OVMA Awards of Excellence: 2014 Recipients

At ceremonies held during the 2014 Oregon Veterinary Conference in Corvallis, the OVMA honored the following for their service to the veterinary profession and animals.

2014 Meritorious Service Award


Dr. Bill Young

Dr. Bill Young

West Eugene Animal Hospital, Eugene
Nominated by: Dr. Hans Larsen

The Meritorious Service Award is the Association’s highest honor and is presented to a veterinarian who has provided exemplary servant leadership to the organization, the veterinary profession and the community.

Dr. Bill Young exemplifies the commitment and dedication that encompasses the Meritorious Service Award.

The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association has been a fortunate recipient of Dr. Young’s servant leadership. As a representative of his veterinary community in District 2, he provided insight and guidance as a member of the Board of Directors for nine years. As a member and chairman of our Public Relations Committee, he helped to lead our communication efforts with consumers of veterinary services. And he served as chairman of our legislative efforts in the 1980s.

As the owner of two busy veterinary clinics – West Eugene Animal Hospital and Pleasant Hill Animal Hospital – Dr. Young has also contributed his time with the Lane County Veterinary Medical Association, essentially holding every position of elected office with that constituent organization. Along with other colleagues of his in the area, Dr. Young cofounded the Eugene-Springfield Emergency Veterinary Hospital and served on its board of directors until the practice was sold in 2005.

Inclusive in Dr. Young’s servant leadership is his desire to mentor veterinary students at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University. He has continued to participate in a mentorship program with students, providing an annual rotation to help broaden their educational experience.

Dr. Young additionally has been supportive of, and active with, Greenhill Humane Society, including four years of community involvement on the nonprofit group’s board of directors.

Dr. Young has twice run as a candidate for the position of state representative in Oregon’s 40th District. His desire was to bring his business experience and perspective as a small business owner to the Capitol in Salem, while also advocating for stable school funding both in K-12 and higher education.

Presently, Dr. Young serves on the Lane County Animal Services Advisory Committee, working with others to provide recommendations on financial and operational development as well as long-range planning for animal service programs and future needs.

2014 Veterinary Service Award


Monique Balas

Monique Balas

Nominated by: Dr. Todd McNabb

The Veterinary Service Award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has promoted the veterinary profession and/or the well-being of animals.

With more than 968,000 dogs and more than 1 million cats living in Oregon, as well as nearly 100,000 horses, it is clear that Oregonians love their pets and equines. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2011 US Pet Ownership & Demographics study, Oregon ranks fourth in the nation for pet owners, with 63.3% of households in the state with at least one pet.

Additionally, Portland has consistently rated highly as a dog-friendly city as judged by various publications including Forbes and Dog Fancy. And in 2009, Portland was ranked the fourth most cat friendly city in the country by the CATalyst Council, a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, nonprofits, industry, and animal welfare organizations. All of these statistics make it clear that pets are an important and valued part of life for people live in our state.

With this award we recognized an individual who we believe provides an important public service for this population.

Monique Balas is the Pet Talk columnist for The Oregonian. In addition to her weekly articles that appear in the newspaper, she is busy with a regular blog on the paper’s Web site. Her coverage of a wide range of health issues educate owners on how best to care for their animals.

In the three-plus years that Monique has written for The Oregonian, she has covered a variety of topics, including: equine dental care, behavioral issues, medical concerns with obesity in pets, end of life and euthanasia, challenges with pharmacists stepping outside their scope of practice, household hazards, bloat in dogs, and many more.

Monique holds a degree in journalism and is a consummate professional. Inquisitive and knowledgeable, she is especially good at sharing medical conditions and terminology in an understandable fashion to her audience – the general public.  She has sought out the OVMA for assistance in obtaining veterinarian sources to address specific health-related topics, and we have received nothing but positive feedback on her fair and balanced approach to her columns.

It is apparent from her columns that Monique Balas contributes to the advancement of animal care in Oregon. For her accomplishments as a freelance pet columnist for The Oregonian, we were pleased to present her with the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinary Service Award.

2014 Practice Manager of the Year


Gina Schluckebier

Gina Schluckebier

Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates, Springfield

Nominated by: Dr. Donna Dimski

This award recognizes the role of the practice/office manager in clinical practice and salutes an individual who has exhibited exceptional professionalism in leading the practice.

Gina has been with OVRA since 2002, rising from receptionist to client services manager to her current position with the multi-doctor practice. Like so many of her colleagues in practices across the state, Gina wears many hats.

She spends some time up front with clients, processes the daily financials, manages accounts receivables, and essentially ensures that clients are satisfied with their service. But she also coordinates the scheduling and communication with the practice’s specialists and contact with the community’s general practitioners, and supervises the practice’s technicians, assistants and receptionists.

Gina knows all of the veterinarians in the Eugene-Springfield area, and she strives to ensure that each one has a positive experience when referring a patient to one of OVRA’s specialists. According to Dr. Dimski, Gina is the person who gets things done for the practice’s referring veterinarians, whether they need a phone call returned ASAP, an emergency appointment for a sick patient, or costs estimates for surgery to better inform their clients. She interacts with referring veterinarians with respect and a cheerful attitude, always conveying that the practice’s goal is to help them provide the best care possible for their patients.

In her role managing the hospital’s team, Gina is an attentive listener, give and takes suggestions with an open mind, mediates conflicts among staff, encourages improvement, and empowers each person to do their best. She seems to know everything about everyone’s families and personal interests, and uses her sense of humor and upbeat personality to provide leadership and a sense of camaraderie.

In addition to her diligence at OVRA, Gina is dedicated to community services that are animal-focused. Since 2002, she has been Associate Director of Banner’s Blood Bank, a nonprofit canine blood bank service the Eugene-Springfield area. She also recruits volunteer donor teams, organizes monthly blood drives, and assists in blood collection.

Gina also volunteers at the annual Whiteaker Community Thanksgiving Dinner, where she helps organize and staff the “Barking Lot,” which is where homeless dinner guests can kennel their dogs while they step inside from the cold weather and have dinner inside. As part of this yearly event, Gina hands out pet food, treats, and toys to low income pet owners.

This year Gina helped establish the Sew Dog Sew program. This program recruits volunteer seamstresses to sew dog coats to be distributed to canines living outdoors with their homeless owners. More than 70 coats have been distributed this winter as part of the Sew Dog Sew program.

2014 President's Award


Dr. Tom Keck

Dr. Tom Keck

Dallas Animal Clinic

Presented by: Dr. Todd McNabb

The President's Award is given at the discretion of the president to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the OVMA.

The association’s outgoing president, Dr. Todd McNabb, presented this award to Dr. Tom Keck

Following is an excerpt from his remarks:

"Engagement with legislative and regulatory issues that might have an impact on our profession is one of our founding principles. And I believe that throughout the arc of our history, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association has served our profession well and has delivered a good return on our investment. As an example, since 1989 your state association has saved more than $32 million for the veterinary practices in Oregon. For the average practice, the annual tangible savings is $4,280.

Most recently, as many of you know, the OVMA has worked closely with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy to address concerns veterinarians have had with pharmacists who have changed dosages of your prescriptions or substituted your prescribed product for an equivalent product – all without obtaining your approval. This is a clear violation of the pharmacy practice act.

The Oregon Board of Pharmacy has taken notice and has begun to address the concerns we have raised. And we will persist on this issue as the need arises. The savings for veterinary practices that I have noted, and our actions on the pharmacy issue, would not have happened if it were not for your support. But they also would not have occurred without the leadership of some especially dedicated veterinarians.

Dr. Tom Keck is a mixed animal practitioner who owns Dallas Animal Clinic. But in his spare time he is the Association’s resident political junkie – someone with an insatiable desire to stay connected with regulatory and legislative affairs and, where he can, help direct and influence outcomes on issues that come before the OVMA and the profession in our state.

Dr. Keck understands the importance of our having a presence in Salem. He also knows the value of establishing relationships with the multitude of state and national agencies that regulate our profession – regulatory bodies that can, and do, have a direct impact on how we practice veterinary medicine in Oregon.

But perhaps even more importantly, Dr. Keck realizes that the availability and accessibility of veterinarians – sometimes on incredibly short notice – is vital to our success. Sometimes this might mean arriving at a legislative hearing directly from a farm call and in your veterinary coveralls to present testimony on a piece of legislation, which Dr. Keck has done.

Other times it might mean contacting your local state representative or senator to convey the veterinary profession’s perspective on a bill – even if that phone call is in the evening after a long day of work. Dr. Keck has never billed the OVMA for this kind of overtime.

And then there are times when we need someone to provide background to a particular legislative chair or committee staff person on a topic. On more than one occasion, Dr. Keck has picked up the phone in between treating patients to make key calls, to help emphasize an important point on a bill or to answer questions for a legislator who might be on the fence about a particular issue. 

What is unique about Dr. Keck is that he brings years of reflection, consideration and deliberation on legislative and regulatory affairs with the OVMA, where he has served both as an officer – including the position of president – and as a regional representative on the board. But he also covets a keen understanding and insight of the political process that has been further developed as a member of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board for nine years.

This kind of experience is invaluable to our advocating for the profession before the legislature and with decision makers with regulatory agencies."

Past Award Winners

Centennial Award

1963    Dr. Vic Oliver

Honorary Membership

1952    S.L. Brown, Charles Evans, T. Sims
1954    E.L. Peterson
1972    Walter Leth, James Short
1989    Morrie Craig
1993    Nan Dewey
2000    Kelvin Koong

Award of Merit

1961    Dr. Herb Muth
1966    Dr. E. Derflinger, Dr. Ralph Plamondon
1970    Dr. Gary Bryan
1973    Dr. Dallen Jones
1976    Dr. Ed Wedman
1983    Dr. Linda Blythe, Dr. Daryl Leu
1985    Dr. Elwyn Coon, Dr. Norm Hutton, Dr. Charles Seagraves
1989    Dr. Jack Hardesty, Dr. Fay Rankin, Dr. Ron Schmidtke
1991    Dr. Gordon Cunningham, Dr. Richard Hillmer, Dr. DuWayne Penfold
1995    Dr. Andrew Mach, Dr. Ed Wedman, Dr. Robert Whittaker

Meritorious Service

Presented to a veterinarian who has generously contributed time and energy for the advancement of the profession and community.
1996    Dr. Richard Werner
1997    Dr. Billy Kuhl
1998    Dr. Dick Reid
1999    Dr. Roy Peterson
2000    Dr. Richard Coon
2001    Dr. Don Bailey
2002    Dr. Stan Blinkhorn
2003    Dr. Leo van Dijk
2004    Dr. DuWayne Penfold
2005    Dr. Marty DeWees
2006    Dr. Jerry Boggs
2009    Dr. Scott Hendy
2010    Dr. Susan Loomis
2011    Dr. Steve Brown
2013    Dr. Robert Franklin
2014    Dr. Bill Young

Outstanding Industry Representative

Recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding service to the OVMA and the profession.
1996    Terrie Corcoran, Burns Veterinary Supply
1997    Leroy Ostrem, The Butler Company
1998    Rick Casey, Hoechst Roussel Vet
1999    Jim Houts, Summit Medical Equipment
2000    Linda Melton, IDEXX Veterinary Services
2001    Loren Heryford, The Butler Company
2003    Marge Strother, Merial
2004    Bruce Mackey, Hill's Pet Nutrition
2005    John Herkner, Pfizer Animal Health
2011    Vern Mason, Butler Schein Animal Health
2013    Jay Donkers, Pfizer Animal Health (now Zoetis)

President's Award

Given at the discretion of the president to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the OVMA.
1996    Dr. Martha DeWees, Dr. Scott Hendy
1997    Dr. Jerry Boggs
1998    Dr. Merry Crimi
1999    Mr. Glenn Kolb
2000    Dr. Doug McInnis
2001    Mr. Dave Barrows
2002    Dr. Kurt Schrader
2003    Dr. Steven Brown
2004    Ms. Marcia Keith
2005    Dr. Gordon Cunningham
2006    Spouses and Partners of Veterinarians
2007    Dr. Rich Holdren
2008    Ms. Marge Strother, Lilly Companion Pet
2009    Dr. Matthew Fricke
2010    Ms. Lara Smith
2011    Dr. Cyril Clarke, OSU CVM Dean
2012    Dr. Donald McCoy & Dr. Larry Anderson
2013    Salem Friends of Felines
2014    Dr. Bob Franklin

Veterinarian of the Year

Awarded to a veterinarian who has made outstanding contributions to the profession through service to local, state and/or national organizations.
1969    Dr. E.R. Derflinger
1996    Dr. DuWayne Penfold
1997    Dr. Doug Corey
1998    Dr. Don McCoy
1999    Dr. Andrew Clark
2000    Dr. Marty DeWees
2001    Dr. Scott Hendy
2002    Dr. Brad Frank
2003    Dr. Heidi Buehner-McKenzie
2004    Dr. Leon Pielstick
2006    Dr. Paul Jones
2007    Dr. Jon Betts
2011    Dr. Gregg Takashima

Animal Welfare Award

Recognizes a veterinarian who has demonstrated outstanding compassion and/or developed programs that have been for the welfare of animals.
1998    Dr. Doug Evans
1999    Dr. Laird Goodman
2000    Dr. Bob Franklin
2002    Dr. Brad Pope
2004    Dr. Ken Fletcher
2009    Dr. Doug McInnis
2010    Dr. Doug Evans
2011    Dr. Scott Hansen
2012    Dr. Barbara Kahl

Veterinary Service Award

Recognizes an individual, group or organization that has promoted the veterinary profession and/or the well being of animals. Emphasis for this award is placed on educating the public, research, or the practice of  veterinary medicine.
1998    Kim Singer, KPTV-12
1999    Feral Cat Coalition
2000    Deborah Wood, The Oregonian
2001    Dr. Barclay Slocum
2002    The Halo Group
2003    Evan Kalik, Cat Adoption Team
2005    Dr. Howard Wagner
2006    Oregon Humane Society
2008    Dr. Matthew Maberry
2009    Dr. Jerry Boggs
2010    Larry Chusid, The Pongo Fund
2011    Dr. Bill McCulloch, Delta Society co-founder
2012    Susan Faria, Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon
2013    Britta Bavaresco
2014    Monique Balas, The Oregonian

Practice/Office Manager of the Year

Recognizes the role of the practice/office manager in clinical practice and salutes an individual who has exhibited exceptional professionalism in leading the practice.
2006    Linda Parisotto
2007    Lee Barg
2008    Debee Brown
2011    Jessie Merritt CVPM
2012    Diane Fowler CVT
2014    Gina Schluckebier

Technician/Staff of the Year

Recognizes a veterinary technicians and/or veterinary staff in clinical practice who has risen above and beyond the expected responsibilities of the practice to provide outstanding client and patient service, with community service also considered.   
2006    Leah Kennon CVT
2007    Gillian Cook CVT
2008    Kathy Charpilloz
2010    Kimberly McKay 
2011    Carey Blake CVT
2012    Juan Lopez AHT
2013    Dolores Galindo CVT