Getting to Know Deb O.


What do you do at Indiana Dairy?

I am the General Manager.  I focus on our organization’s vision, mission, goals, strategies, staff and budgets.  I work with our dairy farmer board of directors.  I participate in our senior leadership team comprised of staff from our national and state and regional dairy promotion organizations.  Occasionally I go into a recording studio to tape radio spots featuring our events and Every Single Day dairy image campaign.


What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is the people with whom I work.  Agriculture is a small community and dairy is a small neighborhood within that community.  Everyone is so passionate about producing food.  I especially enjoy visiting dairy farmers on their farms and seeing first-hand how they care for their animals and the land.  They take pride in what they do.  They love their cows.  So many times over the years dairy men and women have told me how they love working together with their families on their farms producing food for others.  I’m very passionate about them and about spreading the good nutrition news about their product:  milk.


Tell us a little about yourself

I have a BS degree with a double major in Business Administration and Marketing.  I’ve worked for Indiana’s dairy farmers in dairy promotion for over 30 years.  I am very passionate about representing dairy farmers and the food they produce.

I am a lifelong Hoosier.  I grew up in St. Joseph County, where the plentiful lake effect snow teaches you to learn to enjoy it.  My husband and I live in a rural community not too far from Indianapolis and are active in our church.  We also participate in our community band.  I play a flute in the band and he runs the sound system.  I enjoy working with animals.  I have geese, a cat and a dog.  I’ve owned horses and goats as well.  My very elderly Arabian mare recently passed away.  It was tough losing her, but I was blessed with 22 years of caring for her.  She and I even shared the same birthday.  I enjoy watching and identifying the birds of Indiana as well as in other parts of the country when traveling.


Tell us a little about someone who has influenced your life and why?


My mother influenced my life a great deal.  I wish she was living to read this.  She would be proud and gratified.  She was very bright, funny, kind and caring.  A polio survivor, she lived her life and raised two children, kept a home, entertained guests, had her own child-care business and traveled the country—all this and much more from her wheelchair.  And she did all this long before accessibility issues were on anyone’s radar screen.   I’m so proud of her and so blessed that she was my mother.  She was my teacher and role model.


Do you have a favorite recipe or restaurant to share?

Bonge’s is my favorite restaurant.  Check them out at  The food is fabulous and people travel many miles to enjoy that dining experience.  Fortunately I live nearby.

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