Gary L. Aggus started working in the dairy industry as a freshman at Memorial High School in Joplin in 1972.
“He worked as much as 40 to 50 hours per week for Foremost Dairy in Joplin and still graduated with honors from Memorial High School,” said Lynn Oller, Springfield, a longtime coworker who nominated Gary for the Dairy Leadership Award.
Gary graduated from Missouri Southern College in 1976 with a degree in market management and also earned an Associate of Science in Computer Programming.
While attending Missouri Southern College Gary worked full time for Foremost Dairy. Upon graduating from college in 1976 he was promoted into management and rose to the level of district sales manager.
He joined Hiland Dairy in Joplin in 1984 starting out as a sales supervisor and transferred to Springfield in 1985. Gary moved up the ranks and was assistant general manager and general sales manager for 10 years.
In 2003, Gary was named president and general manager of Hiland Dairy in Springfield. He succeeded Lynn Oller who retired March 31, 2003.
As president Gary directs not only the Springfield plant, but manufacturing facilities in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Ark.; Norman and Chandler, Okla.; and Wichita, Kans. Hiland also has 26 branch operations scattered throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Hiland currently has a work force of approximately 1,500.
Gary was born in 1953 in California but the family moved to Joplin while he was still young.
He married Debbie Patterson and they have three daughters, one son-in-law, and one grandchild. Daughter Holly married Chad Jaeger and they have a two-year-old son Cole and live in Springfield.
The other daughters are Erin and Kelli. Erin is a realtor and Kelli works for Clinque and both live in Springfield.
Gary holds membership in a number of dairy organizations. He has served on several committees and the executive board of Quality Chekd Dairies; is a member and past president of the Missouri Dairy Products Association; and is also a member of the Missouri Grocers Association.
In his spare time Gary likes to play golf and also is a runner. Gary and Debbie are members of St. Agnes Church and they live in Nixa.