Monthly Archives: October 2023

Nelson-Jameson President Mike Rindy named a CEO to Watch by “Family Business Magazine”

Rindy is featured in the November/December 2023 edition of the magazine

Read Mike Rindy’s Profile on Family Business Magazine ⇨

MARSHFIELD, WI – Oct 31, 2023 | Nelson-Jameson, a leading food processing distributor, announced that its President, Mike Rindy, was recognized by “Family Business Magazine as a CEO to Watch, Class of 2023. The annual award recognizes “family and non-family chief executives whose exceptional leadership has put their businesses in a strong position for future generations.” A feature spotlighting Rindy will appear in both the November/December 2023 print edition of “Family Business Magazine” and the online edition. 

Mike Rindy

“I couldn’t be more honored to receive this accolade from “Family Business Magazine,” one of the foremost publications for executive leaders,” says Rindy. “I’m especially appreciative of the award’s focus on leadership for the benefit of the next generation. This is a core principle of Nelson-Jameson’s culture, and I’m proud to carry its legacy forward.” 

Rindy joined Nelson-Jameson in 2020. In his three-year tenure, he has steered the company through the pandemic and supply chain challenges, overseen expansion to new cities and markets, and sustained a longstanding company ethos of operating in an ethical manner with respect for people, the community, and the environment. The company was founded more than 75 years ago and has operated continuously as a family business ever since.

“Mike Rindy has been a tremendous asset to our organization, in part because of because of his unique ability to humbly inspire our employees, to empathize and show compassion, and to empower people to thrive,” says Adam Nelson, a fourth-generation owner of Nelson-Jameson who currently serves as the Chairman of Nelson-Jameson. “He has infused new energy and ideas into the company while honoring our family business values, and we congratulate him on this extremely well-deserved recognition.” 

Family Business
was launched more than 30 years ago, with the goal of supporting leadership teams in the unique position of managing businesses and family dynamics at the same time. The magazine is published by MLR Media, an organization that utilizes digital platforms, magazines, and events to provide relevant insights to public and private company directors, leaders and owners of multigenerational family businesses and C-suite executives.

More information on the company can be found at

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Nelson-Jameson Receives FPSA Recognition for Achievement in Developing & Promoting Women

Nelson-Jameson is proud to be recognized by Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) Women’s Alliance Network in this year’s Red Circle Honors in the category of Achievement in Developing & Promoting Women. Nelson-Jameson received a runner-up position in the highly competitive category – a notable honor given the number and caliber of individuals and companies nominated.

FPSA Women's Alliance Network Logo

The nomination and evaluation process included a detailed application in which Nelson-Jameson shared the specific ways it fosters opportunities for women. As a company that carries forward the values of honesty, integrity, and kindness, the team would like to share some highlights from the application process:

Female-owned business:
Nelson-Jameson is a privately-held family business that is majority women-owned – a distinction that less than half of businesses in the U.S. (42%) can claim, according to the latest U.S. Data Statistics for Women in Business. However, only 2% of food supply or manufacturing companies are women-owned (source: Industry Select 2023), making Nelson-Jameson’s women-owned status even more unique in the industry.

Career advancement, mentorship & training:
Nelson-Jameson has a top-down commitment to walking the walk when it comes to career opportunities. Formal training programs and HR-monitored mentorship help employees develop their skills on site, and leadership seeks tangible ways for women to be recognized, including awards and promotion tracks. Nelson-Jameson is proud to foster, promote, and support the advancement of women in the company. In fact, 50% of our Vice Presidents are women.

Industry Networking Events:
Nelson-Jameson actively encourages employees to participate in industry associations, conferences, and networking events, including the International Dairy Foods Association’s (IFDA) “Women in Dairy.” The company also supports the next generation of dairy leaders by offering leadership experiences to its employees.

Work-life programs:
Nelson-Jameson is a people-first company that has valued and supported its employees’ personal lives as much as their work lives. This includes policies that promote, protect, and enhance the workplace for women. The headquarters location is equipped with a lactation room with sink, fridge, and comfortable seating and the company provides fully paid parental leave for two weeks to give parents time and space to bond with both natural-born and adopted children. Additionally, Nelson-Jameson’s short-term disability starts on the first of the month following the date of hire. It kicks in on the eighth day of disability and pays 60% of the wage or salary–this would apply to the mother who gave birth.

Community engagement:
Nelson-Jameson also supports Working Women’s Wednesday, which provides both networking, educational, and personal growth opportunities for women in the local community of Marshfield, Wisconsin, near company headquarters.

Nelson-Jameson’s dedication to developing and promoting women is one piece of a larger whole. The company’s retention rate for employees is significantly higher than industry peers, and it’s proud to have so many employees who have stayed here for decades. The focus on providing a supportive and productive workplace for all employees, and the commitment to operating in an ethical manner with respect for people, the community, and the environment, continues to set Nelson-Jameson apart.

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Nelson-Jameson Names Amanda Nelson Sasse to Dual Leadership Roles

Fourth-generation owner now serves as VP of Philanthropy and Social Impact and President of Nelson-Jameson Foundation

MARSHFIELD, WI – October 24, 2023 | Nelson-Jameson, a leading distributor for the dairy processing industry, has announced the appointment of Amanda Nelson Sasse to two new leadership roles. Nelson Sasse, a fourth-generation owner, will now serve in a dual role as Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Impact for Nelson-Jameson, as well as President of the Nelson-Jameson Foundation (NJF).

Nelson Sasse is a direct descendant of two of Nelson-Jameson’s co-founders, Earl Nelson and Ted Nelson, and has held leadership positions across multiple departments at the company for the past 14 years. As VP of Philanthropy and Social impact, she will oversee Nelson-Jameson’s philanthropic efforts and advance its mission by driving philanthropic initiatives, fostering partnerships, and creating lasting social impact. As President of NJF, Nelson Sasse will be the liaison between Nelson-Jameson and NJF, where she will head quarterly board meetings, oversee committees, and spearhead marketing and public relations functions.

“Nelson-Jameson was built on the values of supporting employee well-being and fostering strong communities. A charitable focus is embedded in our culture,” says Nelson Sasse. “I’m thrilled to continue this 76-year-old legacy by leading the Nelson-Jameson Foundation and furthering the social impact of Nelson-Jameson as an organization.”

Amanda Nelson Sasse photo

The Nelson-Jameson Foundation (NJF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded to formalize and expand Nelson-Jameson’s longstanding legacy of philanthropy and community engagement. NJF’s work centers around three pillars – employees, communities, and the industry – with programs including:

  • Volunteer opportunities – NJF offers employees up to eight hours of paid time off per year to volunteer at charitable organizations of their choice during work hours. Employees are also invited to get involved with NJF by volunteering on a Foundation committee.
  • Assistance Fund – Employees facing an unexpected crisis due to a federal, state or locally declared emergency can receive financial assistance through the Golden Rule Assistance Fund.
  • Scholarship programs – The Foundation’s Golden Rule Scholarship Program provides family members of Nelson-Jameson employees the opportunity to apply for scholarships at accredited two- or four-year colleges. It is also committed to funding scholarships for food and dairy science students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
  • Donation & charitable giving grants – NJF will continue Nelson-Jameson’s tradition of supporting 501(c)(3) entities that embody similar cultural values of community stewardship through donations and charitable grants.
  • Matching Gift Program – The Program matches donations that employees make to 501(c)(3) charities of their choice, with a maximum donation of $1,000 per year.

“Amanda has made tremendous contributions to Nelson-Jameson during her tenure here, and her passion for the Nelson-Jameson Foundation’s work is unmatched,” says Nelson-Jameson President Mike Rindy. “I look forward to continuing to partner with her to deliver the exceptional and carry out our shared values across the Nelson-Jameson family of companies.”

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Nelson-Jameson Announces Two New Plant-Based Manufacturing Relationships

Leading Distributor Teams up with Vaess and Lallemand Specialty Cultures to Meet Changing Customer Needs


MARSHFIELD, WI – October 23, 2023 | Nelson-Jameson, a leading food processing distributor, has joined forces with Vaess and Lallemand Specialty Cultures (LSC) to meet the demand for increased diversity in existing customers’ portfolios. Nelson-Jameson will be working closely with both companies to deliver targeted strategies for companies producing plant-based and hybrid products for its customers.

For more than 75 years, Nelson-Jameson has supported food, beverage, and dairy processors with innovations that keep pace with changing consumer tastes, manufacturing processes, and distribution channels. The new relationships with Vaess and LSC strengthen the company’s commitment to deliver the exceptional to the dairy industry and beyond.

“Nelson-Jameson is thrilled to collaborate with Vaess and LSC to meet plant-based product development goals for our customers who want to explore additional options to complement their dairy business,” says Peter Kempe, Nelson-Jameson’s Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Ingredients. “The ingredients expertise that both companies have will help us deliver a comprehensive set of solutions for our customers for years to come.”

Nelson-Jameson, Vases, and Lallemand logos with plant-based products

Vaess has experienced strong growth driven by innovation and industry alliances to develop food for the needs of today and the trends of tomorrow. The company engineers innovative, high-quality ingredients that add value to food, helping companies create products that are not only delicious, but also cost effective, operationally efficient, and commercially scalable.

“This collaboration is part of Vaess’ mission to create a responsible food chain for future generations,” says Coen van Oorschot, Director at Vaess. “As we continue to explore ways to meet changing consumer preferences, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the benefits of plant-based alternatives. By offering plant-based options, we can cater to a wider audience and ensure inclusivity so that there is something for everyone.”

Lallemand has been a global leader in the development, production, and marketing of yeast, bacteria, fungi and their derivatives since the end of the 19th Century. Specifically, Lallemand Specialty Cultures (LSC) has over 100 years of experience in dairy culture fermentation. LSC also provides meat and plant-based solutions, bringing unique appearance, color, flavor, texture and food safety to its offerings.

“Based on the many ingredient sources, plant-based foods offer a wide range of possibilities for consumers,” says Julia Plateau-Gonthier, LSC’s Category Product Manager for Dairy, Meat and Plant-based cultures. “Our know-how in microbiology and fermentation as well as our long-standing experience selecting the best cultures for dairy and meat applications is a strong asset for the development of plant-based cultures.”

To learn more about Nelson-Jameson’s plant-based solutions for food processors and to work on custom-tailored solutions for the industry, contact Nelson-Jameson’s Packaging, Ingredients, and Chemicals Department at

A Mentorship Memoir: Inspiring the Next Generation of Cheesemakers 

By Steve Funk

Mentorship in the dairy industry is more important than ever. 

The next generation has exciting opportunities ahead, and can benefit from technological advancements, developments in food safety, and an ever-expanding menu of dairy product innovations. At the same time, our young leaders also face many new challenges from unpredictable consumer preferences to economic and supply chain concerns. Mentorship can help them make the most of their opportunities and learn to navigate challenges like seasoned pros. 

I’ve been in the dairy industry for more than 40 years and have come close to retiring more than once, but the truth is I love my career, and I love everything about making great cheese. There’s both an art and a science to making healthy and delicious cheeses and cultured dairy foods. By blending tried-and-true wisdom from mentors with modern food technologies, new generations of cheesemakers can build on the foundation of best practices while continuing to evolve and innovate. 

Earlier this year I was asked to be a mentor for this Innovation Competition sponsored by the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) (I encourage you to look it up).  The competition was funded by a $1 million grant for growth of Dairy in the Northeast via product Innovation, and both companies and individuals could apply. 

With over 50 applicants, the committee chose 10 finalists, and I was asked to be a technical mentor/advisor for one of them. Each finalist also got a marketing mentor and received $20,000 toward their competition goals. The Top three winners from the competition all got an additional $55,000. 

I worked with Bell & Goose Cheese Co. in South Hampton, NH, (about 8 miles from where I used to live before moving to WI), which opened in 2017. The owner, Anna Cantelmo, makes a marinated Feta cheese (among others) and was looking for expansion of her market and improvement of shelf-life, yield, and flavor of the cheese.  

I worked with Anna on protein to fat ratios, adding a better coagulant, XDS, and more calcium which improved their yield, structure and shelf-life right away. We also discussed milk quality, more effective pasteurization, culture changes, procedure changes, and some basic principles for quality cheese.  

Bell & Goose was not one of the Top 3 winners, but it was a thrilling competition, and the winners all had significant growth plans. The main reason B&G was not a Top 3 was not having big enough growth plans to use more NE milk, and limited marketing. But Anna learned a lot, she was grateful for my help, and I have been asked by her to continue to support Bell & Goose, which I will. (I will be on a family vacation a few miles from there this month and my family, and I have been asked to come by, taste some of the great cheese they make, and have dinner.)

I’m grateful to have spent my entire career in the dairy industry. I know that not everyone can say they love going to work each day, but I’ve been able to say that truthfully for more than 40 years. This is one reason that giving back and providing opportunities for others to embrace cheesemaking and dairy production as a career is so important to me. My current goal is to help more mentorship arrangements, both formal and informal, flourish industry-wide. I feel a sense of responsibility to leave a strong and vital legacy so the next generation can advance the craft of cheesemaking and the dairy industry can thrive for many generations to come. 

I have been asked to mentor again next year, presuming the competition gets funding again, which I will look forward to. I met a lot of good people, some future NJ customers I hope, and really enjoyed it.