Varied Interests

There’s a line on Dr. Richard Hill’s resume which sums up his career.

“Multiple positions within the Veterinary Services’ Center for Veterinary Biologics.”  

“In USDA’s Veterinary Services, and throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work on a very wide variety of topics and issues,” Hill said. “I guess you could say I’ve had a non-traditional veterinary career with many diverse opportunities.

“I’ve really enjoyed all my jobs; each stop has been exciting.”

It was during one of these stops at the Center for Veterinary Biologics in Ames that Hill earned a master’s degree (’90) from Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. His long and extraordinary career led the college to make him the recipient of the 2021 Lorraine J. Hoffman Graduate Alumni Award.

Prior to working with the Center of Veterinary Biologics (CVB), Hill was an associate veterinarian in a Michigan animal hospital before accepting a job as a veterinary medical officer in a pilot program with the USDA. In addition to working at CVB, he has also served as the quality assurance manager for the National Veterinary Services Laboratories and the Center for Veterinary Biologics Laboratory in both Ames and Plum Island, New York.

For 15 years he was the co-director and then director of the Center for Veterinary Biologics overseeing the development of a wide variety of new policies, regulations and standards to improve the operation of that program while dealing with new and emerging animal health issues.

As CVB director, he also served as co-chair of the Ames National Centers for Animal Board of Directors, overseeing all aspects of the construction and opening of the $460 million USDA laboratory, support and administration facility in Ames.

Hill concluded his career as the executive director of the USDA’s National Import Export Services. In this position, he led a diverse and multidisciplinary workforce to ensure all animals and animal products imported into, or exported from, the U.S. met appropriate animal health standards.

One of his professional highlights include successfully leading trade negotiations in North American and the Middle East which resulted in the reopening of markets closed due to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the United States.

“I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to work on so many different projects and with a lot of very talented people,” Hill said.

Even in retirement, Hill has stayed active. He is the current president of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, served as a member and chair of an AVMA committee and council, and serves as a site visitor for the AVMA Council on Education.

“Career and work opportunities within the field of veterinary medicine is so varied and I am fortunate to have had some amazing opportunities that have taken me around the globe,” he said.

November 2021