The American Feed Industry Association has named Jarrod Kersey, Ph.D., The Nutro Company, and Jason Vickers, P&G Pet Care, Co-Members of the Year. Both have provided leadership to AFIA’s Pet Food Committee during the last two years, each serving a term as chair. The award was announced May 14, 2013, at AFIA’s Board of Directors meeting.
Jarrod Kersey is the director of health sciences and regulatory affairs, Mars Petcare US and The Nutro Company, both headquartered in Franklin, Tenn. He is responsible for the strategic development of the health sciences and regulatory affairs teams for Mars Petcare US, including oversight of the Pet Health and Nutrition Center at the Regional Innovation Center in Thompson’s Station. Dr. Kersey developed a category-leading nutritional strategy centered on canine life stages, breed size and activity levels. He also implemented a plan for The Nutro Company to lead the natural nutrition pet food category.
Prior to Mars Inc., Dr. Kersey was AFIA’s director of state and regulatory affairs following a seven-year career with Proctor & Gamble Pet Care in various roles related to regulatory sciences.
Dr. Kersey received a master’s degree in poultry nutrition from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, a master’s degree of public administration from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, and a doctorate in poultry sciences from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Jason Vickers is the section head of global product stewardship for P&G Pet Care. In 1998, he joined the department of strategic research in the research and development division of The Iams Company, now Procter & Gamble Pet Care. His research focus included the areas of gastrointestinal health, obesity and diabetes as well as the clinical application of innovations within these areas. In 2001, he transferred to the department of regulatory affairs and is currently in the role of section head with responsibilities for North American regulatory compliance.
Vickers received his bachelors of science in animal science followed by and his masters of science in non-ruminant nutrition from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Both men are active in AFIA, serving on several committees and member interest groups. Vickers has been an active member of the AFIA Pet Food Committee, the Feed Regulatory Committee, the International Trade member interest groups, serves on the AFIA Board of Directors and serves on the work group on records and registration for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Dr. Kersey serves on the International Trade member interest group, Ingredient Approval and Definitions member interest group and serves on the FSMA work group on mandatory recall and administrative detention authorities. Kersey was also recently elected to the AFIA Board of Directors.
During their respective time as chair of the Pet Food Committee, both Vickers and Kersey challenged the committee to be proactive. Under their tenure, all stakeholders were brought to the table to address pet food safety. Working groups have been established to address changes in pet food labeling that benefit both the manufacturer and consumer. Another work group is seeking ways for the industry to be proactive in our communications planning in the event of a “crisis” that affects the entire industry.
“Pet food safety is a noncompetitive issue. Despite their companies being professional competitors, Jarrod and Jason worked together and led the charge, bringing leadership to the issue,” said Joel G. Newman, president and CEO of AFIA.
As supporters of the Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program, Vickers and Dr. Kersey saw the opportunity for AFIA to lead and provide a pet food specific certification program for the pet food industry. In 2012, their vision resulted in the Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification Program (PFMFCP). Both contributed their expertise and continue to promote the use of the certification program within their respective companies as well as throughout the industry, in spite of their firms being competitors. They also challenged AFIA to seek benchmarking for the PFMFCP in the Global Food Safety Initiative, a process that is on-going.