Bob Vetere Honored with Rolf C. Hagen Hall of Fame Award



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Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), has been named this year’s recipient of the Rolf C. Hagen Hall of Fame Award.

Vetere has been at the helm of APPA for 14 years, where he has played an integral role in expanding the association’s offerings and growing membership from 668 in 2002 to more than 1,200 today. Among his accomplishments, Vetere was instrumental in combining the APPMA Show with the Pet Industry Distributors Association’s (PIDA) PETS Show to form what is now the world’s largest annual pet products tradeshow, Global Pet Expo, recently named Trade Show Executive magazine’s Greatest Show on Earth.


Upon entering the pet industry, Vetere quickly recognized that there was a broader need to get the industry working together for the greater good. Under his leadership, numerous organizations and initiatives have been created, including the Pet Leadership Council (PLC). The PLC comprises pet industry leaders that have joined forces to unite and advance the industry. This effort has also strengthened industry relations with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). He also led the charge to form the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), an organization that gathers and funds the most extensive research on the benefits of pet ownership on human health, and launched Pets Add Life (PAL), a national social media campaign that serves to promote and grow responsible pet ownership.

“On behalf of the APPA Board of Directors, we are tremendously proud to be honoring Bob at a critical time for our industry,” said Bob Merar, APPA chairman of the board and president of Exclusively Pet Inc. “His efforts are far reaching beyond what he has done to grow and strengthen APPA. He has crossed some tough lines in an impressive effort to get the industry working together, speaking with one voice. Bob’s accomplishments in the pet industry are truly remarkable, and we look forward to seeing what he has in store for us as he continues as one of the preeminent leaders in our industry.” 

Serving as an industry spokesperson, Vetere has been interviewed by the most prestigious media outlets including CNNFN, ABC’s World News tonight, CNBC, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal

Additionally, Vetere authored a book entitled From Wags to Riches: How Dogs Teach Us to Succeed in Business & Life and serves on the board of directors for Green Chimneys, an organization providing animal-assisted therapy for children with special needs./


Vetere earned a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall School of Law, an M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. in Management Science, also from R.P.I. He is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the American Society of Association Executives.

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