Louis Wysocki honored with the 2016 Quality of Life Leadership Award
April 28, 2016
Secretary-Treasurer of Wysocki Farms recognized for contributions to enhance quality of life for citizens of the surrounding region
Bancroft, Wis. — Louis Wysocki, Secretary-Treasurer of Wysocki Farms, Inc. and time-honored supporter/member of Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), has been selected as one of three recipients, of the 2016 Quality of Life Leadership Award from Saint Michael’s
Foundation, the philanthropic agency of Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group.
This honor is awarded annually in recognition of Portage County leaders who have made significant contributions to enhance the quality of life for citizens of the surrounding region.
Until he retired at the age of 62, Louis Wysocki served as General Manager and CEO of a multicorporation family business, which he and his brothers, Francis and Gregory, founded in 1964 with their father.
Louis’ award was presented at the Annual Saint Michael’s Foundation fundraising banquet April 23, 2016, in SentryWorld’s Grand Hall.
“We are extremely proud of our father, mentor and recipient of a Quality of Life Leadership Award,” Russell Wysocki, President and CEO of Wysocki Family of Companies and Louis’ son said. “Through years of hard work, he has shown us that sharing God’s gifts with those in our community and with those around us, is not only a responsibility but a fulfilling opportunity. His integrity and passion for excellence, continues to be the foundation of Wysocki Family of Companies and we are forever grateful.”
Founder of Paragon Potato Farm, Inc. and Wysocki Sales, Inc. (currently called Russet Potato Exchange or RPE) Louis retired and gave up control of the business to his sons in 1997, living out his lifelong belief that an effective business succession is a process, not an event and that the next generation should be trained to take over the company in advance of when it actually occurs.
Louis has had a very successful career in farming and founded a “pool pricing concept” for the grading and marketing of potatoes. This concept is now widely used throughout the industry, giving producers the confidence that their product is fairly and uniformly marketed with transparency and integrity, thusly allowing the marketing function to concentrate on the buyer’s needs.
The nominations for Quality of Life Leadership Awards are reviewed and determined by a Selection Committee comprised of community leaders, including a representative from Saint Michael’s Foundation Board of Directors.
RPE, a second generation family farm, is a category leader and key grower/shipper of year-round potatoes and onions. RPE prides itself on maintaining a high level of business integrity that includes commitments to environmental sustainability, as well as category innovation and retail solutions.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AWARD
Wysocki Produce Farm was presented with this award in 2003 by the National Potato Council for being a leading in adopting innovations that reduce the risks associated with pesticide application, support wildlife habitat and promote improved water quality and water conservation.
FINALIST FOR GROWER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
As a finalist for the American Vegetable Grower’s prestigious award in 2010, Wysocki Produce Farm was chosen for showing a commitment to the company’s operation in the areas of food safety, technology and marketing, as well as a commitment to the vegetable industry.
Wysocki Produce Farm is certified under the PrimusGFS audit scheme. This audit scheme is benchmarked and recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). GFSI-level audit schemes are the most stringent and preferred by our buying community. WPF was the first potato farm in Wisconsin to be GFSI-level certified and currently one of two certified potato growers in the state. The Wysocki Family of Companies staff continually works to remain current with food safety requirements and developments, including the FDA’s rewrite of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
GOLD PLACE GROWER
For the 2012 crop year, Wysocki Produce Farm won the first place award from McCain Foods in Plover, Wis., for a storage contract of more than 70,000 hundredweight of potatoes. This award takes everything from the bruise rate and duration of storage to how many of our potatoes meet a minimum weight of 10 ounces into consideration.
Wysocki Family of Companies Wins United Way’s Community Spirit Award
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Recognized for longtime outstanding corporate and employee support
Bancroft, Wis.—Wysocki Family of Companies was recently presented with the 2015 Community Spirit award by United Way of Portage County at their annual Recognition Luncheon Tuesday, February 9, at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Awarded annually, the Community Spirit Award recognizes an organization for their longtime outstanding corporate and employee support of United Way. Wysocki Family of Companies, a United Way supporter since 2008, was one of over 225 United Way supporters that successfully raised more than $2.8 million to help people within Portage County.
“Wysocki Family of Companies is committed to supporting and volunteering with organizations like the United Way to help the communities where our employees live and work,” said Russell Wysocki, president and CEO of RPE.
Wysocki Family of Companies’ employee-led United Way committee creates year-round fundraisers to raise money for the organization. Each year the committee develops new and inventive workplace fundraisers to engage all employees and encourage employee donations to United Way. A few of these annual events include, but are not limited to, bake sales, chili cook-offs, basket raffles, a cookout and a dunk tank, a tailgate extravaganza, and a bean bag toss tournament. Additionally, Wysocki Family of Companies donates annually to Project Fresh Start, a United Way Portage Count program that donates school supplies to children within the community.
Through all the events, Wysocki Family of Companies and their employees are able to donate over $50,000 each year to support the programs and services offered to community members through the United Way.
Wysocki Family of Companies consists of RPE, Inc; Paragon Potato Farms; and Wysocki Produce Farm. Wysocki Family of Companies is also co-owner of Tasteful Selections, LLC, and Central Sands Dairy. They are a second-generation family farm and a vertically integrated grower, shipper and marketer of potatoes and onions. Wysocki Family Of Companies prides itself on maintaining a high level of business integrity that includes commitments to environmental sustainability, as well as category innovation and retail solutions.
Louis Wysocki Presented with Honorary Recognition Award from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at University of Wisconsin-Madison
Each year the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service to their communities, their chosen career fields, and the citizens of the state and the nations. CALS has three awards: the Honorary Recognition Award, the Distinguished Service Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Louis Wysocki has established himself as a titan in the potato and vegetable industry. He grew up on a family dairy farm in Portage County and was introduced to potatoes when he and his brothers started selling them on the fresh market as a new business venture. That entrepreneurial spirit has served him well. Today, the family farm is a multi-corporation business. His greatest achievement has been to, with many family members, create a cohesive family business and develop the next generation of managers for Wysocki Family of Companies (WFC), for which he is recognized and sought out nationally.
The 30,000-acre farm boasts a nationwide sales and brokerage office, packaging company and specialty baby potato program. WFC also market potatoes for more than 50 farms nationwide, providing broader market access to small family farms and utilizing a pool system to stabilize pricing across suppliers. Wysocki is also a leader, and has served as president of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) and the National Potato Council. He is a member of the WPVGA Hall of Fame. He also served on the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board for many years, including six terms as a chairman. At his first board meeting, he proposed an idea that eventually led to the creation of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
The Honorary Recognition Award—established in 1909, was championed by Dean Harry L. Russell and Wisconsin Governor William D. Hoard. This award honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding and inspiring leadership, integrity and unselfish service, making significant contributions in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, natural resources and social science. Over the past 100 years, the college has saluted more than 500 individuals who have given both time and talent to improve the lives of many and enrich society for us all.
This certification recognizes Wisconsin potatoes that are certified by Protected Harvest for adhering to stringent reduced-pesticide, environmentally-friendly growing standards.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT WORKPLACE LITERACY AWARD
Paragon Potato Farms and RPE was honored with the award by Wisconsin Literacy, a statewide coalition of 60 literacy agencies, for its work with providing “English as a Second Language” classes to its Spanish-speaking employees.