Rick Thomas of ADM Milling Co. named 1998 A.O.M. Milling Operative of the Year.

by Teresa Acklin
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   Rick Thomas, plant operations superintendent at the Los Angeles, California, U.S., mill of ADM Milling Co., received the 1998 Milling Operative of the Year award at the 102nd technical conference and trade show of the Association of Operative Millers held May 2-6.

   The award is presented annually by World Grain's sister publication, Milling & Baking News, to recognize an active milling operative who has made significant contributions to his facility, his company and the milling industry from an operative standpoint. In addition, a $1,200 scholarship is established in the winner's name at Kansas State University at Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.

   The award recognizes an individual for his contributions to the cause of his company, thus helping to improve the operating standards of the entire milling industry.

   Mr. Thomas, who received bachelor's degrees in mathematics and milling science from Kansas State University, will observe his 25th anniversary in the milling industry next year, all with the same company. He began his career in 1974 as a milling assistant at ADM's Nokomis mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., was subsequently promoted to mill superintendent and became plant superintendent in 1976.

   He was promoted to general superintendent of both the Nokomis and ADM's Atkinson mills in Minnesota, U.S., — one a double-unit durum mill, the other a hard wheat flour mill — in 1982. He has been plant operations superintendent at ADM Milling Co.'s West coast mill since 1987.

   In his nominating letter, Daniel Wells, general milling superintendent for ADM Milling Co. in Salina, Kansas, U.S., and himself a former Milling Operative of the Year winner, cited Mr. Thomas' commitment to the value of hard work and called him “the consummate miller.”

   “He played a key role in the conversion of a durum semolina unit to a coarse farina unit, a difficult project that required many, many hours of reflowing, sampling and avoiding frustration,” Mr. Wells said. “His expertise as a durum miller resulted in his assignment as consultant and head miller during the start-up of a new durum mill. In his current position, he has improved plant operations in all aspects, such as reducing workers' compensation claims and improving sanitation and product quality.” Mr. Thomas has been a member of the A.O.M. since beginning his milling career. He has served as committeeman and chairman of one district and committeeman in a second district.

   Jerry D. Kuhn, White Lily Foods Co., Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S., was the recipient of the first “Milling Operative of the Year” award in 1986. He was followed by Eric Karow, Maple Leaf Mills, Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, in 1987; Weldon (Ed) White, General Mills, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., in 1988; Mr. Wells in 1989; Owen Roberts, Cargill Flour Milling, San Bernardino, California, U.S., in 1990; Warner Wellman, ConAgra, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., in 1991; Frederic O. (Fred) Honeywell, Shawnee Milling Co., Shawnee, Oklahoma,U.S., in 1992; John R. Gibson, The Mennel Milling Co. of Virginia, Roanoke, U.S., in 1993; Vernon (Red) Tegeler, Siemer Milling Co., Teutopolis, Illinois, U.S., in 1994; Jon Peters, Cargill, Inc., Lake City, Minnesota, U.S., in 1995; Robert Hare, Cereal Food Processors, Inc., Wichita, Kansas, U.S., in 1996; and Gary Pickelmann, Star of the West Milling Co., Frankenmuth, Michigan, U.S., in 1997.

   Rick Thomas, right, plant operations superintendent at the Los Angeles unit of ADM Milling Co., received the 1998 Milling Operative of the Year award from Charles Sosland, president and chief executive officer of Sosland Companies, Inc.

More than 1,000 millers, associates and guests enjoyed the 102nd annual Association of Operative Millers technical conference and trade show in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., in May. Here are some highlights from special events, including the Great Western/Satake USA, Buhler and Latin American receptions.

   Refer to actual publications for pictures of associates and guests at the A.O. M. conference.

   From left, Enrique Payeras, Harinera del Valle, Cali, Colombia; Luz Payeras; David Tullo, INAGRAIN S.A., Santiago, Chile; Eliseo Sempere and Santiago Balaguer, both of Fundiciones Balaguer, Onil Alicante, Spain.

   From left, Robin Armstrong, Allied Mills Ltd., Brentwood, U.K.; Werner Baltensperger, Buhler A.G., Uzwil, Switzerland; Enrique Payeras, Harinera Del Valle, Cali, Colombia; and John Schoch, Buhler A.G., Uzwil, Switzerland.

   The 102nd annual A.O.M. trade show attracted more than 100 exhibitors.

   Keith Horton, left, Grain Millers, Inc., Eugene, Oregon, U.S.; and Al Fafilek, Prokop Milling Machines, Pardubice, the Czech Republic.

   From left, Erwin Maier, AgriChem, Bohemia, New York, U.S.; John Bohi, Sefar, Thal, Switzerland; Dieter Graf, Vibronet Graf & Co., Lahnau, Germany; and Henry Stevens, U.S. Wheat Associates, Portland, Oregon, U.S.

   A.O.M. 1997-98 president Mike Jarrett, ADM Milling Co., Wichita, Kansas, U.S., and Valerie Jarrett.

   Hector Garcia Gil, second from right, Chore-Time Brock International, Milford, Indiana, U.S.; and from left, Erik Boughton, Loran Boughton, and Jorge Boughton, all of Uncommon Conglomerates, St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.

   From left, Vicente Spena, Molinos Nacionales C.A., Valencia, Venezuela; Asdrubal Rosales, Molinos Nacionales C.A., Valencia, Venezuela; Pauli Da Costa, Molinos Nacionales C.A., Valencia, Venezuela; Jorge Chavira; Ivo Klaric, Molinos del Ecuador, Guayquil, Ecuador; Andrea Saturno, ESLAMO, Puerto Cabello, Venezuela; and Erwin Maier, AgriChem, Bohemia, New York, U.S.

   Salim Alaybeyi, left, Molino, Konya, Turkey; Yavuz Tacer, and Behic Tiryakioglu, both of Equipment and Parts Exports, Inc., New York, New York, U.S.

   Heinz Baecker, left, Codema, Inc., Maple Grove, Minnesota, U.S.; and Rick Brandt, Brandt Mills, Mifflinville, Pennsylvania, U.S.

   Beverly Vander Vorste, left, and Greg Vander Vorste, Chronos Richardson, Chanhassen, Minnesota, U.S.; and Ted Bownik, ADM Milling, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.

   Beverly Vander Vorste, left, and Greg Vander Vorste, Chronos Richardson, Chanhassen, Minnesota, U.S.; and Ted Bownik, ADM Milling, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.

   Ray Vrtiska, InterSystems, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., discusses the company's products.

   Dieter Filip, Filip GmbH, Guetersloh, Germany; Kate Harrigan, Maztech MicroVision, Ltd., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; and Roger Gelsinger, Association of Operative Millers, Leawood, Kansas, U.S.

   Larry Groce, left, and John Haugh, both of CTB, Inc./Brock, Milford, Indiana, U.S.; and Mike Ragsdale, Butler Manufacturing Co., Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.

   William Lesniak, left, Spomasz Milling Equipment, Altrincham, U.K. and Darryl Tateishi, Jaymark, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, visit with a prospective customer at the A.O.M. trade show.

   Victor and Marcia Hutson, Ocrim America Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.

   Gianpaolo Pellegrini, left, and Marco Rinaldi, both of Braibanti Golfetto, Padova, Italy.

    From left, Leon White, Hayhoe Mills, Ltd, Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada; John Reed, H.R. Williams Supply Co., Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.; and Bob Ricklefs, Great Western Manufacturing Co., Inc., Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S.

   From left, Sergio Battalliard; a visitor to the booth; Alberto Torniero, and Silvano Barbieri, all of Agrex, Padova, Italy.