2020 Award Recipients

2020 Executive of the Year
Tim Atkinson
New York State VMS

The 2020 Executive of the Year was presented to Tim Atkinson, New York State VMS. Tim truly embodies those leadership qualities we all aspire to demonstrate especially when faced with unforeseen challenges vacant from any of our strategic plans. He had to demonstrate his tenacity, creativity and generosity at the worst possible time and he leaped into action when COVID-19 devastated his state first with a decisive communication plan that he freely shared with VMAE members who would all too soon also be dealing with the pandemic’s ramifications. Because of his generosity, VMAs were prepared to quickly implement some of those same items for their members.

Tim’s leadership traits are part of his fiber and were also revealed when he first stepped into his position at his veterinary medical association in 2017. He re-imagined and optimized the relationship between his state organization and the 12 regional constituents. Since Tim started at New York State VMS, he implemented staff changes, sought out better investment vehicles and developed plans to increase income from membership, conference and advertising. In one year, he increased revenue by 27% and decreased expenses by 11%. With the turn-around, his veterinary medical association improved their website, launched a Members Assistance Program to provide mental health care services as a member benefit, and incorporated easily accessible online continuing education. His association’s current president summed it up nicely, “The real bottom line is that we now have a solid administrative infrastructure that has enabled our board of directors to focus on serving the needs of our members. This year alone we are initiating programs in Animal Welfare/Shelter Medicine, member career development and wellness, Integrative medicine and Telemedicine. I have been on the Executive Board for 11 years. We have accomplished more for the members in the past two years than we have in the collective 9 years before. We owe a large measure of this success to Tim Atkinson.”

2020 Distinguished Service
Deloris Green Gaines
Tennessee VMA

With more than 30 years of association management and meeting planning, the VMAE Distinguished Service recipient has given an immense amount of time and energy to the veterinary community on many levels. In 2000, Deloris Gaines started DG&Co an association management company serving associations such as: Tennessee VMA, American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, Nashville Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Alabama VMA. To me she embodies the word “service”. During her time with TVMA, Deloris received multiple awards from the local Tennessee ASAE chapter including being listed as “One of 100 Meeting Planners to Watch” by ConventionSouth Magazine.

Not only did Deloris shine as a leader for the associations she managed, her example of leadership on the VMAE board provided a solid base for those of us to follow. From 2013-2019 she served in several position on the VMAE Board of Directors including president. She has been an engaged member of VMAE through educational meetings and has chaired and served on numerous committees.

2020 Best in Business
El Pawso Proud
El Paso VMA

The El Paso VMA was presented the 2020 Best in Business Award for their El Pawso Proud program which reflects originality in content, creativity, and usefulness. The El Paso VMA developed a public outreach initiative to give veterinarians a platform in which to promote animal wellness & vaccination, support the county’s “no-Kill” goal, and provide education on animal organizations in the region. The Association partnered with the local news to produce weekly 1-minute video segments called “El Pawso Proud”. The “El Pawso Proud” segments were delivered by members and covered a wide range of topics such as taking your pet to the vet, registering your pet, to  backyard chickens and donkeys. The segments were done in both English and Spanish and shown on the news, websites, and social media channels.

The Association achieved its goal, with statistics showing that the project has increased their reach into the community by 2 to 3-fold. As the project continues, they look forward to connecting with more people in their community.