Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Knowledge, skills gained at Managers Academy in Sacramento

Progressive Dairyman Editor Karen Lee Published on 30 January 2014

pdpw managers academy olives

Approximately 100 dairy producers and industry members descended in Sacramento to acquire the knowledge and skill to turn their own challenges into successes. As Governor Brown was contemplating his decision to declare a state of emergency for California’s drought conditions, participants of Managers Academy, a program developed by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, began the three-day event, held Jan. 14-16.



In-class training led by Tom Thibodeau from Viterbo University. Thibodeau gave an inspirational presentation on servant leadership. He encouraged the audience to wake up each day and ask “What can I do today to make other people’s lives better?”

Story continues below photo slideshow.

(Click the full screen and show info buttons to see the photos larger and view caption information.)

On day two, the conference abandoned the classroom and headed out for tours of three area agribusinesses.


Blue Diamond Almonds, a century-old cooperative representing one-half of the almond growers in the state, was the first stop. Attendees learned about the growing demand for almonds, which has made the nut the state’s largest food export.

At Musco Family Olive Co., a dynamic team of managers led participants around the entire processing facility and shared how the company has grown its foothold in the industry, being only one of two black ripe olive packing companies to remain in California.

Watch a video of additional footage from Managers Academy and see an interview with Executive Director Shelly Mayer.

The final stop at E. & J. Gallo Winery was filled with lessons of leadership. Brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo grew their modest grape business into the world’s largest family-owned winery. Tour participants received an exclusive look at the company’s glass bottle manufacturing facility.

It was back to the classroom on the third and final day, where Rob Wilson and Michael Kamins from The Gap Partnership provided lessons on the different forms of negotiation. PD

Musco Family Olive Co. processes and packages around 50,000 tons of olives each year. Photos by Ray Merritt.