The former Superintendent of the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield Agricultural Research Station has joined the National Farm Medicine Center as an agricultural safety specialist.
Tom Drendel, who retired from UW-MARS in 2009, is working on the Wisconsin Dairy Workers Safety and Health Initiative. "I am excited to combine my knowledge and experience in dairy with a focus on safety," Drendel said.
As part of the initiative, Drendel will become Occupational Safety and Health Administration-certified in standards in general industry, confined space, hearing conservation, and a trainer for the general industry standard.
"Tom brings a great set of assets to the Farm Center," said Matt Keifer, M.D., M.P.H., Dean Emanuel Endowed Chair and leader of the Wisconsin Dairy Workers Safety and Health Initiative. "He knows dairy and people in dairy know him. He knows safety on the farm and will soon know it in terms of OSHA standards and procedures.
"With the expansion of the hired labor force in dairy, OSHA will be more involved in dairy operations," Keifer said. "We need someone who can combine knowledge of dairy and knowledge of OSHA to get dairy ready for what is sure to come."
Drendel moved to Marshfield in 1985 after working as an agricultural agent for UW Extension in Marinette and Jefferson counties. Drendel has served as president of Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1994 and the Marshfield Noon Rotary Club in 1993. He is currently an ambassador for MACCI. He served as a trustee for both St. Joseph's Hospital and the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.
Drendel is married to Laura and they have two sons Anthony and Nathan.
At UW-MARS, Drendel's duties focused on managing the research dairy herd and the overall farming operations. He also helped develop safety manuals for hazard communication, confined space, respiratory protection, hearing conservation, material safety data sheets, and job hazard assessments for the barn and field staff. These manuals were then used as templates and distributed to the other research stations.
Drendel was born and raised in the Chicago suburb of Westmont. He earned a bachelor's degree in animal science from Arizona State University and a master's in dairy science from the University of Illinois.