Veterinary Group Spotlight
Galaxy Vets is a relatively new participant within the veterinary space, but holds a unique claim as the first employee-owned veterinary healthcare system in the U.S., said Emmitt Nantz, COO. “We all bring a real passion to the idea of burnout prevention, and we’re designing our business and culture to directly prevent burnout and promote happiness in our hospitals,” he said. “We know that to achieve this, we need to be focused on the employees within this space.”
The veterinary industry is a service industry, and the only way Galaxy can deliver great service is through veterinary professionals who are excited about what they do every day, Nantz said. To that end, Galaxy Vets is putting together a number of ideas on ways to reduce burnout drivers and make the organization a place where people like to work, enjoy what they do and can live their passion. “This is what we mean by our mission of giving veterinary medicine back to veterinarians,” Nantz said. “And that’s going to give us the ability to compete in an industry battling a lack of service supply and increasing demand.”
Less than a year since its inception, Galaxy Vets has focused heavily on bringing in talent to build a strong foundation for the hospitals they are partnering with. “We refer to it as building the plane before takeoff instead of building it while in the air as so many others refer to,” Nantz said. “We are happy to see that the entire design is resonating very well within the space. Hundreds of practice owners have expressed interest in partnering with us. We have signed a number of LOIs (letters of intent), and due diligence is underway. We are on track to building a phenomenal healthcare system where veterinary professionals love to work and pet owners prefer to get care.
Galaxy Vets focuses on two major groups: internal and external. Nantz said they can’t have happy pet owners and happy paying customers if they don’t have happy employees. “We recognize both of those groups as customers and our primary focus will be the employees, so that they are happy and can then deliver excellent service.”
For pet owners, Galaxy Vets is designing membership service and telemedicine offerings to complement its brick-and-mortar hospitals. Those are some things that are going to help them improve access to care, take some workload off the practices and provide more flexibility to their veterinary teams. “All of this is interconnected, and in the end, everybody has a better experience: pets, their owners and our people.”
In the organization’s business model, practice owners roll half of their value back into Galaxy Vets in exchange for equity in the entire enterprise. The goal is to make sure that ownership is shared with everybody in the organization and that value is grown together. The key is “partnership,” said Nantz. “We are only looking for like-minded practice owners who share our passion for continuous improvement, who want to see their practice grow, are ready to make the necessary adjustments, and who would like to benefit from joining a network of other clinics that are working together to make the industry better.”
The other piece is employees of those practices. Usually, when a business is sold, employees get nothing. In Galaxy Vets’ case, equity is allocated to all – veterinarians, technicians, administrative staff and even the relief workforce – who will become shareholders in the entire organization. “We want to encourage everybody to work hard, love what they do and share in the gains,” said Nantz. “So I think that’s something that makes us very different from an ownership perspective.”