle has been an active member of the VHMA since 2006 and in 2010 Michelle earned the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) designation.

 

DIRECTOR
Kat Burns, CVPM

Kat is the Director of Veterinary Services for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV), in Boulder, Colorado. HSBV has a unique business model, with a seven-doctor, full-service public veterinary practice alongside a robust shelter medicine program. Revenue generated by the veterinary clinic directly supports the medical care and treatment for homeless animals. The clinic won Boulder’s Best Veterinary Clinic in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Prior to HSBV, Kat worked for PetsMart in various management roles, including as hospital manager with PetsMart Veterinary Services. She moved into animal welfare at the American Humane Association. During this time she worked in association management as Director of Corporate Development and Professional Membership. She regularly consults with other shelters on how to navigate the delicate balance between shelter and public medicine while building relationships with community private practices. Kat joined VHMA in 2006 and earned her CVPM designation in 2013. Kat has served on the VHMA Board of Directors since 2013, and is a member of the Membership Committee. Kat also works with the VHMA staff to manager member volunteer roles within the Association.

DIRECTOR
Elizabeth Fritzler, DVM, CVPM
I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian from an early age and began volunteering in a veterinary hospital when I was in 7th grade.  I attended Oregon State University as an Animal Science major before being admitted to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.  I graduated from WSU with my DVM degree in 1991. Initially I worked as an equine veterinarian but eventually switched to small animal practice. My husband and I purchased Lien Animal Clinic in 1999. We soon realized that veterinary school did little to prepare us for business ownership and I began attending practice management conferences to learn more. I earned a Certificate in Veterinary Practice Administration from Purdue University’s Veterinary Management Institute in 2006. In 2007, I joined Veterinary Management Group 14 as a founding member. I became a CVPM in 2008. Currently I serve as the chair of the VHMA Ethic’s Committee and on the CVPM Board of Directors as the DVM representative.

 

Over the years our practice has grown to seven doctors and nearly 30 staff members. As we have grown, I have focused more and more on hospital management. I now practice one or two days a month, and spend the majority of my time as the Hospital Administrator. I live with my husband and three children on Vashon Island in Puget Sound, a 15-minute ferry commute from our practice. In my spare time I enjoy reading, travel, and spending time with our horses.

 

DIRECTOR
Jessica Manning, CVPM
Jessica is energetic, forward thinking, and experienced in multiple facets of the veterinary industry. She entered the field as a veterinary assistant and rapidly rose to Hospital Administrator, VHMA Emerging Leader, and public speaker. She has a degree in accounting as well as being a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM), the industry’s highest distinction for veterinary managers. Jessica achieves the goals she sets for herself by possessing the ability to effectively balance her personal and professional life; which is useful as she has an equally energetic son that plays baseball and soccer. With each goal accomplished she looks forward to the doorway opened for a new and challenging chapter of her life. Jessica is blessed  to have a family that encourages and supports her in her journey to grow and increase her contribution in leading the veterinary community to their greatest potential.

 

DIRECTOR
Jessica Speas, CVPM, SPHR, PHRca

Jessica has been involved and around veterinary medicine her entire life. She was born during her father's senior year of veterinary school and has worked in his practice since high school. Jessica fell in love with the profession, but couldn't stomach the medical side. While in school she worked part-time as a receptionist, and later as the bookkeeper before starting full-time as the administrator in 2002. Jessica understands firsthand how difficult it can be for the owner veterinarian to also manage a practice. By allowing the doctor to primarily be the doctor, the practice has grown steadily over the last 10 years. Jessica completed the Veterinary Management Institute (VMI) program at Purdue in 2008, earned the CVPM designation in 2010, and achieved Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in 2012. Jessica became a partner in the practice in 2010. Jessica joined VHMA in 2006 and currently serves on the
Ethics, Membership and Program Standing Committees.

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Jon Cunnington, MBA, CVPM

Jon received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in business from the California State University system before joining the veterinary profession in 1994. He served as Hospital Administrator for a three-doctor, AAHA accredited practice in Chico, California from 1994 until 2000 before joining Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic as its first full-time Hospital Administrator. In 2012 Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic was purchased by VCA Antech, Inc. VCA Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic, located about 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, is an AAHA accredited, 24/7 practice with 30 doctors and about 120 support staff. They offer general, emergency, and specialty services including internal medicine, oncology, radiology, behavior, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, and CT scan. In 2001 Loomis Basin was named a Practice of Excellence by Pfizer Animal Health and the publisher of Veterinary Economics magazine.

A VHMA member since 2000, Jon earned the distinction of CVPM in 2005. He has written articles for the association newsletter, presented at conferences, and has served on the VHMA Board of Directors since 2007 as Director, Secretary, and President. He also currently serves on the Program Committee, assisted in the development of the VHMA’s self-Audit Workbook and Document Organizer, and helped launch the Innovation Committee. In addition, Jon collaborates with other managers within and outside of VCA and is a steering committee member of the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Practice Managers Association. Whenever opportunity arises, Jon enjoys speaking on various topics including general management, financial performance indicators, budgeting, and compensation/benefits. These speaking opportunities provide a nostalgic look-back at the 1990’s when he taught communications, marketing and organizational design courses at CSU, Chico.

In 1997 Jon began working on a part-time ad hoc basis with Jim Remillard, MPA, CPC, CVPM, a veterinary practice management consultant and president of Remillard Management Associates, Inc. While Jon’s availability is limited, he does enjoy assisting Mr. Remillard with practice valuations and other projects as often as opportunity and time permit. Jon and his wife, Becky, have one daughter, Emily. Their home includes a spoiled border collie and two mischievous cats.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Christine Shupe, CAE

Christine graduated from the State University of New York College at Oswego with a Bachelor
of Arts degree, major in Political Science. Christine started her career as an administrative assistant for the lobbying firm of Shea and Gould in Albany, NY. Christine continued her career at the New York State Legislature as the Legislative Aid to Assemblywoman Frances T.
Sullivan. Christine joined the association management firm of Capitol Hill Management
Services where she first started serving as the Executive Director to the VHMA in 1998. In
2003, Christine earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation awarded by the American Society of Association Executives. After moving from New York to Florida, Christine started her own management company, CQS Management Service, LLC where she continues
to serve as the VHMA Executive Director.

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