VMAE Awards Program

Each year VMAE recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of our members and the work they do on behalf of their associations during our Annual Summer Conference. Awards are presented for the following categories:

  • Executive of the Year
  • Best in Business
  • Distinguished Service

The 2024 awards will be presented at the VMAE Annual Awards Luncheon on June 21 during the AVMA Convention in Austin, TX.

2023 Executive of the Year
John Tramontana
Michigan VMA

The 2023 Executive of the Year was presented to John Tramontana, Michigan VMA. VMAE is pleased to loudly recognize John as this year’s Veterinary Medical Association Executive of the Year. Some of his highlights include:

  • A full scale strategic planning retreat for the Michigan VMA board which was completed in his first year with much of the plan completed over the last three years.
  • Financial stability has been maintained, even with the pandemic and the lack of in person CE during that time.
  • A new organizational membership model was instituted that has led to an increase in our membership.
  • Increased communication and interaction with affiliated members of the veterinary profession including veterinary techs, office staff, etc. There has
    been a continued effort to foster relations with the college of veterinary medicine and veterinarians working in our state government.
  • Expansion of the Michigan VMA quarterly news magazine and the establishment of a weekly email letter the Weekly Paws.
  • Made Advocacy a cornerstone of their mission. The PAC has increased by a twenty-fold amount largely in part by his leadership.
  • Increased members involvement not only in the state association but in the AVMA. More members have joined AVMA committees than in the

Besides all of these accomplishments with his association, the recipient has become a national and state leader in the field of veterinary medical executives. He currently serves on the VMAE Board of Directors and is Co-chair of your DEI Committee. He is the current President of the state executive’s association and
passionately serving a second term on the local school board. Congratulations John!

2023 Distinguished Service
Randy Wheeler, DVM
Iowa VMA

Dr. Randy Wheeler, Iowa VMA, has been a VMAE member since joining the Iowa VMA in 2013. He joined the VMAE Board of Directors in 2018 and served as a Director, Treasuer, and President. His leadership skills, as well as his insight has provided distinguished guidance for the board and VMAE.

Debra Hamelback
Kentucky VMA
Executive Director

2023 Best in Business – Under $750k Annual Budget
Kentucky VMA
Pet Oxygen Mask Program

When it comes to emergency situations, having a strong relationship between veterinarians and emergency personnel is key. The Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA) established the Pet Oxygen Mask Kit program to aid in connecting veterinarians with first responders. By partnering with KVMA, members are now able to purchase pet oxygen kits and provide them to their local fire departments and first responders to help save pet lives in emergency situations.

KVMA is working with their members to ensure every county emergency vehicle is equipped with a pet oxygen kit. The program has garnered attention from local news outlets bringing positive attention to the KVMA and its’ members. Since the program’s inception in 2019, there have been 433 oxygen masks purchased and personally delivered to emergency providers by their members. In addition, the KVMA has been notified of 3 pets who were saved by the use of the pet oxygen mask provided through this program.

As they should be, the KVMA is proud of this very important project that helps our pets in emergency situations. The veterinary clinics are appreciative of having the opportunity to give back to their communities in this way. This partnership is helping save pet lives in Kentucky!

Dr. Ned Patterson
MVMA board member
Chair of the MVMA DEI Task Force

2023 Best in Business – Over $750k Annual Budget
Minnesota VMA
DEI Work Study Partnership

The MVMA fostered a partnership between our association, Mission Animal Hospital and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School- Twin Cities, to employ a team of four students through the Cristo Rey Corporate work study program in a veterinary hospital. These four students share a full 40-hour work week throughout the academic year.

The partnership came to be through a proposal from MVMA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Team. The MVMA is committed to increasing representation, support, retention, and accessibility in the veterinary profession to foster a sense of belonging within our communities. While looking for ways to inspire change the DEI Action Team decided one way to take action would be to grow relationships with youth in diverse communities.

The purpose of the partnership is to ensure the future of Veterinary Medicine in Minnesota is diverse and accessible to all. In addition, the MVMA wishes to be a pilot for similar corporate work study programs across the country.