||Dr. Dee Ellis Selected to Take Reins
of Texas Animal Health Commission
(Austin, Texas - Tuesday,
December 8, 2009) - Veterinarian Dee Ellis of Rockdale has been named
as Texas’ new state veterinarian and executive director of the Texas
Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state’s livestock and poultry
health regulatory agency. Dr. Ellis will replace Dr. Bob Hillman, who
will retire December 31 after serving in livestock and poultry health
leadership capacities for more than three decades and as Texas’
state veterinarian nearly seven years. The 13 governor-appointed TAHC
commissioners, representing the public, livestock and poultry industries,
announced the selection of Dr. Ellis at the TAHC commission meeting in
Austin Tuesday, December 8.
“I am confident that Dr. Dee Ellis will be a fine state veterinarian
and TAHC executive director. For five years, Dr. Ellis has served as the
TAHC assistant state veterinarian, and his work ethic, abilities, training
and qualifications are exemplary,” said TAHC Chairman Ernie Morales
of Devine, who also represents the feedlot industry on the 13-member commission.
“I am proud to have served as a commissioner during Dr. Bob Hillman’s
service at the TAHC and wish him the best in his retirement. In preparing
for his succession, Dr. Hillman mentored and prepared staff for leadership,
and Dr. Ellis is ready for this new challenge as executive director,”
said TAHC Commissioner Coleman H. Locke, beef industry representative
and a member of executive search committee.
Dr. Ellis, originally from Comanche, was raised with a farming and dairy
background. While completing his animal science degree from Southwest
Texas State University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos, Dr.
Ellis worked as a TAHC animal health inspector.
In 1984, Dr. Ellis obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine at Texas
A&M University, and practiced as an associate veterinarian in Gonzales.
He returned to the TAHC as a field veterinarian in Wharton during some
of the toughest battles to eradicate cattle brucellosis. Recognized for
his leadership and innovation, Dr. Ellis was promoted in 1986 to area
director for Central Texas, a position he held for 18 years. In 2002,
Dr. Ellis completed a master’s degree in Public Administration from
Texas State University. In 2003, he transferred to the TAHC’s Austin
headquarters as the staff veterinarian to oversee the statewide cattle
tuberculosis (TB) testing dairies and purebred beef cattle, and a year
later was named assistant state veterinarian
“Dr. Ellis has invaluable field experience fighting foreign animal
diseases. He was detailed to Great Britain during the foot-and-mouth disease
outbreak in 2001, helped eradicate exotic Newcastle disease in California
and Texas in 2003, and worked on the Texas avian influenza outbreak in
2004. He is a foreign animal disease diagnostician, and has broad experience
in emergency management and epidemiology,” said Chairman Morales.
“Dr. Ellis is nationally recognized among regulatory veterinarians
and policy makers, has worked closely with Mexican animal health officials
on cattle disease issues, and has been sought after as a speaker for livestock
industry meetings. He can quickly ‘digest’ a problem and seek
solutions with working groups, an attribute that we have come to appreciate
and expect from the TAHC’s excellent leadership.”
“The TAHC’s role has expanded in recent years to include
not only disease, but also disasters. Dr. Ellis and the TAHC staff have
gained invaluable experience in handling animal issues during Hurricanes
Rita and Ike, wildfires in the Panhandle and floods in East Texas. Under
his leadership, the TAHC will be ready to work closely with the livestock
and poultry industries to address dire situations, whether it is a disease
outbreak, manmade or natural calamity,” said Mr. Locke.
Dr. Ellis resides in Rockdale, near Austin, where he has been involved
in civic groups and youth sports activities. He and his wife Cheryln,
math and science curriculum specialist for the Rockdale Junior High and
High schools, are the parents of Toni and Chris, a senior and a sophomore,
respectively, at the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University
in College Station.