Jenny Martin, IDFA
(202) 220-3536

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2019
– The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) today announced the roster of the inaugural NextGen Leadership Class, a group of 13 up-and-coming professionals in the dairy industry who have been identified by their companies as tomorrow’s industry leaders.

“The future of the dairy industry is only as strong as the people who work for the industry today,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “That’s why I’m so proud of this inaugural NextGen Leadership Class—they represent some of the best and brightest young leaders making a difference for dairy today, and IDFA’s NextGen Program will prepare them to lead our industry into a new era.”

The NextGen Leadership Program was designed to support, guide and prepare mid-senior level dairy industry professionals who are ready to take the next step in their leadership journey. The year-long program will equip participants with the next level of skills required to conquer business demands today and in the future. Participants will build and expand relationships with their peers, hone leadership skills, and acquire advanced advocacy skills for the dairy industry. The program focuses on three core areas: advocacy, education, and networking.

This first class will meet three to four times over the course of the next year, with the first event held in Washington, D.C. this August.

The 2019 class includes:

  • Ebru Basaran-Shull, Director, Compliance and Government Affairs, Sargento Foods, Inc., Plymouth, Wisc.
  • Mark Benson, Vice President Supply Chain, Leprino Foods Company, Denver, Colo.
  • Brian Fletcher, Vice President, Commercial/Institutional Service and Sales, Rice Dairy, Chicago, Ill.
  • Lucas Fuess, Director of Dairy Market Intelligence, HigherGround Dairy, Chicago, Ill.
  • David Hakes, Regulatory Product Compliance Manager, Company Affairs, Schreiber Foods, Inc., Green Bay, Wisc.
  • Jeff Larson, General Manager, Dairy Operation, H-E-B, San Antonio, Texas
  • Megan Lesch, Food Safety and Compliance Manager, Shamrock Foods Company, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Erin Massey, Product Development Manager, Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., Kirkwood, Mo.
  • Matt McClelland, Director of Operations, Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., Earth City, Mo.
  • Caleb Robinson, Strategy Manager, Saputo Dairy Foods USA, Dallas, Texas
  • Michael Sachau, Market Development Director, TC Transcontinental, Ada, Mich.
  • Patrick Schallberger, CEO, Hollandia Dairy, San Marco, Calif.
  • Matt Wilkinson, General Manager, IT (CIO), Strategic Projects and Contract Management, Great Lakes Cheese, Hiram, Ohio

To prepare for the future and retain top talent, organizations need to provide learning and professional development programs for their next generation of leadership. IDFA is dedicated to providing resources to its members to ensure positive growth within their companies.

# # #

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.