Monica Musich speaking at the Alumni Honors Banquet

2023 Alumni Honors: Monica Musich

Former Valley Dairy CEO credits her UND education, and her team, family and faith to her success in a male-dominated convenience store industry. 

Monica (Schmidt) Musich, ’82, was often invited on a “wives tour” when she attended convenience store trade shows in the early 2000s. As CEO of Valley Dairy, she had other things to focus on.

“It was nice to be women in the very male-dominated industry,” she said. She and Valley Dairy Vice President Kathy Cumming were a dream team, proving to the industry that women belonged there.

Monica, named Valley Dairy CEO in 2000, said UND gave her a firm foundation, preparing her for the challenges of the convenience store and car wash industries. “There’s a lot you need to learn when you go out in the real world, but my education prepared me,” she said. “UND opened up my world.”

In many ways, Monica opened her industry’s world to what she called a “softer” side. “We were women running the stores. I think we saw things differently.”
That softer side included introducing cafes and gifts to the nine convenience stores and four car washes, which employed 200 people.

Monica Musich


People were key to Monica’s success. “I had a fantastic team,” she said. “The buck stopped with me, but it had gone a long way before it got there.”

Valley Dairy store managers and office employees “just didn’t leave,” Monica said. But Monica, who grew up in Grand Forks, did leave after college, working for a mortgage company in positions of increasing responsibility in Denver, Dallas and Phoenix. Five years later, Monica realized she had a great opportunity with her father’s business in Grand Forks.

Her father, Frank Schmidt, welcomed her home in 1988. Frank, then CEO, acquired Valley Dairy in 1964, as part of the purchase of VALDAK Corporation. Monica, who had worked in the stores growing up, was again learning from her dad. Just three years after she returned, Frank died. “I was thankful I went back when I did. I felt like God led me home so I could have that time with my father.”


In 2016, Monica sold the business to Petro Serve USA, owned by Farmers Union Oil Company of Moorhead and based in West Fargo. The president, Kent Satrang, ’80, is a UND graduate.

Monica was happy to keep Valley Dairy in the UND family. She is also proud of her own UND family. She and her husband, Mark, ’83, ’86, as well as daughters Megan, ’20, and Madison, ’22, ’23, are all UND graduates. Growing up, the girls watched their mother forge a path in the convenience store industry and often benefited from the trade show swag Monica collected. “There’s nothing more fun than a trade show in the convenience store world,” Monica said. “Everything in a convenience store is represented in the show – gum, candy bars, pop; most sell beer and wine. You walk the aisles, and the vendors keep handing you stuff.”

There’s a lot you need to learn when you go out in the real world, but my education prepared me. UND opened up my world.


Under Monica’s leadership, Valley Dairy continued to serve the local community working with charitable causes and providing jobs and internships for UND students. Monica and her husband gave to the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, and set up endowments for the Nistler College and the College of Engineering & Mines.

“UND has always been so supportive,” Monica said. “I wanted to give back; I want it to be a win-win.”

A win for Monica was being named a recipient of the Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement and Leadership. “I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Monica said. “It’s such an honor.”