Business Matters 2020 - Page 5

Adapting, changing with the times with a customer first focus STORY BY MIKE ELSWICK | PHOTOS BY GINIA HOOPER Dr. Mark Jousan is right where he wants to be. With a life-long love of animals and of his native Shelby County, the owner of Shelby Veterinary Associates is following a lifeplan of being able to both work in Shelby County and raise a family here. “I was never one who had the desire to stray too far away,” he says. Jousan grew up in the Joaquin area on a farm where animals were a part of his family’s every day routine. “It was just something I wanted to do,” Jousan says. “I had my goal set for that and never really ventured out to look for other opportunities.” Participating in 4-H and FFA as a youngster, he both honed that affection for animals and expanded his understanding of both livestock and the role four-legged creatures have in enhancing a human’s quality of life. “I don’t ever remember wanting to do anything else,” he says. “We had show calves while I was growing up, cats and dogs, horses and about every kind of animal you could think of on the farm.” After graduating from Joaquin High School, Jousan headed off to Texas A&M University where he completed enough prerequisite hours in three years of undergraduate work to enter Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “While working on my undergraduate hours I was able to work as a technician for a couple of years,” Jousan says. “And, growing up, I had experience with lots of animals. One thing just led to another.” Four years later, in 2005 he graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, with job offers from across the state, from Gilmer in Northeast Texas and Central Texas all the way out to far West Texas. When Dr. Wayne Kyle, then the owner of Shelby Veterinary Associates, offered him an opportunity to work in Shelby County, Jousan says it did not take long to make a decision. “That was the clinic I used while growing up for show calves, dogs and other animals,” he says. “I came back home at spring break time to visit him and see how he was doing and he said, ‘hey, you want to come back and work?’ I said sure.” He came back to Shelby County and kicked off this career. Five years later he purchased the clinic and has been the proprietor since 2010. While at A&M, he met his future wife, Kristin. The two were married in 2007 and have three children; Landree, 8; Luke, 6, and Lakelee, 4. “They also share my love for animals with us showing chickens and Simbrah heifers,” Jousan says. The children all go to Center schools. Kristin is from Crockett and was also raised on a farm where her family grew cotton. Up until this fall she has been a stay-athome mom, but now is a new teacher at Center ISD’s F.L. Moffett Primary campus starting this school year. “She’s really looking forward to teaching,” he says. While Jousan loves his work, his family is also a top priority. Aside from getting through the pandemic in recent months, he said among the largest challenges he has faced has been in seeking a good “work-life balance” between the job and his family. “In the beginning it was hard to tell people no,” Jousan says. “Just working to keep that worklife balance and spend time with those three kids who are going to grow up way too fast — I want them to know their dad was not just a vet, I want them to know he was a dad.” That same challenge faces many people in the medical field, and those working to start a business, who may have issues which come up on nights, weekends, holidays and the wee hours of the morning. “I think that’s the biggest thing when you’re trying to start your own business in any venture, is just trying to find that work-life balance to where you can sustain yourself and sustain your family and still maintain a viable business,” he says. Challenging times While life on the farm and years of working as a vet prepared him for many of the challenges he and his staff face on a routine basis, nothing has prepared them for the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. About the same time Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s this past spring issued executive orders putting social gathering and social distancing rules in place, effectively shutting down many businesses and even churches, Shelby Veterinary Associates shifted gears in a big way. “We just feel blessed that we were deemed essential and were able to work through this,” Jousan said. Several clients are veterans who have post traumatic stress disorders and he serves many others who rely on their pets for emotional AT A GLANCE WHAT: Shelby Veterinary Associates — a full service animal hospital WHO: Locally Owned and Operated by Dr. Mark Jousan, DVM WHERE: 407 Moffett Drive Center, TX 75935 WHEN: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PHONE: (936) 598-3423 WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: @Shelby-Veterinary- Associates Business MATTERS | 2020 Fall Edition 5