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Ken Calabrese

photo of Ken Calabrese

National Accounts Manager
Cook Urological Inc.
Bloomington, Ind.

“I had finished school and spent a few years out in the workforce, and I came to the realization that you cannot be truly happy in life unless your job is something that you really like to do. Life is too short to dread going to work every day.

“After another painful week of working at a dead-end job in Florida, I decided it was time to go back to school to study something that I truly had an interest in. So I packed up my belongings and moved to Dallas, where I had some extended family. I spoke with the head of the Veterinary Technology program at Cedar Valley College, and they thought I would be a great match for their program.

“Registration was very easy, and I found that the curriculum was well laid out and organized for the next several semesters. There were a few options to choose from; however, the core program was basically set up for you ahead of time. This was helpful so that I knew what my class schedule would be several months in advance. It was also nice to have small class sizes, which gave me the opportunity to form close study groups and even better friendships.

“I was not a very disciplined student the first time around, but the two-year program went by very quickly and had me well prepared for the state and national board exams that are required to become a licensed registered veterinary technician (RVT). There is currently a high demand for RVTs, and most of my classmates had jobs before graduation. Many of those people received pretty substantial raises once their classes were completed.

“As for me, I decided to take a different route than most of my fellow classmates. I went into the field of veterinary medical sales. Within two months of graduation, I was being sent to medical conferences in Europe, and within four months of graduation, I was a product manager for a revolutionary new veterinary wound-healing product. Once this new product was widely accepted in the veterinary market, we were able to get FDA approval in the human market, and I later moved on to another division of our company that focused on human medical devices. This company is now the largest private medical device company in the world, and I manage the contracts for the urological and women’s health divisions.

“Having a degree, regardless of whether it’s in a veterinary or human profession, opens a lot of doors for people interested in the field of medicine. The program basics apply to a broad spectrum of different applications. A few of my classmates went on to become nurses, and many have jobs that pay very well due to their experiences at Cedar Valley College.

“In my current position, I have been able to travel to 43 states and six countries, have a staff of people working with me and get very well compensated for doing it. I am able to help shape the future of medicine with some of the projects that I am involved in, and when one of the products we have worked with gets used on a family member or friend, you get a sense of pride that is indescribable.

“I would highly recommend that anyone considering a career change investigate the different opportunities that DCCCD has to offer. These days, a high school degree does not go as far as it used to. A two-year program at DCCCD can give you a leg up on a satisfying career that pays very well.”

Ken Calabrese earned an associate degree in Veterinary Technology from Cedar Valley College. As a national accounts manager for Cook Urological Inc. of Bloomington, Ind., he negotiates and manages contracts with large group purchasing organizations (GPOs) that represent thousands of hospitals, clinics and surgery centers across the U.S., for which sales topped $35 million in 2007.