DMC Director, Doctor Glen Richards, a 2023 UQ Alumni Award winner!
Monday 06 November, 2023
Dr Glen Richards
Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Hons) 1988
St John’s College
Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award for outstanding contributions as an entrepreneurial leader, veterinarian and philanthropist.
Dr Glen Richards is a business leader, entrepreneur and veterinarian.
At 27 Dr Richards bought a small veterinary practice in Townsville and within 10 short years had developed 5 veterinary clinics and a large format pet store in Townsville, as well as 2 veterinary hospitals in China.
His long-term vision was for high quality veterinary medicine, investment in excellent equipment and facilities and support for veterinarian mental health. Dr Richards turned that vision into a pet care empire of 300 pet stores and 200 veterinary clinics, now known as Greencross trading under the brands of Petbarn, Cityfarmers, Animates, Greencross Vets, AEC, and Animal Referral Hospitals.
Dr Richards was a resident panellist and investor on Channel 10’s Shark Tank series, identifying and nurturing successful startups and providing mentorship and guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Dr Richards is also deeply committed to volunteer work including his role as co-founder and director of the PetBarn Foundation, supporting animal welfare initiatives across Australia. This includes free veterinary care and supplies to animals in need, promoting animal welfare legislation and funding animal rescue organisations.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“Growing up in Western Queensland I spent my childhood helping my parents on our sheep and cattle station. I always thought I would become a grazier and business owner. The trials and tribulations of watching rain clouds and commodity prices of wool and beef dented my enthusiasm as I entered my adult years.”
Looking back to the day you first set foot on campus, is there any advice you would give that person now?
“University is about getting a holistic education, strongly supported by the eclectic mix of students and lecturers one gets to meet from all walks of life.
“Embrace it, involve yourself in as many sporting teams, societies, activities and social gatherings as one can tolerate without getting in the way of your studies. Never again in your life will you have so many amazing people in one place at one time… how lucky you are!”
What is your favourite UQ memory?
“Taking part in the inaugural UQ Great Court Race in 1985. Racing at top speed through the cloisters with thousands of cheering students packed into the courtyard urging us on.
“I just missed out on the finals, but I thoroughly enjoyed pretending we were in Chariots of Fire. The Duchess of Kent was invited to present the prizes, and I explained to her the importance of the race and the likelihood that this was the start of great UQ tradition. It’s wonderful to see it’s still going.”
What are you most proud of?
“Knowing that my investment of time and capital into, with and alongside a large group of fellow entrepreneurial founders over the last 30 years has helped to drive innovation in multiple industries that have supported and improved (directly or indirectly) the lives of thousands of professional people, as well as our clients, our patients and our customers.
“The range of industries includes veterinary science, pet care, medicine, allied health, food technology, medical devices and talent solutions.”