Southwest Wisconsin Technical College joined the Wisconsin Technical College System Board in recognizing TRELAY Group with the Futuremaker Partner Award. The presentation was made on the Southwest Tech campus tonight, Nov. 9.
The Futuremaker Partner Award is presented four times a year by the WTCS Board to recognize the unique, long-standing connections between the state’s employers and local technical colleges.
“We are appreciative of it (the award),” said Brad Biddick, chairman of the TRELAY Group Board of Directors. “You don’t strive for these things. They just happen. It does tell us that we are on the right track and that what we are doing is valuable to other people and that is fun to see. It reinforces what we want to emphasize. It’s a point in time that gives us reason to keep it going.”
TRELAY Group is located in Livingston, Wisconsin. It’s an ISO 9001 registered seed producer with over 100 years of farming experience. Their production includes receiving, growing, conditioning, treating, blending (RIB), packaging, shipping, and warehousing corn, soybeans, popcorn, and small grains. In addition to producing seed, TRELAY Group operates a purebred Angus and commercial cow-calf herd as well as a cattle feedlot which utilizes their feed by-products. TRELAY Group employs approximately 45 people.
“It (the award) reflects accurately our approach in that we are in this for the long term,” said Biddick. “Just because we have been around a long time doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking about the future. I think we are playing that role naturally. I think it’s interesting that we came across that way to people and I appreciate that because I think we are thinking about the future and the long haul here.”
“TRELAY Group, and the close connections this family-run organization has forged with Southwest Tech over generations, showcases the best of our colleges,” said WTCS Board President Dr. Rodney Pasch. “These types of employer and community connections set us apart.”
TRELAY Group is a valuable partner to Southwest Tech and has been since the beginning of the college. Roger Biddick, Brad’s father, was a charter board member for the college. Roger served on the very first Southwest Tech District Board as the board treasurer, which began the TRELAY legacy of supporting Southwest Tech. Brad currently serves on the Real Estate Foundation Board and has served on the Supply Chain Management advisory committee and Entrepreneurship advisory committee. His spouse, Peggy Biddick, served on the business program advisory board. Previously, Jack Carlson, retired HR manager, was a member of the Agribusiness Advisory Committee for several years. Currently, Terry Arndt, livestock manager, sits on the Agriculture Advisory Board and participated in the Animal Science DACUM meeting in the summer of 2021. TRELAY Group hosted a tour and luncheon for the District Boards Association quarterly meeting several years ago.
“Our partnership with Brad, his family and the employees at TRELAY has resulted in significant successes in several of our programs,” said Dr. Jason Wood, president of Southwest Tech. “Their strong impact on this campus goes back decades and it continues to be a source of inspiration for us today. This award is well deserved.”
The TRELAY Group is an employer who hires Southwest Tech graduates; they currently have four employees who have graduated from Southwest Tech. TRELAY provides many opportunities for internships for the college’s agribusiness, agronomy, and animal science students. Outside of formal volunteer roles, the employees of TRELAY Group continually find opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom by providing tours of the seed manufacturing process, the livestock operations, and the agronomy process to grow seed and popcorn. To date, TRELAY Group has supported the Southwest Tech Foundation and Real Estate Foundation with gifts and grants totaling nearly $50,000. Gifts and grants include donations for agriculture scholarships, A Day for Southwest Tech, sponsorship for farm succession training in the Farm Businesses and Production Management department, and grants from the Elmer Biddick Foundation (Brad’s grandfather) for student emergency grants, food pantry, and livestock equipment.
“I think education has always been an easy thing to support, whether it was my father who really helped start the Iowa-Grant School District, he was instrumental in Southwest Tech being formed and he played a part in the university at Platteville,” said Biddick. “He was involved in the University of Wisconsin. He set the pace for this kind of emphasis, but I think we’ve all followed along in those footsteps and found that it’s very rewarding and it’s an investment in people versus some of the other things you invest in. It’s important to us.”
TRELAY Group is a staple in Southwest Wisconsin. “From a product point of view we are quality oriented versus quantity oriented,” said Biddick. “And then we like the area a great deal. It’s very positive for what we do. There’s some natural features about it that have made it possible for us to be around this many years. The people, I think, that we are able to hire, and the people that live here, you can’t find a better group, they are solid. We like to support people like that. It all fits together.”