Dean Sommer
Senior Management Team, Cheese & Food Technologist
Dean serves as a technical resource to the industry regarding cheese, whey products and processing. He assists manufacturers as well as their customers by serving as a consultant and educator. Dean is often involved with trouble shooting, public and private company short courses and is able to consult on issues regarding processing and product defects. He has more than 18 years of experience in the industry, having worked at one of the largest cheese and whey product facilities in the U.S. He also has a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry as well as a Master’s degree in Food Science. He enjoys the constant challenges and continued learning that comes with working at CDR and is honored to serve the dairy industry, helping producers and manufacturers to provide the world with quality nutrition through dairy products.
Phone: 608-265-6469 | email dsommer@cdr.wisc.edu

Mike Molitor
Senior Instrumentation Technologist / Process Pilot Plant Manager
Mike manages CDR’s Process laboratory activities, especially the projects utilizing pasteurization, MF, UF, NF, RO filtration, evaporation and/or spray drying equipment. This includes "fee for service" work for the U.S. dairy related industry as well as projects for CDR, Food Science and our funding agencies. The majority of CDR's process equipment capabilities were improved or built using Mike's process engineering skills. He is available as a technical resource to domestic dairy manufacturers including on-site process consulting for Wisconsin manufacturers. Mike has a B.S. in Chemistry and 18 years of experience working for dairy manufacturing cooperatives with multiple plant locations. Including the six years managing the CDR pilot plant, Mike has over twenty years experience leading R&D, process improvement, scale up and dairy ingredient manufacturing activities.
Phone: 608-265-5919 | email molitor@cdr.wisc.edu

Don Otter
Coordinator Certificate in Dairy Processing Program
With more than 30 years of experience in the dairy industry, Don has worked in both academic and industry settings. Originally from New Zealand, Don holds a Master’s of Science in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. After graduating, Don spent a combined 11 years working for a government research lab in his home country studying processing technologies for plant, animal and microbial products. He also consulted with the dairy industry regarding the processing of sheep, goat and deer milk. For 16 years, Don worked on various properties of whey proteins at the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute and Fonterra Research Center. Finally, for the past five years, Don has been lecturing at the University of Auckland in the Food Science program, working with 15 Ph.D. and Master candidates. Don is passionate about education and is looking forward to sharing his many years of experience with dairy processing employees.
Phone: (608) 220-9043 | email dotter@cdr.wisc.edu

Karen Smith
Dairy Processing Technologist
Karen specializes in process development, scale up and troubleshooting. She conducts research in milk, whey and whey byproduct separation, concentration and drying. She also develops educational materials for processers and end-users and assists in the organization and teaching of related short courses. Karen previously worked in R&D, quality control and management, operations analysis and has been with CDR as a researcher and technologist since 1998.
Phone: 608-265-9605 | email smith@cdr.wisc.edu

Steve Rydzewski
Process Research Specialist
As a processing research specialist, Steve is responsible for assisting the CDR Processing group with trials, SOPs, dairy plant equipment decisions and other aspects involving the processing pilot plant. Steve comes to CDR with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UW-Oshkosh. Coupled with more than 21 years of experience working in some of Wisconsin's most advanced dairy plants, Steve is well versed in the technical aspects of the industry.

Despite his many years of experience, Steve feels that there is always more that can be learned about cheese and whey, which is why he is passionate about his role at CDR. Working with the CDR staff and industry contacts has allowed Steve to continue to learn on a daily basis, which is what he loves most about his job. He feels that he could spend a lifetime studying cheese and still not learn everything there is to know. None-the-less, he has dedicated himself to learning all that he can and helping build the dairy industry.
Phone: 608-890-2995 | email srydzewski@cdr.wisc.edu