ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry (AFIA) gave the first Friend of Pet Food Award during its 2020 Pet Food Conference in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Gail Kuhlman, Ph.D., of Mars Petcare and Kate Shoveller, Ph.D., of the University of Guelph, received the new award that was launched this year. It recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to support the growth of the pet food industry.

Kuhlman and Shoveller are the first recipients of the award.

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

Kuhlman is a technical manager in research and development at Mars Petcare. She is skilled at bringing together diverse innovate scientists to design, develop and validate new and upgraded diets for companion animals and then work to bring these to market.

“Kate is a professional who is shaping the future of the industry,” Calderwood said. “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.”

Shoveller is an associate professor with the University of Guelph in Canada. She is dedicated to debunking myths on pet food and working to transfer knowledge that is fact based and relevant, helping students learn and giving the industry and consumers another place to turn for correct information.