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The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) is pleased to announce the 2023 Friend of Pet Food Award winner, Steve Thomas, former vice president at Darling Ingredients. Eric Altom, technical nutritionist for Balchem Animal Nutrition and Health, presented the award today during the AFIA Pet Food Conference, happening in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo this week.
“Steve’s passion for people and the industry, coupled with his strong sense of innovation, makes him a deserving recipient of the Friend of Pet Food Award,”said Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs.
Thomas’ working relationships with pet food manufacturers helped him to develop training programs for Darling Ingredients’ sales and support staff. These programs taught staff about the complexities of the industry and the challenges that Darling Ingredients’ customers face and have been used to train current and former pet food company buyers as well.
Thomas, after working nearly 40 years in the animal proteins and fats industry, recently retired as vice president of protein sales for Darling Ingredients. His career began with Griffin Industries in 1984, and he transitioned to Darling Ingredients in 2010. Thomas has been instrumental in developing many products for the two companies, including a dairy feed supplement, a baby pig supplement, a liquid fat delivery system and an organic fertilizer brand, Nature Safe. For over a decade he worked with pet food companies to deliver high quality, renewable and nutritious products from the meat industry.
Launched in 2019, the AFIA Friend of Pet Food Award recognizes individuals who have made recent significant contributions to support the growth of the pet food industry. To date, seven people have earned this award. Learn more about the award on AFIA’s website and view a video about this year’s recipient on the AFIA Feed Bites blog.