After 20 years of leading Hiland Dairy, Gary Aggus will step down as the company’s president on April 1.
Hiland Dairy, founded in 1938 and based in Springfield, Missouri, is a processor and distributor of dairy foods and other beverages.
Aggus’ leadership and commitment to excellence have been instrumental in the company’s growth. Hiland has grown from six plants in three states to 19 plants and 64 distribution centers in 10 states. Sales have increased from $400 million to approximately $2 billion. When Aggus became president, Hiland had a staff of fewer than 800 people. Today, Hiland has around 4,000 employees.
During Aggus’ tenure, Hiland began acquiring other dairy brands and purchasing plants in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1985. Throughout the years, growth and expansion into Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas followed. Most recently, the company acquired Borden Dairy’s assets in Texas. This move expanded Hiland’s footprint and supported economic growth and development for the company and its communities.
“I am very pleased the company has achieved the nice growth it has, and I attribute that to the great employees I have had the privilege to work with the past 20 years that I have served as president,” Aggus said.
Aggus has spent his entire career in the dairy industry. He worked at Foremost Dairy in Joplin, Missouri, while attending college at Missouri Southern State University, graduating in 1976. Aggus joined Hiland Dairy in 1984 as a district sales manager, working his way up to become president in 2003.
In 2006, he was promoted to COO and president of joint ventures of Prairie Farms Dairy.
Serving in leadership positions and achieving accolades throughout his career, Aggus has served as a board member of the International Dairy Foods Association, MilkPEP, Quality Chekd Dairies, the Missouri Dairy Products Association and as a member of the Missouri Grocers Association. Aggus was inducted into the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honor in 2009 and was named MSSU Outstanding Alum that same year. In 2021, the Missouri Grocers Association awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award.
While stepping down as president, Aggus will continue to consult with the company.
Dairy veteran Rick Beaman will assume the role of president. He has spent his entire career in the dairy industry, holding executive positions with other national dairy companies before joining Hiland Dairy in 2012. In 2014, Beaman was promoted to VP of Hiland Dairy and joint ventures.
“Rick is a successful industry veteran that knows our company’s history and culture. I am confident he will do a great job leading Hiland Dairy,” Aggus said.