Tab Damiens
Chief Executive Officer, Diversified Foods Inc.

Education: Brother Martin High School, attended Loyola University

Family: Wife, Lourdes; Hailey,14, Anastasia,12, Hannah,11

Mentor: My dad, Marcel J. Damiens

Michelle Hennessey
President, Diversified Foods Inc.

Education: Redeemer High School; Bachelors Degree in Management from The University of New Orleans

Family: Husband, John; sons, Taylor,19, Zachary,18

Mentor: My dad, Marcel J. Damiens

Siblings Tab Damiens and Michelle Hennesey went to a food expo in the 1980's to find new products to market and distribute through their family business United Rice Milling Co.

As the third generation to operate the New Orleans family business, they were looking for new products to increase business. They returned with an idea to market and distribute boxed milk that does not need to be refrigerated and can be stored for up to 13 months.

The two renamed the company to Diversified Foods, Inc. and entered a new era distributing shelf-stable milk to grocers throughout the country. They found a niche market among grocers, church groups, non-profits and day care centers and now have distribution rights to shelf-stable Hershey's Chocolate Milk and Borden's. Recently the two contracted with the U.S. Military to send the milk product oversees and are training the fourth generation to continue the family business.
 
What did you think when you first saw shelf-stable milk? Tab: We asked all the same questions that people normally ask, like, "What do you mix it with? Can you actually drink it out of the box?” It tastes good!
 
Why did you choose the milk product? Michelle: We had a customer at the time who was looking for it. From there we started doing
food shows and trade shows to get people to sample it and understand what it is all about.
 
What organizations have you been involved with? Tab: The World Trade Club in New Orleans, which has merged with International Freight Forwarders Association. Our dad was a president, and Michelle and I were as well. We are family that has had three people serve as president.

What do you do in your free time? Michelle: We're on a cycling team called Bovine Paceline. We've done the MS Tour for the Cure. I like to exercise three days a week along Lakeshore Drive.
 
What is your favorite milk? Both: The Hershey's Chocolate Milk. We still don't know all of the secret ingredients they use.

iBERIABANK is proud to present a series of profiles featuring entrepreneurs, volunteer activists and artists whose work is making a difference. As iBERIABANK continues to make significant investments in our community, this special feature focuses on a few individuals who are doing the same.

While we can not include everyone who is inspiring change and worthy of recognition, we are proud to highlight a select few who give tirelessly to our community with their time, energy and passion.

Tab Damiens & Michelle Hennessey