TECh Award - 2019

Technical Education Champion Award
Aaron Bauer & Josh Braun - Russ Davis

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 selects the TECh Award winners.

This Year's Winner: Russ Davis Wholesale

We are honored to present this year’s TECh Award to Russ Davis Wholesale.

WITC nominates Russ Davis and Hammond Trucking for their outstanding contributions to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
 2019 Technical Education Champion (TECh Award)

Promotion of WTCS or Individual Technical College: Russ Davis, with locations in Hammond, Milwaukee, Merrill, Lacrosse and 6 other locations across the United States employing over 600 people, is a vital company for Hammond and surrounding communities. The Hammond location employs 150, which lies in WITC’s district. Russ Davis stands by the local technical college and advocates for quality education for their staff and the community. Currently, two staff members serve on the WITC Diesel Equipment Technician advisory committee and have been a key stakeholder on assisting WITC to develop curriculum, order proper supplies and tools for the program, and advocating for the program.

Financial Assistance: Russ Davis has been instrumental in helping WITC expand the CDL program. Russ Davis has allowed WITC to utilize their parking lot for skills training and allowed WITC to get an approved testing route established with the state that leaves from their parking lot. They have donated a tractor to WITC to utilize for the training, and sold a second tractor and a trailer at a very reasonable price. Russ Davis Wholesale has assisted one of WITC’s recent CDL students to start her own trucking business. Russ Davis Wholesale agreed to sell a used truck-tractor to her at below market price. Russ Davis Wholesale assisted her in selecting one of the better trucks they were rotating out of their inventory, opening their maintenance records to better ensure that she can begin her business with a reliable truck.

WITC has established a relationship with Russ Davis and Hammond Trucking (Under Russ Davis’s umbrella) to offer the second year of the Diesel Equipment Technician Program at their facility for little to no rent. This will allow students to have hands-on experience working alongside mechanics in the real work environment. Hammond Trucking is going to allow WITC to have a classroom on site so students do not have to drive back and forth from campus to the facility. There will also be shared equipment and tools for the students. Their generosity has also extended to sponsorship of some WITC Foundation events.

Utilization of System/College: Russ Davis realizes that we are in a very competitive employment market and strives to provide training to their staff for retention and promotion. They have utilized WITC Leadership Development training. More than 30 managers received this training at WITC. At one point, Russ Davis had over 15 to 20 positions open for CDL. WITC created a customized training program that allowed students to work at Russ Davis while taking courses towards their CDL. With this 100% employer sponsored customized training, WITC has been able to help 14 employees obtain their CDL and move up within the company. They also promote WITC programs to their staff. They will have enrollment information in their shop for the public, as well as their own employees, once the Diesel Equipment Technician Program starts at their facility. Russ Davis also looks to hire individuals with a technical diploma or associates degree in maintenance, office support, IT and mechanics. Very rarely do they require a 4-year degree for their positions.

Advocacy on the WTCS’s Behalf: Russ Davis hosted and sponsored a luncheon for Senator Ron Johnson at their Hammond facility. They worked closely with the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation to plan a local small business roundtable. It brought together business owners in St. Croix County to discuss challenges these business owners are facing. They also work with Workforce Resource who operates FSET, WIOA, and W2 to recruit program participants for open positions. They are also active with other state and local agencies in Minnesota and Colorado.

Enhancement of the Community as a Whole: Russ Davis and Hammond Trucking is a local company that is employee owned. They hire and train local people, invest in their incumbent workforce, and provide education to the local communities. They support our local school districts as well by participating in the Youth Apprenticeship program by hiring students. They present at various different school events related to employment and participate in local career fairs. They also have a strong representation on the St. Croix Valley Employers Association board where they support other local employers. Russ Davis donates their product as well as monetary donations to local school districts, nonprofits, and the local fire and police stations. Russ Davis is a staple to our district.

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