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People Power: Kevin Simpson

Position: Director of Animal Behavior and Training (the first ever) at the Washington Humane Society in Washington, D.C.

Community size: About 550,000 residents live in Washington; surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia add a zero to that figure.

How he got here: Simpson trained dogs as a hobby in high school and college but never thought of it as a potential career. He ended up in human resource management but wasn’t satisfied. After volunteering at Mercer County Humane Society in West Virginia, he worked for a pet resort in the Pittsburgh area that helped train and socialize dogs at local shelters. It was there that he decided to make shelter work a career and started sending out resumes. An APDT-certified trainer, he became Washington Humane’s animal care manager close to three years ago. The shelter created his new position as part of its five-year “Good Home Guarantee” plan, through which the organization’s leaders hope to reach a 100-percent placement rate for adoptable animals by 2010.

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