Petfood Forum recently spoke with Dr. George Fahey, professor emeritus of animal sciences and nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and owner of Fahey Nutrition Consulting to understand why he has continued to be a longtime supporter and attendee of the annual conference and exhibition.
Petfood Forum: What is your earliest memory of Petfood Forum, and what role did you have in the industry at that point?
Dr. Fahey: I don’t remember if I attended the very first Petfood Forum event in the Hyatt at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, but I attended one of the first and have never missed since. That event was much smaller than the one held today, but was a very valuable meeting nonetheless. It was very well organized, and the content was excellent.
At that time, I was professor of animal sciences and nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying pet animal nutrition. Many students obtained their M.S., Ph.D., or postdoctoral experience under my direction. Most of them work in the pet food industry today or are academicians at various universities conducting research and/or teaching pet animal science. I spoke at many of the early Petfood Forum meetings (before the event became a “must attend” and the organizers were able to attract better quality speakers 🙂).
Petfood Forum: What do you consider the biggest challenge or opportunity ahead for the pet food industry?
Dr. Fahey: The biggest challenge for the pet food industry will be to maintain the impressive rate of growth that it has enjoyed over the past many years. Few industries are “recession-proof,” but, fingers crossed, the pet food industry will continue to enjoy that unique designation moving forward. Opportunities in the pet food industry are endless given the many innovations in pet food science, pet animal nutrition, pet food manufacturing, packaging, sustainability, etc., that are ongoing today and that will only continue to improve with time given the exceptional professionalism of the pet food industry workforce around the globe.
Petfood Forum: Why do you continue to attend Petfood Forum, and why should pet food industry professionals join us?
Dr. Fahey: Petfood Forum is my favorite meeting of the year. The event is very well organized, and the technical program is of high quality. New additions to the program such as “tech talks” and the Petfood Essentials event add tremendously to its value. I like that student participation is emphasized today and that WATT Global Media gives a significant break to the cost for students to encourage them to attend. The industry displays are second to none, and one has the opportunity to get the latest information on any topic related to pets from the experts face-to-face.
As a pet nutrition consultant, I can meet with well over 75% of my clients at Petfood Forum. One can get a lot of business done at Petfood Forum in just a two or three day period. Pet food industry professionals should put this meeting on their calendar every year as they will leave the event having learned new things, having made new friends in the industry, and feeling very fortunate that they work in such a dynamic and innovative industry staffed with exceptional people.
Petfood Forum: What’s your recommendation for Kansas City fun during Petfood Forum in May?
Dr. Fahey: “Fun” at Petfood Forum, for me, is meeting old friends, becoming acquainted with new friends, and networking with consulting clients. These activities occur both at the meeting itself and in various restaurants and bars throughout KC. I have not taken advantage of other local activities as the events listed above take up all of my time.
About Petfood Forum
The 30th anniversary of Petfood Forum is scheduled for May 2-4 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Petfood Forum includes an agenda packed with opportunities to network and collaborate with industry professionals, learn the latest in pet food innovation and discover new tools for business success.
Register here to make history at Petfood Forum