Julie Legred, CVT, has been named the interim executive director of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Legred, who served as president of the organization in 2008 and again in 2011, replaces Andrea Ball, president of PlanIt World, a management company. In addition, Kara Burns, MS, MEd, LVT, a former NAVTA Technician of the Year, has also agreed to serve as interim communications director. She replaces Sandy Sponaugle, president and CEO of Platinum PR, a communications company.
“Andrea and Sandy were brought on for a purpose, and that was to increase our membership and to market and promote veterinary technicians,” Legred told DVM Newsmagazine. “They did what they came to do. They got our word out there. And it’s always been NAVTA’s goal to be run by technicians. And we felt we were in a place now that we could do that.”
Legred (right, who owns a swine genetics company with her husband) cites the increased numbers of veterinary technician programs and Ball’s and Sponaugle’s efforts to reach out to these technicians for the organization’s growth. “Right now we’re a little more than 8,000, and when Andrea and Sandy came on we were about 3,200 to 3,400,” she says.
While Legred says they’re still in planning stages of the transition, one of her goals is to get more technicians involved. “We’ve always wanted that, but I think it’s a time in our profession where that’s feasible to do. More and more specialties are coming about and the veterinary profession is starting to realize the importance of technicians in all realms of veterinary medicine,” Legred says. In the future, she says, she hopes NAVTA will grow to where the organization can open up more positions to technicians, much like the AVMA.
Beginning January 1, 2013, Legred and Burns will begin the restructuring full time, without the assistance of Ball and Sponaugle. The NAVTA board will evaluate their progress after six months.
When Legred looks to the future of the profession, she says she believes it’s critical for veterinary technology to be viewed as a true profession and for technicians to be fully utilized. “In every position technicians are utilized in a different way,” Legred says. “It’s important for people to realize what a technician is and for the profession to utilize them to their greatest capacity, whatever their position is—whether it’s in research, small animal practice, large animal practice, or many of the other facets of veterinary medicine. Technicians have a lot of capabilities, and they need to be viewed as capable of filling these roles.”
In the next few months, Legred says she wants to gather feedback from technicians. “We need to hear from our members and technicians out there—we all need to work as a true profession and team,” Legred says. “We need everyone to chime in. If we’re doing things well or not so well, we want to hear from members so we can move the profession forward.”