The new year will leave some large shoes to fill in CDFA’s Division of Animal Health and Food Safety Services with the retirements of Animal Health Branch Chief Dr. Kent Fowler and animal health specialist Victor Velez.
Dr. Fowler steps down after 16 years at CDFA – his second career after more than 25 years in private practice in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, where he treated large animals with a specialty in equine medicine. At the Animal Health Branch, Dr. Fowler provided key insight and leadership during a multitude of emergency disease control efforts, including the recent Virulent Newcastle Disease incident in Southern California. He also garnered national respect as an equine health expert, often advising state and federal partners while modernizing animal health strategies.
Victor Velez is retiring after 34 years at CDFA, a career that has seen him make important contributions to emergency disease eradication, animal identification and traceability, animal movement permitting, data management, and division-wide process improvement. Velez also worked closely with CDFA secretaries Bill Lyons Jr. and AG Kawamura as an assistant in Mexican and Canadian affairs.
“We will miss the contributions of these two respected professionals more than they know,” said California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones. “Fortunately, as is the case with all great leaders, they have built a strong team ready to step-up and ensure that our programs meet tomorrow’s challenges.”