On December 8, Craig Culver was presented the ‘Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture’ award for his outstanding, long-term contributions to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry during the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells.
A Wisconsin native, Culver never imagined he would become a leader in the food industry. Although he was raised in the business, Culver himself never planned for it to be his career. After graduating from college, he applied and was hired to manage a McDonalds. There he learned valuable lessons in successfully operating a restaurant.
For the six years, Craig and his family operated an A&W restaurant. In 1982, the Culver family sold the A&W restaurant and purchased and operated a supper club for the next two years.
In 1984, Culver and his family repurchased the A&W property and gave the building a makeover. A blue roof was added; the walls were painted white, and a sign outside read ‘Culver’s Frozen Custard and Butter Burgers.’ After a few years of hard work and worry, the company grew by word of mouth promotion, spurred on by quality products, passionate team members and a friendly atmosphere.
“Craig has spoken at many Farm Bureau events through the years and each time his story of perseverance is captivating,” said WFBF President Jim Holte. “The people behind Culver’s quality products are hardworking farmers and he has always acknowledged that.”
There are more than 700 Culver’s franchises across 25 states and 28,000 team members. Culver retired as CEO in 2015 but is still involved in the business as board chairman and continues to be the face and champion of the brand.
“Craig’s commitment to the agriculture community is admirable,” said Holte. “He is extremely deserving of this award.”