The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Board of Directors has selected 13 individuals to be recognized April 6 at CheeseCon in Madison for their outstanding contributions to the dairy processing industry.
Life Member Award
In 2023, Kerry Henning and Myron Olson will receive the Association’s highest honor: the WCMA Life Member Award. The award recognizes people who have played a significant role in the success of the Association through leadership, support, and service to the institution and its activities. WCMA has offered the Life Member Award since 1918. Henning and Olson will be its 92nd and 93rd recipients.
Kerry Henning, Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker and President of Henning Cheese, has helped lead his family’s cheese business since the 1980s.
Myron Olson has had a lifelong career at Chalet Cheese Cooperative, earning three Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker certificates in Baby Swiss, brick, and Limburger.
Created in 2021, the Luminary Award recognizes the contributions of leaders in dairy product sales and marketing; individuals who introduced new concepts, products, or innovative ideas to drive sales in the U.S. or around the world. The 2022 recipients of the Luminary Award are Dennis Kasuboski and Stan Woodworth.
After an extensive career in the industry, Dennis Kasuboski formed Kasuboski Dairy Consulting in 2020, working closely with companies such as Foremost Farms to mentor the sales division.
Over the past 10 years, Stan Woodworth has grown with Klondike Cheese Company, now serving as a General Sales Manager.
Cheese Industry Champion Award
Bill and Don Mullins and Jim Sartori will be recognized as the 2023 WCMA Cheese Industry Champions, awards that are given to industry leaders who, through their everyday business decisions, have created tremendous opportunity for others.
From humble beginnings, Don and Bill grew Mullins Cheese into what is now the largest family-owned cheese manufacturing and whey processing operation in Wisconsin.
Jim Sartori became third-generation owner and CEO of Sartori Company in 1977. In 2020, Jim announced that he would become Chair of the Board, allowing the fourth generation of the Sartori Company to step into a leadership role.
Distinguished Service Award
The WCMA Distinguished Service Award, reserved for respected and highly valued supplier partners to the cheese manufacturing industry, is the only award that allows WCMA members to vote on prospective honorees. Debra Cherney and Bob Fassbender have been selected for the honor in 2023.
Debra Cherney is the founder and Board Chair of Cherney Microbiological Services, Ltd. She is a nationally known resource and consultant.
Bob Fassbender has enjoyed a life-long career in the dairy industry, most recently his 24 years at T.C. Jacoby & Company. Bob retired from T.C. Jacoby & Company in 2018.
The WCMA Vanguard Award recognizes cheesemakers or cheese manufacturing employees whose work helped to blaze new trails in dairy operations. In 2023, this award will be given to Tom Jenny and Dan Stearns.
Tom Jenny retired in 2017 after 51 years working as a cheesemaker. Tom was one of the original three graduates of the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program in 1997.
Dan Stearns retired in 2022 from Agropur after 45 years serving as an expert in aged cheddar at the company’s plant in Weyauwega.
The WCMA Babcock Award, named for Stephen Babcock, the famed agricultural chemist and University of Wisconsin professor, recognizes the contributions of those in education or affiliate organizations partnering with processors in the pursuit of dairy industry innovation and excellence, and will be given to Dr. Ed Jesse and Dr. Charles White in 2023.
An accomplished expert and communicator in global dairy policy, Dr. Ed Jesse has devoted his career to helping diverse audiences better understand complex, evolving agricultural markets.
With over 45 years of food industry experience, Dr. Charles White specializes in sensory evaluation, quality assurance, food safety and specialized training.
Awards will be presented to all honorees on April 6 at the WCMA Recognition Breakfast exclusively sponsored by DSM Food Specialties during CheeseCon, the nation’s largest dairy processor event scheduled for April 4-6, 2023 in Madison.