January CATalysta* Craig Wallace
*A CATalysta is a person or an organization that celebrates and champions the cat.
Why does the head of one of the fastest growing global animal health companies in the U.S. post pictures of his cat on Facebook?
Because he is a cat person.
A dozen years ago, his cat Gracie was destined to remain a barn cat until Craig’s son, who was then a fourth grader, found her and promised he would take care of her. So, while sons tend to grow and go, Gracie remains in good hands with Craig Wallace, CEO and North America| Pacific Zone Director for Ceva Animal Health.
Craig may have an imposing title at Ceva, but he is a down to earth leader whose path to that position isn’t what one would typically expect.
After obtaining a graduate degree in Chemistry, Craig started his career teaching high school. However, he soon decided that teaching Chemistry and Physics and going into research wasn’t where he wanted to spend his whole career.
While considering his options, a friend suggested Craig consider a career in pharmaceutical sales. Craig began sending his resume to all the companies he could find. His persistence paid off doubly because, at the same time he was opening his mailbox to find the “Congratulations, you have a job at Parke-Davis!” letter, he had a happenstance meeting with his neighbor– a veterinary office manager. She informed him veterinary practices have the same kind of sales person…and the rest is animal health history.
Craig moved from Texas to Iowa and started his career with Ft. Dodge. His career steadily advanced, taking him to other companies including Detroit, Portland, Oregon, Seattle and back to Kansas City. Growing businesses was a good fit for him, where he continues to describe what he does as “[finding] the best of the best and brightest people” who possess the talent and drive to help Ceva grow. The company expects to be one of the top five global companies by 2020.
He sees the most important aspect of animal health and welfare as “changing veterinary practice business behavior to focus on the best medicine for the pet and let the pet owner decide.”
Craig is active in his community and serves on many committees and boards such as Kansas City’s Animal Health Corridor, a coalition of global industry leaders, and Wayside Waifs, a Kansas City area animal shelter, all because he’s concerned about “getting pets the help they need.”
His team knows how important Gracie is in his life and that caring for the health and well-being of an aging cat means he may be late for a meeting or he may arrive with pant legs covered in cat hair.
Ceva has a three-fold mission: ensuring adequate protein supplies to feed the world, stopping the spread of zoonotic diseases, and developing the human-animal bond. These values align well with Craig’s personal values because he knows firsthand the love and joy a pet such as Gracie can share with one’s family.