MINERVA, OHIO — Family-owned creamery Minerva Dairy hired Kenneth “Ken” S. Ray to become the company’s new director of food safety, quality assurance and sanitation.

An experienced food scientist, chemist and regulatory affairs expert, Ray previously worked for SmithFoods Inc., as senior director of quality and regulatory, and earlier in his career served as Kraft Heinz Co.’s quality and sanitation manager. His other past roles include vice president of tech services (food safety, quality and regulatory) for Mom’s Meals, a Purfoods company; and director of food safety, quality assurance and sanitation for 8th Avenue Food & Provisions.

Ray grew up working on a cattle and hog farm in rural Kentucky, before earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Western Kentucky University, as well as a master’s in science management from Brescia College.

“Working in the family business afforded me an opportunity to learn and grow my business acumen early in life while gaining an understanding and appreciation of food safety and cleanliness,” Ray said. “Working with the team at Minerva Dairy provides me an opportunity to learn from and contribute to many generations of butter experts and cheese artisans, and I very much look forward to that.”

A fifth-generation, family-owned company, Minerva Dairy produces butter and cheese for retail and food manufacturing customers across US markets.

The company’s co-owner, Venae Watts, said the creamery is “delighted” to have Ray on board.

“Ken joins us on that mission to make better butter and cheese, which we no doubt will thanks to his expertise and knowledge in all aspects of food safety and quality assurance,” Watts said.