2005 Dairy Leadership Award

2005-WinklerRobert Winkler

Robert Winkler was born Aug. 3, 1948 and has called St. Louis his home since his birth.

After graduating from the University of Dayton in 1971 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Robert was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Training Corps – ROTC. After completing his officer basic training at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Md., he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1974 and captain in 1978.

His first job was as a sales specialist with Emerson Electric Company in St. Louis where he worked a short time. Robert entered the work force of Valley Farm Dairy Company, St. Louis, in 1972 as assistant to the president William G. Winkler. He was elected president of Valley Farm in 1983.

During his 30 plus years of working in the dairy industry, Robert lists the following as significant accomplishments that occurred during his tenure at Valley Farm.

  • Marketing of dairy products was expanded through new retail distribution channels such as gas station and pharmacies.
  • Plastic bottles were offered as a half-pint packaging option for school food service.
  • “Pop Winkler’s Premium Ice Cream” was introduced in round quart cartons and was an early entry into the premium ice cream market segment.
  • Distribution systems were developed to deliver more than five million nutritious meals-each including milk-to participants of the Summer Food Service Program.
  • Served as a trustee for the St. Louis Dairy Industry Pension Plan.
  • Served as a member of the management committee at Teamster Joint Area Committee meetings to help settle and resolve labor disputes and grievances.

Pop (John W.) Winkler was the founder of Valley Farm Dairy in 1909 and Robert’s grandfather.

Valley Farm Dairy was sold to Crown Foods in 2003. After assisting with the integration of Valley Farm operations into Crown Foods, Robert accepted a position with F&H Food Equipment Company where he has worked since 2004. At F&H Robert is responsible for the specification and sale of process equipment to the dairy, food, and beverage industries.

Robert has been a member of the St. Louis District Dairy Council since 1991 and is a member of the board of directors and executive committee, currently serving as secretary.

Robert married Joyce Hubble in 1972. Robert and Joyce have three children and one grandchild. Matthew is 26 and a graduate of Denison University with degree in mathematics and computer science. He is completing work on an MBA from Washington University and is a computer consultant for Knowledge Lake, Inc. Matthew is married to Libby (Beckette) and they are the proud parents of Grace who is four months old.

Mark, 24, is a graduate of Case University and was a recipient of a National Science Foundation Fellowship in 2005. He is in his second year of graduate school at Harvard University making steady progress towards a doctorate in physics.

Laura, 22, is a newlywed. She became Mrs. Thomas S. Kuehner on Jan. 21, 2006. Laura is a client services manager for Moneta Group, Investment Advisors in Clayton. Laura and Tom reside in St. Peters.