What part of your trade association experience will translate to the pet industry?
From my experience as the chief staff executive of three distributor associations, I understand the importance of wholesaler-distributors in the supply chain. As president of the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), I am committed to continue promoting the value that distributors bring to the pet industry through the strong partnerships they forge with their suppliers and customers. The key to my own success leading the other industry organizations is the same for all in the pet industry—building strong relationships through exceptional communication. It is my goal to use this winning formula to lead PIDA forward and contribute to the industry as a whole.
What’s been your impression of the pet industry since being named PIDA president in November 2018?
My impression of the pet industry is that it is strong and growing. Honestly, I was surprised at the size of the industry. Wow, $70-plus billion! Pets have always been an important part of my family and friends’ lives, but I had no idea how large of an industry it is. I am also impressed by all of the good this industry does for our society as a whole. It is a collaborative effort from all segments of the industry to foster the human-animal bond. It truly is a unified industry.
Why is maintaining the relationship between pet industry trade organizations so important to you?
The reason why maintaining the relationship between the pet industry trade organizations is so important to me is because I can see what they have already achieved for the good of the industry as a whole (as I mentioned), as well as what they will continue to do. Just look at Global Pet Expo and its growth since the merger of the PIDA and APPA shows 15 years ago. As a trade association executive, I often shared with prospective members that one of the major benefits of joining is a “voice bigger than your own.” I feel that this applies to the pet industry with the partnerships forged with APPA, PIDA, PIJAC and WPA, as well as with our industry partners, The Pet Care Trust, the Pet Leadership Council and HABRI. We are more effective as a unified voice for the entire supply channel.
How do you view PIDA being linked to the overall health of the pet industry?
PIDA’s “Power of D” website states this link best: “The true strength of the Power of D is in customer relationships. Without exception, retailer relationships are the biggest asset a distributor brings to the supply chain.” The value of distributors for manufacturers in reaching independent retailers includes sales, inventory and cash flow. For the nearly 9,000 independent retailers, the value the distributor brings includes inventory management, one-stop shopping, storage, marketing information and merchandising. Plus, PIDA’s exclusive, free training program, Pet Store Pro, provides retailers with education for employees and store managers/owners that is essential to the continued success of their pet stores.
What is your first (or fondest) memory of a family pet?
When I was 8 years old, out of the blue my parents came home with a dog, a basset hound we named Wellington—what a perfect name for a basset! Neither of my parents grew up with pets but because one of my sisters was afraid of dogs, my mom thought he would help. Boy did Wellington do that and so much more! The love he brought to all six kids and my parents was so great. It turned us into a pet family from that point forward. There are more stories and nicknames than I can fit in here, but I will always remember how, although he had little legs, boy could he run (especially from my mom when he got free). One day Wellington even showed up in my sister’s seventh grade class and her teacher let him stay for the day. Those big floppy ears, and always drooling, what a joy Wellington was to us.