Our Third Generation: Love, Technology and ‘The Switch’
When Arthur’s son Ronnie was born, no one could predict how drastically he’d shift the course of the Muenster brand. By the time his 40-year reign was complete, the company would make a vast departure from the small dairy feed operation it was built as.
However, he didn’t do it alone. With his wife, Sharon, by his side, Ronnie built the Muenster brand into what it is today.
Ronnie, born into the family trade, doesn’t have many memories that don’t involve Muenster. As a young family member and employee, he was lovingly tasked with completing all the most unpopular jobs around the mill. After a brief period of time away at a local community college, Ronnie returned to the mill, ready to take the helm and steer Muenster into the future.
Today he likes to lead his team by reminding new members that he’ll never ask them to do something he hasn’t. In his 41 years, he’s had a hand in everything from manual labor to sales and delivery, all the way up to customer service equipment operator.
His wife Sharon proved integral to the future success of Muenster, though she spent time working as a local teacher and volleyball coach before beginning her 27-year career at the mill. Once on board, she quickly moved up the ranks from office manager to CFO.
But it wasn’t just her detail-oriented accounting and bookkeeping skills that made her so vital.
In 1989, Sharon began the daunting task of switching Muenster from an analog operation to a digital one, bringing computers into the business. This one act permanently moved Muenster into the future, eliminating tedious paperwork and making the overall operation more efficient.
This new wave allowed Ronnie to focus more strongly on an even larger shift that began years earlier: the move from dairy feed to high-end horse and dog food manufacturer.
When Ronnie initially took over, his first major project was to buy the necessary equipment and oversee an expansion into the pet foods market. A risky move since, at the time, Muenster didn’t have a single customer looking for a dog food or horse food.
But with the foresight to see that all the dairy cattle were moving onto ‘mass dairies’ in California and Wisconsin, he knew the brand must innovate or deteriorate. Plus, with four children to feed and put through college, making product for a shrinking market wasn’t a viable option.
In one of the riskiest moves during Muenster’s 84-year history, Ronnie didn’t let his fear stand in the way of trying something new.
Today, these risk takers are still expanding their quality all-natural pet foods and have stayed the course.
Together, Ronnie and Sharon’s far-sightedness into the market and willingness to restructure has lead Muenster into its 4th generation and kept the company moving in a sustainable direction.
Next time, see how this next generation of Muenster is continuing the legacy and why Muenster is primed for future success and expansion.