Gary Pickelmann named A.O.M. Milling Operative of the Year

by Teresa Acklin
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   Gary Pickelmann, corporate milling superintendent at Star of the West Milling Co., Frankenmuth, Michigan, U.S., received the 1997 Milling Operative of the Year award at the 101st technical conference and trade show of the Association of Operative Millers held May 3-7 in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.

   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 U.S.$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. Pickelmann celebrates his 25th anniversary in the milling industry in June. An agricultural engineering graduate of Michigan State University, he began his milling career at Star of the West, becoming a shift miller and then flour mill superintendent.

   When the company acquired two additional mills, Mr. Pickelmann was named to the newly created position of corporate milling superintendent to oversee the “hands-on” milling challenges created by the acquisition.

   Richard Krafft Jr., Star of the West president, said in his nominating letter that during Mr. Pickelmann's tenure as corporate milling superintendent, the company had completed many major changes. These included conversion of one mill from mechanical to pneumatic milling, while at the same time increasing capacity by 50%.

   The company also completed a new slip-form bulk flour storage and load-out building at the mill, as well as two major slip-form wheat storage projects at another company mill. The third mill underwent significant updates.

   Mr. Krafft also cited Mr. Pickelmann's handling of the 1996 wheat crop failure, which rendered much of the Midwest region's wheat production unmillable. The situation required careful blending with western wheat.

   “This was the first time in our company's 127-year history that required processing of a wheat so foreign to us,” Mr. Krafft wrote. “In large part due to (Mr. Pickelmann's) enthusiastic commitments, we successfully developed systems and methods in a very timely fashion to deal with the problem.”

   Mr. Pickelmann is a long-time active participant in A.O.M. district activities and is a former A.O.M. international president.

   Gary Pickelmann, right, corporate milling superintendent at Star of the West Milling Co., Frankenmuth, Michigan, U.S., received the 1997 Milling Operative of the Year award from Charles Sosland, president and chief executive officer of Sosland Companies, Inc.

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