What is your current role with the PDA?
I serve as the assistant state veterinarian and oversee a staff of 10 veterinarians and 17 field staff. My primary role is working with the state veterinarian to prevent and control animal disease outbreaks in the Commonwealth that pose threat to our livestock industry and public health. I regulate diseases such as rabies, tuberculosis, brucellosis, avian influenza, chronic wasting disease and many others.
What was your favorite part of FFA?
Participating in the SAE program. I loved raising show hogs and exhibiting them at the Perry County Fair and the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Traveling to the FFA National Convention in Saint Louis, Missouri, with my friends and meeting other students and leaders excited about agriculture.
How did FFA prepare you for the job you do today?
Wow, this is a tough one. FFA helped me develop as an individual in many ways. My involvement enabled me to develop strong interpersonal skills, solidify my interest in animal science and veterinary medicine, and reinforce that my biggest accomplishments personally and professionally would be earned through hard work, dedication and perseverance!
What is the most important thing you learned from your time in FFA?
The perceptions of other students that FFA and learning about agriculture isn’t cool were completely unfounded. Had I listened to what – back in the day – might have been the popular view, I would have most likely lost out on my passion of learning about animal science and becoming a veterinarian.