DMI Management Team
DMI’s Management Team oversees the work of several hundred staff at its Rosemont, IL, headquarters and in remote offices across the country.
Thomas P. Gallagher
Chief Executive Officer, Dairy Management Inc.
Chief Executive Officer, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
Chief Executive Officer, National Dairy Council
In 20-plus years with Dairy Management Inc., Tom Gallagher has represented the interests of America’s dairy farmers. With a focus on strong collaboration across the dairy value chain, Gallagher has overseen the organizational strategies and programming that have continued to build trust in and sales of dairy foods. This has included a significant shift to digital and social marketing to reach and engage consumers through relevant channels, and forging partnerships with major U.S. and global food leaders such as McDonald’s, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and others, including U.S.-based milk companies.
At the direction of dairy farmer leaders, Tom established the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to bring together dairy companies to work pre-competitively on shared priorities that impact the industry. He also leads strategy and operations for the National Dairy Council, and steered NDC into a partnership with the National Football League (in collaboration with USDA) to develop Fuel Up to Play 60, a comprehensive program to improve youth wellness that is in 73,000 schools. Tom also serves as Chair of the GENYOUth Foundation, which raises funds and other resources in support of Fuel Up to Play 60, and as Secretary-Treasurer of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, which the dairy farmer leaders of Dairy Management Inc. founded in 1995, to build demand for U.S. Dairy in global markets.
President, Dairy Management Inc.
President, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
Barbara O’Brien is president of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the domestic dairy checkoff program that drives trust and sales of dairy products on behalf of America’s 38,000 dairy farmers. O’Brien also continues to serve as president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, a precompetitive forum that advances collaboration among dairy companies, farmers and others in the dairy community to help ensure a socially responsible and economically viable industry in the future.
O’Brien instills an aggressive sales and outcomes-based mentality within her leadership team and staff, while also spearheading programs and operating structures for business development, partner management, sales planning and insights. As part of the checkoff business plan evolution, O’Brien led the translation of farmer priorities into industry-wide category strategies for growth that have led to new foodservice and retail partnerships, and an evolved marketing communications plan. Her skills are instrumental in engaging the industry on behalf of U.S. dairy farmers to a common end: to ensure relevance for dairy among today’s consumers.
Prior to joining DMI, O’Brien directed Burson Marstellar’s Chicago-based healthcare consultancy. During her tenure, she provided executive-level counsel for Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical clients including Procter & Gamble, Dow Corning, Quaker Oats and Abbott Labs, establishing new business strategies for growing clients’ market share. She went on to cofound a healthcare consultancy that served the business and marketing planning needs of Chicago-area hospitals and health systems as well as companies in the medical device, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition segments.
O’Brien is a proud mother of two children and resides in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mark.
President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He took the position in February 2017 after serving eight years as the nation’s 30th Secretary of Agriculture.
As president and CEO, Vilsack provides strategic leadership and oversight of USDEC's global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. This includes working with industry leaders to develop a long-term vision for building sales and consumer trust in U.S. dairy. Together with the USDEC board, he creates strategies to successfully achieve the shared vision. He serves as the organization's primary spokesperson and ambassador to a host of global and domestic stakeholders.
USDEC routinely partners with other dairy industry groups such as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation to address the needs of its members, which include producers, processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. An important component of Vilsack's role is working with and through these organizations to achieve results on behalf of the value chain.
Vilsack has been honored for his public service and work to advance American agriculture by the Congressional Hunger Center, Global Child Nutrition Foundation, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau, and National Farmers Union.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vilsack was born into an orphanage and adopted in 1951. After graduating from law school, Vilsack moved to Mt. Pleasant Iowa, his wife Christie's hometown, where he practiced law. The Vilsacks have two adult sons and two daughters-in-law-Doug, married to Janet; and Jess, married to Kate. They also have four grandchildren.