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The power dairy has in Northeast Wisconsin

Galloway Company hires its first director of quality assurance, food safety and research and development

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November 13, 2023

NEENAH – For four generations, Galloway Company has been committed to being a pioneer in the continuously expanding and evolving dairy industry.

That commitment continues today, with the addition of Tasha Olson, the company’s new director of quality assurance, food safety and research and development.

“We are excited about bringing in such a technologically advanced and innovative mind to push our customer satisfaction and product innovation,” Galloway Company President Kevin Beauchamp said. “Olson’s drive for continuous improvement will help Galloway Company continue to strengthen our position as leaders in dairy processing.”

The Neenah-based dairy manufacturer (601 S. Commercial St.) specializes in sweetened condensed milk, frozen dairy dessert mixes, acidified dairy bases and cream liqueurs.

Olson attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where she majored in pre-law with a minor in biology and holds multiple food industry certifications. 

She also has an MBA from George Fox University and is currently pursuing a MERN Stack coding certificate at MIT.

With an extensive background in the food industry – which ranges from food safety, research and development (R&D) and technology – Olson said her new position with Galloway involves managing those while leveraging her background in technology to “bring collaboration between different departments” to make processes more efficient.

“I love science,” she said. “But I also have experienced a lot of successful R&D collaborations in my professional life, so it’s rewarding to collaborate with customers… I’ve also been in the regulatory aspects of food quite a bit.”

As she continues to settle into her new position – just a handful of weeks on the job – Olson said she hopes “to help support the strengths (Galloway) already has as they get bigger.”

Infrastructure and innovation
Olson said an important aspect of her quality assurance, food safety and research and development role is working on the infrastructure of the departments – which she said includes project development.

“(I’m) bringing a lot of my collaboration experience with customers to push R&D forward,” she said. “Obviously, you get into regulation and those are the rules you have to follow. But as we get larger, we have to support that with people, and we have to support that with the science that pushes us forward in the industry.”

Tasha Olson, director of Quality Assurance, Food Safety and Research & Development at Galloway, said being able to mentor young professionals in the Fox Cities area is a rewarding experience. Photo Courtesy of Galloway Company

To put it simply, Olson said, “you combine infrastructure and innovation” to stay competitive in the market and continue to grow.

An example of infrastructure and innovation collaboration, Olson said, would be the R&D department having more access to new technology – which she said in turn leads to an expanded knowledge base within Galloway and the dairy industry as a whole.

“We know so much more than we ever knew before,” she said.

Part of implementing more technology into the business, Olson said, means keeping up with trends in the industry – or, even better, being ahead of them.

“(For example), the fact we’re in cream liqueurs is an exciting field,” she said. “The customers want to be first to market, and they have an idea that nobody else has. We help them make it real.”

While the ice cream mix and sweetened condensed milk businesses still do exceptionally well, Olson said “you get bound by how much you can make and how fast you can build.”

The integration of technology, Olson said, has supported Galloway employees with day-to-day operations in their respective departments.

“How well does your data integrate?” she said. “How well can you trend it to act off of it? This is a complicated business, and so the more we build that infrastructure and that visibility, the efficiency and the amount of data we can interpret is pretty exceptional.”

The dairy industry in Northeast Wisconsin
As the dairy industry continues to adapt and innovate as a whole, Olson said Northeast Wisconsin is the place to watch it grow.

“Wisconsin has a rich dairy history and a great reputation, no doubt about that,” she said. “Especially here, we all grew up with a creamery or a cheese factory. Over the years, I think technology has played a crucial role, but it hasn’t been terribly evident.”

Olson said with the continued introduction and utilization of new processes, she sees the industry being able to leverage new technologies – therefore allowing Galloway to make sure the products it makes both meet industry standards and reach the company’s customer base at a faster rate.

“I think it’s going to also mean faster time to market for a lot of dairy products, which of course supports the community and the amount of commerce coming in,” she said.

Tasha Olson
The addition of new technologies, Olson said, also means more jobs for more people.

“Unlike before, we have such a breadth of the kinds of people we hire, that I think it’s great to keep those people in a community,” she said. “We have jobs now that are (in) IT, engineering, production, food science and also compliance… It keeps people here, they go to school for these jobs and now there’s something right in their hometown they can stay for and have a fantastic career.”

The addition of employees and different jobs in itself, Olson said, shows innovation and growth in Wisconsin. 

“The more we accept all these new ideas and technology and keep our people here, it leads to the development of all sorts of unique things that go to market,” she said. “And it enhances customer experiences, which of course is good for all of us.”

Olson said keeping up with industry changes also allows Galloway to stay on top of trends, which involves R&D.

“Usually when it comes to R&D, you have someone who comes in and says, ‘this is a trend right now. Can we do it?’” she said. “And that’s where leveraging efficiency and leveraging those customer relationships (comes into play).”

For customers, Olson said “the better the collaboration and the technologies” will mean more unique offerings that are faster to market for them, “which is a big thing in the retail world.”

The next generation
A transplant from Minneapolis, Olson said one of the other unique aspects she’s already recognized about Northeast Wisconsin is its dedication to building up the next generation of professionals – something she said she is lucky enough to be a part of in her line of work.

“I’ve always been involved in mentoring,” she said. “I just (participated at) Smart Girls Rock. We’ll try to do it every year. It was so rewarding.”

As Galloway and other companies in the area continue to support young professionals, Olson said she hopes it shows them that many successful and fulfilling careers are right here in their hometowns.

“A lot of kids go to college and think, ‘well, if I want to be an engineer, I need to go to Milwaukee.’ Or, ‘if I want to be a food scientist, I better get over to General Mills in Minneapolis,’” she said. “And that’s not true anymore. There’s all sorts of opportunity (in the area).”

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