Brian Paris | general manager, Craigs Station Creamery

Written by Emily Battmer

When Brian Paris joined DFA in March 2014, Craigs Station Creamery was a shell of a building. The plant’s state-of-the-art cold bowl separation equipment hadn’t arrived yet, and there was no water, electricity, Internet or telephone service. As general manager of Craigs Station Creamery, Paris helped build the business from the ground up, assisting with the completion of the building, acquiring new customers and officially producing dairy ingredients beginning October 17, 2014.

Today, Paris oversees day-to-day operations, staff management, milk scheduling and volumes — but he says the most rewarding part of his job is interacting with the plant’s customers, producers and cows.

“I usually end up in the milking parlor or farm office each day for meetings,” Paris says. “My favorite part of my job is probably the interaction I get to have with the producers and getting to be around the animals.”

Paris says he feels particularly fortunate to work with the eight farm families who own Craigs Station in a joint venture with DFA. The producers’ commitment to sustainability and green energy helps position the business for the future, and Paris says they are driving the industry forward.

Paris feels so strongly about the farmers’ contribution to Craigs Station that he says he makes a point to take visiting customers out to see the dairies.

“The farms are part of this business,” he says. “It’s a big part of what we do.”

The connection Paris feels to the farmers he serves runs deep. He grew up in the agriculturally rich area near Craigs Station with a father who made a career working in the dairy industry. As an adult, Paris didn’t stray far — though they don’t keep any animals, he and his family now live on an old dairy near the creamery.

“I worked on a dairy farm as a kid, like most everybody did back in the 1970s,” he says. “My father was in the dairy business before me. I grew up with the industry as part of the household… I can’t imagine living in any other type of place.”

Paris’ upbringing and his day-to-day interaction with the farm families involved in Craigs Station have given him a deeper appreciation for the amount of work it takes to put food on consumer tables, which he says inspires him to always work with integrity.

“I think the dairy business is an industry that has some of the hardest working people in the world,” he says. “I think that when you work for people who work as hard as dairy farmers, you really feel an obligation to work hard on their behalf.”

In addition to the dairy producers, Paris says he is motivated by Craigs Station Creamery’s customers.

The plant’s unique processing capabilities have attracted a diverse customer base from around the world, from local, independent yogurt manufacturers to global food companies looking to bring their traditional products to U.S. consumers.

“I really like people,” he says. “I deal with customers from all over the globe, and that’s really what fuels my fire.”

The facility is designed to process highly customized dairy ingredients, with characteristics ranging from rBST-free to Orthodox Union and super kosher, lactose-free, vitamin A and D-fortified and more. The milk is custom blended from 0.09–40 percent butterfat, depending on each customer’s unique needs, and Paris and the rest of Craigs Station’s staff are committed to accommodating each individual customer with the highest standards of service.