Meet the Team

The Pro Club Community

You’ve seen our team at Purina events, and read our members’ names on the leaderboards. Now, you can get closer to our community than ever before. Through Pro Club, you can form deep connections with The Purina Breeder Enthusiast Team – and each other – on your paths to success.
breeder-enthusiast-meet-the-team
Meet The Breeder Enthusiast Team

We are competitors, trainers, breeders and handlers. And while we’re employed by Purina, we work for you. That’s why you’ll find us beside you; at cat and dog shows, field trials and sporting dog events. Cheering pets to victory and lifting them up after defeat.

Like you, we’ve bred pets to compete and to make homes complete. And because of these experiences, we understand how nutrition, training, support and guidance can make a huge difference in your pet’s journey. 

Dog Articles

View
Filter
15 Results
Edit

Professional Engagement Team

It’s a privilege to work for the best pet food company in the world!  Purina’s culture of excellence in nutrition and support of Sporting Dog events allows me to help promote the sporting dog world.  Purina’s support allows many events that otherwise would not take place or would be limited to flourish.  Through this job, I am able to give back to the sporting dog world which has been such a big part of my life for the last 20 years.

In her job as the Sporting Program Coordinator for the Purina Professional Engagement Team, Gail Inman meets owners, trainers and handlers of all kinds of sporting dogs. She coordinates the Purina Sporting Dog Award Program, which honors the top dogs in six sporting segments, and she has been instrumental in helping to develop Purina’s support of youth programs that encourage participation in dog sports.

Area Manager for:

  • Retriever Segments (AKC Field Trials, AKC Hunt Tests and HRC
  • National Shoot to Retrieve
  • National Bird Hunters Association
  • US Complete Shooting Dog Association
  • English Springer Spaniel Field Trials and Hunt Tests
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Cover Dog Trials

Dean has been with Purina over 7 years, since January, 2006.

As the Conformation Program Coordinator for the Purina Professional Engagement Team, Marilaé Perkins travels to some of the most prestigious dog shows in the country. These include the Westminster Kennel Club, Kennel Club of Philadelphia, and International Kennel Club of Chicago dog shows. Marilaé started working for Purina in 1994 in the Premiums Purchasing Department, switching to her current job in 1997.

My name is Marci Sale and I am the Plains Area Manager for the Breeder Enthusiast group.  I began my career with Purina as an Ambassador in 2006, exclusively attending Labrador Specialties. I retired as a registered nurse and moved into my current position of Area Manager in April of 2010.

I am a breeder/owner/handler of Labradors and have finished several champions under the kennel prefix “Larkspur”.  I have been involved in breeding and showing dogs for more than 25 years and specifically Labradors for 23 + years.

Field Promotions Representative

I have been showing dogs all my life beginning as a Junior. My first breed was German Shepherds. I have also had Afghans and Basenji’s but my passion has always been American Eskimo Dogs. I show both UKC and AKC. I have bred Multiple Best in Show and National Specialty winning dogs with both registries.

I have worked as a Veterinary Tech, am a Canine Behaviorist, and Canine Nutrition is another passion I have.

Corey Benedict, originally from Kansas City, began his love for the sport of purebred dogs at a young age in Kansas when he began breeding and showing English Springer Spaniels. 

Connie Wagner bought her first show Dalmatian in 1982 as a young mom with two kids. She finished her championship and bred her first litter in 1986.

Ann Viklund, Director of Conformation for the Purina Professional Engagement Team, has contributed immensely to Purina’s support of the dog fancy. When Ann joined Purina in 1997 as a Field Promotions Representative, Purina was just beginning to partner with enthusiasts.

Hello, My name is Annie Balotti and I am the Purina Event Center Area Manager.  I have the great pleasure to work at Nestle Purina’s state of the art facility dedicated to the world of dogs.  We host several All-Breed dog shows, numerous National Specialties and various other ever expanding dog events. 

Scott Smith, Managing Director of the Professional Engagement Team, has worked for Purina since 1999. In his current job, Scott meets show and sporting enthusiasts from across the country. He particularly enjoys attending agility and other dog sports at the PurinaEventCenter in Gray Summit, Mo., which is part of his team.      

After earning her journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Melissa Miller spent 12 years working as a reporter, photographer and editor at various newspapers before coming to Purina in 2013. As Senior Communications Specialist of Pet Influential Communications, Melissa’s articles, photography and videography can be found in Today’s Breeder magazine, the Purina® Pro Club®website and the Purina® Pro Club® Update newsletters.