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.

2023 Industry Excellence Awards

Sponsor 20212023 award recipients will be recognized during the 2023 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 2023 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 2023 Achievement as an Emerging Leader Award, click the How to Apply tab. 

2022 Recipient - Brian Spangler, Centerra Co-op

El22 BrianspanglerBrian Spangler, Grain Operations Manger for Centerra Co-op’s Mansfield and Grafton locations, is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations at both branches, managing nearly two-thirds the grain Centerra handles, as well as the employees at each location. He continually pushes his employees to strive for new heights and grow together as a team.


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 2023 Excellence in Customer Service Award, click the How to Apply tab. 

2022 Recipient - Holly Cotter, Centerra Co-op

Cs22 HollycotterHolly Cotter, Grain Merchandising Assistant at Centerra Co-op, is responsible for grain logistics and communicating with stakeholders, including farmers and brokers. With more than 20 years of experience at Centerra, she strives to deliver a positive customer experience, making each interaction personal to better serve her customers.


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 2023 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 2023 Awards is now open! Details on how to nominate a deserving individual are available below.


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 29.

Nomination Forms

 Excellence in Customer Service
 Achievement as an Emerging Leader
 Excellence in Safety & Stewardship


Submit nominations by July 29:
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