Everything you need to know in life, you learn in Kindergarten.
By Roger Redman, DVM, Director of Partnership Development
In Kindergarten, when tasked with the assignment to draw what you want to be when you grow up, I drew a veterinarian. My drawing was a stick person, drawn in green crayon, of a vet with a palpation sleeve on, standing next to a stick-cow, with a black drug bag open next to it. I even captured the pile of dung on the ground. I struggled in school, realizing I probably had undiagnosed dyslexia as a child. In high school, I worked extremely hard to get average grades, and in my senior year, I met with the guidance counselor, Mr. Devault, who asked me what I would do after graduation. “I’m going to college to be a veterinarian,” I replied. I will never forget the look on his face. “You’ll never get accepted to college,” he said. Those words, coupled with a fantastic role model, are what motivated me to where I am today. That role model was my dad.
Now 86, my dad is a DVM that spent his entire career at The Ohio State University in research. As a young kid, I would push up a stool to reach and pass his instruments to him as he delivered a calf or a piglet via C-section into the bubble for germ-free research. I would go on university farm calls with him, help with necropsies, and sit in his lab, watching in awe of the work he performed. That’s the only career path I knew and wanted, and nobody was going to tell me otherwise.
Many years later, I still love what I do as a DVM. This profession has allowed me to own three successful veterinary practices and led me to my current role in Partnership Development at Encore, assisting selling veterinarians with the next stage of their careers and their hospital’s legacy. I have served under three different Governors on the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board and served as President of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, the veterinary regulatory board with oversight of every state in the USA, Canadian provinces, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. I share this because, in these roles, I have participated in writing practice act language that defines what corporate ownership of a veterinary practice should look like. I am adamant that corporate ownership stays out of the practice of medicine, for that is left to licensed medical professionals. Corporate groups should support a practice and not dictate what drugs, distributors, labs, and vaccines get chosen. For this reason, amongst many others, I decided to partner my hospitals with Encore Vet Group. Encore is unique as being founded by a veterinarian, led by veterinarians, and every decision is made with people in mind. Our founder, Dr. Ted Sprinkle, a former equine veterinarian, teaches that if we take care of people, the profits will naturally follow. Encore is uniquely situated to be a long-term success story, with a platform designed to support and foster our profession, especially veterinarians and technicians, focusing on the support and development of hospital teams.
I recently had the opportunity to revisit one of my former practices after being away for eighteen months and was greeted with hugs and welcomes by all. As I stood in the treatment room visiting the team, I was struck that every single member of my team was still there, three years after the sale. They are thriving, a testament to Encore taking care of people. Like many practice owners, I had promised my associate the opportunity to buy my practice until valuations became too high for young associates to consider financially. That former associate is now the hospital’s Medical Director and is flourishing in the opportunities Encore has provided, recently growing into a Core Medical Director role, leading and mentoring other Encore practices. It warms my heart to witness the practice’s growth and the team that was once mine. I know I partnered with the right group!
And as I look back on my career, the work in my practices, involvement with Boards and Associations, friendships with colleagues, and my current role at Encore, I can’t help but think….. I learned a lot of this in Kindergarten. When I graduated in the spring of 1990 from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, my proud father presented me with a gift. It was a framed picture of that crayon drawing of a stick-person veterinarian that now proudly hangs on the wall above my desk.
Roger Redman, DVM
Director of Partnership Development
If you’re attending the Midwest Veterinary Conference in Columbus, OH, please say hello! I will be presenting “Corporate Practice Ownership: The Current Landscape and Preparing for a Sale” on Thursday, February 17th.