107th Annual Meeting: MMPA delegates gather to conduct essential business

The world as we know it has changed dramatically in the last few years. There’s an increased reliance on technology from the farm level to the plants, innovation in the dairy sector is responding to a new generation of consumers, and consolidation in the industry is accelerating. MMPA delegates gathered in Novi, Michigan for the 107th Annual Meeting at Suburban Collection Showplace Center on March 23, 2023, to conduct business that will propel the cooperative into the future.

During the meeting, MMPA delegates and guests learned how in 2022, the acquisition of Superior Dairy grew MMPA’s footprint and expanded their presence in the Ohio market. This growth was credited to MMPA members and employees linking arms and working together for the betterment of all cooperative stakeholders.

Thanks to the business conducted by MMPA delegates during the Annual Meeting, MMPA has never been more ready for the future. Delegates took action to help the cooperative change with the world around us, grow strategically to provide value for members and customers, and reaffirm their commitment to doing what they do best – producing quality milk and dairy products for the enjoyment of everyone.

Milestone Members

During the Annual Meeting, MMPA members reaching 35 and 50 years of membership were recognized.

35- Year Members

Roger A Burgess of Mid-Sanilac Local, District 8
Wayne R Burgess of Mid-Sanilac Local, District 8
Robert L Cnossen of Evart Local, District 5
Norman Hammond of Barry-Eaton Local, District 2
Gerald D Hoolsema of Chippewa County Local, District 4
Debra K Krafft of Frankenmuth Local, District 7
Charles N Nelkie of Sunrise Local, District 7
Thomas C Schultz of Mid-Sanilac Local, District 8
Carl P Stakenas of West Michigan Local, District 3
William J Stakenas of West Michigan Local, District 3
Gary T Thelen of Mid-Michigan Local, District 6
Mary M Wagner of Blossomland Local, District 2
Larry Werth of Hillman Local, District 4
Fred Werth of Hillman Local, District 4
Toby E Yoder of Constantine Local, District 2

50-Year Members

Gerald C Cottle of Chippewa County Local, District 4
Gary L Protzman of Huron Local, District 8
Michael W Zagata of Huron Local, District 8
Lorene J Zagata of Huron Local, District 8

History was made during MMPA’s 107th Annual Meeting. For the first time in the association’s history, delegates gathered at the Suburban Collection Showplace Center in Novi, Michigan. During the meeting, MMPA delegates conducted regular business, along with laying the foundation for continued change and growth.

The members of the MMPA Membership Structure Task Force, initially formed during the 106th Annual Meeting, were recognized and their proposal to modernize MMPA’s governance structure was unanimously approved by the delegate body. These changes pave the way to better serve a changing membership, be nimble in response to an expanding geographic footprint and allow for an evolving milk marketing strategy.

The delegates also unanimously approved a new district map that facilitates future growth, while providing further opportunity in the new governance structure.

Also for the first time, MMPA delegates representing the newly formed Superior Local were in attendance. The local’s members reside in Ohio and are a result of MMPA’s acquisition of Superior Dairy in Canton, Ohio last year. MMPA’s growth outside of Michigan was also solidified with the election of Kurt Steiner, an Ohio member, to a three-year term as an at-large director on the MMPA board of directors.

In addition to Steiner, Kris Wardin was re-elected as an at-large member during the meeting to serve a three-year term on the board of directors. During district meetings in February, Brian DeMann was elected to serve a three-year term as the District 2 director. DeMann replaces Tim Hood who served on the board for 18 years. Also re-elected at district meetings were Bill Stakenas, District 3, and Tony Jandernoa, District 6. MMPA board members will be reassigned to new districts following delegate approval of the new district map.

Following the Annual Meeting, the MMPA board of directors met for a reorganizational meeting. The following officers were re-elected: Doug Chapin, Board Chairman; Tony Jandernoa, Board Vice Chairman; Eric Frahm, Treasurer; Joe Diglio, President & CEO; Sheila Burkhardt, Board Secretary; Tom Downey , Assistant Treasurer; Greg Soehnlen, Chief Operations and Business Development Officer.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »