Longtime AVMA Executive Announces Target Retirement Date – AVMA Plans for Future
(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) June 12, 2006—American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Executive Vice President Bruce W. Little, DVM, has announced his plan to retire from the association on Dec. 31, 2007.
Executive Board Chair Robert (Bud) E. Hertzog, DVM, accepted Dr. Little's letter of intent during the Executive Board's June 8-10 meeting.
"We are fortunate that, as a direct result of Dr. Little's effective leadership, AVMA is in a strong position," said Dr. Hertzog. "The thoughtful timing of Dr. Little's announcement provides us with a workable timetable that allows ample time to select the best possible successor and ensure a seamless transition. What Dr. Little has accomplished while at the helm of the AVMA has been phenomenal. Over the past decade, he has overseen a continued increase in membership, strengthened the association's finances and developed a skilled and talented staff."
Dr. Little joined the AVMA in 1985 and was promoted to assistant executive vice president in 1986. In January 1996, Dr. Little was named executive vice president of the AVMA.
Under Dr. Little's leadership, AVMA membership has grown 27.6 percent from 57,687 members to 73,603 members. During that time period, AVMA experienced a 42 percent increase in staff, bringing the AVMA ratio of staff to members closer in line to that of other major, national associations.
Dr. Little has seen the association's assets more than double since he assumed the executive vice president position, growing from $19 million in 1996 to $41.6 million today. During his tenure, an average of $1.3 million was placed annually in AVMA's reserve funds.
Many attribute the association's ability to achieve financial stability without annual dues increases to Dr. Little's innovative methods of raising non-dues income. For instance, Dr. Little was instrumental in the profitable sale of the AVMA's original, single-story Schaumburg building and the subsequent purchase of the current, five-story headquarters building for an extremely reasonable price.
This visionary real estate transaction allowed the AVMA to triple its space for just $300,000 more than the sale price of the original building. Indicative of his foresight for growing potential income was his plan, still in effect today, to rent partial segments of the building parking lot, resulting in more than $40,000 of non-dues income annually. Additionally, approximately 50% of the building not occupied by AVMA staff, is rented to long-term, stable businesses.
In addition, AVMA visibility in Washington, D.C., has been dramatically heightened with the purchase and renovation of two adjoining townhouses in the heart of the nation's capital. The building houses the AVMA Governmental Relations Division and provides a meeting place for a wide variety of governmental, regulatory and association leaders. It also signifies the AVMA commitment to advocacy on the federal, legislative and regulatory level.
"I am tremendously proud of the growth of AVMA's assets, outreach and direction," said Dr. Little. "No one individual can run an association of this magnitude by themselves. I am, perhaps, most proud of being able to hire and retain an outstanding group of people who are recognized as the foremost leaders in their areas of expertise."
"As colleagues, we can be justly proud of the great accomplishments of the AVMA under Dr. Little's leadership, and, in particular, the highly credible and competent staff that he has fostered and developed," said Dr. Roger K. Mahr, AVMA president-elect. "He, too, can look with pride upon his outstanding achievements on behalf of the AVMA and our veterinary profession."
Under Dr. Little's leadership, the AVMA has
- Created a stand-alone Scientific Activities Division to provide the best scientific information available in veterinary medicine.
- Developed a stand-alone Animal Welfare Division to address science-based questions involving animal welfare issues.
- Created the AVMA's first Human Resources Department to ensure the AVMA had sound, legally compliant personnel policies and practices.
- Expanded AVMA's annual convention by establishing a stand-alone division dedicated to this event and expanding continuing education opportunities from 350 hours to more than 1,000 hours.
- Increased the percentage of non-dues income through expansion of sponsorships and property acquisitions.
- Fostered global relationships.
- Orchestrated a partnership with the American Animal Hospital Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges to develop the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) to remedy adverse economic issues facing the profession.
- Expanded its Communications Division and fostered its heightened profile with the national and international media.
- Developed the State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department to address state-level issues of importance to members.
"Dr. Bruce Little's announcement brings me both happiness and sadness," said Dr. James E. Nave, AVMA past president. "Happiness, in that he and (wife) Nancy can now have more time to spend with their family and do the things they enjoy; sadness in that our profession will miss the outstanding leadership and service that he has given the AVMA for the past twenty-plus years.
"He has done a wonderful job as the executive vice president and has always put the AVMA first, as evidenced by the long lead time he is giving the Executive Board to provide for a smooth transition," Dr. Nave said. "The team he has assembled to do the work of the AVMA is the best. His vision in so many areas has helped prepare us for the future. His commitment to fiscal responsibility has resulted in the AVMA's sound financial position. His appreciation and understanding of the role of the AVMA as an umbrella organization has fostered unity and membership growth. I thank him for all he has done for me personally and for our profession."
"The AVMA is involved in so many exciting and important initiatives that I've been delaying my retirement," said Dr. Little, who initially planned to retire at the close of 2005. "I am announcing my plans early in order to get the process moving. I am looking forward to the next phase of my life. I have racehorses and grandkids to take care of."
The process for hiring the next executive vice president will include a broad-based search conducted by a search committee which will work with the AVMA Human Resources Division. The committee will be chaired by a representative of the Executive Board and consist of a representative from the House of Delegates and three members selected at large.
The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 73,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. AVMA members are dedicated to advancing the science and art of veterinary medicine including its relationship to public health and agriculture. Visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care and to access up-to-date information on the association's issues, policies and activities.
Michael San Filippo