DENVER--They came to Quality Chekd Dairies’ 2003 Spring Management & Leadership Conference to talk about bettering their dairy businesses, but they stayed for the snow. More than 290 members participated in several educational sessions, competed in the annual “battle of the brands” competition, and visited the Coors Brewery. Meanwhile their rental cars, and the rest of Denver for that matter, were blanketed with 40 inches of white as winter’s last gasp turned into a roar. The snow—part of what’s being called the most intense winter storm in Colorado in the past 20 years—began March 18, on the second day of the conference, and kept coming for nearly 24 hours. It had stopped by the time the conference wrapped up on the 19th, the last official full day of winter.

Sinton Dairy Foods Co., Colorado Springs, received the Irving B. Weber Award, the top award given by the Naperville Ill.-based association.

Bill Keating, v.p. of operations, said a torrential downpour couldn’t have dampened the spirits of the dozen Sinton employees who were on hand as the award was given out. It was the first time the company had won the award.

“We’ve been a finalist five years in a row and just fell short,” Keating said. “So we were really pumped up. They had to scrape us off the ceiling.”

Keating, and V.P. of Sales, Joel Midkiff said the competition for the award is very high caliber, and that the standards are encompassing. There are four criteria: A plant audit, product quality analysis, customer satisfaction surveys and a management survey that asks for details about the company’s goals, philosophies and performance.

“These last five years have been a journey, Midkiff said. “And we don’t see this as an end-all but as a mileage post that tells us we are on the right track. “

The Irving B. Weber Award is modeled _after the U.S. Commerce Department’s prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award

Sinton Dairy Foods Co., Colorado Springs, received the Irving B. Weber award at Quality Chekd Dairies' 2003 Spring Management & Leadership Conference.
“It is an honor to reach the finalist stage for the Weber Award. The winner must consistently reinforce a commitment to improve upon and maintain the highest quality through plant, product, leadership and customer service excellence,” said Peter Horvath, managing director, Quality Chekd. “Sinton won the Weber Award for its forward-moving investments, great management team and implementing best practices to all facets of its business.”

Creamland Dairies, Albuquerque, N.M. and Super Store Industries, Fairfield, Calif received the Harlie F. Zimmerman and Wayne Gingrich Awards respectively.

The Zimmerman Award, named in honor of Quality Chekd’s inaugural managing director, recognizes creativity and sales growth for marketing and brand-awareness campaigns implemented in the past year.

“The Zimmerman Award really allows our members to showcase all of their creative ideas and strategic success in marketing over the past year,” said Horvath. “Creamland Dairies submitted an excellent campaign that was consistent, humorous and focused on capturing consumer attention.”

The Gingrich Award is named in honor of the organization’s first production director, the award acknowledges quality performance in plant operations including finished product quality, plant appearance, cleanliness, efficiency, overall management leadership and process control.

“Each year a member dairy raises the bar for quality production,” said Horvath. “Super Store Industries Fairfield maintains a great plant, a wonderfully trained team and radiates the true meaning of plant excellence for the Quality Chekd organization.”

An additional 150 Production and Marketing Merit Awards were presented to the more than 35 member dairies, recognizing quality and marketing excellence for milk, ice cream and other dairy products.