Lisbon veterinarian retires after 37 years
LISBON — Dr. Doug Wiley will retire Sept. 6 as an owner-partner of the Lisbon Veterinary Clinic, a practice he built over the past 37 years into one of the largest veterinary practices in northeastern Ohio.
Wiley, who was raised on a small farm near Canfield, graduated from The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1982, and started his career at a clinic in Perry, N.Y., before returning to Ohio.
He founded the Lisbon Veterinary Clinic in August 1984 after purchasing the practice of the late Dr. Tom Liggett. The practice remained at Liggett’s location on Market and Morris streets in Lisbon for 10 years before moving to its current location on Race Road.
“I got the itch to have my own practice,” Wiley recalls. “I was looking for a chance to make my own mark.”
And make his mark he did. Over the years, Wiley added veterinary partners and the team expanded the practice, developing the clinic’s expertise in the health and care of horses, livestock and small companion animals. The clinic focuses on core clients in Columbiana and Mahoning counties, although clients bring animals to the clinic from throughout the tri-state area.
“I never wanted to be a solo practitioner,” Wiley said. “You simply can’t serve your clients well when you’re on your own. It’s a service business, and you have to be there when they need you.”
Today, the clinic has a staff of nine veterinarians and employs an additional 23 staff members. In addition to Wiley, the group practice includes: Dr. Fred Bennett, Dr. Gordon Schmucker, Dr. Steve Miletta, Dr. Susan Narbey, Dr. Cindy Wanee, Dr. Petra Szymkowicz, Dr. Kelley Reeser and Dr. Erin Homerosky. The practice will continue under the ownership of Drs. Bennett, Schmucker, Miletta and Narbey.
“I was the founder, but it’s been a total team effort,” Wiley said. “My partners have been the core of building the practice, starting with Fred Bennett back in 1988.”
Lisbon Veterinary Clinic offers a full range of animal care, including emergency services for existing clients, an in-hospital surgery suite for small animal patients, in-house and ambulatory digital X-ray capabilities, ultrasound technology and a closely supervised hospitalization area.
The clinic facility itself has also expanded in size through the years, with numerous updates and expansions, including a renovation now underway. The team of veterinarians has also invested in state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and kept abreast of research and techniques through participation in professional organizations.
“We’ve always looked at this as a growth business,” said Wiley, who estimates the clinic has had a growth rate of 10 percent per year since it began. “We’ve tried to hire the best people we can to fill a niche, give them the best support possible, and get out of their way.”
“It’s a people business, and it’s about relationships,” he added. “I’m working for third generations now — first, a grandfather or grandmother, then a father or mother, and now for the next generation. You build these relationships, and that’s what makes my job so rewarding.”
“You’re with them at the best of times and the worst of times,” Wiley added. “You celebrate with them, and you cry with them.”
And, he added, “I hope they say we’ve always been there when they needed us.”
Longtime business partner Dr. Fred Bennett joined the practice in 1988, and mirrors Wiley’s commitment of quality service to both the animal patient and its owner.
“Doug has often commented that we may take care of animals, but veterinary medicine is a people business,” Bennett said, “and he is extremely good at working with our clients and mixing with the public.”
“He’s also a calm, steadying influence with our staff of 32 individuals,” Bennett added.
Wiley is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and is a past adviser to the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Practitioner Advancement Board. He is also an active member of the Greenford Christian Church and the Columbiana County Farm Bureau, which honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2016.
Wiley, who is 65, said it’s simply the right time to step away from the practice and daily work. “I’ve done enough,” he said. “The practice is in great shape, and we have great veterinarians who will be there for years to come.”
Wiley’s wife, Beth, is also retiring from her longtime role as chief financial officer.
“She’s been my rock,” Wiley said. “Beth’s kept me going all these years.”
The couple has three adult children, and two grandchildren. While retirement will include more time for family, it also will give Wiley more time to devote to the 20-acre certified tree farm he and Beth own at their home in Columbiana County.
“We’re just going to try livin’ life, to go to church without driving two vehicles,” Wiley said.
“It’s been a great, fulfilling career,” he added. “I owe a debt to the clients who put their trust in me and the clinic.”
A public open house in honor of Wiley’s retirement will be 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 11, at the Lisbon Veterinary Clinic, 8100 Race Road, Lisbon.