SECO International announced J. Max Ernst, OD, as its new president and also announced the winners of its 2019 awards.
“SECO International is dedicated to providing optometrists and ophthalmic professionals with the tools and insights they need to be successful. I’m confident that Dr. Ernst will lend thoughtfulness and creativity to continuing that endeavor,” outgoing SECO President Emilio Balius, OD, said in a press release from the group.
Ernst has been practicing in Kentucky for 33 years, served as president of the Kentucky Optometric Association from 1997 to 1998 and was the Kentucky Optometric Association OD of the year 1999. He officially accepted the position of president during the SECO House of Delegates meeting in New Orleans.
SECO also recognized at its meeting the following leaders in optometry for their contributions:
The Distinguished Service Award went to Catherine Amos, OD, FAAO, of Hoover, Ala. Amos was recognized for her contributions to continuing education in optometry worldwide during 40 years of service as a volunteer leader with SECO International. Amos was the first female graduate of the University of Alabama School of Optometry.
The Southern Council of Optometrists honored Jerald Combs, OD, of Martin, Ky., with the President’s Award in recognition of his dedicated years and advancements within the specialty of optometry, the release stated. He previously served as president of the Kentucky Optometric Association from 1988 to 1989 and president of the Kentucky Board of Optometric Examiners in 2003, 2005 and 2012.
The Optometrist of the South Award was presented to Pete Smith, OD, of Greer, S.C. Smith has been in private practice for nearly 50 years, alongside his wife and fellow practitioner, Rosalind Overton-Smith, OD.
The Young Optometrist of the South Award was presented to Kayla Campbell, OD, of Barboursville, W.V. Campbell received her OD degree in 2014 from the Indiana University School of Optometry. She returned to West Virginia to practice optometry, eventually becoming involved in the West Virginia Association of Optometric Physicians and the community programs they support, including education and leadership programs.
The Paraoptometric of the South Award was given to Melanie Jenkins, CPO, of Spring Hill, Tenn. Jenkins manages all administrative aspects of Spring Hill Eyecare. Her involvement and attention to the community are reflected in her commitment to internal office initiatives, charitable initiatives and involvement in the state association officers’ board, according to the release.