National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) Honors Two ABS Employees

ABS Global is proud to have had two employees recently honored by the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) for more than 50 years of dedicated service to the artificial insemination (AI) industry each. These two employees, Fran Weisensel and Vern Meier, have worked at ABS for more than three-quarters of the company’s history.

For Fran Weisensel, 58 is a special number. It’s the year he started working at ABS as an intern, and the number of years he’s worked here since.

When he started working full-time in April, 1960, the organization was still known as American Breeders Service. Fran worked as a herdsman at the Madison facilities where he cared for bulls like Bootmaker, Ensign, Ginger, and Wis-Wisconsin.

Once the operation moved to DeForest, Fran started working in the brand new, state-of-the-art Holstein Hilton barn. In this barn, he worked with some of the company’s most famous bulls such as Valiant, Top-Brass, Ken-Royal, Elevation Mars, Don Auger, Ivanhoe Ken, and Marlu Melad.

Fran was always the go-to guy for training new employees on bull handling. He was also the designated handler when the bulls got photographed for marketing and publicity.

Fran retired in 2006 – well, sort of. He continued to help in the Genetic Venture barn with the younger stock and took care of the lawns, flowers, and shrubbery around the ABS DeForest grounds.

He lives on the ABS property and still works three hours a day to ensure operations between DeForest and Dekorra run smoothly. He can often be spotted driving the little white car that brings collections from Dekorra to DeForest for processing.

Vern Meier is another familiar name around ABS. Throughout his 50- plus years here, he has held many different roles in a variety of departments. He started in June 1965 as a mailroom clerk, followed by a short stint in the labs. He then moved on to work in many facets of Information Technology (IT) – as a computer operator, developer, manager of operations, and acting director of IT.

Vern decided he liked hands-on work the most, and got involved with PCs as they came into the world of business. He even worked in Technical Services (TS) as a Heatwatch system installer and support person.

After his time in TS, he became support for PC field and office needs. He then transferred to Marketing, where he held roles as the webmaster and tour guide specialist.

In August 2015, Vern retired, but he continues to work part-time – when it doesn’t interfere with golf, that is.

Vern lives on the ABS DeForest property that his family sold to the company when they bought the land in the 1960’s. He enjoys spending time with his two children and two grandchildren and is starting to travel the world.

“To have not one, but two ABS employees honored by NAAB for their dedication to the AI industry is truly amazing,” says Jesus Martinez, Global Business Development Director. “We’re lucky to have two such gentlemen working for ABS Global and we thank them for helping to make ABS it is today.”