OABA Announces 2020 Industry Excellence Awards Recipients
Three leaders are being recognized for their hard work
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Industry Excellence Awards:
- 2020 Excellence in Customer Service – Charles Hebble, Mid-Wood, Inc.
- 2020 Achievement as an Emerging Leader – Karie Staley, Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, Inc.
- 2020 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship – Cindy Ridzon, Witmer’s Feed & Grain, Inc.
Award recipients will be recognized at the 2020 OABA Industry Conference on Jan. 30. Winners will receive a plaque and $1,000 cash award, sponsored by ABIS/J.H. Ward Agency. OABA has a distinguished history of serving the agricultural industry and its members through advocacy, policy leadership and educational programs. The Industry Excellence Awards honor excellence, professionalism and achievement among OABA member companies and their employees, and thereby encourage that same excellence in others.
“It is a great honor to recognize outstanding individuals in our industry,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “These leaders set a high standard that agribusiness employees across all levels should aspire to achieve.”
The Excellence in Customer Service Award is presented to an individual who goes “above and beyond” in their service to customers, in order to define what excellent customer service looks like and recognize those whose contributions may often go unnoticed. The 2020 award recipient is Charles Hebble of Shelby, Ohio. Hebble, Crop Specialist at Mid-Wood, Inc., makes seed, crop nutrient and crop protection recommendations for grower customers in Central Ohio. His customer-first attitude drives his daily interactions at work, whether it is scouting fields and reporting back to customers, delivering needed supplies outside regular business hours, or periodically calling to check on overwhelmed farmers.
“His relationship with the farmer customer is very important to him,” said Ed Miller, vice president of agronomy at Mid-Wood. “This guy goes the extra mile, it doesn’t matter if it’s one acre or ten thousand acres, he cares about every single acre, every single customer.”
The Achievement as an Emerging Leader Award is presented to an individual who represents the spirit of leadership as a growing agribusiness professional. Leadership is often difficult to define in everyday business activities, but it remains an important ability to cultivate. The 2020 award recipient is Karie Staley of Mount Gilead, Ohio. Staley, recently promoted to Branch Manager of Central Ohio Farmers Co-op’s Mount Gilead facility, now oversees all aspects of the facility’s operations, expanding her role and responsibilities after more than 20 years on COFC’s agronomy staff. Staley continually demonstrates a servant leader approach, putting the needs of the organization, her employees and customers above her own.
“The primary thing that makes Karie stand out is her relationship with the customers,” said Scott Crowder, President & CEO of Central Ohio Farmers Co-op. “The way that they trust her, they know that the guidance she’s going to give them will make them successful. And that’s what we’re all about: making our members and farmers successful.”
The Excellence in Safety & Stewardship Award is presented to an individual that demonstrates safety and stewardship in day-to-day activities and interactions with customers, encouraging others to put safety first and be good stewards of equipment and land. The 2020 award recipient is Cindy Ridzon of New Waterford, Ohio.
Ridzon, Office Manager and Safety Coordinator for Witmer’s Feed & Grain, Inc., oversees office functions, develops and maintains safety policies and procedures, and ensures Witmer’s stays in regulatory compliance. Ridzon empowers employees to make safety their number one priority every day and encourages them to identify and address any safety risks before they cause an issue.
“Cindy’s concern for the safety and well-being of employees is authentic,” said Jeff Carr, Controller at Witmer’s Feed & Grain. “She’s been paramount in establishing a safety-minded culture here at Witmer’s. It empowers everyone here personally to take ownership of that safety-mindedness, knowing that safety is first and foremost.”
The three-day 2020 OABA Industry Conference, Jan. 29-31, 2020 at the Columbus Renaissance Westerville, is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a variety of topics relating to agronomy, grain and feed, safety and more. More details will be made available here.