September 26, 2013

A Word with the Boss: Planet Dog co-CEO sees a mission to give back

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Colleen McCracken, the new co-chief executive officer of Planet Dog, is shown at the headquarters in Westbrook.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

I feel a CEO is really an orchestrator and, at the end of the day, they're only as successful as the team they have in place and the great thing about Steph is that she recognizes that as well. And we have the opportunity to learn from each other as well -- having two people with different experiences really weigh in with their thoughts really helps us make better decisions.

Q: What's the path forward for Planet Dog?

A: The marketplace remains competitive, so the challenge the company has is to differentiate itself. The company has done a great job of developing interactive toys, to stimulate the dog's brain to do puzzles and things like that and I thinks that's a huge opportunity for the company. There are so many opportunities that the question is: How do we focus the company from here? I'm a believer in growing from the core and that's where we'll focus our energy and our efforts.

Q: Do you have a dog yourself?

A: Yes, and his name is Tasker. Tasker is an eight-pound Yorkie that has lots of energy and he's great.

Q: How did he get his name?

A: We bought a house on Tasker Avenue and when we got the dog, we were having a really hard time deciding what to name him and we said, 'Why not Tasker?' And it really stuck. People ask me, what came first -- Tasker's name or the street name?

Q: When and why did you get Tasker?

A: We had a golden retriever, Max, who unfortunately passed away in 2011 and it was a sad time to part with him. Max was an amazing family dog. He grew up with my kids and I didn't know if I really wanted to get another dog, but I realized that the house was a lonely place without a four-legged friend.

Q: Planet Dog is known as a dog-friendly -- almost dog-required -- workplace. Does Tasker go to work with you?

A: Tasker goes to work with me three days a week. When I have a busy day planned, he goes to doggy day care. Dogs add so much value to the workplace. They're product testers and we don't have to go far to find out if a new product will work well. Before I got there, they didn't have many small dogs, so Tasker has been the small dog product tester.

Tasker, being sort of a high-energy-level dog, at first I was a little nervous about bringing him to work, but he really learned about office behavior from the other dogs. There's that first 20 minutes when they can all see each other and romp and then they learn to settle down to work.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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