Stieve and Touir take top honors at CentralStar Employee Awards Banquet

Potterton, Hartman, and Sattler achieve highest outstanding-effort honors

CentralStar Cooperative, serving dairy and beef producers in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana, held an employee awards banquet on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at the Sheraton Madison Hotel, Madison, Wis. CentralStar is the result of a May 1, 2019, merger between East Central/Select Sires and NorthStar Cooperative. Awards on Saturday were presented to employees from the previous East Central/Select Sires in correlation with their 2018-2019 fiscal year, which ended April 30. Harvey Stieve, Dodgeville, was awarded area sales manager (ASM) of the year, with Eric Westphal, Byron, recognized as runner-up. Mohammed Touir, Madison, achieved member service representative (MSR) of the year, with Kurt Barnes, Kiel, as runner-up. Third through 10th place in the MSR category were also recognized: Ryan Besaw, Omro; Adam Van Schyndel, Geneva; Dave Holzinger, Lancaster; Rod Alton, Monroe; Eric Gudex, Oakfield; Roger Belling, Fond du Lac; Jeremy Konen, Mazomanie; and Matt Kieler, Hazel Green.



The honorable outstanding-effort awards were presented to Dan Potterton, Mineral Point; Travis Hartman, Windsor; and Dave Sattler, Hartland.

Exceptional achievement awards were presented to MSRs as follows. Gudex was honored for area total-service volume, area direct-herd- and insemination/direct-herd-unit volume, and area-total-unit volume. Charlie Castillo, Fond du Lac, was recognized for personal total-service volume. The awards for area total-service-percent increase, area direct-herd- and insemination/direct-herd-unit-percent increase, and area total-unit-percent increase went to Kieler. John Hulbert, Monticello, was honored for personal total-service-percent increase and Mark Meyer, Reedsburg, received semen-blend percent increase. The award for personal diversified-product-dollar-percent increase was given to Van Schyndel. Accounts receivable went to Howie Minnema, Fond du Lac, and personal diversified-product-dollar volume went to Touir. Finally, Gary Fredrick, Mayville, was, once again, recognized for area contribution, and Bryan Witt, Browntown, took home the semen-blend award.

One MSR or MSR team in each region was recognized for top honors: Barnes, region 1; Ken Nehls, Horicon, and Casey Degnitz, Fredonia, region 2; Alton, region 3; Touir, region 4; Konen, region 5; Holzinger, region 6; and Bruce Von Ruden, Viroqua, region 7. The beef-achievement award also went to Von Ruden.

In addition to Jason Goke, Belleville, and Douglas Rake, Freedom, being recognized for exceeding 175,000 and 150,000 artificial insemination (A.I.) services, respectively, 18 MSR employees were awarded for achieving additional milestones in lifetime A.I. services. Winners included: Pieter Koopmans, Waunakee, 100,000 services, and Degnitz, 75,000 services. Eric Bierman, Livingston; Bill Daentl, Portage; Fredrick; and Shannon Sauer, Berlin, all hit 50,000 services. Dennis Gunst, Hartford; Hartman; Josh Keenan, Viroqua; and Sherman Wilson, La Valle, were honored for 40,000 services. Richmond Beckard, Whitewater; Andy Greenfield, Waupun; and Ryan O’Leary, Madison, achieved the 30,000-services mark. Van Schyndel was honored for 20,000 services and Bryce Buchda, Waupun; Castillo; Ben Schreier, Jefferson; and Jesse Smith, Shullsburg, were recognized for 10,000 services with the former East Central/Select Sires. Dave Placke, Hazel Green, and Westphal were recognized for 500,000 semen units sold.

Individual ASM awards were bestowed upon six employees. Westphal was recognized for personal total-unit volume, area direct-herd-unit volume, and area total-unit volume. Stieve took home the awards for personal total-unit-percent increase, area direct-herd-unit-percent increase, and area total-unit-percent increase. Brad Fossum, Lodi, was the recipient of area diversified product-dollar volume. Sattler was recognized for area diversified product-dollar-percent increase and semen-blend-percent increase. The final awards in this category went to Ben Sarbacker, Edgerton, for semen blend and Jay Ludeman, Lake Mills, for accounts receivable.

CentralStar Cooperative has consistent longevity among the employees, and several were honored for their years of service at the banquet: Linda Van Loo, Burnett, 35 years; Steve Otteson, Arlington, 30 years; Goke, Gary Hansen (Richland Center), Bob Radke (Bangor), 25 years; Deb Giese, Waupun, 20 years; Sattler, 15 years; Besaw, Castillo, Fredrick, Dean Kroning (La Valle), Mark Wallace (Wild Rose), 10 years; and Cheryl Buske (Mayville), Cory Gabor (Coloma), Gary Genz (Waupun), Hartman, and Ryan O’Leary (Madison), five years.

Employees from the former NorthStar Cooperative will be recognized for their achievements later this year, as NorthStar’s fiscal year was different than East Central’s.

CentralStar’s goal of enhancing producer profitability through integrated services is fulfilled by incorporating an array of products and services critical to dairy-and-beef-farm prosperity. CentralStar’s product and service offerings include Accelerated Genetics, GenerVations and Select Sires genetics; extensive artificial-insemination (A.I.) technician service; genetic, reproduction, and dairy records consultation; DHI services; diagnostic testing; herd-management products; research and development; and more. CentralStar’s administration and warehouse facilities are located in Lansing, Mich., and Waupun, Wis., with laboratories in Grand Ledge, Mich., and Kaukauna, Wis. For more information, visit CentralStar Cooperative Inc. at

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