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Rich Shuler honored with 2017 Iron Paw Award

Rich Shuler's history of creating innovative animal health companies has been acknowledged with the award of the prestigious Iron Paw. 

The award – given to Mr Shuler at the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC) homecoming dinner – highlights his contribution to the industry over many years.

Currently the president and chief executive of Shuler Consulting Services, he has built a reputation as a successful founder of and mentor to young animal health firms. His consultancy firm draws on his expertise by helping businesses to acquire products and technologies.

Innovation and investment

Animal Pharm also caught up with Mr Shuler the day after he was presented with the Iron Paw to get his thoughts on innovation and investment in animal health. More next week at

Mr Shuler's roster of companies he has founded is long and diverse. He has been involved in establishing: veterinary distribution business Pro Vet; VetLife, a technology start-up that went on to become a pharmaceutical firm; Ivy Animal Health, a generics-focused family business that developed novel differentiated technologies; Ivy Natural Solutions, which is a new business aimed at meeting market needs for non-antibiotic alternatives for performance, health and food safety; and big data specialist AgSpan Analytics, which became the largest analytic cattle is now known as the Benchmark Performance Program.

Recently, he was one of the founders and investors of AGL-Vetrax – an animal sensor company and cloud analytics solution. Animal Pharm spoke to Mr Shuler in 2014 about the wearables space and the opportunity to capture essential data from companion animals. AGL recently launched its Vetrax pet wearable to veterinarians in collaboration with Hill's Pet Nutrition.

Mr Shuler has also aided in the turnaround of several struggling animal health companies, as well as creating successful firms from scratch. His expertise in aiding young businesses has seen him act as a board member for the KC Animal Health Investment Forum Technology Selection Committee from 2013 to 2017.

He holds a BSc in animal science from Iowa State University and a master's in meat science from the University of Nebraska. His connection with Iowa includes his status as an Iowa State Animal Science Hall of Fame Winner.

Mr Shuler has also served on the board of Iowa 4H Foundation, the National Future Farmers of America Foundation and the National Cattlemen's Foundation, as well as the National Cattlemen's Executive Committee.

Last year, Dr William Duncan – a retired president of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute who played a key role in the formation of the KCAHC – accepted the Iron Paw.

In 2015, former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University Dr Ralph Richardson won the Iron Paw award. Animal Pharm also spoke to Dr Richardson in KC to gain his thoughts on the new 1Data initiative.



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