Over 200 people attended the AVDA Annual Conference April 29 - May 1 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. Attendees included 170 delegates and 40 spouses/companions. AVDA membership was represented by 13 Distributor member companies; 48 Manufacturer member companies and 3 Affiliate member companies. AVDA welcomed six new members since the 2011 meeting and all of them were in attendance at this event.
Click here for a list of attendees
Sponsorship for the conference was record-breaking with a total of 41 sponsors contributing over $200,000. This level of sponsorship has helped AVDA bring a remarkable program with timely and dynamic speaker presentations and outstanding networking events. Sponsors were acknowledged during the opening session of the conference and were given a beautiful engraved Nambe bowl that was handcrafted in New Mexico.
Click here for list of sponsors
The meeting kicked off with a Welcome Reception in the House of Hummingbird with entertainment by Aztec dancers and a welcome from Native Americans from the Santa Ana Pueblo and a gift of a corn necklace. The theme for the meeting was "Reflect Forward" and the speakers for the entire conference reminded attendees that the Annual Conference is a great time to reflect on the past year's successes and challenges and a time to look forward to new opportunities on the horizon for distributors and manufacturers as the animal health industry continues to evolve and prosper.
Monday's program included two great speakers and two great Americans: Astronaut Mike Mullane and decorated war veteran, Charlie Plumb. Both of their messages inspired attendees and gave great advice on how to employ proven fundamentals of teamwork to better lead their teams and how to overcome adversity and move beyond our self-imposed limits.
During the AVDA Annual Business Meeting and elections on Monday, Mark Cushing, a lobbyist with TonkonTorp, discussed legislation that was introduced in Congress with the purpose of driving prescription revenues to big box retailers from veterinary practices. Mark Cushing has represented a group of interests, and worked closely with the AVMA, to oppose the legislation in Congress and with the FTC.
On Tuesday, Dr. Ron DeHaven of the AVMA provided an update on The Partnership for Preventive Pet Wellness, AVMA initiatives and recent FDA actions regarding veterinary feed directives. Terry Hawkins, a funny and motivational speaker from Australia, wowed the audience with her presentation on achieving personal success by overcoming our negative attitudes and perceptions through the use of Pitman and Stickman. Finally, Lowell Catlett, an economist and futurist shared humorous and positive insights on the economy and gave attendees a glimpse into the future of animal health and veterinary trends.
Click here for Dr. Ron DeHaven's presentation
Attendees participated in many tours and activities during the meeting including a spouse tour of Santa Fe, horseback riding, kayaking on the Rio Grande and the annual AVDA Scramble Golf Tournament. The meeting concluded with the Annual Awards banquet with a dance band under colorful balloons and was truly an evening to remember.