Darwin R. Yoder, DVM, MS
Idaho native, Dr. Darwin R. Yoder graduated from Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1975. Prior to attending Colorado State University, Dr Yoder received his Bachelors degree in Animal Science and Master’s Degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Idaho.After graduation, Dr. Yoder worked as an associate in a private practice located in Shoshone, ID for one year prior to establishing his own mixed animal private practice in Wendell, ID in 1976. In 1994 Dr. Yoder left private practice to accept a position as a technical services veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health. Dr. Yoder retired from that positon in 2001. In January 2001, Dr. Yoder accepted a directorship in the Veterinary Technology program at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas.During the summer of 2001, Dr. Yoder was deployed by the USDA as the member of the veterinarian task force to assist in Foot and Mouth Eradication in the United Kingdom, receiving an award for Meritorious Service during that campaign.Dr. Yoder is a member of the Idaho Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and a member of the Academy of Veterinary Consultants. Dr. Yoder has also served on the advisory committee for food animal medicine for Colorado State University, the Sheep Advisory Board at the University of Idaho, and helped develop the Range Sheep Industry Handbook in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Nevada.Since retirement in 2011, Dr. Yoder continues his activities as a consultant to the range sheep industry. Dr. Yoder’s family includes his daughter Danae and her husband Kelly Klimes, two grandsons, Riley and Nolan and his son Will.
Dennis M. McCurnin, DVM, MS, DACVS
Dr. Dennis McCurnin received the D.V.M. 1966 and M.S. (surgery) 1970 from Iowa State University. Dr. McCurnin owned and operated a three-person small animal practice from 1970-1976 in Phoenix, Arizona. He became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1973. In 1976 he returned to Iowa State University as an Associate Professor of Surgery and Assistant Dean. From 1979-1990 Dr. McCurnin was Professor of Surgery and Director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University and from October, 1990 to July, 2013 he served as Professor of Surgery and Hospital Director, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In October, 2013 Dr. McCurnin retired from LSU after 23 years and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. He now does consulting, lecturing and publishing in the areas of Veterinary Technology and Practice Management. He currently teaches part time in veterinary technology at Pima Medical Institute, Las Vegas and Penn Foster College, Scranton, Penn.
Robert Smith, DVM, MS, DABVP
Dr. Smith received the BS and MS degrees in animal science from Kansas State University, and then served as an Army artillery officer before earning the DVM degree at his alma mater. He then completed a large animal medicine and surgery internship and clinical instructorship at Oklahoma State University. At OSU he later worked as a Field Services Clinician for 15 years, and held the McCasland Chair in Beef Health and Production. He has been in private cattle practice with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services, LLC since 2000.He has served as President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and the Western Veterinary Conference. He chaired the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Cattle Health and Well-being Committee, and currently chairs the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group. He led the working group that developed the beef industry’s Cattle Care and Handling Guidelines.
W. Mark Hilton, DVM, PAS, DABVP
W. Mark Hilton, DVM, PAS, DABVP (beef cattle) is the immediate past president of the board of directors of WVC. He is a senior technical consultant with Elanco Animal Health’s cattle team. Before this Hilton was a clinical professor of beef production medicine at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine for 18 years. He spent the first 15 year’s of his career as a partner in the De Witt Veterinary Clinic, an 80% food animal practice in DeWitt Iowa. Hilton received both his BS and DVM from Purdue. Dr. Hilton was awarded SCAVMA’s national teaching award in 2000, WVC’s continuing educator of the year award in 2009 and in 2013 was named by Bovine Veterinarian one of the 20 most influential bovine veterinarians in North America. Dr. Hilton has been married to his wife, Denise for 37 years. They have two sons, Matthew (Laura) and Steven (Anna) and they have three grandsons and one granddaughter.
E. David Stearns, RVT
Mr. David Stearns is currently the General Manager for VitalRads, a Houston based teleradiology company. Mr. Stearns’ experience includes many years of sales and marketing leadership for industry leading companies in diagnostics and animal health, as well as teaching in an AVMA accredited veterinary technology program. He worked as an RVT in a mixed animal practice and as the hospital administrator of a small animal practice. Mr. Stearns was part of the founding group of NAVTA and is Past-President of the Oklahoma and Kansas Veterinary Technician Associations. He has lectured and authored several articles including a chapter in the Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians. He has served on the AVMA’s CVTEA and chaired the National Board Exam Committee. Mr. Stearns served as the Veterinary Technician Director on the Board of Directors for a five-year term and is currently serving as the Secretary-Treasurer for WVC.
John Burkhartsmeyer, DVM
John Burkhartsmeyer is from Chinook, Montana. He attended Colorado State University from 1968-1976 receiving a BS and DVM degree. After graduation John practiced in Sioux Falls, SD for one year. He then practiced in Helena, MT for nine years before moving to California. In 1986 , Dr Burkhartsmeyer moved to Newhall, Ca where he continues to practice. He was elected to Board of Directors of WVC in 2015 for a term of 5 years after serving as a moderator at the AC for many years. He is an enthusiastic fan of the Oquendo Center, where he continues to take classes, mostly in surgical techniques.
Brian Poteet, DVM, MS
Dr. Poteet earned his DVM and MS degrees at Texas A&M University, followed by a three-year radiology residency at the University of Tennessee in 1994. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiology and the American Board of Science in Nuclear Medicine. From 1994 to 2010, he was the Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, Texas. Currently, Dr. Poteet is the Founder and President of VitalRads, Veterinary Radiology Consultants, based in Cypress, TX. He is an Associate Professor of radiology in the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at Texas A&M University and is also an adjunct professor of veterinary radiology St. Matthews University, Grand Cayman. Dr. Poteet provides consultation services in all areas of diagnostic imaging including digital radiography, computed radiography, ultrasound, cross-sectional imaging (CT and MRI) and nuclear medicine. He has authored scientific journal articles and chapters in textbooks and has presented at numerous national and international veterinary meetings on topics ranging from ultrasound and digital radiography to computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear medicine.
Joan (Joni) Samuels, DVM
Dr. Joni Samuels is the owner of a 3 doctor small animal practice in the beautiful wine country of the Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, California. She has served on many boards since graduating from Michigan State University in 1977. Most recently, she has focused on the education of veterinary students and the life-long learning of practitioners. Although she considers herself a fiscal conservative, she is excited to be on the Board of Directors during this exciting time of growth at WVC. She and her husband, Dr. Charlie Boles, a retired equine surgeon, have 2 grown sons and a grandson. Her free time is spent traveling and gardening.
Gary D. Weddle, DVM
Dr. Weddle hails from Missouri and is a 1978 graduate from the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation he practiced Small Animal and Exotic medicine in private practice until 1993 then went on to practice Exotic Animal Medicine exclusively until 2000 and also established the Veterinary Technology Program at the College of Southern Nevada where he was an adjunct professor. From 2000 until retirement in 2011 he practiced Shelter Medicine. During retirement, Dr. Weddle has been serving on the IACUC Committee of WVC for the past ten years, a surgical examiner for the AVMA ECSVG program, is the USDA Veterinarian of record for the Oquendo Center, and was elected to the Board of WVC in 2015. Since graduation, Dr. Weddle has been to every annual WVC conference. He has served as a session moderator several times for WVC during Conference. His strong appreciation for the great job of providing quality continuing education is the driving factor for his deepening involvement with WVC.Dr. Weddle’s hobbies include falconry, land sailing, fishing, and photography.
Debbie White, DVM, BS
Dr. Debbie White received both her B.S. in Animal Science and D.V.M. from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. After graduation she relocated to Las Vegas with her husband and fellow Purdue veterinary graduate, Dr. Kurt Mychajlonka. She has been in practice for over 20 years as a small animal and exotic animal veterinarian. She owns two veterinary practices and is a partner in several other veterinary practices in the Las Vegas area. Since 2008 she serves as “Dr. Debbie” on the weekly, national radio program, Animal Radio, where she fields pet owner health questions from around the country.Dr. White has been involved with WVC throughout her career in many capacities and shares WVC’s passion for continuing education and career development. She is especially interested in mentorship roles and promotion of personal and professional wellness.
William (Bill) Wright, DVM
Owner of Wright Veterinary Services in Spring Creek, Nevada. The practice deals primarily with beef cattle, but with some equine, and involves traveling to ranches, large and small, throughout NE Nevada. As the chief surgeon for the Dumke-Weeks Spay/Neuter Clinic of the Elko Animal Shelter in Elko, Nevada he has not completely forsaken the Small Animal side of things, and has an ongoing interest in Shelter Medicine. Spent 9 years as an examiner in the Food Animal, Equine and Anesthesia sections of the ECFVG’s Clinical Proficiency Exam given monthly at the Oquendo Center, until elected to the WVC Board of Directors in 2016.Dr. Wright graduated cum laude from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982. A native of NE Nevada’s ‘Buckaroo Country’, he credits his mentor, the late Dr. Jack O Walther, for inspiring him to pursue a career as a veterinarian. He has been a WVC attendee since 1977 and met his wife, Vivian, in the conference exhibit hall when it was still at the Las Vegas Hilton. Other interests include shooting and cycling.
Theresa Fossum, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVS
Theresa (Terry) W. Fossum is VPR and a Professor at Midwestern University. She also serves as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Energy. Dr. Fossum graduated from WSU CVM in 1982, completed an internship at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital in 1983 and a surgery residency and Master’s degree at the Ohio State University in 1987. She received board certification in Surgery (ACVS) in 1987. She joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 1987, where she eventually held an Endowed Chair. In 1992, she was awarded a PhD in Veterinary Microbiology. Dr. Fossum is a previous recipient of the Wiley Distinguished Professor of Veterinary Medicine and the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teacher Awards. She has authored or co-authored over 100 manuscripts in refereed journals. She is the editor of Small Animal Surgery, in its 5th edition. In 2004, she received the Texas Society for Biomedical Research Award. She was named a Distinguished Alumnus at The Ohio State University in 2007 and received the Texas A&M University System “Innovator of the Year Award” in 2008. She currently serves as a Board of Director of WVC and as a Trustee for the AVMA.
Morgan McArthur, DVM
Dr. Morgan McArthur graduated from Iowa State University with a DVM in 1983. He was a large animal practitioner in Idaho for thirteen years. An aversion to public speaking led him to join Toastmasters International to improve his communication skills. He overcompensated for his deficiency and transitioned from being a veterinarian who speaks to a speaker who is a veterinarian.Dr. McArthur managed commercial anthelmintic R&D for a New Zealand company for a decade. Ten years' work in one of the world’s parasite hotspots has made him passionate about progressive parasite management in grazing ruminants. Today Dr. McArthur lives in Wisconsin where he is a professional public speaker, works part-time for the University of Wisconsin Extension, creates fine art photography and is a professional lettering artist. He is president of a charity art organization benefiting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM, SPHR
Veterinary Technician Director
Heather Prendergast has spent over 25 years in the veterinary industry, with 20 years in small animal practice. She has taught several years for both veterinary technology and assistance programs and has authored the book “Front Office Management for the Veterinary Team”, now in it’s 2nd edition. Heather is well known and lectures nationally and internationally, and has authored several articles and participated in published roundtable discussions with the goal of increasing team communication and client compliance within the veterinary practice. Currently, Heather is an Education Development Specialist for Patterson Veterinary University. Heather serves on several advisory boards, including the Western Veterinary Conference Board of Directors, Pet Nutrition Alliance, and the Fear Free Advisory Board. Heather also serves as Co-Chair for the NAVTA Veterinary Nurse Initiative and is the Editor in Chief of the NAVTA Journal. In addition, Heather was named the 2014 Veterinary Technician of the Year, and Western Veterinary Conference 2016 and 2017 Speaker of the Year. Most recently, Heather obtained her SHPR (Senior Professional Human Resources) Certification.
Travis McDermott, DVM
Dr. Travis McDermott was born in Galveston, TX and grew up in a small, rural town called La Grange, TX. He obtained both his undergraduate and veterinary degrees from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. After receiving his veterinary degree in 2006, Dr. McDermott moved to Las Vegas and has been practicing small animal medicine since that time. He is married to his lovely wife Nasim, and has 2 two-legged children (Owen and Aiden) and 2 four-legged children (Cooper and Timon).
Suzanne Russo, DVM, MS
Dr. Suzanne Russo is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and received her BS and DVM. degrees from The Ohio State University and a Masters degree in Human Resource Management from Golden Gate University. She was in small animal private clinical practice for 13 years after which she joined Pfizer Animal Health - initially as a Clinical Research Investigator in the Research and Development division, then multiple roles on the commercial side in Technical Services, Specialty Hospital Services, and Academic and Professional Affairs. In 2012 she became Director, Corporate Accounts Veterinary Medical Liaison and joined the Zoetis team (formerly Pfizer Animal Health) working with the largest and most complex corporate veterinary practice groups. In 2016 she joined VCA as Vice-President of Veterinary Recruiting. She is currently an adjunct instructor with VCDavis in the Knights Landing One Health Clinic.