It started with a great idea: Tera Johnson wanted to claim some of the organic whey she saw being mixed in with nonorganic whey for animal feed and process it into powdered protein supplements for human consumption.

That was in 2007. The next year, she built a “green” plant in Reedsburg to process the organic whey. In 2010, her business, TerasWhey, was named the Innovator of the Year by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. By 2013, TerasWhey was such a success, she sold it for $26 million. Since then, she’s turned her attention to helping other entrepreneurs grow food, beverage and value-added farm businesses and founded the Food Finance Institute (FFI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Johnson, who hosts the Edible-Alpha podcast in addition to serving as FFI director, will be the guest speaker for the Green County Development Corporation’s Executive Leadership Breakfast planned for October 16. (Previously called the CEO Breakfast, GCDC is changing the name of the event to be more inclusive of Green County business leadership teams.)

The breakfast will be held at Bailey’s Run Vineyard, N8523 Klitzke Road, New Glarus. Breakfast and networking begin at 7 a.m., followed by Johnson’s presentation at 7:30 a.m. with time following for questions and a tour of Bailey’s Run Vineyard. Please RSVP to GCDC at 608-328-9452 or by October 8.

In her presentation, Johnson will discuss what it really takes to build a successful modern manufacturing company and national food brand based in a rural community in Wisconsin. She will also share many lessons for other entrepreneurs and rural communities who are looking to create their own successes.

In January, Johnson will return to Green County to lead a four-day food and beverage boot camp sponsored by GCDC. The book camp is specifically designed to help entrepreneurs in the food/beverage industry supercharge their success. Spots will fill up quickly; contact GCDC at 608-328-9452 or for more information.