As the third NCI Laureate to work at Leprino Foods, Jensen continues the legacy of excellence begun by Jim Leprino and his father, Mike Leprino, Sr., and strengthened by the work of Wes Allen, 2005 NCI Laureate, and Lester Kielsmeier, 2000 NCI Laureate.
During Jensen's leadership, Leprino Foods has been recognized for industry excellence by dairy publications and organizations:
- 2011 – The U.S. Dairy Export Council named Leprino Foods the "Tom Camerlo Dairy Exporter of the Year"
- 2004 – Leprino Foods was named "Dairy Processor of the Year" by Dairy Field magazine
- 2000 – Leprino Foods was named "Dairy Processor of the Year" by Dairy Foods magazine
At the same time, Jensen focused on giving back to the industry in a variety of ways, including overseeing Leprino Foods' $5 million endowment to the Cal Poly Dairy Science Department in 2011. He has devoted significant time to industry organizations:
- IDFA Vice Chairman, 1999-2000
- IDFA Secretary/Treasurer, 1998-1999
- NCI Chairman, 1998-2000
- NCI Vice Chairman, 1996-1998
- NCI Treasurer, 1994-1998
With his love of teamwork, passion for continuous improvement and drive for success, it's no surprise that he was tapped as chairman of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in 2008. He continues to hold the position five years later.
Other cheese industry pioneers who have won the NCI Laureate Award include Lou Gentine, Mark Johnson, Jerome Schuman, Larry Ferguson, John Jeter, Mark Davis, Wes Allen, Elmer Marth, Max Gonzenbach, Rudy Nef, Betsy Holden, Don Storhoff, Lester Kielsmeier, Hans Epprecht, Norm Olson, Dave Nusbaum, John Nelson, Harold Steinke, Raymond Goldbach, Jack Budahn and Vince Zehren.
NCI will issue a call for nominations for the 2014 NCI Laureate Award this fall.