VBMA student club plans spring conference

 By Sarah Carey

2014_VBMA_Final_Logo_w_OutlineThe University of Florida Veterinary Business Management Association will host an all-day conference on Feb. 22, 2014, aimed at helping to build successful practices, entrepreneurship and effective management strategies among key constituents.

Practitioners, veterinary students and others in the veterinary profession are all invited to attend the event, which will take place at UF’s Small Animal Hospital.

“Our conference will provide business education and background information on practice management, as well as growth for students, associates and practice owners,” said Andrew Torchia, a third-year veterinary student and VBMA’s junior advisor.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Andy Roark, a 2008 graduate of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. Roark, a veterinarian practicing in Greenville, S.C., is a national award-winning columnist for dvm360 and a regular contributor to Vetstreet.com and many other media outlets.

He has served on the Veterinary Team Brief and national VBMA advisory boards and owns his own consulting firm as well as being a part of VetPartners consulting group. Roark was named one of the “25 Veterinarians to Watch in 2013” by Veterinary Practice News, and the hospital where he practices placed third in the 2012 national American Animal Hospital Association Practice of the Year contest.

“He will discuss a few ways of improving a practice, touching on such topics as how to get what you want in your first practice, six steps to bonding with clientele and building your brand, and maximizing your exam room productivity,” Torchia said, adding that further information on the talks will be available at UFVBMA’s website,  www.ufvbma.org.

Also speaking will be Dr. Mary Gardner, a co-founder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice and a 2008 UF veterinary medical college graduate. Gardner will address social media as a promotional platform for practices, and ways to make your website show up more prominently in Internet searches.

Patterson Veterinary LogoRounding out the speaker program is Michelle Guercio-Winter, a practice management specialist with Patterson Veterinary. She created the Patterson Veterinary University educational offerings, which include specialized classes for practice owners, managers and the veterinary team, and will speak on “The Evolution of Management Metrics.”

Five continuing education credits will be provided to practitioners who attend the event, which includes five talks from three different business-oriented veterinary professionals.

“There is also a great cocktail hour at the end of the event with an opportunity to network and take a tour of the hospital,” said Torchia.

Registration is free to the first 100 registrants. All will receive a complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks and cocktails with hors d’oeuvres. Registration deadline is Jan. 31, 2014.

Last year’s event featured Dr. Mark Russak, former president of the American Animal Hospital Association and the founder of an award-winning private practice; Dr. Dani McVety, a UF veterinary collage graduate and founder/co-owner of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice; and Dr. Ken Simmons, a 1981 UF veterinary college graduate who owns Simmons Veterinary Hospital in Lake Worth and has developed a national chain of pet resorts.

“This event was a huge success in its inaugural year,” said Danielle Marks, a senior UF veterinary student and former UF VBMA president. “We had overwhelmingly positive feedback from both student and professional attendees. Everybody seemed to especially enjoy the networking opportunities throughout the day and at the evening cocktail hour.”

Marks said the event was unique in offering the opportunity to bring students and practitioners with similar interests in veterinary business management.

“Efficient and intelligent business management practices are essential to the continued success of our profession and we are excited to be able to contribute to the future growth and success of the veterinary industry through this opportunity,” Marks said.

The upcoming UF VBMA conference is sponsored by Patterson Veterinary.

Visit www.ufvbma.org for more detailed information and to register for the event.




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