Moovers & Shakers

Meet Our Board of Directors

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Glen Easter is a third-generation dairy farmer from Laurens County, South Carolina where he and his wife Marilyn milk more than 300 Jersey cows and farm 360 acres.

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Glen Easter

President
Laurens County, South Carolina

Michael Ferguson is a farmer from Tate County, Mississippi, where he and his wife Jill milk more than 100 cows each day and raise beef cattle.

Michael Ferguson

Vice President
Tate County, Mississippi

Heck Davis is a third-generation dairy farmer from Putnam County, Georgia where he, along with his son and grandchildren, milk 300 cows each day. Heck’s grandparents founded Green Glades farm in 1951 and has grown to over 450 acres.

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Heck Davis

Secretary
Putnam County, Georgia

Ken Smith is a fourth-generation farmer from Fauquier County, Virginia. Ken owns two dairy farms, one 400-acre grazing dairy with 165 cows and one 750-acre farm with 350 cows. In 2013, the Smith family opened Moo Thru, a retail store where Smith family ice cream and milk is sold.

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Ken Smith

Treasurer
Fauquier County, Virginia

Directors

Maxie Aker, Virginia
Jack Bentley, Georgia
Celeste Blackburn, Tennessee
Kirk Butcher, Georgia
Judd Chambers, Georgia
Richie Traylor, Alabama

Cecelia Mayer, Virginia
Kim Jones, Kentucky
Jeff Deener, Kentucky
Mike Ellis, Tennessee
Kent Herman, North Carolina
Dan Holsinger, Virginia

Steve Lee, Tennessee
Paul Moss, Tennessee
Ronnie Patton, Kentucky
Lloyd Phillips, Virginia
Roddy Purser, North Carolina
Andy Rodgers, Georgia

Nathan Roth, Missouri
Terry Rowlett, Kentucky
Cameron Eaker, North Carolina
Allen Sisson, Virginia
Jennifer Glover, Georgia
Steve Ballard, Idaho

Meet Our Leadership Team

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Since January 1, 2017, Doug Ackerman has served as General Manager and CEO of The Dairy Alliance. He is responsible for managing the organization’s nine-state dairy promotional programs to help grow sales and consumer demand for dairy products. He serves on several of Dairy Management Inc.’s national committees. Ackerman has nearly 20 years of experience in strategic brand marketing, demand generation, advertising and integrated marketing communications in retail and foodservice. Ackerman has served with the U.S. Army Reserves and National Guard for more than 20 years. He holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Tampa and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

Doug Ackerman
General Manager and CEO

Molly Szymanski, a licensed dietitian and school nutrition specialist, has been affiliated with The Dairy Alliance for 19 years. As Chief Operating Officer, she oversees the implementation of the School Health and Wellness, Food and Nutrition Outreach and Communication and Farmer Relations program plan for our nine-state region. She previously served as Director of School Health and Wellness and has been involved in several initiatives to increase in-school access to dairy nutrition, including multiple school breakfast programs. She has a Master’s degree in nutrition from Marshall University and a bachelor of science degree from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania.

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Molly Szymanski, MA, LD, SNS
Chief Operating Officer

Rebecca joined The Dairy Alliance team in August 2013 as Assistant Director of Communications and in July 2017, was promoted to the role of Director of Communications and Farmer Relations. She directs and manages the development, coordination, implementation and evaluation of industry and consumer communication programs, leading a team that includes website development, social media, farmer communications, creative/graphic design, brand management, digital communications, recipe development and food photography professionals. She serves as the public speaking trainer for dairy farmers and industry leads. As a professional chef, Rebecca’s responsibilities also include recipe development, food photography and styling for this website, as well as @TheDairyChef.

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Rebecca Egsieker
Director, Communications & Farmer Relations

Mark Farmer joined The Dairy Alliance in August of 2013. He brings more than 15 years of strategic marketing experience in both the food service and retail sectors. Mark has successfully built and led high-performing marketing teams as the Director of Marketing for the Mellow Mushroom Corporation, CentraArchy Restaurant Group, and as President and co-owner of Rock Back Pizza. Mark has an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and an MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Mark is a native of Atlanta, Georgia.

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Biff Farmer, MBA
Director, Marketing & Partner Relations

Jill Henderson joined The Dairy Alliance in March 2006. Managing staff across a nine-state region, Jill is responsible for the Southeast administration of Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school health and wellness program, as well as all other K-12 school dairy promotion programs in the region. Born and raised in Virginia, Jill earned a degree in human nutrition and foods from Virginia Tech. During her career as a registered dietitian, Jill has held positions in clinical nutrition as well as sales and marketing management in healthcare and nutrition-based companies. Jill is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the School Nutrition Association. She also holds the credential of School Nutrition Specialist.

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Jill Henderson, RD, SNS
 Director, Youth Wellness

Mary Martin Nordness is a registered dietitian and certified health educator. She serves as Director of Nutrition Affairs for The Dairy Alliance, where she conducts television, radio and print interviews on nutrition throughout the Southeast. Nationally, she has been interviewed for WebMD, Cooking Light, Teen Vogue and Eating Well magazine. Mary Martin served as a National Dairy Council Ambassador for the National Dairy Council for four years and was recognized as “Outstanding Dietitian” of 2013 by the Alabama Dietetic Association. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

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Mary Martin Nordness, MA, RD, LD, CHES
 Director, Food & Nutrition Outreach

Barbara Sims has worked with The Dairy Alliance for more than 26 years, serving as Director of Finance and Administration for the past five years. Barbara has an Associate of Arts degree in Marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Finance. Her roles at The Dairy Alliance include human resource benefits, payroll, budgeting, finance, and administrative operations.

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Barbara Sims
 Director, Finance & Administration

Youth Wellness Team Contacts