The Oregon Department of Agriculture announced the promotion of Dr. Ryan Scholz, formerly of Madras, as the new ODA state veterinarian, effective Nov. 2.
Scholz brings extensive experience in emergency management and animal disease control to the job and credits his time as a volunteer firefighter in Madras as helping prepare him.
"Ryan is a smart, talented leader who has the ability to elevate his team in both the day-to-day work at ODA and in emergency situations where strong coordination skills and confidence are crucial," said ODA Director Alexis Taylor. "I look forward to working with him as he continues to turn his ideas into real-world success."
Scholz graduated from Oregon State University, earning two undergraduate degrees, a Master of Public Health and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.
After graduating, Scholz worked in Mill City for a year and then relocated to Madras in the summer of 2012. He did some relief work and practice work with Dr. Steve Nitschelm of Cascade East Veterinary Clinic in Madras.
While here, he also volunteered with the fire department.
"A big part of my job is emergency response, so dealing with animals and fires and with evacuations and preparedness and those kind of things was a huge thing that not many in my position have the opportunity to do, to be on that end of emergency response and to actually volunteer with the fire department and go through those trainings and be able to be on that end of a fire," Scholz said.
It was during his time in Madras that Scholz joined ODA in 2012 as a district veterinarian serving Western Oregon. He moved to Salem at the end of 2013.
To date, Scholz's contributions to the Animal Health Program have made many of the technological advances in the program possible and have helped improve the program's ability to serve customer needs.
As state veterinarian, Scholz will serve as the chief livestock disease control official for the state. He will also provide leadership in addressing Oregon's animal health concerns and will administer ODA's statutorily mandated disease control responsibilities.
During his work with ODA, Scholz also added Emergency Preparedness Coordinator to his job duties. In 2018, he led an Oregon team of animal rescue experts to Paradise, California, after the Camp Fire burned more than 153,000 acres and displaced more than 10,000 pets and livestock.
Most recently, Scholz helped coordinate animal evacuations and veterinary care for more than 5,000 pets and livestock displaced by the Oregon wildfires that burned more than a million acres statewide.
Scholz noted that wildfires are the most common natural disasters in Oregon.
"We have some winter storms and flooding, but really it's fires," he said. "Having had that background with actually fighting the fires has really helped be able to prepare people when you're talking to people about preparedness, being able to talk about what it's actually going to be like and understand — that really does help."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.