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 is now accepting 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.  Information on how to apply is available at the tab below.

Industry Excellence Awards

Sponsor 2021Award recipients will be recognized during the annual OABA Industry Conference. Winners will receive complimentary registration and lodging for the conference, recognition in industry publications and a $1,000 cash award. 

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


Emerging Leader

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.

To submit an individual for the 2024 Achievement as an Emerging Leader Award, click the How to Apply tab. 

2023 Recipient - Cristen Cramer, Legacy Farmers Cooperative

Cramer 2023
Cristen Cramer, Branch Manager for Legacy Farmers Cooperative’s Fostoria location, oversees budgeting, operational efficiency, project analysis and management, facility asset management, location safety, rail loading, customer service and management of the storage and blending of grain at an 8.5 million-bushel grain facility, as well as supervising all branch personnel. In addition, she coordinates and organizes personnel for all 10 Legacy Farmers Cooperative grain locations to enable efficiency in the grain division and cross divisions. Cramer is a leader in her job and her community, and an advocate for lifelong learning and positive mental health.

Past Recipients

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

Customer Service

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. 

To submit an individual for the 2024 Excellence in Customer Service Award, click the How to Apply tab. 

2023 Recipient - Doug Bayless, Centerra Co-op

Bayless 2023
Doug Bayless, Control Center Operator at Consolidated Grain & Barge Co.’s Riverside barge-loading facility in Cincinnati, is the primary person responsible for interacting and communicating with farmer customers on a daily basis. He handles quality issues, controlling the operations of the grain handling system, segregating, and maintaining grain quality within the facility. Bayless is a 25-year veteran with CBG, serving at different points of his career in every role at the facility from maintenance to grain grading and scale operations, and barge loading to deck-hand and truck dumping.


Past Recipients

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

Safety & Stewardship

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. 

To submit an individual for the 2024 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship Award, click the How to Apply tab. 

2022 Recipient - Tim Flock, Central Ohio Farmers Co-op

Ss22 TimflockTim Flock, Safety Manager for Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, exudes safety as his daily life. With a hands-on, collaborative approach, he spends much of his time working directly with employees to implement best practices, to ensure all employees take safety as seriously as he does.


Past Recipients

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


The nomination period for the 2024 Awards is not yet open. Details on how to nominate a deserving individual will be available soon.


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 its 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. Submit nominations no later than July 31.

2023 Nomination Forms Examples

(2024 Nominations Forms to come soon)
 Excellence in Customer Service
 Achievement as an Emerging Leader
 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship


Submit nominations by July 31:
Ohio AgriBusiness Association
Attn. Lauren Prettyman
5151 Reed Road, Suite 126-C
Columbus, Ohio 43220

Judging Procedure

The OABA Industry Excellence Awards uses a ranking system to rate the nominees for each award area. For each judging category, the highest number of points will be identified (for 12 candidates, the best score is 12). Participants will be ranked in descending order until all nominees have been assigned a value. The candidate with the highest score will be declared the winner by the judging panel. Descriptions of the judging categories and their relative weight are available below.

All nominations are kept confidential, only limited OABA staff and the judges will see the full slate of candidates. Only the award winners will be released. While OABA staff members moderate judging, the staff does not participate in the scoring of candidates.

Nominations are reviewed and scored by a panel of three judges consisting of the following:

  • 1 judge representing agriculture, but not from an agribusiness
  • 1 judge representing academia or governmental/regulatory agency
  • 1 judge representing a non-agricultural entity, such as an association executive

Descriptions of Categories

  • Section B: Nominating Supervisor - How does the nominator describe the nominee's work and relate it to the award area? (Score x2)
  • Section C: Award Nominee - How does the nominee describe their approach to their work as it relates to the award category? (Score x2)
  • Section D: Supporting Evidence - How do the support letters describe the nominee in regard to the award and enhance the overall nomination? (Score x2)
  • Sense of Responsibility - How would you rate the responsibility of the employee and the degree to which they go above the scope of their position to meet the spirit of this award?
  • Sense of Technical Competence - How would you rank the technical competence of the nominee?
  • Sense of Degree of Difficulty - Compared to other nominees, how would you rank the degree of the nominee's difficulty of their job?
  • Sense of the Spirit of Award - How well do you feel this nominee fits the description of the award category?


Please contact Lauren Prettyman with any questions about the OABA Industry Excellence Awards.
Phone: 614-326-7520, ext. 5