TECh Award - 2018

Technical Education Champion Award
Rick Recktenwald

The Boards Association presents several important awards each year. A number of years ago, we began a very special award, the Technical Education Champion, or “TECh,” Award. The TECh award goes to the heart of what the colleges are all about in our communities. It recognizes key community and industry leaders who demonstrate an exemplary level of partnership with us to promote technical education and economic development.

The Technical Education Champion award is based on five criteria:

  • The nominee’s promotion of the local college;
  • Its financial support to the district and individuals associated with the college;
  • Its utilization of the college for employee training, and by hiring our students;
  • Its advocacy on the college's behalf; and,
  • The nominee’s enhancement of the community as a whole.

We were honored to review a number of nominations for this year’s TECh Award. From the nominees, the committee selected one TECh Award winner.

This Year's Winner: Rick Recktenwald

We are honored to present this year’s TECh Award to Rick Recktenwald, President of Walker Forge and Precision Thermal Processing.

Rick has been involved with Fox Valley Technical College for over a decade, during which time he has been a strong and impactful advocate for the Technical College System.  He served as a FVTC Trustee and on the FVTC Foundation, Inc. Board.   As a key supporter and champion of the Fox Valley’s 2012 capital referendum, Rick and many members of his organization worked to promote the $66.5 million public referendum across the District, which passed by a 2 to 1 margin.

The doors of Walker Forge have always been open to FVTC and the Technical College system. Rick and his staff regularly host students, faculty, and community leaders for tours to promote technical education overall and manufacturing specifically.  He works tirelessly with high schools showcasing careers in manufacturing.

Under Rick’s leadership, Walker Forge and Precision Thermal Processing has been a continuous sponsor of the FVTC Foundation golf outing which annually raises over one hundred thousand dollars for student scholarships. Rick also personally spearheaded the donation of metallurgy laboratory equipment for FVTC’s welding and metal fabrication programs, a donation valued at $38,000. Realizing that students decide to engage in technical education prior to high school, Rick and Walker Forge have been longtime sponsors of Fox Valley’s Power of Manufacturing Camp for middle school students. He has also made a steady investment in FVTC’s apprenticeship program by sponsoring 36 apprentices over the past 10 years

As a NEW Manufacturing Alliance Board member, he has signed numerous letters of support for several grants that benefit Fox Valley and other technical colleges.

On several occasions, Rick has participated in advocacy campaigns through letter writing, discussions with legislators, and many panel discussions with constituent groups.   In 2014, facing a legislative challenge to dramatically change technical college governance and funding, Rick served as an advocate for the WTCS. Never shying away from expressing his opinion, Rick encouraged the Alliance board to write a letter of support to Governor Walker supporting the technical college system.

Rick Recktenwald’s commitment and focus on technical education and training makes him a deserving candidate for the 2018 TECh Award.

Former Award Winners

TECh Award
Year Winner City
1993 GMC Janesville
1994 Banta Corporation - Cal Aurand, CEO Menasha
1995 Doboy Packaging Machinery New Richmond
1996 J.P. Cullen Janesville
1997 Miller Electric Manufacturing Madison
1998 Kell Container and the Kell Family Chippewa Falls
1999 Webcrafters and the Frautschi Family Madison
2000 Dr. H. Victor Baldi Appleton
2001 Fred W. Lenz Blue River
2002 J.J. Keller & Associates Neenah
2003 Ministry Health Care Milwaukee
2004 SC Johnson Racine
2005 Aspirus Wausau
2006 Workforce Connections La Crosse
2007 OEM Fabricators Woodville
2008 Judy Jorgensen Waukesha
2009 ProHealth Care, Inc. Waukesha
2010 QuadGraphics, Inc. Sussex
2011 Pat Schramm Madison
2012 Kewaunee Power Station - Dominion Kewaunee
2013 Mike Weller - Miller Electric Appleton
2014 John Miller - Miller St. Nazianz St. Nazianz
2015 Jim Sommer - Service Motor Company Dale
2016 J.P. Cullen Janesville
2017 Greenheck Fan Corp. Schofield
2018 Rick Recktenwald Clintonville