Some Virbac employees came to work here straight out of college. Others waited 25 years.
By Malcolm Mayhew
That’s how long it took for David Whetstone, Regional Sales Manager (RSM) for the Mountain Region, to make his way to Virbac after he graduated from Kansas State University.
David spent most of those years as a veterinarian, running his own practice. That was, after all, his lifelong dream. Surrounded by animals of all kinds, he had grown up on a small farm outside Kansas City, learning how to work with, live with and care for animals.
“It’s what led me to being a veterinarian and ultimately the animal health industry,” he says. “I absolutely loved farming, but I knew our little farm wasn’t big enough to live off of. So for me, being a veterinarian was a way for me to stay involved in agriculture and the farming industry.”
After graduating from college in 1993, David spent the next 23 years as a DVM, practicing in the Wichita, KS, area. Wanting to try his hand at another occupation, he sold his practice and took a business manager position at a local energy company, which was followed by a brief return to the veterinary world.
Finally, in 2018, David made his way to Virbac, initially as a Field Technical Services Veterinarian (FTSV). With more than two decades worth of experience as a DVM, David was practically a natural fit for this role, although there was a slight learning curve, he says. "Becoming more technically sound and being able to talk about the technical aspects of the entire portfolio was probably my biggest challenge," he says. "There was definitely a lot of time spent studying.”
Four years in that job, he made a major career pivot, landing the Regional Sales Manager position for the newly created Mountain Region.
“I was looking for the next challenge in my life,” he says. “When I was a veterinarian, I really enjoyed working with the Virbac sales reps. I even became friends with some of them. I used Virbac products on a regular basis and had a lot of respect for the people who worked on and sold the products.”
The job was a major change of pace from what he’d been doing at Virbac. “I went from having no reports, managing no one except for myself, to having seven Territory Sales Managers (TSMs) on my team. That was probably the biggest change for me."
David works very closely with his team to make sure they’re successful in whatever goal they’re trying to achieve, he says.
“I just want to make sure that I’m an asset to my team,” he says. “I definitely see the role as a servant and, I know it sounds cliche, but I absolutely don’t see myself as a manager. I see myself as a leader. My seven reps are my customers and every day for me is just about how can I help my customers?”
While David’s work life has greatly changed, his home life has not. Just like he was growing up, David remains surrounded by animals.
“We have two golden retrievers and these are our fourth and fifth golden retrievers,” he says. “I love golden retrievers. Their names are Toast and Tiger. We have three cats as well. My wife and I both grew up with animals. She grew up on a cattle ranch, which is where we live now. Animals have always been a big, big part of our lives and also the lives of our kids. I don’t think that’ll ever change.”