Bill Byrne Dairy talk to students

Wells College hosts former Byrne Dairy president

Bill Byrne was third-generation president of Byrne Dairy who ran the company from 1997 to 2007.
February 16, 2024

Wells College students, faculty, staff, and community members learned about the dairy industry in Central New York from former Byrne Dairy president Bill Byrne during an open lecture Tuesday evening in Stratton Hall. Byrne and his wife, Nancy Phipps Byrne ‘73, were invited to campus by the Office of the President, the Office of Workforce Partnerships, and the Office of Alumnae and Alumni Engagement to share his experience and perspective with the campus community.

Byrne was inducted into the Manufacturers Association's Wall of Fame in 2014 for his career. Byrne has served as chairperson and board member for many community organizations, such as the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative, the New York Federal Reserve Board Committee on Small Business and Agriculture, the local Salvation Army Advisory Board, LiteracyCNY, and Syracuse Symphony Foundation. Byrne’s family continues to operate Byrne Dairy, which has been in business for more than 90 years.

Byrne reflected on the history of Byrne Dairy and how the company grew. His grandfather, Matthew Byrne, started the business in 1933 by producing and distributing milk to local families in Syracuse via horse-pulled wagons. Today, Byrne Dairy is a regional distributor of milk, cream, and ice cream that works with local dairy farms based in Central New York. They currently have many manufacturing facilities, warehouses, a corporate headquarters, extended shelf-life and ultra-pasteurization plants, at least 60 convenience stores, and more than 1,200 employees. According to their company profile, “Byrne’s average farm is only 35 miles from our plants, where we receive around 50 million pounds of milk each month.” As of last year, Byrne Dairy products can be found in hundreds of groceries in more than 35 states across the U.S.

During the presentation, Byrne highlighted that various innovations in the company, such as ultra-pasteurization processes, expansion of plants, diversification of products, and the development of branded convenience stores, have significantly supported the company's growth and success over time. Byrne touched on one large economic development in Central New York, the Micron Technology computer chip plant in Clay, and how Micron promises to produce thousands of jobs within the next few years. After previewing some videos on Micron during the presentation, Byrne said smaller companies like Byrne Dairy may have a challenge to compete for employees with larger corporations. Byrne also recognized the village of Aurora’s recent grant of $10 million with Union Springs and Cayuga for winning the state's seventh round of Downtown Revitalization Initiative from Gov. Kathy Hochul as another positive development for the region.

After the talk, attendees participated in a Q&A session. Refreshments like charcuterie, spinach-artichoke dip, fresh milk, and Byrne Dairy cookie-wiches were available while guests mingled with one another.

Watch the full discussion below or on our YouTube channel. For more notifications on campus news and events, follow Wells College on FacebookInstagram, and Tiktok, or subscribe to our email list for updates in your inbox.

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Emma Vallelunga

Content Strategist

Emma is the staff writer and content strategist for the Wells College Marketing and Communications Office. She helps promote campus news, events, engagement opportunities, and stories about Wells worth telling the world. It's her job to get to know you, no matter who you are, where you're from, or how you identify. Tell the Marcom team your story at

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