The 26th annual award, presented by Milling & Baking News, is given to a practicing milling operative who has made the most significant contributions to the progress of his plant, his company and the industry from an operating point of view. A $1,500 scholarship is established in the winner’s name at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, U.S., and will be given to a deserving student in the Department of Grain Science and Industry. The award was presented to Martin by Charlie Sosland, chairman of Sosland Publishing.
“This year’s winner received many nomination letters not only from within his own company, but also a few from others in the industry, who described him as a ‘miller, teacher, innovator and collaborator,’” Sosland said in presenting the award.
Martin’s milling career started 25 years ago as an associate miller at ConAgra Mills. He had larger head miller roles throughout his career in such locations as Martins Creek, Pennsylvania, U.S., Tampa, Florida, U.S., New Prague, Minnesota, U.S., Alton, Illinois, U.S., and Hastings, Minnesota, U.S.
In 1997, he was promoted to technical miller in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., and in 2006 to director of technical milling. In addition to overseeing major consolidation and expansion projects throughout his career, Martin also was instrumental in refurbishing and installing a 90-year-old Nordyke rollermill to increase the first break roll surface at a mill in Loudonville, Ohio, U.S.
“His desire to push the limits and create new approaches to maximize the P&L of each milling unit is a driving force for the company success,” said a regional manager. “His ability to teach and mentor young millers is extremely impressive and no doubt has strengthened his company both internally and throughout the industry.”
Another regional manager called Martin, “the most passionate miller I have ever worked with. He has driven mill performance to an all-time high while strengthening our culture of teaching young millers and building a loyal and committed team.”
A retired miller and former Milling Operative of the Year recipient described Martin as a “straight shooter” and someone who is willing to “tell it like it is” to management or equipment vendors without reservation.
“His honest assessment of machinery is one of the reasons he was selected to participate in the initial design of one milling equipment manufacturer’s latest generation rollermill,” the miller said.
And, the last word from the company president who wrote, “He leads by example and delivers favorable results. His leadership and results are allowing our company to reinvest back into our plants at record levels. He is loyal, candid, honest, hard-working and demanding…he demands the best of himself which brings out the best in others. An awesome asset!”
Martin has been active in supporting the milling industry and its organizations. He has served on the IAOM Education Committee since 2003 and as moderator for a number of the IAOM Milling Maintenance short courses. He is a member of the KSU advisory board for the North American Millers’ Association and most recently appeared in the Modern Marvels television show “Wheat” to explain the flour milling process.