Stepping Up


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How do you judge the effectiveness of a leader?

In the case of an industry organization charged with helping to build sales and relationships between all parties, it is all about how well a job the person has done promoting that organization, its members and the overall industry.

Fortunately, the pet industry has a leader who has done all of the above and much more. As you will read in this issue, Bob Vetere, the president of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), has been named by Pet Business as our Executive of the Year.

Frankly, it was not a hard choice. Vetere has been a boisterous supporter of the pet industry since taking over the reins of APPA in 2002. He has worked tirelessly to get the word out to just about anyone who would listen about the beauty of pet ownership and how important pet retailing is to the overall economy. He has been a strong advocate for all aspects of the industry.

I have been awakened many times over the last decade or so to Vetere being interviewed by an alphabet soup of the national media, touting the industry’s growing sales and profits. He has been on ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS and CNBC, to name a few, always preaching other virtues of this nearly $60-billion category and how important it is to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

Under his leadership—and with the help of an extremely strong support staff—the Global Pet Expo, organized in large part by APPA, has emerged as the most popular and important pet show in the land. It attracts about a thousand exhibitors and many thousands more attendees, including buyers from most of the major pet retailers.

Vetere has earned the respect of suppliers and retailers alike. As you will read in this issue, many are impressed with his dedication to the pet category and APPA, as well as his willingness to do whatever necessary to tout the industry’s many strengths. At the same time, he has never shown fear in confronting any problem that might face the industry.

In the end, that is what makes him a leader and a great candidate to be honored by Pet Business this month.

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