United Animal Health honors Ellis with leadership award

John B. Swisher Leadership Award is awarded during World Pork Expo to an individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the swine industry.

June 28, 2023

2 Min Read
From left, Doug Webel, president and CEO, United Animal Health; Mike Ellis, University of Illinois; and Matt Ritter, SVP of research and development, United Animal Health. United Animal Health

United Animal Health honored Mike Ellis, with the 2023 John B. Swisher Leadership Award on Thursday, June 8 at World Pork Expo, celebrating his lifelong contributions to the swine industry. The John B. Swisher Leadership Award is awarded annually during World Pork Expo to an  individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the swine industry and who has exhibited extraordinary leadership qualities throughout their career.

"We are excited to honor Dr. Ellis with this award," said Doug Webel, president and CEO of United Animal Health. "Dr. Ellis exemplifies what it means to be a leader in this industry. Not only has he made an impact on the industry from an academic perspective, but he's also made a tremendous impact on the people within our industry and future generations of animal agriculture leaders."

Born and raised in northern England, Ellis received his B.S. in agriculture and his Ph.D. in applied swine genetics at the University Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. In 1992, he joined the University of Illinois as a professor of swine production management. While at the University of Illinois, Ellis' research focus was on managing growth in wean-to-finish facilities, animal handling, pre-weaning mortality and pork quality. Ellis has advised over 60 students for MS and/or Ph.D. degrees and has published over 180 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 300 abstracts and more than 300 occasional publications and reports.

"It's incredible to receive an award from United Animal Health, a group of professionals in the industry that I hold in the highest regard," explained Ellis. "I've been fortunate to work with some very talented graduate students in the program at the University of Illinois, all of whom have gone on to become leaders in the industry. If anyone deserves this award, it's those people that were the major part of that program."

"As I look back at my experience and the experience that fellow students had with Dr. Ellis, it was invaluable," remarked Matt Ritter, senior vice president of research and development at United Animal Health. "A lot of times when we honor a professor, we look at the academic awards, the research program awards, and the publications. Dr. Ellis checks all those boxes, but as you look around the industry, just as big a part of his legacy is the success of his students that are now leaders in large swine production companies, genetics companies, nutrition companies, animal health companies and allied industry, both in the U.S. and outside the U.S."

As a part of this award, United Animal Health will donate $5,000 in Ellis' honor to the Department of Animal Science at the University of Illinois.

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