Orlen J. Wiemann Award
The highest award given by the Western Association of Food and Drug Officials is the Orlen J. Wiemann Award. It is named after the first recipient of the award and is awarded at the WAFDO Annual Educational Conference.
Orlen J. Wiemann was born in Arlington, Minnesota on December 30, 1916 and was educated in Arlington public schools. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota in 1937, and a Masters degree from the University of Minnesota in 1948.
In January 1942, Orlen began service with the United States Army Medical Corps, being commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in August of that year. He served with hospital units overseas from October of 1942 until November 1945, and was released from the service in March 1946 as a 1st lieutenant.
He was employed by the City/County Health Department in Eau Claire, Wisconsin from June 1946 until March 1949 as a sanitarian. During the course of his employment, Orlen managed to attend the University of Minnesota, obtaining a graduate degree in public health.
He terminated his employment with the Eau Claire Health Department in March 1949, turned westward, and set his sights on the great state of Colorado.
There, Orlen joined the Milk, Food, and Drug Section of the Colorado Department of Health in March 1949 as a sanitarian. In July 1952, Orlen’s outstanding capabilities were recognized and he was named to head the Milk, Food, and Drug Section of the Colorado Department of Health, a position that he held until he retired in May 1979. During his tenure, Orlen worked tirelessly to update consumer protection programs within Colorado.
During his career, Orlen was an active participant in both the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) and the Western Association of Food and Drug Officials (WAFDO). Orlen served on numerous AFDO committees; was the 1967 AFDO president, received the Harvey W. Wiley Award in 1972; and served as the Editor of the AFDO Journal from 1970 until 1987. Orlen received the AFDO Distinguished Service Award.
Throughout his career, Orlen was a constant supporter of WAFDO and one of the individuals who kept the Association together during times when travel and communication capabilities were primitive compared to today. Orlen is one of the few individuals to have served twice as the Association’s president.
In 1985, WAFDO president George White convinced the Association that it would be appropriate to recognize a member each year for their outstanding leadership and dedicated service to WAFDO. The Orlen J. Wiemann Award was created and presented to Orlen in 1985 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Mr. Wiemann passed away September 12, 2002, but his contributions to public health protection continue to provide a structure for core regulatory responsibilities today.