Paul F. Iams
Iams graduated from the Ohio State University in 1937, and sold dog food during the Great Depression. He learned that not even severe economic hardship would stop owners from buying food to feed their pets. This was a revelation to Iams, as most owners fed their pets leftovers or their own concoctions. A self-taught animal nutritionalist, Iams founded his company in 1946, and, by 1950, was creating his own recipes in his own plant in Dayton.
When he retired in 1982, Iams sold his stake in the company to his business partner, who sold the company to Procter & Gamble in 1999.
Paul Iams was born in Dayton, Ohio on August 11, 1915. He was a talented high school athlete who won the Ohio State Tennis Championship in 1933. In 1937, he graduated from Ohio State University and became interested in the pet food business while working with his father, Harry, a grain broker. He joined Procter & Gamble in 1938 and was a highly successful soap salesman before joining the Navy in World War II.
After completing his service, Iams decided to create high quality pet food, based on his original nutritional theories and research. He was convinced that there was a strong specialty market for a nutritionally complete dog food. His original customer base was composed of Midwestern veterinarians and dog breeders.
In 1950, he opened his first manufacturing plant in Dayton, Ohio with five employees. He named his first dog food, "Iams 999" to imply that it was nearly perfect.
In the 29 years that he led The Iams Company, he introduced Iams Plus, Iams Chunks and Eukanuba. Mr. Iams created much of the early look of his products on his own. The name Eukanuba was an exclamation from the 1940s that was used to describe something that was supreme, and he dearly loved the color combination of purple and green, thought strange at the time, but now regarded as a unique signature for his products.
By 1974, with the superior nutritional quality of his products impacting the pet food market, Mr. Iams was recognized as a world authority on carnivore nutrition.
In 1982, Mr. Iams sold the business to Clay Mathile, who had joined Iams in 1970 and was Paul's business partner and friend. In 1999, the Mathiles sold The Iams Company to Procter and Gamble.
In 1987, the Paul F. Iams Technical Center in Lewisburg, Ohio was opened as a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to researching the emotional and physical needs of companion animals.
Paul Iams died at the age of 89, on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 in Chappaqua, New York. Until a month earlier, he had lived in Sun City West, Arizona where he retired in 1982 with his wife, the former Jane Landrum, who died in 1996. He was survived by his younger sister, Nancy (Iams) Egbert; his three children: Paul Iams Jr., Barbara Iams Korein and Carrie Terada; and seven grandchildren.