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A mix of business and volunteering serves Pagel well

People who make a difference: Bryan Pagel

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September 7, 2022

KEWAUNEE COUNTY – Bryan Pagel, a Kewaunee County resident and business owner, knows a thing or two about volunteering.

“I’ve always believed in giving back to the community,” Pagel, owner of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC, said. “Volunteering is a good opportunity to help support the community you live in – there’s no better time than the present. Give back to the community that gave to you.”

When Pagel isn’t overseeing the operations of his dairy farm – which milks more than 9,000 cows daily in three separate locations in Kewaunee County – he’s spending it giving back to the community – serving as a school board member for the Kewaunee School District and a volunteer coach.

He also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Kewaunee Fire Department.
Fire department
Pagel, who served as a volunteer member of the department for five years before stepping away in May, said he had a good reason for joining.

“We had an incident on the farm, and the way the fire department responded to the situation made me want to be a Kewaunee fireman,” he said. “The dedication and time they put in convinced me to do the same.”

Pagel said even though he’s stepped away from the department, that doesn’t mean it’s forever.

“As things progress, and I decide if I’ll be running for school board again, I may decide to go back to the department,” he said. “I’ve made valuable connections with the group over the years – many lifelong friends. I know everyone wants me to come back in the future – sooner, rather than late.”
School board
Recently, Pagel pivoted his community involvement, hanging up his fire hat and joining the local school board.

He said given what’s going on in the community, he felt like his time could be better served as a member of the school board.

“My grandpa and dad both served on the board, so I enjoy doing that,” he said.

Pagel said he enjoys the opportunity to be more involved in his kids’ lives and knowing what’s going on in the community.
“Many times, you’ll get feedback from (community members) and they say, ‘This is what’s going on,’” he said. “Truly, sometimes, that’s not what’s going on.”

Bryan Pagel is the owner of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC. Submitted Photo

Pagel, who has been on the board for 1 1/2 years, said his current term runs for another 18 months.

Pagel has three daughters – a 12-year old, and a set of twins who are 10.

“I’m a big family man,” he said. “So, I spend lots of time with my wife (Ashley) and kids”

Volunteering as a baseball and basketball coach, Pagel said, has afforded him with the opportunity to spend even more time with his girls and other local budding athletes.

He said once his kids get more into middle school, and the teachers in the district take over coaching duties, he’d potentially have more time to do both the school board and fire department.

“My schedule will potentially open up again in a few years,” he said. “I’m also not opposed to possibly coaching in the school system someday. I’ve been coaching baseball and basketball for about six years now, and I absolutely see myself continuing that going forward.”
Dairy operations
Pagel, along with his brother and sister, operate Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC, located on County C in Kewaunee, which he said is one of the largest dairy farms in the state.

“It’s family-owned,” he said. “I’ve been working there for about 18 years now, but 4 1/2 years ago, my father passed away – the three of us went from being managers to owners in the drop of a hat. It took the responsibilities to a whole new level.”

The 39-year-old, who graduated from Kewaunee High School in 2002, said he oversees all farm and cheese operations.

“The milk goes from the cow directly to the cheese plant,” he said.
Support at home
Pagel said even though his schedule over the years has been “crazy” and has brought most of the chaos on himself, the support he gets on the homefront makes it all worth it.

“My wife has been extremely supportive,” he said. “She never bucks the system. When I say I have a school board meeting or practice, she doesn’t bat an eyelash – she’s made it possible.”

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