Executive Director | 1980 to 2002
A. Konrad Eugster was born in 1938 in Austria. He grew up on a dairy farm in a small alpine village. After obtaining his DVM degree from Vienna Veterinary College, he practiced large animal medicine in Austria and Switzerland. In 1964, he emigrated to the US and served as a virologist at the Southwest Foundation for Research and Education in San Antonio, Texas. He received a PhD degree in Veterinary Micriobiology from Colorado State University in 1970 and, immediately thereafter, started his career at TVMDLas head of Veterinary Microbiology. During his ten year tenure in this position, he discovered several diseases new to Texas and in some cases, new to the world. He was the first to isolate canine parvovirus II and published the first report on this disease in world literature. His research led to the development of an effective parvovirus vaccine. he also found several pathogenic organisms for the first time in Texas causing such diseases as chlamydial infections in cattle and goats, coronavirus infections in horses and pigs, IBR encephalitis in cattle, enteric rotavirus infections in foals, calves, dogs and zoo nurseries, parapox virus infection in goats, and RSV infections in foals and cats.
In 1980 he was appointed by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents as Executive Director of TVMDl and later received the additional title of Associate Vice Chancellor for Agriculture. Under his 22-year leadership at TVMDL, the budget increased 10-fold and the caseload 5-fold. The physical facilities in College Station and Amarillo doubled in size and in 2001 he also obtained the funds to replace the old Poultry Diagnostic Lab in Center, Texas with a new facility. He was instrumental in the transfer of the poultry diagnostic program from the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station to TVMDL, the establishment of the drug testing program for the pari-mutuel horse and greyhound racing industry, the creation of the aquaculture diagnostics, molecular diagnostics and the endocrinology sections at TVMDL.
He was committed to providing an outstanding service to TVMDL clients and was able to instill this service attitude in the staff. The clientele showed their satisfaction and gratitude by bestowing on him various honors and recognitions. The Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) named him “Veterinarian of the Year – Distinguished Achievement” in 1984. The TVMA also presented him twice with the President’s Award. The Texas A&M University System, the Texas Animal Health Commission, the Texas Poultry Federation, the Texas Pork Producers, the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers’ Association and the Texas and American Brahman Association, honored him with certificates of appreciation, lifetime achievement awards and industry service awards.
He was a member of many local, state, national and international organizations. In 1988 he served as President of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and from 1999-2001 as President of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (WAVLD). The AAVLD honored him in 1994 with the coveted EL Pope Award, the AVMA with the XII International Congress Award and the American Veterinary Edidemiology Society with the Gold-Headed Cane Award in 2003. Since his retirement as Executive Director of TVMDL in 2002, he has worked in various capacities for TVMDL, the Institute for Countermeasures Against Bioterrorism, and the International Agriculture Program at TAMU. In the later capacity, he helped improve the veterinary diagnostic infrastructure in Columbia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Thailand, China and more recently in Ethiopia and El Salvador.
Dr. Eugster will always be remembered as one who has greatly improved the veterinary diagnostic capabilities and capacities in Texas and to some degree, in the nation and the world. He was a leader who instilled by example the virtue and value of hard work, dedication and foresight. His vision of embracing new techniques, ideas and concepts and transforming them into timely, high quality service outputs of benefit to the client will serve TVMDL well as a foundation to continue to build on.