2021 Award Recipients

2021 Executive of the Year
Richard Antweiler
Missouri VMA

The 2020 Executive of the Year was presented to Richard Antweiler, Missouri VMA. Richard truly embodies those leadership qualities we all aspire to demonstrate especially when faced with unforeseen challenges vacant from any of our strategic plans; e.g. COVID-19. Regardless of the pandemic, this year’s executive increased membership, pivoted to a successful virtual conference and strengthened the organization’s financial position. These accomplishments, however, are not endemic to the last year.

Richard’s outstanding leadership traits are part of his fiber and have been visible from when he first began as the organization’s Executive Director more than 21 years ago. Under his tutelage, membership has increased by 25%. Student involvement has skyrocketed. The organization’s foundation has reached a $100,000 endowment goal. He’s been instrumental in advancing veterinary medicine among legislators, the pharmacy board, and agricultural organizations in his state. As noted by one of his board members, “He has grown a strong, vibrant, positive and industry-leading organization.”

Most notably his organization’s leaders described him as objective, professional, courteous, timely, thoughtful, and focused on the association’s present and future. His concern for the organization’s future is evident as he has prepared it for his upcoming retirement by training a protégé to assume the reins. “Always a man of humility and integrity and an unsung hero in this profession,” VMAE is pleased to loudly recognize Richard Antweiler as this year’s Veterinary Medical Association Executive of the Year. Congratulations Richard.

2021 Distinguished Service
Jost am Rhyn
Canadian VMA

Jost am Rhyn, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian VMA, has been a VMAE member since joining the Canadian VMA in 2002. He joined the VMAE Board of Directors in 2017 and served as a Director and as Secretary. He was always a valuable contributor in the VMAE board meetings with the most insightful questions and was able to hone in on the hear of the matter. His presence on the VMAE Board will be greatly missed!

2021 Distinguished Service
Dan Tjornehoj, JD
Minnesota VMA

Dan Tjornehoj, JD has been the Executive Director of the Minnesota VMA since 2006 and has served in many rolls with VMAE. He joined the VMAE Board of Directors in 2012 and served two years as a Director, three years as Treasurer, and three years in the Presidency roll (President-Elect, President, and Past President). Dan has also served on the Awards Committee and several task forces including the Collaboration, Recent Graduate, and the Membership & Bylaws Task Forces. Over the years Dan has put his heart and soul into VMAE.

2021 Best in Business
American Association of Feline Practitioners
Cat Friendly Certificate Program

The Best in Business Award recognizes an organization’s outstanding achievement through a program or campaign that reflects originality in content, creativity & usefulness. This year’s Honoree partnered with leading feline veterinary experts to develop the “Cat Friendly Certificate Program.” The program was developed for all veterinary professionals who see cats in their practice or those who work within other areas of feline behavior and welfare.

The goals of the program were to:

  • Provide better education so more cats receive reduced stress  veterinary care.
  • To provide a way for more individual veterinary professionals to become cat friendly.
  • And to increase the standard of veterinary care provided to cats.

The Association achieved its goals, with over 2,500 registrants and over 6,500 hours of education modules consumed since its launch last October.