The 2016 award winners are David and Shelli Schuett and Cory Birkenbuel.
This years Jane Helm Maddock Service Award recipients truly embody the generous spirit of the awards namesake and we are honored to recognize them for their devotion to this community and campus, said UMW Foundation and Alumni Director Roxanne Engellant.
David Schuett was born and raised on his family farm in southeast Wisconsin. He received an animal science degree from Kansas State University and a doctor of veterinary medicine from Iowa State University in 1982. Schuett came to Dillon shortly after graduation and worked for a mixed animal practice for a few years before he purchased his first ranch south of Dillon. Schuett began his own large animal veterinary practice in 1985 focusing on cow-calf.
Over time Schuett added neighboring ranches to his land base and he currently raises malt barley, wheat and hay. He and his son Blade, who is involved in the ranch operation, have roughly 1,500 cows in addition to providing custom haying and farming for other area ranches.
Schuett bought Rolandson Equipment, a John Deer dealership in Dillon, in 1992, and changed the name to Dillon Implement. In June 2012, he traded equity in Dillon Implement for shares of Frontline Ag. This past May they merged with Moodie Implement to form Frontline Ag Solutions. Schuett manages the Dillon location and is chairman of the board of the company with close to 200 employees.
Recently, Schuett spearheaded the efforts to design and raise funds for a new livestock pavilion at the Beaverhead County Fairgrounds. He serves on the board of directors for the Montana Horsemanship Center that provides support for the Equine Studies Department at Montana Western.
Shelli Schuett was born and raised in Dillon and is a third generation Beaverhead County resident. She attended school in Spokane, Wash. after high school graduation in order to gain certification as a medical assistant. She spent 25 years working in the medical industry along with supporting her familys farm and ranch operations.
Schuett has been an advocate for farm safety for kids, putting on numerous safety camps in the area. She has been involved with Parent Council for 20 years and a 4H leader for 16 years. Shelli spends a great deal of time advocating for children with dyslexia and learning disabilities in the school system. She and David have served on the Montana Western Foundation board and have been strong supporters of the university over the past 30 years.
Cory Birkenbuel was born and raised in Dillon, Mont and is a fourth generation Montanan. He graduated from the University of Montana Western in 2013 with a business administration degree.
While attending Montana Western, Birkenbuel was the business club president and general manager for KDWG, the campus radio station.
In 2012 he undertook a project for his senior internship to bring awareness to Maverick Mountain and the 15 other ski areas in Montana. With his Sweet 16 project, Birkenbuel brought recognition to Montana Western and its experiential learning program, Experience One. He was featured on several T.V. stations and newspapers throughout Montana during the filming and promoting of the project.
Birkenbuel worked with Montana State University film student and Dillon native, Kevin Hilton, to produce a second short film called Somewhere in Montana. The highlight of his filmmaking career came in 2014 when he was asked to work with Warren Miller, legendary ski and snowboarding filmmaker.
Birkenbuel has worked in the ski industry for 20 years and explored numerous projects around the arts in the Dillon community. In 2015 Cory opened his business, Highboy & Company, in downtown Dillon. He also started an online calendar for Dillon and the surrounding area called 683 Events.
In addition to his education and business pursuits, Birkenbuel has been involved in numerous service groups in Beaverhead County. He was a board member for Southwest Montana Arts Council, Dillon Cubs and the Chamber of Commerce. He is a current member of the Beaverhead Trails Coalition.
Additionally, Birkenbuel has been a spokesperson for suicide awareness since becoming a family member survivor of suicide in 2003. He plans to continue to promote local and regional awareness of suicide prevention.
The dinner is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark Room in Mathews Hall on the Montana Western campus. The cost to attend is $15 for faculty, staff and community, and $7 for students. Please contact the UMW Alumni Office at 406-683-7306 to purchase tickets.