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Our newest Doctor, Dr. Ryan Walczak (pronounced "Wall-Zack," but we just call him "Dr. Ryan"), obtained his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Virginia Tech in 2014 and has an interesting history. He is a "second-career" veterinarian; previously he was a scientist with over 12 years of research and development experience. He originally co-founded and worked for a technology firm as the Chief Technical Officer, and has a number of patents and scientific publications for chemical processes. When asked why he changed fields and went into veterinary medicine he told an interesting story.
An old boss of his was one of the original founders of a large technology company and was now running 4 different companies but Ryan noticed that he always made time to help out with extracurricular activities with his son. Finally, one day Ryan asked him, how he work so many hours and still find time to particiate in volunteer activities with his kids and his community. He replied to Ryan: "If you want to be successful in life, you have to give back to your community." He said that the community has given him all he has and that he felt it was very important to give back so he always made time.
Ryan thought about that and tried to figure out what he could do to give back. At the time he was living in Gainsville and he called up a local shelter and asked if he could help out. He volunteered his time to help bathe, walk and feed the dogs, clean up poop, etc. He became active in the shelter and even today still sits on their board of directors. He watched veterinarians perform surgery, treat the shelter animals, and he admired what they did. This is when he had what he called his “AH HA” moment where he decided that this is what he wanted to do. So he took on a second career and went back to school where he was considerably older than the rest of the students.
He impressed us as a man who had a deep desire to learn and truly wanted to help out in any way possible. We also felt that his good natured attitude would fit in well at our hospital and he has not let us down. He has a very strong work ethic, a deep desire to learn and to try to educate clients. He is always keeping the best interest of the pets in mind.
Ryan is originally from Buffalo, NY and earned his Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry in 2001 from the University at Buffalo. He Graduated with his Ph.D. in Polymer and Organic chemistry in 2006 from the University of Florida (GO GATORS!!!). His best buddies are Maggie and Jewel, lab/hound mixes that he adopted from a rescue group, and an old crotchety cat named Ashley, whom he adopted from the pound when she was 3 months old.