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OABA Industry Excellence Awards

For the purpose of honoring excellence, professionalism and achievement among OABA member companies and their employees, thereby encouraging that same excellence in others.

OABA accepts nominations for three award opportunities: Achievement as an Emerging LeaderExcellence in Customer Service and Excellence in Safety & Stewardship. Nominations can be submitted by any industry professional, but the nominee must work for an OABA member company. Additional details on each award are below. 

2021 Industry Excellence Awards

Sponsor 20212021 award recipients will be recognized at the 2021 OABA Industry Conference on Jan. 28. Winners will receive complimentary registration and lodging for the conference, recognition in industry publications and a $1,000 cash award. 

Thank you to our 2021 Awards Sponsor: Assured Partners - ABIS/J.H. Ward. 


In order to be eligible for an OABA Industry Excellence Award, nominee must be an employee of an OABA member company at time of nomination. If selected as an award recipient, the individual must remain in good standing with the nominating company in order to receive the award at the conference. A nominating company may rescind the nomination of an announced award recipient before its presentation if the company determines the recipient is no longer in good standing with their company.

How to Apply

An accurate and honest evaluation of the applicant’s business activities and performance is necessary to be considered for an OABA Award. All information provided in this application will be kept confidential throughout the selection process. To complete your entry, please follow these steps:

  1. Download the appropriate award nomination form and answer all the questions within. There are questions for both the nominee and the person nominating.
  2. Provide two (2) letters of recommendation from customers, managers or industry leaders.
  3. Provide one (1) professional headshot of the applicant. An additional four (4) photos that strengthen the application should be included. Photo subjects may include the nominee interacting with customers, nominee in their usual work environment, facility photos, photos of the nominee and their family or other appropriate topics. Still photos only.

Nominations forms are DUE August 13. 


Submit nominations by August 13 to:
Ohio AgriBusiness Association
Attn. Nicole Volk
5151 Reed Road, Suite 126-C
Columbus, Ohio 43220

Scroll down to learn more about each award and to download individual award applications. 


Achievement as an Emerging Leader

Leadership at all levels in agribusiness is crucial to navigating the many issues facing the industry. Leadership is often difficult to define in everyday activities of business, but it remains an important ability to cultivate. By working to recognize leadership among those early in their careers, we can provide guidance that shapes their future, as well as that of the industry at large.

Outstanding nominees will exhibit leadership ability in day-to-day activities, while encouraging others to "do the right thing." Nominees should put the needs of their business above of their own and serve as a leader to emerging agriculturalists through local civic organizations.

Click here to download the 2021 Achievement as an Emerging Leader Award application. 


Staley Emerging Leader

2020 Recipient - Karie Staley - Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, Inc.

The 2020 award recipient is Karie Staley of Mount Gilead, Ohio. 

Staley, recently promoted to Branch Manager of Central Ohio Farmers Co-op’s Mount Gilead facility, now oversees all aspects of the facility’s operations, expanding her role and responsibilities after more than 20 years on COFC’s agronomy staff. Staley continually demonstrates a servant leader approach, putting the needs of the organization, her employees and customers above her own.

More information on the 2020 awards and Industry Conference is available here



Excellence in Safety & Stewardship

As an underlying element of business, safety cannot be over-emphasized. Lack of attention of the safety of employees and customers can result in loss of life and business. Stewardship, too, is an extremely important aspect of he best management practices of today’s agribusiness. Stewardship goes beyond responsible care of the environment. It means care of facilities, equipment and relationships to the benefit of all involved.

Outstanding nominees will demonstrate safety and stewardship in day-to-day activities and interactions with customers, encouraging others to put safety first and be good stewards of equipment and land. 

Click here to download the 2021 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship Award application. 


Ridzon Safety Stewardship

2020 Recipient - Cindy Ridzon - Witmer's Feed & Grain, Inc. 

The 2020 award recipient is Cindy Ridzon of New Waterford, Ohio. 

Ridzon, Office Manager and Safety Coordinator for Witmer’s Feed & Grain, Inc., oversees office functions, develops and maintains safety policies and procedures, and ensures Witmer’s stays in regulatory compliance. Ridzon empowers employees to make safety their number one priority every day and encourages them to identify and address any safety risks before they cause an issue.

More information on the 2020 awards and Industry Conference is available here



Excellence in Customer Service

Whether your agribusiness is grain, crop inputs, custom application or another sector of agriculture, providing excellent customer service is key to making that business successful. By recognizing those that go “above and beyond” in their service to customers, we can help define what excellent customer service looks like as we honor those whose contributions may often go unnoticed.

Outstanding nominees will demonstrate exceptional service to customers in carrying out their day-to-day work, whether it's in a front line sales position or not. Nominees should demonstrate a level of serving others that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of the job description. 

Click here to download the 2021 Excellence in Customer Service Award application. 


Past Recipients

Recipients were employed by the company listed at the time of receiving their award.

Excellence in Customer Service

Achievement as an Emerging Leader

Excellence in Safety & Stewardship 



Please contact Nicole Volk with any questions about the OABA Industry Excellence Awards.
Phone: 614-326-7520, ext. 4