April 29, 2022

Lifetime Achievement Award honors Ruth Michels’ legacy

Michels brothers gather at a convention to accept award.

We are heartened to know the late Ruth Michels, our leader and matriarch, continues to have a profound impact on the community she loved. Envision Greater Fond du Lac presented the Allen J. Buechel Lifetime Achievement Award to Ruth during its annual meeting this week. The award was gratefully accepted by Ruth’s four sons, Pat, Tim, Steve and Kevin.

Ruth was one of Michels’ guiding forces from the day it was established until her passing in 2020. Ruth and her husband, Dale Michels, partnered with Ruth’s brother, Ted Koenigs, and his business partner, Jim Michel, to establish Michels Pipeline in Dale’s hometown of Brownsville in 1959.

In the early years, when Michels had a handful of employees, Ruth traveled throughout Wisconsin, scoping out prospective jobs and relocating trucks and equipment. As the company grew, Ruth continued to support the business while focusing on raising her sons. She re-entered a leadership role at Michels in 1998, when Dale passed away. Serving as the Chairwoman of the Board, Ruth and her sons guided Michels growth.

Ruth was a respected leader in energy and infrastructure construction. She was also a staunch supporter of her community, both as an active volunteer and a dedicated philanthropist. She oversaw the Michels Family Foundation, a charitable organization that has given millions of dollars to local educational institutions, medical facilities, and community organizations, including The Dale Michels Atrium at Marian University and The Dale Michels Center for Heart Care at St. Agnes Hospital. Ruth served on the board of directors of American Bank and was a member of the Agnesian Hospice Charity Open Committee. Ruth received the Women of Achievement Award from the Fond du Lac Area Women’s Fund in 2008.

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