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Our People

As a dairy farmer owned co-operative, Gay Lea Foods is a firm believer in industry-led solutions to grow the market for Canadian cow and goat milk. We also believe in achieving success by staying true to our co-operative values and our vision of quality, innovation, partnerships, continuous improvement, and commitment to our members and employees.

Board Of Directors

Photo of - Rob Goodwill

Rob Goodwill


Rob Goodwill - Chair

I have been a Gay Lea Foods member since 1987. It’s in my blood to love animals, work hard and raise a family while celebrating the values of farm life. Gay Lea Foods is a co-operative owned by dairy farmers. As we grow, evolve and continue to improve the industry for our members, these “born on the farm” values remain at our core.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Black River Cheese Maple Cheddar

Photo of - Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Vice Chair

Andrew Henderson - Vice Chair

Since becoming a Gay Lea Foods member in 1998, I have been both impressed and inspired by the leadership and vision exhibited by the leaders of the co-operative.  Their strong commitment to provide opportunities for personal growth and development for employees, delegates and directors will serve the co-op well as it helps lead the Canadian dairy industry into the future.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Nordica Smooth lemon

Photo of - DeeDee Bekkers

DeeDee Bekkers

Executive Member

DeeDee Bekkers - Executive Member

As a dairy farmer, I’m passionate about the dairy industry from farm to fork. As a member of Gay Lea Foods, I’m grateful for the opportunity to invest and participate in the industry beyond the farm gate, and to be part of a widely respected, Canadian producer-owned and directed co-operative that makes incredible products, leads with its values, and supports our communities.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods Product: Sour Cream

Photo of - Ed Danen

Ed Danen


Ed Danen - Director

My wife and I became Gay Lea Foods members in 2012 because we always believed in the co-operative and its brands. We also saw membership as an opportunity for our farm, as we had joined other co-operatives.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Gay Lea Butter

Photo of - Don Dietrich

Don Dietrich


Don Dietrich - Director

As first-generation dairy farmers, my family immediately saw the value in joining Gay Lea Foods. We became members in 1992, shortly after starting our operation. Since that time, we have watched the co-operative thrive and grow. I look forward to what the future will bring as Gay Lea Foods continues to expand the market for Canadian cow and goat milk.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Banana cream pie topped with our Real Whipped Cream

Photo of - Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson


Chris Johnson - Director

As a Gay Lea Foods’ member since 2001, I’ve learned that the co-operative’s success is a direct result of its commitment to collaboration, community and quality. It is the people and their passion, and commitment, to the long-term success of the co-operative that enables Gay Lea Foods to focus on productivity-enhancing investments that support our members and create jobs and growth here in Canada.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Nothing but Cheese

Photo of - Dean McCann

Dean McCann

Independent Director

Dean McCann - Independent Director

I am very excited and feel fortunate to be a member of the Gay Lea Foods Board of Directors. My very early childhood was spent on a dairy farm, and I feel the values of the co-operative fit well with my own personal values. I look forward to helping Gay Lea Foods capitalize on opportunities that will grow the co-operative for the benefit of all members.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Gay Lea Salted Butter Sticks  

Photo of - Marie McNabb

Marie McNabb


Marie McNabb - Director

I married into the dairy business and, along with my husband, became a member of Gay Lea Foods in 2009. We wanted to learn more about the industry and were drawn to the co-operative’s value-based business model. Being part of Gay Lea Foods means focusing on member and industry needs, while remaining true to the core principles of our co-operative identity.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Butter - salted and unsalted

Photo of - Marie-Claude Milot

Marie-Claude Milot

Independent Director

Marie-Claude Milot - Independent Director

I am honoured to join the Gay Lea Foods board of directors, where I look forward to leveraging my experience in HR, international business and the co-operative dairy sector to help drive success for our people and, ultimately, our communities. Dairy is a very interesting world and I have great respect for our members, the work they do and the resilience they have.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods Product: Nordica Smooth Blueberry Açaí

Photo of - Gerald Schipper

Gerald Schipper


Gerald Schipper - Director

My wife and I became Gay Lea Foods member in 2005 because we wanted to become part of the Gay Lea Foods family. We saw the co-operative starting to grow and become a bigger player in the Ontario processing market and wanted to be part of the excitement.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Nordica Smooth- Lemon

Photo of - Steve Veldman

Steve Veldman


Steve Veldman - Director

As a dairy farmer who has worked with both dairy cows and goats, I understand the value of a co-operative like Gay Lea Foods that allows member dairy farmers to connect with the processing side of the business and unite our voices to help shape the future of our industry for the generations to come. I’ve been a proud member since 2000.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Nordica Smooth cottage cheese

Photo of - Jennifer Woodhouse

Jennifer Woodhouse


Jennifer Woodhouse - Director

I married into the world of dairy farming and, following Woodhouse tradition, became a Gay Lea Foods member shortly thereafter, in 1995. I love that my family and our farm are part of a larger co-operative that shares our values. We are part of a bigger picture – one that continues to grow as Gay Lea Foods expands its boundaries and embraces both goat and bovine dairy producers.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: A cold glass of chocolate milk

The Management Team

Photo of - Suzanna Dalrymple

Suzanna Dalrymple

President & CEO
The Gay Lea Foods Born on the Farm standard and commitment to quality are values that truly resonate with me. It is an honour to work with and on behalf of this remarkable group of dairy farmers, industry leaders and employees, and I look forward to building upon the incredible foundation of success they have built to create even more opportunities for sustainable, long-term growth in the Canadian dairy industry.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Gay Lea Salted Butter

Our Members

Gay Lea Foods may be a leader in the Canadian dairy industry, renowned for our high quality products and dedication to innovation, but our seeds were sown – and our roots remain – on the farm.

Our co-operative is the first of its kind to include both licenced dairy cow and dairy goat members who, together, live and work on more than 1,300 dairy farms across Ontario and Manitoba. Together with our investor members – retired dairy producers, those with links to the Canadian dairy industry and Gay Lea Foods employees – we are a leading Canadian co-operative, with roughly 4,000 producers and preferred shareholders.

Our producer members supply our milk and govern our co-operative as elected delegates and Director representatives, setting policies and making decisions on behalf of the broader membership.

Our Employees

Since 1958, Gay Lea Foods has been successfully bringing new and innovative products to market. The secret to our success? It's all about our people. Getting the right people on board means finding passionate and dedicated individuals who share our core values:
If you are looking for a growth-oriented company, a culture of innovation, respect and integrity, then Gay Lea Foods is the place for you.
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