ELMHURST, ILL. – The American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) presented Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Inc., chief executive officer Doug Wilke with its 2024 C. Earl Gray Award of Merit.

The trade association said the award, established in 1991, recognizes people in the processed dairy products industry who make a significant difference and positive impact.

The CEO for Milbank, SD-based Valley Queen Cheese since 2017, Wilke’s decades-long career in the dairy industry also includes 30-plus years in management and leadership positions, including senior vice president of dairy ingredients and product technology, for Foremost Farms USA, Middleton, Wis.

ADPI, which honored Wilke at the annual ADPI/ABI conference on April 29 in Chicago, described him as a respected business leader who advocates for advances in consumer knowledge and the utilization of dairy ingredients and products.

The organization shared that Wilke’s contributions to ADPI’s board of directors began in 2007, and since that time he not only served on the executive committee, but also took on the role of chairman from 2017 to 2018, followed by a stint as immediate past chair from 2018 to 2020.

Wilke also is a member of the International Dairy Foods Association and Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.