Posted: March 01, 2011
CEBA winner: Dairy Specialists LLC
Evans company does the right thing by cows and peopleBy Lisa Ryckman
Cows won't wait. And no one knows that better than the employees of Dairy Specialists LLC.
"You can't not milk cows," says Bob Brown, chief operating officer of the Evans-based company. "This business is 24/7, 365. People come to depend on us being there all the time."
Dairy Specialists is just what its name implies: a company involved in dairy farming from the ground up - including determining what should go in a cow's mouth and what to do with what comes out the other end.
"We design, build, maintain and service every aspect of large commercial dairies," Brown says. "That's everything from architectural design to the actual construction process. It's all computerized and very scientific, down to the individual identification of cows and computer-based analysis of milk."
The company, which began as Sorensen Surge in 1970 and became Dairy Specialists after a merger with Progressive Dairy Systems 20 years ago, prides itself on being at the forefront of minimizing the environmental impact of farming and the inevitable cow pies.
"We were the first company in the country to install a centrifuge operation that removes water from waste and allows the use of dried compost as fertilizer," Brown says.
But Dairy Specialists is as much about community as it is cows, with a reputation for giving, volunteerism and active support of its customers and their families.
"We're particularly interested in furthering agriculture, and to that end we participate in a lot of different youth programs, including 4H and FFA on the local and regional level," Brown says.
For this company, participation means everything from supporting scholarship funds to supplying the food and manpower for a barbecue celebrating kids who raise cows.
"What's important is setting an example for other businesses that you can do all these things and not focus strictly on the bottom line - and still be successful," Brown says.
In April, Dairy Specialists won a Better Business Bureau Torch Award for exemplary business ethics; honesty and integrity in marketing, advertising and customer relationships; and giving back to the community.
The basis for everything Dairy Specialists does is a simple one, Brown says.
"It's like a mantra around here: Do the right thing," he says. "The focus of all decision-making is, is it right? Is it fair to our vendors and our customers?"
That might explain what happened when a farmer called the company just as everyone was leaving at the end of the day.
"He said his hay was on fire, and he had 300 calves in close proximity to it and didn't have the manpower to move them," Brown says. "He didn't ask for help. But to a man, everybody jumped in their cars and went out there and moved all of this guy's calves."
Because it was the right thing to do.
Lisa Ryckman is the online editor at cobizmag.com.