Northeast Vet Tech Graduate Works for Animal Health Company

Published on: July 7, 2020 ,

A graduate of the Northeast Community College veterinary technology program is working for a global leader in the animal health industry.

Christi Brunz, who graduated from Northeast in 1999, has been working for Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in St. Joseph, MO since 2011.  Her role began with the company as a Specialist, Veterinary Technical Solutions, Sr. Specialist, Veterinary Technical Solutions, and her current role is a Group Leader, Veterinary Technical Solutions. 

“My primary role is answering technical questions concerning the products that the company manufactures for veterinary customers,” Brunz explained. “We also create reports available to USDA, FDA and EPA regarding any of the products we manufacture when there’s a technical product complaint, suspected adverse event, or suspected lack of efficacy with the products.”

Brunz, a native of Omaha, says she worked at a veterinary clinic as a senior in high school, and then for another clinic for a few years after graduation before enrolling at Northeast in 1997. Her career path then took her from raising colostrum deprived calves and dairy heifers to another companion animal veterinary clinic, a compounding pharmacy that provided drugs for veterinary customers, Highlands Animal Hospital in Lincoln and finally to Boehringer Ingelheim. She has also earned her bachelor’s degree online from the University of Missouri.

According to Brunz, Boehringer Ingelheim hires veterinary technicians. “It is difficult for us to find candidates with a diverse technical background and familiarity with clinics,” she said. “The reason it is so beneficial for it to be a technician is they have the medical background, technical knowledge, and the clinical experience. When talking to a customer, whether animal owner or veterinary clinic, having been there, done their role, it creates natural empathy.”

Brunz said she picked Northeast in 1997 for several reasons. One was the personal interaction with Vet Tech Program Director Dr. Mike Cooper and the rest of the faculty on her first visit to the campus. She said the facilities impressed her, and she wanted to have experience with both large and companion animals.

“I feel like I received diverse training there,” Brunz said of Northeast. “I acquired a lot of different skill sets and was provided with hands on experiences with large and companion animals. Within the role that I have now, I’m actually cross-trained and capable of handling calls on both the companion animal and large animal queues, and that is a credit to the experiences and information I obtained from Northeast.”

“Always look for other opportunities that may be available to you,” Brunz advised other vet tech graduates. “We like to stay in our squishy, soft, safe bubbles, but thinking outside the box, there really are a lot of different avenues you can go into within the industry itself, whether that’s R&D, regulatory affairs or even quality control.”

“You have to apply,” Brunz said, “and I highly recommend you have a professional resume, a beefed up resume.”

Brunz said she is excited that future vet tech students at Northeast will have the opportunity to learn in new facilities planned through the Nexus campaign. The initial phase of construction includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work is underway, and construction should be completed by the Fall of 2021.

The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost is $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at tracyk@northeast.edu, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.