Steve Cooper grew up in Southern California where he was first exposed to the dairy business through high school friends that lived on dairy farms where he first started milking cows. He graduated from Mt. San Antonio Junior college with an A.S. degree in dairy science. While at Mt. SAC he was the student herdsman of the school dairy and ran the colleges processing facility. Upon graduation he finished his education at California State University – Fresno with a degree in dairy technology. While attending college he worked for California Milk Producers, Dairyman’s Cooperative Creamery Association, and Foremost Dairies. He was also the Plant Manager of the colleges processing facility that processed milk from the college’s dairy herd and supplied the food services on campus. Upon graduation he started his career with Sonoma Cheese Factory as assistant plant manager for a period of 3 years. He then went to work for California Milk Producers which after merging with two other cooperatives became California Dairies Inc. the second largest milk marketing cooperative in the U.S. His career there spanned twenty two years starting as a plant supervisor and lastly as Vice President of Operations over three of the Cooperatives processing facilities. During his career at CDI Steve was responsible for plant operations, marketing and logistics as well as design and commissioning of numerous dryers, evaporators, ultrafiltration and butter operations.
In 2009 Steve became the COO/ General Manager of Continental Dairy Facilities LLC a wholly owned subsidiary of Select Milk Producers Inc., where he was involved in the business development and design of a new powder processing plant in Coopersville Michigan which started operations in March 2012. The plant produces nonfat dry milk, condensed milk, cream, butter and buttermilk powder.
The Coopersville facility has received several awards during that time, to name a few it was named Michigan’s Ag Exporter of the year in 2104, Dairy Foods Magazine Top 100 companies in 2015 – 2018.
Steve is currently Select Milk Producers, President and General Manager of Dairy Manufacturing Operations responsible for the Michigan Continental Dairy Facilities plant and the Texas Continental Dairy Facilities Southwest plant starting up in 2019. Steve also serves as Chair for the IDFA Foundation.