Dairy Management Inc. has teamed up with innovation specialist Thomas O’Connell in an effort to increase dairy’s competitive position in the food marketplace.

O’Connell is president of Marketing Concepts, a Wisconsin-based business-development firm. In his role as consultant, O’Connell will work closely with dairy processors and cooperatives to identify industry needs for new product, processing and packaging technologies, says Amy Skovsende with Dairy Management Inc.

O’Connell will communicate those technologies, as well as existing ones like extended-shelf life products and specialty-cheese manufacturing methods, to processors and food and beverage manufacturers. Much of the technology O’Connell will discuss comes from DMI’s own product-innovation research program, Skovsende says.

The goal of the partnership is to foster communication between dairy processors, food and beverage manufacturers and university researchers in order to bring new dairy processing and packaging technologies to the marketplace. “My goal is to raise the category of dairy as a whole by assessing industry needs and opportunities while facilitating collaboration among all of the DMI audiences,” O’Connell said. “With our combined effort, we can bring more innovations from the lab to the consumer.”

O’Connell’s food-industry experience includes a previous role as vice president of marketing for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. While there, he formulated a foodservice department for the organization and leveraged his knowledge of the dairy processing, retail and foodservice channels to write a book entitled “Creating Dairy Sales in Foodservice.”

Dairy Management Inc.