President & COO
Darlene Frudakis, a pioneer in the pet industry, has specialized in the development and invention of products devoted to enhancing and improving pet health for more than 25 years. She was one of the first women to enter the once male-dominated industry, and today Frudakis is recognized as a foremost pet industry expert, serving as president and COO of PetAg, Inc.
Frudakis’ career in pet product manufacturing began in 1982 when she recognized a need for an all natural, high-quality rawhide product for dogs. With the backing of her father and uncle, she developed Rawhide Brand, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of rawhide chews that launched the trend of creating USA-made, healthy rawhide chews that are chemical-and preservative-free. Her company was one of the first to add flavoring to rawhide for dogs, and she redefined the product category by inventing the patented Round Safety-Knot® chew that slows down the chewing process so the rawhide lasts longer.
In 1991, Frudakis and her backers sold Rawhide Brand, Inc. to PetAg, Inc., which then became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Milk Specialties. Coinciding with that sale, she joined PetAg as vice president of the rawhide division and quickly advanced to vice president of sales and marketing, supporting all PetAg product categories. By 1995, she was named president and chief operating officer, and under her leadership, PetAg soon expanded its offerings to include the bird category by acquiring the Pink Parrot brand of bird toys and treats.
In 1999, she purchased PetAg from Milk Specialties with business partners, George and Sallie Gill. Through her visionary leadership, PetAg has produced numerous award-wining treats, chews and supplements to enrich and prolong the lives of pets. Frudakis’ astute product development expertise has led the company to creating new product categories – such as supplements that deliver nutrients to pets through a palatable gel – and to becoming established leaders in growing categories, such as weight management and senior pet care products. PetAg has more than doubled its revenues in the pet nutrition category through Frudakis’ proficient, hands-on management.
Frudakis’ many prized achievements in pet product development have been profiled in top business and industry trade publications, and her knowledge is sought by key veterinarian and retail association trade shows and seminars where she regularly serves as a guest speaker. Additionally, she has been featured in pet stories in newspapers and consumer publications, and on national and regional radio stations.
Frudakis holds a degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Elmhurst College.
Executive Vice President
Aided by the discipline instilled during his 31-year association with the United States Marine Corps, George Gill keeps the PetAg team strategically focused on producing top-quality products and maintaining a leading edge position within the pet product industry. Gill spent the first 13 years of his career as a commercial banker at New York City’s Chase Manhattan Bank.
In 1980, he became the treasurer of General Host Corporation, a Fortune 500, NYSE-listed food manufacturer and specialty retailing company. In 1987, he led the purchase of one of General Host’s holdings, a specialty animal nutrition and pet products company named Milk Specialties. As chairman and CEO, and then director of the Dundee, Illinois-based company, Gill led 220-employees while managing four plants in two states, ultimately more than doubling revenues from U.S. and international markets.
When new opportunities arose in 1997, he left Milk Specialties to complete the venture funding for Stabar Enterprises, Inc., a start-up pet products company located in Farmington, Conn., where he served as president and COO. Two years later, the board he had previously led for Milk Specialties approached him to acquire PetAg, Inc., and in 1999, he and his wife Sallie Gill partnered with Darlene Frudakis to purchase the company. Since then, PetAg has realized continual growth in revenues in the pet nutrition category, exceeding industry growth rates. The company continues to bring new, cutting-edge products to market, including VIVE nutrition treats, and DogSure and CatSure.
After serving as a captain in the United States Marine Corps, Gill achieved the rank of colonel in the USMC Reserve. In New York City, Gill commanded a Public Affairs unit from 1984 to 1988. During this time, the unit provided liaison between USMC commanders and the NYC media. Gill later served on active duty during Desert Storm and led the mobilization of individual Marines in the Mid Continent area of the country.
A Little Rock, Ark. native, he earned his B.A and M.A. in economics from Vanderbilt University. He serves on the board of the United Methodist Foundation and the United Methodist Board of Pensions. Previously, Gill served on the board of the American Feed Industry Insurance Company and Barrington Youth Services.
Gill resides in Barrington Hills, Ill. with his wife, Sallie. Together, they have two grown children. One is a senior vice president of a major financial management firm and the other is a vice president of an investment banking firm. The Gill’s share their home with an adopted, 8 year-old blind dog named Petey.
WILLIAM J. GEARY
Controller & Corporate Secretary
William J. Geary is a CPA and MBA with progressive experience in accounting and finance in Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial companies. Bill began his career with PetAg, Inc. in 2011 as the Controller and Corporate Secretary, and is responsible for managing the Accounting, Finance, IT, HR and Insurance for the company.
Bill has worked for manufacturers of high technology equipment, consumer goods and branded food products; and wholesale distributors of pharmaceutical, medical, and automotive supplies.
He was Treasurer of an Illinois CPA Society Industry and Business Chapter for seven years, served as a Junior Achievement Counselor for 2 years, placing 3rd of 300 companies, and was involved in AWANA and the Cook County Jail Ministry through his Church. Bill lives in Hampshire, IL and has three children, Aryn, Ali and Wil.
Director of Category Management for Rawhide and Toy Products
In 1977 Eileen started her sales career in the pet industry. By 1978 she was promoted to Midwest Regional Sales Manager for Metaframe, which was at that time owned by the Mattel Corporation. In 1980 she readily accepted the Midwest Regional Sales Manager position with Tetra Sales, owned by Warner Lambert. At that time there were only four regional sales managers in the country. During these beginning years, female managers were very few as the vast majority of field personnel were male. As a female weekly business traveler, hotels were not yet equipped with skirt hangers! Eileen was nominated to have her “bio” included in the publication of Who’s Who in Professional and Executive Women 1987. She joined Darlene Frudakis at Rawhide Brand in 1996 and found the same passion for the manufacturing of wholesome rawhide chews. Together they persisted to elevate the standards of rawhide and to elevate their Brand out of the “bone trench warfare” low-tier business model.
Director of Category Management for Nutritionals and Treats