MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, US – Jack Keltz, director of technology for Grain Craft, whose career in the milling industry spans 45 years, received the 2023 Milling Operative of the Year award at the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Conference banquet April 20 in Minneapolis.

In presenting the award, Tim Carroll, vice president of operations at Grain Craft, said Keltz was commendable “not just for his technical expertise but for his dedication to mentoring young professionals and sharing his decades of experience with those around him.”

“His willingness to contribute to others’ success, along with the broad respect of his peers, makes him someone the IAOM should be proud to recognize,” Carroll said. “He has displayed the ability to rise to all challenges and find solutions to problems that others could not rectify. His colleagues recognize him as a contributor to their operations’ capacity, yield, downtime and safety.”

“His willingness to contribute to others’ success, along with the broad respect of his peers, makes him someone the IAOM should be proud to recognize.” - Tim Carroll, vice president of operations at Grain Craft, speaking about Jack Keltz, the 2023 Milling Operative of the Year.

Established in 1986 by Milling & Baking News, sister publication of World Grain, 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 operations perspective.

Carroll noted that Keltz, who graduated with a milling science degree from Kansas State University in 1978, has played a key role in the design of many reflows and conversions throughout his career and has “been invaluable to the success and outcomes of those projects.”

Keltz led the technical operations at multiple flour mill locations before assuming his post as corporate technology director for Chattanooga, Tennessee, US-based Grain Craft in 2015.

“These talents are worthy of recognition and all these things, taken together, have earned him a lot of respect from his fellow millers at Grain Craft and from the entire milling community,” Carroll said.

Keltz said he was humbled by the honor.

“It is quite a surprise and very much appreciated,” Keltz said. “It has been such a great opportunity to serve in this industry.”

Keltz began his career in 1978 as head miller for Cereal Food Processers’ (CFP) plant in Rosedale, Kansas, US. He later was head miller at the company’s Portland, Oregon, US, facility in 1983 and then transferred to CFP’s Salt Lake City, Utah, US, mill in 1990, where he was plant superintendent. In 1997, he took the same position at the company’s flour mill in Wichita, Kansas, US.

Keltz became CFP’s regional milling superintendent in 2010, a position he held for four years until CFP, Milner Milling and Pendleton Flour Mills merged to form Grain Craft.

Keltz served on the IAOM technical committee from 2002-12 and was chairperson of the Wheat State District from 2002-04, while holding multiple leadership positions in the district during his career.

Five other awards were handed out during the banquet, which capped off the two-day conference and expo.

The Thaddeus B. Bownik Outstanding Service award, which recognizes outstanding service to the milling industry and to IAOM, was presented to Randy Garvert, strategic account manager for Ardent Mills.

In presenting the award, Troy Anderson, vice president of operations at Ardent Mills, described Garvert as “an evangelist for flour milling and the IAOM for many years.”

“His colleagues say he’s the reason they joined the milling industry and the reason they stay,” Anderson said.

Garvert, a past president of IAOM, was overcome with emotion upon accepting the award.

“It has been a wonderful career,” he said. “I’ve worked with some really great people, for some great leaders and on great teams.”

Also receiving awards were:

  • Steve Humphreys, vice president of sales for CETEC Cereal Technologies, Inc., who received the Allied Trades Technology award.
  • Enzo Galluzzo, a university milling instructor from Bogota, Colombia, who received the Arlin B. Ward Commendation for Excellence in Milling Education.
  • Tony Petersen, director of Integrated Pest Management at Ardent Mills, who received the George B. Wagner Memorial award, presented for contributions to sanitation and food protection.
  • Ramsey Hundley, mill superintendent at ADM Milling in Enid, Oklahoma, US, who received the Aspiring Miller award, given to a miller under 30 years of age who has provided exemplary service to the milling industry.

SLIDESHOW: IAOM 127th Conference & Expo