Purina pets big for Toronto native
By MARK J. MILLER
STEUBENVILLE – Pat Lamantia described his 30-plus years as a marketing manager for dog show trials for Nestle Purina during the Friday luncheon meeting of the city Rotary Club at the YWCA on North Fourth Street.
Lamantia said he got into the industry as a hobby and soon was helping organize specialized dog show trials and working for Purina as a marketing manager. The performance tests are for show dogs specializing in hunting, retrieving and other dog-related skills, said Lamantia. He added Nestle Purina was very involved in the sponsorship of dog sporting competitions and related magazines devoted to competition.
“The sport supports amateur and professional (dog show field trials),” he said. “Our company supports 3,000 events per year.”
Lamantia, who grew up in Toronto and graduated from Catholic Central High School, said many show and sport dog owners travel throughout North America, competing with other owners to determine the top breeds for a particular competition.
“Some people make a very lucrative living off of that,” said Lamantia, adding many events are certified by the American Kennel Club, American Field and several other organizations.
Nestle Purina also works with many specialized, nonprofit dog owner organizations, supporting them through sponsorship and assistance.
“We help out with all of them,” he said.
Nestle Purina also supports through advertising and other means magazines devoted to specific dog breeds, said Lamantia.
“They want to see their breed in these magazines – not other breeds,” he said, adding writers from the company also compose feature stories on different dogs and the sport, from breeding to specialty skills.
He said the company was trying to get more young people involved in field trials, and most of those interested in the sport were older. He added the company has worked with pairing dogs and wounded veterans.
Nestle and Purina were independent companies at one time, he said.
“We partnered 12 years ago,” said Lamantia, adding Nestle was the largest producer of packaged goods in the world.
He said he was proud to work for the company, noting during recent disasters, including tornado damage in Oklahoma, the company donated food to pets, cat litter, truckloads of potable water and even $10,000 raised through the company’s employees.
“Many of (the company’s) employees had their homes wiped out,” he said, adding the company was generous in helping its own and continued to pay their salaries while they were trying to rebuild their lives. “It’s a great company to work for.”