The idea of VetEvolve was born in 2006 in Al Anbar province, Iraq, of all places. Founders Paul Habenicht and Nick Lodestro were on their last deployment with their Marine Reconnaissance unit when they thought “What are we going to do when this is over?” They didn’t yet have the answer, but they knew it consisted of doing something together. They had no idea it would be in the veterinary profession. As their service time drew to an end in the summer of 2007, they started down their own paths, Paul to business school at UVA and Nick to IDEXX Laboratories.
They stayed in touch and continued to shape their vision. In 2012, Paul was working in the financial industry out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nick was still with IDEXX in Baltimore, Maryland. They started to refine the business plan, and quickly gained traction with several well-respected members of the veterinary industry. Why the veterinary space? “It was important for us to be in a community that was people-focused and where those people had dedicated their lives to something greater than themselves,” says Paul. “I’m not afraid to admit that I was terrified about what I would do and who I would do it with after separating from the Marine Corps. I was most concerned about not being around Marines anymore. Shortly after my arrival in the animal health field, I was pleasantly surprised that I had found another group of dedicated professionals,” states Nick.
In the fall of 2014, VetEvolve got their first opportunity to provide a succession plan and partnered with Dr. Jerry Goldfarb at Fairfax Animal Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. Hestates, “I’ve been very happy with our arrangement. I was considering several other offers from the large consolidators and in the end I just couldn’t see how the vision of the practice would be able to continue if Fairfax Animal Hospital was purchased by a corporate group. VetEvolve was the right decision for my practice, our clients and our patients.”
The greatest compliment is from clients who have said “It feels the same,” when referring to the practice culture. What clients do notice are the operations efficiencies we have gained together and the increase in the standard of care through new technology.