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:
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.
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.
|1994||Banta Corporation - Cal Aurand, CEO||Menasha|
|1995||Doboy Packaging Machinery||New Richmond|
|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|
|2006||Workforce Connections||La Crosse|
|2009||ProHealth Care, Inc.||Waukesha|
|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|
|2017||Greenheck Fan Corp.||Schofield|