Ken Ramirez

In October 2014, Ken Ramirez began his role as Executive Vice-President and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training where he helps oversee the vision, development and implementation of training education programs for the organization. This role aligns with Ken's philosophy of helping to bring positive reinforcement training to all corners of the animal training world. 

Ken previously served as the Executive Vice-President of animal care and animal training at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where he developed and supervised animal care and animal health programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for the entire animal collection of more than 32,000 animals. He worked at Shedd for nearly 26 years.

A 40+ year veteran of animal care and training, Ramirez is a biologist and animal behaviorist who served nine years at Marineworld of Texas.  He also was a trainer and coordinator at Ocean Safari in South Padre Island, Texas, as well as acting as a consultant to many zoo and aquarium programs throughout the world.  He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career.  He hosted two successful seasons of the pet training television series Talk to the Animalsthat compared pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities.  He has also recently worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations, service dog groups, as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs. 

Since 2005, Ken has brought his experience as a trainer of many cognitive projects with marine mammals and primates to the dog arena.  Most notable has been his work with modifier cues, adduction, matching to sample, mimicry, and counting. The latter two projects: teaching dogs to mimic or imitate other dogs; and to learn the concept of counting are in the process of being prepared for scientific publication.  Both of these projects have documented cognitive abilities in dogs that have not been previously well documented or understood.   

Ramirez has been active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA), of which he is a past president.  Ken has been actively involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoological settings.  He has been on the faculty of Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expos since 2005.


Ramirez has written for numerous scientific publications and authored countless popular articles.  He authored the bookANIMAL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement, published in 1999. He also teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University

Nigel Woodd, ZiwiPeak 

Nigel is one of the Shareholders and Directors of Ziwi Ltd and has been responsible for the development of the Ziwi brand globally for the last 11 years into all our global markets excluding North America.

His passion for producing and offering the world’s best dog & cat food is underpinned by our business philosophy to only use NZ’s best meat & seafood ingredients that provide the pet with exceptional nutrition.

Integrity, honesty and commitment to health and wellbeing for our furry friends is core to Nigel’s personal philosophy as well as the Ziwi brand.

Nigel’s background has always been in sales, marketing and general management and I have developed small NZ businesses into successful niche company’s.

Ziwi has been recognised as the BOP Exporter of the Year in 2018 and was a finalist in the International Exporter of the Year awards as well.

Nigel spends a lot of time in the global markets talking to many pet owners, retailers and vets and appreciates the different cultures and values they all offer. One thing they all have in common is that they all love their pets.

Nigel believes NZ is really the best source of ingredients suitable to feed to dogs and cats and Ziwi is proud to lead the global development of the high meat content whole prey diet category.

Emma Bermingham, AG Research 

Obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science Honours degree (1999) in Animal Science from Massey University (NZ) and a PhD (2004) from Massey University (based at AgResearch). She undertook several post-doctoral positions including CSIRO (Australia, 2003-2005), INRA (France, 2005-2006) and the Waltham Centre of Pet Nutrition (UK, 2006-2007). In 2007 she returned to AgResearch to investigate the effects of diet on intestinal health and in 2009 was appointed Senior Scientist, responsible for conducting commercial and applied nutritional research for companion animals. Research interests include: health benefits of diets for companion animals, the effects of nutrition on intestinal health for companion animals.

Recent public speaking experience includes invited speaker at national (NZ Petfood Manufactures Association 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018) and international industry (Petfood Asia 2016, Petfood China 2016, Petfood USA 2017, 2018) and science conferences (e.g., Waltham International Nutritional Science Symposium 2010, 2013; European Society of Veterinary and Clinical Nutrition 2017).


Lead author’s/speaker’s contact information

Emma N Bermingham

Senior Scientist

Food, Nutrition & Health Team

Food & Bio-based Products

AgResearch Limited

Grasslands Research Centre

Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

T +64 6 351 8304