“Roll into town step off the bus,
Shake off the where you came from dust,
Grab your guitar, walk down the street,
Sign says Nashville, Tennessee,
But I have found,
It's a crazy town full of neon dreams,
Everybody plays everybody sings”
–Jason Aldean, “Crazy Town”
Nashville, Tennessee has a lot to offer a country music fan like myself. When I was invited to attend AAHA Nashville 2017 as my first veterinary trade show, the Music City had even more to offer. Having been on stage a small handful of times, I can appreciate the nerve-wracking feelings of performance. As Jason Aldean sings in his song “Crazy Town,” everybody plays music and everybody sings. It’s all around you, everywhere you go. Nashville is where musicians and song writers go to make it big. They play from late morning when Broadway wakes up until early morning when Broadway goes to sleep. Being up on stage feeling the heat of the lights, hearing the buzz of the crowd is amazing. It’s like electricity; a hum of energy all around you. I had the chance to experience that energy again at the AAHA conference where country music met veterinary education. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) conference was held at Music City center which spans the length of three blocks of downtown Nashville. When compared to the iconic Tooties Orchid Lounge, which is less than half of one block, it is truly an incredible amount of space. Within the expansive venue, the PARATEST product had its moment to shine… and it stole the spotlight! Interest was represented from across the US and Canada, from Practice Managers and Veterinarians through Veterinary Technicians and students. PARATEST received the “ooo”s and “ahhh”s we had hoped for with its sleek all-in-one design and 15-day stability that allows the users to process at their convenience. It’s brawn and brain together in a mess-free container. We exhibited the freedom in PARATEST’s processing by explaining it does not require the user to wait for that perfect window before the slip cover crystallizes. It simply gets inverted for 15 minutes while the patented filter holds back debris and allows parasites to fall through. We also provided the attendees at the show with our on-going research showing PARATEST’s strength compared to the standard floatation method. A true show-stopper! I felt especially honored to be a part of the AAHA Nashville 2017. I heard from several attendees that this is their favorite show and they attend every year. There is an extremely loyal group that respects the value the show brings with it wherever it travels. I could easily see that value when I saw that on the tradeshow floor, the AAHA sponsored a local shelter to bring in kittens for an enclosed “Cat Lounge”. With a donation of your choosing, you could go play with kittens that were up for adoption in the local Nashville shelters! It’s amazing that I didn’t come home with four new cute family members! Our team’s training from two other tradeshows this year put us in the perfect position to increase our efficiency at our booth, and speak with everyone that expressed interest. You can certainly tell that these individuals love their jobs when they excitedly come over to your booth to find new ways of making their practice more efficient and treatments better geared towards patient care. I can’t wait to attend more conferences and shows like this to help PARATEST become the best new product every Veterinarian, Technician, and Practice Manager has ever seen.
You know that feeling when you’ve been working so hard at something (such as a college degree) or waiting so long for something (such as a walk down the aisle with Mr. or Ms. Right)? “The Day” arrives, and there’s that mental volley that takes place over the net of insecurity tied between your ears: “Oh my gosh…it’s finally here…am I ready…can I do this?” You look like a dog at the edge of a dock wanting so much to reach that enticing, bobbing, floating tennis ball.
Then what? You jump in with both feet! You paddle, swallow a little water, and sink your teeth into your goal. It feels good! A little help to dry off behind your ears, and you’re ready to go again.
That was me last week. After many months of meetings, preparation, trial and error, more meetings, feedback, great ideas, lousy ideas, a few more meetings, and an indescribable amount of focus and determination by co-workers and peers, I arrived at my first veterinary trade show to help launch a new product… I jumped in and got my first tennis ball. Thankfully, I’m part of a great pack.
The 2017 North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) Conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL from February 4 - 8. The OCCC venue was a new home for the convention, as NAVC outgrew the previous locations. As a side note, the name “NAVC” is changing as well: Starting in 2018, the conference will be known as the Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX).
Suffice it to say, #NAVC2017 is big. Like, ‘Great Dane’ big. Like, 'Take-a-Bus-to-a-Satelite-Parking-Lot-Just-to-Get-to-Your-Rental-Car' big. Despite its size-ness, everything ran efficiently and looked pretty slick. Yes, there were interminably long lines at the lunch stands which resulted in my bolting across the street for a bite at the Hyatt, but I needed to get my daily five minutes of Florida vitamin D (aka “Sun”) anyway.
Our product offering, PARATEST,® a self-contained, eco-friendly parasitological test system for companion animals, was well-positioned. There was no doubt the product belonged there. We were excited to capture the eyes, ears, and hearts of veterinarians, vet technicians, and staff. These are our people, and we sincerely enjoyed our conversations with them. Our booth display, backlit and compelling, drew attendees in with a curious gaze. One after another, they asked, "What’s this little bottle of green liquid for?"
The interaction between our team and the attendees was good-natured and excited. After all, the discussion revolved around the joys and tribulations of conducting fecal testing in-clinic or in-hospital. The inevitable “toilet humor” never ceased.
At the same time, we also learned a great deal about what’s important to these men and women who have made animal care their profession and calling. Perhaps it’s the nature of working with pets - these lovable, thinking-and-feeling beings that can’t quite tell us when something’s wrong but still really need our help - that give these professionals a softer, more approachable side. Animals need to trust implicitly, and these pet care professionals know how to cultivate that trust with ease.
Time to dry off, maybe eat some bacon, and get back out on the dock. The Western Veterinary Conference is next and I’m looking forward to diving in again with both feet… or rather, all paws!
Come see PARATEST® at Booth 3746 at WVC on March 5 – 9 in Las Vegas, and follow us on Facebook in the meantime!