Over 1000 students have received B.S., M.S. and/or Ph.D. degrees in Dairy and Food Science from South Dakota State University. These graduates have developed very successful careers and have served the dairy industry around the country and in various parts of the world very effectively. Below is a small sampling of Dairy and Food Science alumni and a description of their accomplishments.
Featured Alumnus: David Thompson B.S.'64. 2017 Distinguished Alumnus.
Thompson grew up on a Milbank dairy farm, managed the SDSU dairy plant as a student and began a 31-year career with Abbott Laboratories after graduating in 1964 with a B.S. in Dairy Manufacturing. Thompson advanced to president of Abbott Diagnostic Division and oversaw the development of a test to detect HIV virus in blood samples.
Thompson’s career with Abbott began when the company visited campus his senior year looking for someone to join their new plant in Mitchell that would make Similac infant formula. He worked there one day a week during the final semester before going full time.
By 1974, ten years after graduation, he was vice president of operations with the Ross Division of Abbott Laboratories. Among his duties were talking with Russia and Ireland about building Similac plants there.
In 1981, he moved to Abbott’s corporate office in Chicago, where he was vice president of materials. A year later he was named vice president of human resources for Abbott worldwide. In 1983, Thompson was named senior vice president of Abbott and president of Abbott Diagnostic Division. During his 12 years at the helm, the division grew its revenue from $200 million to more than $2 billion. It was in 1985 that Abbott introduced the first licensed test to detect HIV in blood.
After retiring from Abbott in 1995, he became lead director for Exact Sciences Corp., which has developed the first noninvasive test for colon cancer.
Thompson gives back to SDSU through the support of $5,000 per year scholarships to the dairy manufacturing and food science departments. When the dairy plant was reconstructed in 2011, he donated $125,000 and that was matched by Abbott Labs. In 2019 he provided a substantial contribution that enabled the university to endow the position of Department Head, thereby creating the David A. Thompson Endowed Department Head and Professor. This is the first endowed department head position at SDSU.
Amer AbuGhazaleh, Jordan
M.S. Dairy Production, 2000
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 2002
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Dept of Animal Sci, Food, Nutrition, Carbondale, IL.
After completing his Ph.D Amer joined Clemson University as a Post-Doc working with Dr. Jenkins. He set up a continuous culture system to study the effect of dilution rate and pH on the conversion of stable isotopically labeled oleic and elaidic acids to trans monoenes by mixed ruminal microorganisms. In addition to that, he also worked with batch cultures of mixed ruminal microorganisms to study the biohydrogenation of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids and their effect on trans monoenes formation. Since moving to Clemson, in 2003, he submitted 2 papers to the Journal of Dairy Science. In 2004 he accepted his current position of Assistant Professor at Carbondale.
Troy Ammann, Wilmot, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
Current Position:Vice President of Cheese Sales, Agropur, inc., Le Sueur, MN.
After graduation from SDSU, Troy started as a management trainee for a large producer of Italian type cheese. He progressed from that position to various production supervisor/manager positions in both cheese and whey processing. After seven years in those types of positions, he spent 3 years doing technical service work on the supply side of the industry for a cheese ingredient supplier and a major cheese equipment manufacturer. Following that, he accepted a position with Davisco Foods International as Director of Cheese Operations. In that capacity, he oversaw manufacturing, quality programs, and sales of cheese from the three manufacturing facilities of the company. While a student at SDSU, Troy was a member of a dairy products judging team. In 2005 Troy was elected President of the North Central Cheese Industries Association.
Chad Anderson, Windom, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1996
Current position: Plant Manager, Milk and Cultured Products, Safeway, Clackamas, OR.
After graduation in 1996 Chad started with Safeway Inc. in Bellevue, WA as a management trainee. During his career with Safeway he has worked at various ice cream and milk plants in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon. He worked as a production supervisor in both the ice cream and milk plants in Denver, Co. He then moved to Moses Lake, WA where he held the positions of Plant Superintendent and then Plant Manager. He is currently the Plant Manager of Safeway's milk and culture product plant located outside of Portland in Clackamas, OR. Chad is currently a board member of the Oregon Dairy Industries organization.
Debra Anderson, Gettysburg, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1992
Current position: Vice President Business Development Manager, NIZO Food Research B.V., Rosemont, IL.
Deb Anderson started her career in Application Development for Continental Colloids, Inc. (now a part of Tate and Lyle). She was responsible for developing stabilizer formulation for numerous commercial dairy products as well as implementing the formulations in commercial dairy plants (1993 – 2000). In 2000 Deb joined Glanbia Nutritionals as the Technical Sales Manager for the specialty whey ingredients serving the Food, Beverage, Dairy, Sports Nutrition and supplement industries (2000 – 2004). Deb joined Kerry Ingredients in 2005 selling caseinates from the Ireland location into the Food and Beverage industry in the USA. She was also a member of the Nutritional Bar team as well as the Nutritional Beverage team, responsible for assisting customers with formulation, ingredients, and commercial introduction (2005 – 2008). Moving from the Irish companies (Glanbia and Kerry), Deb joined her first Dutch company, Lipid Nutrition (currently Stepan Lipid Nutrition) promoting Conjugated Linoleic Acid into the Food and Beverage Industry. She was responsible for the first commercially available CLA enhanced food product in the USA (2008 – 2011). In 2011 Deb joined the Dutch company NIZO food research B.V. as VP Business Development – USA. She is responsible for growing the company’s business (independent contract research) throughout the Food and Beverage industry in the USA/Canada/Mexico. Deb has been a very active participant in IFT, Supply Side and other industry organizations.
Doug Anderson, Cosmos, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1991
Current position: Plant Manager, First District Association, Litchfield, MN.
Doug Anderson has worked at First District Association (FDA) his entire career. He started in June 1991 as a Lab Assistant for a special whey product that was being developed at FDA. He combined laboratory efforts between outside customer lab and FDA lab over the next two years. He was promoted to Lab Manager in charge of lab functions and plant quality assurance in 1994. In 1997 Doug was promoted to Production Manager; responsibilities included all manufacturing processes and covered efficiencies, yields, quality, new projects to improve or increase capacities. In 2001 he was promoted to Plant Manager. His responsibilities included all processing. In 2006 the plant produced 121 million lbs of Cheddar cheese, 21 million lbs of WPC, and 31 million lbs of lactose production. Doug is also responsible for Projects and Services to include maintenance, electrical, waste water, outside contractors. Other duties include working with City administration; Minnesota Pollution Control; DNR; and Minnesota Safety council. Doug has also served as President of North Central Cheese Industries Association.
Jake Anderson, De Smet, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2004.
Current position: Senior Manufacturing Manager, Bel Brands USA, Brookings, SD.
Immediately after receiving his B.S. degree Jake was employed at Davisco Foods International in Lake Norden, SD as Cheese Supervisor. His duties included the day-to-day supervision of operations of the cheese plant from milk pasteurization through cheese packaging. In 2006 he was promoted to Receiving Manager and was responsible for managing all aspects of receiving and shipping liquid products. In 2011 Jake returned to SDSU when the new Davis Dairy Plant was nearing completion. His first task was to begin the start-up process of the new plant, ensuring that all processes were operational. This was followed by developing training programs for students. In 2013 Jake accepted a position with another new plant that was in the process of starting up; Bel Brands USA in Brookings, SD. Here he was appointed Manufacturing Manager to oversee the operations of the production of mini baby bel cheeses. He is currently Senior Manufacturing Manager.
Terry Anderson, Centerville, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1982
Current Position: Senior Vice President of Production Technical Services. Leprino Foods Co., Denver, CO
Upon graduation from SDSU, Terry worked for Kraft Foods as a Food Technologist in the Blackfoot, ID plant. In 1984, he moved to Green Bay, WI to assume the role of Production Specialist for Kraft. Terry went to work for Leprino Foods Company in Denver, CO in 1988 and was the Director of Technical Services – Cheese Production for 14 years. During this time, he served as a member of the 3-A Standards Committee. He was promoted to Vice President of Production Operations in March 2002, a position he held through 2003. In January, 2004 Terry became Senior Vice President of Production Technical Services, the position he currently holds.
Chris Austin, Woodstock, IL
M.S. Dairy Production, 1990
Current Position: Quality Control Lab Technician. Dean Foods, Harvard, IL
After graduation from SDSU, Chris worked in feed and forage analysis for SDSU and then was a herdsmen on various dairy farms in South Dakota, Illinois, and Wisconsin, where he met his wife. He joined Dean Foods in Harvard, IL in 1998 in the Quality Assurance department. His primary responsibilities included testing of raw milk, finished product, and sanitation testing. The Harvard, IL processes more than 10 million pounds of milk weekly into fluid and cultured products.
Todd Bakke, Madison, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current Position: Quality Control Manager, Dean Foods, Sioux Falls, SD
After graduation from SDSU, Todd worked for Prairie Farms Dairy for 2 years as Quality Control Manager. During the 2 years, he worked at the milk plant in Carlinville, Illinois and the ice cream plant in Decatur, Illinois. Todd returned to South Dakota in 1991 and began his career as Quality Control Manager for Lakeside Dairy in Sioux Falls, which was later purchased by Dean Foods.
Kirk Baldwin, St Paul, MN
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1985
Current Position: Quality Assurance Manager, Valley Queen Cheese Factory. Milbank, SD
Kirk is currently employed at Valley Queen Cheese Factory as the Quality Assurance Manager. Prior to this position he was an Instructor/Dairy Plant Manager in the Dairy Science Department at SDSU. He started his dairy career at Kraft R&D working as a Scientist at the Technology Center in Glenview, IL. Throughout his career he has been active in FFA and currently helps coach the Milbank dairy foods team.
Larry Bell, Liverpool, NY
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1975
Current Position: Global Technical Service Manager, Schreiber Foods, Green Bay, WI
Larry has worked for Schreiber Foods since 1977. He started in the production plant and then moved to R&D and worked as a research scientist and research manager for 22 years before moving to the Purchasing department. He is currently working in the Purchasing departments of the Global Trade & Development Division. Major responsibilities include food safety of the Schreiber supplier network, technical resource on natural cheese issues, monitoring supplier compliance to Schreiber requirements, food safety audits of supplies, and technical development of cost savings with the supplier network. Larry is also responsible for training on cheese & dairy, and for the certification of cheese graders. Larry and a colleague at Schreiber were awarded a US patent on a cheese fractionation process in 2004.
Daryl Berg, Pipestone, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
Current Position: Plant Manager, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, Mason City, IA.
Since graduation Daryl has been a QA Tech, QC Manager, Production Supervisor, Assistant Plant Manager and a Superintendent for various companies. He has lived in California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa and has worked with ice cream, fluid milk, cultured dairy products and egg manufacturing. He is currently holding the title of Plant Manager with Sunny fresh for the last three years. Sunny Fresh Foods is a further egg processing company. Daryl was involved with the green field construction of our plant in Mason City Iowa.
Chris Blase, Madison, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
Current position: Manager of Manufacturing. Daisy Brand. Dallas, TX.
After graduation from SDSU, Chris began working for Leprino Foods in various production roles. He spent three of his ten years at Leprino in the Technical Service Group. In 2000 Chris moved to Daisy Brand, located in Dallas, TX. Daisy Brand is a cultured dairy products manufacturer. At Daisy Brand Chris is responsible for manufacturing and procurement.
Daryl D. Boddicker, Parkston, SD
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1965
M.S. Biochemistry, 1967
Current Position: partner, Venture Capital Group, CA.
After graduation from SDSU, Daryl D. Boddicker joined Kraft Foods in 1967 at Kraft's Cream Cheese plant in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He progressed through various plant assignments and in 1975 was appointed National Production Manager for Refrigerated Products. In that capacity he had production responsibility for all Natural and Process Cheese products in the U. S. In 1977 Mr. Boddicker was named Plant Manager at the Buena Park, California plant. Here he had responsibility for the production of all grocery products distributed and sold in the western United States. He returned to Chicago Headquarters in late 1979 and was named Director, Operations Planning. Mr. Boddicker progressed through several management positions and was named Group Vice President and President of Operations and Technology. In this capacity he had responsibility for all procurement, production and distribution for 30+ U. S. plants and Research and Development worldwide. In 1988 Mr. Boddicker joined Kraft Foodservice progressing to Executive Vice President of Marketing and Logistics. While at Kraft Foodservice he along with three other management personnel and Clayton Dublier and Rice purchased the business from Kraft/Philip Morris in l994. In 1996 Kraft Foodservice was renamed Alliant Foodservice headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. While at Kraft/Alliant Foodservice Mr. Boddicker was involved in growing the business from $3.5 billion in sales to $7 billion through internal growth and acquisitions (20). During this time income from operations grew four fold. In October 1998 Mr. Boddicker retired from Alliant to devote more time to family and several board positions.
Mr. Boddicker was born and raised on a Dairy farm has a B. S. in Dairy Science and a M.S. in Biochemistry from South Dakota State University. He also attended Harvard's Advanced Management Program in 1984 and in 1986 Harvard's Strategic Marketing Management Program.
While at Kraft he was recognized with the Kraft Merit Award, the company's highest employee recognition. Mr. Boddicker led the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association as Chairman in 1994. NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) presented him with a Doctorate of Foodservice Award in 1995.
Mr. Boddicker is currently working with a Venture Capital Group on a project to develop a large cheese plant in the Central Valley of California.
Lynn Boerger, Milbank, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1965
Current Position: Retired from USDA.
Lynn G. Boerger grew up on a dairy farm in the Milbank area. Upon graduation in 1965, he went to work for the Dairy Grading Branch of USDA. He accepted the position as resident inspector at the Cass Clay Creamery in Fargo, ND and worked there for 6 years. Cass Clay was a major producer of non-fat dry milk and butter and sold much of their production to the Commodity Credit Corporation under the price support program. That production was quality certified by official grading certificates. That plant also produced and sold butter under the USDA Grade AA official grade shield.
Lynn accepted a transfer to the Washington DC headquarters offices of Dairy Grading in 1971. He had responsibilities to track revenue and costs used for the annual hourly fee analysis, to administer the grade label program for butter, cheddar cheese and instant non-fat dry milk, to administer the Salmonella Surveillance program for sampling and testing of product and environmental samples from USDA approved plants, and performed the annual audits of the four regional offices and the Chicago Lab. Lynn retired in 1998.
The value of the training Lynn received at SDSU cannot be measured. While on the Dairy Products judging team, he earned the distinction of being the top butter grader at the national inter collegiate dairy product judging contest in 1964, during which 33 teams and 66 contestants participated. The two summer jobs at Valley Queen were also very helpful.
Tori Boomgaarden Gross, Lemmon, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2008
Current Position: R & D Scientist. Kemps LLC, Rochester, MN.
After completing her B.S. degree at SDSU, Tori attended Kansas State University to pursue a Master’s degree in Food Science. She then joined the dairy division of Kraft Foods in 2010 and worked in Cheese & Dairy Innovation as a product developer, leading projects from development to commercialization. In 2014, Tori joined Kemps LLC in Rochester as Research and Development Scientist, developing frozen, cultured, and fluid products. She has also stayed involved in the Regional and National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation after competing as a student at SDSU, and is currently the national contest coordinator.
Derek Bowen, Belize, Central America
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1992
Current Position: Culture Foods Supervisor, Wells Dairy. Le Mars, IA
Derek has worked at Well's Dairy for 11 years in the Ice cream and cultured dairy foods businesses. He started as a lab technician in the ice cream department and was promoted to lead lab tech, then supervisor trainee. His job duties included startup and startup inspection, sanitation, new product test runs, raw and finished product evaluation, writing and implementing SOP's, trouble shooting, employee training and evaluation and more. He was promoted to Cultured Food Supervisor where his additional responsibilities include inventory control, raw and finished product ordering, equipment specification, system design and project management.
Randy Brandsma,Ely, MN
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1992
Current Position: Senior Research Scientist, Schreiber Foods. Green Bay, WI.
After completing his MS at SDSU, Randy worked as Quality Assurance Supervisor for Davisco Foods in Lake Norden, SD for 2 years. He then attended Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and earned a Ph.D in Food Science. His specialization was in microfiltration membrane processing, along with a 6 month internship at Nestle Research Center in Switzerland. Randy's Ph.D work at Cornell resulted in two US patents on microfiltration applications. He has worked as a Research Scientist at Schreiber Foods since 1999 in the Imitation, Process, and Natural cheese groups with responsibilities that include new product development, formula optimization, ingredient development, process development and optimization, nutritional labeling, and patents. Randy and a colleague at Schreiber were awarded a US patent on a cheese fractionation process in 2004. Other activities include serving on the Dairy Management Inc. project advisory board and on the Schreiber College Recruiting team.
Renee Brown, Dell Rapids, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1976
Current Position: Account Manager, DuPont Nutrition and Health, New Century, KS.
Renee (Bunkers) Brown joined Schreiber Cheese in 1976 and worked in Quality Assurance at their Green Bay plant. She returned to the family farm when her mother was diagnosed with bone cancer. While back in SD, she met her husband, a farmer. In 1982, she joined Nordica International and became a technical sales representative selling cheese starter cultures and media in the Midwest. In 1990, Nordica was moved to Madison, WI as Rhone Poulenc purchased Nordica and Marschall Products. Renee decided to work at a job that didn’t require travel so joined a local farm supply store selling animal health products and feed. In 1995, she had an opportunity to get back into the dairy business. She joined Germantown International as a technical sales representative selling stabilizers and emulsifiers for frozen and cultured dairy products. In 2001, Germantown was purchased by Danisco. At that same time, Renee accepted an offer from CCI to take over the Midwest territory from a retiring salesperson. CCI, a privately owned company, also provided stabilizers and emulsifiers to the dairy industry. In 2006, CCI was purchased by Tate & Lyle. Renee continued in technical sales with Tate & Lyle until 2011 when she accepted an offer to join Danisco. Danisco gave her the opportunity to sell cheese cultures as well as stabilizers and emulsifiers. In May, 2011, Danisco was purchased by DuPont. Renee continues to work out of her home office on the farm she grew up on.
Ken Burtch, Sioux Falls, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1958
Current position: Retired.
After graduation from SDSU, Ken worked for Lakeside Dairy in Sioux Falls, SD; Foremost Industrial electro dialysis in Appleton, WI; Fairmont Foods in Lincoln, NE; and Maple Island in Wanamingo, MN. In 1968 he moved to Sulphur Springs, TX to assume management of AMPI drying and evaporating plant. Ken was instrumental in moving the plant into liquid blending of products including the first plant in the South to produce sweetened condensed milk. Under Ken's leadership the plant manufactured specialty products to specifications for most major food and dairy operations in the South and Southeast, such as Kraft, M&M Mars, Daisy Brand, Dannon, Yoplait, Borden, etc. In 1993 Ken was promoted to Assistant Division manager for all production facilities of AMPI in the Southern Region. Ken retired in 1996 and resides in Sulphur Springs, TX.
David Casper, Cuba City, WI
M.S. Dairy Production, 1985
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 1989
Current Position: Dairy Nutritionist, Furst-McNess, Freeport, IL
Dr. Casper received his B.S. degree in Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Dairy Production from SDSU. He continued conducting dairy cattle research at SDSU prior to accepting a position as Research Dairy Scientist with USDA-ARS in Beltsville, MD, where his research focus was on the energy metabolism of dairy cows. He joined Cargill in 1994 as a Dairy Innovation Development Manager conducting research for the development of new products and feeding programs. in 1997, he joined Agri-King, Inc., as a Consulting Dairy Nutritionist and was promoted to Director of Nutrition in 2003 and Vice President of Nutrition in 2006 prior to joining SDSU in November 2011.Dr. Casper’s research has focused in the areas of forage digestibility; feed additives to improve forage quality and utilization; and feed efficiency. Dr. Casper’s background is unique; his initial research training was a combination of basic and applied nutrition and management of dairy cattle. His work at USDA-ARS at Beltsville was top level basic research. This was followed by a career in the feed industry where he was able to analyze and utilize information to help the ultimate end user of research i.e. the dairy producer. Back in academia, he is rapidly developing a sound research and teaching program. During his industry career he was constantly looking at ways to develop products that could help dairy producers. He used sound scientific approaches in developing and testing these products, reporting these results to the scientific public, dairy producers, and industry consultants. He has published more than 35 referred journal articles, 60 abstracts, and numerous popular press articles. Memberships include the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), American Society of Animal Science, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and Agricultural Institute of Canada. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage award from the American Dairy Science Association. This award recognizes outstanding research and/or educational contributions in the area of forage production, processing, storage, or utilization. Previously he received ADSA’s Richard M. Hoyt Award for the practical application of research to the dairy industry. In 2016 he joined Furst-McNess as Technical Services Leader/Nutritionist.
Michael Christians, Twin Brooks, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1984
Current Position: Account Manager, Degussa Corp, Watertown, SD
Since graduation Michael has worked in the area of Dairy Nutrition with Land O Lakes, Standard Nutrition and Degussa Corporation. In his current position he is responsible for the advancement of amino acid nutrition in lactating dairy cattle. In his current position with Degussa Corporation he is responsible for sales of amino acids in the upper Midwest.
Mike Cypher, Hartford, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1974
Current Position: Dairy Business Consultant, Cypher Dairy Consulting. Hartford, SD.
Mike spent the first three years after graduation from SDSU as an Assistant County Agent in Webster, SD. He began his career with with Land O' Lakes in 1977. He was a Dairy Rep for 6 years working, with producers on milk quality and procuring new customers. He managed the Sioux Falls receiving station for 3 years. For 6 years Mike was a Dairy Production consultant, working with dairy nutrition and production management. In 1983 he became a Dairy Business Specialist for Land O' Lakes. In this position he worked with producers on business planning, cost analysis, expansion planning, facility planning. In 2007 Mike began his own dairy consulting business. Mike has held offices with the South Dakota Fieldsmen's Assoc. and is a past President of the South Dakota Dairy Association.
Tim Czmowski, Webster, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1985
Current Position: Vice President Regional Operations, Agropur, inc., Hull, IA, Le Sueur, MN, Lake Norde SD
Following graduation from SDSU Tim started his dairy industry career with Land O’ Lakes, Inc. first as a Manager Trainee and Production Supervisor at the Faribault, MN cheese plant and later as a Lab Supervisor and Cheese Department Supervisor at the Pine Island, MN facility. In 1988 he moved to Milbank, SD and over a 17 year tenure served in a number of different positions for Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc. Those responsibilities included Operations Manager, VP of Manufacturing and as Cheese Plant Manager working closely as a key supplier to Kraft Foods, Inc. In January 2005 Tim began a new position with CPS Scherping of Winsted, MN as a Cheese Technologist and Sales Representative. The company designs and fabricates specialized cheese making equipment for the dairy industry. In 2007 the company became a part of Tetra Pak and Tim was promoted to Senior Cheese Technologist and Sales. In 2008 Tim took on an opportunity as General Manager for a newly established company in Hull, IA, Green Meadows Cheese and Whey Products, where he was charged with setting up of a new cheese and whey operation and development of markets. In 2011 the plant became part of the Agropur inc. system.
Tim is a past board member and 1996 President of the North Central Cheese Industries Association board of directors and a past member of the South Dakota Dairy Association board of directors. He has served as a Cheese Judge for the 1995 and 2003 United States Championship Cheese Contests, the 1998 World Cheese Contest and as Assistant Chief Judge for the 2005 United States Championship Cheese Contest.
Sita K. Dash, Orrissa, India
M.S. Dairy Production, 1971
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 1973
Current Position: President, UAS Laboratories, Eden Prairie, MN
Dr. Dash began working for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture as Food & Drug Specialist in 1973 and later became Director of Food and Drug. In 1979 he established UAS laboratories, a probiotic/ biotech company in Minneapolis, MN that manufactures and markets probiotic raw material and finished products worldwide. He has set quality control standard for probiotics that is used around the world. He commercialized the acid resistant and bile resistant Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 strain. He has published many scientific and popular articles and authored books on probiotics, including "A Consumer's Guide to Probiotics", which was published in 2005. He has been a featured speaker on probiotics at international symposia. Dr. Dash is recognized as a probiotic pioneer for his many contributions to the probiotic industry.
Chuck Derdall, Flandreau, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1988
Current Position: Technical Account Manager. DSM Food Specialties, Rapid City, SD
After graduating from SDSU Chuck worked in the dairy industry as an ingredient supplier to the Grade A cultured products industry in the western US and Canada. He serviced dairy cultures and stabilizers for yogurt, sour cream, and Cottage cheese. From 1995 to 2004 Chuck was territory manager in the savory food flavors industry with J. Mannheimer, Inc., in Texas. He was global key account manager for Tate & Lyle until 2008 and then joined Chr. Hansen, Inc. as Key Account Manager. In 2013 Chuck joined equipment manufacturer, Tetra Pak as Account Manager. He left Tetra Pak in 2020 and joined DSM Food Specialties as Technical Account Manager. While at SDSU, Chuck was a member of the Dairy Club and was on the Cattle Judging Team for two years.
Jon Derouchey, Pukwana, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1997
Current Position: Production Team Leader. Schreiber Foods. St. Louis, MO
Since graduation Jon has worked for the Schreiber Food Company in several locations and in several capacities. During 1997-98 he was team advisor at the Monett plant in Missouri. In 1998-99 Jon was the formulations team leader for the Process cheese plant in Carthage, MO and during 2000-2002 he became the Process cheese singles team leader at the same plant. In 2004 Jon assumed the role of Production Team Leader in the new Cream Cheese acquisition in St. Louis. His responsibilities include overseeing the daily production operations. Jon has been recognized for his services to Schreiber through various awards including, Team Advisor of the year and productivity award of the year. At SDSU, Jon was a member of the National Champion Dairy Products Judging Team and was overall high individual in the contest.
Richard DeRouchey, Mitchell, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2007
Current Position: Production Supervisor, Darigold. Issaquah, WA.
After graduating in 2007, Richard worked for Cabot Creameries in Vermont in an analyst role. In 2011, he moved to Commonwealth Dairy, a joint venture between Ehrmann AG, a German dairy company, and American investors. The company opened a state-of-the art yogurt facility in Brattleboro, VT, where he was an integral part in a new leadership team. In November of 2013, he moved to Darigold in Washington as a Supervisor. Richard was part of the 2005 team which won the National Collegiate Dairy Products Judging contest. That year he also finished first individually, and was the student judge at the 2006 World Cheese Championship, held in Madison, WI. He also has spent two internships with Schreiber foods in their R&D department in 2006 and 2007.
Wendy Devney, Sioux Falls, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, Microbiology Specialization, 2008
Current Position: Quality Assurance Manager. Agropur, Inc., Le Sueur, MN
Wendy has worked for Agropur as the Quality Assurance Manager at the Hull, IA Cheese and Whey plant since graduating from SDSU in December of 2008. She was involved with the plant startup in November of 2008. Her main responsibilities were putting together the laboratory along with creating, implementing and training all employees on the quality programs for the plant.
Garrett Doucette, Little Falls, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2007
Current Position: Sanitation Manager. Melrose Dairy Proteins (joint venture between Land O' Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America), Melrose, MN
Garrett is currently working for Melrose Dairy Proteins in Melrose, MN as their sanitation manager. Prior to that he worked for Kemp's Dairy LLC for two and a half years at their Rochester Milk location as the night shift production supervisor and assistant inventory control manager. After graduation from SDSU he started working with Kemp's in their management trainee program working at various locations. He also helps coordinate the dairy foods judging at the MN FFA convention. When he is not working at Melrose Dairy he is working on his family farm in Little Falls, MN.
James Drackley, Tracy, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 1981
M.S. Dairy Production, 1985
Current Position: Professor of Animal Sciences and Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois. Champaign, IL
Dr. Drackley received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Physiology from Iowa State University in 1989, and joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1989. Drackley's research program centers on nutrition and metabolism of transition cows, metabolism in the liver of ruminant animals, lipid utilization and metabolism in domestic animals, factors affecting fatty acid composition of bovine milk fat, and aspects of calf nutrition and management. Drackley has edited 2 books and authored 1 book, 3 book chapters, 78 scientific articles in refereed journals and over 150 abstracts, technical reports, articles in conference proceedings, and popular press articles. He has trained over 20 graduate students. He is a member of several professional and honorary societies, including the American Dairy Science Association, American Society of Animal Science, and the American Society of Nutritional Sciences. Dr. Drackley was awarded the 1997 Agway, Inc. Young Scientist Award from the American Dairy Science Association, the 1998 College Award for Excellence in Research from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the 1998 Young Scholar Award from the American Dairy Science Association Foundation, the 2000 Mitchell Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Research from the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois, and the 2002 American Feed Industry Award for Excellence in Dairy Cattle Nutrition Research from the American Dairy Science Association. He is the Past-President of the Midwest Branch of the American Dairy Science Association and is active in the affairs of the American Dairy Science Association. Drackley resides in Champaign, IL with his wife, Janelle, and three sons, Patrick, Michael, and Andrew.
Dan Dunn, Vale, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1980
Current position: Partner in Dunn Dairy, LLP, Vale, SD.
Dan has been involved with a family farm with his father and brother since 1980. Currently they milk 400 cows and farm 1200 acres with approximately ½ under irrigation. His main responsibilities have been managing the dairy since 1980. He has served on the Dairy Herd Improvement Association local and state boards. In 1989 Dan won the SD Outstanding Young Farmer award. He has been awarded the friends of FFA from the Newell chapter. He continues to help with the dairy cattle judging and other activities in the FFA Newell chapter. He is currently Vice President of the Central Plains Dairyman Association.
Basil Eastwood, Round Hill, VA
M.S. Dairy Production, 1960
Current position: Retired Program Leader, US Department of Agriculture-Cooperative State Research, Education, Extension Service, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Eastwood is concluding a career of forty three years eight months in 2007. Dr. Eastwood received his B.S. in Dairy Production from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Following receipt of his MS degree at SDSU, he obtained a PhD in dairy cattle genetics at Michigan State and was Extension Dairy Specialist for two years at the University of Massachusetts. Following fifteen years in Extension at Iowa State University working with the dairy record program and genetic improvement of dairy cattle, he became National Program Leader-Dairy, first with USDA Extension Service and then in the current merged agency, USDA-CSREES. This agency handles much of the Federal funding for agricultural research and education at the Land Grant Universities and other colleges and universities throughout the nation. In 2006 Dr. Eastwood served as the team leader for the CSREES program review of the SDSU Dairy Science department.
Rich Ellefson, Garretson, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1979
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1982
Current Position: Director of Quality Assurance, Rembrandt Enterprises, Inc., Rembrandt, IA
Rich began employment with Wells’ Dairy Inc. in 1982 starting out as a Lab Tech in the Le Mars Milk plant assuming the position of Quality Assurance Manager in 1983 for the WBB Ice Cream Plant working responsible for Quality Assurance and some Product Development. In 1988 he became Corporate Quality Assurance Manager taking responsibility for Quality Assurance for the 4 mfg plants. In 1990 he was promoted to Director of Quality Assurance until 1998 when he took a new position as Director of Food Technology for Wells’ Dairy. In Dec 1998, Rich became Vice President of Quality Assurance/Food Technology. In 2008 Rich began his own consulting firm for the dairy industry and joined Rembrandt Enterprise in 2011.
Jason Engels, Brookings, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1999
Current position: Assistant Plant Manager, Agropur, inc., Lake Norden, SD
Jason was been the Custom Dryer manager with Davisco Foods since graduating from SDSU in the Spring 1999. He was initially involved in a hands-on training program, which allowed him to see each process step in the factory. He is now involved with scheduling the dryer and keeping it in production. The company does a variety of custom products which include: proteins, starches, maltodextrins and in some cases a tree syrup. They have recently installed one of the few Spray Cook Starch systems in the United States. The spray lances in this process actually allows for cooking and agglomerating starch granules in the same step. The plant, which has expanded multiple times, is now owned by Agropur.
Gene Enneking, Rochester, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
Current position: Director of Operations, Rochester Cheese, Rochester, MN
Gene has been involved with different aspects of the food industry for the last 13 years. During his career, he worked as a Production Supervisor for two years, Quality Control Manager for four years, Plant Manager for four years, and currently is employed as Director of Operations for Rochester Cheese. A significant amount of time has been spent doing R&D work formulating American and Italian cheese blends for baking and sauce applications. His job has taken him to several countries in Europe for cheese and ingredient procurement. He was elected to the Board of Directors for the North Central Cheese Industries Association for the last six years served as President the last year of his term.
Terry Esser, Redfield, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1977
Current position: Owner, Flavor Hut Inc., and Chicago Designer Cheesecake, Wasco, IL.
After graduating, Terry was in food ingredient sales for several companies with emphasis on flavors for dairy, candy, and many other food products. In 1982 Terry started selling flavors and enzymes for an Irish company. These products were used in animal feed and the fuel alcohol industries. In 1984 he started his own company, Flavor Hut Corp. The flavors he manufactures are used in animal feed and pet food. Two years ago he started baking cheesecakes for food service and mail order businesses.
Jennifer Fieber, Goodwin, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1998
Current position: Director of Ingredient Marketing, Midwest Dairy Association. St. Paul, MN.
Jen worked at Kraft since 2000, where she was in the Natural Cheese Productivity group working on natural cheese chunks and shredded cheese. She also led the productivity initiatives of the process cheese items within the Naturals category. Her duties included formulations, plant trials, pilot plant work and quality issues. Her job is never boring. It seems that she had different challenges every day. She also volunteered teaching Junior Achievement classes in Chicago and assists with the Regional and National Products Judging Contests. In 2007 Jen moved to St. Paul, MN to work with the Midwest Dairy Association as the Director of Ingredient Marketing. In this position she works with the dairy industry to assist with ingredient applications of dairy products. Jen was dairy princess while at SDSU and a member of the 1997 dairy products judging team. She grew up on a dairy farm in Goodwin, SD.
Troy Gascoigne, Volga, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
Current position: Vice President of Operations, Praire Farms, Rochester, MN.
After graduation Troy started his career working in cheese plants with Mid-America Dairymen (currently Dairy Farmers of America) as a management trainee and worked in various positions in various plants for approximately five years. He was the assistant plant manager for one of their Mozzarella plants when he left the company. He then took a role with Land O' Lakes as the whey plant manager during a large whey fractions expansion where later he became the assistant manager. He spent approximately three years with Land O' Lakes and then accepted the role of Operations Manager for Bongard's Creamery in Norwood MN. Troy spent approximately two years working for Bongard's creamery working with natural and processed cheese. Troy then accepted the role of plant manager for Dairy Farmers of America in Zumbrota MN where he spent approximately five years as plant manager before accepting the role of Director of Technical Services. In this role he traveled from plant to plant helping with process improvements. After approximately three years as Director of Technical services he accepted a position with Swiss Valley Farms as Vice President of Operations. Troy then left operations and moved into the equipment sales business with Relco LLC out of Willmar MN and spent a year selling equipment to dairy manufacturers. I then decided to start his own company (Cheese Systems Inc.) were he and two other owners are currently designing, building and installing equipment for manufacturers in the industry. Troy's intimate knowledge of manufacturing and coupled with a strong mechanical aptitude and a solid understanding of how equipment expenditures happen within large companies lend an advantage to selling and servicing customers. Troy then moved to Prairie Farms where he rose to the position of Vice President of Operations. While a student at SDSU, Troy was a member of the National Champion Dairy Products Judging team. In 2004 Troy was elected President of the North Central Cheese Industries Association.
Trent Griesse, Harrisburg, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2002
Current position: Production Manager, Associated Milk Producers Inc., Sanborn and Sibley, IA.
Trent has worked for AMPI since June of 2007 managing two plants, a cheese plant and a dried milks facility. This role includes monitoring day to day operations, including safety, quality and employee relations. Prior to AMPI he worked for Wells Dairy in Research and Development. He worked in R&D for 5 years as a Food Technologist.
John Gross, Madison, SD
B.S. Dairy Production and Animal Husbandry, 1954
Current position: Retired Dairy Farmer
John graduated from SDSU with a double major in Dairy Production and Animal Husbandry in 1954. By this time he had already developed a strong commitment to the dairy industry. This combined with his leadership skills (he was president of the Student Body at SDSU), loyalty to SDSU, commitment to education and the desire to strive for excellence formed the critical ingredients for pursuing a path of excellence in the profession for the next fifty years.
In the spirit of his belief "Holsteins are the most important part of my life, next to my family…." John's professional achievements can be demonstrated primarily in his efforts in the breeding and development of the Holstein breed of cows. He accomplished this through his own herd and later as a Holstein Association classifier for 14 years and technical supervisor of classifiers for 2 years. John has been a member of the South Dakota and National Holstein Association for more than 50 years. He served as President of the State Association and as a Director of the National Association. Through these and other activities John has traveled extensively around the world for judging and classifying Holsteins, delivering papers, and marketing embryos and breeding stock. Genetics of a partnership-owned bull have been sold to virtually every country in the world where Holstein cattle exist. His outstanding professional achievements ultimately led to opportunities for service to the state through appointments to the South Dakota Conservation Commission board and the South Dakota Farm Service Agency committee, the latter by the USDA.
He has supported the Dairy and Animal Science judging teams through funding. These judging teams depend on such funding for their activities. The success of these teams has been well recognized nationally. Most importantly, John has funded an Embryo Transfer Program at the Dairy Research and Training Facility at SDSU. This has allowed for the training of students in the area of Embryo Transfer as well as to develop high quality dairy animals in the herd. John was also a past member of the SDSU Foundation board. It is also noteworthy that John and his wife have held season tickets for SDSU basketball for the last 30 years and have attended most home games. He has further supported the SDSU athletics program by funding a perpetual athletic scholarship, of which Adam Timmerman (now with the NFL) was a recipient.
Kenneth I. Gross, Madison, SD
M.S. Dairy Production, 1952
Current position: Retired Dairyman, Valleyford, WA.
Ken grew up on the Gross family farm in South Dakota where his grandpa had brought some of the first Registered Holsteins to the area in 1906. Registered Holsteins and the dairy industry have been part of his life ever since those early years. As a young man he was active in 4-H and FFA, having one of the first 4-H projects in his county and winning a trip to the National 4-H Congress at Chicago in 1939 for his state championship demonstration. He served as state 4-H President in 1940 and in 1941 he was honored by the Holstein Friesian Association of America as the State Champion 4-H Holstein Calf Club boy – similar to the current DJM program.
Ken received his B.S in Agricultural Education in 1948 and M.S. in Dairy Science in 1952. He was a student body class president, active on the dairy judging teams and involved in numerous other organizations, while working at the college dairy. WWII interrupted his schooling and Ken served in the Army K-9 corps. It was also during the war years that he married Molly (also an SDSU alum), his wife of 61 years. They had met during their freshman year of college. Following college, he taught vo-ag for a year in Parker, SD, and then served as Director of Inspections and later as Extension Dairy Specialist in South Dakota. In the early 1950's Ken started to dairy on his own and began developing a herd of Registered Holsteins. This small herd was only in operation for a couple of years but left a long term impact through the likes of Whitey K-G Pabst Brule (VG) who has several all state offspring and a grandson in A.I. and Marian K-G Beier Brule (VG) who became a state fat class leader. These, and other animals Ken bred, were the foundation of a herd that became the high BAA herd in the state.
The family moved to Washington in 1954 when Ken accepted the position of King County Agent. He conducted dairy management, breeding and forage education programs for producers in the area and was responsible for 4-H dairy programs, including working with the Enumclaw Spring Dairy Show volunteers. In 1956 Ken moved to Pullman and became Washington State Extension Dairy Specialist. In that capacity he was responsible for statewide DHIA programs and heavily involved in early efforts to incorporate the Washington State DHIA in 1957. He also developed and conducted numerous educational workshops and publications and judged shows throughout the state.
From 1962 through 1967 Ken took a WSU US/AID assignment working in Pakistan helping establish, organize, develop and operate the Department of Agricultural Extension at the West Pakistan Agricultural University. He made many international friends and continued to spread the word about the United States dairy industry.
Upon returning from Pakistan in 1967, Ken became Area Extension Dairy Agent and Chairman of the Spokane County Extension Office. While in this role he led the effort to establish the first electronic DHIA testing lab west of the Mississippi. The lab served Northeast and Central Washington and was the model for the statewide lab that followed. He also pioneered the Washington Small Farm Extension Program in 1976 and with the County Commissioners established the Spokane County Agricultural Center in 1979. Ken also hosted many international visitors.
The many projects Ken led for the benefit of others resulted in his being named an Honorary State Farmer by the Washington State FFA in 1976 and receiving the National Agricultural Agents Association Distinguished Service Award in 1982.
Upon retiring from WSU in 1982 Ken and Molly spent another two years in Pakistan with a private consulting firm before retiring to Mica View Farm in Valleyford, WA. On the farm Ken raised Registered Holstein replacement heifers, enjoyed grandchildren and served on several volunteer boards.
In 2004, Ken and Molly moved into town where they remain active and follow Registered Holsteins through the next generations. Ken is a lifetime member of the Holstein Association USA and an honorary lifetime member of the Inland Empire Holstein Club. He was a buyer at the Carnation dispersal in 2004. In 2005, Ken was inducted to the Washington State Purebred Dairy Cattle Association Hall of Fame. Ken's brother John (1954 graduate) has also been a long-time contributor to the dairy industry. Ken and Molly's son, Randy is the 2005-2006 President of the National Holstein Association and their grandson, Randy Jr. is managing a 3000-cow dairy in Flandreau, SD.
Wade Gustafson, Willmar, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 2000.
Current position: Dairy Management Instructor, Ridgewater College, Willmar, MN.
After graduating in December of 2000, Wade returned home to Willmar to work with his dad and brother on their farm. They custom raised 300 dairy heifers at that time. In summer of 2010 Wade accepted a position as Dairy Management Instructor at Ridgewater College. He teaches all the dairy classes, forage production and harvesting classes and helps with CDL truck driving classes. He continues to be involved at his family farm as well and is presently a stake holder in the family partnership. He continues to assist with rations, book keeping, and field work. The farm is currently raising 1600 head.
Darryl Hadsell, Newell, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1985
M.S. Dairy Production, 1987
Current position: Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular and Cellular Biology, Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
After completing his M.S. at SDSU, Darryl went on to receive a Ph.D. in Animal Science the Pennsylvania State University in 1991. Dr. Hadsell then conducted Post-Doctoral studies in the Department Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College on Medicine. In 1996, Dr Hadsell accepted a faculty position in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. He has since maintained an active and vigorous research program in mammary gland biology with studies focusing on early developmental mechanisms in relationship to breast cancer, and more recently on lactation persistence and the concept of cellular aging.
Dominic Halajian, Milbank, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2002
Current position: Plant Manager, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, Mason City, IA. After graduating from SDSU Dominic began working as a Production Management Associate with Sunny Fresh Foods in Mason City, Iowa. Sunny Fresh (now Cargill Kitchen Solutions) is a producer of value added egg products. Since beginning employment with Cargill Kitchen Solutions in Mason City, Dominic has managed all of the production process lines, sanitation, and warehouse, and also serves as the Plant Safety Coordinator for 4 years. During those years managing the various production lines he was responsible for start-up of new lines with national product rollouts. Currently he is the Plant Superintendent in Mason City with responsibilities for plant operations, safety, and quality. He is also the Site Lead for the facility responsible for local implementation efforts of a new ERP system.
Hollis Hall, Lebanon, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1956
M.S. Economics, 1964
Current position: Retired Director of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service, Fairbanks, AK.
After being retired since 1998 from a 40 year career in Extension, Hollis Hall assumed the acting position of the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks, Alaska. He served as Extension Dairyman in South Dakota and later as Director of the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service. During the 80's he served in USDA in Congressional Affairs. He retired in 1998 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he served as Director of the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service.
Scott Halverson, Ramona, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1998
Current position: Senior Manager of Quality Assurance/ Research and Development, Denali Flavors, Wayland, MI. (www.moosetracks.com)
Scott is employed with Denali Flavors, Inc (Wayland, MI) as the Senior Manager of Quality Assurance / Research & Development. Denali is one of the leading inventors and marketers of specialty-flavors for the ice cream industry, including Moose Tracks® and nearly 30 other flavors to dairies across the U.S. and Canada. Scott's responsibilities include ensuring ingredient suppliers meet rigid quality standards of Denali, auditing supplier and customer facilities, ensuring accuracy of the ingredient statement on all products keeping current on all government regulations, developing new ice cream flavors and improving current flavors. His duties also include guiding customers through new product start-up at the customer's facility. He also performs field audits on the customer's ice cream to ensure that the product is being made properly.
Prior to his employment with Denali, Scott was an account manager in the Ecolab Food & Beverage division. His territory was Northeast Indiana where he served 6 customers, which were all dairy facilities. Prior to Ecolab, he worked as the sanitation manager at ConAgra Dairy Foods, Inc. This facility, located in Holland, MI manufactured Reddi – Wip. At ConAgra Dairy Scott was responsible for the development and implementation of cost-savings programs which resulted in changes that saved ConAgra time, money and led to the development of a cross-training program.
Scott's first position after graduation was with Leprino Foods in Waverly, NY as a supervisor trainee (this included training in the production, processing and whey departments). After completion of the program he was promoted to a production supervisor at the Allendale, MI production facility. Scott and his wife Nicky have made their home in Grand Rapids, MI since 2002.
Melanie Hamelton (Stoltenberg), Garretson, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1988
Current position: Director Supplier - FSQA - US Foods, Rosemont, IL
Melanie graduated in May of 1988 with a double major in Dairy Manufacturing and Microbiology and a Minor in Chemistry. Since graduation, Melanie has worked for Kraft Foods holding various roles in Quality and Operations. Since 2001 she has been in Corporate Quality roles. She is currently leading the Category Quality team for the Cheese and Dairy Business in Glenview, IL. Prior to her current role, Melanie held similar Quality leadership positions in other Kraft Business Units in Glenview, IL and Memphis, TN (Pizza, Meals, Food Service and Kraft Food Ingredients). She spent the first 13 years of her career working in several manufacturing locations under the Kraft Cheese Business in Quality and Operations Supervisory roles. These included Quality Manager - Waupaca, WI- Feta, Hummus & Process Cheese; Operations Supervisor - Springfield, MO - Natural Cuts, Cream Cheese, Process Cheese; Quality Supervisor – New Ulm, MN – Process Cheese; Quality/Lab/Operations Supervisor – Melrose, MN – Parmesan & Blue Cheese. Melanie served on the Kraft R&D & Quality Recruiting Team for SDSU graduates and interns. In 2016 she joined US Foods as Director Supplier.
Mike Hanisch, Humboldt, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1988
Current position: Plant Manager, Kemps Marigold Foods, Rochester, MN
Mike started working for Kroger Dairy (Crossroad Farms, Indianapolis, IN) after graduation. In the years to follow, he worked all management areas of the plant which included fluid milk, water, non-dairy beverages, culture, novelties, and ice cream. He then moved to another Kroger plant (Southern Ice Cream Specialties) in 1994. He was then the production manager in the production of ice cream and novelties. In 1996, Mike moved back to Crossroads in the production manager position. In April 2000, he relocated to Rochester, MN as a plant manager producing ice cream and novelties for Kemps.
Rich Hansen, Big Stone City, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1975
Current position: Senior Account Manager, Ecolab, Eagan, MN.
Rich has worked at Ecolab since 1996. He manages a territory consisting of South Dakota, North Dakota and part of Minnesota doing sales and service. Prior to that he worked as a Quality Manager and Production Supervisor for a couple of large Cheese plants in the upper Midwest. Throughout his career Rich has been actively involved in the dairy industry. He has served as President of the North Central Cheese Industries Association, South Dakota Dairy Association, and the Central Plains Dairy Expo.
Susan Hawkins, Lawler, IA
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1993
Current position: Quality Management, Nestle, CA.
For the last 8 years, Sue has been working for Nestlé where her assignments included the non-dairy creamer factory, the infant formula clinical nutrition factory, and the Nestlé USA corporate Quality Management. Currently, She is on assignment in Vevey, Switzerland, where she is working on a global project to improve the performance and operational efficiency of Nestlé's businesses worldwide in the quality management area. While she was at the non-dairy creamer factory, Sue worked as a Food Technologist, where she developed two line extension products for the fat free flavored non-dairy creamer line.
Pat Healy, Montrose, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1976
Current position: Associate Market Administrator, USDA/Milk Market Administrator, Omaha, NE.
Pat Healy has worked for the USDA / Milk Market Administrator his entire career. He started in May 1976 as a milk sampler tester in the USDA laboratory in Omaha, NE. He was promoted in 1978 to Laboratory Manager in charge of laboratory functions and marketing services. In 1980, Pat was transferred to Kansas City, KS as a Dairy Chemist and in April of 1983 he transferred to Memphis, TN to manage the Dairy Market Administrator’s laboratory in Memphis. Pat was promoted to Dairy Marketing Specialist in 1985 and transferred to the USDA department headquarters in Washington DC. His responsibilities included oversight of all Market Administrator laboratories in the U.S. In 1989, he transferred back to Kansas City, KS as an Associate Market Administrator responsible for the marketing service program and IT department. Pat has serve in this capacity from 1989 to current date. Pat has served on the board of directors for the Dairy Practices Council (DPC), which writes dairy practice guide lines for dairy plants and farms. Pat has also served as a reviewer for the book entitled “Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products”. Pat serves as an official judge and a committee member for the National FFA Milk Quality and Products Career Development Event (Dairy Foods Contest).
Todd Heib, Granite Falls,MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current position: Product Development Specialist, Milk Specialties Global, Eden Prairie, MN.
Todd started his career in product development with Nordica International / Marschall Products of Rhone-Poulenc. He then did sales in Rhone-Poulenc’s phosphate group before coming back to SDSU as a research assistant. He then moved on to do more product development work with Mid-Am Farms and eventually Quality Ingredients. After several years at Quality Ingredients he moved to Milk Specialties where he continues to do product development.
Tim Hesby, Tea, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1995
Current position: Plant Manager, Glanbia Foods USA, Twin Falls, ID.
After graduation Tim started as a management trainee for Mid America Dairyman and after a move to Fergus Falls, MN, was promoted to Cheese Plant Supervisor. In the spring of 1997 he moved to Idaho to become a supervisor at a large cheese plant. In 2004 and after seven years as supervisor and Production Manager at the Glanbia Foods Inc, Gooding, Idaho cheese plant he was promoted to Plant Manager of the Twin Falls, ID, Glanbia Foods Inc., cheese plant. Twin Falls Cheese supplies natural 40 lb Cheddar block to shredding and slicing companies around the world and has been the recipient of several awards.
Megan Hickey (Rice), Minco, OK
B.S. Dairy Production, 2012.
Current position: U.S. Quality / Farm Services Manager, a2 Milk Co, Boulder CO.
Megan Hickey grew up on a dairy farm in Firth, NE, worked at the SDSU dairy farm and plant as a student and began a career in the dairy industry at Prairieland Dairy. After graduating in 2012 with a B.S. in Dairy Production and Dairy Manufacturing, Hickey now serves as the U.S Quality / Farm Services Manager for a2MC where she oversees all a2 certified herds in the U.S and monitors a1 quality of milk from farm to table.
Hickey’s career with Prairieland began at young age. She knew she would return to the dairy at some point in her career by the time she was a freshman in high school. The opportunity presented itself upon completion of her degrees at South Dakota State. Prairieland purchased a milk bottling plant in 2009. With the expansion of business the herd manager position at the dairy was where she fit. In October, after graduation Hickey was fully responsible for managing the herd and employees at Prairieland. She was also responsible for all internal audits and new product development at Prairieland Foods.
In 2019, Megan’s husband’s career moved to Oklahoma. She had a previous relationship with a2MC since Prairieland was the first dairy to sell a2 Milk. Hickey worked as a contractor for a2MC for two years before securing a full-time position in 2020. She works with a2 co packers and farmers to procure a2 milk and ensure 100% a2 purity. Hickey has developed systems for whole herd testing, segregating, maintenance and a2 herd growth based on a2 protein results. Hickey works from her home office in Minco, OK and travels to a2 dairies around the U.S.
Dan Hinrichs, Goodhue, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 1988
Current position: Large Farm Area Sales Manager. Dairy Farmers of America, Zumbrota, MN.
After graduation from SDSU in August 1988 Dan started his career with Sire Power Inc. With Sire Power he was a District Sales Manager for twenty three counties in southeast Minnesota. He was responsible for sales of dairy and beef semen and other animal health products. He worked closely with distributors and technicians to help them achieve the goals of their dairy and beef customers. In 2000 after the merger of Sire Power and Select Sires Dan worked for Minnesota Select Sires for six years. Dan’s role and responsibilities with Select Sires were the same as they were with Sire Power. With Sire Power and Minnesota Select Sires Dan had many high achievement awards. In 2006 he left Select Sires to pursue a career in the animal health industry with Lextron Animal Health (Manchester, Iowa) division. Dan worked and managed the southeast territory in Minnesota selling to livestock producers and veterinarians. In 2007 Dan won the prestigious “Excellence in Performance” award for dairy sales achievements. Late in 2013 Dan had the opportunity to join DFA (Dairy Farmers of America) and works as a Large Farm Area Sales Manager covering nine states. His responsibilities include selling farm supplies and equipment to its members in the Central Region. Dan and his family reside in Zumbrota, MN.
Larry Hoffman, Leola, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1968
Current position: Sr. Account Manager. Rhodia, Inc., Hamilton, sq., NJ.
After graduation in 1968, Larry spent four years in the Air Force. He worked at Steffen's Dairy, now Hiland Dairy, for 12 years. He started their QC Dept. and then moved to sales and spent the last 5 years as Production Manager. Larry joined NORDICA International in 1985 and began his sales career marketing cultures, coagulant, media, stabilizer, and shelf life extenders to the dairy industry.
Greg Holtquist, Big Stone City, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1972
Current position: Principal, Dairy Ingredients, Inc., Davisburg, MI.
Greg is presently a principal with Dairy Ingredients, Inc. in Davisburg Mi. Dairy Ingredients, Inc., is a Manufacturer / Supplier of stabilizers and emulsifiers and dessert solids for the dairy industry. He has been with the company since 1985 and is V.P. of sales. His first job in 1972 was quality control manager with Kraft Foods in Stockton, IL. From 1974 to 1977 Greg was quality control manager in Toledo, Ohio with Driggs Dairy / Toledo Milk Processing. From 1977 to 1985 he was with Klenzade / Ecolab and was a Regional Sales Manager in Chicago as his last job with them when he resigned and helped start up Dairy Ingredients, Inc. in Michigan.
Nicole Jax, Waltham, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2016
Current position: Account Manager, Hydrite Chemical Co., Brookfield, WI.
Nicole Jax was recruited out of the Dairy Manufacturing program during Fall 2015. She began working for Hydrite Chemical Co. after graduation in Spring 2016 and began as an Account Manager in Development. This role took her all over the country and into several food production facilities. After completion of the development program, Nicole received a promotion to Account Manager. Her territory covers SE Minnesota and Northern Iowa where she services dairy, vegetable, plasma, ready-to-eat, and egg manufacturing plants. While at SDSU Nicole was a member of the 2015 National Champion Dairy Products Judging team and placed first overall in the contest.
April Johnson, Heron Lake, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 2013
Current position: Member Services Coordinator, Associated Milk Producers Inc., New Ulm, MN.
After graduating from SDSU, April Johnson began working at Associated Milk Producers Inc., in May 2013. Currently she serves as a Member Services Coordinator. She assists in the administration of the FARM program and EU compliance as well as other membership programs. April also assists in the development and delivery of member services promotional materials, member communications, and coordinates trade show activities. Other duties include: Tracking milk and procurement costs, milk prices and premiums and member milk production trends. April currently serves as a member of the Dairy Fest Committee and is a member of the board for the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association (UMDIA). She is also a member of the National Mastitis Council. While at SDSU April was an active participant in the Dairy Club and held position of President for a year.
Chelsey Johnson, Heron Lake, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 2014
Current position: Digital Communications Coordinator, Accelerated Genetics, Baraboo, WI.
Chelsey Johnson began her career with Accelerated Genetics after graduating with B.S. degrees in Dairy Production, and Agriculture, Education, Communication, and Leadership with a Communications Specialization. Her role at Accelerated Genetics as the Digital Communications Coordinator is to maintain the company’s industry-leading website, including coordinating and maintaining the development of the company’s bull search which allows users to search all bulls across the industry. In addition, she is responsible for all company videos including bull videos, progeny videos, and promotion videos. Chelsey also coordinates the company’s email marketing and writes articles for the company newsletter, Genetic Trends. While at SDSU she held various positions in the Dairy Club, including President, and Dairy Digest editor. She also participated in dairy cattle judging and dairy challenge.
Jana Johnson, Elmore, MN
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2003
Current position: Senior Scientist, Sargento. Green Bay, WI.
Jana holds a B.S. in Food Science from SDSU and a M.S. in Dairy Science, also from SDSU. After completing her Master’s degree, Jana began working as a Production Manager of a Process cheese singles department for Schreiber Foods in Logan, Utah. She was promoted after a year on the job in Utah to a R&D position working as a research scientist specializing in Cream cheese applications based in Saint Louis, MO. In May 2005, she began working for Danisco USA, in the Kansas City, KS area, as an Applications Scientist specializing in frozen desserts. Subsequently, after three years at Cabot Creameries in Vermont she moved in 2011 to Sargento in Wisconsin as Senior Scientist.
Kristin (Sharp) Johnson, Bath, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing 1999
Current position: Claims Analyst, Mutual of Omaha. Aberdeen, SD
Kristin started as an agricultural loan officer for a bank in Webster, SD immediately after graduation. Her husband chose to attend college and they needed to move back to Aberdeen, SD. From there she worked in the non-profit world raising money for three years. After that she chose a different career path, taking a job with Mutual of Omaha, at their claims/customer service center in Aberdeen. Kristin has moved up in the company and is now a Claims Analyst. She mostly works with Medicare/Medicaid, handling their red tape and helping out customers. If they ever choose to leave Aberdeen, then she would love to get back into the Dairy Manufacturing area. While at SDSU Kristin was crowned Dairy Princess.
Lance Johnson, Webster, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing 1985
Current position: Vice President for Manufacturing, Valley Queen Cheese Factory. Milbank, SD
Lance started with Valley Queen in July of 1995 as assistant operations manager, and has served as production manager for approximately 2 years. He became Vice President of Manufacturing in 2007. Prior to Valley Queen he was Director of Quality Control for Cass Clay Creamery, Fargo, ND and served in that capacity for 4 ½ years. He worked for Anderson Chemical Company out of Litchfield, MN as a territory manager for approximately 3 years serving the territories of SD, ND and MN. His career in the dairy field started with the USDA-Dairy Division as a resident grader/inspector stationed at Land O' Lakes, Perham, MN.
Mark L. Johnson, Madison, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current position: District Sales /Technical Manager, Crest Foods Co., Inc., Ashton, IL.
After graduation from SDSU Mark was Quality Assurance Manager for Sinton Dairy in Colorado Springs, CO. until 1995. While there he established Colorado Dairy Tech Scholarship while living in Colorado. He has worked for Crest Foods since 1995, first as Technical Service Manager and now as District Sales / Technical Manager.
Daryl Kleinschmit, Hartington, NE
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 2006
Current position: Dairy/Beef Nutritionist, Agri-King, Inc., Fulton, IL.
Daryl's Ph.D. dissertation was titled Utilization of amino acids for milk protein synthesis by lactating dairy cows fed corn distillers grains plus solubles. After completing his Ph.D., Daryl joined Agri-King, Inc. as a Consulting Dairy and Beef Nutritionist. His responsibilities are nutrition consulting for clients, applied research and development of products and nutritional concepts, sales force training, and implementation of nutritional concepts for ration formulation. Daryl was a recipient of the John Brandt Memorial Fellowship during his Ph.D. program at SDSU.
Bradley Klemme, Le Mars, IA
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current position: Quality Systems Manager, Kraft Foods, New Ulm, MN
Upon graduation in 1989 Brad began his career with Kraft Foods in a Natural Cheese packaging Operation in Palmyra, PA. as a Quality Technician and soon thereafter moved into an Operations Supervisory role. In 1992 he accepted the position of Quality Manager for the Swiss cheese manufacturing facility of Kraft Foods in Galena, IL. In 1994 he transitioned to a multi-product manufacturing plant in Springfield, MO holding a number of different assignments in both the Quality and Operations fields in the areas of natural cheese packaging, Cream cheese, and Process cheese manufacturing. In 2000 Brad went to work for Barilla Pasta in Ames, IA as the Quality Manager and was involved with the start-up operation of the new $180 million pasta manufacturing facility. In 2002 he went back to Kraft Foods as the Quality Manager of the multi-product manufacturing facility in New Ulm, MN where he currently resides today. The plant portfolio for products at the New Ulm Plant consists of Process Cheese, Handi-Snacks, and Cereal Bars.
Lyle Kruse, Revillo, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1978
Current position: Vice President of U.S. Market Development, Select Sires. Plain City, OH.
Lyle earned a B.S. degree in Dairy Production in 1978. He grew up on 5-L's Dairy Farm, Revillo, South Dakota, and began his career in the dairy industry as a field representative for Swiss Valley Farms Inc., Davenport, Iowa. Kruse joined the Select Sires family in 1981 as a sales representative in South Dakota, North Dakota and Southwestern Minnesota. In 1983, he became marketing supervisor, and, in 1986, was named general manager of Minnesota/Select Sires. He developed the member cooperative from a fledgling company into Minnesota's A.I. market leader. In 2008 Select Sires named Lyle as vice president of U.S. market development. In this role Lyle works with Select's 10 member-cooperatives to design growth and development strategies for all marketing and sales activities. Lyle is highly proficient in DairyCOMP 305 and Select RePRO Analysis™. He has attended Select Reproductive Solutions™ training seminars for the since 2001 and has earned the title SRS Specialist™. He was instrumental in developing herd-reproductive analysis consultations within the Minnesota/Select Sires cooperative. Kruse attended the Young Dairy Leaders Institute in 1999 and 2000 and served as judge for the 2007 National North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge. Based in Plain City, Ohio, Select Sires Inc., is North America's largest A.I. organization and is comprised of 10 farmer-owned and -controlled cooperatives.
Neil Kucker, Mitchell, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1977
Current position: Retired Area Vice President. Ecolab, Food and Beverage Division. Egan, MN.
Neil worked for over 30 years with Ecolab. His career has allowed him to work closely with many types of food processing plants in the supply of sanitation products and programs. His work experience has grown through the various positions that he has performed ranging from account manager, district manager, regional manager, corporate account manager, engineering director and area vice president. This job has allowed him the opportunity to work with all aspects of food processing. His main focus has been with the dairy markets in helping supply quality sanitation programs and technical expertise. Neil retired in 2013 but continues to be active in the dairy industry. “The college background and Dairy Science background has been very worthwhile in the growth of my career”.
W. Lee Kucker, Strandburg, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1965
M.S. Dairy Production, 1967
Current position: Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley, Modesto, CA.
After graduation in 1965 in Dairy Production, Lee continued his study at SDSU and completed his M.S. in 1967. While at working on his degree he assisted in coaching the Dairy Cattle Judging Team. Upon completion of his M.S. he moved to Michigan State for his doctorate study in Dairy Genetics. During his study at MSU he coached the all species judging team that competed at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada. His teams won the competition two of the three years he coached the team.
After receiving his PhD in 1970 Kucker moved to Columbus, Ohio where he was employed by Select Sires, Inc. as a Sire Analyst in charge of the young sire program. He was responsible for establishing the first progeny testing program through member herds in the seven member organizations at Select Sires. In 1974 Kucker moved to Cary, Illinois and joined Curtiss Breeding Service as Vice President in charge of both dairy and beef sire programs. He travelled extensively and in 1976 he was appointed by USDA/FAO to a task force that negotiated the standards for cattle and semen importation in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. He also was a guest speaker at symposia in Brazil and Argentina. In 1977 he headed to California on a private venture—which led to a career change into financial services.
In 1979 he got his license on the New York Stock Exchange and was employed by Bateman, Eichler, Hill & Richards. He brought Prudential Securities into Modesto, California in 1984, the same year he was awarded his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation by the College for Financial Planning. Prudential Securities combined the Modesto office with their Stockton office in 1992, as his client base was in the Oakdale/Modesto area, Lee decided to keep his office in Modesto and he joined the local firm of Shearson-Lehman-Hutton. After several mergers and name changes, that office is now part of the Morgan Stanley organization.
Lee is married to Mary Louise Christensen—who calls Dell Rapids home. A graduate of Augustana University Sioux Falls, she founded her own Executive Recruiting Business in 1984 and works primarily in the wine and food industry in California. They have two children, Heather and Todd and seven grandchildren. Lee and Mary have many outside interests having worked with local pastors in organizing and leading tours to Israel. They have assisted in founding a mission in Kenya and, most recently, have led Civil War tours through the eastern theater. Lee is an avid golfer and has served as president of the Oakdale Golf and Country Club where they have belonged since 1977. The education that was provided at SDSU has played an important role in Lee’s career path. It has opened doors of opportunities that otherwise would have remained closed. Lee states—“I will always be grateful to SDSU, my parents, professors and family that have played such an important role in my life—in addition I give thanks to God for blessing me far beyond anything I could have imagined when I entered SDSU in 1961.”
Darwin Kurtenbach, Dimmock, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1972
Current position: Dairy Program Administrator, South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Pierre, SD
Darwin has worked for the SD Department of Ag since 1986. He started out as the state dairy plant inspector and accepted the current position in December 1989. In November'95 he also became Program Administrator for the Plant Protection Program within Ag Services. Darwin is involved in all the inspection programs pertaining to raw milk at the farm level and finished products pertaining to all plants within the state. The program is responsible for the movement of milk and milk products instate and interstate. He has participated at the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shippers for the past 14 years and currently is starting his second six year term on the National Executive Board of this Conference. After graduation from SDSU in December 1972 with a degree in Dairy Production he dairy farmed at Dimock, SD with his wife and seven children.
Dick Lane, Yankton, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1973
Current position: Agri Sales Specialist, Ecolab, Yankton, SD.
After graduation in January 1973 Dick went to work for the Sioux City Health Department as a Grade a milk inspector until November 1975. In November 1975 he joined Ecolab and has since been employed by Ecolab, Inc (30 + years). He has worked in both Plant and Farm sales/service. For the last 10 years he has worked in the capacity of Agri Sales Specialist, calling on dairy equipment dealers, agriculture dealers and large dairy farms and selling detergents, sanitizers and udder health products. Dick's territory consists for Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and NW Iowa.
Henry Lardy, Roslyn, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1939
Current position: Retired from University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI as chair of a section of the Enzyme Institute from 1950 to his retirement, and as Vilas Professor of Biological Science since 1966.
He has had a fruitful career in biochemistry and he has maintained close ties with his Alma Mater. Dr. Lardy received his B.S. in Agriculture from SDSU in 1939 with a joint major in Chemistry and Dairy Science. As a dairy science student he worked at the farm on early vitamin D experiments with cows. He received both his M.S. (1940) and Ph.D. (1945) in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He has remained there since and has served as chair of a section of the Enzyme Institute from 1950 to his retirement and as Vilas Professor of Biological Science since 1966. Dr. Lardy pioneered work on the preservation and storage of semen that has made artificial insemination in livestock practical. He is an authority in biochemistry and is recognized for his research on isolation, purification and characterization of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Dr. Lardy has more than 370 publications in major journals and books. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Paul Lewis Award in Enzyme Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 1949; Wolf Foundation Award in Agriculture, 1981; and the National Award of Agricultural Excellence, 1982. The Henry Lardy Distinguished Lecture Series in Chemistry was established in 1987 through a substantial endowment from Dr. Lardy. The purpose of the series is to bring to the campus outstanding scientists who have made significant contributions in a field of chemistry. As a Dairy Science student he was a member of the 1939 dairy products judging team.
Chadwick Larsen, Wolsey, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1996
Current position: Regional Sales Manager - Midwest, Barry-Callebaut, Chicago, IL.
After graduation, Chad work for Kerry Ingredients as a Food Technologist in their R&D dept for a year and half prior to going into Sales. He then became an Account Manager for 3 ½ years selling ingredients to the process cheese and ice cream segments of the dairy industry. After 5 years at Kerry, Chad took a Regional Sales Manager position with a company called QA Products, which manufactured decorative toppings and inclusions for ice cream, bakery and cereal companies. He spent 6 years with QA Products and helped grow their business into the Consumer Packaged Goods industry as well as Quick Service Restaurants. In 2006 Chad joined Barry Callebaut which is the largest manufacture of chocolate and compounds in the world. He is a Regional Sales Manager in the Mid West and is based out of Chicago.
Wayne E. Larson, Andover, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1963
Current position: Retired from the United States Department of Agriculture Dairy Grading Branch.
After graduation in March, 1963 Wayne went to work for industry, spending the first three years in equipment sales and plant management. In 1966 he was hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Dairy Grading, where he worked until retiring in 1996. During his tenure with the Department he spent 6 years as a lab technician in a milk plant in northern Minnesota, 8 years as plant survey inspector and butter and cheese grader in the Pacific Northwest. In 1980 he was transferred to Minneapolis where he became a Supervisor of Inspectors and in 1985 was promoted to Regional Director of the eleven Midwestern states. In fall 1994 he was appointed as National Field Director of the Dairy Grading Branch until retiring in 1996.
Joe Leedom, Sioux Falls, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1981
Current position: Plant Superintendent, Dean Foods, Sioux Falls, SD
A graduate of Sioux Falls O'Gorman High School with a father and grandfather who were both lawyers, Joe Leedom confesses he had no ag experience when he arrived at SDSU as a student in 1977. But he had an interest in animals and intended to pursue a pre-vet degree. However, after taking a dairy science class as an elective, Leedom found his calling. Leedom describes that course — and professor Shirley Seas who taught it — as "fascinating," and he quickly switched his major to dairy science. That was the stepping stone for Leedom's 30-plus year career in dairy manufacturing. He ascended to his first plant manager position at age 25 — just three years after graduating from SDSU's dairy program. Over the years, Leedom progressed to larger dairy plants throughout the region and more responsibility. Today, he is plant superintendant for Dean Foods in Sioux Falls, a national leader in the production of dairy products under the Deans, Land O Lakes and Country Fresh brand names. Of his career achievements, Leedom says, "This speaks highly of the education that I received from the Dairy Science department at SDSU." Leedom credits the hands-on learning opportunities that were available to students as a driving factor in the program's long-standing success. As an example of that, Leedom tells of working in the dairy bar and the freedom that was given to experiment. "Professor Seas encouraged us to come up with different flavors, as long as we were able to sell what we made," Leedom says. One concoction that Leedom was involved with creating was the first-ever batch of cookies and cream flavored ice cream in 1979. Leedom tells, "I remember it was in the fall of the year and fellow student Joe Van Treeck and I were visiting with Shirley Seas about making different flavors with cookies. Van Treeck and I went down to the Fareway grocery store that was located on Main and Medary and bought all of the Oreo cookies they had on the shelf. Our thinking was that Oreos and milk were good together so they would also be good in ice cream." After mixing up their first batch, Leedom describes his first taste of the black and white creation as "darn good" — and says cookies and cream is still his favorite ice cream flavor today. A few tweaks were made - including making the cookie chunks smaller and changing the initial name from Oreo ice cream to cookies and cream, but today the flavor is still one of the most popular of the now more than 60-flavors offered by the SDSU Dairy Bar. Leedom is humble about his involvement in the history of this "invention." He says, "It was never something that I recognized as a personal milestone but rather another typical new development at SDSU for the good of the entire dairy industry." Leedom's fondest memories of his SDSU experience were the close-knit relationships among students and faculty. "We were a small group — a graduating dairy science class at that time was about eight people — so you got to know everyone including the professors quite well. I very much appreciated the close-knit setting and the life-long relationships that were fostered." He adds, "There was a great deal of support by the dairy science faculty and department head to make sure we had the experience needed to go out into the industry. From my perspective SDSU is a school with a lot of great traditions and that commitment to students at SDSU has not changed. It is a tradition that is still being handed down to the next generation of faculty and department heads."
Lucas Lentsch, Veblen, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing 1996
Current position: Chief Federation Officer, Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, IL
Lucas Lentsch has worked within the Dairy Industry since graduating SDSU in 1996. His career began with Good Humor – Breyers Ice Cream as a Manufacturing Supervisor. Seeing the need for a dairy specific staffing service, Lucas founded DairyCareers.com in 1999. Since that time, he's been dedicated to streamlining the staffing process for employers and professionals that make up the Dairy Foods Industry. During the fall of 2005, DairyCareers.com was acquired by Dairy.com of Dallas, TX. Lucas has since joined Dairy.com and continues to oversee and direct the Dairy Careers Business Line. His professional development is ongoing with his active participation in SDARL – South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership, Inc. From 2011 to 2012 Lucas served as Director of Agricultural Development with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and then as the SD Secretary of Agriculture for three years. In 2016 Lucas was appointed as the CEO of the Midwest Dairy Association. In this role he oversees the dairy check off program in the Midwest, covering 10 states. This region represents nearly 20% of the nations’ dairy farmers. In 2019 Lucas was appointed as Executive Vice President for United Dairy Association of the DMI and in 2021 became Chief Federation officer for DMI.
Harouna Maiga, Asongo, Mali
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 1994
Current Position: Associate Professor of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, Crookston, MN
Dr Maiga joined the University of Minnesota, Crookston in January 2001 as Associate Professor of Animal Sciences. He is teaching undergraduate Animal Science courses such as Feeds & Feeding, Applied Animal Nutrition, Applied Animal Reproduction, Dairy Production, and Animal Management Systems. Prior to working at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, he was Area Dairy Specialist for 4 years with the University of Minnesota Extension Service in Becker County & the Prairie to Pine Cluster in Minnesota. He is currently the UMC Dairy Club Adviser; additionally he has minor research & outreach responsibilities in the Dept. of Animal Sciences.
Tina Vilter McDonald, Hartland, WI
B.S. Dairy Production, Ag Journalism, 1992
Current Position: Owner/President, TVM Marketing, Hartland, WI
With an Agricultural Journalism major and Dairy Production minor, Tina started working at Select Sires in corporate communications. From there, she became the associate editor of Hoard's Dairyman magazine, traveling the country meeting dairy producers and key industry influencers. In 1995, she joined Colle & McVoy, a Minneapolis-based marketing communications agency working on the Pfizer, Land O'Lakes and Zinpro accounts. She worked there for four years before returning to Wisconsin where she accepted a position with Charleston/Orwig, an ad agency based in Tina's hometown of Hartland. At 30 years old, she was named Vice President, growing the agricultural group's business by 85% in the six years she was there. Tina recently moved back onto the home farm where she helps her parents manage Four Winds Farm, home to the most All-American Guernsey breed of cows. She also owns and operates TVM Marketing, a full-service marketing communications firm with much of its business grounded in agriculture. In addition to her professional career, Tina has judged several dairy cattle shows throughout the country. She supports the SDSU dairy cattle judging team and feels that winning the 1989 Intercollegiate National Dairy Cattle Judging Contest in Madison was a huge asset to her career. She and her husband Todd have two children, Lauren (9) and Trey (6).
Monte McIntyre, Gregory, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1990
Current position: Plant Manager, Swiss Valley Farms, Mindoro, WI.
Prior to joining the Dairy Science program at SDSU, Monte was a History major at the University of South Dakota. After graduation from SDSU, he joined Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, IA where worked for 10 years as plant manager. He was responsible for the Blue cheese operation of Maytag. In 2000 Monte was invited to join the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company about 50 miles north of San Francisco. He was charged with developing a Blue cheese. The first vat of cheese was manufactured a month after he joined the Company. The Blue cheese and a Blue cheese dip developed by Monte are now sold throughout the country. Bob and Dean Giacomini own the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Milk is produced on site in a 320-cow operation for the manufacture of Blue cheese. In 2010 Monte moved to Mindoro WI to assume position as Plant Manager for Swiss Valley Farms Blue cheese operation.
Harold Metzger, Lester, IA
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1983
Current Position: Vice President of Sales and Purchasing, United Dairymen of Arizona. Tempe, AZ
Following graduation in 1983, Harold worked for Mid-America Dairymen in various managerial positions from Supervisor to Plant Manager at a number of plants in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Mid-America Dairymen eventually became Dairy Farmers of America. He spent 15 years with them and in 1988 moved to Arizona to join United Dairymen of Arizona, a large regional cooperative. He has held positions of Plant Manager, Manager of Sales for the last 3 years as Vice President of Sales and Purchasing.
Joseph Metzger, Lester, IA
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1988
Current Position: Senior Director, Manufacturing, Kraft Foods, Glenview, IL
Joe has worked for Kraft Foods in various capacities in manufacturing and procurement since graduation in 1988. Currently Joe is leading project Catalyst i.e., SAP design/implementation across Kraft manufacturing operations. Prior to this assignment he was the Plant Manager for Kraft Springfield, Missouri & Bentonville Arkansas operations (process cheese, natural cheese, cream cheese, macaroni & cheese and Lunchables). Other positions Joe has held include Director Procurement, Plant Manager in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (cream cheese, non-dairy dips), Co-Manufacturing Manager (cheese division). Joe began his full-time career at Kraft in New Ulm, Minnesota cheese facility holding the positions of Business Unit Manager, Operations/Production Supervisor, Quality Supervisor and Food Technologist. Joe's first assignments at Kraft were internships at Melrose and New Ulm, Minnesota facilities while he was attending SDSU. Joe also serves on the National FFA Foundation Board of Directors; previously he served as Chairman of the Board of Springfield, Missouri Chamber of Commerce (elect) and Boys & Girls Town of Missouri.
Lloyd Metzger, Lester, IA
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1992
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1994
Current position: Associate Professor and Alfred Chair in Dairy Education, Dairy Science Department, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD.
After completing his BS and MS degrees at SDSU Lloyd went to Cornell University in Ithaca NY for a Ph.D. in Food Science, which he completed in 1999. He then joined General Mills in Minneapolis as a Research Food Scientist. In 2001 he accepted a faculty position at the University of Minnesota. He taught courses in food analysis and food protein chemistry and conducted research on cheese and other dairy products. He is also served as the director of the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center. In 2007 Lloyd moved to SDSU where he accepted the position of Associate Professor and Alfred Chair in Dairy Education. In this position he will be involved in teaching and research in the areas of cheese and dairy ingredients. He is also continuing his position as the Director of the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center. He was a member of the 1991 national champion dairy products judging team.
Virgil Metzger, Lester, IA
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1969
M.S. Dairy Production, 1971
Current Position: Program Manager, Kraft Foods, Inc Technology Center. Glenview, IL.
Virgil Metzger has worked at Kraft for 31 years in the Cheese and Dairy Businesses. Managing Product Development and Processing Technology programs have been his responsibilities the last seventeen years. Prior to working in research, he was a Quality Manager and Production Supervisor in a large Cheese plant. Throughout his career, he has been involved in cheese judging and the last ten years he has served as the lead Cheddar judge for the National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation contest and has judged in the US Championship Cheese contest.
Clarence Moore, Britton, SD
M.S. Dairy Production, 1957
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 1959
Current Position: Professor Emeritus, Illinois State University, Normal, IL.
Dr. Moore was the recipient of the first Ph.D degree in Dairy Science at South Dakota State University. His Ph.D dissertation was titled Physiological Studies on Bloat. Before commencing the Dairy Production program and after his B.S. in Animal Science Clarence served for 2 years (1953-1955) in the U.S. Army. After completing his M.S. he worked at the University of Hawaii (1959-1961) as Area Livestock Specialist. He spent the next 29 years Illinois State University in Normal, IL teaching and conducting research in Dairy Management, Feeding, and Animal Behavior. He also coached the Dairy Cattle Judging Teams at ISU. Clarence has served as an official dairy cattle judge at several dairy shows including the Royal Easter Guernsey Show in Sydney, Australia. Clarence retired from Illinois State University in 1989 and continued to do consulting work for Ag World Exports traveling to many different countries.
Ron Munneke, Platte, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1987
M.S. Dairy Production, 1989
Current Position: Dairy Production Consultant, Land O' Lakes, Baraboo, WI.
Ron spent his first eight years after graduation working as the Dairy Technical Support Manager for Walnut Grove Feeds, which was a part of the Cargill Feed Division. In this position he provided technical support and was involved in product development to support the sales force in the upper Midwest. He has been working for the Land O' Lakes Feed Division since 1997. In this position he provides nutrition and management consulting to dairy producer clients in Central Wisconsin.
Keith Murfield, White, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1975
Current Position: CEO, United Dairymen of Arizona. Tempe, AZ
Following graduation in 1975 Keith worked for Mid-America Dairymen, now Dairy Farmers of America. Within 5 years he became a plant manager. Keith worked for Mid-America for 23 years in various managerial positions from plant supervisor to plant manager in Minnesota to Wisconsin to VP of Operations out of Springfield Missouri. In 1998 he accepted the position of CEO of United Dairymen of Arizona in Tempe, AZ. UDA handles approximately 3 billion pounds of milk per year from 86 producers. Keith also serves on 6 other coops and federations as director. He is President of the Board of DairyAmerica, an association consisting of 8 cooperatives. In 2005 Keith traveled to Cuba as President of DairyAmerica to negotiate contracts to sell 30 million pounds of nonfat dry milk.
Manoj Nair, Kerala, India
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1999
Current Position: R&D Section Leader, H.P. Hood LLC. Charlestown, MA.
Following the completion of the M.S degree Manoj joined Sartori Food Corp as a part of the Product Development team. His responsibilities included modification of existing product line for food service and food ingredient segments, work with cross functional teams to develop new product prototypes, scale up laboratory prototypes to commercial scale, develop quality tests and product specifications, finished product costing and provide technical support to sales and marketing. In 2007 Manoj joined HP Hood as R&D Section Leader.
Jason Nissen, Bushnell, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2007
Current position: Assistant Plant Manager- Cooler, Kemps, Rochester,MN.
After graduation in May of 2007 from SDSU, Jason started out in the Management Trainee Program with Kemps, LLC in Cedarburg, WI. He then moved to second shift Production Supervisor at the Cedarburg, WI facility where he was involved with production scheduling and other various tasks in the facility. In June 2009 he became the Assistant Plant Manager for Kemps, LLC and moved to Rochester, MN. Jason was also a member of the National Champion Dairy Products Judging Team in 2005.
Mike Nobel, Ipswich, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1997
Current Position: Plant Superintendent, Dean Foods, Sioux Falls, SD.
Upon graduation, Mike Noble went to work for the Kroger Company at the Crossroad Farms Dairy facility in Indianapolis, IN. He worked for Kroger for about 1.5 years then moved to Kohler Mix Specialties in White Bear Lake, MN. In 2000, an opportunity opened up at the Land O' Lakes Milk plant in Woodbury, MN, where he worked as a plant supervisor. In 2001, Mike Noble was promoted to the plant superintendent in Sioux Falls, SD, where he is currently employed. While at SDSU, Mike was part of the 1996 Regional and National Champions Dairy Products Judging Team.
Roger Nordvedt, Brookings, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1977
Current Position: Transportation Manager. Land O'Lakes.
Roger has worked for Land O'Lakes, Inc. on the dairy side of the business for over 26 years. The last thirteen have been managing the dairy fleet. Prior to working in Transportation, I worked as a Fieldman, Management Trainee and Plant Manager. The last several years have provided interesting challenges as we have gone from the traditional tankers for milk pick up to vacuum tankers. The producers milking into on- farm tankers, than moving that milk directly to the southern markets has provided additional challenges for the transportation team.
Stephanie Nussbaum, Garretson, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 2011
Current Position: Co-Owner/Manager. Cottonwood Ridge Dairy, Garretson, SD.
Stephanie grew up on her family dairy farm in Garretson and continued working there while attending SDSU. Upon graduation she returned to her home operation, Cottonwood Ridge Dairy and eventually became responsible for running the entire operation, ranging from milking to feeding, vaccination, breeding, etc. In 2014 the family installed Lely Robotic Milkers at their operation. While at SDSU she worked at the Dairy Research and Training Facility and a summer at Paulsen Marketing in Sioux Falls, promoting the dairy industry in a promotional video. She also served as the South Dakota Dairy Ambassador for a year beginning in 2008.
Jarrod Otta, Sinai, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current Position: Plant Manager, Glanbia Nutritionals. Sioux Falls, SD
After graduation at SDSU, Jarrod worked at Safeway Inc. for 11 Years in Ice Cream and Milk processing facilities in California, Maryland, and Colorado. His areas of responsibility were in positions including Management Trainee, Quality Control Supervisor, Production Supervisor, and Plant Superintendent. In April of 2000 Jarrod took a new role as the Plant Manager at the Dean Foods/Land O Lakes Milk Plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 2010 he was promoted to the position of Plant Manager of the Dean Foods Milk/Cottage Cheese Plant in Le Mars, Iowa. In 2015 Jarrod took a new role as the Plant Manager at the Glanbia Nutritionals Plant Nutrition Facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jarrod graduated in December of 1989 and was on the 1989 National Champion Dairy Product Judging Team coached by Dr. Bob Baer.
Donald Otterby, Crooks, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1954
M.S. Dairy Production, 1958
Current Position: Professor Emeritus, Animal Science, Univeristy of Minnesota
Don Otterby was raised in on a dairy farm near Crooks, SD and determined at an early age that he would attend SDSU for a degree in Dairy Science. He completed his B.S. degree in Dairy Husbandry in 1954. During this period he participated in the dairy cattle judging program. After graduation he served in the army and returned to SDSU for working on his M.S. degree. He completed this degree under the direction of Professor Art Dracy in 1958 with a thesis entitled An Attempt to Develop Resistance in the Udder Against Streptococcus Dysgalactiae and Escherichia Coli. He then went on to the North Carolina State College (University) for his Ph.D. work under Dr. Harold Ramsey. His dissertation was entitled Abomasal Hydrolysis of Milk Fat by Pre-gastric Esterase in the Calf. He completed this work in 1963, and then joined the Animal Science Department at the University of Minnesota. He held a distinguished teaching professorship in the Department of Animal Science, and a teaching/research appointment at the University of Minnesota for over 30 years. He made outstanding contributions and important major accomplishments. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the head of the Department of Animal Science. Otterby's teaching responsibilities at the University of Minnesota included courses in dairy nutrition, dairy husbandry, first year and advanced dairy management, ruminant nutrition, and introduction to animal science. He received the highest teaching award from the University of Minnesota, the Horace T. Morse Alumni Association Award for Contributions to Undergraduate Education in 1989. The American Dairy Science Association recognized Don for outstanding teaching with the Ralston Purina Teaching Award. Otterby taught over 4,700 undergraduates at Minnesota and served as major advisor for over 500 students in animal science. He advised 18 Ph.D. and 25 M.S. students to completion of their degrees. Otterby maintained an excellent research program and published over148 refereed scientific journal articles and abstracts. His research areas include feeding and managing dairy cows, calf nutrition, methionine hydroxy analogs, utilization and preservation of forages and grains and bovine somatotropin. He served as section editor for the Journal of Dairy Science and held several leadership roles in the Production Council and Division of the American Dairy Science Association. In 2006 Don was named a fellow of the American Dairy Science Association. He retired from the University of Minnesota in 1997.
Rick Otto, Owatonna, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1982
Current position: Technical Sales Manager, Vivolac Cultures Corp.
Rick has worked in the dairy industry since graduating from SDSU. He started his career as Quality Control Supervisor for Land O Lakes. He then became a part of a small group that spear-headed pH control, a cutting edge technology. The company was sold to Marschall, now Danisco, and he became their Cheese Technologist, specializing in culture systems for American Style cheeses. He later started another culture company, Cultech, which he sold to DSM. He worked for DSM as their lead Cheese Technologist, traveling around the world helping to move DSM's culture systems forward and trouble-shooting any cheese problems. In 2009 he left to help Vivolac Culture Corp launch their hard cheese culture program.
Dinakar Panyam, Madras, India
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1992
Current position: Senior Manager, Product Innovation, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc., Oakland, CA.
After completing his M.S. in Dairy Manufacturing from SDSU, Dinakar moved to The Pennsylvania State University, for his Ph.D. in Food Science, which he completed in 1998. For his Ph.D. he worked on enzymatic modification of milk proteins to enhance functional properties and also with the annual Penn State Ice cream short course. He then joined Nestle R&D, in New Milford CT in 1998 with the Nutrition department working with infant formula and liquid nutritional products. He transferred to Food Service Beverages and dispensing systems for two years before moving to the Nestle Research Center at Lausanne Switzerland in 2003 as Product Area Coordinator for Ice cream. In this position he managed a portfolio of basic research projects in ice cream and liaison with the business and R&D Center in France. In 2006 Dinakar transferred to Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, in Oakland, CA as Senior Manager, Product Innovation.
Mark Pederson, Jasper, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1999
Current Position: Project Manager. DairyNet, Inc. Brookings, SD.
Mark began working for Davisco Foods International after graduation in Spring 1999. He was been involved with all aspects of the production in the whey drying operation. In 2007 he joined DairyNet Inc., a dairy consulting company as a project manager.
Melissa (Lax) Pietig, Sleepy Eye, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 2011
Current Position: Assistant Herd Manager, Employee Training, Nosbush Dairy, Fairfax, MN.
After graduation, Melissa took a herdsman position on a small dairy near the MN/IA border. When the opportunity arose in 2012 to move back to her home area, she chose to take a position at Nosbush Dairy near Fairfax, MN. This is an operation of 650 registered Holsteins, with 28,560 RHA and 1240 F and 975 P. Her responsibilities include daily herd health and cow care, employee training and education, and managing the embryo transfer and IVF program for the herd’s elite genetics. This has allowed her to expand her knowledge and everyday use of technology on farm via ultrasound and heat detection monitoring systems. The farm has developed an index specific to the ideal commercial cow and has begun marketing bulls of this caliber. The farm takes pride in the herd’s production and SCC, and has earned state recognition for 2 consecutive years as a herd under 100,000 SCC. Melissa is also responsible for training and educating new employees of many cultural backgrounds, both in the parlor and cow-side. Nosbush Dairy farm participates in CAEP program to receive international intern students. Melissa raises feeder cattle and farms with her husband, and she serves on the county’s Dairy Association board as Treasurer.
Vinith Poduval, Trichur, Kerala, India
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1997
Current position: Vice President, Enterprise Quality and Food Safety, Schreiber Foods, Green Bay, WI.
Vinith joined Kemps after graduation from SDSU and has worked there in various roles. He started as a Management Trainee and moved to various supervision roles including Sanitation Supervisor, Production Manager and Assistant Plant Manager at the Minneapolis milk plant from January 1998 to March 2003. After a brief appointment as Plant Manager at H. Meyer Dairy in Cincinnati, he took over as Plant Manager at the largest milk plant of Kemps in Cedarburg, WI. In September, 2005 he was promoted to Operations Manager of the Ice Cream and Novelty plant in Suffield, Connecticut. In December, 2007 he became the Director of Quality Assurance for Kemps and moved to the corporate office in St. Paul, MN. In 2015 Vinith moved to Green Bay, WI where he holds the position of Vice President, Enterprise Quality and Food Safety with Schreiber Foods.
Doug Post, Volga, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1994
Current Position: Owner, Sipka Dairy, Volga, SD.
After graduation Doug spent 7 months as Assistant Herdsman at Carrousel Farms in Orangeville IL, a registered Holstein farm that specializes in expensive show cattle. He then returned home for three years and was herdsman at the family farm in Volga. He then spent about a year on the road fitting cattle at various shows and sales including the World Dairy Expo. While also being a DHIA supervisor Doug purchased the current farm in 1999 and began milking in 2001. Expanding in 2004 he and his wife, Ginger, now have 70 cows. Highlights of his dairy "Sipka Holsteins" are 110.5 BAA and 2003 State Fair Premier breeder award. Doug's dairy, "Sipka", is named after his great grand father who emigrated from the Netherlands.
Dave Potter, Beresford, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1982
Current Position: Principal, Nordica Licensing, Inc., Madison, WI.
Dave began his career as a Technical Sales Representative for dairy starter cultures and other ingredients at Nordica International in Sioux Falls, SD after graduation. Nordica was purchased in 1989 by Rhodia Inc. (Rhone Poulenc) and relocated from Sioux Falls to Madison, WI in 1990 and merged with Marschall Products. At Rhodia he has had responsibilities for customer service, sales and marketing for cheese and fermented milk ingredients. He acquired the Nordica Licensing program from Rhodia in 2005 and manages the business. He is married and has four children and recently became a grandfather. His wife owns and operates Dairy Connection Inc., a distribution company supplying ingredients for specialty, farmstead and home cheese manufacturers.
Chad Pravecek, Beresford, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1988
Current Position: Product Development Technologist / Impulse Division. Wells Dairy, Le Mars, IA.
Upon graduation from SDSU, Chad received employment at Wells Dairy in LeMars, Iowa and has worked there ever since. He started out as a Lab Technician at the North Ice Cream Plant facility and worked in that capacity for 3 years. He was then transferred to the Tech Center in the Microbiology Department and worked there for 4 years. During this time he was also cross trained in the Le Mars Milk Plant Lab and spent about a year there off and on when they needed help. In April of 1995 he was transferred to the Research and Development Department and has worked there since that time as an Associate R&D Technician, then Product Development Technician for the Vending/C-Store Division, and then in his current position of Product Development Technologist for the Impulse Division.
Jon Qual, Lisbon, ND
B.S. Dairy Production, 2001
Current position: Partner and Feed Manager, Qual Dairy, Inc. Lisbon, ND
After graduation from SDSU, Jon returned to the Family Dairy near Lisbon, ND. While at SDSU Jon gained more knowledge about dairy nutrition and also enjoyed agriculture business classes. Jon focuses on nutrition and feed quality at Qual dairy. Friends and contacts at SDSU have been a great asset to their farm. He was president of the dairy club and enjoyed the cheese box season every year.
Mark Qual, Lisbon, ND
B.S. Dairy Production, 2004
Current position: Partner and Herdsman, Qual Dairy, Inc. Lisbon, ND
After graduation from SDSU, Mark returned to the Family Dairy near Lisbon, ND. As a part of the family management team, he has used information that he learned at SDSU along with contacts that were made while at college to help make the dairy more successful and profitable. Mark specializes in the reproduction and animal welfare/health aspects of Qual Dairy. While at SDSU he was a member of the 1st Dairy Challenge team. That experience taught him to look at different things around the farm in different ways and to always be looking for a better way to do things in order to make the farm more profitable.
Devang Raval, Mumbai, India
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1998
Current position: Technical Manager, Supplier and Distribution Quality, Genentech, Inc., San Bruno, CA.
Devang currently works at Genentech, Inc. – a South San Francisco based pioneering biopharmaceutical company, as a Technical Manager in the Quality Assurance department. He is responsible for investigating non-conformances and deviations of raw materials that are used in the manufacture of biopharmaceutical parenteral drugs. He is also an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor (CQA). Prior to this position, he worked as a Quality Manager for Safeway, Inc, Milk Processing Plant for six years where he was responsible for quality, regulatory and compliance functions at the second largest Safeway dairy plant, processing fluid milk, cultured buttermilk, fruit juices, drinks and bottled water. Devang was involved in the California Dairy Industry Association while at Safeway and won first place in judging milk at a CDIA annual meeting in 1999.
Christine Reitsma, Kranzburg, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1993
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1995
Current position: Professor of Criminal Justice, Colorado Technical University, Sioux Falls, SD.
After graduation, Chris was employed as a Criminalist at the South Dakota State Forensic Laboratory in Pierre, SD specializing in trace (hair, fiber, paint, etc.), fingerprint, tire print, shoeprint, and physical match evidence for almost 12 years. During that time, she became a certified Criminalist as a Diplomat of the American Board of Criminalistics and a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst with the International Association for Identification. She then accepted a position as Professor of Criminal Justice at Colorado Technical University in June of 2007. Along with teaching courses, she is assisting in the design of a new Forensic Lab at the University.
Tracey Erickson, Arlington, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing and Dairy Production, 1989
Current Position: Kingsbury County Extension Educator/Livestock, SDSU Cooperative Extension Service/State of South Dakota.
Tracey worked for the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service as the Extension Educator in Grant County, SD from 1989 to 1993. She then went to work for Land O' Lakes as a Livestock Production Specialist. In January, 1995 Tracey returned to the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service as the Extension Educator in Grant County, and then transferred in May of 2000 to her current position as the Extension Educator/Livestock in Kingsbury County, SD. Throughout her career Tracey has served the dairy industry in South Dakota in many capacities: Advisor to the SD DHIA Board, Coach for the SD Holstein Association Quiz Bowl Team, Advisor to the SD Dairymen's Association, Co-Coordinator/Organizer of the first Central Plains Dairy Expo, Chairman of the State 4H Dairy Cattle Show and Judging Contest for nine years, 4H Dairy Cattle Judging Team Coach for Grant & Kingsbury County, and presently she is serving as the treasurer for the SD Dairy Fieldmen's Association.
Darrel Rennich, Harrisburg, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1990
Current Position: Larger herd sales – SMS (Select Mating Service) - SRS (Select Reproductive Solutions), Cache Valley Select Sires, Inc.. Logan, UT
Upon completion of his Dairy Science program at SDSU, Darrel worked for Land O' Lakes in the area of feed sales to local dairy farms for Meadowland Coop out of Lamberton, MN. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the home dairy operation in Harrisburg, SD. Rennich Dairy was a 150 cow Registered Holstein and Jersey partnership with his father and two brothers. He and his wife subsequently owned and managed the dairy farm for about 4 years. Then the opportunity to work for SDSU brought Darrel and his family to Brookings. He managed the SDSU Dairy Research and Training Facility for six years. He was also an instructor in the Dairy Science Department, coached the Dairy Cattle Judging team and the Dairy Challenge team. In addition, he was a Dairy Club advisor. In 2007 Darrel became Larger herd sales – SMS (Select Mating Service) - SRS (Select Reproductive Solutions) for Select Sires and with the responsibility of developing an AI Technician force in SD. Furthermore, he was elected as President of the SD Holstein Association in 2006, is a Central Plains Dairy Expo board member, and Central Plains Dairy Association board member.
Richard Ries, Omaha, NE
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1978
Current Position: Owner, Rich Ries Services, LLC.
Rich grew up on a diversified farm in Nebraska and continued his education with a BS degree from SDSU in Dairy Science Manufacturing with minors in Microbiology and Ag Engineering in 1978. His career started out being centralized around the dairy manufacturing industry but through the years he has diversified to acquiring farm land and patenting food processing equipment. A lot of hard work and long hours over the years allowed him to learn intricate details from all aspects of plant floor operations and construction projects to successfully managing the financial bottom line in the dairy industry. Rich's career started with Safeway Stores, Inc. fluid and cultured and progresses to Neu Cheese Co. hard American and Italian cheeses and Wells' Dairy, Inc. ice cream, cultured, fluid, evaporation, and bulk sugar liquefaction. Starting out with hands-on front-line supervisory positions allowed him to progress with confidence to department manager and plant manager positions and eventually to the position of VP of Operations over five processing plants and other associated supply-chain departments. In 2003 Rich started his own Consulting and Project Management business "Rich Ries Services LLC". The business provides services to dairy manufacturing businesses that are interested in significant cost-saving initiatives, new product development, managing of construction projects, new plant and remodeling upgrade start-ups, designing efficient plant-floor layouts, and complete sanitary piping layout and drawings. Although this has been a fast-paced career, quality time with family has been very important. Rich enjoys taking breaks to fish in the great state of South Dakota.
Roger Ripley, Elmore, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 1968
M.S. Advanced Animal Breeding, 1970
Current Position: President and CEO of Accelerated Genetics, Baraboo, WI.
After completing his education at SDSU Roger became Regional Manager for Tri-State Breeders Co-op. From 1971-1977 he served as Sire Analyst for the same organization. Roger was Managing Partner for A&H Dairy Farm in Franklin, KY from1977 to 1983. In 1983 he became the vice president for Genetics for Tri-State Breeders, which was later named Accelerated Genetics. In March 1984 Roger was promoted to President and COE of Accelerated Genetics in Baraboo, WI. In addition to these roles, Roger has been a part of several other professional activities, including the World Dairy Expo - Board member for 20 years and current President (since 2001); Genetic Visions, Inc (research subsidiary) - President since 1988; World-Wide Sires - Co-Chair for the past 3 years; NAAB - Former Board member and Past President; Wisconsin CARET - Past President; Former Board member for NAAB, Wisconsin Federation of Co-ops, and Wisconsin Agribusiness Council. Roger has judged cattle shows across the United States and internationally.
Bob Roberts, Burlington, VT
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1986
Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Food Science, Pennsylvania State University. State College, PA.
Dr. Roberts has been at Penn State since completing his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in 1991. His research has been in the general area of dairy microbiology with emphasis on exopolysaccharide-producing lactobacilli and on isolation and application of natural antimicrobials (bacteriocins and colicins) for use in dairy and non-dairy food systems. Current research focuses on enhancing survival of probiotic microorganisms in dairy foods. Dr. Roberts teaches the Science and Technology of Dairy Products to seniors in Food Science and is the director of the 112-year old Penn State Ice Cream Short Course, the Penn State Pasteurizer Operators Workshop and is the founder and director of the Penn State Cultured Dairy Products Short Course. Dr. Roberts has served as the academic adviser to the Food Science club for 10 years and coached the IFT College Bowl Team and Penn State Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation team. He was selected as the Outstanding Academic Adviser by the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society in 2000. He is an active member of the Dairy Division of the Institute of Food Technologist having served as graduate student representative, graduate paper contest chair, chair of the division and chair of the division program committee for three years.
Tilahun Salhu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
M.S. Dairy Production, 1980
Ph.D. Dairy Production, 1983
Current Position: Director of the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research at Langston University. Langston, OK
Tilahun has been involved in goat research since 1985, working in the areas of protein and energy requirements for growth, pregnancy and lactation in dairy and fiber-producing goats; control and manipulation of metabolism and nutrient partitioning. He has authored or co-authored 80 refereed journal articles, 22 book chapters or symposia proceedings, and numerous abstracts and conference proceedings or popular publications and presentations. He has been invited to conduct numerous reviews of scientific manuscripts and has served extensively on scientific society program committees and editorial boards. Tilahun is the recipient of the Bouffault International Animal Agriculture Award, and the R.D. Morrison and F.E. Evans Outstanding Scientist Award.
Roger Scheibe, Pierre, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing and Dairy Production, 1975
Current Position: Industry Outreach and Relations Manager for South Dakota for the Midwest Dairy Association, Brookings, SD.
Roger has served the dairy industry in the upper mid-west in various capacities since graduating from SDSU in 1975. Between 1975 and 1979 he served as a Plant Supervisor for a Land O' Lakes Process cheese plant in Spencer, WI and as a LOL Field Representative in Luverne, MN. Between 1979 and 1984 he was in Wolsey, SD managing his family dairy and crop farm consisting of 2000 acres, 130 grade and registered dairy cow commercial dairy operation and a hog finishing operation. In 1984 Roger moved to Pierre, SD where he administered the state dairy inspection program for plants and farms until 1989 when he was promoted to the Division Director for the Division of Agricultural Services. For a four period thereafter, Roger was involved with retail and commercial sales. In 1998 Roger was hired by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture in Bismarck as the Dairy Commissioner for the State of ND. His primary responsibilities were in dairy development and regulatory aspects. In 2000 Roger returned to Pierre, SD as Ag / Dairy Development Specialist for the SD Department of Agriculture, under Secretary Larry Gabriel. His primary responsibilities have been developing and implementing a state dairy development strategy for value added agriculture in SD. Through this position he has traveled across the US and to several countries in Europe to promote dairying in South Dakota. In 2005, Roger accepted a business development position with the First Bank and Trust of Brookings, SD. In 2009 Roger became Industry Outreach and Relations Manager for South Dakota for the Midwest Dairy Association.
Shawn (Stoley) Schlueter, Harrisburg, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1995
Current Position: Quality Assurance Director, All American Foods. Janesville, MN
Shawn was employed by Schwan's Sales Enterprises, Inc. as the Quality Supervisor of retail products. She was responsible for products made for the Schwan's trucks, complaints of these products, specifications and supplier auditing. For the last 5 years Shawn has been the QA Director at All American Foods, Inc. where she is responsible for quality for two facilities which includes: regulatory inspections, external inspections, customer correspondence and all quality programs along with the QA labs at our facilities in Mankato and Waseca, MN.
Terry Schmitz, Sanborn, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current Position: Senior Manager, Ecolab, Navasota, TX
Terry’s first position after graduation was with AMPI in Stephenville, Texas as a production supervisor. This plant made 40 # Cheddar Cheese blocks and dried Whey and NFD Milk. He worked at this plant for 1.5 years and then relocated to St Louis, MO where he got married and worked in grounds maintenance on a private golf course for 2 years. Terry’s wife, an SDSU graduate with a degree in Ag-Business, and worked as a sales rep for Pittman-Moore in the St Louis area. Terry then relocated to the Phoenix Arizona where he took a position with Carnation as a production supervisor and worked for a year prior to the plant being sold off. He then relocated to Fort Worth, Texas where he took a position with West Agro in cleaning chemical sales and service to the food industry in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico areas for 6 years. He was then hired by Ecolab and relocated to Owatonna, MN for 2 years to cover a territory in sales and service with Ecolab to food processing plants. Terry moved back to Texas in 2000 and is currently a Senior Account Manager covering a sales and service territory in and around the Houston area.
Tom Schuch, Sisseton, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1997
Current Position: Quality Assurance Manager, Wells Dairy, Le Mars, IA
He has worked at Wells Dairy since December of 2001, beginning as a Quality Assurance supervisor and moving to manager in January 2003. Current job responsibilities include oversight of the QA labs and the lab supervisors, as well as implementation and monitoring of various quality and food safety programs. Prior to arriving at Wells', he was the plant manager at Meadowvale, Inc. of Yorkville, IL. This role included supervision of all operations of a dairy mix plant, including purchasing of ingredients and supplies, quality assurance, mix formulation, labor relations and shipping.
Steven Schultz, Jackson, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
Current position: Plant Manager, ConAgra Foods, Waterloo, IA.
After graduation, Steve started as a Management Trainee for Nestle' USA. He progressed from that position to various supervisor/ manager/ plant manager positions over his 14 years with Nestle'. Highlight of his Nestle' experience was spending 3 years working in Australia. Following that, he accepted a position with ConAgra Foods and has held several plant and corporate roles including Sr. Director of Continuous Improvement. In that role he oversaw the implementation of Total Productive Maintenance across several ConAgra facilities. Steve is currently the Plant Manager for ConAgra Foods at an aseptic pudding facility.
Bradley Sharp, Bath, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2002
B.S. Dairy Production, 2002
Current Position: Vice President and Manager, Calves and Heifers, Sharp's Inc., Bath, SD
Upon graduating from SDSU Brad and his wife returned home to Bath, SD to the family dairy farm. Brad immediately took over managing wet calves and heifers. Sharp's Inc. subsequently expanded their heifer operation to be able to accommodate 900 heifers. Brad began co-managing that operation as well. Sharp's Inc. plans to continue milking Holstein cows and raising replacement heifers in the future.
Shannon (Sellner) Seifert, Sleepy Eye, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 2004
Current position: Livestock Specialist, Owner/Operator, River Region Cooperative, Orange Patch Dairy, Sleepy Eye, MN
Shannon has worked at River Region Cooperative of Sleepy Eye for 4 years as a Livestock Specialist. Major responsibilities include nutrition consulting for dairy producers, farm analysis, participating in DPEP (Dairy Profitability and Enhancement Program) teams, feed marketing, and cost benefit analysis. In addition to working full time she also works as a managing partner of Orange Patch Dairy, of Sleepy Eye. Orange Patch Dairy is a loose partnership between Jonathan and Shannon Seifert, as well as Steve and Barb Seifert. The dairy currently houses 180 cows total, in a compost pack barn built in 2004, in addition to a new double 12-parabone parlor also constructed in 2004. Goals at Orange Patch Dairy include "producing high quality milk, from healthy comfortable genetically superior Holsteins, while providing a comfortable living for our families." In addition to her jobs, Shannon is also very active in local dairy promotions as the Brown County Dairy Princess Coordinator, an active contributor to ExploreDairy.com, a web site produced though Midwest Dairy Association, and the local 4-H Dairy Programs. The dairy industry is Shannon's passion whether helping local producers succeed or informing a consumer about the goodness of dairy products.
Brian Sharp, Bath, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1995
B.S. Dairy Production, 1996
Current Position: Owner/Operator, Sharp's Inc., Bath, SD
Brian has been involved in his family farming cooperation with his parents, grandfather, wife, brother, and sister-in-law since graduation from SDSU in 1996. The Sharps dairy milks cows, raises replacement heifers, and farms grains - raising all of the feed requirements for the dairy. While in college Brian participated in dairy products, cattle and wool judging teams. He was also a member of Alpha Zeta.
Nicole Skroch, Pipestone, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2011
Current Position: Senior Financial Services Officer, Compeer Financial Services, Waite Park, MN
Nicole Skroch graduated from South Dakota State in May 2011. She has since been employed with AgStar Financial Services in Waite Park, MN. Throughout her time at AgStar she completed the Sales Associate training, took a position as a credit analyst for a year and joined the sales team in 2013. Her territory extends throughout Central and Northern MN working with diversified crop, dairy, poultry and beef operations providing loans, leases and crop insurance. She is currently on the board of Trustees for the AgStar Fund for Rural America.
John Sleggs, Cuba, NY
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1996
Current position: Territory Manager, Continental Custom Ingredients, Inc., Sycamore, IL
John has been employed at Continental Custom Ingredients (CCI) since graduating SDSU in 1996. CCI, which was founded in 1975, is a privately held, employee owned company based in Sycamore, IL. CCI provides flavor and ingredient systems, including stabilizers, emulsifiers, flavor systems, etc., for the dairy foods industry. John is Territory Manager covering sales for the Pacific Northwest and California. Prior to that, he worked in product development, applications, technical services, and account manager at CCI. He is a member of the IFT, Oregon Dairy Industry, and Dairy Institute of California. He resides in Bend, OR.
Duane Spomer, Viborg, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1975
Current Position: Food Defense Advisor, Agricultural Marketing Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Washington D.C.
Duane has worked for USDA for 28 years. He began his career as a dairy plant inspector, dairy products grader and resident plant grader. He has worked in the Washington, DC offices of USDA since 1978 with responsibility for developing U.S. quality standards for dairy products and coordinating the nation-wide USDA dairy plant inspection and grading programs. Prior to his move to Washington, Duane was a Production Supervisor in a large Cheddar cheese manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. Since 2001, Duane has had the responsibility to manage USDA's dairy grading, inspection and standardization programs. He has also serves as U.S. Delegate to the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Milk and Milk Products. In this capacity he represents the United States in the development of international standards for milk and milk products. In January 2006 he became Food Defense Advisor for the USDA-AMS.
Todd Stahl, Freeman, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1991
Current Position: President and Director of Operations. Hematech Trans Ova Joint Venture, LLC.
After graduation from SDSU, Todd received an M.S. in Dairy Science from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, focusing on management systems. He spent one year on the family farm in Freeman, SD. In 1996, he joined Pharmacia Upjohn, managing a research facility in Worthington, MN, developing vaccines for the animal health industry. Through a sale of the vaccine division to Bayer, Todd relocated with the Bayer Corporation to Kansas City in 1999, managing a research facility at which pharmaceuticals and vaccines were being developed for the same industry. Todd joined Trans Ova as their Director of Operations at the Genetic Advancement Center in 2002. In 2003, a Joint Venture was formed between Hematech and Trans Ova, focusing on the Hematech platform, the production of human polyclonal antibodies in cattle. At the time of the formation of this company, Todd was named president and director of operations. Todd is featured in a SDSU "You Can Go Anywhere From Here" video. Click on Schock, Stahl, Mittlestaedt to view the video clip.
Gene Stegeman, Wolsey, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1989
M. S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1991
Current Position: Agriculture Program Specialist, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Pierre, SD
Gene is currently working for the SD Department of Agriculture as an Agriculture Program Specialist. Responsibilities include supervising South Dakota's dairy inspectors. In addition, he provides training for the state's dairy inspectors and conducts inspections of dairy plants and dairy farms. Other responsibilities include supervising the egg inspection program for South Dakota. Previously, he was employed by SDSU as the Dairy Research and Training Unit Manager/Instructor, herdsman for Lee-Meadows Dairy, and Quality Assurance Manager for a dairy and food ingredient drying plant.
Julie (Halbersma) Stellpflug, White, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1984
Current Position: Director of Technical Services, Crystal Farms, Dousman, WI.
Julie started her career after college as a Quality Specialist for Dairyland Food Labs. A short time later she was made Quality Supervisor. 6 ½ years later she accepted a Quality Manager position with Crystal Farms for their new Cut & Wrap facility in Lake Mills WI. In 1997 Julie was promoted to Director of Technical Services making her responsible for the quality and food safety of all products sold by Crystal Farms, including co-packed products. In responsibilities include performance of ongoing audits at all co-packer facilities, grading and comparing all Crystal Farms products on a regular basis, she participates in new product development, performs technical product training for sales and customers, reviews all product labels for compliance with the CFR, and stays active with events in the cheese industry. Julie has been an official judge for the Wisconsin State Fair Governor's Sweepstake Cheese contest and for the United States Championship contest.
Dan Stockwell, Arlington, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1970
Current position: Quality & Food Safety Director, Quality Chekd Dairies, Inc., Naperville, IL
Dan is Quality and Food Safety Director for Quality Chekd Dairies, Inc., Naperville, IL. Quality Chekd is a cooperative of dairy processing companies across the U.S and Latin America. He joined Quality Chekd in 1991 after two years with Ecolab as a dedicated Quality Management Consultant for the Quality Chekd companies. Dan's primary focus is assisting member dairies in developing food safety systems (HACCP), conducting plant audits, providing technical training for plant management and employees, and assisting with plant operational improvements. Prior to Ecolab and Quality Chekd, Dan spent 20 years with Kraft Foods in various quality and production management roles in several Kraft plants, and several years in various corporate positions at Kraft headquarters in the Chicago area. During his college years, Dan was on the dairy products judging team which won the regional and national contest in 1968.
David A. Thompson, Milbank, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1964
Current position: Retired Senior Vice President for Abbot Labs and President Diagnostics Division worldwide.
David was born and raised on a dairy farm in Milbank and worked summers at Valley Queen Cheese Factory while attending school. He started at the SDS College in 1960 and was fortunate to be involved with many activities including Ag House Society, Scabbard & Blade, Little I Staff, Dairy Club, Blue Key, Dairy Products judging and Board of Control. He started working in the SDSU dairy plant in 1960 (in the old building) and was student manager in 1963/64 when the plant moved to the new Dairy-Microbiology building. He shared an office with Shirley Seas and in his senior year Abbott Labs visited the campus to look for someone to join their new plant in Mitchell that manufactured Similac infant formula. David started working for Ross/Abbott one day a week during his last Quarter and stayed with them his entire career. He moved 6 times and held 18 different positions in the company. The main ones were: 1964-1970 - Various positions in Manufacturing and Engineering Ross Division; 1971-1973 - Plant Manager Ross Laboratories, Sturgis, Michigan - managed 350 people making both liquid and powered Similac; 1974-1981 - Vice President Operations Ross Division of Abbott responsible for engineering, manufacturing, distribution, order entry, purchasing and human resource. During this period he negotiated and built a powdered Similac plant in Russia and in Ireland; 1981-1982- Moved to Chicago to assume a corporate role as Vice President of Materials Management responsible for order entry, distribution, and purchasing for 5 divisions of Abbott. Developed and operated a private trucking fleet; 1982-1983 - Vice President Human Resources, Abbott, worldwide - responsibility for the Human Resources Division, including pension plan development, compensation, training, incentive plans, stock option plans and other normal HR functions for approx 33,0000 employees; 1983-1995 - Senior Vice President Abbott and President Diagnostic Division worldwide full functional responsibility for the Diagnostic business in over 100 counties, 11,000 people and $2.4 billion in sales. The company developed over 100 new products a year with a R&D department of 2500 scientist investing $400 million in new product development per year. They were the first to develop a HIV test to be used in blood banks around the world as well as many other instruments and test. This gave the company the opportunity to be the worldwide market leader in diagnostic's almost twice the size of the next largest competitor. Sales and profit grew at over 20% compounded for this 11 year period. After retirement David served on a number of Boards: Clair Abbott Foundation, Abbott Laboratories Employee Credit Union, Good Shepard Hospital, LifeCell, Hycor, NABI, Molecular Geriatrics Corp., Frazier Venture Capital, HIMA, St. Jude Medical, Fivioptics, Neopath, Chromavision and Third Wave.
Larry Tidemann, Baltic, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1970
M.S. Dairy Production, 1973
Current Position: Retired SD Senator, District 7. Formerly Associate Dean and Director of the SD Cooperative Extension Service.
Larry began his career with the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service (SDCES) in 1972, working as an agricultural agent in Canton. In 1983, he became program leader for Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Field Operations. He was named director of SDCES in 1998.
Larry served as president of SDCEA, director for County Agents Association, and chairman of North Central ANR program leaders. He also served as chair of the North Central Extension Directors. He is a member Epsilon Sigma Phi and Gamma Sigma Delta. He has received the F.O. Butler Extension Award of SDSU.
Larry received more than $350,000 in grants for pesticide applicator training from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture from 1988-1998, and he has helped secure more than $1 million in grants for various Cooperative Extension Service projects. He authored and implemented the Vision for the 21st Century for the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service.
Larry retired in January 2004 from his position as director of the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service. He is continuing his public service function after retirement through the South Dakota Legislature. He was elected SD Legislator, District 7 during the 2004 elections and as Senator during the 2010 elections. He has served on several committees in the South Dakota Legislature include leadership roles in the Appropriations Committee. In 2018 Larry was named SDSU Distinguished Alumnus and in 2019 he was granted a honorary doctorate degree in public service by SDSU in recognition of his outstanding work and contributions to public service.
Bruce Unterbrunner, Artesian, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1981
Current position: Vice President Human Resources - Operations. Saputo, Lena, WI.
Bruce started his career working for Foremost McKesson in California as a Production Supervisor. Foremost McKesson was purchased by Knudsen in 1986 through a leveraged buyout that quickly resulted in financial troubles. As a result, all of the Knudsen plants were up for sale. During this time, Leprino Foods purchased the Knudsen Lemoore, CA plant where Bruce was the Plant Superintendent. He worked for Leprino for a short time before going to the Kraft-Knudsen plant in Visalia, CA as the Production Manager. He remained in that role for 7 years. In 1995, Bruce began working for Stella Foods as the Plant Manager of the Fond du Lac, WI plant. Saputo purchased Stella Foods in 1997. In 1998, Bruce became Regional VP Operations with multiple plant responsibilities. Bruce was appointed Vice President Human Resources – Operations in June 2008 where he continues to work for Saputo Cheese.
Scott Unterbrunner, Carthage, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2000
Current Position: Manager raw colostrums department. Sterling Technology, Brookings, SD
After graduation Scott was employed at Davisco Foods. He spent the first year at Davisco Foods training in each department, including the lab. He then spent about one year as a co-supervisor in the Custom Dryer Department. From there he acted as a co-supervisor in the Lactose Department for about five months. On January 2, 2003, he became the sole manager of the Lactose Department. In October 2004 he moved to Sterling Technology in Brookings where he is in charge of raw colostrum. Sterling Technology manufactures colostrum-based products and exports them world-wide.
Jamison Vanden Einde, Grand Rapids, MN
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1999
Current Position: Technical Business Manager. Hydrite Chemical, Brookfield, WI
After graduation from SDSU, Jamison started as a management trainee for Davisco Foods International (now Agropur) in Lake Norden, SD. He progressed through a variety of production and quality positions in both whey processing and custom spray drying. In early 2000, Jamison relocated to Le Sueur, MN and managed a startup of a new refined edible lactose plant at Le Sueur Cheese, where he ultimately became a Department Manager. After 10 years, he spent 2.5 years working in Operations for Seneca Foods before accepting a position with Hydrite Chemical Co. in Technical Applications. In that capacity, Jamison led and supported Food Group activities, specific to bringing the full scientific capability of the company to bear on the maintenance of existing business. This experience allowed him to progress through the company in many roles. He is now the Technical Business Manager, planning and executing Hydrite Chemical’s equipment, business and innovation processes, providing his coworkers and their customers with creative solutions.
Polly Vanderwal, Chandler, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 1995
Current Position: Director Business Process Transformation, Agropur, inc., Lake Norden, SD
After graduation, Polly began her career working for Land O' Lakes in their feed division. From 1995-1998, she sold predominately dairy feeds as a Livestock Production Specialist (LPS) from eastern South Dakota to southwestern Minnesota. In June of 1998, she began working for SDSU as the Dairy Plant Superintendent. In In June 1999 Polly joined Land O' Lakes at Volga, SD as Quality Control Supervisor. This position encompassed all quality programs including incoming, in-process and finished product quality (Italian cheeses). With the closing of the Volga plant, Davisco in Lake Norden, SD became Polly's next home as their Quality Assurance Manager. This facility has expanded multiple times and includes an Italian cheese plant and is now an Agropur facility. Polly is the daughter of Frank and Arlene Post of Chandler, Minnesota. She is married to Dean Vander Wal and they live in rural Bruce, SD. Dean is a beef/crop farmer. They have two children, Carter 5 and Lindsey 1.
Joseph W. Van Treeck, Rapid City, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1980
Current position: Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Glacier Products, LLC, Anchorage, Alaska
Alaska Glacier Products, LLC is Alaska's number one small package bottler of Alaskan glacier sourced water from the Eklutna Glacier. Possessing its own trademarked private labels - Alaska Glacier, Alaska Glacier Cap and Alaska Glacier Blend the company also offers co-packaging services, PET bottle manufacturing and sales, and custom small quantity promotional bottled waters. Markets served include Continental US, Europe and Asia.
In addition Joe owns JVT Consulting, a management consultancy providing organizational development, strategic planning, budget creation, procurement, supply chain and logistics solutions primarily for small and start up food and beverage clientele. Previously, Van Treeck served as General Manager, Anchorage Operations for Advanced Supply Chain International. The company provides third party supply chain, logistics, procurement and maintenance optimization solutions to clients in asset-intensive industries, predominantly the natural resource extractive industries (petroleum and mining) working in Alaska.
Joe had a 22 year career with Matanuska Maid Dairy, a fluid milk, juice and cultured product processing operation located in Anchorage, Alaska. Serving first as Plant Manager and then more than 20 years as President/CEO and General Manager, he became the Company's longest tenured senior executive. The 71 year old company ceased operation in late 2007.
After obtaining his Dairy Science degree in 1980, Joe was employed by Milnot Corporation (Seneca, Missouri plant) producing canned-evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and butter. He held multiple positions beginning as laboratory manager with successive promotions to assistant plant superintendent, and plant superintendent.
Besides a BS degree in Agriculture-Dairy Manufacturing, from South Dakota State University, Van Treeck also holds an MS degree in Business-Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management from the University of Alaska at Anchorage.
Professionally, Van Treeck was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to three terms on National Milk Processor Education Program Board, inducted as an honorary member of Sigma Beta Delta, International Honor Society by Alaska Pacific University, selected as Honorary Commander, 3rd Wing-Operations Group, Elmendorf AFB Alaska and has served on several other national and local boards in various capacities including: Milk Industry Foundation, SECO & Golden 100 Purchasing Cooperative, Alaska Zoo Foundation, The Foundation of the ARC of Anchorage, Continuing Education Employment Center, and Alaska Association of Manufacturer's.
While at SDSU Joe was a student foreman in the dairy plant and member of the Dairy Club. He was a contestant for the 1980 SDSU Dairy Products Judging Team and was All Products Champion at the Chicago Regional Competition where the Team took top honors. The Team placed second at the National Competition held in Portland, OR that year. Later, he served for six years as a milk judge for the National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation contest.
Paul Windschitl, Stewart, MN
B.S. Dairy Production, 1981
M.S. Dairy Production, 1983
Current position: Dairy Nutritionist, Hubbard Feeds, Mankato, MN.
After graduating from SDSU, Paul attended the University of Minnesota and earned a PhD in Animal Science. He spent the next 4 years at the University of Alaska – Palmer Research Center. This position included dairy cattle nutrition research, dairy extension work, and teaching basic animal nutrition classes. In 1992, Paul accepted a position with Harvest States Cooperatives (GTA Feeds) and moved to Sioux Falls, SD. Job duties included dairy technical services, product development, and direct nutrition/management consulting with dairy producers. Areas covered included the upper Midwest, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. After 8 years with HSC, he joined Hubbard Feeds as a Dairy Nutritionist, working mostly with direct dairy accounts providing nutritional and management consulting services, as well as tech services for sales staff.
Phil Wirth, Hurley, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1989
Current position: Vice President, Genex Farm Systems/ Cooperative Resources Int. Shawano WI.
Immediately after graduation Phil joined the staff of DeLaval Inc. in their US headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. After several months of training he was relocated to the western US to serve for four years as a District Sales Manager. During that time he covered a territory encompassing Washington, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Montana. Responsibilities were for sales and dealer development for all of DeLaval's product line within the territory. A desire to reduce travel brought him back to Kansas City where for the next four years he served as US Product/Marketing manager for core milking equipment, then, manure handling equipment. When DeLaval chose to exit the manure handling equipment market he returned to South Dakota to manage a company owned retail dairy farm equipment store. This store was then purchased by Genex Cooperative. He remained as manager and capital salesperson for this location until being promoted in September 2004 as overall manager of the Genex Farm Systems milking equipment division. In January 2007 Phil was promoted to Vice President. This dealership services dairy farmers with new and used equipment, scheduled and emergency service and route supplies across South Dakota, Central and Western Minnesota and Northwest Iowa. While at SDSU he was a member of Dairy Club and was on the Dairy Cattle Judging team for two years.
Matt Wolkow, De Smet, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1993
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1995
Current Position: Vice President of Research and Development, Wells Dairy. Le Mars, IA
Matt was Director of Research and Development at Wells Dairy, Inc., since 2001 and in 2006 was promoted to Vice President. Prior to that, he was the Senior Food Technologist at Wells Dairy. Before joining Wells, he worked for Mid America Dairymen as a Scientist and became a Senior Scientist in Research and Development when Mid Am became part of DFA. He previously served as an Official Judge at the National Collegiate Dairy Products Judging Contest for Cheddar Cheese. Since joining Wells Dairy, he has served as an Official Judge for Ice Cream.
Mike Wolkow, De Smet, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1996
Current position: Division Manager, Associate Milk Producers Inc., (Sanborn, IA, Sibley, IA, Freeman, SD, Plainview, NE).
Mike has worked with AMPI since 2001, managing two different cheese factories and a NFDM plant. Managing plant operations, milk procurement, and member services have been his responsibilities since 2003. Prior to AMPI, he was a Quality Manager and Superintendent in two cheese plants owned by Dairy Farmers of America.
Nolan Wolkow, De Smet, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 2000
Current position: QA Supervisor, Wells' Dairy, Inc., Le Mars, IA
After graduation Nolan was employed in Winthrop, MN as a QA Supervisor for Dairy Farmers of America at their Butter oil and Powder plant. In fall of 2001 he moved back to Brookings to be the General Manager of Dairilean, Inc. After working on the M.O.O.M. project for almost two years he took a Production Supervisor position at Sterling Technologies in Brookings. After a year of processing colostrum he accepted a QA Supervisor position at the Wells' Dairy Inc South Ice Cream Plant in LeMars, IA.
Arnold (James) Wood, Brookings, SD
B.S. Dairy Production, 1955
Current position: Retired, Kraft Foods., Stockton, IL
Arnold (Jim) worked for Kraft Foods for 37 years and retired in 1992. He held a position as Dairy Farm Specialist for his entire career, being probably the only one to hold a position for an entire career. He was offered other positions within the company but decided that he was happy with this position. Responsibilities were mainly procuring and maintaining milk for the cheese plant. He was also responsible for public relations and advertising and wrote stories for the Kraftsman magazine. Since retiring he has been called back to cover for the field department when they are away at meetings.
Walt Wosje, Brookings, SD
B.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1962
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing and Ag Economics, 1967
Current Position: Chief Operating Officer, Cooperatives Working Together (National Milk Producers Federation). Washington D.C.
He has worked in dairy marketing and Cooperative management for 37 years. He was employed by Mid America Dairymen for 18 years and was the Chief Executive Officer of Michigan Milk Producers from 1984-2003. Throughout his career, he has worked to improve the income of dairy farmers. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Cooperatives Working Together (CWT). CWT is sponsored by dairy cooperatives throughout the U.S. with the goal of improving and stabilizing the economic situation for dairy farmers.
Jonathan Ydstie, Hillsboro, ND
M.S. Dairy Production, 1997
Current Position: Dairy Technical Specialist, Prince Agri Products, Inc., Milbank, SD.
Jonathan received his B.A. degree in Biology/Music from Concordia College, Moorehead, MN and B.S. degree in Animal Science from North Dakota State University (NDSU). Following graduation from SDSU Jonathan was the Herd Manager for 5-Star Dairy located in Milnor, N.D. for 6 ½ years. In the fall of 2003, he took a position with North Dakota State University as Dairy Consultant with the Dairy Diagnostic Program. Through this program, he became the interim Dairy Manager for Northwestern Dairy of Parshall, N.D. through September of 2004, at which time he took a position with the Midwest Dairy Institute as herd manager. In 2007 Jonathan joined Prince Agri Products as Dairy Technical Specialist. Jonathan and his family have continued to be big supporters of 4-H and community groups in every community they have resided in. They are active in church youth activities, breed associations, and other professional dairy groups.
Jeng-Jung Yee, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
M.S. Dairy Manufacturing, 1976
Current position: Consultant, Schreiber Foods, Green Bay, WI.
JJ Received his BS degree from the National University in Taiwan before joining SDSU. After receiving his MS degree in Dairy manufacturing at SDSU he went on for graduate study at Cornell University majoring in Dairy Chemistry. He received his Ph.D degree from Cornell in 1981. He started his professional work/career with Schreiber Foods in 1981 and has since worked as Research Scientist in New Product/Process Development at Schreiber. In his career with Schreiber, he has been involved in membrane technology development, protein functionality and economics model development for natural and processed cheese. He retired in 2006 and serves as a consultant to Schreiber domestic and Schreiber International for its businesses.