Bob Thompson is humbled by receiving the Science in Practice Award, but even more so under the circumstances.
This award, given on behalf of the University of Minnesota through sponsorship of Boehringer Ingelheim, is named for Allen D. Leman and is presented during the annual Allen D. Leman Swine Conference in St. Paul, Minn.
Leman’s legacy lives on in many swine practitioners in the U.S. industry, but Thompson feels a direct connection as Leman’s mentorship steered Thompson onto his current career path.
Thompson earned his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State University and master’s degree from the University of Illinois Integrated Food Animal Management Systems program. “Dr. Leman was always willing to visit with any veterinarian,” Thompson recalls. “I relied on his experience and advice when I was working through the process of going back to graduate school. It allowed me to get on this career path, and to get my position at PIC. His influence helped me through a major change in my life.”
Leman took to the time to visit Thompson’s private practice in Nebraska when Thompson was deliberating his life change. “Talking with him as very invigorating and he challenged me to open some doors and get out of my comfort zone,” Thompson says.
Thompson is a veterinarian on the PIC North American Health Team. He currently works with PIC customers in the United States on health issues that arise on their operations. He has been PIC for 26 years.
“Boehringer Ingelheim is pleased to join the University of Minnesota in congratulating Dr. Thompson, an outstanding swine veterinarian, whose work ensures pig health is a priority from start to finish,” says Lara Sheeley, director of marketing for the BI swine division. “BI is committed to supporting swine industry leaders in their pursuit of knowledge and science to drive innovative solutions.”
During his time at PIC, Thompson has been involved in providing practical science-based research in collaboration with universities. His field experiences include working at the forefront of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome research to prevent transmission from boar studs, and developing biosecurity recommendations for transportation, including the cleaning and disinfecting of livestock trailers to prevent the spread of disease. Most recently, he has been working on the possibility of eliminating swine influenza from sow herds.
“I’ve been fortunate to work for a company that has made improvement of biosecurity practices a priority from Day One,” Thompson says. “In all of our research, we have tried to be practical. The end goal is to make it applicable for all producers.”
Leman was a University of Minnesota veterinarian who dedicated his career to improving the pork industry and the education of practicing veterinarians. After Dr. Leman’s death in 1992, the annual conference that he cofounded was renamed in his honor.
Thompson is also humbled to receive this award during this year’s Leman Conference since 2017 conference is dedicated to the memory of Bob Morrison who was program chairman for the Leman Conference. “Bob called me to tell me that I had received this award,” Thompson says, “and he worked with me on what to present at this year’s conference … it’s an unbelievable tragedy.”
The Science in Practice Award is given annually to a veterinarian who has shown an exceptional ability to utilize science in day-to-day practice.
Throughout the past 20 years, this award has been given to several accomplished veterinary leaders in the swine industry. Nominations and selections of the winner are governed by the Swine Faculty Planning Committee at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.