Downtime with Katie McCarron

Katie McCarron, founder of Portland Pet Food Company Photo: Jason E. Kaplan Katie McCarron, founder of Portland Pet Food Company

Live, work and play with the founder of Portland Pet Food Company.


What I am reading 

I’ll read just about anything that has to do with manufacturing pet food — Pet Age magazine, Pet Food Processing, you name it. For fun, I just finished reading two books: A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight and Confession on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger. 

What I am watching 

I’ve never been much of a TV-watching person but with COVID-19 forcing us into quarantine, I’ve been watching more movies than usual. A recent one that I enjoyed is One Night in Miami, which recounts the meeting of Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown. 

What I am listening to 

When biking or walking my dog, Winnie, I listen to a variety of alternative music and business podcasts. My go-to podcast is How I Built This, and some of my favorite artists include Mumford & Sons, Annie Lennox and Coldplay. Scissor Sisters is my absolute favorite while exercising — I listened to them on replay when I ran the New York marathon. 



Must-have gadget

A good pair of earbuds.

What I do outside of work 

I’ve always loved sports and used to play soccer year-round, but I hung up my cleats a few years ago. Nowadays, I stick to watching the Timbers and Trail Blazers and look forward to watching them in person again.

My family has always loved golfing together, so I look forward to playing more this summer. Outside of sports, I’ve always found genealogy interesting and have been fortunate enough to travel and visit the countries of my ancestors.

Earliest ambition 

Growing up I always loved to draw and thought I would become an architect. I’m grateful that my creative streak has remained intact all of these years, as it was a big factor in launching and growing Portland Pet Food Company as well as my former business, Academic Network. I don’t have much time nowadays to draw or paint but hope to soon.

Favorite place to vacation

I have been so fortunate to travel around the world and explore other cultures. Some favorite vacations that stand out are off-the-beaten-path travels to Ukraine, Estonia and Slovenia. I must admit that most vacations have evolved around a soccer event, such as the World Cup or European Cup.

Biggest extravagance

Travel with family and the prospect of venturing farther as the pandemic winds down. I am looking forward to exploring parts of America that I haven’t seen yet.

Professional role model

My mother. After my father passed away, she returned to work in her mid-fifties as a seamstress to support our family while taking classes to become a tax preparer. She worked into her early eighties. Watching her, I learned that you can achieve anything as long you put in hard work, be kind to others and enjoy what you do.

The next big trend
 in the pet-food sector 

In the seven years or so that I’ve been in the industry, I’ve noticed that pet-food trends tend to follow human-food trends. Given that, the next big thing in our industry will be a demand for transparency and sustainability, which you can already see starting to happen. 


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