Meet Tony de Vos
Wearing Many Different Hats, But Always “Walking The Walk” For Pets, People And The Planet
There is no such thing as a “typical day” in the life of Tony de Vos. One day the president and CEO of Cardinal Pet Care might be supervising the production line at his solar-powered manufacturing facility in Azusa, California. The next day he might be speaking to an industry association. Then he might be off to a business meeting in Tokyo or Frankfurt. When he returns, he’ll spend time at home with his wife Linda and their grandchildren, before heading off for a round of meetings for his Crazy Pet Children’s Foundation.
Although Tony assumes many different responsibilities and wears many different hats in his busy, productive life, there is one thing about him that never changes – he always walks the same walk. Everyone who meets him, regardless of their power or position, is treated with the same dignity and respect; every challenge is met with the same enthusiasm and determination; every promise made is kept; and every day is lived to its fullest with a focus on making a positive contribution to the world around him.
These values were engrained early in Tony by his parents, Dutch immigrants who settled in the Los Angeles area when he was a boy. Tony also acquired a strong work ethic from his parents. This was in evidence early when he worked his way through the Cal State LA - California State University, Los Angeles. After serving in the Army, he helped his partner, and future father-in-law, Larry Sica, build Cardinal from a small company with fewer than 10 employees into a leader in the global pet products industry with customers in over 47 nations.
The words “impossible,” “can’t” and “let someone else do it,” are nowhere to be found in Tony’s vocabulary. This is true whether it involves meeting a business challenge or rolling up his sleeves to make the world a better place. For example, although many people talk about reducing their carbon footprint to clean up the environment, Tony has “walked the walk,” converting both his home and his manufacturing/warehouse facilities – which cover over 100,000 square feet – to solar power. His 100% solar powered plant is so energy efficient that it is sending power back to the city utility grid.
When the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatened the survival of wild birds in the region, Tony did more than talk about the terrible situation; he again walked the walk, devoting a production line in his facility to making a special shampoo that removed oil from these unfortunate animals without endangering them. He donated this product to bird rescue groups in the Gulf region.
Tony has also established the Crazy Pet Children’s Foundation to support the “Back Bones of Character” program, which focuses on the character values children learn by caring for pets. The pet-child relationship is a win-win, believes Tony, offering a treasured emotional bond to both parties. He points to studies that show that children who are raised with pets tend to do better in school, are less likely to have emotional problems and are more happy, adjusted and successful as adults.
The Crazy Pet Children’s Foundation supports educational and outreach programs that give children a stronger appreciation of pets and encourage them to develop the “Back Bones of Character” that come from empathizing with and caring for a companion animal. Tony is passionate about his work for the organization, since it is yet another way to make the future brighter for pets, people and the planet.