Dee Ellis, DVM, State Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), announced his retirement effective December 31, ending his more than 30 years of service to the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency.

Dr. Ellis first joined the TAHC as an Animal Health Inspector in 1977 while completing a bachelor degree in Animal Science. After obtaining his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University, Ellis returned to the agency in 1985 as a field veterinarian. In 1986, he was promoted to Region Director for Central Texas, a position he held for 18 years.

In 2002, Ellis completed a Master of Public Administration degree from Texas State University and the year after, he transferred to the TAHC's Austin headquarters as a staff veterinarian. In 2004, Ellis was named Assistant Executive Director for Animal Health Programs. He served in that role until January 2010, when the commission announced that Dr. Ellis would lead the agency as the Executive Director and State Veterinarian.

TAHC's longtime Assistant Executive Director of Epidemiology & Laboratory Systems, Dr. Andy Schwartz, has been appointed Interim Executive Director.

"Dr. Schwartz is nationally recognized among regulatory veterinarians and policy makers. He has worked closely with USDA and state animal health officials on a variety of issues and has been a leader at the TAHC since he joined the agency in 1990. The Commission is confident in Dr. Schwartz's dedication to the TAHC and its mission to protect the health of Texas livestock and poultry. We look forward to working with him in this role," TAHC Chairman Ernie Morales said.