ATLANTA, Ga. — During the 2020 Pet Food Conference Jan. 28, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) presented its inaugural Friend of Pet Food Award to two dedicated members of the pet food industry: Kate Shoveller, Ph.D. of the University of Guelph, and Gail Kuhlman, Ph.D., of Mars Petcare.

The Friend of Pet Food Award was one of several new components at the 2020 conference, hosted annually during International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE).

AFIA created the award to recognize professionals “who go above and beyond for the pet food industry.” Nominations for the award were submitted from all areas of the industry, from ingredient suppliers to members of the academic community, then reviewed by AFIA’s Pet Food Committee and other leaders within the organization.

“Gail and Kate are both truly friends of pet food,” said Louise Calderwood, director of regulatory affairs at AFIA.

Kuhlman is a technical manager of research and development at Mars Petcare, working to design, validate and bring new, innovative pet diets to market.

“Gail has been instrumental in influencing decisions and providing for data driven solutions throughout the pet food industry, as she has given her time to be an active member of several industry committees,” Calderwood said. “She has been a valuable resource, mentoring and coaching future pet passionate professionals. Her breadth of experience and willingness to share her knowledge and teach skills has helped people across the industry improve themselves and the businesses they work for.”

Shoveller is an associate professor with the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. According to AFIA, she works to debunk commonly held myths about pet food and is committed to teaching a fact-based and relevant understanding of the industry.

 “Kate is a professional who is shaping the future of the industry,” Calderwood added. “She has been instrumental in founding the pet food program at the University of Guelph that is focused on the science of metabolism and nutrition. Her years of industry experience benefits the next generation of pet food professionals by helping them understand how nutrition impacts the health and well-being of dogs and cats, and how to apply this knowledge when developing commercial products.”

Read more about AFIA’s 2020 Pet Food Conference.

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