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Chuck Hellmer

President and General Manager

Chuck is perhaps the only Midwestern president of a cheese company with a serious dairy allergy. The Ohio native discovered Haystack in 2003, while searching for an alternate-milk cheese that didn’t exacerbate his allergies to the bovine variety (he succeeded–thanks Boulder Chevre!). Now he runs the joint.

Chuck’s background is in electric utilities, where he’s worked as an auditor, process improvement facilitator, IT project manager and account manager, and financial director. He actually loves that stuff. But he’s quick to add, “How can you not love goats?”

Chuck was Haystack’s operations, financial, and project manager from late 2006 to early 2009. In February 2009, he became President and General Manager. He still gets to play on the computer, and while his cheese consumption is limited by necessity, he’s a big fan of the Haystack culture (no pun intended). In his free time, Chuck enjoys hiking, peak-bagging 14ers, road biking, and playing his family of guitars.

Katie McMurray, Sales and Marketing Manager

Katie McMurray

Sales and Marketing Manager

Katie moved to Charleston, South Carolina as a teenager, but she spent summers gardening, beekeeping, picking gooseberries and canning with her Great Aunt Evah in Michigan. These formative experiences gave her a deep love of food and “the conviviality of gathering at the table.” With the goal of becoming a chef, Katie went to France in 1999 and ended up discovering her true passion: cheese. After an apprenticeship studying affinage with cheesemaker Chantal Plasse, Katie worked on a dairy in the Loire Valley, which is where she “truly began to understand terroir.”

After returning from France, Katie worked a variety of food service and hospitality jobs including opening two cheese shops in Charleston and stints as a concierge at properties in Austin, Dallas and Sinai, Egypt (fun fact: her nickname was Jibna, which is Arabic for cheese). Eventually, she landed in Denver and began working for specialty foods distributor Italco as their Cheese and Charcuterie Specialist. It was there she developed a relationship with Haystack Mountain and began to admire and advocate the cheeses of the Rocky Mountain Region. Katie recently passed the American Cheese Society’s CCP (Certified Cheese Professional) exam and is excited to be a member of the Haystack team. She’s committed to growing the company organically and fostering community, when she’s not bagging peaks, spending time with her family and hanging out with her dog. Her first taste of Vacherin Mont d’Or was life-changing, but she admits that her “desert island food” are Cheez-It’s®.

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Jackie Chang

Cheesemaker

Jackie Chang spent her childhood in Taiwan and South Korea, eating black market Kraft Cheese Singles and participating in beauty pageants. She moved to the United States in 1982, landing in Boulder in 1989. Jackie visited Haystack founder Jim Schott’s dairy on a school field trip with her daughter, and fell in love–with the goats. Soon she was spending her days at the dairy, caring for the goats and working in the cheese room part-time. Her taste for the craft and trade of cheesemaking continued to bloom.

Haystack’s full-time cheesemaker since 2004, Jackie has developed some of our most popular varieties, including Camembert, Green Chile Jack, and Aspen Ash. Her creations win top awards year after year from both the American Cheese Society and World Cheese Championships. Her ten to twelve-hour days aside, Jackie awes us all with her boundless optimism, energy, and unrelenting passion for cheese.

When not working over a milk vat or on the production line, Jackie loves cooking elaborate Taiwanese feasts, as well as practicing yoga, hiking, cycling, swimming, and drinking wine. She dreams of running a food truck specializing in Asian snacks. With cheese.

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Oda Wilson

Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant

Oda Wilson’s 30 years in small business includes a stint running her own 90-acre fruit and vegetable farm. Pretty much a perfect fit for us at Haystack Mountain, where she keeps track of our books, keeps stock of what we need and generally helps keep the place purring. Oda was raised on a 210-acre farm in northern California, and she enjoys working with all the other animal lovers at Haystack Mountain. We can’t help but share this vintage photo of Oda’s daughter, taken at Leadville Boom Days in the early ’90s. We also love the note she left us with image details:

“Bambi. Saanen. Prolific milker.” Pet goats. They have a way of ensuring you never forget them.