2018 Cheese Makers’ Resource Conference Speakers


Dr. Kerry KaylegianDr. Kerry Kaylegian

Dr. Kerry E. Kaylegian is the Dairy Foods Research & Extension Associate at the Pennsylvania State University, Department of Food Science.  Kerry provides technical support to the dairy industry and delivers outreach programs focused on improving the safety and quality of dairy products. Kerry received the 2013 Arthur W. Nesbitt Faculty Development Award for the development of outreach and training materials for the Pennsylvania dairy foods industry. Kerry directs and lectures in short courses on dairy HACCP and food safety, cheese making, dairy basics for artisan processors, pasteurizer operations, and fundamentals of food science. She assists with the ice cream and cultured products short courses. Her research focuses on improving the functional and nutritional properties of milk fat as an ingredient. Kerry judges dairy products at several national competitions and is coach of the Penn State Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Team. She is the faculty advisor for the Penn State Cheese Club. Her degrees are in Food Science with an emphasis on dairy products, she has a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship from Cornell University.

Dr. Mark JohnsonDr. Mark Johnson

A wealth of knowledge, Mark has been with the University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research for more than 30 years. Honored with the NCI Laureate Award and many other awards, Mark is a resource for both staff and industry. As Assistant Director of the Center for Dairy Research, Mark is a close advisor to the Director and often represents CDR when the Director is traveling. Mark has a Ph.D in Food Science. His research interests include developing, manufacturing and ripening protocols for unique cheeses, the study of cheese characteristics and cheese defects. He also enjoys “talking cheese” with cheesemakers and sharing experiences and insights into the cheese industry.

Steve MurphySteve Murphy

Steve Murphy recently retired from Cornell University as a Sr. Extension Associate with the Department of Food Science, where he had been employed for over 36 years. Steve began his career as a laboratory technician performing research in dairy microbiology, chemistry and quality. He joined the Dairy Foods Extension program in 1991 and worked his way into a Sr. Extension Associate position where he coordinated, developed and participated in extension based programs covering milk and dairy product testing, quality and safety. One of Steve’s primary responsibilities with Cornell was with the Fluid Milk Voluntary Shelf-Life Program (VSL) under the Milk Quality Improvement Project, an extension based program funded by NYS dairy farmers that was designed to assist processors in understanding and improving fluid milk quality and shelf-life.

As of January 1, 2017, Steve took on the job as the Executive Vice President of the Dairy Practices Council (DPC) overseeing the workings of the organization under the guidance of the DPC Executive Board. DPC is a non-profit organization of education, industry and regulatory members concerned with milk quality, sanitation and regulatory uniformity. The DPC is a working group, with six Task Forces that are charged with writing and reviewing guidelines that contain practical and timely information about sanitation, procedures, and general good practices that relate to the dairy farm and dairy manufacturing facilities. Steve will oversee the guideline development, update and distribution process; DPC membership; and the coordination of the DPC Annual Conference.

Steve is an active member of the New York State Association for Food Protection (NYSAFP) and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) as well as the DPC. He is also a member of the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments’ (NCIMS) HACCP Implementation Committee, where he has been involved in development and implementation of HACCP regulation and training for industry and regulatory personnel. He is currently a listed trainer for the Preventive Controls Qualified Individual standardized curriculum recognized by FDA in meeting training requirements under the Food Safety Preventive Controls Rule. He served as a dairy product judge for the NY State Fair Dairy Product Competition for over 20 years and was an invited judge for the 2016 America Cheese Society Annual meeting.

Steve has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology (1979) and a Master’s Degree in Food Science (1997), both from Cornell University.

Jeremy StephensonJeremy Stephenson

Jeremy Stephenson has been responsible for the cheese program at Spring Brook Farm & The Farms for City Kids Foundation since it began in 2008. Learning to make and expand traditional raw milk cheese production in a modern food safety environment, bringing new cheesemakers into the field, as well as building partnerships with nearby farms have all been important parts of the journey. He served as President of the Vermont Cheese Council (VCC) for two of his four years on the VCC board and has participated on numerous panels. He completed the Cheesemaking Certificate Program at the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, 2008. He currently serves on the board of the American Cheese Society.

Ranee MayRanee May

Ranee May is an independent consultant specializing in cheesemaking and milk quality. She has also worked extensively with cheese makers in developing their food safety plans. Her consulting business has taken her around the world, to six continents, over the past 20 years. She has experience in working with a variety of milk types, such as cow, sheep, goat, and camel. Ranee holds a M.S. in Food Science with an emphasis in dairy technology. She has taught for 29 years at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

Fons SmitsFons Smits

Fons Smits was born and raised in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands.  He studied Food Technology and received his Bachelor’s degree in Dairy & Bioprocess Technology.  Since graduation in 1993 he has been working in the dairy industry around the world.  He has been giving technical assistance ranging from milk collection, new creamery development, layout and equipment sourcing, product development and improvement, to training to improve operations and sales.  As creamery manager for Cowgirl Creamery, Traders Point Creamery, Ludwig Farmstead Creamery, and now his own Tulip Tree Creamery in Indianapolis, he developed products which stand out in quality and have won national awards.

Peter Dixon

Peter Hicks Dixon is a dairy foods consultant, teacher, and cheesemaker from Westminster West, Vermont, with over 35 years of experience establishing small-scale cheesemaking facilities, developing cheesemaking recipes and techniques, and designing and implementing food safety programs. He and his wife, Rachel operate Westminster Artisan Cheesemaking, teaching classes in cheesemaking, food safety, affinage, and creamery design, organization and management. Peter and Rachel began making cheese at their Parish Hill Creamery in August 2013.

DAve PotterDave Potter

Dave Potter has been involved in the dairy foods industry since 1982 after graduating with a BS degree in Dairy Science from South Dakota State University. His focus was in dairy product manufacturing. He spent his first 21 years employed with a culture fermentation company which is now Danisco USA. His primary responsibilities were in the technical application of cultures and other ingredients used in the commercial manufacture of fermented milks and cheeses. Since 2004 he has been with Dairy Connection, Inc., providing technical application support for dairy cultures and ingredients to farmstead and specialty cheese makers throughout the US.

Dale MartinDale Martin

Dale Martin was raised on a family dairy farm near Hagerstown, Maryland.  He began his career in dairy farm equipment in 1983.  In 1985, Dale and his dad began their own equipment and service business.  At Agri-Service, where Dale is now president and owner, he led a project to develop and market a line of processing equipment designed for small to mid-sized producers.  Dale has extensive experience in helping farmers and entrepreneurs realize their dreams of processing their own milk into fluid products, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and more.  Going beyond a simple equipment provider, Dale has developed Agri-Service into a planning and consulting company to provide complete solutions for milk processing operations.

Lisa CapreraLisa Caprera

Lisa Caprera is currently a master's student of food science at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research has focused on developing tools for farmstead and artisan cheesemakers to track cheese quality and consistency using sensory evaluation and other techniques. She is passionate about bridging the gaps between cheesemakers, regulators, and researchers to promote the best cheese possible and is a proud volunteer for the Pennsylvania Cheese Guild.

Rufus Musser IV

Junior Musser (Rufus Musser IV) is Co-CEO and part owner of Milton Creamery LLC, where he oversees the day to day operations; sales, finances & SQF practitioner as well as field man/ inspector for the milk producers.

He began his career as a dairy farmer before moving on to dairy equipment installation in western NY. In April 2011, he moved back to the Midwest and joined Milton Creamery. He started out hauling milk and completing the expansion project. From there, he moved on to become fluently knowledgeable of most aspects of the business to becoming a valuable asset in his current position. While he has never made cheese, he knows enough to be “dangerous”. As a sideline, he, his wife and three children raise hogs for Niman Ranch, which is an outlet for the whey from Milton Creamery. They also grow corn and soybeans.

Linda LukeLinda Luke

Linda Luke, the owner and President of The Luke Group, Inc., has been in the specialty food industry for 30 years. Her roles have included working for importers and distributors and selling to retailers and distributors across the country. Some of the lines she has helped introduce into the US market include Prairie Breeze cheddar from Milton Creamery, Divina olives & antipasti, Maya Kaimal Indian sauces, King Island cheeses from Australia, Z crackers, Waterwheel crackers from Australia, and cheeses from Saxon Creamery.

The Luke Group, Inc. was formed as a sales and marketing agency in 2012. Principals include Milton Creamery, Red Apple Cheese, Mifroma Swiss cheeses, Les Trois Petits Cochons pate, Nuovo Pasta, Z Crackers, and Brooklyn Brine.

Key accounts include Whole Foods, chains such as Kings, Roche Bros., and Price Chopper, and key independents in New England and Metro New York.

She has conducted training programs on cheese, pate, olives & antipasti and other specialty products for such retail chains as Whole Foods Markets, Roche Bros Supermarkets, and distributors across the country. Linda looks forward to participating in educational panels during each year’s American Cheese Society conference.

Linda is a member of the National Assn. of the Specialty Food Trade, American Cheese Society, Slow Food, and Les Dames d’Escoffier. She also collaborated on the cheese section of the upcoming book, “Beef: The Untold Story of How Milk, Meat, and Muscle Shaped the World”.

Seminars that help small companies learn how to market and promote their products are a specialty of her abilities and can be tailored to the size and needs of any group.

Pat HastingsPat Hastings

Pat Hastings has been a partner in Chemserve for 19 years. Pat started his career with Hygrade Foods in Philadelphia, and was a microbiologist for two years with Hygrade. He was a sales representative for BASF Wyandotte in a territory based in Philadelphia. Following the sale of BASF Wyandotte to Diversey, Pat was with Diversey for fourteen years; five years as a District Sales Manager in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio area, six years as Northeast Regional Sales Manager, two years as National Dairy Director of Sales, and one year as National Director of Sales. Pat also had one year of experience as sales representative for Kline Process Systems in Reading, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Allentown College and holds a BS in biology, with post graduate work in molecular genetics at Temple University.