A Top-Shelf Slate

The agenda for the Pet Industry's Top2Top Conference will feature a diverse and insightful lineup of speakers and interactive sessions.





Cathy Calliotte




The Pet Industry’s Top2Top Conference, which will be held at the Amelia Island Plantation in Florida, April 23-24, will provide the owners of pet care businesses with an opportunity to set the course for the future of their market, gain powerful insights that will make a difference in their businesses today, and create valuable relationships with leaders from all levels of the industry.

The Top2Top Conference represents a chance for retailers, in particular, to take a step back from their daily routines and immerse themselves in peer-to-peer conversations, forward-thinking sessions and invaluable networking opportunities that will benefit their businesses, as well as the industry as a whole. The sessions will create thought-provoking conversations, as well as provide a basis for strengthening the pet industry for years to come. Sessions include:



Keynote: How Business Executives Succeed When Facing Public Policy Challenges
Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Transportation Norman Mineta will offer examples from his vast reservoir of experience as to how business executives can ensure their views are properly represented in the government decision-making process. With over 30 years of public-sector involvement at every level of government, from mayor to congressional committee chairman to cabinet member, Mineta will address the need for every business executive in the pet industry to establish and maintain working relationships with elected officials. He will focus on what works and what does not when industries engage on public policy. Additionally, he will provide insights on what business messaging lawmakers find persuasive and discuss how best to make a compelling case to achieve favorable government outcomes.



Emerging Trends: Forecasting the Future
Even through the recent recession, the pet industry has continued to thrive. What are the projections for the next five years? What key external issues factor into the industry’s overall performance? Are there changes in consumer buying patterns and shopping destinations? What types of products and services are booming? This session covers the key trends in the industry and provides an overview on future opportunities.



Applying Your Business Expertise to Solve Industry Threats
Sam Geduldig, former senior advisor to Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, will address how to apply your business acumen and successes to solve government challenges that could harm your business. Geduldig’s insider view of the legislative process will empower attendees with the tools they need to positively impact the future of the industry. Covering a variety of issues from retailing and manufacturing, Geduldig will lead roundtable discussions that will provide attendees with techniques and training to engage government officials.



Setting the Standard: Why We Need Science-Based Breeding Guidelines
Dr. Candace Croney, Ph.D., associate professor of animal sciences at Purdue University, specializes in dog-breeding issues. Her session will focus on describing the pet industry and Purdue’s efforts to establish science-based dog breeding guidelines for the commercial kennels in the country. She will describe the current need to set higher standards of care for commercially bred animals, the need to certify kennels against the standards, and the tremendous benefits that will accrue to the animals, the dog-buying public and the breeders, themselves.


Affecting Change at the Local, State and National Level
Congressman Dennis Cardoza served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003-2012. During that time, Cardoza was on the House Agriculture Committee, where he dealt with legislative issues relating to pets. During his session, he will explain the perceptions held by legislators regarding issues that arise before the Agriculture Committee, as well as describe how congressional interaction with the USDA works. Well-versed on the issues facing regulated industries, Cardoza will provide recommendations on the ways pet businesses can affect change at the local, state and national level.



PIJAC’s State of the Union Address
What’s working and what are the upcoming challenges for the industry? How can we ensure the future growth of the industry? Could misguided legislation have a direct impact on our future? Mike Canning, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), will outline the industry’s biggest challenges and the bottom-line implications for every sector of the marketplace, detailing the tools needed to shape the future and provide continuous growth opportunities for the entire pet industry.

The backdrop to all of this will be picturesque Amelia Island, Fla., where the magnificent ocean views are the perfect setting for one-on-one conversations and the planned networking events. Such events include a welcome reception on the beach and a golf tournament on the Ocean Links course designed by Pete Dye. Not a golfer but still up for a little friendly competition? Join in the fun at the beach tournament featuring classic games like horseshoes and cornhole. Finally, the closing reception overlooking the golf course will be the perfect location to wind down with colleagues at the end of conference.

For more information or to register for the Pet Industry’s Top2Top Conference, visit pijac.org/Top2Top.

Cathy Calliotte is vice president of marketing and communications for the Washington, D.C.–based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. PIJAC provides its members a voice in state and national legislative issues through advocacy and timely information regarding upcoming policy issues that affect the pet industry, pet owners and the animals they care for. For more information, visit pijac.org.

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