If you permit, I’d like to share some news about a new employee of my Animal Policy Group, Samantha (“Sam”) Geiling, RVT, of Burnsville, Minnesota. Sam was just awarded Vet Tech of the Year by the national association, NAVTA. She became my Chief of Staff last June and earned this award, so let me tell you how and why.

After a four-year stint in the Navy following high school, Sam earned her AS degree in Veterinary Technology, and passed the VTNE national board exam to become a credentialed Vet Tech. Sam then set out a path that tells the story of challenges and success for vet techs across the country.

After working in a clinic, Sam moved with her husband to his native Hawaii and she got to work on Veterinary issues in a big way:

  • Sam helped launch the first vet tech educational program in Hawaii serving all of the islands.
  • She launched the Hawaii Vet Tech Association.
  • Sam joined the faculty of the Hawaii Vet Tech community college program and helped build the curriculum.
  • Not content to stop there, Sam led the effort to convince the Hawaii Legislature to license vet techs. Licensure is a passion for Sam.
  • In her spare time, Sam became Co-Chair of the NAVTA Government Relations Committee.

Sam epitomizes the talented young professional who never takes “No” for an answer and leads initiatives where no one tried before. Veterinary care in Hawaii is more professional and effective because of the work Sam did. She’s always involved in more than one passion or cause at a time and serves as an example for younger vet techs across the country. If you doubt that one person can make a difference, get to know Sam and you’ll never doubt again.

My Animal Policy Group was lucky enough to recruit Sam last June and she serves as Chief of Staff . . . which may as well be called Chief of Getting Things Done. Right now, she’s my sidekick in working on accreditation for six new Veterinary schools in the United States. Sam understands the need for more professionals to address shortages and improve access to care.

I hope you’ll forgive my pride and respect for Sam Geiling and her story. She’s a model for young professionals in pet healthcare, and there’s more to come.