Photo: Michael Lasky, Tony de Vos, Michael Twain
The World Pet Association (WPA) awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award—its highest honor—to Tony De Vos, president and CEO of Cardinal Laboratories, at SuperZoo in Las Vegas.
Since giving out its first Lifetime Achievement Award—also known as the Matsui Award in honor of former WPA board president Jiro Matsui—in 1969, the prestigious honor has been awarded 31 times. This means that 14 times in the history of the award the WPA has felt that no one rose to a level of accomplishment worthy of a Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a person’s overall contributions to the pet industry.
However, 2014 is not one of those lean years, and the WPA has found a worthy standard bearer in De Vos. De Vos was born in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 1948, and came to the United States at the age of 13. When Larry Sica, Cardinal’s founder, hired him, De Vos knew nothing about the pet industry. De Vos took over the leadership of Cardinal when Sica passed away in 1981 and has been its guiding influence ever since.
Besides keeping Cardinal anchored with Sica’s passing and growing the company into what it is today, De Vos, who knows a lot about the pet industry these days, has broadened his outreach in an effort to make the pet industry stronger as a whole.
"He worked tirelessly in the formation of the American Family Pet Expo, the [Pet Industry] Sustainability Coalition and acted as a wonderful past chairman of WPA,” said Michael Twain, vice chairman of the WPA, summing up De Vos’ many contributions to the pet industry. "His work speaks for itself,” Twain added. "It was an easy choice.”
"It’s an honor to receive such a prestigious award, especially from my fellow WPA members,” De Vos said. Known for being at the forefront of the industry’s environmental initiative, De Vos is also a member of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition, American Solar Energy Society and International Solar Energy Society.
De Vos oversaw Cardinal Laboratories’ transition to a fully solar-powered office complex and has implemented many green practices, including using recyclable packaging, at the manufacturer’s Azusa and Baldwin Park, Calif., facilities, where pet grooming products, healthcare products and pet food and treats are made.
"I’ve always felt it was important to stay active in the industry, especially with organizations like the WPA that do so much to bring the pet world together through events and information,” De Vos added.