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CDR cheesemaker Ray Michels among UW classified staff honored for excellence

Ray Michels, a cheesemaker at the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, is among five members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s classified staff who were recently named recipients of the 2014 Classified Employee Recognition Awards. As announced in this UW news release, the award winners will be honored by Chancellor Rebecca Blank at a reception on Thursday, May 15 at Olin House.

Ray Michels
Ray Michels

The release included this write-up about Michels:

John Jaeggi, a research at the Center for Dairy Research who submitted the nomination, says that Michels is the center’s resident butter-making expert, and has worked hard to obtain Pasteurizer Operator Certification, extensive safety and sanitation training, and most recently a Wisconsin cheesemaker’s license.

“Ray is vital in running numerous pieces of equipment necessary to manufacture a wide array of cheeses,” Jaeggi says. “This skill set is unique – there is no one in the cheese industry with experience in the operation of the wide variety of equipment used to make processed and natural cheeses.”

Michels has been working in Babcock Hall since 1977, first for the dairy plant, and now for the Center for Dairy Research. He says his coworkers are like a family away from home.

“Getting the award to me is kind of a reflection of the people you work with,” Michels says. “If they were not hard workers and didn’t care it would be hard for me to do the same.”

Michels says he gets the satisfaction just from seeing a job well done.

“It’s like any job you do, big or small, or any project you work on, when you finish and step back and see what you have accomplished, and it worked out the way you wanted it to, that in itself makes you feel good,” he says.