LAS VEGAS — After a decade as The Animal Medical Center's (AMC) president and chief executive officer, Dr. Guy Pidgeon resigns his New York post to steer Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) in Las Vegas.
The offer lent itself to a "classic case of networking," Pidgeon says. At 58, the internal medicine specialist plans to join the nation's largest veterinary show as its assistant director, going from managing a $30-million budget and 360 employees to overseeing 10 full-time WVC staff members.
"It's certainly a very different job, but it has immense challenges," Pidgeon says, referring to the show's growth and rising construction prices that have delayed plans for WVC's $9.3-million Oquendo Center for Clinical Education. "But there is no evidence that construction costs are going down, and this makes a major statement for the future. This will be a superior adult learning center, offering master classes for veterinarians that they can't get anywhere else."
Additional convention challenges are tied to the profession's gender shift, Pidgeon says.
"These conferences in another 10 years are going to be 75-percent female attendees; we have to be very sensitive to attract them," he predicts.
Future in balance
The move to Las Vegas, scheduled this summer, forces Pidgeon to resign his term as an American Veterinary Medical Association Executive Board member. Yet the timing allows him to exit AMC on a high note, with the non-profit teaching and emergency hospital fully staffed and its endowments doubled.
But Pidgeon cites concern that AMC's good fortune might not last given the influx of specialty practices opening in the dense New York City area.
"The world around AMC is changing," he says. "With all the competition, we have to keep in the mind and hearts of referring veterinarians, and there's competition to keep patients coming through the door. It's a steady competitive pressure on several levels."
Pidgeon remains optimistic about AMC's lasting health. In his 30-year career, which included a stint as an AMC intern in the 70s, Pidgeon has witnessed "tons of advances," including a $15-million facelift of the hospital's 1962 building.
"I adore AMC; it's a wonderful institution," he says. "I've had 10 wonderful years. It's a good time to leave."