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3 Open Minutes with Scott Bentley

PD Staff Published on 28 June 2013

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World Dairy Expo announced Scott Bentley as the new general manager, effective June 3. At a press conference that same week, World Dairy Expo Board President Mike Holschbach said Bentley is the sixth general manager in the 47 years the event has been held.

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Progressive Dairyman Editor Karen Lee attended the press conference and interviewed Bentley to learn more about the individual who will be leading the world’s largest dairy event.

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What is your dairy background?

BENTLEY: I grew up in Ames, Iowa, on a registered Guernsey dairy farm. My involvement in county fairs and state fairs was across many years of showing dairy animals.

I went on to get a dairy science degree from Iowa State University and some time after that I went back to school part-time while working and got an executive master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University.

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In my 25-plus years in the dairy industry, I have worked in the field; I have worked in the office; I have worked domestically in the U.S. and have traveled extensively internationally.

Most recently, I was the global supply manager at ABS Global, DeForest, Wisconsin, and previously held positions as global dairy product manager, district sales manager and in dairy sire acquisition. Prior to that, I was a field service manager at the American Jersey Cattle Association.

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How have you participated in World Dairy Expo in the past?

BENTLEY: One of my great memories from prior to my professional career was coming here in 1983 as part of the Iowa State dairy judging team and judging in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest.

I have not exhibited cattle here, but I have judged in the national contest and I have been a commercial exhibitor for a number of years with the Jersey Association as well as ABS Global. I believe I’ve been to Expo more than 20 times in my lifetime.

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What are your annual traditions when attending World Dairy Expo?

BENTLEY: The first thing I like to do once I park the car is get in to see what show, what breed and what class is in the ring. A few minutes spent leaning over the railing gives me my bearings. Breathing in all the sights, the sounds and the smells of Expo is always first on my list.

Somewhere along the line in that first day or first few hours of Expo, I’ll walk around both levels of the Coliseum. I will hit the Badger Dairy Club stand and always get two grilled cheese sandwiches – one Swiss, one cheddar – as well as a chocolate shake.

Then I hit the exhibition hall. I generally try to take at least two tours through the barns, as most attendees will know it’s impossible to see all of the cattle and all of the exhibitors, but a couple of trips through the barns at different times of the day allows me to get a good flavor and feel of the animals, as well as the exhibitors.

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What does your new role entail?

BENTLEY: One of my responsibilities is to lead the staff in day-to-day operations. My short-term, as well as longer-term, focus will be to implement the World Dairy Expo strategic five-year plan, of which we’re in our third year.

I will be responsible for working collaboratively with our stakeholders and our partners, the board of directors and staff, dairy producers and cattle exhibitors, and commercial exhibitors that are a part of World Dairy Expo.

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What are your initial priorities?

BENTLEY: My initial priority is to meet individually with our staff, get to know them, get to know their personalities, as well as their job responsibilities. It is also my immediate priority to become knowledgeable in our processes and our procedures as it relates to Dane County Fair and World Dairy Expo.

I will be learning the logistics, the demands and the needs that are required, not only of the events but also of the general manager.

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What is your long-term focus?

BENTLEY: Longer-term, all of us have a key priority to ensure that World Dairy Expo is the leading dairy industry event in the world on an annual basis. We must continue to cultivate new and existing partnerships and grow those to the best interest of all.

We have a mission and vision statement that we live and try to live every day. We want to continue to ensure that World Dairy Expo is the meeting place in the dairy industry.

We want that meeting place to serve as a forum for producers and organizations to compete, to exchange ideas and to exhibit new technology for the dairy industry. We also want to continue to cultivate and invest in growth in the international arena.

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What are you most looking forward to in your new role?

BENTLEY: It’s an outstanding opportunity to work with and develop the staff, as well as re-establish industry relationships.

I have been heavily involved in the A.I. industry for nearly the last 20 years, and to re-establish relationships with dairy producers and breed association personnel and work with more of a cross-section of the dairy industry is going to be an absolute delight for me.

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What was your first big assignment?

BENTLEY: We are busily preparing for our annual summer board meeting, as well as committee and volunteer picnic. (Editor’s note: This event was held at the end of Bentley’s first week on the job in June.)

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Are there areas you would like to improve?

BENTLEY: Our staff is full speed, highly competent and energized; what our entire focus will be as a board and staff is to take World Dairy Expo to the next level.

For us, that includes maintaining our leadership as the world’s largest and most significant dairy cattle show but also improving and growing our trade show, which is approximately the 25th-largest trade show in the U.S.

A part of those two initiatives is to continue to be a part of the collaborative process that is working on a hopeful outcome of having new facilities on the World Dairy Expo and Alliant Energy Center grounds.

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What will you work on in addition to World Dairy Expo?

BENTLEY: In my role as general manager, I will oversee the responsibilities of WDE Management, including the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge, Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, The Dane County Fair and Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation. PD

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