PENDLETON -- The contributions of Tri-County Technical College's Veterinary Technology Advisory Committee members earned them the honor of 2015 advisory committee of the year.

This is the seventh time the committee has received the trophy. Veterinary Technology Department Head Ashley Brady, longtime Advisory Committee Chair Dr. James Mullikin, Health Education Division Dean Dr. Lynn Lewis, Erin Bouchillon, Veterinary Technology Department Head at Greenville Technical College, Dr. Elizabeth Bryan, veterinarian and adjunct instructor, Stephanie Brown, L.V.T. and Veterinary Technology faculty member, and Joan Venet, administrative specialist, accepted the trophy and plaque on behalf of the committee.

The board also was named the top advisory committee in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010.

"Tri-County's Veterinary Technology graduates make a great contribution to the state and to our profession," said Dr. Mullikin, retired Easley veterinarian.  "When individuals are searching for veterinary technology colleges, Tri-County comes to the top of the list." 

The Veterinary Technology Advisory Board consists of veterinarians who are in private practice and institutional practice, as well as Veterinary Technology graduates who are employed as Licensed Veterinary Technicians (LVT's).

Committee members meet regularly to evaluate and to develop the curriculum, to secure grants, to investigate scholarship opportunities, to promote the College, and to serve as consultants to the department head.  They provide input on the skills and knowledge of the graduates to ensure that the College is current with veterinary medicine.  They also encourage pharmaceutical companies and supply firms to donate to the College's program.

They employ Tri-County graduates and provide externship opportunities that give students positive learning experiences.  "Every veterinarian on our board hires and continues to hire our graduates as technicians in their practices.  It's the supreme vote of confidence," said Brady.

Brady, who is in her first year as department head, commended the committee for being "supportive, creative, involved, dedicated and receptive to change" during this year of transition.  (Former Department Head Dr. Peggy Champion and instructor/L.V.T. Christee Williams retired in 2014.) 

Throughout the year, the committee was instrumental in accomplishing the following:

            This spring Dr. Keith Allen of Upstate Veterinary Specialists sponsored a continuing education event for more than 150 Veterinary Technicians. Dr. Allen was able to secure and provide this all-day event free to all those attending.  In addition, Dr. Allen and his partner, Dr. Dermot Jevens, at Upstate Veterinary Specialists in Greenville, generously provide scholarships for Veterinary Technology students.

Dr. Allen also serves as campaign chair for the College Foundation's major gifts campaign to raise funds for scholarships and animals' medical needs.  College officials broke ground May 21 on a new $1.5 million veterinary technology expanded housing and learning facility that officials say will help the College reach a goal of being the best Veterinary Technology teaching facility in the nation.

 Dr. Kyle Powell, veterinarian at Anderson PAWS, works closely with the Veterinary Technology department to secure cats and dogs for students to care for during the semester as part of the Veterinary Technology program.  Public pet adoptions are held twice at the end of the semesters.      

Committee member Dr. John Parrish of Clemson University continues to provide facilities for the "hands-on" experience for lab animal, horse and cattle lab rotations.

Committee member Dr. Mark Moore, of Seneca Animal Hospital, serves as chair of the department's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which ensure compliance with the USDA and Animal Welfare Act. 

Tri-County is the first technical college in the state to offer an associate degree program in Veterinary Technology.                

            Tri-County's program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and is endorsed by the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians.  It offers training in large and small animal clinical and surgical nursing, various laboratory skills, as well as courses in lab animal technology, office management and computer skills.