Michael Van Haren, Regan Doyle, King Milling
Michael Van Haren, Warner Norcross & Judd, left, with Regan Doyle, assistant vice-president of King Milling.

Moving forward

As proud as the Doyles are of their past, they are even more optimistic about the company’s future. A new, 5,000-cwt “B” mill, built in 2013, brought King Milling’s daily white flour milling capacity to 12,500 cwts and its overall milling capacity — the Lowell milling complex also includes a whole wheat mill with 4,000 cwts of capacity — to 16,500 cwts, making it Michigan’s largest milling facility.

“We thought we could grow into this capacity over several years and surely avoid seven-day weeks for our millers,” said Jim Doyle, noting that the facility incorporates the latest and most advanced milling technology. “Well, we’re already operating seven days a week. To put some perspective on this growth, it took the company 96 years to get to a milling capacity of 5,000 cwts per day. We started up the new 5,000-cwt B mill in 2013 and now, less than two years later, all the additional capacity has been sold.”

As part of the expansion, a new millfeed load out system was built that is capable of storing over 500 tons of millfeed and loading out a 25-ton truck in 15 minutes.

Waiting in the wings to assume leadership of the company are the fifth generation, Patrick and Regan Doyle, sons of Brian. Patrick, who received a bachelor’s degree in food business management from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from Kansas State University, is being groomed for the management side of the business.

“I wear a lot of hats,” said 29-year-old Patrick. “I help Jim with wheat purchasing and my dad with flour sales. Basically I do a lot of general managing.”

Meanwhile, younger brother, Regan, 26, is immersed in the operations side of the business. He graduated from Kansas State in 2011 with a milling science degree and then attended Bühler’s Swiss School of Milling, where he received six months of intensive training.

“Regan is a very good milling engineer,” Brian Doyle said. “He is an understudy to Steve (Doyle).”

Brian Doyle said he is confident all the pieces are in place for King Milling to continue its reign as one of the United States’ most successful flour milling enterprises.

“As King Doyle often would say, ‘You can’t stand still. You are either falling behind or going ahead.’ We intend to follow that advice and move forward.”