I started my veterinary degree at the University of Melbourne but relocated to Massey in 2005, joining the class of ’07.
When I arrived at Massey, I was dead set on becoming a fish vet, specializing in aquaculture. Although I do still see a few goldfish, my path completely changed during my time at Massey. My passion for clinical medicine, patient care and client interaction was reignited by the wonderful clinical supervisors I had during this time. Their inspiration, mentoring and connections changed my path. I started my career at the Cliffe Veterinary Group in East Sussex, UK where one of the receptionists had a beautiful daughter, who is now my wife. Massey truly did change my life in more ways than one!
It was here that I honed my large and small animal skills. I played a mixed role at Cliffe favouring small animals/exotics in a 60:40 ratio. On the large animal side, I was involved in herd health, routine work and first opinion practice. I gained significant strengths in surgery, medicine, diagnostic imaging (radiography, ultrasonography and endoscopy) and emergency care while practicing at Cliffe. We were a young, progressive and motivated team. On my first day at Cliffe, the late Dr. John Daykin requested that I wear a tie to work. I’ve worn one everyday since!
In 2009, I moved to London and took on the role of Clinical Director at The Village Veterinary Group, (CVS). My responsibilities centred around the restructuring of a 4 site veterinary group that had shown poor operational and financial performance. Simultaneously, I completed an Executive MBA at Cass Business School, London, focusing on merger and acquisition, corporate finance and managing strategic change.
In December 2011, having identified a niche for a strongly branded group of veterinary hospitals in California, I made the move to the U.S. with Jo and our cat Monstey. Here I oversaw the purchase of my group’s first veterinary hospital, Groveway Veterinary Hospital in March, 2012. I led the ‘change’ process, supporting the 20 staff members through a period of instability, retraining and growth. We now have 5 hospitals and 70 members of staff.
A regular day can get pretty crazy! However, my patients and clinical work always comes first. I have to squeeze the administrative tasks in between.
In June 2017, I was awarded the California Veterinary Medical Association’s Outstanding Veterinarian of the Year award.
How has your Massey University education contributed to your success?
There is no doubt that Massey was a critical turning point in my life. Massey gave me an incredibly solid grounding in all veterinary disciplines and species. The breadth of course material forced us to become problem solvers, which is a necessary way of thinking for any clinical leader. Through Massey contacts, I found my way to Cliffe Veterinary Group in England. Here I had the most incredible new graduate experience. It really set the tone for my professional career. I was the first new graduate Cliffe Veterinary Group had ever hired. I am sure I only got the job because Professor Tim Parkinson made the introduction to Dr. Bill Pepper, Senior Partner and his vet school classmate!
The American Accreditation obtained through the Massey degree also opened up doors for me, allowing me to immigrate to America and build a veterinary business here.
You’ve got a full tank of gas, its dark and you’re wearing sunglasses. Where do you drive?
Into a wall. I’ve got a pretty bad memory and a poor sense of direction.
What advice do you have for current students?
Think big and chase your dreams. When I wanted to go straight to the UK as a new grad everyone said I needed at least two years experience before I went. I went anyway and thrived.
When my wife and I quit our jobs in the UK and immigrated to California to try and start a business, everyone thought we were nuts. We succeeded. This proves with some hard work, determination and perseverance, you can achieve anything!
I think current Massey students should have huge confidence in the education they’ve received. The world is your oyster. Get out there and change it!
Describe Massey University in 5 words
My life’s most important experience