BEAK, MyRightBird Announce Appointment of New Executive Director

Press release: BEAK

The Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK), along with its public-facing marketing campaign, MyRightBird, recently announced that Pete Risano has been appointed as its new executive director. With a career spanning three decades in the pet retail industry, Risano – who currently serves as the vice president of partnerships and membership for the World Pet Association (WPA), the managing organization of BEAK – brings the experience and passion needed to advance BEAK’s mission of expanding responsible pet bird ownership.

“I am honored and excited to have been named Executive Director of BEAK!” said Risano. “I grew up in a home full of pets and my childhood house actually included a walk-in flight cage (I didn’t realize that wasn’t the norm until much later in life). I’m looking forward to working to support BEAK and myrightbird.com initiatives to help educate and grow responsible pet bird ownership.”

In addition to his current role at the WPA, Risano served as an executive board member from 2010-2018. Early in his career, Risano facilitated the sale of NJ Pets, one of the largest privately owned retail pet supply chains in New Jersey, to Petco. He then accepted a position as president of a six-store pet chain (The Kennel Shop) in Maine, which was in the process of being purchased by an investment group. With a goal of growing The Kennel Shop with no additional capital infusions, he rebranded the company as Pet Life, successfully expanded it to 17 locations across three states and facilitated a sale to new ownership.

Risano’s appointment comes at a time when pet bird ownership appears to be on the rise: an estimated eight percent of households now include pet birds, and two-thirds of bird owners identify as Millennials or members of Generation Z. With bird ownership flourishing, it’s crucial for current and potential owners alike to have a reliable source where they can find information about caring for their pets. BEAK and MyRightBird fulfill this role by offering a trove of fun and educational resources, as well as a community designed to celebrate the joys of owning a bird.

“I am thrilled to see the WPA’s willingness to help grow one of the smaller pet categories by taking over the leadership of BEAK and working to grow responsible bird ownership,” said Brent Weinmann, president and CEO of Vitakraft Sun Seed – one of the several pet bird industry businesses that comprise BEAK. “It shows their commitment to the industry, especially the traditional ‘Pet Specialty’ sector. These are the stores that typically sell birds and other pets. It’s these stores that are the engine for the industry…without pets, we have no business.”

Vic Mason, president of the WPA, also expressed his enthusiasm regarding Risano’s appointment: “I am pleased that Pete is taking on this integral role in the management of BEAK and MyRightBird. With his extensive experience in the pet retail industry, I’m confident that he will help guide BEAK in meeting the needs of current and future pet bird owners, while also supporting retailers and other businesses within the industry.”

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