Together Again at UVSA 22


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UVSA’s 2022 Annual Conference celebrated the personal connections that make the animal health business one of a kind.

The United Veterinary Services Association’s 2022 Annual Conference theme “Together Again” was a celebration of UVSA’s first in-person meeting together since the 2019 Annual Conference. The association was excited to share two days of thought-provoking speakers, engaging networking sessions, and a veterinarian panel sharing their perspectives on the industry and how our members can help support them in the years ahead.

Registered attendance at this year’s conference was a total of 152 people attending including 127 delegates and 25 registered spouse/companions. More than 78% of the current membership was represented, including delegates from 5 distributor companies, 37 manufacturer and supplier companies, and 2 from allied members.

UVSA 2022 Annual Conference attendees at outdoor reception.
Attendees enjoying being together again during the welcome reception.

The following were some of the highlights:

A welcome reception was held the first night of the conference sponsored by Covetrus, Elanco, Med Pharmex, MWI Animal Health/Amerisource Bergen, Patterson Veterinary and Dechra Veterinary Products. Attendees were very excited and engaged around in-person networking, and conversations went well into the evening.

The No-Tie Lounge reception on Tuesday evening was held off-site, sponsored by Animalytix, Midmark, US VET and Zoetis. The UVSA Board of Directors honored Jackie King, executive director/secretary for over 20 years, with cards, gifts, and words of appreciation and fondness.

UVSA held its first ever Next Gen Emerging Leaders Session to help them learn and grow in their leadership roles and provide them with a chance to experience the UVSA Annual Conference. Speaker Curt Steinhorst delivered a popular presentation, “Navigating Through the Fog – Leading a High-Performance Team Through Uncertain Times,” to a packed room and facilitated a discussion about finding clarity and performing at their peak while leading others. He then expanded on that message during his general session presentation of the same name the next morning. Steinhorst is the author of the bestselling book, “Can I Have Your Attention?,” a top-30 global guru and a regular Forbes contributor on leadership strategy.

For the foreseeable future, ransomware will remain a significant threat to businesses of all sizes in every sector. In this talk, Major General (Retired) Brett Williams discussed the current threat landscape from both nation-state and criminal groups and how, given the sophistication of the threat, we cannot continue to rely on legacy cyber defenses.

Panelists representing companion animal, corporate, and specialty veterinary practices and veterinary education discussed current and future challenges in serving clients and patients, their evolving needs from vendors and veterinary schools, and insights into their mid- to long-term organizational objectives.

Key segments of the U.S. and global economies are experiencing a decelerating rate of rising, while others are accelerating. Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics assessed the input from proven leading indicators and determined the opportunities and risks for the remainder of 2022 and 2023 in pertinent segments of the economy.

Mark Cushing presenting to attendees.
Mark Cushing of Animal Policy Group.

Mark Cushing of the Animal Policy Group provided an update on legislative and regulatory issues that will likely impact the animal health industry in the coming year, including industry changes and developments, animal welfare (including dog supply telemedicine), and more.

Kevin Brown took his most requested program and focused on The HERO Effect™ principles of leadership.

Kevin Brown, creator and author of “The Hero Effect” speaks to attendees.
Kevin Brown, creator and author of “The Hero Effect”.

UVSA recommended best practices on cybersecurity.

Executive Director/Secretary Jackie King updated attendees about an initiative the UVSA board and its members have worked on over the past six months.

Last August, several of UVSA’s distributor member companies raised some concerns with the UVSA board about cybersecurity and operational issues they were having related to third-party middleware aggregator sites or marketplace-type companies.

The board established a distributor working group on cybersecurity comprised of five distributor member companies, to look at these issues. A key objective of the group was to determine how the marketplace sites consolidating information from multiple proprietary and password-protected eCommerce sites do not disrupt the safe, efficient and effective operations of business-critical e-commerce systems or pose cybersecurity threats to UVSA distributor members or their customers.

While these systems provide functionality that certain UVSA customers may find appealing in terms of cost savings or convenience, UVSA distributor members reported numerous issues with systems availability, inaccurate pricing and availability information, unposted and missed orders, misapplication of SKUs and improper order placement, and other situations which resulted in a failure of customers to receive the correct item, at the correct time, to the correct location and/or invoiced at the correct price.

UVSA engaged a subject matter expert, IronNet Cybersecurity, to assist us by conducting a situational analysis of the issues distributors were facing and to advise on some best practices that could be adopted by UVSA and recommended for members to utilize.

The UVSA board has adopted the following best practices and recommendations for members to consider implementing. These were developed with coordination from our working group members, the UVSA board, and IronNet.

Four primary areas were identified as best practices that could be implemented by UVSA members. They include the following:

  • End User License Agreements (EULAS): Each EULA should clearly articulate what is and is not considered acceptable use, the limits of that use, expected behaviors around access credential security, and acceptance of risk and/or loss of access should the user provide their credentials to third parties in violation of the EULA or in any way utilize the platform in ways not explicitly intended within the EULA.
  • Site Access and Utilization Logging: Logging the access and utilization of site customer credentialed activity is necessary for EULA compliance monitoring and notification to users in the event of EULA violations or the event of a potential security breach.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA is now a cybersecurity best practice for commercial and financial systems. Implementing multi-factor authentication protocols should be in place as a required component for platform access.
  • Third-Party Access EULA: If a third party requires access to provide an authorized business application, each third party should execute a EULA before receiving systems access. Such access should be delivered only through an approved application programming interface (API).


Mark your calendars. UVSA’s 2023 Annual Conference will be at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas, May 1-3, 2023.


UVSA Board of Director appointments and elections

The Officers for 2022-24 were voted in by the Board of Directors:

  • Betsy Watkins, PRN Pharmacal, Chairwoman
  • Jeff Hicks, MWI Animal Health/Amerisource Bergen, President
  • Chris Ragland, Animalytix, Treasurer


The following Directors are completing three-year terms that expire in 2023:

  • Paula Brown, Midwest Veterinary Supply
  • George Henriques, Patterson Veterinary
  • Scott Johnson, Clipper Distributing
  • Chris Grenier, Midmark
  • Casey Rinehart, Zoetis
  • Jeff Hicks, MWI Animal Health/Amerisource Bergen
Tara Rowe and Alan Beaulieu
Tara Rowe, UVSA Board Member from Merck Animal Health with Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics.

The following were nominated and successfully voted in via member vote for the coming year for a three-year term:

  • Chris Ragland, Animalytix, Active Member Supplier (Second Term)
  • Mary Heather Parch, Covetrus, Active Member Distributor (First Term)
  • Mike Fadale, Elanco, Active Member Manufacturer (First Term)
  • Tara Rowe, Merck Animal Health, Active Member Manufacturer (First Term)
Amy Kulp, Jackie King and Betsy Watkins
Left to Right, Amy Kulp, incoming UVSA Executive Director; Jackie King, retiring UVSA Executive Director; Betsy Watkins, UVSA Board Chair from PRN Pharmacal.

Jackie King announces retirement

UVSA Executive Director Jackie King, chief staff liaison to the UVSA board, announced that she would retire in June this year. King has worked with UVSA and AVDA since 2002. Amy Kulp of Management Solutions Plus (MSP), the association management company that manages UVSA, will take over as the new executive director when Jackie retires.


“Jackie has been instrumental in keeping the UVSA board of directors on top of issues and trends in the industry. Her guidance and leadership have elevated the team and improved the quality of the association. On a personal note, she has taught me a lot about the expectations, priorities, and duties of being a board member. She is truly a wonderful person and friend.”

– Paula Brown, Midwest Veterinary Supply


“I have always admired Jackie’s work as executive director for UVSA during my 20 years in the animal health industry. Jackie was instrumental in being the conduit between individuals and companies in the animal health industry. She was a constant in our industry that thrived on welcoming new faces and/or chatting with longtime friends or industry stakeholders.”

– Tara Rowe, Merck Animal Health