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Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Announces Industry Leaders to be Honored With 2024 Recognition Awards

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Announces Industry Leaders to be Honored With 2024 Recognition Awards

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024

An esteemed awards ceremony will be taking place at the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association’s (WCMA) CheeseExpo on April 18, 2024. During the event’s Recognition Breakfast, WCMA will award 11 dairy leaders for their outstanding contributions to the dairy processing industry. WCMA has selected its 2024 honorees in six categories, each a trailblazer in their career path.

Dave Buholzer, Senior Managing Partner, Klondike Cheese CompanyFirst of all, Dave Buholzer—Senior Managing Partner at Klondike Cheese Company—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; Buholzer will be its 94th recipient.

According to a press release, Buholzer has served WCMA in multiple roles in addition to earning Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker status, leading the National Historic Cheesemaking Center, and joining his brothers in service to their successful family business and the Monroe community.

Both men pictured above will receive recognition at the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association’s Cheese Expo

Ted Jacoby Jr. and Fritz Leeman will be recognized as WCMA's 2024 Cheese Industry Champions, awards that are given to industry leaders who, through their everyday business decisions, have created tremendous opportunity for others.

Jacoby Jr. is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of T.C. Jacoby & Company, one of North America’s premier dairy product trading companies. He served as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer from 1986 through late 2015.

Leeman, the retired majority owner of Brewster Cheese, will also be honored.

He has handed the reins of Brewster Cheese to Katsy Flarida Leeman, his granddaughter, after 58 years leading the family business. Brewster Cheese produces about one-third of all the natural Swiss style cheese in the U.S. at its flagship plant in Brewster, Ohio, and its facilities in Stockton, Illinois, (acquired in 1998) and Rupert, Idaho (acquired in 2007).

The remaining awards include:

  • Luminary Award: Dave Leonhardi and Mike Pederson
  • Distinguished Service Award: Gary Starkson and Reda Yacoub 
  • Vanguard Award: Roger Schroeder and Richard Wold
  • Babcock Award: Dr. Vikram Mistry and Dr. Andy Novakovic

For more about the honorees, check out the full press release here.

Congratulations to all of these well-deserving industry leaders!

Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association