AFIA Honors Pet Food Industry Professionals

January 26, 2021

Contact Lacie Dotterweich, Communications Coordinator

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) is pleased to announce Galen Rokey, of Wenger Manufacturing, Inc., and Michael Panasevich, of Summit Ridge Farms, as the recipients of the 2021 Friend of Pet Food Award. Scott Baker, marketing manager at SEM Minerals, LP, presented the awards today during the AFIA Pet Food Conference, happening virtually in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo this week.

The Friend of Pet Food Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to support the growth of the pet food industry.

Galen Rokey of Wenger Manufacturing, Inc. received the Friend of Pet Food Award at the 2021 AFIA Pet Food Conference.

“Rokey and Panasevich are both truly friends of pet food and we are thrilled to recognize them today,” said Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs, following the announcement of the awards. “Rokey’s creative force has helped foster pet food’s transformation into an industry with high nutrition, quality and sanitary expectations. The global pet food market would simply not contain the current value and scope of choices without Rokey's dedicated, humble work. His career has been full of pet food advancements for which we are all grateful.”

“Combining a vast knowledge of nutritional requirements, with an expert understanding of ingredients and a proficiency in cooking and forming via the extrusion process, Rokey has advanced pet food concepts in the research laboratory, then educated the industry on the lecture circuit, leading to the industry’s feed-to-food evolution,” said Baker.

Rokey is the director of process technology in the companion animal division at Wenger Manufacturing. Rokey’s latest breakthrough is a cutting-edge thermal screw extrusion system that allows pet food companies to cook formulas containing fresh meat levels more than twice the amount previously possible.

“Panasevich’s passion and life's work has been to provide the most precise, accurate and scientific data that empowers the industry to develop absolutely the best diets, treats, supplements and products for consumers,” Baker stated.

Michael Panasevich of Summit Ridge Farms received the Friend of Pet Food Award at the 2021 AFIA Pet Food Conference.

“He offers truly invaluable experience and knowledge on study design and implementation and has made it a priority to pass that knowledge on to the next generation,” Calderwood continued.

Panasevich is the president and founder of Summit Ridge Farms, the world's largest independent research facility completely dedicated to supporting the pet food industry. Summit Ridge Farms focuses on pet food testing, providing the industry with reliable research on all types of testing protocols for dogs and cats. Amid the demands of running a business, Panasevich also participates in industry meetings involving pet food, including the Association of American Feed Control Officials feeding trials subcommittee.

Editorial Note: To obtain high-resolution files of the images above to use for editorial purposes, contact Lacie Dotterweich, AFIA’s communications coordinator. Media are welcome to embed the videos discussing the winners, which are linked from AFIA's YouTube channel.