January 28-31, 2018
Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples, Florida


The learning continues with afternoon breakout sessions that allow for deep dives into critical topics for the pet industry. Concurrent sessions on Monday allow you to choose the topics that resonate with your business. Sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday are concurrent with the PIDA Executive Conference program, giving all attendees maximum value for your registration. 

Monday, January 29

2:00pm - 3:00pm
How Amazon is Thinking about Pets, Mike Bassani and Zak Watts

The internet continues to change how pet products find their way into customer’s homes. Gain insight from the leadership of Amazon Pets into how they are thinking about it and new initiatives that are launching to benefit all Pet Parents.

Mike Bassani is the Head of Pet Supplies of Amazon.com; this includes the buying teams responsible for Habitats, Training, Toys, Apparel, Grooming, Aquatics as well as various special projects. Prior to leading the Pet Supplies team, Mike was responsible for leading the Operations aspect of the Pet Consumables business (Food, Health Care and Litter) at Amazon.

Zak Watts has been with Amazon.com for 6 years and currently leads the Pets category for the US. He joined Amazon in the UK, where he is from, originally leading Entertainment Media categories and subsequently worked on international expansion initiatives with Amazon in India and China. Before Amazon, Zak ran the grocery buying teams at UK online supermarket Ocado.com. Zak has two noisy but affable cats named Maurice and D’Artagnan, and also holds a PhD in Roman History from the University of Cambridge.

Join Mike and Zak as they share some perspective on trends from pet owners and the role Amazon Pets is trying to play.

3:30pm - 4:30pm
Fins, Beaks, Scales and Fur – Pet Initiatives Beyond Dogs and Cats (Panel Discussion)

For millions of Americans, the ideal companion animal is a bird, a fish, a reptile or a small mammal. What are we doing to support these pet owners, promote these animal sectors, and engage with lawmakers on issues related to their care and keeping? Panelists will discuss current initiatives and forecast impending opportunities and challenges.

3:30pm - 4:30pm
Advancing Canine Welfare and Sustainable Pet Ownership: Progress and Outstanding Challenges, Candace Croney, PhD, Purdue University

As the public continues to view dogs as family members, the need for the pet industry to demonstrate commitment and action toward ensuring the health and well-being of dogs grows accordingly. The establishment and implementation of standards for the care and welfare of dogs in commercial breeding operations has been a significant initial step.  However, research conducted by Purdue University, which serves as the basis for the standards, indicates several priority areas for canine welfare that must be addressed to ensure a sustainable supply of physically and behaviorally sound dogs that meet customer and public expectations.  Dr. Croney’s preliminary research results and their implications for dog welfare will be reviewed, along with emerging challenges for dog breeders, the pet industry and other stakeholders.

Tuesday, January 30

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Cybersecurity Workshop, Brett Williams

Brett Williams picks up where his keynote address left off, providing specific solutions to some of the most dangerous cyber-security threats. The breakout discussion will delve deeper into threats facing small and mid-size businesses and will provide the opportunity for an interactive discussion on strategies that SMBs can take in order to protect themselves.  In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to explore other cybersecurity issues of their choice.  

3:30pm - 4:30pm
When the Press Comes Calling: Preparing for a Crisis Before it Happens, Sheila Goffe, AKC and Cathleen Enright, PhD, Pet Food Institute

When we think of crisis management, we often think of short-term or immediate threats. In fact, managing legislative or public policy crises involves both short-term and long-term strategies. Two industry leaders - Sheila Goffe of the American Kennel Club and Cathleen Enright of the Pet Food Institute -  will show us how, by being proactive, we can build credibility, transparency, key relationships and anticipate potential problems before they occur.  Do we have a team and plan ready to deploy if a crisis does arise? What are important strategies when it comes to triage and follow up?

Wednesday, Jan. 31

9:00am – 10:00am
Pets in the Classroom—Phase II Study Results, Am McCullough, PhD, National Director, Research, American Humane

More than 100,000 classrooms throughout North America have received grants for classroom pets over the past seven years. What has been the impact of all of these pets on education? The Pet Care Trust and HABRI commissioned the American Humane Association to find out. Paired sets of 3rd and 4th grade classrooms—one with a class pet and one without—were studied for an entire school year. Find out how classroom pets are helping students socially and academically when the results of this groundbreaking study are shared for the first time!

10:30am - 11:30 pm
“If You Want a Friend in Washington” - Working with Legislators to Tell Our Stories, Mike Bober, PIJAC

We in the pet care community have great stories to tell lawmakers, and they need to hear them. But how do you connect with elected officials in your various roles as industry executive, concerned constituent, and potential supporter? PIJAC President and CEO Mike Bober will detail advocacy efforts to communicate the scientifically-demonstrated benefits of the human-animal bond and the industry’s economic impact and provide a strategy for individual and corporate engagement.

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