Peddie plans to retire from AVMA in 2005

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SCHAUMBURG, ILL.-Dr. James Peddie is leaving his post as American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) treasurer as well as his teaching position at a california community college.

SCHAUMBURG, ILL.—Dr. James Peddie is leaving his post as American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) treasurer as well as his teaching position at a california community college.

Embarking on retirement, Peddie, 64, plans to make next year's AVMA convention in Minneapolis his last. His six-year tenure is preceded by his work as an AVMA delegate and his role as treasurer of the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). Most recently, Peddie's record is highlighted by efforts to buffer the nation's economic downturn, build AVMA's reserve and impart wise investment advice.

Literary biography

"I inherited a sound organization, and I'm pleased to be leaving it that way," Peddie says. "As treasurer for CVMA for nine years, I guess you can say I learned from the school of hard knocks. To be honest, it's philosophical. A treasurer is there to safeguard the funds, but you're also there to administer funds for the good of the membership. I think one of the most important things I've learned is to not hoard the money."

That was exemplified last month as AVMA announced the purchase of a $2.5 million brownstone on Dupont Circle in Washington, designed to house the association's Governmental Relations Division. Culminating four years of hard work, Peddie says it tops his list of greatest achievements.

"I'm very pleased to have spearheaded this drive to get us a permanent home in Washington," he says. "It's a wonderful asset."

Showing growth

Assets on the financial side include AVMA's estimated $20 million reserve. Despite baring scars from the nation's economic downturn, AVMA has turned around its financial standing. In response, Peddie expects to rescind plans to increase membership dues by $25 to total $275 a year for most members. To offset investment losses, the fee had been raised twice in the past two years.

"Four years ago, we had $1 million in assets," Peddie says. "Then the market sank and that million dropped to $300,000. We really had to do some scrambling. I know I felt tremendous gratitude to the AVMA House of Delegates on those occasions when I had to ask for more money in the form of dues increases. They had every right to question me, and no one ever did. That meant a lot."

Area of concern

Peddie doesn't expect another dues increase to crop up for three to five years, so now he's tackling issues that are harder for AVMA to control. At presstime, Peddie planned to voice his concerns during the House of Delegates meeting July 23-24 in Philadelphia, focusing on AVMA plans to co-host the World Veterinary Association's meeting next year alongside its own annual convention. Additional costs are expected to exceed $1 million, he says.

"That's a substantial amount of money," Peddie says. "I realize these plans were made a long time ago and AVMA is obligated, but I'm concerned because all it takes is one terrorist attack ... We've looked into it, and there aren't any insurance companies covering acts of war."

From hospital to Hollywood

Allocating funds and researching insurance companies make up a fraction of Peddie's career, which began when he received a DVM degree from Cornell University in 1965, followed by postgraduate training in 1975 at the University of Missouri. By 1965, Peddie was employed in a small animal general practice, and from 1966 to 1968, served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, AVMA officials say. He also spent 29 years as part owner and chief of surgery at the Conejo Valley Veterinary Clinic in Thousand Oaks, Calif., AVMA officials add.

Peddie is now ending a 13-year career as an instructor and staff veterinarian of the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College, Moorpark, Calif. He and his wife, Linda Reeve, DVM, also own "Drs. Peddie," a veterinary practice limited to animals of all species working in the motion picture and television industry.

Public service record

Peddie has been active in organized veterinary medicine for most of his career, serving as president of the Santa Barbara Ventura Veterinary Medical Association in the early 1970s. At the state level, Peddie is a CVMA member, worked as the association's treasurer from 1988 to 1989 and 1991 to 1999 and held a CVMA Board of Governors seat from 1980 to 1987. From 1994 to 1999, Peddie was treasurer of the California Veterinary Medical Foundation.

On the national level, Peddie has represented California in AVMA's House of Delegates. He also has held membership in the American Animal Hospital Association, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, Society of Aquatic Veterinary Medicine and National Tuberculosis Working Group for Zoo and Wildlife Species, AVMA officials say. Peddie was named Distinguished Practitioner and Member by the National Academy of Practice in Veterinary Medicine in 1997.

"I've had two jobs for years, so it will be tough for me to get used to retirement," Peddie says. "It will be even harder for me to leave AVMA."

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