Mark Ahmann

, Star Tribune

Movers & shakers: Mark Ahmann, Milk Specialties Global

  • June 17, 2012 - 11:32 AM



Title: Chief human resources officer

Age: 56

Mark Ahmann now can enjoy the protein shakes that are part of his post-workout regimen at the office, too, as the chief human resources officer at Milk Specialties Global.

Ahmann, hired in April after working two months on contract, said the ingredients are readily available at the Eden Prairie offices of Milk Specialties, which produces whey-based protein powders for companies that make consumer products.

"We have different protein powders that we manufacture in a break room here at work," Ahmann said. "We have a blender and pretty much unlimited access to making protein shakes or protein drinks, so it's a nice perk.''

A rising emphasis on healthy lifestyles and a resulting increase in demand for protein shakes and drinks have driven the company's growth in recent years, Ahmann said. Milk Specialities, with headquarters in Illinois and other locations in Wisconsin and Nebraska, also makes animal nutrition products and "nutraceutical" supplements for people, he said.

Ahmann said his role is to help existing employees develop and to recruit top talent to support the company's growth. He just hired four managers for his department and is moving to build supervisory programs, technical competency programs and employee survey tools.

Ahmann previously held human resources leadership roles in such industries as aerospace and defense, managed health care, technology and retail. He has a master of arts in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

QWhat appealed to you about the Milk Specialties opportunity?

AThe marketplace is growing and the company is growing. They're really putting a significant focus on talent and they're serious about it. It's a strong emphasis on getting the best players possible ... to fill all these critical roles.

QHow do you approach your work as a human resource professional?

AYou're always striving to do better, to help the organization more. You're never going to get there completely, but I have kept that as a mantra for myself.

QHow does your work at Milk Specialties align with your personal life?

AI love working out. And our family -- my wife, Lisa, and our daughters, Libby and Tory -- we try to have healthy active lifestyles, so the whole protein shake thing really fits. Libby was a competitive figure skater at the University of Miami-Ohio and Tory is a synchronized swimmer.


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