From a landscape shaped greatly by the recession and the pet industry’s Big Schism (funding pulled from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council), here’s Pet Product News International’s annual list of 25 individuals apt to leave their marks, for better or worse, on the pet industry in the coming year.
Roz Appelbaum: Dog-walker Appelbaum is returning to her conference organizer roots with start-up Pet Industry Advisory. Appelbaum sees an opportunity for a series of executive conferences for pet industry manufacturing executives and could hold her first two by the end of June.
David Beckham: The international soccer star recently bought his son Brooklyn a bearded dragon as a reward for good grades--the star’s Beverly Hills home already “filled with pets,” according to The London Times. Whether Becks returns to the English national team for a fourth World Cup this year in South Africa is immaterial: The celebrity footballer will get plenty of press and opportunity to talk about his family’s lizards.
Tim Callahan: Brought over from investment group Berwind Corp. in October 2008, Callahan oversaw the combining of the Wellness and Eagle Pack into the newly created WellPet Co. With executive stints at packaged goods giants Kraft Foods, H.J. Heinz and PepsiCo in his past, Callahan may place his own brand on the pet industry as seen by the recent relaunch of Holistic Select.
Steve Cooley: As Los Angeles County District Attorney, Cooley and his office launched at least two pet-related initiatives in 2009: a dog-fighting tip line and a public awareness campaigned warning pet owners that leaving pets in hot cars is a crime. Could Cooley see pets and animal welfare issues as stepping stones to higher office?
Neal Dulaney: The former Pentair Inc. vice president bought the aquarium, pond and aquaculture business (formerly Rainbow Lifeguard) from its corporate parent and renamed in Lifeguard Aquatics. The unit had likely faced being scrapped as Pentair focused on industrial businesses until Dulaney rescued it in December 2008.
John Dunn: A former operations vice president with Petco, Dunn recently opened up a 25,000-square-foot pet care center (store with veterinary, grooming, training and boarding services) in Orange County. A possible prototype for a chain, the business blends discount prices with promotions, such as appearances by Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell, to drive traffic.
Mike Farmer: As chairman of the American Pet Products Association, Farmer said APPA’s decision to pull funding from PIJAC was the board’s unanimous decision and that president Bob Vetere was following its directive. Whether it was fiscally responsible or not, Farmer and APPA will likely be criticized for that decision until they prove a better way to assure live animal availability.
Glen Fleisher: As president of Central Garden & Pet’s pet products division, Fleisher will oversee research and development, marketing, sales and manufacturing. Significantly, he replaces Jim Heim, whose new role as president of business development will include Central’s return to the acquisition trail after a three-year hiatus.
Heidi Ganahl: Ganahl, who founded Camp Bow Wow as Heidi Flammang (first husband’s last name) in 2000, continues to gain accolades for entrepreneurship, including joining the Leeds School of Business advisory board in Boulder, Colo. In 2009, the company surpassed 100 locations and Ganahl, who runs a motivational business called Heidi Inc., seems motivated to continue.
Leo Grillo: Founder and operator of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, which cares for a reported 1,500 animals near Acton, Calif., actor Grillo worked diligently in 2009 to bolster his reputation as an animal welfare advocate by issuing numerous press releases, speaking out against the rendering of euthanized pets and calling for an investigation into firefighter deaths during the Station Fire in California.
Carolyn Harrigan: As vice president of marketing for Nutro Products, she needs to make sure the decision to take Greenies to the pet specialist channel only and away from mass market pays off—for pet specialty, Greenies and Nutro pet food.
Geoff Hill: Set to start as a vice president at Roark Captial Group on Jan. 1, 2010, Hill most recently serves as president of Cinnabon Inc., a Roark company. The plan calls for Hill to mentor his replacement Gary Bales, who is also president of Roark’s Carvel unit, then focus on assisting management teams of other Roark portfolio franchise companies, including retail chain Pet Valu, acquired by Roark in July, and its new CEO Tom McNeely.
Andrew Kim: Along with business partner Mark Boonnark, Kim has plans to build The Healthy Spot in Santa Monica, Calif., into the “Whole Foods of pet stores.” A former equity research for a hedge fund in San Francisco, Kim’s move to the pet industry will include expansion to additional stores and an e-commerce site in the near future.
Nina Love: Newly named director of store operations for 100-plus chain Pet Supermarket, Love will be playing a key role in the company’s efforts to expand nationally from its core Florida market in the next two years. The chain opted for Love largely from a history of driving revenues and profits by developing managers at national retailers T-Mobile, Belk, Target and Dillard’s.
Michael Maddox: As Marshall Meyers’ successor as general counsel for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, Maddox, who joined PIJAC’s legal team in 1996, has large shoes to fill as Meyers prepares to scale back to part-time consulting in May. Now Maddox, along with fellow PIJAC vice president Jamie Reaser, Ph.D., faces the additional burden of managing the trade association without the considerable financial support of the American Pet Products Association and the Pet Industry Distributors Association.
Roger Mahr, DVM: A former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association and now CEO of the One Health Commission, Dr. Mahr will continue to play a role in integrating human health, animal health and environmental health sciences. As a veterinarian, Mahr understands the human-animal bond and is aware of the benefits, as well as risk factors, involved in interaction with animals.
Victoria McDowell: Pending securing funding and grants, she plans to begin construction on a $100 million pet food and treat plant. The facility would be fully automated, energy and efficient and feature a glass viewing area so the public could watch the process in an era of increasing consumer scrutiny.
Sean Murphy: An employee at Preuss Pets in Lansing, Mich., Murphy garnered a fair amount of press coverage and YouTube celebrity status as he stuffed 16 Madagascar hissing cockroaches into his mouth in a bid for a Guinness World Records mark. In 2010, Murphy aims for 20, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Martha Stewart: The homemaking maven’s media and merchandising company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, plans to debut its pet product line in Petsmart stores during the first half of 2010. The line’s success may depend on how actively Stewart personally promotes it.
Biz Stone: With perhaps the greatest name ever for an entrepreneur, Twitter co-founder Stone will be looking to generate revenues with the social networking juggernaut. The question is: Can Twitter stay (become) relevant and generate revenues at the same time?
Lewis Turner: Along with wife Paula, Turner’s latest venture is A Modest Proposal, which seeks to get pet stores and rescue groups to work together. One daunting task: overcoming a stereotype widely held in the rescue community that pet store owners don’t care about animals.
Dan Urbani: He’s back. Although his 49-store Petcetera chain filed for bankruptcy in mid-2009, by fall he was reopening about 20 of the best of the sites under a new Petcetera banner.
Andrew Wyatt: As driving force behind hobbyist organization USARK, Wyatt raised his profile this year passionately attacking anti-reptile legislation, notably efforts to curtail trade in non-native species and to ban pythons, in Washington, D.C. His profile could increase further as additional laws restricting reptile ownership are proposed, especially if industry groups such as PIJAC or APPA are unwilling or unable to speak up. (Editor's Note: Andrew Wyatt blogs regularly for sister website ReptileChannel.com. Click here to read his blog.)
Kirk Young: Tapped by Texas Farm Products Co. to bolster its Precise Pet Products brand, executive vice president Young’s plan will focus on emphasizing product safety and investing in the Nacogdoches, Texas, manufacturing facility. In 2010, Young plans to begin marketing to consumers to drive demand.
Steve Zerilli, president, United Pet Supply Inc.: The company runs about 27 The Pet Company Stores from New York to Atlanta and also operates online store. With that many stores, Zerilli is a major face for puppy-selling stores and the attention they attract. <HOME>
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