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Source: Jeff Gwirtz, 785-532-2817, jgwirtz@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-2535, media@k-state.edu

Friday, May 21, 2010

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF OPERATIVE MILLERS HONORS K-STATE PROFESSOR

MANHATTAN -- Jeff Gwirtz, associate professor of milling science and management at Kansas State University, has been honored with the 2010 Thaddeus Bownik Award from the International Association of Operative Millers.

The award is presented annually by the association in recognition of a member's many years of support and contributions to the flour milling and grain processing industry, and for special contributions to the association as a member of the board of directors and standing or special committees.

Founded in 1896, the association is an international organization of grain millers and allied trades representatives devoted to the advancement of education and training opportunities in the grain milling industries.

Gwirtz, who has been a member of the International Association of Operative Millers since 1983, has served on several different association committees and has had various roles within the organization.

He traces his interest in milling science back to his first job out of high school at an Ohio farmer's cooperative. While working there, a feed salesman told Gwirtz about the grain science department at K-State.

"After a year of full-time post-high school work, my first week of vacation was spent traveling to Manhattan, Kan., meeting Dr. Eustace and touring the pilot flour mill," Gwirtz said. "The process intrigued me and I enrolled in milling science and management. The milling process still intrigues and challenges me to this day."

He said that grain millers play a vital role in everyday life for people all over the world, which is something that drives his passion for the profession and for the International Association of Operative Millers.

"Everyday, millers from around the world convert grain into edible food products sustaining and enhancing human lives," he said.

Gwirtz said the milling science program at K-State has a strong link with the International Association of Operative Millers.

"Many of our association members and associates have degrees in milling science from K-State or have attended many of the jointly sponsored resident milling short courses that K-State and the association facilitate," he said.

One of Gwirtz's goals is to share the professional experience of being involved in the International Association of Operative Millers with his students, providing them with opportunities to attend district and international meetings where they can connect to a network of professionals and help them extract more value out of their education at K-State.

"It is my responsibility and privilege as a teacher to introduce students to the IAOM," Gwirtz said. "Sharing the IAOM experience with students provides them with networking and learning opportunities in a diverse environment. Students are the future of the industry and need to be ready to contribute and take positions of responsibility."