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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.” - President & CEO Michael Barrett.

Board Of Directors

Photo of - Rob Goodwill

Rob Goodwill

Chair

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 - Marie McNabb

Marie McNabb

Vice Chair

Marie McNabb - Vice Chair

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 - Don Dietrich

Don Dietrich

Executive Member

Don Dietrich - Executive Member

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 - Steve Dolson

Steve Dolson

Past Chair

Steve Dolson - Past Chair

I grew up on a dairy farm and am proud to continue the family tradition of producing quality milk for fellow Canadians on our Perth County farm. We’ve been Gay Lea Foods members since 2000, and I am exceedingly proud to belong to a co-operative that supports families and communities while continuing to drive growth and innovation in the Canadian dairy industry.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Nordica Smooth lemon

Photo of - Roger Boersen

Roger Boersen

Director

Roger Boersen - Director

Our farming family has been a proud Gay Lea Foods’ member since 1988. I strongly believe that Gay Lea Foods’ farmer-owned, co-operative business model – with its focus on collaboration between farmers, and employees – is the key to sustainable dairy farming in Canada. I hope my contributions on the Board of Directors will help positively shape the co-operative and the Canadian dairy industry for this generation and the next.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Spreadables Butter

Photo of - Mark Hamel

Mark Hamel

Director

Mark Hamel - Director

As member of Gay Lea Foods since grade eight and a producer member since 1979, I am extremely proud of what this co-operative has been able to accomplish by working together for the betterment of our industry, our members, and our communities. This includes Gay Lea Foods’ long history of supporting education, poverty relief and community well-being projects around the world – something we continue to do through the Gay Lea Foundation.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Ivanhoe Old Sharpe Cheddar

Photo of - Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Director

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 - Meredith Miller-Delichte

Meredith Miller-Delichte

Director

Meredith Miller-Delichte - Director

My husband and I began the process of becoming members in January 2017 when Gay Lea Foods officially opened membership to dairy farmers in Manitoba. We are extremely pleased to be able to invest in the industry beyond our farm gate, and to be part of a forward-thinking co-operative with a proven track-record of establishing relationships with others in the Canadian dairy industry.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Chocolate milk

Photo of - Dick Straathof

Dick Straathof

Director

Dick Straathof - Director

I grew up on the dairy farm that my brother and I operate today and have been a Gay Lea Foods member since 2001. I’m proud to be a dairy farmer and to belong to a co-operative that mirrors my own values. From farm to production facility to distribution network, there is a shared understanding that there are no shortcuts to quality or success.

Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Real Whipped Cream

Photo of - Steve Veldman

Steve Veldman

Director

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

Director

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 Leadership Team

Michael Barrett

President & CEO
Photo of - Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett

President & CEO
I joined Gay Lea Foods in 1999 and have been a proud member ever since. We do things differently here. From our farms and production facilities, to our distribution networks and employees, we lead with our values. We are committed to driving our co-operative and the Canadian dairy industry forward through continued investment in innovation, growth and, importantly, our people – the very heart of our co-operative.
Favourite Gay Lea Foods product: Nordica Smooth lemon topped with our Real Whipped Cream

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 1,400 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 the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario and the second largest in Canada, with more than 4,295 producers and investor 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

For 60 years, Gay Lea Foods has brought innovative new products to the market, but that's not all. The reason for our success is simple - it's about the 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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