Alpine Slicing, Ron Buholzer Honored

Alpine Slicing named Outstanding Business, Ron Buholzer earns Leadership Award at GCDC Annual Dinner

MONROE – The Green County Development Corporation honored an outstanding local business and exemplary leader at its Annual Dinner on Tuesday, May 8.

Alpine Slicing and Cheese Conversion owners accepting the award for Outstanding Business of the Year are, from left, Ken Friedrich, Shirley Knox and Jim Matzke. Missing is William Knox. Presenting the award is Cara Carper, executive director of GCDC.

The winner of the Outstanding Business of the Year is Alpine Slicing and Cheese Conversion Co. of Monroe.  The Outstanding Business of the Year Award honors existing businesses that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the county’s economic growth through innovation, job creation, new investment, and/or extraordinary long-time interest in supporting others in business.

Owners of Alpine Slicing and Cheese Conversion are Shirley Knox, Ken Friedrichs, Jim Natzke and William Knox.

Using state-of-the-art equipment, Alpine transforms bulk cheese and creates retail, food service and specialty packaging in a variety of formats based on their customers’ needs. In 2017, the company converted 18.2 million pounds of cheese.

In nominating Alpine Slicing and Cheese Conversion, Ron Schaaf, the president and CEO of the Bank of New Glarus, said the business was started in 2005 to fill a void in the cheese conversion industry. Its first location had about 2,000 square feet of production space and was started with the help of a GCDC Revolving Loan fund.

In 2008, Alpine purchased the former Pick-N-Save building where it has 17,000 square feet of production space and 17,000 square feet of cooler space. This increased its production space by more than eight-fold to accommodate its growing business.

Alpine Slicing employs 116 individuals and offers competitive wages and benefits. The owners are all long-time Green County residents and active in their community.

Luke Buholzer accepts the Richard B. Schmied Leadership Award on behalf of his father, Ron Buholzer, of Klondike Cheese. Presenting the award is Cara Carper, GCDC executive director.

Ron Buholzer, president of Klondike Cheese, is the winner of this year’s Richard B. Schmied Leadership Award. The award commemorates Richard B. Schmied, remembered for the characteristics of leadership he exhibited. The winner of the award exemplifies the character of a true leader.

Ron has demonstrated his leadership not only by growing the family business of Klondike Cheese Co. but also within the cheese industry, said Dennis Everson, vice president of Wisconsin Bank & Trust, in his nomination.

Ron has been in leadership roles within the cheese industry in Green County and at the state and national level as well. He has served many years on the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association Board of Directors and was honored with a Life Member Award. He also recently received the group’s Vanguard Award, given to those who have helped blaze new trails in the dairy industry.

In addition, he has previously served as president of the Foreign Type Cheesemakers Association and the Wisconsin Specialty Cheese Institute. He has also been a director of the Southwestern Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association and has been a key advisor to the construction of the new Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research.

Ron is well known throughout the community, having served on numerous civic committees in Monroe as an advocate for his Swiss heritage, the art of cheesemaking and community improvement.

The awards are presented each year as part of the Annual Dinner event.

This year’s Annual Dinner included a talk by keynote speaker Jason Tyszko on “Building the Talent Pipeline.” Tyszko is vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation where he is involved in working to enhance the career readiness of youth and adult learners. The Talent Pipeline Management movement is the foundation’s signature workforce development strategy.

GCDC, a multi-jurisdictional economic development corporation, was formed to bring professional economic development expertise to its member communities to create a competitive advantage to spur job creation and new investments. The organization is building the economic future of Green County communities and businesses through public-private partnerships. For more information, visit GCDC at online at