Prior to becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Mike Pownall worked as a farrier for seven years. His interest in equine lameness led him to attend the Ontario Veterinary College, graduating in 2001. In 2002 he and his wife, Dr. Melissa McKee, started McKee-Pownall Equine Services.
Their organization is represented by 3 equine veterinary clinics with 13 vets and 35 support staff spread across the Greater Toronto Area and one practice in Wellington, Florida. He is also a partner with Oculus Insights offering business management and education to veterinarians throughout the world.
Dr. Pownall received his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and was the class valedictorian. He presents internationally on business strategy, human resources, pricing, and marketing for veterinarians. He also contributes to numerous journals on business management topics.
Areas of Expertise & Interest
Developing new business ideas
My purpose in operating my own veterinary business or helping others in the profession is to make the veterinary workplace and profession somewhere that people are eager to go to every day. I want people to be excited to go to work and share that enthusiasm with their clients and patients.
More About Mike
Describe your background in veterinary medicine:
I was a full-time equine veterinarian for 10 years, but the allure of managing the business kept at me until I transitioned into full-time management. I think of making my business better while taking care of my employees as being similar to diagnosing the illness of a sick animal and recommending the appropriate treatments.
Why are you interested in your areas of expertise?
Veterinary medicine is a very challenging business on its own, and the challenges of managing a business make it even tougher. I want to help veterinary team members achieve professional and personal satisfaction so that they remain in the profession for as long as they can.
Why are you involved in Oculus?
When I was studying for my MBA I saw so many opportunities to help veterinary businesses. When I joined Oculus, it was just Joop and Bob and I valued their focus on helping veterinarians and their staff be the best that they can be. That still remains even though we have grown so much. We want to make the profession be something that we all can be proud of.
What has been your most satisfying day or event working with a client?
I remember the first time that a practice owner realized that with a few little changes they could create the business and profession they always wanted. It’s happened several times since then and the feeling of satisfaction never gets old.
What do you wish most veterinary practices would start doing?
I wish veterinary practices would start being proactive and plan their future by creating a strategy to where they want to go. I would also like them to appreciate their staff as assets that make the business better, not as expenses to be minimized. Our people are what makes our business great.
What do you wish most veterinary practices would stop doing?
I really wish veterinary practices would stop being fearful of the future of our profession. There are so many opportunities!
What do you do to relax?
My wife and I love to travel, read, exercise, and go to the theatre. I get my best business ideas when I’m doing something totally different.
What is a secret skill you have?
I’m a bit of a news fanatic. I read so many online sources and magazines every day from all over the world. If you want to know what is going on somewhere I might know a little bit about it.