Areas of Expertise
+ Comparative animal medicine
+ Companion animal, farm animal, bird, and other wildlife health
+ Large and small animal surgery
+ Mauritius Cynomolgus Macaque business lines
+ Rodent and rabbit colony management
+ Veterinary science
+ Health monitoring
+ Animal production environments
+ Genetically modified species
+ Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC)
What are your responsibilities at Envigo?
I am responsible for the health and well-being of all the animals - from mice to monkeys - at 11 facilities in eight states. This includes herd health, individual clinical medicine and surgery. It involves assisting surgical teams with surgical model development, biosecurity and diagnostic laboratory surveillance programs to make sure the animals are at the appropriate health status for customers.
Each person working in those facilities - whether a supervisor, someone in maintenance, or a production manager - is my internal client. It's my job to make their lives easier, help prevent problems, and always put the animals first. I make sure the animals are getting the very best possible care. Not just that they're healthy, but also that they live in an enriched environment and enjoy the best possible well-being.
What inspired you to pursue a career in science?
My favorite part of being a veterinarian is doing what I've always done as a kid - surrounding myself with cool and amazing animals. Working in the lab animal sector, on any given day, I could be spending my time with mice, hamsters, cotton rats, chickens, monkeys, dogs, cats, pigs, or rabbits in any part of the country. It's quite a variety.
I'm very passionate about getting to serve and help these animals that are heroes. Our animals save so many lives. They improve the quality of human life and well-being, as well as, the life of other animals. It's a privilege to be able to serve and care for them, to put them first in the company and to be an advocate for the importance of their welfare and well-being.
What are some of the key attributes of being successful in your role?
I'd say a must have in this business of primarily being animal vendors is to be adaptable in a rapidly advancing industry. I also keep my veterinary decisions as science-based, user-friendly, and practical as possible. I'm passionate about our animals, clients, and customers. I put the well-being of our animals first. It also means a lot to me when I can delight our customers.
What are the best parts of your job?
The best part of my job is being surrounded by amazing animals. I get to come to work every day and hang out with my animal buds. I just enjoy that. I keep pinching myself that I can actually earn a living playing with animals. Sometimes my work involves travel and that's always fun and an adventure. I am also totally blown away by the really amazing people with whom I get to work. They're accomplished production managers and scientists who just work their magic with these animals and do wonders.
It's a privilege, honor, and a whole lot of fun to work with the amazing team we have here at Envigo and with our customers and clients. I'm like a kid in a candy store. I get to visit a client facility, see how they do things and learn how they solve some of the same problems we face across the industry. There's always a lot to be gained from just seeing others in their environment come up with solutions from which we can borrow and be inspired. So, animals first. People second.
Which career achievements make you proud?
I have been privileged to be a part of a team that has made all kinds of contributions to veterinary health. One of those is practically eliminating enteritis in several non-human primate colonies with a holistic approach, reducing their environmental stress and adjusting their diets. It's a really good thing to be able to report on that and share notes when clients visit about things we've learned and what our team has done. It doesn't sound like a glamorous accomplishment, but it's a valuable one.
I was also part of a team that pioneered and developed a large animal surgical model that involved triple telemetry devices. It allows for capturing an animal's physiologic parameters without even walking into their room. You can be at your computer 20 feet away and capture the animal's blood pressure, heart rate, EEG (electroencephalogram) and temperature without disturbing them. That kind of model in a research environment can be extremely valuable. It's really a wonderful thing to be able to sit at your computer, while the animal's relaxed, and collect all that scientific data.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of Envigo?
Playing with animals. My wife and I enjoy mountain biking and hiking with our dogs. We've also been getting into butterfly and dragonfly watching. We're nerds with our binoculars and cameras. We hike to a meadow, flower patch, or pond to take notes and pictures and just enjoy watching them. It's delightful, calming, and lowers my blood pressure. We have a picnic lunch, then head home. It's a great way to spend time.
I have developed what has been dubbed the 'Paul Knepley Envigo Trail System' on more than 200 acres of woods, fields, meadows, and streams at the Denver, Pennsylvania site. It's a wonderful spiderweb of mountain bike and hiking trails and I love them. We've kind of developed a really fun pattern so that you can do small loops, larger loops, or figure eights around the property - staying within the woods or completely out of them. It's a lot of fun.
Please contact us if you have a question for Paul or would like to learn more about our research models.