Effingham County philanthropist, visionary to receive Lake Land College Alumnus Achievement Award
As a boy growing up on a farm in rural Teutopolis, Frank Brummer’s favorite days were when something broke down. That meant he got to tinker with the machinery in order to repair it, which was, and still is, his favorite kind of work.
Brummer, who has been selected as the 2013 Alumnus Achievement Award recipient by Lake Land College, grew up aspiring one day to take over the family farm. But much to his chagrin, his father urged him to find work in town.
“I didn’t do well in high school, but when I turned to Lake Land for the tools to be successful, they held me accountable and inspired me to excel in my education and reach my dreams” explained Brummer.
Graduating from Lake Land College in 1977, Brummer earned a certificate in welding. He then opened a repair business in 1979, which later evolved into Farmweld, Inc. an equipment manufacturer for the pork industry.
“When I was in college, I wanted to work in the corporate world,” said Brummer. “I thought I would take my two passions – agriculture and welding – and work for a big company.”
Yet, through a mentorship Brummer built with then welding instructor Joe Evans, he decided to stay local and build his own company.
“I had always aspired to open my own business and Joe really urged me to do just that,” said Brummer. “I really feel like I owe my success to Lake Land College and its instructors because through them, my skill set and confidence were boosted, and that’s what inspired me to pursue my dreams.”
In the decades that followed, Farmweld grew and Brummer and his business became known nation-wide for his high quality products, and for using the latest technology in the manufacturing process. He and his team successfully built the Farmweld brand, which now serves customers all over the world. When the late 1990s brought the U.S. swine industry serious economic challenges, Farmweld remained strong due to its commitment to quality products and the company’s ability to handle a variety of facility projects.
“Along with his business ethics and expertise, Frank understands the importance of employer and employee wellness for optimal productivity,” said Frank Kabbes, of Effingham, who nominated Brummer for the award. “Frank is a visionary, and it is my opinion that many of his talents exist through his association with Lake Land College.”
In 2006, Brummer sold his business in order to more fully focus on community service. As a community leader, Brummer wanted to ensure that even though he sold Farmweld, the company would remain in Teutopolis. Today, Farmweld continues to regularly employ between 30 and 50 people where Brummer serves as a consultant to the company.
Beyond his impact through Farmweld, Brummer has made a commitment to serve his community and the surrounding county to work toward improving the quality of life in the Effingham area and creating a healthier and safe community, especially for children. Brummer serves as the president of Trails Recreation Effingham County (TREC), an organization aimed at establishing trails throughout Effingham County to promote healthful living. He is also the president of the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB), a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to improving bicycling conditions throughout the state.
“We want to provide bike trails and safe routes for children to ride their bikes to school. My long term dream is that schools will again have bike racks filled with bikes, like they were when I was a child,” said Brummer.
Brummer is also very passionate about and commits time to speaking with high school students about entrepreneurship and living their dreams.
He regularly donates to the Lake Land College Foundation, providing scholarships for students at the college. Brummer and his wife Kathy, along with their four children – Nicholas, 31; Bobby, 28; Anne Marie, 26; and Michael, 21 – have become world-wide travelers and enjoy regularly hosting foreign exchange students.
According to Kabbes, Brummer has been able to develop a true spirit of cooperation with Effingham County, the city of Effingham, the Effingham Park District, and the village of Teutopolis, and because of those accomplishments, he is deserving of the Alumnus Achievement Award.
“I’ve received so much and I feel called to pay it forward the same as Lake Land College did for me,” said Brummer.
Brummer will be presented the 2013 Alumnus Achievement Award at the 46th annual commencement ceremony, Friday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lake Land College Field House.