DENVER — Vince Kintzle, director of technical milling at Ardent Mills, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Milling Operative of the Year.

The award was presented April 18 during the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony in Denver. The ceremony was part of the IAOM’s 123rd Annual Conference & Expo.

Established in 1986 by Milling & Baking News, the award is given to the practicing milling operative who has made the most significant contribution to the progress of a plant, a company and the industry from an operating point of view.

Presenting the award was Kintzle’s colleague at Ardent Mills, Brad Allen, who described Kintzle, in his 30th year with the company, as a “miller’s miller,” having followed his father and grandfather into the milling profession.

“Vince’s knowledge and technical expertise is invaluable in assisting all of our plants’ management teams as they attempt to address the operational issues that they encounter daily,” Allen said.

Allen also described Kintzle as “relentlessly curious” and “an innovator.”

“Vince is always asking questions and seeking to understand,” Allen said. “His operational curiosity is one of his many traits that make him and those around him, better operatives."

“Year after year, Vince has consistently led improvement projects throughout our organization that have had a significant financial impact. His initiatives have improved yield, equipment operating performance, and product performance. More so, he has expanded capacity, reduced costs, and created more pleasant working conditions for all of our operatives.”

Kintzle also was praised for his work in the IAOM, where he currently serves on the Technical Committee.

“Vince has partnered inside and outside our organization in whatever way possible to help drive improvement,” Allen said. “His influence is recognized outside of Ardent Mills by other members of the IAOM whose careers he has helped shape.”

After accepting the award, Kintzle reflected on his career which was inspired by his first visit to the Bay State Milling plant in Winona, Minnesota, where his father worked. He recalls his father taking him through every section of the mill, explaining the different functions of each piece of milling equipment.

“That was my introduction to my passion and what I truly believe is such an important part of our lives,” Kintzle said. “I’ve been able to take those simple things that my father taught me and share them with the individuals that I help train.”

Ardent Mills is the largest flour milling company in North America with 36 flour mills and an overall daily capacity of nearly 500,000 cwts.

Another major honor, the Gold Medal award, given in recognition of exemplary service to the industry, was presented to Jim Schroeder, retired president of Great Western Manufacturing, Leavenworth, Kansas, and a 49-year member of the IAOM.

Although Schroeder was unable to attend the banquet, his son, David, accepted the award and tearfully read a letter that his father had penned to show his appreciation for the award, which is the highest honor given to an IAOM member.

In the letter, Jim Schroeder wrote that he was “deeply honored,” and that he has “always thought of IAOM members as friends more than customers, and always felt the feeling was mutual.”

Ted Korolchuk, Ardent Mills, received the Thaddeus B. Bownik Outstanding Service Award. Korolchuk, who has worked in the industry for four decades and was a past winner of the Milling Operative of the Year award, expressed gratitude to the IAOM for the honor.

“Ted Bownik was a wonderful guy who had a passion for milling and a love for the IAOM,” Korolchuk said. “I am very honored to receive this award in his name.”

Other award winners at the banquet were:

  • Jason Watt, Bühler Instructor of Milling at Kansas State University, who received the Arlin B. Ward Commendation for Excellence in Education.
  • Bob Ricklefs of Great Western Manufacturing, who received the Allied Trades Technology award.

Following the awards ceremony, David Jansen of Siemer Milling Co. was inaugurated as the 2019-2020 IAOM president with the ceremonial passing of the gavel from 2018-19 president Jeff Hole of Miller Milling.

Jansen, who began his career at Siemer Milling as a part-time sanitation worker and has worked his way up to assistant vice-president, said one of his objectives as IAOM president was to keep moving the association forward in a rapidly changing world.

“I hope to build on the foundation set by Jeff and other past presidents by focusing on our mission statement and reviewing our strategic plan,” Jansen said.

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