Annual Conference



Michael Canic

Michael Canic, Ph.D.
President, Making Strategy Happen

Dr. Michael Canic is president and Chief Flag-Bearer of Making Strategy Happen®. Through high-impact workshops, compelling keynotes, and executive advising, Michael helps committed leaders across North America turn ambition into strategy, and strategy into reality. He is the author of the #1 bestselling and acclaimed book, Ruthless Consistency.

Connor Lokar

Connor Lokar
Senior Forecaster, ITR Economics

Few economists present their insights with the authority, accuracy, and humor that Connor Lokar brings to the stage. From the intimate executive retreat to trade association keynotes, he delivers with charm and candor, rousing and enlightening all who attend his talks. As a millennial, Connor brings a new perspective to the world of economics, delivering ITR’s industry-leading accuracy to current C-suite executives while forging connections with the next generation of business leaders. Connor specializes in construction but consults and presents to businesses across all industries, helping them grow revenue and remain profitable through an everchanging business cycle.

Kent D. McClure, DVM, JD

Kent D. McClure, DVM, JD
Associate Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer, American Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. McClure is an Associate Executive Vice President of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Chief Advocacy Officer, leading the federal and state advocacy teams.? He has over 20 years of experience advocating on policy issues important to veterinary medicine and veterinary practice.? He is also a trustee on the AVMA trusts, including the AVMA PLIT and LIFE.? Prior to AVMA, Dr. McClure was the General Counsel for the Animal Health Institute, the trade association for manufacturers of animal health products.? He has practiced law in Dallas, Texas where he represented healthcare providers in malpractice litigation and has practiced veterinary medicine in Arlington and Austin, Texas.? His DVM is from Texas A&M University, and his law degree is from the University of Texas.?

Jim Thomas, PhD

Jim Thomas, PhD
President - The Beta Group, LLC

Dr. Thomas has spent about half his career in advertising, marketing, and research companies and about half in corporate insights and market intelligence in animal health. As a social scientist, for many years his research focused on both companion and production animal veterinarians, pet owners, and livestock producers. While with Bayer and then Elanco he occupied a global role where functioning was one of the connections between research & development and the marketplace. His role included pre-launch and launch experience with EPA, FDA, and USDA products in early-stage development to the marketplace. After leaving Elanco he founded The Beta Group, LLC, and continued working in the animal health sector.

As an adjunct professor Jim has taught undergraduate classes in advertising, industrial/organizational psychology, statistics, marketing, and marketing research, at the graduate level classes included marketing, strategic management, and research.

Jim’s education includes roots in a rural country school in the Midwest and concluded with a doctorate in psychology.