× David Ahlem
David Ahlem
Chief Executive Officer & President
Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.


David Ahlem, is the Chief Executive Officer and President for Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. a leading manufacturer of cheese and ingredients serving customers in more than 50 countries. He deepened his passion for the business and developed broad experience in previous roles as Chief Operating Officer, Vice President & General Manager, Cheese Operations and Vice President for Milk Procurement.

Ahlem joined Hilmar Cheese Company in 2004. In 2006, as Site Manager of the Texas plant, he led the company’s green field plant start-up and was instrumental in the development of the milk supply for the new facility. His expertise includes dairy policy, strategic management, and customer relations. Prior to working for Hilmar Cheese Company, he was a Business Manager for Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Ahlem is a proactive member of the dairy industry. He currently serves as Chair of the National Cheese Institute, and is a board member of the International Dairy Foods Association, the Innovation Center for US Dairy and the Dairy Institute of California. Ahlem also actively participates in several other industry-related groups.

Ahlem began his involvement in the dairy industry on his family’s dairy farm in Hilmar, California. He attended Westmont College, earning a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.B.A from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

× Louie P. Gentine
Louie P. Gentine
Chief Executive Officer
Sargento Foods Inc.


Louie Gentine is Chief Executive Officer, Sargento Foods.

As a third-generation family owner, Louie has worked at the cheese company in many capacities - from washing trucks in high school to working on the production lines, in accounts receivable and retail sales during college.

Following family succession rules, Louie worked outside of the company as a commercial lender at American National Bank in Chicago for three years following his graduation from the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Finance. He completed his MBA at Loyola and returned to Sargento, gaining additional experience with management roles in marketing, production and procurement.

Following several promotions, Louie assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer in October 2013.

Louie is married to Paula. They have four children and live in Plymouth, Wisconsin.

× Terry Brockman
Terry Brockman
President & COO, U.S. Division
Saputo Cheese USA Inc.


Terry Brockman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1992 with a B.A. in Public Administration and Political Science. He joined Saputo in 1997 as Human Resources Manager. In 1999, he became Regional Human Resources Manager, and in 2000 was named Director, Human Resources Operations. Mr. Brockman was appointed Vice President, Human Resources, Cheese Division (USA) in 2001. Since April 2006, he serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Cheese Division (USA).

× Peter Cotter
Peter Cotter
General Manager, Cheese & Dairy
The Kraft Heinz Company


Peter Cotter is the General Manager of the U.S. Cheese & Dairy business for The Kraft Heinz Company. He manages the company’s entire portfolio of Natural & Snacking Cheeses, Cultured Cheese, Cream Cheese, Sandwich Cheese and Ready To Eat Desserts.

Originally from Warwick, RI, Peter joined Kraft in 2007 and has held marketing and strategic leadership roles in the Biscuits, Snack Nuts, Meats, and Refrigerated Desserts categories. In 2016, Peter became General Manager of the highly successful Cream Cheese and Cultured Dairy business at Kraft Heinz. Prior to joining Kraft Heinz, he worked as an actuarial consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and leading innovation research at Nielsen BASES. He has a BS from Providence College in Mathematics & Computer Science and an MBA from Boston College in Marketing & Finance.

Peter currently lives in Deerfield, IL with his wife and 5 children.

× Douglas Glade
Douglas Glade
Executive Vice President, DFA
President, Commercial
Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.


Doug joined DFA in 2012. In his current role as executive vice president of DFA and president of commercial, he is responsible for DFA’s commercial businesses, which include dairy ingredients, DairiConcepts®, and beverage and dairy foods. Additionally, Doug oversees the quality, operations and supply chain functions. Prior to his time with DFA, Doug served in a variety of executive roles for companies such as Nestlé, Novartis, Solo Cup Company and Monsanto.

× Jerry D. Kaminski
Jerry D. Kaminski
Chief Operating Officer
Land O'Lakes, Inc.


Jerry serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Land O’Lakes, Inc. In this role, Jerry leads efforts across the organization to develop, implement and monitor growth strategies and platforms consistent with the collective vision for Land O’Lakes. In addition to continuing to have oversight for the international businesses in South Africa, Kenya, China and Canada, Jerry also has overall responsibility for SUSTAIN, Crop Nutrients, International Development, Fuel for Growth, Ecommerce and Corporate Strategy.

Jerry comes to the COO role after serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of International. Prior to that, he was the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the total Dairy Foods Business/Retail and foodservice divisions, in addition to, Global Dairy Ingredients. Jerry joined Land O'Lakes in 2007. Before joining Land O’Lakes, he served as a vice president and general manager at General Mills, where he held various leadership positions in the retail and business-to-business segments. He also served as president and chief operating officer at Sparboe Foods. Jerry holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

× Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy
President
Brewster Cheese Company


Tom Murphy is President of the Brewster Cheese Company. Tom joined Brewster Cheese in 2007 and was promoted to President in 2013. Tom started in the dairy industry with Kraft Foods in 1998 after serving in the Marine Corps as an intelligence officer.

Tom received both his BS and MBA from Canisius College.

Tom, his wife Angie and three daughters reside in North Lawrence, OH.

× Doug Simon
Doug Simon
President
Agropur US Operations


Doug Simon grew up in the dairy industry as he was the third generation of a family cheese business. Currently he is President of Agropur’s US Operations. He has lead the US Operations for Agropur since his family’s business was sold to Agropur in 2008. Prior to that he held various roles within the family business.

He graduated from Marquette University in 1991 with a B.S. in business with a focus on accounting. He passed his CPA exam and worked in public accounting before coming back into the family business in 1994. At that time he was the controller and eventually became Vice President of Finance and ultimately President. In 1998, the family business merged with Weyauwega Milk Products and in 2000 acquired Krohn Dairy Products. The company changed names to Trega Foods, and he was the President of the combined company until it was sold in 2008.

He has been involved in various industry boards including IDFA, ADPI and WCMA. He was President of WCMA for two years during his eight-year involvement with the board.

× Brian Baker
Brian Baker
President
Baker Cheese, Inc.


President/CEO of Baker Cheese. Baker Cheese is a 4th generation family owned cheese manufacturer located in St. Cloud, WI. The company has been making cheese for over 100 years at its current location. Brian has been active in Wisconsin state dairy organizations for many years and was previously a member of the National Cheese Institute board of directors.

× Rob Byrne
Rob Byrne
Vice President, Industry & Regulatory Affairs
Schreiber Foods, Inc.


Dr. Rob Byrne is responsible for regulatory compliance and serves as the liaison to industry groups for Schreiber Foods, Inc. In this position, Rob has the responsibility for providing strategic and operational regulatory guidance and expertise to the company, representing the organization’s position on legislation and regulatory affairs to elected representatives, their staffs as well as officials and staffs in other regulatory, trade, industry or professional organizations at the International, Federal, State and Local levels.

Prior to joining Schreiber Foods in 2009, Rob worked for the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association.

Byrne holds a Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology, a Master of Science in Food Science and Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with Minor in Chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Rob represents Schreiber Foods on the Boards of the National Cheese Institute, the WI Dairy Products Association, the Greater Green Bay Chamber, and the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay.

Rob and his wife Kathy live in Green Bay, WI with their 3 children. Outside of work, they enjoy attending kid’s sporting events and any outdoor activity.

Schreiber Foods is a global, employee-owned business headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. With annual sales of more than $5 billion, it is one of the largest dairy companies in the world. Schreiber sells its products – which include cream cheese, natural cheese, process cheese and yogurt – to leading retailers, restaurants, distributors and food manufacturers around the globe. Schreiber has more than 7,000 employees, with manufacturing and distribution facilities in the United States, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Mexico, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.

Schreiber’s vision is to be the best customer-brand dairy company in the world. The company strives to create sustainable value for its customers as a modern, global partner delivering exceptional quality, service, innovation and insight – all while enriching lives around the globe.

× Wilf Costello
Wilf Costello
Chief Commercial Officer - Cheese
Glanbia Nutritionals


Wilf is the Chief Commercial Officer – Glanbia Nutritionals, a division of global nutrition powerhouse Glanbia, plc. Where our purpose is to “deliver better nutrition for every step of life’s journey”. Glanbia Nutritionals is the world’s largest producer of American style cheese and a leader in Nutritional solutions for categories ranging from Sports nutrition to infant formula.

He started with Glanbia January 1,2011, and is based in Twin Falls Idaho. Prior to joining Glanbia, he worked seventeen years with Griffith Laboratories. While employed at Griffith, he held the following positions:

  1. Regional Vice President of Sales/USA
  2. Vice President Global Accounts
  3. Sr. Vice President of Sales & Marketing/Canada

Wilf started his career with Unilever and spent over eight years in various sales, sales management and marketing roles. During this time he was also chaired the Tea Council of Canada for a term.

Wilf is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (aka Western University) located in Ontario, Canada.

Wilf is married to Michele and they have three children.

× Kim S. Parks
Kim S. Parks
Vice President and General Manager, Dairy Food Ingredients
Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.


Kim Parks joined Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) in January 2005. In her current role as Vice President and General Manager of Dairy Food Ingredients, Kim leads the development and execution of the Dairy Food Ingredients strategy and has accountability for the overall business and P&L. Kim has previously served as Vice President, DFA Risk Management, as well as roles within dairy commodity purchasing, risk management, key account management and dispatch throughout her tenure at DFA. Kim grew up in the dairy industry. Her family operates a 200 cow dairy operation and is a member of DFA. She attended Kansas State University, graduating with a degree in Agribusiness. Prior to DFA, Kim worked as a risk management consultant for INTL FCStone.

× Doug Wilke
Doug Wilke
CEO
Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc.


Doug Wilke is the CEO of Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc., a privately owned dairy processing company headquartered in Milbank, South Dakota, employing 250 people. He has served in this role since January 2, 2017. Prior to joining Valley Queen, Doug worked for Foremost Farms USA for over 30 years in various management and leadership roles, most recently serving as the Senior Vice President of Dairy Ingredients and Product Technology. Doug currently serves on the board of the American Dairy Products Institute and the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

× Brian Rice
Brian Rice
Principal
Rice Dairy LLC


Brian Rice is the founder and Co-Owner of Rice Dairy LLC, a dairy brokerage firm in Chicago, IL. He started his career as an order clerk for First American Corp. and a trader for the Iowa Grain Company before founding Rice Dairy in 2002. Seventeen years later, Rice Dairy is now the leading brokerage firm in the dairy industry, offering consulting and brokerage services along with information products and educational resources. Rice is also the CEO of Vault Technologies, a dairy software business and the Co-Owner of Rice Dairy Risk Services LLC, an insurance agency for dairy. Outside of work, Brian and his wife Mindi keep busy raising their three daughters outside of Chicago.

× Troy Ammann
Troy Ammann
Vice President, Cheese Sales
Agropur U.S. Operations


Troy Ammann graduated from South Dakota State University in 1990 with a B.S. in Dairy Manufacturing. Following college he held various roles in Operations and Technical Services in the cheese industry. In 2000, he joined Davisco Foods International as the Director of Operations and held that position until 2014 when they were acquired by Agropur inc. Since joining Agropur’s US Operations, he has served as Vice President of Cheese Sales.

× Jeff Gentine
Jeff Gentine
President & CEO
Masters Gallery Foods, Incorporated


Jeff was born and raised in Plymouth, Wisconsin where the Gentine family is firmly established in the cheese industry. His grandfather, Leonard Gentine, Sr., founded Sargento Foods in 1953. His father, Leonard “Butch” Gentine, Jr., following a successful career at Sargento, founded what became Masters Gallery Foods in 1974.

In 1993 Jeff graduated from Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He began his career as a private label buyer for grocery wholesaler Richfood, Inc. located in Richmond, Virginia.

Jeff joined the family business in the fall of 1996 as a Regional Sales Manager. In addition to sales, he has held multiple positions over the years in both procurement and manufacturing operations. He most recently served as the company’s Executive Vice President for over 10 years before assuming the President & CEO position in January 2017.

× Jeff Kent
Jeff Kent
Senior Vice President-Cheese & Butter
Foremost Farms USA


Jeff Kent is Foremost Farms USA’s Senior Vice President - Cheese and Butter and is responsible for the sales and marketing of the company’s 600 million pounds of American- and Italian-style cheeses at its seven cheese plants, as well as 60 million pounds of butter. He was promoted to this position in July 2018. Prior, he was the senior director of cheese sales and marketing. He joined Foremost Farms in April 2010.

Kent came to Foremost Farms from Glanbia, Twin Falls, Idaho, where he spent five years as director of cheese sales and marketing. Prior to Glanbia, he was vice president of sales and marketing at Joseph Gallo Farms Cheese Company for 15 years.

Kent received his marketing degree from California State University, Fullerton. He currently serves on the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association board of directors. Jeff and his wife, Mary, live in Baraboo and have four adult children (two sons serving their country in active duty) and three grandchildren.

Foremost Farms USA, headquartered in Baraboo, WI, is a farmer-owned milk processing and marketing cooperative with annual sales of $1.5 billion. The nation’s eighth-largest cooperative and number 28 in annual sales among the Top 100 U.S. dairy processors, Foremost Farms is a leading manufacturer and marketer of cheese, specialty whey ingredients, butter and bulk fluid milk to customers around the world.

× Chadwick Baker
Chadwick Baker
President
Crystal Farms


Chadwick (Chad) Baker, is a native Minnesotan and President of Crystal Farms Dairy Company, a leading manufacturer and marketer of branded cheese and other dairy products. Chad has spent his entire career in the protein industry (Pork, Poultry & Beef). First, in the Pork industry, as a field sales manager at Hormel Foods and 18 years at Smithfield Foods in Smithfield, Virginia where he advanced to the position of Senior Vice President of Retail, Foodservice and Specialty Brands. From there Chad entered the Poultry industry, where he had the opportunity to lead the $1.7B Prepared Foods Division at Pilgrim’s Pride / JBS in Greeley, Colorado. Most recently Chad was the Group Vice President / General Manager of the $700m Consumer Brands Group at Michael Foods, a Division of Post Holdings Inc where he stood up the Crystal Farms Dairy Company as a stand-alone business.

Chad received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN and his MBA from the College of William & Mary, Mason School of Business in Williamsburg, Virginia. Chad, his wife Kirsten and their three daughters reside in Edina, Minnesota.

× Chris Hoeger
Chris Hoeger
President
Prairie Farms Cheese Division


A graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.B.A. degree, Mr. Hoeger joined the former Swiss Valley Farms in 2001. In 2004, he became Director of Sales and a part of the co-op’s Executive Management Team. In 2008, he became VP of Procurement and Member Relations. Mr. Hoeger led the company through a merger with Prairie Farms Dairy in 2017 and now serves as the president of Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. Cheese Division. He has 18 years of dairy industry experience in sales, procurement and executive leadership.

× Sue M. Taylor
Sue M. Taylor
Vice President - Dairy Economics & Policy
Leprino Foods Company


Sue Taylor is the Vice President of Dairy Economics and Policy for Leprino Foods Company, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Leprino operates nine manufacturing plants in the United States and has joint ventures in the UK and in Brazil. Sue’s responsibilities at Leprino include leading the company’s economic, legislative and regulatory dairy policy efforts. She also managed the company’s milk procurement function for twenty years. Prior to joining the company, Sue was a principal in a dairy economics consulting business and held various positions related to milk procurement, dairy economics, and agricultural lending. Sue holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Professional Studies degrees from Cornell University.

× Sue M. Taylor
Kurt Epprecht
Vice President, Cheese Quality and Dairy Policy
Great Lakes Cheese Co., Inc.


Kurt Epprecht has worked at Great Lakes Cheese for more than thirty years. He has held roles of increasing responsibility in sales, production, and procurement. He is a second-generation owner and currently holds the position of Vice President of Cheese Quality and Dairy Policy. Kurt also serves on the Great Lakes Cheese Board and Cheese Importers Association of America Board.

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IDFA Cheese Board
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IDFA Cheese Board
The board members are tasked with providing strategic vision, policy direction and leadership on segment-specific issues. The board will conduct business in coordination with the IDFA Executive Council, through the chair and vice chair.

Officers
Louie P. Gentine, II
Chair
Louie P. Gentine, II
Chief Executive Officer, Sargento Foods Inc.

As a third-generation family owner, Louie has worked at the cheese company in many capacities - from washing trucks in high school to working on the production lines, in accounts receivable and retail sales during college...    MORE
Doug Simon
Vice Chair
Doug Simon
President, Agropur US Operations

Doug Simon grew up in the dairy industry as he was the third generation of a family cheese business. Currently he is President of Agropur’s US Operations. ...    MORE

Directors
Troy Ammann
Troy Ammann
Vice President, Cheese Sales, Agropur U.S. Operations

Troy Ammann graduated from South Dakota State University in 1990 with a B.S. in Dairy Manufacturing. Following college he held various roles in Operations and Technical Services in the...    MORE
Brian Baker
Brian Baker
President, Baker Cheese, Inc.

President/CEO of Baker Cheese. Baker Cheese is a 4th generation family owned cheese manufacturer located in St. Cloud, WI. The company has been...    MORE
Chadwick Baker
Chadwick Baker
President, Crystal Farms

Chadwick (Chad) Baker, is a native Minnesotan and President of Crystal Farms Dairy Company, a leading manufacturer and marketer of branded...    MORE
Michael L. Brown
Michael L. Brown
Director of Dairy Supply Chain, The Kroger Co.

Rob Byrne
Rob Byrne
Vice President, Industry & Regulatory Affairs, Schreiber Foods, Inc.

Dr. Rob Byrne is responsible for regulatory compliance and serves as the liaison to industry groups for Schreiber Foods, Inc. In this position, Rob has the responsibility for providing strategic and...    MORE
Wilf Costello
Wilf Costello
Chief Commercial Officer - Cheese, Glanbia Nutritionals

Wilf is the Chief Commercial Officer – Glanbia Nutritionals, a division of global nutrition powerhouse Glanbia, plc. Where our purpose...    MORE
Kurt Epprecht
Kurt Epprecht
Vice President, Cheese Quality and Dairy Policy, Great Lakes Cheese Co., Inc.

Kurt Epprecht has worked at Great Lakes Cheese for more than thirty years. He has held roles of increasing responsibility in sales, production...    MORE
Jeff Gentine
Jeff Gentine
President & CEO, Masters Gallery Foods, Incorporated

Jeff was born and raised in Plymouth, Wisconsin where the Gentine family is firmly established in the cheese industry. His grandfather, Leonard Gentine, Sr., founded Sargento Foods in 1953. His father, Leonard “Butch” Gentine, Jr., following...    MORE
Chris Hoeger
Chris Hoeger
President, Prairie Farms Cheese Division

A graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.B.A. degree, Mr. Hoeger joined the former Swiss Valley Farms in 2001. In 2004, he became Director of Sales and a...    MORE
Jeff Kent
Jeff Kent
Senior Vice President-Cheese & Butter, Foremost Farms USA

Jeff Kent is Foremost Farms USA’s Senior Vice President - Cheese and Butter and is responsible for the sales and marketing of the company’s 600 million pounds...    MORE
Kim S. Parks
Kim S. Parks
Vice President and General Manager, Dairy Food Ingredients, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Kim Parks joined Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) in January 2005. In her current role as Vice President and General Manager of Dairy Food Ingredients, Kim...    MORE
Jeff Saforek
Jeff Saforek
Chief Operating Officer, Agri-Mark, Inc./Cabot

Jim C. Sartori
Jim C. Sartori
CEO, Sartori Company

Doug Wilke
Doug Wilke
CEO, Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc.

Doug Wilke is the CEO of Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc., a privately owned dairy processing company headquartered in Milbank, South Dakota, employing...    MORE
Dan Zastoupil
Dan Zastoupil
President, Marathon Cheese Corporation

Executive Council Members
David Ahlem
David Ahlem
CEO and President, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.

David Ahlem, is the Chief Executive Officer and President for Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. a leading manufacturer of cheese and ingredients serving customers in more than 50 countries. He deepened his passion for the business and developed broad...    MORE
Terry Brockman
Terry Brockman
President & COO, U.S. Division, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.

Terry Brockman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1992 with a B.A. in Public Administration and Political Science. He joined Saputo in 1997 as Human Resources Manager. In 1999, he became Regional...    MORE
Peter Cotter
Peter Cotter
General Manager, Cheese & Dairy, The Kraft Heinz Company

Peter Cotter is the General Manager of the U.S. Cheese & Dairy business for The Kraft Heinz Company. He manages the company’s entire portfolio of Natural & Snacking Cheeses, Cultured Cheese, Cream Cheese, Sandwich Cheese...    MORE
Douglas Glade
Douglas Glade
Executive Vice President, DFA, President, Commercial, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Doug joined DFA in 2012. In his current role as executive vice president of DFA and president of commercial, he is responsible for DFA’s commercial businesses, which include dairy ingredients...    MORE
Jerry D. Kaminski
Jerry D. Kaminski
Chief Operating Officer, Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Jerry serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Land O’Lakes, Inc. In this role, Jerry leads efforts across the organization to develop, implement and monitor growth strategies and platforms consistent with the collective vision for Land...    MORE
Sue M. Taylor
Sue M. Taylor
Vice President - Dairy Economics & Policy, Leprino Foods Company

Sue Taylor is the Vice President of Dairy Economics and Policy for Leprino Foods Company, headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Leprino operates nine manufacturing...    MORE
Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy
President, Brewster Cheese Company

Tom Murphy is President of the Brewster Cheese Company. Tom joined Brewster Cheese in 2007 and was promoted to President in 2013. Tom started in the dairy industry with Kraft Foods in 1998 after serving in the Marine Corps as an intelligence...    MORE
Gold Business Partner Representatives
Betsy Erdelyi
Betsy Erdelyi
Managing Director, BMO Harris Bank

Brian Rice
Brian Rice
Principal, Rice Dairy LLC

Brian Rice is the founder and Co-Owner of Rice Dairy LLC, a dairy brokerage firm in Chicago, IL. He started his career as an order clerk for First American...    MORE