When the dairy bug bit UDC’s chief operating officer Andrew Wellington, it had him for life. Born in northern Victoria, Andrew came from a dairy farming family and hasn’t been able to tear himself away from the industry for very long ever since.
Leaving for New Zealand in 2008, Andrew spent the next eight years with New Zealand dairy giant Open Country Dairy, but when he and his family decided they wanted to return to Australia in 2016, Andrew joined a process engineering company that was responsible for plant development with the aim of bringing that business to Australia.
“I enjoyed the role but I had a big hole in my heart for dairy operations,” Andrew says.
“Ever since I started in the dairy industry I have been passionate about the sector and what can be achieved.”
Andrew started with UDC in April and says it’s the Midfield Group’s social awareness and investment in local community that made making the move such an easy decision.
“The company is family owned, which is very similar to the ethos that was in NZ. I love that it’s also early days at the moment.
“We have a blank canvas, and as a team we’ve got full license to assess where the business needs to go without a whole bunch of legacy baggage from years of operating.”
A qualified motor mechanic, Andrew started in the dairy industry as a tanker driver for a season at Murray Goulburn’s Rochester plant, which became a time of discovery of the world of dairy.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do until then,” he said.
The gap year led to two years studying food technology at Melbourne University as part of a cadet program through Murray Goulburn, where he learnt cheese manufacturing, whey processing, AMF and milk powder manufacturing.
After his cadet training he moved quickly from production supervisor for milk powders, cheese manufacture and AMF manufacture to plant manager for MG’s Leitchfield site in 2006.
He is passionate about his new role at UDC.
“We’re in a modern era, and we have modern gear, and we can utilize technology and social networks to understand what’s happening around the globe and apply the best lessons here.
“And I like just the energy and atmosphere here.”