Next Generation Takes Lead at Lively Run Dairy

Left to right: Katie, Pete and Dave

A new generation is taking the lead at Lively Run Dairy. After 25 years at the helm, husband and wife Susanne and Steve Messmer are stepping into advisory roles and passing the torch to the new owners of the business: their sons, Pete and Dave Messmer, and their new business partner, Katie Shaw.

Lively Run Dairy is one of the longest operating commercial goat dairies in the country, beginning production in 1982 and pioneering goat cheese in the American marketplace. Steve, Susanne, and the family have worked hard to create a successful business that brings delicious, one-of-a-kind cheese varieties made with locally-sourced, natural ingredients to the Finger Lakes and beyond.

Throughout the years, Steve and Susanne have immersed their sons in the family business, teaching them everything from the artisanal, cheese-making side of the company, to the financial operations. When Steve and Susanne decided to step away from their leadership positions to move into advisory roles of the company, it was a no brainer that the next generation would step up to lead the company.

Pete has always had a passion for food and artisan cheese, which lead him to become Head Cheese Maker of Lively Run Dairy in 2015.

Dave graduated from Cornell with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics and Management and has worked as a financial and strategic consultant for Lively Run Dairy since 2013. He currently works full-time in finance for Corning Inc.

As the company moves into the next phase of growth, Pete will expand his current role as Head Cheese Maker into Chief of Operations and Dave will become the Chief Financial Officer. The team’s new business partner, Katie Shaw, will become the Chief of Marketing and Sales.

When the family was searching for someone to run the marketing and sales side of the company, there was no question in their minds that Katie Shaw was the right person for the job. A long-time friend of the Messmer family, Katie joined Lively Run Dairy as their marketing coordinator after she graduated from Ithaca College in 2013. Katie continued to consult for the dairy even after transitioning to her new role as the Content and Digital Marketing Manager at Communique Design & Marketing in 2016.

“I was extremely honored when Pete and Dave approached me about becoming a partner of Lively Run Dairy as the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer,” Katie said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of a growing business with a product and team that I love.”

Pete, Dave, and Katie are excited to grow the Lively Run brand that the Messmer family has carefully cultivated over the last 25 years into a nationally-recognized entity. “I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the team that will bring Lively Run to the next level with my brother, Dave, and the sister that I never had, Katie Shaw,” said Pete Messmer. “We want to bring a little slice of the Finger Lakes to the rest of the USA and the world.”

The new team is formulating a plan to bring the company to a new level of growth, including expanding wholesale sales and improving the agritourism program.

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