Minerva Dairy announced that Kenneth “Ken” S. Ray has joined the company as director of food safety, Quality Assurance & Sanitation. A seasoned food scientist, chemist and regulatory affairs expert who grew up on a working farm, Ray will elevate the industry-leading food safety standards at award-winning Minerva Dairy.

Ray earned a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from Western Kentucky University and a master’s in science management from Brescia College. He began his career doing laboratory testing in food microbiology and food chemistry, and his passion for food safety and regulatory affairs led him to positions of increasing responsibility and expertise in the food manufacturing industry. 

Ray joins Minerva Dairy — a fifth-generation, family-owned company — after having served as senior director of Quality and Regulatory for SmithFoods Inc. and, previously, as Quality and Sanitation Manager for the Kraft Heinz Co, both based in Ohio. Ray also worked as Vice President of Tech Services (Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory) for Mom’s Meals, a Purfoods company, and Director of Food Safety, Quality Assurance & Sanitation for 8th Avenue Food & Provisions. He grew up on a cattle and hog farm in rural Kentucky, where his farmer parents also owned and operated a local feedmill. 

“Working in the family business afforded me an opportunity to learn and grow my business acumen early in life while gaining an understanding and appreciation of food safety and cleanliness,” Ken said. “Working with the team at Minerva Dairy provides me an opportunity to learn from and contribute to many generations of butter experts and cheese artisans, and I very much look forward to that.” 

Added Venae Watts, Minerva Dairy fifth-generation co-owner: “We are delighted to welcome Ken to Minerva Dairy, where my family has been making cheese and butter for over a century. Ken joins us on that mission to make better butter and cheese, which we no doubt will thanks to his expertise and knowledge in all aspects of food safety and quality assurance.”