New Staff, Renewed Vision, and Plans for 2021


New Staff, Renewed Vision, and Plans for 2021

Updated 3/1/21

The dairy community continues to navigate many challenges—beyond the far-reaching implications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting education and collaboration to address shared challenges and realize great opportunities are exactly why the California Creamery Operators Association (CCOA) exists. CCOA was created in 1900, when creamery operators decided they needed to help one another keep up with fast-paced societal changes. CCOA is now reaffirming its commitment to this enduring task. The following is a brief update on a few recent changes and future plans.

This past year, the CCOA Board of Directors decided to transition to a new association management firm, West Coast Advisors (WCA). WCA brings 20+ years of experience working for the California dairy industry and has a proven track record for helping clients grow membership, coordinate successful events, and navigate challenging issues through outreach, education, and strategic communication. As part of this transition, CCOA named WCA’s President, Michael Boccadoro as the organization’s new Executive Director and Secretary/Treasurer. At their last meeting, the CCOA Board of Directors recognized outgoing director, Dr. Phil Tong for his incredible service over the past four-and-a-half years and the many achievements the organization has enjoyed over his tenure.

“We greatly appreciate Dr. Phil Tong’s dedication to CCOA and his commitment to helping shape this new chapter we are entering,” said Gary Stueve, CCOA President and Chief Operating Officer, Western Area of Dairy Farmers of America. “Through Phil’s leadership, we grew meeting participation, modernized the website, and maintained strong membership and purpose. We look forward to building upon these achievements, and wish Phil well in his future endeavors.”

Plans for 2021

New managers have been working with Dr. Tong and the Board of Directors to reflect on past success, renew focus on CCOA’s purpose, and make plans for the coming year. They are excited to help build upon CCOA’s tremendous history of uniting dairy producers, dairy processors, academia, and allied industry members.

CCOA’s immediate priority for 2021 is to plan for a successful return of the Annual Meeting—an important forum for the industry to gather, exchange ideas, and gain valuable insights that help to move the dairy industry forward. The cancellation of the 2020 event was a first in CCOA’s 121-year history, which includes meeting despite world wars and even the great influenza epidemic of 1918. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an unparalleled challenge. Protecting the health and safety of CCOA’s membership is paramount.

Directors have opted to host the 2021 Annual Meeting via an online format. By virtually gathering online, members and guests can learn from expert speakers, exchange ideas, and gain valuable insights. Expect three hours of quality programing on each of the three days: June 28 – 30, 2021. Stay tuned for announcements about the agenda, sponsorship opportunities, and speakers!

CCOA serves a unique and important purpose, as it is one of few organizations that brings together dairy producers, dairy processors, academia, and allied industry members to share information and discuss key issues important to the entire dairy industry. This role is increasingly valuable, as both the state’s dairy processors and farms continue to adopt new technologies and strategies, working toward ambitious sustainability goals while recognizing evolving consumer and food service trends and preferences. CCOA looks forward to expanding the scope of educational programming and the opportunities to learn from one another.

2021 has brought hope tempered with ongoing uncertainty and challenges. Our collaborative efforts—in-person or virtual—remain critical. CCOA welcomes you to join or renew membership. We look forward to strengthening partnerships, hosting meaningful discussions, promoting innovation, and ensuring a vibrant future for the California dairy community.

Join or Renew Your CCOA Membership Today.

Save the Date: June 28-30, 2021

Plan to connect online for CCOA’s 121st Annual Meeting. Mark your calendar for the CCOA 2021 Annual Meeting. Members and partners will receive email updates on the developing agenda.





Recognition of Dr. Phil Tong

CCOA greatly appreciates Dr. Phil Tong’s service as Executive Director and Secretary/Treasurer from 2016 – 2020. Dr. Tong is a Professor Emeritus of Dairy Science at Cal Poly, State University. During his 35 years in conducting research educational programs in dairy foods science and technology, he co-authored over 100 publications, organized and led the instruction of over 60 short courses and symposia, and gave over 300 presentations to industry groups and academics in 11 countries.  He has served as President and member of the Board of Directors of the American Dairy Science Association, and Past Chair of the Dairy Foods Division of Institute of Food Technologists. Dr. Tong has received numerous prestigious industry accolades and distinctions.

“It was my honor and privilege to serve as CCOA’s Executive Director and to work for and with so many talented and nice people in the dairy industry. Because CCOA brings producers, processors and allied groups together, I know it can effectively discuss and meet the future challenges and opportunities. With your support, CCOA will continue to remain strong and facilitate the growth and success of California dairy industry.

Welcome Michael Boccadoro

Michael Boccadoro has worked extensively for more than thirty-five years in public affairs and environmental sustainability consulting—including extensive work for the dairy and food processing sectors.  As President of WCA, Boccadoro is responsible for overseeing the firm’s public affairs and regulatory affairs work, helping clients with issues related to energy, water, finance, resource planning, and other environmental and sustainability challenges.

Boccadoro has been deeply engaged in California’s climate, energy, and environmental policy debates on behalf of the state’s agriculture and food processing industries. He has also been instrumental in the development of California’s renewable energy programs including solar and bioenergy. He established and continues to lead California dairy methane reduction efforts. He remains actively engaged in state and national dairy sector sustainability discussions and development of achievable climate goals, including climate neutrality. Boccadoro received his B.A. in economics and political science from the University of California, Davis.

Michael Boccadoro headshotI look forward to this opportunity to promote wider participation in the California Creamery Operators Association. The organization plays an important role in allowing processors, producers, and allied industry members to learn from one another and to develop strategies and partnerships that will keep the California dairy sector moving forward.”

Welcome Jennifer Bingham

Additionally, WCA’s Jennifer Bingham has joined the CCOA team, leading communications efforts. For the past four years, she has planned and executed successful strategic initiatives for WCA’s clients, including Dairy Cares’ sustainability communications program. She has led the coordination of the California Dairy Sustainability Summit, an industry-wide effort that welcomed 650+ attendees to Sacramento in 2018 and 900+ registrants to the 2020 virtual event. Bingham earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural communication at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Kansas State University, respectively. Her Cal Poly coursework includes the successful completion of Dr. Tong’s dairy manufacturing course.

Jennifer Bingham headshot“My grandfather was a dairyman, so it gives me much pleasure to be working for this industry. If he were still alive today, he would be absolutely shocked to see all the technological advancements that have been made in just the last few years. California is on the cutting-edge, and we’re leading the way in developing environmentally sustainable practices. This leadership role comes with great challenges, so it’s important that we work together. I look forward to promoting ongoing collaboration through CCOA’s events and communications.”

Have an Idea for CCOA’s Future? Tell Us About It

Is there an important industry topic you would like to see highlighted at an upcoming event or webinar? Email to share your thoughts with CCOA staff and directors.

Join or Renew Your CCOA Membership Today.