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Dairy Execs Encourage Emerging Leaders to Plan for Jobs Ahead

Sep 18, 2015

A leadership gap is looming in the dairy industry, according to several long-serving industry executives who will be presenting at the upcoming NextGEN Symposium, October 6-8 at Cornell University. These executives will challenge attendees to be ready to take advantage of the shift in leadership to come in the industry and to prepare for other bright opportunities in their careers.

“We have a very real issue in our industry today with so many of our top managers and executives retiring over the next five years,” said Gary Vanic (pictured), former president and CEO of Great Lakes Cheese Co., framing the issue that the panel will be discussing.

“From marketing to quality assurance, from plant management to senior management, there is so much opportunity in dairy for people looking to grow,”  added Rich Stammer, senior executive vice president of Agri-Mark/Cabot and Cabot/McCadam.

Vanic and Stammer will join George Cornell, vice president of industry relations at the Pacific Cheese Company, in a candid panel discussion about the need to develop a new cadre of senior managers. Emily Meredith, vice president of animal care at the National Milk Producers Federation, and Tristan Zuber, dairy foods extension associate at Cornell University, will join the panel to offer the NextGEN perspective about hiring prospects.

“If producers and processors don’t cultivate this next generation of dairy leaders now, there will be huge void as current leaders face retirement in the coming years,” said Meredith.

The NextGEN Symposium is one of the many offerings for IDFA’s NextGEN Dairy Network, which was developed to engage the next generation of dairy leaders. The network helps professionals with fewer than 15 years of experience in the dairy industry connect with industry peers, enhance their careers and prepare for leadership opportunities within their companies and the industry.

There are still space available for the NextGEN Symposium; register now.

For more information about the NextGEN Network and the second annual NextGEN Symposium, contact Robin Cornelison, IDFA trade show director, at

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