Wisconsin Cheese Makers honor Bill Wendorff

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) has honored Bill Wendorff, professor emeritus in the food science department, as the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Service Award.This award recognizes individuals whose outstanding contributions have helped develop current dairy manufacturing trends, provided a foundation for future research and development, established a trusted partnership with dairy processing companies, or whose advocacy and support of quality dairy manufacturing serves as a model for others to emulate.

After serving 20 years as technical director in the food industry, Wendorff joined the UW in 1989. He was instrumental in the renaissance of cheese extension education, bridging the excellent research done at UW with the practical application in the field.Wendorff built the Wisconsin Cheese Technology Short Course into the highest attended, most highly acclaimed cheese course in the United States. Students from throughout Wisconsin, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America regularly attend this flagship course.In 1993, Wendorff was one of the original architects of the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program and was responsible for building the curriculum for the Master candidates.Over the past 20 years, he has worked with the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR) staff to develop more than 16 different short courses covering cheese, whey, cultured dairy products, and environmental issues for the dairy industry.  The dairy manufacturing short courses have served over 8000 dairy plant personnel, so it is no coincidence that over 73 % of the individual award winners and over 80% of the winning cheese plants at the 2011 U.S.  Championship Cheese Contest have workers that have taken a dairy short course at UW-Madison.

On the research side, Wendorff was always active in work that had a practical approach for the dairy industry, specifically focusing on the physical and sensory problems in cheese; and on the regulatory and environmental issues that had an impact on the dairy industry.Although ‘retired’, Wendorff’s passion for the dairy industry keeps him active as he continues his research work through projects with CDR.

Always an eye on the future, as Wendorff accepted the award at the recent WCMA’s Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference in La Crosse, Wis., he indicated that CDR and the UW-Madison food science department would continue to address the educational needs of the dairy industry.He thanked the WCMA for their $500,000 commitment to kick-start the campaign for the renovation of Babcock Hall’s dairy research and training facilities, encouraging short course graduates to actively support the project.