Wintzer Honored for Outstanding Leadership

The National Renderers Association (NRA) posthumously recognized Carl Wintzer, G.A. Wintzer & Son, with the Don Franco Distinguished Service Award at its annual convention in October. The award honors Wintzer for his outstanding leadership and contributions to the rendering industry before his passing in late December 2016.

As part of the fifth generation of Wintzers, Carl began working in the family rendering business right after graduating high school. Starting in 1973, he worked summers while attending college. He came on board full time in 1978 after graduating, working in all facets of the family business to learn the entire operation. Carl and his brother, friend, and business partner Gus took control of the company when their father Fred retired in 1989.

G.A. Wintzer & Son has seen a lot of changes and challenges in its 169-year history, but one thing has remained the same: the commitment the Wintzer family has to the rendering industry. One example is its tremendous support and involvement in the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF). G.A. Wintzer & Son was one of the first contributors to FPRF when it was founded in 1964, with Fred making a $17,000 donation to get the research group up and running. Today, due to Carl’s leadership and foresight, the company continues to be one of the foundation’s top eight contributors.

Carl served as FPRF chairman and was also one of the founding members of the Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center (ACREC) at Clemson University in South Carolina. Roughly 18 months after Dr. Gary Pearl first approached Clemson University about the ACREC concept, the ACREC Steering Committee was formed.

In 2004, Carl was a member of that committee and visited Clemson University on what would be the first of many visits. He became a well-known and much respected contributor to ACREC programs and was greatly adored by the faculty, staff, and students. Carl had a special passion for wastewater treatment systems along with scientific facts and figures. For 13 years, his quiet wisdom, intense love of science, delightful sense of humor, and always happy demeanor set the tone for ACREC projects.

In addition, Carl held positions with the Animal Protein Producers Industry, including as chairman during its transition from a stand-alone organization to a committee of the NRA.

Carl had a lifelong passion for learning and a strong belief in scientific inquiry and the application of new science to solve problems and foster innovation in the rendering industry. He was also skilled at plumbing and carpentry, and loved his cars and motorcycles, even biking to Sturgis in the Black Hills of South Dakota and driving his sports car from Ohio to Clemson University for FPRF meetings, examples of his zest for life.

Carl was a mentor to young workers in the plant who always had time to help others. A wise and fun-loving man, he was committed to living life to the fullest with a great sense of humor and a big grin. As a young boy, he excelled at sports, continuing on to a successful college football career. Sports taught him that a well-coached team would succeed while a poorly coached one would fail. Carl encouraged all members of his team to pull with equal effort, with his actions always speaking even louder than his words.

Sadly, Carl passed away much too soon in December 2016 at the age of 61 and is dearly missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing him. However, his legacy lives on. His leadership and support of research have been instrumental in building a portfolio of projects that will help the rendering industry for years to come.

The Don Franco Distinguished Service Award was established by NRA in 2015 to honor a member, staff, or friend of the association for meritorious service to the rendering industry. Franco had a distinguished and lengthy career in government and the private sector, including in the rendering industry and agriculture. He served as both vice president of NRA’s scientific services and president of the Animal Protein Producers Industry from January 1992 until his retirement in December 2002. Franco was one of the editors of The Original Recyclers and a contributing author to Essential Rendering. He cared deeply about the rendering industry and the plight of poverty in third-world countries. Franco passed away in January 2015.

December 2017 RENDER | back