”Every day is new, fresh and exciting”

Gavin Strang, Market Development & Sales Support Director North America, has a diverse, 15 year career with DeLaval and a passion for dairy farming developed early in life. Read his story here.

As a young boy in South Africa, Gavin developed a fascination for dairy farming and he borrowed the same book from the library week after week, ‘The day in the life of a dairy farmer’, to learn more about farming. He did not grow up on a dairy farm, so books were a path to learning more. Later in life, when planning his career path, a mentor recommended that he work for a dairy equipment company. He received the contact details for the Managing Director South Africa at DeLaval and inquired about job opportunities. After an informal interview, he was hired.

His first day was in 2006 and he started in our South African office as a Product Manager for Herd Management. Throughout these years, Gavin has held many different positions. Working for the South African entity afforded him the opportunity to travel his home country, to many overseas locations and within the African continent, working with product management, technical services and sales. In September 2015, he re-located to the US to manage the North American portfolio of integrated solutions – Milking systems, Consumables and Services and since last year he holds his current position.

Gavin has always enjoyed the challenges of business. There have been many during his time with DeLaval. “I have always loved a challenge. There have been many so far and I had always thought that once I had solved them, I would move on. I am still here because the business is so diverse and interesting that every day is new and fresh and exciting.” says Gavin. One of the more memorable challenges happened at the time of the launch of ALPRO™ (a farm management system) in South Africa. A farm had some technical struggles and Gavin was the “expert” with the knowledge to solve it. After evaluating his options, and with a very short window of time before milking, Gavin attempted to fix it. “I decided to take the chance just before milking. But things did not go according to plan and the cows were left waiting in the holding pen for several hours in the hot African sun. The owner eventually lost patience and told me if I did not get things fixed and the cows milked immediately, I would pay for the milk loss. I have never felt so much pressure from a customer and 1200 Holsteins bellowing at me!” Gavin recalls.

This stressful situation did not come without any positive insights. “These tough moments make you stronger in character. I realised very quickly that we are in a service-based industry and the customer should always be at the centre of what we do. We need to ensure what we do is right for them and the cows – always”.

When asked about the best things working for DeLaval, Gavin replies, “I love how multinational our business is ,yet still relatively small and intimate. I have been able to travel the world talking about cows and dairy equipment. That is just so awesome! In many industries, employees are restricted to their small city or geography of business. But best of all and still to this day, the best part of working at DeLaval is arriving on a farm and smelling the cows. I will never get tired of that.”

In the near future, Gavin is looking forward to yet another challenge of how we will adapt to the evolving dairy industry, primarily in North America. “With the industry consolidating in North America and getting larger, the challenges are now changing. The dairy producers are super-efficient, incredibly good business people, and this is driving the need for new ideas and innovation in our business. It will be a fascinating few years as new opportunities arise.”

Thank you Gavin for sharing your experiences and for your great work here at DeLaval!