By Tracy Stewart
Moooooving milk from the diary operation run by Stan Davis on Louise Kellogg’s farm was an early entrepreneurial gig of Alaska Pacific University’s Board Chairman and Alaska Methodist University (APU’s former name) Alumni, Harry McDonald (’71). Harry, who went on to co-found Carlile, of Ice Road Trucker fame, originally collected milk from dairy farmers in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna valley for the Matanuska Dairy. That early business, Harry McDonald Trucking (one whole truck!), ran for about five years before becoming Carlile. In its early days, Carlile was still connected to farms and farming: hauling fertilizer from Kenai to Delta Junction and back-hauling grain.
Harry’s memories of that time included a mid-sized operation on the Kellogg farm that produced several thousand pounds of milk a day. Louise Kellogg -never one to be constrained by the nay-sayers- established, as Harry noted, a “pretty elaborate” dairy operation. What Harry didn’t know at the time was that the nice woman he saw, moving about slowly and always waving, was neither the mother nor grandmother of the dairyman, Mr. Davis, but rather the owner of the entire farm.
Life has a wonderful way of circling back. Almost forty years ago Harry was collecting milk from thirteen farms in the valley, including the farm that is now known as Spring Creek Farm on APU’s Kellogg Campus. Today, in his role as APU Board Chairman he also serves as the Chair of the DeWolf Kellogg Trust, the Trust which enables APU to utilize this amazing resource for educational programs. As Harry noted, “Dairy farming was the basis for the start of my company which led to a successful business. I have a very soft spot in my heart for farmers…..[and] now Kellogg is a part of APU.” The circle between Louise Kellogg’s farm, Harry McDonald’s businesses, and APU also contains the Saltchuk family of businesses. Saltchuk acquired Carlile in 2013 and is now a generous contributor to student scholarships at APU, scholarships that help students move towards their personal and professional goals. A decades-long journey that has improved the lives of so many, and it all started with a herd of dairy cows and a woman who would not take no for an answer.