Nominate Industry Leaders for 2025 WCMA Recognition Awards

Posted By: John Umhoefer WCMA News,

Join Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) in honoring dairy processing industry leaders by submitting nominations for the 2025 WCMA Recognition Awards. Please share the names of your nominees via by close of business on August 23, 2024 for the following awards: 

The WCMA Cheese Industry Champion Award is given to industry leaders who, through their everyday business decisions, have created tremendous opportunity for others and spurred industry growth. Individuals to be considered are the CEOs, Directors, Presidents, or Vice Presidents of their companies. In 2024, Ted Jacoby Jr., Chairman Emeritus of the Board of T.C. Jacoby & Company, and Fritz Leeman, the retired majority owner of Brewster Cheese, were recognized with this award.

The WCMA Distinguished Service Award recognizes supplier partner members who have played a significant role in building the success of the United States dairy industry and contributing innovations in dairy manufacturing. In 2024, WCMA presented this award to Gary Starkson, retired from Advanced Process Technologies, and Reda Yacoub, membrane expert with career milestones at Ecolab, Koch Membrane Systems, Hydrite Chemical Co., Solecta, and Kelley Supply.

The WCMA Luminary Award expanded its breadth in 2024 to include professionals in sales and marketing, in research and development and in product quality and procurement – key areas that assure consumers are delighted with dairy products. The 2024 recipients of the Luminary Award were Dave Leonhardi, National Sales Manager with Nasonville Dairy, and Mike Pederson, master grader at Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The WCMA Vanguard Award is reserved for cheesemakers or cheese manufacturing employees who are considered groundbreakers for their innovations in day-to-day dairy operations. In 2024, Roger Schroeder, Cheese Production Manager at Agropur, and Richard Wold, Cheese Plant Superintendent with AMPI, were presented the Vanguard Award.

The WCMA Babcock Award recognizes the contributions of those in education or affiliate organizations who partner with dairy manufacturers in the pursuit of dairy industry innovation and excellence. In 2024, this award went to Dr. Vikram Mistry, Professor at South Dakota State University, and Dr. Andy Novakovic, the E.V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics Emeritus at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University.

All nominations will be considered by the members of the WCMA Recognition Committee in September with final awards determinations made by the WCMA Board of Directors in December. Awards will be presented at CheeseCon, set for April 15-17, 2025 in Madison, Wisconsin.