For the first time in 25 years, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) will have a new Executive Director, Dr. Harry Snelson. Snelson, who is the current AASV Director of Communications, has had a long association with the organization starting as the AASV Student Representative at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1989. He served on a number of committees and chaired the Foreign Animal Disease Committee before serving two terms on the AASV Board of Directors. He joined the AASV staff in 2005.
After graduating from NC State, Snelson completed the first Swine Medicine Internship at the College of Veterinary Medicine and then spent ten years as the swine veterinarian for Carroll's Foods in Warsaw, NC. In 2000, he accepted a position as a Swine Technical Services Veterinarian with Schering-Plough Animal Health before leaving in 2003 to become the Director of Science and Technology at the National Pork Producers Council in Washington, DC.
Snelson looks forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead. "It is an honor to be selected as the Executive Director for AASV," Snelson says. "I am looking forward to continuing to work with Dr. Burkgren and learning from him over the next six months. Serving the membership in this role is a responsibility that I will dedicate every effort toward as we move our organization into the future."
In October of 2017, AASV formed a search committee made up of a diverse group of AASV members with a long history of service and leadership to AASV, in addition to hiring an executive search consultant for extensive surveying and interviewing of candidates. The search committee carefully developed a timeline for the nomination, selection and interviewing of candidates for the Executive Director position from January through September, 2018. The final selection was made by the AASV Board of Directors on October 10, 2018 prior to their fall meeting.
AASV plans to have a six-month transition with both Dr. Snelson and Dr. Burkgren on staff from October, 2018 through May 31, 2019. During this time, Snelson and Burkgren will work cooperatively to transition responsibilities, along with identifying a new Director of Communications.
Burkgren began his work with AASV in 1994 during a transitional time when the AASV administration was shared with the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association. He was named as the first AASV Executive Director in 1997. Under Burkgren's leadership, AASV has grown to a current membership of 1,660 representing 48 countries. He has navigated the association through a number of issues including foreign animal and emerging diseases, animal welfare, judicious drug use, regulatory and consumer challenges while always emphasizing our profession's reliance on sound science.
"I congratulate Dr. Snelson on being selected as the AASV's second Executive Director," Burkgren says. "It has been my privilege, for the past 25 years, to work with AASV members and with AASV stakeholders to address issues critical to swine practice and the swine veterinarian. I am certain that Dr. Snelson will continue these efforts at the highest level. The search committee and the AASV Board of Directors are to be commended on the deliberative and forward-thinking process followed during this selection. The Board should also be thanked for committing the resources necessary to provide for a six-month transition period. I look forward to working with Dr. Snelson during this period to accomplish a seamless transition by May 31, 2019."
Over the course of AASV's 50-year history, the AASV's Executive Director has played a critical role in providing stability and guidance for the association's volunteer leadership, Dr. C. Scanlon Daniels, AASV President, says. "We were fortunate to have enough advance notice to conduct a rigorous search for Dr. Burkgren's successor," he adds. "The association owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Burkgren for providing sufficient time to conduct such a thorough search. This also allows our organization an opportunity to smoothly transition the AASV Executive Director responsibilities and identify a new Director of Communications with minimal impact to AASV member services."
Snelson will be the second AASV Executive Director following Dr. Tom Burkgren.