Milk Minute: Bringing Superior Dairy’s Experiences to MMPA

By Brad Parks, MMPA Director of Business Development

Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) acquired Superior Dairy at the end of last year and together we have continued to transition plant operations while strengthening the synergies between the two organizations. As MMPA’s new Director of Business Development, and former president of Creative Edge Design Group, a subsidiary of LEL Operating Company along with Superior Dairy, I wanted to introduce myself and share more about MMPA’s new Canton, Ohio plant.

I grew up in and around the dairy industry. My grandfather worked as a dairy herdsman
in Sparta, Michigan, and my father, Delton Parks, had a long successful career in the dairy industry in Michigan. He grew Country Fresh from a single plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to over seven operations regionally.

Many of my family members worked at Country Fresh Dairy in various positions as we were needed, including myself. I started working for Country Fresh during my college years and then began my professional career as a plant controller in the Livonia, Michigan plant before transferring to the McDonald plant in Flint, Michigan, which was a former MMPA plant acquired by Country Fresh.

As the plant controller, I learned all facets of the dairy business and eventually went on to become general manager, overseeing the operation for 10 years. I helped transformed the business, adding extended shelf-life technology. It was at that plant, and the others that I went on to work for, where I gained appreciation for the value of the high-quality milk supplied by MMPA. The quality of the products the plant produces starts with the milk.

I started at Superior Dairy in 2013 as president of the Creative Edge Design Group. In this role, I helped redesign the caseless bottle, secured other manufacturing licenses and worked with regional and national customers to form strategic partnerships. At Creative Edge, we focus on innovation and technology that keeps pace with the everchanging consumer. While the caseless bottle continues to be a major success, we are continuing to look at areas where we can innovate the packaging and technology required to satisfy evolving consumer diets. We are working to meet consumers’ needs for dairy products that have a longer shelf life and are higher in protein, while adding more value to milk.

At Superior Dairy, we predominantly co-pack private label for customer brands. We bottle fluid milk and manufacture cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream mixes, five-quart pails of ice cream and ice cream cakes. Our products are distributed to 45 states, and we are known for our innovative packaging and processing concepts.

A few examples of Superior Dairy products include Sam’s Club and Costco milk, Sam’s Club five-quart pails of ice cream and Aldi’s cottage cheese and sour cream. Our plant code is 39-13, so be sure to look for that on the side of your favorite dairy products to see if it was manufactured in Canton, Ohio.

Now as the Director of Business Development for MMPA, I will continue to simplify the complex dairy industry issues while working with customers to provide nutritious food products to consumers and their families. I have been successful in leading consumer product manufacturers to record levels of sales and profits, consistently exceeding goals in turnaround situations, and transforming poorly performing plants, organizations and personnel into top performing organizations. I’m excited to bring that experience to MMPA.

This article was originally published in the May/June 2022 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »