How to Build a Culture of Food Safety from the Ground Up

Many models of leadership are available for you to observe, be a party to or suffer from. Most people happen onto their leadership style by mashing up the leadership styles of other people they have experienced. I have not. I have made a study of leadership and determined how I wish to lead in my life and I am going to teach you all the skills to lead effectively. This session will be the start of a lifelong conversation within yourself about how you chose to lead.

What does all this have to do with food safety planning? Everything. Food safety compliance is leadership. Often, when a conversation about compliance starts up many think that only lawyers are involved. Nothing could be further from the truth. The work of compliance is the work of anyone who implements rules and laws in their everyday work. Compliance takes leadership and is the everyday work you do in your food company.


Adam Brock

Adam has been involved in the food industry for 20 years. His career began in retail and food service roles which eventually landed him in quality and research/development roles at several major food companies (Smithfield Foods, Sargento Foods, Papa John’s International)  before finding his home at the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. As the Director of Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Compliance at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Adam works with Wisconsin dairy industry partners to provide education, training, strategy, and support in the areas of research, food safety, quality and regulatory compliance.

Adam has extensive product and process knowledge in frozen appetizers, natural cheese, process cheese, dairy and non-dairy based sauces, dairy ingredients, seasoning blends, and both fresh and frozen meat products. He is also knowledgeable in the areas of new product development, process improvement, quality systems, analytical and microbiological laboratory techniques, and supplier management.

Adam attended the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (Chemistry/German) Kansas State University (Food Science) and Michigan State University (Food Safety) for his undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Dan Utano

Dan Utano has worked in the cheese industry with over 10 years experience as a cheesemonger, cheesemaker, plant manager, and food safety officer.  He currently works as an independent consultant in which he spends most of his time providing companies with food safety foundations and the tools to help develop sound programs and meet various levels of compliance.

Dan currently sits as the chair of the ACS Regulatory and Academic committee and is a newly elected Board of Director. He is passionate about serving his industry and creating a sustainable future for its members. He believes strongly in the powerful impact that food safety culture can have on a business, and on our industry as a whole.

Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel

Dr. P is a veteran veterinarian turned business coach and food safety strategist. She’s the creator of The Proofing Box system, a game changing system for simplifying the production process for small business operators. She is known in the food industry and beyond for being an innovator and master of simplifying food safety and creating companies where people might actually want to work.


TPB and the other products Michele has created have been transformative, generating millions of dollars in revenue for her clients in just a few years. By serving small businesses around the country, Michele is on a mission to transform local economies through profitable and sustainable food manufacturing.

Paul McNeely

Paul McNeely is a Food Safety Professional with nearly 15 years experience in the dairy and food safety industry.  After completing dual bachelors of science in Biochemistry and Microbiology, Paul was introduced to the world of Artisan Cheese when a Master Dutch Cheesemaker asked him to join a development project making small batch Gouda in a rural village in China. Following his return to the U.S., Paul expanded his experience by managing a food pathogen laboratory before finding his way back to cheese.  For the past 8 years, he has built and managed the quality and food safety systems for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.

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