ADPI renamed the ADPI Award of Merit to the C. Earl Gray Award of Merit in honor of Chester Earl Gray, a pioneering founder of one of ADPI’s legacy organizations. 

In June 1925, C. Earl Gray, at the time with the Golden State Company Ltd., led the formation and development of the American Dry Milk Institute. At the first meeting of its members, he was elected Chairman and was reconfirmed each year until his death in 1944. 

“C. Earl Gray is largely credited for the evolution of the dry milk industry in the United States,” states Blake Anderson, current president and CEO of ADPI. “Without question, he was the most impactful person in our industry during its first 100 years. Many of the principles and attributes established under his leadership still hold true today. His inspired model of member-based committees and leveraging member resources for the benefit of all in the industry, remain cornerstones of today’s American Dairy Products Institute.”

 In his day, C. Earl Gray set the gold standard for leadership by which others were measured. He was an agricultural chemist, a dairy scientist, an academic, a commercial business leader, a former USDA employee, a consultant to various government agencies, and a critical figure in the development of dairy industry standards in the United States.

ADPI is honored to memorialize his contributions to the dairy industry and setting the course for today’s ADPI with the renaming of this award during our Centennial Year in 2023.

 ADPI is now accepting nominations for the 2023 C. Earl Gray Award of Merit. The award, originally established in 1992, and now renamed in 2023, recognizes individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the dairy products industry. Anyone may be nominated regardless of nationality or role within the industry, including manufacturing, marketing, R&D, academia, regulatory, equipment manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, etc. This award is presented annually at the ADPI/ABI Annual Conference in April.