Prairie Farms’ Rockford Distribution Team Mobilizes to bring Giant Mascot to Illinois Hidden talent emerged throughout the journey
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (April 3, 2023) A 9’ dairy cow and a 5’ calf needed a great team to support their nearly 500-mile journey from Akron, Ohio, to Rockford, Illinois. When Teddy Berry, Prairie Farms’ Rockford Distribution Manager, was tasked with making this happen, he ignored the obstacles and turned his attention to being the caretaker of the cows.
“This whole project started in December when a picture of the cows was shared at a sales meeting. In February, the decision was made to move the cows from Akron to Rockford, and the journey began,” said Berry. “As it turned out, transporting the cows was the easy part because when they arrived in Rockford, I immediately saw that the cows and the trailer needed a complete makeover.”
With just over a month to go until the mascot was scheduled for an event, Berry was in a race against time. Instead of outsourcing the work, he mapped out a plan to rehab the trailer and cows onsite at the Rockford plant. It included a complete teardown and rebuild of the trailer and sanding and repainting the fiberglass cows, which would have been impossible without help from many departments at the Rockford plant.
Berry commented, “I’m very happy to announce that we have completed the rebuild of this trailer. I want to go on record saying that this was a lot of fun to do. The Prairie Farms’ Rockford team welcomes all challenges that come our way. I take pride and am honored to be part of the dedicated team. Although it was fun, I’m glad we’ve finished up!”
Their effort did not go unnoticed by Prairie Farms’ Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice President, Matt McClelland, “This type of work required skills outside of what the Rockford team does during the normal course of a workday, including carpentry, painting, and so much more. From drivers to mechanics to supervisors, everyone pooled their hidden talents to execute the plan while, at the same time, keeping Prairie Farms’ massive fleet rolling throughout the Great Lakes. The result of their end-to-end teamwork is a masterfully crafted, topnotch mascot that will serve Prairie Farms for many years to come, and I could not be more proud of Teddy and the Rockford team.”
The fiberglass mascot had been in storage in Akron, and its age is unknown because it was included as part of a Prairie Farms’ acquisition several years ago. Moving the mascot to Illinois coincides with Prairie Farms’ 85th anniversary celebration. The company was founded in Illinois in 1938, so it seemed fitting to bring the cows home. Prairie Farms is asking for help in naming the cows: www.prairiefarms.com/cownamecontest/. The new names will be revealed when dairy month concludes on June 30.
Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful dairy cooperatives operating in the Midwest and the South. Elements of the cooperative include more than 600 farm families, 7,000 associates, 50 manufacturing plants, over 100 distribution facilities, and annual sales of over $4.2 billion. Prairie Farms is a nationally recognized leader in the dairy industry known for setting the standard for milk flavor innovations and producing award-winning milk, cheese, and cultured dairy products. With headquarters in Edwardsville, Ill., the Prairie Farms distribution footprint covers over 30 percent of the United States; products are available in grocery chains, mass merchandiser stores, club stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores, schools, food service outlets, and warehouse distribution centers.
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