Collette Kaster of Kearney, Missouri, has been named new executive director of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). She replaces Mike Simpson, who has retired after 11 years with the organization.

A native of northwest Iowa, Kaster holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from South Dakota State University and an M.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She joins PAACO after serving most recently as senior vice president of quality technical services and hog procurement for Smithfield Foods. She also worked for Premium Standard Farms and b PIC.

Kaster has long been involved with key industry activities such as the animal welfare committees of both the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the National Pork Board (NPB). She has served on the NPB’s Food Safety and Pork Quality Solutions committees and as a chair of the NAMI Inspection Committee. She was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection from 2001-03 and is past president of the American Meat Science Association as well as an AMSA Fellow.

“PAACO has seen great success under Mike Simpson’s direction and we are looking forward to expanding PAACO’s training portfolio under Collette’s leadership,” says PAACO Chair Jennifer Walker, DVM, PhD. “Collette brings to the table a depth and breadth of knowledge, experience and talent that will ensure that PAACO remains the leader in animal welfare audit certification and training. Without question, she has the skill set to take PAACO to the next level and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Kaster has been involved with PAACO as a trainer and a host facility, as well as supporting a number of shadow audits. She states, “I am looking forward to leading this organization and to helping shape the animal care and welfare initiatives for all species of livestock. The care of food animals has never been more scrutinized and PAACO serves a key role in the certification of audits and auditors to fill that need.”