My father is obviously one example; I am familiar with a number of other examples of the same thing happening. I am also familiar
with a bunch of temporary veterinarians getting together and starting their own practices. So the model is absolutely changing.
We don't have the first-year veterinarian associate who's going to work for three years and then buy in slowly over five any
longer. That's not very common any more, but there is definitely a future in private practice ownership of veterinary medicine.
People are just going to be more creative and look in different places to find their perspective buyers. It's not going to
be as traditional as it used to be.
Dr. Lane asked me to comment on how I feel about mergers and pooling affiliations. I find the more complex you make it, the
less fun it is for everybody. So I am not a big fan of very complex sharing arrangements and buy/sell agreements and things
like that. With that said, I just put together a big equine group of four different practices merging together in Ohio. I
think they will do wonderfully together having pooled their resources. So with the right personalities, it can work. I think
that as we go forward, the big issues will be recognizing new associates have large debts they have to pay off before they're
in a position to buy into anything. They can earn in at an earlier age if they're interested in that, but they need the education
to know that those options are available. Older practice owners need to open up their minds to something besides a traditional
transfer by sale which is what we have been used to.
Dr. King: Every veterinarian in this room has had, or will, have approximately 100,000 hours of service to dedicate across their professional
lives. We all will make decisions about how much time to distribute to our professional, personal, family, philanthropic,
and, continous learning areas of life. I believe that our newest veterinarians are thinking about this allocation differently.
I have also found that our students are interested in developing a strong business acumen and learning non-technical skills
that might ensure their future success both in a business sense and in a client/patient sense. Being a good business person
and a good practitioner are not inconsistent goals. At the same time, being a good business person doesn't necessarily translate
to just working longer hours.