#3 Derek Huntington – Managing Director of Capital Pet Movers and Past President of IPATA

We often know the process that leads from an initial input to the final one. We come to know how our removal takes place, how our pet travels from one country to another, how a Relocation service is planned. Instead, our objective is to plunge into this fascinating world by interviewing the leading figures that compose it and live it on a day to day basis.

This is not only a question of “goods” but of successful people who have invested resources for a greater objective, going beyond their professional role. All these people are Global Mobility Leaders and it is our duty to interview them and make them known to the public.

The third character interviewed during our series of interviews, “Global Mobility Leaders”, is Derek Huntington, General Manager of Capital Pet Movers. This Company has been relocating pets since 2001, working with government employees, military personnel, and civilians to move their pets wherever they need to go. Also Derek was the “Past President of IPATA”, Ian international association composed of professionals in the relocation of domestic animals in the world. The association has 350 members in 70 countries. The IPATA agents are the most qualified specialists in the world to ensure maximum safety due to our animal friends.

Francesco Argirò: “I’ve known Derek for many years (10 or 11) and his company, Capital Pet Movers, has been Bliss’s partner for a long time. Besides his great professionality in the business world, what has always struck me about him is his straightforwardness and great sincerity. More than a partner, to me his is a dear friend. I feel very proud I got to meet him a long time ago and continue the friendly relationship we still have today!”

What will we ask them?

Information on their sector, their background, how they see the development of the market of reference over the next few years. Finally, we will get to know them better through more personal questions.

Are you ready to face this new adventure? If you are, follow us:

Question no.1: Introduce yourself, tell us something about you.

Derek Huntington-Managing Director of Capital Pet Movers serving the Washington DC- USA area.

I have been working with pets and animals since 1994 when I first started working at a kennel named Shady Spring Boarding Kennels now named Shady Spring Pet Retreat. I worked there exclusively from 1994-2002 then I began developing the relocation side of the business from 2002, then named Shady Spring Pet Relocation until 2011. As we began to be more successful, I changed the name to Capital Pet Movers and officially launched it as a stand-alone business in 2011. I then resigned from Shady Spring and worked full time at Capital.

Before working with pets, I was a music education major in college and I worked for a food preparation/food service business preparing meals for catered events. Quite the difference.

Question no.2: What do you do for a living? What kind of relationship to you have with the Global Mobility world? (Indicate also your role and your years of experience in this field)

Further to question 1, I work for Capital Pet Movers managing a team of six amazing individuals that are all dedicated to providing good customer service, professionalism but more importantly we all have a common vision to be the best with what we do helping people relocate their animals when they relocate, whether for a work relocation or just to retire.

I have been in the mobility industry full time since 2011 when Capital Pet Movers officially launched on its own, but I have been relocating pets since 2002.

In 2011 I began serving as the first Regional Director of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) of North America. By serving, this provided unique regional insight and goals for both pet shippers and the airline industry. Delta Airlines was our first airline to attend our regional meeting in Ft. Lauderdale in March 2012.

During that year I was elected to serve on the board of directors and later I was tapped to serve next president of IPATA for the term 2015-2018 which was the one of the biggest honor I have ever received. My peers from around the world had confidence in my to steer the ship and lead us in the right direction for the industry.

During my term, I was able to accomplish very positive change. We started the Research and Development committee that began collecting and analyzing data for Snub nosed breeds starting with the University of Texas, redesigning our methods of providing tools and resources to our membership, expanding our reach with industry partners such as Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Center for Disease Control (CDC), EU Animal Health Advisory Committee attendance, increased collaboration with International Air Transport Association (IATA)- Live Animal and Perishables Board providing unique insight and input into the personal pet shipping industry. Providing measured leadership during the increased changes in the airline industry as it relates to pet travel.

Question no. 3: What kind of characteristics are required for a professional to operate correctly within your field of competence?

Derek in bliss offices

I think you need to be motivated, driven, be a problem solver and at minimum offer alternative solutions. Have a desire to make change in a positive manner but most importantly, have a strong ethical behavior.

In the early days, I saw a need that was not being filled in our market. The pet industry was growing rapidly and there was a need for a premium service for people’s pets that move around the world. So, I thought, if I were in this position of moving, what would I want and expect from a service? I applied that to my business practices. Meaning, being willing to meet the demands of each individual move and understanding that every move is unique and we be willing to meet those needs.

Question no. 4: How do you imagine your sector 10 years from now?

I believe the sector will continue to grow and be a industry that will not stop. I speak specifically with the pet industry. The indicators are not showing that people will stop traveling nor will they stop having pets. So I anticipate continued growth but I also believe that the pet travel side of things will be come more visible and have a more prominent role in the overall mobility market.

Question no. 5: How do you spend your leisure time? What makes you feel really good?

Great question! Traveling the world has been a huge part of my life over the last 12 years and I try to see as many places as possible. The more places I visit, the more I appreciate life in general, the more I appreciate my friends and family. Traveling allows you to get out of our own “life bubbles” and realize there is more to life. Learning Spanish has been my other passion (although a slow process). I have been doing this for the past two or so years now with a tutor.

The other part of traveling is just being able to get away a decompress, it is really good for mental and physical well being. Cannot recommend it enough.

Question no. 6: How did you get into contact with Bliss? What impressed you about our reality?

Bliss Pet Sevices has been a mobility partner with Capital Pet Movers for several years now. Shortly after I met the Francesco, the president, we hit it off well and became very good friends. We have very similar visions on how to run a business, but I think even more than that, we have symmetry with how two business can work together for a common goal.

Both of our companies are ethical, forward thinking and always looking at ways to be the best in our industry and use technologies and social media to help inform about pet shipping. We have a mutual respect and for that, I will continue working with Bliss Pet Services. Sharing of ideas is invaluable to me and Francesco and his team!

Question no. 7: How did you meet the President of Bliss Corporation, Francesco Argirò? What do you have in common?

I officially met Francesco at the IPATA International Conference in Hong Kong (2011 I believe, have to check that). The relationship became stronger in later years when he served on the IPATA board of directors with me up until 2018. That is when we got to know each and developed a strong friendship and business relationship. We have both said we have a strong friendship but more like a brotherhood and we trust each other implicitly.

Common—ethical, mutual respect, desire to succeed, highly motivated, kind, compassionate, supportive and the love of traveling and seeing the world!

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