The American Kennel Club (AKC ®), today announced leadership changes in the Companion Events Department.

Pamela Manaton, Director of Obedience, Rally and Tracking has announced her retirement effective March 1, 2022 after 22 years with the AKC Companion Events Department. Senior Field Representative, Diane Shultz, has been promoted to the Director of Obedience, Rally and Tracking position. Additionally, Bob Withers has been hired as a Field Representative for Obedience and Rally, and Carol Ruthenberg has been hired as a Field Representative for Tracking.

For the past 11 years, Pamela has served as the Director for Obedience, Rally and Tracking. She has been responsible for the day-to-day management of the sports and has initiated enhancements for their long-term benefit. Since becoming Director, she has served as the chair for 34 National events. Pam has taken a personal interest in promoting the involvement of Juniors in Companion Events.

“Pam has been an integral part of the Companion Events Department for over two decades. Her contributions will be of lasting value to the sports.  She has been a pleasure to work with and we all wish her the best in her retirement,” said Doug Ljungren, Executive VP for Sports & Events. “We are very fortunate to have someone with Diane’s experience and knowledge who is prepared to take on the role of Director.  Diane will be working closely with existing field representative Mary Higdem, Bob, Carol, and the hard-working office staff.  We are confident these sports are in good hands.”      

Diane Schultz has been with the Companion Events Department since 2005.  Prior to joining the AKC, she was an active exhibitor in obedience, conformation, tracking and herding events.  Diane has served as a trial chair, national club officer and a judge in obedience, rally and tracking.  She clearly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new position.  Diane can be reached at    

Bob Withers has been hired as an Obedience/Rally Field Representative.  Bob is an active exhibitor in both obedience and rally and a dog training instructor.  He has judged both the Obedience and Rally Nationals and served as an expert commentator on AKC TV for these events.  Bob is an avid supporter of Juniors, having judged the AKC Juniors Classic and volunteered his time to assist 4-H and FFA clubs with their dog sport events.  Bob will officially start as a field rep on March 1st.  

Carol Ruthenberg has been hired as the Field Representative for Tracking.  She brings a lifetime of knowledge and passion for the sport.  She has been a tracking judge since 1993.  Carol believes that tracking captures the comradery that is inherent in dog activities and she looks forward to supporting the sport. She can be reached at