Recognizing the Retirement of Bernard ``Berny’’ Balkonisby Representative Ron Kind
Posted on 2015-01-22
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in honor of the retirement of
Bernard ``Berny'' Frank Balkonis, Jr. Mr. Balkonis was Vice President
of Sales for Prairie Estates Genetics of Middleton, Wisconsin. Mr.
Balkonis' retirement at the end of 2014 marked the conclusion of a 40
year career in the seed corn industry. The President of Prairie Estates
Genetics, Ron Rogers, affirmed that Balkonis leaves a robust legacy as
a fantastic mentor to forage managers and a valued member of the
Prairie Estates Genetics team.
Mr. Balkonis graduated from University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1975, working on dairy farms in the summer and during holiday breaks to make his way through school. After graduation and marriage to his high school sweetheart, Mr. Balkonis was recruited by Farm Supply (Growmark), and managed a store location in northern Illinois for five years. After his time with Farm Supply, he then joined PAG Seeds, a division of Cargill. During his time with PAG Seeds, Mr. Balkonis worked as a territory manager in southwest Michigan. After PAG Seeds, Paymaster, and Cargill combined to create Cargill Hybrid Seeds, Balkonis was moved to northern Michigan, where he became both territory manager and assistant district manager. While located throughout Michigan, Mr. Balkonis and his wife welcomed three sons into the world.
In 1992, Mr. Balkonis was promoted within Cargill Hybrid Seeds to area manager for the eastern United States. Then, in 1996, Mr. Balkonis assumed the position of area manager for the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois and moved his family to Holmen, Wisconsin. In 2000, when Cargill Hybrid Seeds sold to Dow (becoming the entity Mycogen), Mr. Balkonis remained on as area manager. After his time as area manager with Mycogen, Mr. Balkonis took on the responsibilities of VP of Sales for Prairie Estates Genetics, where he would spend the rest of his career and begin the transition to the new role of grandparent with the birth of his first grandson Efraim.
Mr. Balkonis will retire with his wife of 40 years, Claudia, in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, just 10 miles north of Holmen where they raised their three sons, Adam, Scott and Wade. I wish to extend the best of wishes to Berny as he steps into retirement and that next great adventure.