The American Association of Swine Veterinarians highlighted three members for their exceptional service to the swine industry during the 51st Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Recipents are Glen Almond, 2020 Howard Dunne Memorial Award; Lisa Tokach, Meritorious Service Award; and Jer Geiger, Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award.
Howard Dunne Memorial Award
The Howard Dunne Memorial Award recognizes an AASV member who has made important contributions and provided outstanding service to the association and the swine industry. With a personal mission of improving pig health and production through education, research and service, Almond has provided outstanding service to the AASV and the entire swine industry for decades.
He has been a member of the AASV Annual Program Planning Committee, helping to prepare the educational program for at least seven annual AASV meetings. An active member of the AASV Collegiate Activities Committee, he continues to advocate for swine curriculum and students with swine interest. Almond's efforts to enhance the knowledge of swine veterinarians are evident through his service on the Journal of Swine Health and Production editorial board, his participation on the Pig Welfare Symposium steering committee, and the countless scientific abstracts, journal articles and book chapters he has authored.
Almond has participated on the North Carolina Pork Producers Council's Board of Directors and the National Pork Board's Welfare Committee. His service as a veterinary consultant, ad hoc reviewer for numerous international scientific journals and institutional publications, and a member of service committees within his department, college and university help describe his commitment to the industry.
Perhaps Almond's most notable contribution to AASV and the swine industry is his commitment to swine-interested students world-wide. He is a professor of pig health and production medicine at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and advises veterinary students, summer interns, international students and graduate students. Extremely generous of his time devoted to students, his open-door policy demonstrates his drive to help others succeed. As a mentor, he is highly supportive of students and continues to advocate for their success.
Almond credits his own success to the success of his students. "Perhaps the most important individuals who contributed to my career are my current and past students. Their success is my success. I am genuinely proud of their success and contributions to the AASV and the pork industry."
Today, his mentees provide care to one-third of the U.S. swine breeding herd.
Almond holds a bachelor of science from the University of Guelph, a DVM and a master's degree from the Ontario Veterinary College, and a doctorate in reproductive physiology and immunology from North Carolina State University. He also thanks his wife, Judith McLaren, and son Christopher.
Meritorious Service Award
The Meritorious Service Award recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to the AASV.
Originally from Barnesville, Minn., Tokach grew up with beef cattle, quarter horses and a few pigs raised for home consumption with the understanding that animals were a priority and must be cared for first. Milking dairy cows through high school and college, she expected she would become a dairy veterinarian. She has been ever passionate about production agriculture, but it was a swine research project at North Dakota State University that sparked her interest in swine production.
Tokach completed her undergraduate studies in animal science at NDSU. She received her doctor of veterinary medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1990. In 2001, Tokach was appointed as a diplomate in swine health management to the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and reappointed in 2011.
Tokach's early service to AASV began at the encouragement of her mentor, Steve Henry. In her first year after graduation from veterinary school, she joined the Public Relations Committee. She has served on the Pig Welfare Committee and represented AASV on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Welfare Committee. Tokach has been integral in AASV's progress as a professional organization. She helped form new committees, including the Human Health and Safety Committee and the Student Recruitment Committee, helped establish the AASV Foundation, and continues to connect AASV with members by chairing the AASV Annual Meeting Social Media Center. She served two terms on the AASV board of directors representing District 7 and was the 2002 AASV president.
She continues to support AASV through all endeavors that help support the pig, the producer and the swine veterinarian, even joining a new committee and chairing the Foundation Board this year. She has been a mentor to countless students early in their veterinary medicine paths trying to understand the balance of a successful professional career and happy and rewarding life.
Grateful for the association, Tokach states, "I am extremely honored and humbled by this award. The AASV has given me so much in terms of learning opportunities, networking and friendships. My involvement is only a small payback for everything I get out of it."
Tokach lives in Abilene, Kan., where she is a veterinary clinician in general practice at Abilene Animal Hospital, PA. She specializes in swine population medicine and was named AASV Swine Veterinarian of the Year in 2008. She attributes her success to her family — husband Mike; three children Sage, Rogan and Fiona; her parents; two sisters; and her team at Abilene Animal Hospital.
In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking, beekeeping, riding mules and serving organizations that work to solve world hunger.
Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award
Established in 2008, the award recognizes swine industry veterinarians who have demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in delivery of veterinary service to their companies and their clients, as well as given tirelessly in service to the AASV and the swine industry.
Geiger is the product of a small family farm near Alhambra, Ill. In addition to six children, the farm also raised purebred Durocs and Holsteins. Involved in selling breeding stock all his life, a career in veterinary medicine seemed like a natural evolution for Geiger.
With two bachelors of science, a master of science and a doctor of veterinary medicine all from the University of Illinois, Geiger is currently a Health Assurance Veterinarian for PIC North America and resides in Tennessee.
Geiger worked as a private veterinary practitioner for eight years, but since then has served small producers, large producers and corporate pork production systems. He has consulted in more than 20 countries around the globe.
Described by peers and mentees as a true servant leader, Geiger has provided decades of service to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. He represented District 10 on the AASV board of directors, volunteered as a member of the Program Planning Committee for three annual meetings, served as a member of the Swine Welfare Committee and chaired the ad hoc Audit Committee. He represented AASV on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Welfare Committee and helped draft the AVMA euthanasia guidelines as a member of the AVMA's panel on Euthanasia Food and Fiber Animals Working Group.
With each day's motivation to both learn and teach, Geiger instilled his mantra to many students and early career veterinarians: "What do pigs need? Feed, water, air and comfort!"
Upon acceptance of the award, Geiger commented, "This would not happen without the support of a global health team and my family. It means a great deal to us; we are grateful for the recognition."
Geiger considers his greatest accomplishment to be his family — his wife Becky, daughter Rachael, son Nick, and Nick's wife Kaitlynn.