Mark Adam, a past National Dairy Herd Information Association (DHIA) president, received the organization’s Outstanding Service Award on Feb. 22, during the awards banquet held in San Antonio, Texas. Before his retirement, Adam, Eaton Rapids, Mich., served as the CentralStar Cooperative, Inc. chief executive officer (CEO).
With strong roots developed on his uncle’s dairy farm in northern Indiana, Adam was poised for a long career in milk diagnostics and dairy cattle genetics/artificial insemination (AI). He earned a certificate for completing the Purdue University Agricultural Short Course program, worked as a relief DHI and AI technician, and worked for various dairy farms in Northern Indiana. He then accepted a position with Sire Power Inc. as district sales manager followed by employment as the dairy herd manager for Dr. G. W. Snider and Ron Kline in Goshen, Ind. Next, Adam returned to Sire Power as a regional sales manager for 13 years. In 2000, Select Sires purchased Sire Power and Adam became the NorthStar Cooperative Director of DHI Services, a new business unit that was formed by the merger of NorthStar-Select Sires, Michigan DHIA and Fox Valley DHIA in Wisconsin.
When Adam embarked on his career with NorthStar, the cooperative had approximately 135,000 cows on DHI test, 92 employees and $9.7 million in gross revenue sales. At the time of his retirement in 2020, those numbers jumped to more than 500,000 cows on test, more than 400 employees, with earnings exceeding $58.5 million.
In 2015, Adam was named NorthStar’s general manager. Key milestones in Adam’s career included building two new laboratories – one in Grand Ledge, Mich., and one in Kaukauna, Wis., for DHI milk sample diagnostics. Additionally, the organization grew when Select Sires joined forces with Accelerated Genetics, NorthStar merged with East Central Select Sires to become CentralStar Cooperative, and CentralStar added Gallenberger Dairy Records.
Adam spent much of his career engaging with employees and colleagues. He developed sales and service training programs, and educational seminars to enhance employee performance. He strived to implement, develop and coordinate field account teams to ensure optimal utilization and integration of staff – to provide a focused approach to sales, service and customer care.
In 2002, Mark was elected to the National DHIA board of directors. A year later, he became vice president, followed by president in 2006.
“Under Mark’s direction, National DHIA and Quality Certification Services moved into leadership of providing quality data for DHI herds and the dairy industry,” stated Jay Mattison, National DHIA CEO. “Mark’s messages and actions looked at the big picture and were based on common sense.”
In addition to his “day job,” Adam served on the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) Devices Subcommittee and co-chaired the 2008 ICAR Biennial Meeting held in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Additional duties included serving on the Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding Dairy Data Working Group, Michigan Animal ID Task Force and Dairy Record Management System (DRMS) Long-range Strategic Planning Committee, and chairing the National DHIA Quality Certified Services.
Adam often reflects on the two phrases he identified himself with. “Live like you’re being interviewed every day” and “Surrounding yourself with good people helps make your entire organization stronger.” He said many times that because of those he worked with daily, they made him a more effective manager. Adam said, “Starting with a 4-H calf in 1966 has allowed me to live a very blessed life and career.”
National DHIA, a trade association for the dairy records industry, serves the best interests of its members and the dairy industry by maintaining the integrity of dairy records and advancing dairy information systems.